10 April 2008 by Published in: General musings 11 comments

I live in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus is the county seat of Franklin County, named for Ben Franklin. Many of Ohio’s 88 counties are named for Founding Fathers or for heroes of the Revolutionary War. Only a handful are not. The county immediately to the east of Franklin County is called Licking County, named for the Licking River, which meanders through the county. Recently, I’ve had a number of cases in Licking County, so I’ve been traveling to Newark, Ohio, which is the county seat with some degree of regularity.

I had a court appearance in Newark yesterday, and I took a different route than the one I normally take. When I reached the lovely college town of Granville (home of Denison University), I headed east on State Route 16, and, as I reached a golf course with the interesting name of Raccoon International, I spotted a new-looking state historical marker just beyond the entrance to the golf course. As I got closer, I could see that the marker was to Maj. Gen. Charles Griffin, the final commander of the Army of the Potomac’s 5th Corps (pictured here).

I was running late for my hearing, so I didn’t have time to stop. When I got home, I did a little digging was surprised to learn that Griffin had been born and spent most of his childhood in Granville, and that the handsome white farmhouse where the marker stands was his childhood home. This was a new one on me; I had not realized that Griffin was a Buckeye prior to yesterday. Griffin was a member of the West Point Class of 1847 and spent his entire military career in the Regular Army in the years prior to the war, including teaching artillery tactics at West Point. He was promoted from captain commanding a Regular battery to brigadier general of volunteers and assumed command of a brigade of infantry, meaning that he never served with a regiment of volunteer infantry.

The house still stands, and is in good repair. There’s quite a bit of text on the marker, so next time I have a court appearance in Newark, I’m going to have to time the trip so that I have time to stop and at least read the marker, and, hopefully, get a photo of it.

It was a cool discovery to make, and adds yet another important Union general to the list of the Buckeye State’s contributions to the Northern victory in the Civil War.

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Thu 10th Apr 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Eric,

    Go here:

    http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=688

  2. Thu 10th Apr 2008 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks, Harry. Very cool.

    Since he’s one of your First Bull Run guys, I figured you’d know about him and perhaps even know about the marker.

    Eric

  3. Todd Berkoff
    Thu 10th Apr 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Eric –

    Griffin has always been one of my favorite division (and later a corps) commanders. He went from captain commanding a battery at First Bull Run to a major general commanding the 5th Corps.

    I always loved the photo of him and his staff taken during the Overland Campaign showing his rumpled and dirty uniform.

    Griffin’s early death in 1867 at the hands of Yellow Fever was tragic, especially since a number of his young children also died during the epidemic. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown, Washington, DC — in the same vault as Samuel S. Carroll. Griffin married Carroll’s sister.

    Regards,
    Todd Berkoff

  4. Todd Berkoff
    Thu 10th Apr 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Another famous Buckeye who coincidentally served in Griffin’s battery at Bull Run and was killed at Gettysburg was Charles Hazlett, born in Newark, Ohio and is buried in Zanesville, Ohio.

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5845753

  5. Thu 10th Apr 2008 at 11:06 pm

    That website that Harry linked to is a hell of a site – note on the right side of the page that markers are broken down into categories. Quite a project putting all that together, and it’s very neat.

    Next time I do some traveling into a new area I’ll have to look up what markers might be around. They really help you discover things you just didn’t know was there.

    J.D.

  6. Fri 11th Apr 2008 at 8:36 am

    Harry, thanks for the plug for HMDB. I’ve been the “guilty party” for many of the CW related entries there. My embarrassingly large tally of entries is probably half CW related. But what can I say.

  7. Fri 11th Apr 2008 at 8:38 am

    Was it not Griffin who’s venting to Meade on the first day of the Wilderness brought on the “Meade buttons Grant’s coat” incident?

  8. Dave Powell
    Fri 11th Apr 2008 at 9:17 am

    Do you also know, Eric, that there is a similar Marker to William Starke Rosecrans about 15 minutes from your house?

    Lots of cool stuff around…

    Dave Powell

  9. Fri 11th Apr 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Todd,

    I agree–that is a great photo.

    As for Hazlett, his grave hasn’t been well maintained, which is a real shame.

    Eric

  10. Fri 11th Apr 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Dave,

    Yep, I’ve seen it. Poor old Rosey just seems to be ignored, which is also a real shame.

    Eric

  11. Todd Berkoff
    Fri 11th Apr 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Yes, Griffin was the guy who yelled at Meade during the Battle of the Wilderness — probably the only person who got away with raising their voice to Meade during the war.

    Eric — There was a campaign a few years ago to raise funds to replace Hazlett’s tombstone, which I think was successful. I think that pic on findagrave is an old one.

    Todd

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