Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   
PDP's Roots & Branches - Websites by P. Davidson-Peters
 
 
 
 
William F. Crites, DOVER'S 2ND OLDEST CIVIL WAR SURVIVOR
 
DOVER DAILY REPORTER | 1924
Contributed by Katherine Jones (2006)
 
William F. Crites"I have nothing to tell," said an aged Civil War veteran when approached recently and asked by a reporter to give some details of his war record which was known to have been a brilliant one for he had been a member of the “Fighting Eightieth,” a regiment with one of the most excellent showing of any in the Union army.

“My children and grandchildren have often request me to give them the same information and I have as often given the same answer.” However, after being assured that what he said would not be taken as a boast the veteran finally consented to tell of some of the experiences as a soldier in the Union army.

Having fought with the “fighting Eightieth” in 15 of the hardest battles of the Civil war and at least 25 skirmished and having covered the states of Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas in the campaigns of his regiment William F. Crites, of 117 E. Third St had a thrilling story which could not easily be surpassed.

“One of the most glorious events for me in the entire war,” said Mr. Crites, “was when after a 40-day siege of Vicksburg we marched victorious into the Southern city. I was beating a base drum as we filed through Vicksburg July 4, 1863. The temperature was up to 115 degrees in the shade.

"Just before the battle of Missionary Ridge my regiment and two others was sent out to ‘feel out’ the Confederates and get their exact location. Before we knew what had happened they were on three sides of us attempting to cut us off from the other Union forces. During the encounter a large number of my comrades were killed and wounded. The man to my right was killed instantly by a Confederate shot and the man to my left was badly wounded," said Mr. Crites.

"It was in the engagement at Missionary Ridge that I had my narrowest escape during my life as a soldier.

"A bullet whizzed across the back of my neck in such a manner as to cut in two the leather strap which was slung across my shoulder and to which hung my knapsack. The knapsack fell to the ground for the strap had been cut as if by a sharp knife. I fell over stunned but was up immediately and after assisting a wounded comrade to a spring of water was back to the fighting area."

Mr. Crites was in Sherman’s march to the sea until it reached Savannah, Ga., at which the time for his discharge was at hand. He was discharged December 20, 1864 at Miller’s Plantation near Savannah and shortly after was bound by boat to New York City.

"On our trip to New York," said Mr. Crites, "we had nothing to eat by raw ham, coffee and a small supply of bread. When we reached America’s largest city there was two inches of snow on the ground. We walked barefooted down Broadway as we did in most of the march to the sea. With our ragged clothes and in our bare feet, we sure were a sight.

"During the first night in New Your City there were 14 of us together. We went to a restaurant, expecting each of us, to eat a least a five dollar meal.

"The boys appointed me to order the meal and each of them gave me five dollars with which to pay for what we ate. I ordered a big chicken dinner, plenty of raw oysters and anything else that the boys could wish for. One fellow ate at least twelve dozen oysters himself. After the meal the boys drank and had plenty of smoke. When I went to settle up the proprietor of the restaurant said that the entire bill came to $5.85. We were dumbfounded to get such a great meal for so low a price."

During the three years and three months of service, Mr. Crites was never wounded. In Paducah, Ky., in the early part of 1862 he contracted typhoid fever, however, and was severely ill for some time. “I was taken to the regimental hospital for six weeks and was then given a 30 day furlough to come home. When I first became sick I weighed 186 pounds, and when I reached home I had dropped to 118 pounds. It was three months before I was able to be back to my regiment again."

Mr. Crites enlisted in the Union army Nov. 6, 1861 in Company C of the 80th Ohio regiment. The first winter was spent in Camp Meigs in Dover and early in the spring the regiment marched to Uhrichsville from where the troops left for Columbus.

"The first job I had at camp Chase was guarding Confederate prisoners. Not long after we were in Missouri within six miles of a rebel camp without a gun or revolver in the regiment."

The veteran will be 86 April 15. He has spent practically all his life in Dover. Although second oldest Dover Civil war survivor, Mr. Crites reads extensively and without glasses. Plenty of the newspapers keep him up with the current affairs and in addition he read from four to six books every week besides a number of magazines.

Five years ago he was stricken with paralysis and since that time he has been compelled to use a wheel chair. He is in excellent health.

Mr. Crites is Adjutant and Quartermaster of the Ricksecker Post.

 
History of the Soldiers 1861-1865, W.F. Crites, Adj.
Of the several hundred who enlisted from this vicinity, there is but 30 or 35 left. Our cemeterys are fast filling with the boys of 61 to 65. Of the many who enlisted in and about Dover, we have:

James John Criswell, Rufus Ricksecker, Henry France, John J and John Wm Robinson, Henry Hansom, George Coos, Jonathan Shack, John Moffit, Wm Keplinger, Gorge, Paul & Charles Grove, George & Daniel Hildt, Jack Reese, George & John Fox, Peter Hatzell, Henry Shecht, Charles Harger, A.J. Slingluff, Caleis S Holwig, Robert Myers, PA Garver, Noah Halderman, Philip Lahm, Wm Deiser, the Bair boyes, Joseph Kunse, Bernhard Zinn, Michael Harfur, William Ripple, Henry Grim, Jacob Tice, W Putt, John Ewing, MF Ault, Burchfield Boys, Jason Teal, Any Pfeirman, Charles Manual, the 3 Smart Boys, Nathias Stokin, Daniel Haas, John Willard, George Hott, Lorenza Wardell, Joseph Haswell, Albert Shupbaugh, Elijah Denings, Geo Warner, John Dell, GW Majer, Geo Marv, Clem Moore, David Snyder, Michael Myers, WW Scott, Albert Thompson, Charles & James Wood, Milton Blichenstauffer, and others to amt of 127 in Dovers cemetery 6 at Winfield 8 at Strasburgh.

Respt submitted
W F Crites, Adj.

 
 
Index of Newspaper Clippings
Photo of Catherine (Moore) Crites - Wife of William
Biographical Sketch of William F. Crites by Marian E. Karpisek
 
 


HOME

Updated 15 Jul 2014
Web Pages Designed & Maintained by P. Davidson-Peters 1999 All Rights Reserved.

What's New | Biographies | Cemeteries | U.S. Census | Obituaries | Photos - Family | Photos - Dwellings | Surnames | Email P. Davidson-Peters | About PDP | PDP's Blog (Outside Link)