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Pickaway Native was Ohio’s Youngest Civil War Soldier

Darbyville boy, at ten, serves for three years.

Photo of soldiers from the 45th Ohio Volunteer Regiment.

Joseph Newton Fissell from Darbyville is recognized as the youngest Ohioan to serve in the American Civil War. Joseph was born in Circleville in September 1851. He was one of nine children to John Fissell, a fence maker, and Catharine (Diffenderfer) Fissell.

Enlistment photo of Joseph Fissell. Photo from Ohio History Connection.

In 1862, the family moved to Darbyille where John opened a grocery store. It was from there Joseph and his three brothers, George, John and Wesley would enlist in the Army at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio on Aug. 1, 1862. Joseph was enlisted as a drummer in Company A of the 45th Ohio Volunteer Infantry for a term of three years. He was ten years and 11 months old.

Joseph and his regiment spent most of the war in Kentucky and Tennessee under the command of Colonel Benjamin Piatt Runkle. They participated in several skirmishes including the Battle of Marietta, Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, the Siege of Atlanta and Battle of Nashville.

During the Battle of Marietta, Joseph was separated from his company for three weeks. During his disappearance he was hidden by a slave who kept him in her hut.  It wasn’t until the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain that he was found by a Captain in his Regiment. Joseph was then able to connect with his brother George and eventually his Company.

Regimental Flag for the 45th OVI. Photo from Ohio History Connection.

A total of 339 soldiers from the 45th OVI were killed and another 274 died in Confederate captivity. On June 12, 1865 in Huntsville Alabama, the unit was disbanded and Joseph and his brothers returned home to Darbyville.  A stipend of $75 was received for his service and he, along with the other Ohio Volunteer Infantry soldiers, was given a parade.

After the war ended he worked in his father’s store in Darbyville followed by a move to Cincinnati around 1884.  While in Cincinnati, he worked as a bill collector and married Minnie Curtis. In has later life, Joseph had been active in the Grand Army of the Republic, George H. Thomas, Post No. 13. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Sept. 1, 1922, just shy of his 70th birthday. His funeral was held at the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall on September 5, 1922. He is buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Southgate, Kentucky.

Ohio and Pickaway County in the Civil War

Ohio played a major part in the Civil War. By contributing almost 320,000 soldiers, the state was ranked third in total enlistments behind New York and Pennsylvania. All together there were over 35,000 Ohioan casualties in the war, of which 6,835 were killed in action.

Several Pickaway County men served in the war. A total of 14 infantry and two National Guard regiments had Pickaway County service members on their roles. Additionally, one cavalry and one artillery regiment had Pickaway County representatives. The largest of which was the 90th Ohio Infantry, organized in Lancaster, Ohio in August 1862.

Due to Circleville and Pickaway County playing a significant part in the Civil War, Forest Cemetery has a memorial dedicated to the men lost. You are able to pay your respects to these soldiers on Memorial Day at the parade and ceremonies held at the local cemeteries. Find out the details in one of our other articles here.

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Kevin Douglas

Kevin Douglas is from northern Pickaway County and a 2007 graduate of Teays Valley High School. He completed his undergraduate studies in Communication at The Ohio State University in 2010.

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