The "Rebellion" in Holmes County, Ohio

This small rebellion in Holmes County, Ohio, is well known these Holmes county.... but did make other newspapers during the Civil War.  This page connects to the 120th OVI pages that you will find in the menu.  I added this just because I found it interesting.  

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Holmes County Rebellion

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 Updated 1 Aug 2012

"Hero of Fort Fizzle.  A True Story of How the War Was Carried Into Ohio, Sunday, March 27, 1898, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Issue 86 Page 21   Available at   [Note:  I have only taken a few facts from this article.]

Col. Wallace, part of Third Ohio Infantry
[There was a Col. William Wallace, Field and Staff, 15th Ohio Inf.]  
Barton's Sharpshooters armed with Spencer repeating rifles, from Camp Denison
Two sections of artillery [10-pounder Rodman guns

The soldiers got off the train at Lakeville, Washington Twp, Holmes Co OH

A French Canadian named "Jean Smith" was the leader of the "rebels."  The name seemed to be made up by the author.  

Prisoners were taken, including "Jean Smith."

From the Daily Cleveland Herald, Friday evening, 12 June 1863

Copperheadism in Holmes County

Eds. Herald:
About ten days since Mr. Elias Robison, whilst enrolling the militia in Richland township, in this (Holmes) county, was set upon by a number of Copperheads, and beaten severely.  He reported the facts to the District Provost Marshal, who, with a small posse proceeded to the township named, and arrested a few of the ringleaders.  Before they got out of the township they were stopped by a body of armed men, who rescued the prisoner, and , as the story goes, made the Provost Marshal promise that he would not attempt another arrest, or ever show his face again inside the township limits.  The number engaged in the rescue I have heard variously estimated at from fifteen to fifty, all armed with rifles and pistols.  The  unterrified of that township, and, in fact, other townships in this county, say that not a man shall be forced to fight in this "damned Abolition war."
  A gentleman who was on the ground a short time after the rescue, states that the woods and roads in the neighborhood seemed to be swarming with armed men.  He thinks he saw at least a hundred in one body, all armed with what seemed to him, new rifles.
  I will keep you posted as to the further proceedings in the matter.
  [This was signed "W."]



From The Wooster Republican, 18 June 1863

The Holmes Co. War!
Three to Eight Hundred Copperheads in Arms!
Enroling[sic] Officer Resisted!
The Military Arrive and Copperhead Democrats Skedaddle.

    Some two weeks ago, four or five copperhead Democrats resisted the enrolling officer in Richland tp., Holmes county, and stoned and drove him from the township, with the threat that they would kill him if he ever returned.  The officer immediately reported to Captain Drake, the Provost Marshal, and on Friday last, Capt. Drake, J.A. Anderson, Deputy Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, with four other men went to the township, and arrested four of the copperheads who drove off the enrolling officer.   [Note: The Provost Marshal is the officer in the armed forces who is in charge of the military police.]
    As they were leaving with the prisoners they were suddenly surrounded by from 50 to 100 men armed with revolvers and rifles, and the prisoners were forcibly taken from the officers, with threats of instant death to any who interfered.  Not content with thus imitating the great Rebellion, these Copperheads demanded the arms of the Provost Marshal and a pledge that he would never return to the township.  They were told firmly that they had the power, by superior numbers, to take the life of the officers, but they could not have his arms or any promise that would interfere with his duty as a citizen or as an officer.  The Marshal and his assistants were allowed to leave, and the prisoners were taken away by the Rebel Democrats.  The villains were remonstrated with, and every means used to induce them to desist, but all to no purpose.  The promise of a civil trial in Court by a Jury for the prisoners, was disregarded, and the leaders boasted that they were Secessionists, and were but carrying out the general plans of Copperhead Democrats all over the State.
    Capt. Drake immediately reported to the Provost Marshal General at Columbus, and after giving the insurgents due time for reflection, a force of some 600 soldiers under Col. Wallace, was ordered to disperse the Copperheads and arrest the guilty for trial in the U.S. District Court.  Meantime, the rebels had collected in force variously estimated at from two to twelve hundred, and were reported to be building a fort, and to be in possession of two or three pieces of artillery.
    Col. Wallace, with his force, arrived at the "battle ground" yesterday evening, but found only squads of rebels, in all not amounting to over two or three hundred.  At first they made a  show of resistance, but when the troops came in sight, they fled to the hills and rocks in all directions.  Some thirty or forty had been arrested up to late last evening, and the military had taken up permanent quarters to remain until the whole gang should be secured.  We believe no lives were lost, and only one Copperhead is reported wounded.
    To give these duped mad Copperheads every chance to escape death, Gov. Tod issued a Proclamation to be sent forward to them, under a flag of truce, before firing on them by the military, warning them to disperse and return to their friends and homes; but if they refused, then to show them no quarter whatever.
   Various reports are still afloat in the region of the revolt, such as that they are to be reinforced to-day by a large force from Knox, Coshocton, and other counties, and then will give battle to the military, etc. etc.  Of course no reliance can be placed in the hundred tales industriously circulated by excited people.
    Some of the copperheads in Wooster, are circulating that the Republicans and Union men are engaged with Vallandigham copperheads in this infamous work of rebellion and resistance to the Government.  It is an unblushing falsehood, and we challenge them to give the name of a single Union man or Republican, who is not violently opposed to every act of the kind.  Republicans and Union men are not the men to even countenance such infamy without disproval[sic].  It is pre-eminently the business of Vallandigham Democrats to disobey the laws and resist the draft.  Their leaders teach them to do so, and upon their leaders especially should punishment be visited as far as possible.



