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Federal (USV)


Charles N. Tenney

(c. 1841 - 1863)

Home State: Ohio

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 7th Ohio Infantry

Before Antietam

He enlisted in Company H, 7th Ohio Infantry at age 20 on 26 April 1861 for three months, and reenlisted on 20 June 1861 for three years. He was slightly wounded in action at Kernstown, VA in March 1862.

On the Campaign

He was present with his unit in action at Antietam and wrote of his experiences and those of his unit there:

... [on 16 September 1862] We had lain down in line of battle expecting to remain until the morrow, the tattoo had sounded and an impressive silence had settled upon the bivouac ... Not long we were to rest. ‘Attention first brigade!’ and we were soon in line and moving around to the right, to the support of Hooker and Sumner, where we arrived at 1 a.m. and bivouacked upon the ground held by the Rebels scarce six hours previous. An occasional shot, or volley, in an adjoining piece of woods reminded us of the close proximity of the enemy; nevertheless, the rest of the night was passed quietly enough by us.

The morning came, fresh and beautiful but our reveille was not the rattle of the drum, nor the clear notes of the bugle. The day was opened with a fierce volley of musketry, succeeded by another and yet another, which soon were so continuous as to be blended in one continuous roll. The struggle had commenced, and the sun that rose shone upon a field already red with blood. Soon the heavy tones of the cannon were mingled with the sharp cracking roll of small arms and the din was terrific ...

‘Forward!’ shouted General Mansfield, and forward we went in columns of divisions, as cool and regular as in a drill. Changing directions to the left, we advanced through a cornfield toward a narrow belt of woods, the battle raging. Beyond and to the right of this woods was a cornfield taken by Hooker the evening previous and which was now held by the Rebels, having driven our boys back. An open field lay before us commanded by the direct and flank fire of rebel artillery, and the left flank of their infantry, and notwithstanding the heavy fire we thus suddenly received, the advance was made steadily and in common time ... As the line was now complete, we advanced - and
our work was begun. The 29th [Pennsylvania Infantry, brigaded with the 7th Ohio] gave a volley from the Enfields such as I never heard before; it seemed as though a whole brigade had discharged their pieces at once. It was soon heard from the rest, our own included. No halt was made until the woods were ours, and the enemy was to be dislodged from behind a rail fence, then we occupied the crest of the hill in the woods and from this point we directed our fires to the fence where we could plainly see them level their pieces at us and fire.

For an hour and a half we thus remained and fought, one side with the energy of desperation, the other with the energy imparted by the consciousness of right and justice...

The rest of the War

He was ill, possibly with a liver ailment, by October 1862, and died of disease in Harpers Ferry in January 1863.

References & notes

Basic information from Wilson1. His gravesite is on Findagrave; his gravestone spells his name as Charles Tenny. The quote above from his letter of 9 October 1862, writing as "Julius", printed in the Western Reserve Chronicle (Warren, Ohio), on 22 October 1862; complete text (.rtf) kindly provided by Dan Masters. A large set of his wartime letters are in a collection [guide] at the University of Virginia. Most are to or from his friend - and later fiancée - Adelaide (Addy) E. Case of Mecca, OH. Her brother Halbert B. Case was First Lieutenant of Company H until February 1862 - then Captain in Company C, 84th Ohio.


c. 1841


1/14/1863; Harpers Ferry, VA; burial in Lafayette Cemetery, Lafayette, PA


1   Wilson, Lawrence, and the Historical Committee of the Regimental Association, Itinerary of the Seventh Ohio Infantry 1861-1864, New York: The Neale Publishing Co., 1907, pg. 609  [AotW citation 14508]