Monday, December 1, 2014

Pvt. Issac F. Cosbey - Typos and Typhoid

“We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country. Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history.....In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free--honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth.” 
- Abraham Lincoln's State of the Union message December 1st, 1862

While geocaching I see the graves of many soldiers. This one caught my eye since a new plaque was placed in front of it and I noticed that Pvt. Issac F. Cosbey died during the Civil War. Many times the soldiers that died during the Civil War were buried near where they died, typically far from Ohio, so this one seemed unusual.

Researching Private Cosbey was difficult at first. I thought he was in the 82nd because it says so on the newer plaque but I wasn't coming up with much.

The older original stone reads:
Aged 19y, 4m, & 8d
Died in the service of his country at Memphis, Tennessee.

The newer marker reads:

The 83rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry roster shows that an Isaac E Crosby age 18, was a member of the 83rd Co A. Issac entered the service on August 13th, 1862 and died on December 1st, 1862 at a hospital in Memphis TN. It then states Issac T Cosby as the name in the hospital. Aside from some typos on the middle initial and last name, this all seemed to fit.

I did some more checking on the 83rds movements to make sure things matched up.
Camp Dennison, six miles East of the grave
The 83rd was made up of seven companies and organized at Camp Dennison near Cincinnati OH August - September 1862. The 83rd left Camp Dennison September 3rd for the Defense of Cincinnati. After relocating to support other units and participating in minor skirmishes the 83rd was moved via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from Louisville KY to Memphis TN on November 23, 1862. Since Issac died December 1st, this fits in well with his whereabouts at the time of his death in Memphis. I have to assume at this point that the "82nd" in the newer plaque is a mistake since none of the 82nd history matched up with Issac.

So here we have this kid who volunteers for the Union cause, doesn't really take on any action, likely acquired some awful disease like dysentery or typhoid while being transported on the river journey and then died 110 days after joining up. His fate was not the exception either. The reality is 2/3rds of casualties in the Civil War were due to disease instead of glorious movie-like battle. In fact, during the 83rds service, 56 men died in battle while 163 men died of disease or accidents. A reminder of the grim reality of war in those older times.

Sycamore Township Memorial Cemetery
83rd Regiment Ohio Infantry History