From the Daily Cleveland Herald, Thursday Evening, 18 Jun 1863
The Trouble in Holmes County--Armed Resistance to the Enrollment --
Troops Sent to Suppress the Armed Traitors

On the 13th June the Deputy Marshal at Wooster wrote the U.S. District Attorney, R.F. Paine, Esq., detailing the trouble in Holmes county, in relation to draft, and requesting him to subpoena witnesses and procure indictments immediately against those abusing the enrolling officers and resisting Capt. Drake, the Provost Marshal of Lorain, Medina, Wagner and Holmes counties.  It was thought that those men would not resist civil authority.  The Grand Jury not being in session, Marshal Bill and U.S. Commissioner B. White[?]Esq., went to Wooster on the 13th June.

Daily National Intelligencer, Washington DC, 22 June 1863, Vol. LI, Issue 15863, page 2  []
Resisting the Enrollment in Ohio
Cleveland, June 19, 1863
   Troops have been sent to Holmes county, in this State, to break up an organization to resist the enrollment.  They arrived at the scene of disturbance on Wednesday.  As the troops advanced a number of shots were fired by the insurgents, without effect, when the soldiers under Col. Wallace fired a volley, and then charged bayonets, scattering the insurgents, who fled to the woods.  Eight prisoners were taken and two slightly wounded.  The number of the insurgents was reported at five or six hundred, chiefly armed with shot-guns.  They are now roaming about the woods, without leaders or any concert of action.  They relied upon reinforcements from the surrounding country, but were generally disappointed.
   The military commander gave notice that the troops would remain quiet Thursday and give the insurrectionists an opportunity to surrender the originators of the movement and disperse.  If this was not done by Friday morning, severe measures would be taken.  



From the Wooster Democrat, 2 July 1863.....


[From the Holmes County Farmer]

