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Corp William H. Caldwell
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Birth: Nov. 18, 1840
Ross County
Ohio, USA
Death: Nov. 21, 1910
Highland County
Ohio, USA

From The Highland Weekly News, Thursday, July 7, 1865

From the 11th O.V.C. -- Severe Fight with the Indians -- Three of Co. "K" Killed, and others Wounded. Fort Hallek, D. T., June 11, 1865

Editor Highland News: - Permit me, through the medium of your valuable paper, to give an account of the recent Indian troubles on the Overland Mail Route.

On the evening of the 2d, the Indians made a raid on two or three of the stage stations west of the North Platte. Just at sun-up on the morning of the 3d a courier arrived at this Post, asking assistance, as the Indians were cleaning out everything along the road from the Platte west.

Lieut. Brown, with thirty men, was sent up the road to open it and ascertain the amount of damage. He found all the stage stock run off from three stations, and two citizens killed. The command went through Bridger's Pass to Sulphur Springs. In order to afford the coaches protection, Lieut. Brown posted the men in small squads at the following stations, Wash-a-kee being the farthest west. Two of our Highland boys were left at this station, viz: Odell and Thurman. At Sulphur Springs, Pine Grove, and Sage Creek others were placed. Corporal J.B. Martin was left in command at Sulphur Springs, Corporal Wm. H. Caldwell, another Highland county boy, was left in command at Sage Creek Station.

The Division Agent immediately put on fresh teams in the place of those driven off by the Indians. Everything remained quiet until Wednesday evening, when a small party of Indians attacked a Mormon train near the Ferry across the Platte. The Mormons stood their ground and returned the fire. The Indians found it was getting too hot and they made a speedy retreat over the Bluffs out of sight. Caldwell had suspicions that he and his men would be attacked that evening or early next morning. They kept a sharp watch during the night. One of the station-keepers stood guard until midnight, and Corporal Caldwell the latter part of the night. Just about daylight he saw an Indian raise up and look over a Bluff about 50 yards from him. He says he could have killed the Indian, but was afraid of being surrounded and captured before he could reach the station. He went in and awakened the boys and station-keepers, telling them to make haste and get breakfast, as they would soon have hot work. While some of them prepared breakfast the others saddled the horses so as to have them in readiness in case they were compelled to escape. The following are the names of our boys with Caldwell: George Bodine, from Plymouth, Ohio, Orlando Ducket and Perry Stewart, both from Milford, Clermont county, and Wm. Wilson, from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Just as they were ready to eat their breakfast, the Indians, about one hundred strong, attacked them in the station. The little squad fought them until their ammunition was nearly all expended, when Corporal Caldwell commanded the party to abandon the station, mount their horses and run the gauntlet, in the hope of reaching Pine Grove Station, ten miles west, where another squad were stationed.

It was a desperate race for life or death, but death claimed the larger share. Valiantly did these brave men contest every inch of ground. Time and again were they entirely surrounded by fifteen times their own number, yet they would calmly dismount, take deliberate aim and fire, the Indians showing a deadly abhorrence of the leaden messengers they were sending from their carbines with such telling effect. Then they would remount and continue their flight, until surrounded again, when they would again dismount and deliver their fire.

The first to fall of the whites were the two station-keepers. The next one was George Bodine, who was wounded early in the chase, and whose horse became unmanageable, and thus retarded the progress of the whole party. The next was Orlando Ducket. His horse was wounded and he was surrounded, and when last seen was fighting heroically, discharging his revolver at close quarters. As we have been unable to find his body, we are uncertain as to his fate, whether he was taken prisoner or killed on the spot.

The next to fall was my firm and good friend, Perry Stewart. After he was wounded so badly as to be unable to stand on his feet, he raised to his knees and fired six shots from his revolver. He must have struggled very hard. When his body was recovered his tongue was firmly clinched between his teeth.

Corporal Wm. H. Caldwell and Wm. Wilson, seeing it was impossible to rescue them, made one more effort to escape, pursued by about thirty Indians. Caldwell was severely wounded by rifle ball, which took effect in his thigh just below the hip joint, passing clear through the fleshy part. Wilson received a slight flesh wound from an arrow on the hip. Yet they calmly dismounted four different times and discharged their carbines. The last time Caldwell was fortunate enough to plug the old chief through, which put an end to the chase; and fortunate it was for him, as the savage had his rifle up and was taking sure aim at him. He did not pull the trigger a second too soon.

On the fall of the chief the Indians circled around him, while Caldwell and Wilson made good their escape. The pursuit continued about eight miles. On arriving at Pine Grove they hurried up the other squad and kept on to Sulphur Springs. Caldwell and Wilson rode on horse-back twelve miles before they met the coach, which they stopped and turned back. Both being now very weak, they left their horses in charge of the other boys, got into the coach and rode on to Sulphur Springs. Here they met Sergt. Wm. McFadden and ten more boys belonging to our company, who had escorted Schuyler Colfax and party up the road some distance above this place.

After resting a few hours they started back over the road, being now about thirty strong, the stage coming through with them. They found Stewart, Bodine and one of the station-keepers where they had fallen. Stewart had eleven arrows and balls through his body. He was not scalped, but was stripped of all his clothes. Bodine had thirteen wounds. One arrow entered his back and in its course passed through his heart. He was scalped and stripped.

This all happened on the morning of the 8th. Their remains were brought into the Fort just at sum-up on the morning of the 10th, and were decently interred in the afternoon.

Sadly do we miss these noble fellow. Long will they be remembered by the members of company K. But oh! how sadly will they be missed by fond mothers and loving brothers and sisters at home. May God sustain and bless them in their sore bereavement!

I remain yours truly, WM. MOONEY, Co. K, 11th O.V.C.

Family links: 
  Allen E. Caldwell (1816 - 1896)
  Eleanor Jane Winegar Caldwell (1821 - 1903)
  Dora Watts Caldwell (1845 - 1915)*
  John Crawford Caldwell (1839 - 1914)*
  William H. Caldwell (1840 - 1910)
  James E. Caldwell (1842 - 1872)*
  Noble Beals Caldwell (1844 - 1909)*
  Sarah Ellen Caldwell Arnott (1845 - 1894)*
  Nancy Ann Caldwell Towne (1848 - 1937)*
  Samuel L. Caldwell (1849 - 1920)*
  Walter William Caldwell (1852 - 1897)*
  Margaret J. Caldwell Hughey-Resor (1853 - 1935)*
  David A. Caldwell (1856 - 1931)*
  Abigal J. Caldwell Cowman (1857 - 1933)*
  Joseph L. Caldwell (1860 - 1926)*
  Frank S Caldwell (1862 - 1940)*
  Ozro Dodds Caldwell (1864 - 1946)*
*Calculated relationship
Note: Link to parents and Highland News story provided by Jim Priestaf, 2 Apr. 2014 (Thank you)
Greenfield Cemetery
Highland County
Ohio, USA
Maintained by: Jim Priestaf
Originally Created by: Timeless
Record added: May 14, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 110553300
Corp William H. Caldwell
Added by: Jim Priestaf
Corp William H. Caldwell
Added by: Jim Priestaf
Corp William H. Caldwell
Added by: Timeless
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Jay Wright
 Added: Oct. 15, 2014

- Timeless
 Added: May. 14, 2013

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