Fallen Heroes: Private Francis Blickensderfer

Maj. Gen. Sherman and staff This view was taken in the trenches before Atlanta, Ga. Stereograph shows Sherman standing with officers next to cannon before siege of Atlanta in 1864. (Source: loc.gov)

This fallen hero was the descendant of an American Revolutionary War patriot and early settler of Tuscarawas County. He would make his sacrifice in a war to preserve the nation his ancestor helped create.

The Blickensderfer family arrived in Tuscarawas County, Ohio with the arrival of Christian Blickenderfer, Jr. (1753-1820) and his family who purchased 1200 acres of land in 1812 in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. Christian Blickensderfer served in the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Militia throughout the American Revolutionary War. The land they purchased was located in Warwick Township, coincidently the same township name as their farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Christian and his wife, Barbara Born (1760-1823), had seven children including a son named after his father, Christian Blickensderfer, III (1787-1854).

Christian Blickensderfer, III married Sarah Louise Frederick (1785-1879) in Pennsylvania before joining his father’s family in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. The first child of Christian and Sarah born in Ohio was a son named Isaac Blickensderfer (1813-1891) who was born in the fall of 1813. Issac grew up in the Blickensderfer family sphere in Warwick Township, Tuscarawas County and worked on his father’s farm until he married and started a home of his own. That happened when Issac married Elvina Meyers (1814-1901) in 1834. Isaac and Elvina welcomed five children into their Warwick Township home between 1835 and 1844.

Christian Blickensderfer’s (1753-1820) name engraved on the Revolutionary War Veterans’ Memorial in the Gnadenhutten Cemetery in honor of his service. (Source: findagrave.com)

The Blickensderfer children all attended school and labored on their parents’ farm during their childhoods and the years leading up to the American Civil War. After the war broke out, the Blickensderfer’s youngest son Francis Blickensderfer (1842-1864) enlisted for three years in Company I, 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment organized and enlisted from New Philadelphia. The regiment was organized at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio and, on August 28, 1861, was formally mustered for three years service in the Union Army.

The men of of the 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, including Private Francis Blickensderfer, served primarily in the eastern theater of war during 1861 and 1862. The regiment played an active role in the Battles of Bull Run, South Mountain, and Antietam in 1862. The regiment was ordered into the western theater of the war at the beginning of 1863 and during the year that followed Private Blickensderfer saw action at Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi, and Missionary Ridge in Tennessee.

Confederate defenses outside Atlanta, Georgia, 1864. (Source: loc.gov)
Confederate defenses outside Atlanta, Georgia, 1864. (Source: loc.gov)

During the summer of 1864 the 30th Ohio Regiment served with General William Tecumseh Sherman during his Army of Tennessee’s Atlanta Campaign. General Sherman’s mission was to defeat capture Atlanta and advance through Georgia, defeating Confederate forces that opposed him. Sherman’s army, including Private Blickensderfer, fought an unsuccessful battle for control of the city of Atlanta in late July 1864. After the battle the Union Army dug in and began a month-long siege of the city.

During this siege the 30th Ohio Regiment found itself manning the trenches in the middle of the Union Army as part of XV Corps, Army of the Tennessee. Manning the trenches could be dangerous as Confederate snipers and sharpshooters looked for opportunities all along the Union lines. One of those snipers’ bullets found Private Francis Blickensderfer on 11 August 1864, killing him. Private Blickensderfer was transported home for burial having sacrificed his life in defense of the nation his great-grandfather helped found.

Private Francis Blickensderfer's monument in Gnadenhutten-Clay Union Cemetery, Gnadenhutten. (Source: findagrave.org)
Private Francis Blickensderfer’s monument in Gnadenhutten-Clay Union Cemetery, Gnadenhutten. (Source: findagrave.org)

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© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.


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