   An almost incalculable amount of lying was done about the little "rebellion" in Richland tp., in this county.  We have watched everything said and done to arrive at the whole truth in regard to the affair.
    The difficulty originated in this wise:
Elias Robison of Washington township was enrolling the militia of Richland.  He is a notoriously unpopular man in that community; and while making the enrollment he called at a home near DeWitt's cross-roads and said to the women present, who were frightened at the enrollment being made, "You need not care for your husbands being taken away.  I can attend to all the women in this neighborhood."
This brutality of Robison spread all over the township in of time.  A day or two afterwards he called at a place where four Democrats were working at a cellar, and commenced to talk to them of "Butternuts" and "Copperheads."  This, added to his treatment of the women, was more than they felt like enduring, and they ran him half a mile with stones.  A few days after Provost Marshal Drake and U.S. Deputy Marshal Anderson with a posse of 12 men.....the four men who had assaulted.......proceeding a few miles with their prisoners some fifty persons stopped them and demanded and obtained the release of the prisoners and their arms, and made them promise never to come back to the township on a similar errand.
    The pistols were fired off and returned to them.  All was then quiet until Wednesday of last week when some 600 soldiers made their appearance in the township under command of Colonel Wallace.  These were distributed in squads over the township.  One squad fired upon George Butler, of Killbuck township, who was traveling to Knox county on private business, and so severely wounded him in the knee that he will probably lose his leg and possibly his life.  Quite a number of citizens of Richland and adjoining townships in Knox and Coshocton counties, amounting in all to several hundred, hearing of the arrival of the soldiers assembled to protect their neighbors from arrest and danger.  During the evening a squad of citizens fired upon a squad of soldiers without effect; the soldiers returned the fire and wounded Mr. Brown in the leg.  On Thursday morning Hon. D.P. Leadbetter, John French, Col. D. French [
resigned from the 120th OVI 18 Feb.1863], Lieut.-Col. Baker and Robert Long, the three former [being] Democrats and the two latter [being] Republicans, went out to use their endeavors to settle the difficulty without further bloodshed.  They finally succeeded in compromising on condition that the four men who ran off Robison should deliver themselves up to be tried by the civil authorities, and that Provost Marshal Drake might arrest nine of those who had been most prominent in the rescue.   
    With this understanding of affairs Colonel Wallace left with his command for Columbus immediately, and the citizens, who had gathered quietly dispersed.
    During the time the "Peace commission," as it is commonly called here, were endeavoring to settle the affair a number of Abolitionists from this place and elsewhere, used all their endeavors to prevent a settlement.  They even entreated Col. Wallace to arrest Mr. Leadbetter and Col. French.  They were anxious to see a civil war inaugurated here that would result in fearful destruction of life and property.
   The rebellion was not confined to the Democratic Party.  Many Republicans of the immediate neighborhood participated in it.  After the trouble was fully under headway three Republicans deserted and went to Colonel Wallace's camp and tendered their service, which he declined.
    In the settlement, it was understood that Mr. Drake was to send a decent man to make the enrollment of the township.
    Rake out an equal number of the basest  pimps [dictionary definition=a minister to the evil passions of others] that inhabit the abodes of perdition and they would stand no show with the Millersburg abolitionists in lying about this affair.  They have used the Cleveland Herald as their mouthpiece.
    Unfortunately for the peace of this county Provost Marshal Drake selected, with few exceptions, imprudent and unpopular men to make the enrollment.  The men chosen were partisan pets of his.
    While the soldiers were passing down to Richland township, and also while they were there, a number of Abolitionists used strenuous exertions to get them to come to Millersburg and destroy the private property of Democrats.  Colonel Wallace invited a number of these unprincipled outlaws to attend to their own business and assured them he understood this.  Those of our friends who conversed with the Colonel speak very highly of him as a gentleman and a soldier.
    About one hundred men who came as soldiers but did not belong to Colonel Wallace's command, have since remained in the neighborhood in violation of the agreement.  It is rumored that they are committing various outrages upon the citizens, among which is that of forcing an oath upon men not to vote the Democratic ticket.
    So far as we are informed about a dozen persons have been arrested.  The four who ran off Robison have been released on bail.


