Many thanks to Doug Patton who shares the following information about his great grandfather with our readers.
My great grandfather, James Patton, fought in the Battle of Franklin. He was born in 1828, near Lexington in Clark County, Kentucky. His father died with he was a boy, and his mother brought him and an older sister to Highland County, Ohio, about 100 miles to the northeast, in the late 1830s. He went back to Kentucky, where most of his family continued to live, to teach for a year or two, but then returned permanently to Highland County. There he married Ruth Sinclair in 1852. They had eleven children between 1853 and 1872, of whom seven lived to be adults. A son, born in 1843, was named William Tecumseh Sherman Patton, which would seem to indicate the admiration my great grandfather must have had for the Union general.
James Patton was a member of the Society of Friends, or Quakers. The Friends were conflicted about whether it was better to adhere to their creed’s anti-war philosophy or its anti-slavery one. In James Patton’s case, the anti-slavery stance apparently won out. He joined the army on September 6, 1864, when he was 36 years old, already the father of six children He was assigned to Company C of the 175th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) with the rank of Private. His enlistment may also have been encouraged by the $100 bounty (about $1400 in 2012 dollars) the government was giving for new enlistments, as well as alarm about the raid of Confederate cavalry commander John Hunt Morgan, whose raiders caused considerable damage in southern Ohio in July 1863. At one point the raiders passed through Sardinia, Ohio, which is only about 25 miles south of the Patton’s home in New Vienna, Ohio.
As a green, newly recruited group, the 175th OVI was not sent to the front, but was engaged in rear guard activities such as garrison duty and protecting the railroad bridges and depots of the Tennessee and Alabama Railroad from Rebel sabotage. Scattered up and down the railroad lines near Columbia, they were in no position to oppose the unexpected advance of John Bell Hood’s invading army. They retreated luckily and haphazardly to Franklin, Tennessee, where the Union army entrenched and made a stand on November 30, 1864.