|Larry Hicklen points out the name of 115th Ohio Private Daniel C. Miller carved into a rock wall |
on the bank of Stones River. (CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
|Close-up of the handiwork of Miller, who was detailed to carve inscriptions on the Hazen Brigade |
monument nearby in 1864. The 115th Ohio soldier survived the war.
"Do you have about 20 minutes?" said the lifelong resident of Rutherford County, Tenn. "I want to show you something I think you'd appreciate."
|Monument to Hazen's Brigade, which turned back four|
Confederate attacks during the Battle of Stones River on
Dec. 31, 1862. It is the oldest Civil War monument still standing
in its original battlefield location.
at Stones River. (Click at upper right for full-screen experience.)
|Inscription on the east side of Hazen Brigade monument at Stones River battlefield.|
After we reached the river bank, Hicklen and I walked 15 paces downriver. A short distance away, a kayaker in an orange life jacket awkwardly maneuvered in the muddy water. This was familiar territory for Hicklen, who years ago had hunted for battle relics along the banks of Stones River.
|Four Confederates rushed up this narrow, rocky passageway |
from the bank of Stones River on Dec. 31, 1862, Hicklen said, and
three of them were killed a short time later.
Then Hicklen pointed to our objective: a limestone wall with a slight overhang. "There," he said in his Tennessee twang "is what I wanted to show you." Within the ornate carving of a ribbon, a soldier had etched his name and unit: Daniel C. Miller, Co. B, 115th O.V. I. A less ornate inscription by another soldier, J.C. Bauhof, appeared on the stone wall two feet from the inscription by Miller.
A corporal in the 115th Ohio, the Swiss-born Miller was 23 when he enlisted on Aug. 11, 1862. He was a strong supporter of the president, writing his parents in 1864 "if you love freedom, vote again for our old Abraham Lincoln ... Hurrah for old Abe." A carpenter by trade, he made rings for his fellow soldiers, selling some for $3.50, a tidy sum for the time. Miller survived the war, mustering out in Murfreesboro, Tenn., on June 22, 1865, and settling in Cleveland, where he died in 1902. In 1864, he and Bauhof were employed to carve inscriptions on the four sides of the Hazen Brigade monument, built by soldiers between June and October 1863.
"Hazen Brigade To the memory of its soldiers who fell at Stones River, Dec. 31st 1862. Their faces toward heaven, their feet to the foe," reads the inscription on the south face of the monument -- the oldest Civil War monument still standing in its original battlefield location.
"The veterans of Shiloh have left a deathless heritage of fame upon the field of Stone River," reads the inscription on the east side, believed by Hicklen to have been carved by Miller.
Hicklen -- who ran his Civil War relics shop near the battlefield for 41 years -- speculates the two Union soldiers carved their names for posterity on the Stones River limestone during a work break on the brigade monument. Perhaps the men were simply killing time after fishing.
For several minutes, we marveled at the off-the-beaten path site, known by few people. "Isn't it the coolest thing?" said the recently retired Hicklen, who was first shown the inscriptions by local "old-timers" long ago.
|J.C.Bauhof of the 115th Ohio carved his name into limestone near the inscription |
of his comrade, Daniel Miller. (CLICK ON ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE.)
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-- Daniel C. Miller war-time letter transcriptions, Ohio regimental files, Stones River National Battlefield, accessed May 19, 2018.