The Fighting McMillins

The Civil War History of Emerson McMillin and Family

the following information comes from The Emerson McMillin Story by Elaine Winkler

The McMillin Brothers were (moving clockwise from the top center image): Lt. Emerson McMillin, Murray McMillin, Lt. Milton McMillin, James McMillin, Andrew McMillin, and Marion McMillin. Image provided by Elaine Winkler.

Jackson (Ohio) Journal, July 14, 1886 - The Fighting McMillins - Men Who Loved Their Country Better Than Life (A paper read before Bull Post G.A.R., Friday Eve., May 28th, by Murray McMillin, Esq.) - Commander and Comrades: At one of our former meetings I promised that I would, at some future time, give a brief history of the McMillin family in the war of the Rebellion. I shall attempt to fulfill my promise to-night, and request that the comrades present try and bear with me for a few minutes. The history is but a very brief one - a few thoughts crudely connected together, and bearing the earmarks of one whose education has been extremely limited.

At the beginning of the late war there lived a farmer in Milton Township, Jackson County, Ohio, by the name of Wm. R. McMillin, who was the father of six sons, named respectively Milton, Harvey, Andrew, Murray, Emerson and Marion; and when Abraham Lincoln, as the President of the United States of America, issued his first proclamation calling for seventy-five thousand volunteers to serve for a term of three months, Emerson and I enlisted in Captain J. J. Hoffman's Company, being recruited at the time at Jackson C. H., O. Our ages were recorded at 18 and 20, but perhaps a glance at the family Bible would have revealed a deficiency of at least two years to the credit of each of us. We did not consider that there was much in age, anyway, as we knew of older persons than ourselves who were afraid to go into the service, and for fear that by waiting we might become more timid, we concluded to start while young.

Emerson was a boy very large for his age, weighing perhaps one hundred and fit~y pounds and was amply able to fill a man's place in the line of battle or at the work bench. I was rather small at the time, weighing but eighty-four pounds and the inspecting officer had the audacity to say that my manhood, in some respects at least, was considerably below par. He then used my breast for a base drum for a short time; then he placed me on a race-track at a "two-forty" gate and wound up by examining my teeth, which he pronounced good, and said that perhaps I could get more to eat by going into the service, therefore he would allow me to pass.

The company, numbering one hundred and eight men, was mustered into the service at Athens, O., as Co. I, 18th Regiment, O.V.M. and served its term doing guard duty along the B. & O. RR. in West Virginia, and but very few of the company seeing a rebel soldier during the term of enlistment.

Harvey enlisted in June, 1861, in the 13th O.V.I., under the first three-years' call. Emerson and I re-enlisted for a term of three years before our three months' term had expired. After being mustered out of the three months' service we were allowed to remain at home for a few days while the company was being recruited at Jackson, O., by our former captain.

Andrew, the fourth brother, enlisted in this company. When the company was full it was mustered into service at Parkersburg, W.Va., as Co. H., 2nd W.Va. Cavalry.

This left but one brother at home old enough to become a soldier, and he being so engaged as to make it practically impossible for him to enlist at this time, but he and father enlisted in Captain Fowler's company - a company recruited at Berlin X Roads for the purpose of being used as Border Service Soldiers - Marion, the youngest brother, shortly afterwards becoming a member of this company.

After serving about three years, and at the call for Veteran Volunteers, Emerson and I again re-enlisted - this making our third enlistment in the volunteer service. In December we with many others who had re-enlisted received a Veteran furlough for thirty days. It is useless to attempt to explain how we spent those thirty days, or as to the amount of enjoyment and happiness that we experienced in that time - we think old comrades only are calculated to draw this line. We shall never forget the many suppers and entertainments gotten up by the good patriotic citizens of Jackson, Berlin and other places through the country. All did honor to the Veteran Soldiers. To us the time of our furlough passed away very rapidly. In the very midst of our enjoyment our time had about expired when our thoughts began to wonder through the wilds of Virginia. Was it possible the time had come when we should leave the field of pleasure to again take the field of conflict and undergo the toil and hardships of a soldier's life! When the last sad hour had arrived - and there remained but the "Good-byes" to be said - Marion, the youngest brother - a mere lad of sixteen years of age - was the first to perform the duty, which he did by saying: "Father, I feel that the proper time has come for me to be a soldier. Other boys of my age are enlisting and I want to go. I am going. Goodbye." And it was utterly impossible for us to persuade him to remain at home. He enlisted in Co. C, 2nd Va. Cavalry.

At the expiration of Harvey's enlistment from the 13th O.V.I. he returned home to remain for a few days only, as at this time Milton, the oldest brother, was recruiting a company of One Year Men, and he re-enlisted in this company, which was mustered into the service as Co. G., 2nd Va. Cavalry - the regiment being re-organized at this time as a Veteran Regiment. This made the sixth soldier from the McMillin family for this regiment.

Our Father remained at home but still remained a member of the Border Service Company until after the war was over. He occasionally visited his boys in the field. But he too had some experience with the rebel army, as rebel Gen. John Morgan, on his raid through Ohio, passed through his farm, and many of Morgan's men "went through" the houses, bursting open drawers, destroying and carrying away clothing and provision. I have sometimes thought that it was unfortunate for the Government that there were no more boys in the McMillin family.

