October 06, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Cincinnati


Dr. Josiah Reed, 94th Ohio Infantry, WIA Battle of Stones River, Civil War and Post-War Letters

Lot of 12. Nine letters from Dr. Josiah Reed, wounded at the Battle of Stones River while serving in the 94th OH Inf., and three other letters related to him and his wife, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Freeman Woodward Reed.

Dr. Josiah Reed enlisted as a private on September 24, 1862 and served in the 94th OH Inf. Co. I. After being wounded at the Battle of Stones River, his superiors put him on light duty in the dispensary at Hospital No. 2 near Nashville where he began his career in medicine. He worked in the hospital as needed including as a druggist, Our principas druggist having been taken away by his Colonel, wrote Reed, the principal duties of this department has devolved upon me, and to one not regularly brought up a druggist, it involves no trifling responsibilities My duties here are more constant then they would be in the field, but they are not attended with so many hardships and so much exposure. (Gen Hospital No. 2, Nashville, April 15, 1863). Serving in the hospital did not shield him from death. After the passing of his friend, Lizzie Woodward’s husband George, Reed wrote to Lizzie,

I am glad to hear your patriotic sentiments and know that you are resigned to the sacrifices we are called to make in these momentous times. I believe this nation will be preserved as a unit, but every family within its borders will have to make some sacrifice for its preservation. Oh how many families will be made desolate by the present bloody contest now in progress. News up to the present time shows very decided gains in favor of truth and liberty but the slaughter has been dreadful (Gen Hospt. No. 2 Nashville, May 14, 1863).

He wrote to her again a few days later, revealing more of the horrors of war while trying to maintain some optimism,

I have witnessed some very affecting scenes in the hospital as well as on the battlefield, some of which I will relate to you if we are permitted to meet again…I believe that it is profitable to look at things in their true light occasionally but perhaps it is not best to look too long on the dark side of the picture…I am still in the hospital, I shall probably remain here as long as my services are needed (Hospital No. 2 Nashville, TN, May 27, 1863).

Reed remained at the hospital for two and a half years and committed himself to studying during the odd hours of the day and attending medical lectures at the University of Nashville. He wrote to Lizzie, I am going to be an M.D. because I am attending a few lectures. There is too much to be learned for me to think of such a thing while in the service. I only expect to improve my opportunities to the best advantage (Gen Hospt. No. 2 Nashville, May 14, 1863). Over time, his relationship with Lizzie grew beyond friendship. He teased Lizzie after she did not write for some time,

I did not think you would abandon your old friend and correspondent so abruptly. I knew it was possible that you had fallen in love and perhaps married some dashing fellow whom you may have met with in your travels, but even then I would expect to hear from you and hear all the particulars. Won’t you make me your confidant in such an event? You did once… (Officer’s Hospital, College Hill, Nashville, TN, December 31, 1864).

Almost immediately after being honorably discharged in March of 1865 he made plans to meet with Lizzie before departing for New York to complete his medical training at Bellevue Hospital Medical College (Greenville, OH, May 20, 1865). His invitation to his own graduation in January 1866 is included in the lot along with an 1866 letter from Lizzie and another from Lizzie’s friend, Minnie F., recording Reed’s visit with his soldier friend.

After writing to Lizzie’s parents in September for their permission, Reed married Lizzie in October 1867. He had four children with her. After graduation, he practiced in Woodington, OH until 1868 when he formed a partnership with Dr. J.H. Green in Troy, OH. In addition to his medical practice he also invented an improvised gas machine used as a light.

In 1883, Reed returned to Stone River’s Battlefield with some other veterans, marveled at the lack of improvement of the city over the last twenty years, and reminisced about important battle places.

Most of the battlefield along the R R is converted into a cemetery for soldiers who perished in the fight. It is well cared for the regulation headstone, marking the graves of each individual soldier. A flag staff stands high and proud in the middle of it from which continually floats the flag for which they died (Hamilton House, Chattanooga, TN, December 6, 1883).

He died a year later from stomach cancer.




Typical folds and toning of the paper

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