New 1 Aug 2012Wooster Republican [Wooster OH], Thursday, 6 Aug 1863, page 2  [Available at]
A Copperhead Letter
A Wayne County Soldier's Answer
 The following letter written to one of the veterans of the 16th Ohio, by a Wayne County Copperhead, explains somewhat the policy and doctrines of the Vallandigham party, and the reply of the soldier which follows, takes the true Union ground.  As the soldier says, there is and can be but two parties in this contest. -- One for the Government, the other against -- one the patriots party, the other the traitors party.  Let the people take rank as their hearts prompt them.  Read the letters:

Shreve, O., July 12th, 1863
Mr. D. F. Yarnell - Respected soldier: -- Your letter of late date came duly to hand.  We were all glad to learn that you are well.
   Well, Daniel, I was quite surprised at the tone of your letter politically; really, it almost makes me think that you are getting fanatically inclined, or otherwise you are not posted as to the news, or rather the facts of the Holmes county troubles and the people's rights.  Now, I have looked on this trouble calmly, soberly and candidly, for I am as sincere in politics as I am on oath.  Now, as to the starting point of these troubles:  Elias Robison, one of the most bitter and unprincipled men that exists, was enrolling, and on several occasions in the absence of men he told their wives they need not fret for he could attend to their wants just as well as their husbands could.  This got scattered abroad and made a great many men feel hard towards him.  He called on four men where they were at work, and commenced to call them Secesh and Copperheads, whereon they got angry and threatened him.  He drew a revolver and then they stoned him.  So you see he was trying to get up a difficulty.  Now then, suppose we call it assault and battery -- what else was it?  He had not asked them for their names -- he knew their names and their age.  Well, what next?  Why he reported to Drake that he had been stoned by citizens and that they must be arrested.  Drake proceeded with a posse and arrested the four men without warrant or any show of authority; this they of course objected to, and hence their release.  The rescuers told Drake to come according to the Constitution and laws and he could arrest every man, but without which he could not.  Drake reported to Gov. Tod, who sent a lot of soldiers up and they had, or a good many, a fine drunk at the expense of the grocery keepers, and done various things that a soldier should not be guilty of, even in an enemy's country.  Now, Daniel, these are facts.  Well, who done the wrong?  Robison done wrong to call those men names that will exasperate any man.  They done wrong to maltreat him.  Now the Constitution of the United States says that no person shall be held to answer for a capital or infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases in the land or naval force or in the militia when in actual service.  Now, a man sworn to support these very words goes right the reverse, swallows his oath, just think!  Now section 14, of the Constitution of the State of Ohio says:  The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, against unreasonable searches and seizures, "shall not be violated," and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, &c.  Now both Tod and Drake had sworn in the presence of men and asked their God for judge that they would support these things.  How have they done it?  Oh, let demons tell.  Sec. 11, 1st article of the constitution of Ohio, says every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments, on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of the right, and no law shall be passed to restrain the liberty of speech or the press.  Sec. 12, same article, says no person shall be transported out to the State for any offense committed within the same, &c. -- Now, this Tod also swore to defend and uphold.  Did he do it in Dr. Olds case?  Generations yet unborn will answer no, no.  The Constitution of Ohio has been accepted by the Federal Government, and it is stronger than any Congressional enactment, for Congress cannot repeal it, and every Government official is bound to respect both our Constitution and laws.  Has this been done in the case of C. L. Vallandigham?  Every thinking man of this once United States answers no.  Now, there is being a great deal said about disloyalty in the North, and that we are a divided people.  I want you to stop and think what you are doing to cause a union of feeling and sentiment?  Have not, as you please to term us, the Copperheads, as good a right to our views of Government matters as you have?  Have not the Democracy controlled successfully this vast empire of country for three-fourths of the time it has existed?  Have we not these opinions granted to us?  Suppose we take the same view of things that don't suit our fancy, that you intimate of doing, who would be safe one moment? Do you not think that our ancestors, after a seven years' war, did not understand what was required to control a people and uphold a Government in time of war?  It would be a libel on the names of a Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Franklin, and all those honest patriots that fought, and bled, and sacrificed their all to hand down to posterity a form of Government such as few nations ever could boast of.  Now, Daniel, call us just what you please, take those very specifications that was brought up against (will be) Gov. Vallandigham, and if you consign him to banishment you can do the same to three-fourths of the people of the noble State of Ohio that have the nerve to speak their sentiments.  You say that Little Holmes is to Ohio what South Carolina is to the United States.  Now a man that did not know any better I would not think hard of. -- But a man that has adopted it for his home should know better.  What was Drake's duty in that muss?  Why, discharge Robison, for he knew he was an unprincipled man and not fit for the duty.  What was Gov. Tod's duty?  Why, sir, to see that the people's rights, according to what he had sworn to support, was not trampled on.  All that is necessary to make a united North is for those in power, both civil and military, to treat men's principles and vies as their compeers, distribute equality and justice to all, and live for the Union, and fight for the Union, and these troublesome days will pass and the future will blossom and bring forth tenfold more happiness, and our nation will again be respected and the old Stars and Stripes will waive to the honor and glory of every American citizen.  
   I am, sir, most respectfully your friend,
Henry Shreve.  
This might be the correct man:  1860 Census, Clinton Twp, Wayne Co OH, Shreve post office, Dwelling 636, Family 632:  Henry SHREVE, age 34 OH, farmer; Harriet, age 33 OH; Dean, age 9 OH, Florence N, age 1 OH.  
Henry Shreve, 1826 - 1899 buried at Shreve Cemetery, Wayne Co OH.  

