The death of soldiers from disease was common during the American Civil War and soldiers from Tuscarawas County were not immune. Andrew Huth (1843-1863) died in Tennessee in the spring of 1863 from typhoid, but had already proven himself to be a “generous and brave” soldier worthy of remembrance.
The Huth family arrived in Tuscarawas County, Ohio around 1836 when Andrew’s grandfather, Johann Adam Huth (1789-1875), immigrated from Germany. A son, also named Johann Adam (1819-1899) though he went by Adam, was in his late teens when the family arrived in the United States. Adam would marry fellow German immigrant Maria Weigand (1821-1898) and settle in Lawrence and Franklin Townships, Tuscarawas County just northeast of the town of Strasburg.
The couple’s eldest son, Andrew, was born in 1843 and eight more children, three daughters and five sons, would follow during the next 17 years. The Huth family farm, of around 100 acres, was located along the main road between Strasburg and Bolivar. The 1860 United States Census recorded the value of the property, housing all ten of Adam Huth’s family, at $1400. Andrew was working on his father’s farm when the American Civil War began.
The war was a little over a year old by the time Andrew Huth found himself a soldier. He volunteered for service in the 121st Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, enlisting for three years on 20 August 1862. Andrew was the only son old enough to serve and, perhaps, felt it his responsibility to represent the family’s patriotic support of the Union.
The 121st Ohio Volunteer Infantry was recruited in the summer of 1862 from several counties in central Ohio. The regiment was organized at Camp Delaware north of Columbus in September 1862 and it was quickly mustered into service and moved to Cincinnati to help defend the city from forces under Confederate General Kirby Smith. After Smith’s campaign stalled at Frankfort, Kentucky, the 121st went to Louisville, where it joined the Army of the Ohio. Andrew arrived at his first major battle, the Battle of Perryville, on October 8 having received next to no training and with poorly serviced weapons. The regiment panicked and ran, with several small portions rallying to continue the fight. After this embarrassment, it garrisoned various posts in Kentucky, where it trained diligently and finally received modern, rifled, muskets.
In February 1863, the regiment was transferred to Franklin, Tennessee, under the command of General Gordon Granger. While stationed there, sickness and a lack of discipline and leadership decimated the unit. After the resignation of a popular Lieutenant Colonel, the regiment’s officers requested that Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blackstone Banning of the 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry be assigned to command. Banning had a stellar reputation, known for his bravery, strict discipline, and effective leadership. Within a short time, Banning transformed the 121st into an effective fighting force.
While the regiment would redeem its fighting reputation in the later battles of Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain and the Siege of Atlanta, Andrew would not live to see it. Andrew, like many of his fellow soldiers in the 121st, fell ill in the spring of 1863. Unfortunately Andrew would never recover and, on 1 May 1863, he died. An obituary in June in the New Philadelphia newspaper attested to Andrew being “true hearted, generous and brave” and that he had “faithfully performed his duty as a soldier.” Initially buried near Franklin, Tennessee, he was later laid to rest in the Stones River National Cemetery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2021.