Nearing the close of the war, and at the time General Lee's surrender at Appomattox C. H., where were the McMillin boys? Were they all there? Not all. Andrew's term of service had expired and he had been permitted to return home. Milton had been wounded and was lying in the hospital at Winchester, Va., and Marion, the youngest brother, was filling a soldier's grave at Mountain Cave, in East Virginia. Harvey, Emerson and myself were there with General Custer's Division and were under the very last fire of Lee's army. We were in thirty hard fought battles and twice the number of smaller engagements.

At the end of the war we were all permitted to return home except Marion. He was killed at Mountain Cave on the 23rd day of June, 1864, while on General Hunter's retreat from Lynchburg. Milton was wounded in April, 1865, and died August 28th, 1865, just a few days after reaching home. Harvey was wounded at the battle of Mission Ridge, the ball entering at the fork of the right collar bone and passing through the body lengthwise and came out at the small of the back. He died from the effects of the wound July 23rd, 1873. Emerson was wounded in the right side of the head and in the right knee on June 23rd, 1864, at Mountain Cave, and was wounded again August 26th, 1864, this time being shot through the thigh while doing picket duty between Shepherdstown and Williamsport, Md. He received his third wound April 1st, 1865, at the battle of Five Forks, this time having the end of his right elbow shot off also receiving a sabre wound on the right side of his head about one minute after being shot in the arm. He was at the time commanding Co. A., 2nd Va. Cavalry and was on the rebel side of a deep trench engaged in a hand-to-hand fight at the time; this making five times that he had been wounded. I was hit with a spent ball in the right thigh, at the battle of Fisher Hill, and received a slight wound in the right hand at Wytheville, East Va.

Terms of Service - Emerson and I served three enlistments each, making for each of us four years and two months service. Harvey served two enlistments - one of three years and one of one year. Andrew served one term of three years and Marion enlisted for three years, but was killed six months after enlisting - making a total length of service for the family sixteen years and ten months.

It may have been other families furnished more soldiers to do battle for their country than the McMillin family did; nevertheless we shall always feel as though we have done our part. We might have done more had there been more of us.

When the States first began to succeed from the Union, our father's sympathies were with the South, but after the firing on Fort Sumpter he changed his mind and decided to stand by the Old Flag. Our father and mother lived to see five out of the six boys return. At the re-union of our family, after the war was over, there was one vacant chair in the family circle, which caused much sadness. Could the absent one have been permitted to return, what a day of rejoicing there would have been! As it was, our happiness was mingled with sorrow. Yet after the lapse of a few short weeks we were called upon to follow the remains of our oldest brother to his last resting place. He died from the effects of a wound received in the head. And a few short years later Harvey was also laid away in his last resting place.

But three of the six brothers remain, and they harbor no hatred towards the ex-rebel private soldiers but had the duty fallen upon us of furnishing the flowers for the decoration of the coach in which that arch-traitor Jeff Davis is now perambulating the South preaching treason and bellowing over the "lost cause," our first impulse would have been to furnish but one flower and that not the white rose, but instead thereof a bud, of spherical shape and in color a shade darker than the dove, and under existing circumstances we would have that bud placed in the center of the vase that throbs the moisture through his rebel veins!!

History of the Second Regiment - War of the Rebellion, by J. J. Sutton - When the Second West Virginia Cavalry was recruited, three of the boys, Andrew, Murray and Emerson (McMillin), enlisted in Company H. Later in the war two more, Milton and Harvey, also volunteered in the regiment, and when Marion, the youngest, was old enough he, too, enlisted, and Company H already having its share of recruits, he was assigned to Company C. During the perilous times of the Lynchburg raid he was permitted, at his own request, to march with Company H, that he might be near his brothers. He was called the "baby" of the McMillin family, and it was with almost broken hearts that two of his brothers, Emerson and Murray, looked upon the dead body of their idolized Marion.

From the Records of Civil War Researcher, Billee H. Schlaudt, of Houston, Texas:

National Archives, Washington D.C. Volunteer Enlistment - State of Ohio, Town of Jackson. I, Emerson McMillin, born in Gallia, in the State of Ohio, aged 19 years, and by occupation a farmer, do hereby acknowledge to have volunteered, this 22nd day of November, 1863, to serve as a Soldier in the Army of the United States of America, for the period of Three Years, unless sooner discharged by proper authority: Do also agree to accept such bounty, pay, established by law for volunteers. And I, Emerson McMillin, do solemnly swear, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America, and that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies or opposers whomsoever; and that I will observe and obey the orders of the President of the United States, and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the Rules and Articles of War. Sworn and Subscribed to, at Charleston, W.Va., this 22nd day of November, 1863. Signed, Emerson McMillin.

I certify, on honor, that I have carefully examined the above-named Volunteer, agreeably to the General Regulations of the Army, and that, in my opinion, he is free from all bodily defects and mental infirmity, which would in any way disqualify him from performing the duties of a soldier. Signed, E. Gilliam, Examining Surgeon.

I certify, on honor, that I have minutely inspected the Volunteer, Emerson McMillin, previously to his enlistment, and that he was entirely sober when he enlisted; that, to the best of my judgment and belief, he is of lawful age; and that, in accepting him as duly qualified to perform the duties of an able-bodied soldier, I have strictly observed the Regulations which govern the recruiting service. This soldier has dark eyes, dark hair, fair complexion, is 5 feet, 9 inches high. Signed, Recruiting Officer.

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