New 1 Aug 2012Answer to the Foregoing
Camp Chase, Ohio, July 19, 1863
Henry Shreve -- Sir:  Your letter of the 12th inst., was duly received and read by me.  It found me well, and I hope you and family enjoy the same state of health.
Well, I was as much surprised at the tone of your letter as you could have been at mine. -- In the first place, about the Holmes County Rebellion.  Whenever a man does wrong I do not take his part in it, but as far as a man does right I am always willing to give him credit for it.  Now I happen to know something about this Holmes County Rebellion.  If all the citizens of Holmes County were law-abiding citizens there would have been no trouble.  I do not sanction the misconduct of Elias Robison any more than you do, and the proper course should have been taken for his punishment.  If the men that he mistreated had been law-abiding citizens they also would have taken a different course.  But when those men were reported to Drake, it was his duty to go and arrest them.  He had all the authority that was necessary, for he had as much authority in that case as he has to arrest deserters.  But again; even suppose he not the proper authority, if they had been law-abiding citizens, and friends to our country's cause, why did they not let the law take its course, instead of being rescued by a mob.  In the second place this is not what caused the rebellion in Holmes County.  Col. Foster, Provost Marshal of Pittsburg, has letters in his possession which show that the Copperheads of Holmes County, had, previous to the late outbreak there, ordered arms from the Pittsburg Merchants, and in so doing told them not to mark the boxes "arms," and also not to attach their (the merchants) cards to them, so as to show from whence the "contrabands of war" was obtained.  The instructions were complied with and a part of the arms were sent to Millersburg via Orrville, and via New Philadelphia, while a large portion was stopped by the Provost Marshal.  In several townships in Knox County, enrolling officers have been stoned and run out, yet Copperheads say the rebellion was a small affair unworthy of notice, and caused by the insolence of the enrolling officer, but facts go to show that there was in that vicinity a determination to resist the draft, and an organization to carry that determination into effect. --About some of the soldiers having " a fine drunk and doing various other things that a soldier should not be guil[t]y of."  Suppose they did, does this change the nature of the cause?   or justify the rebellion?  Every sensible thinking man knows that there are some unprincipled men in the Union army as well as anywhere else, who would disgrace themselves in any calling.  Does this make our country's cause any the less worthy?  If it does, I am sorry for it; but I would say not.  About the case of Dr. Olds.  I do not recollect it fully and I do not think it necessary to hunt up the facts that would be necessary to investigate it.  Well, about Vallandigham.  I admit with you, sir, that justice was not done him.  Had the Government of our State of Ohio done him justice, and come down to the letter of the law, they would have hung him; yes sir, he richly deserved it, as his record proves.  He had fully committed himself.  He is a Traitor of the deepest dye, as his record fully shows.  When the Committee asked President Lincoln for his admittance back into the State, he told them that if they could show that our country's cause would be benefitted [sic] or promoted by him granting their request he would do it.  Could they show that?  No, sir, they would not agree to do it.  They turned away in dispair [sic].  What further evidence is needed in this case to show that he is a traitor.
   "As you please to term us the Copperheads." Ah!  indeed!  Who is us.  Did I writ to you in that tone?  No sir, but it seems the shoe fit you and you put it on.  If you style yourself a Copperhead you can't blame me for it.  What is a Copperhead?  He is one who opposes and resists the draft, who is always prating about the people's rights, who is always finding fault with every measure of the Administration about putting down the rebellion, &c.   Those very men who support and uphold Vallandigham, they are Copperheads; if they would go in heart and hand for putting down the rebellion they would not be so easily touched about the people's rights; they would not find time for so much pratting; they are not as honorable as the Southern rebels, and not near as brave, for they have not the courage to go and fight for the cause they sustain.
   Well, "a man that has adopted Holmes County for his home should know better than to compare it with South Carolina."  By the same argument, a man who has adopted one of the rebellious States as his home, should know better than to take sides for the Union.  He should take sides for the rebellion and fight for it, and by your argument you would justify him in so doing, and by the same argument you justify the whole of the rebellion.  If the country were I was born and raised, which I love and cherish as my nativity should rebel, I would not take sides with it.  No sir; I was born for a better purpose.  I will live for the Union, I will fight under the glorious old stars and stripes to the last,and if I die by it, I will die for the Union, and my last words to my comrades will be, bear the old flag on to victory.  Very respectfully you[r] friend,
D. F. Yarnell
Company C, 16th Reg. O.V.I.  

Daniel F. Yarnell was also in Company A, 114th Ohio Inf. as a Private.  He entered service 7 June 1862 at age 27.  Born <1835>  Captured 29 Dec 1862 in the battle of Chickasaw Bayou, Miss.; returned to Co. 22 Nov 1863; transferred from Co C, 16th OVI on 6 Oct 1864; mustered out 6 June 1865 at Mobile, AL by order of War Department.  
1870 Census, Village of Shreve, Clinton Twp, Wayne Co OH, Dwelling 23, Family 23:  D. F. YARNELL, age 35 OH, painter; Permilla, age 28?OH; Alice, age 7 OH; Grant, age 7 OH; R. B. [female], age 2 or 3 OH; C. S., [male], age 10 months OH, born July.  
Daniel F. Yarnell 1835 to 1895 buried at Shreve Cemetery, Wayne Co OH.



History of the Civil War in America by The Comte de Paris, Volume IV
Page 3
"Although authorized for the last four months in the law of March 3, 1863, compulsory service had not yet been put in force.  The Federal Government wished to allow the several States time to dispense with the draft by voluntary enlistment.  But all extensions of time had expired, and most of the States having failed to furnish a complete contingent, it became necessary to enforce it."  "...the Secretary of War ordered the provost-marshals to begin work on Saturday, the 11th of July.  This tribute of blood was the hardest, the most unpopular, of all levies, yet at the same time it was the most necessary to continue the war."

In New York City there was a riot in protest against the draft.
Page 6
"Among the military there were about ten killed and eighty wounded.  The dead among the rioters and the victims of the riot exceeded four hundred and fifty."   Page 7  "In New York the enforcement of the draft had been, in fact, suspended."

Page 7
"In Boston, where the draft had been accomplished without trouble, the news that New York had victoriously resisted the process created on the 15th a great commotion among the people.  The agents of the Federal Government were insulted; groups were formed, they pillaged shops where arms were sold, and finally collected in the evening to carry
[to win or capture] the armory of a battery of artillery.  The rioters had already forced open the doors when a case-shot gun was fired among them.  This single discharge, which knocked down seven or eight men, proved sufficient to put an end to the onset.  In the night regular troops and militiamen collected, and occupied in force all the strategical points: the revolt was thus checked before it had time to increase."

"The cities of Troy in the State of New York, of Portsmouth in New Hampshire, and some villages in Holmes county, Ohio, were also stained with blood while resisting the draft for military service.  In many other places this resistance, without developing into an insurrection, was organized with the connivance of well-nigh the entire population and seriously impeded the operation of law."




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