NAME: Thomas Allen Ware
HIGHEST RANK: 3rd Sergeant
UNITS: 27th Ohio National Guard and 149th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company C.
SERVICE RECORD: Joined in July 1863, Company C of 27th Ohio National Guard Regiment, consolidated with 55th Ohio National Guard Battalion into 149th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in May 1864. Garrison duty in Annapolis, Md.; reported missing in action July 9 at Monocacy. Rejoined in late July; mustered out.
In early May 1864, 34-year old Tom Ware left his wife and three small children, harness shop and 1864, 34-year-old home in the village of Frankfort, Ohio. He was responding to the call of his governor and President Abraham Lincoln for 100 days of Federal service. Their purpose was to use these men to relieve veteran units from guard duty and make the latter available to General Ulysses S. Grant and Major General William T. Sherman to help win the war in the summer of 1864.
Ware joined Company C of the 27th Ohio National Guard Regiment, which with the 55th Ohio National Guard Battalion became the 149th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Colonel Allison Brown. The 149th joined other Ohio units in and around Baltimore and Annapolis, as part of Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace’s VIII Corps.
In early July 1864, Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal Early crossed the Potomac River to threaten Washington and Baltimore. General Wallace deployed his outnumbered ad hoc force behind the Monocacy River to cover the three bridges near Monocacy Junction. He aligned the bulk of his forces to cover the two bridges on his left. Colonel Brown was reinforced by three companies of the 149th Ohio and at critical times by 100 mounted infantrymen of the 159th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was charged with covering the Stone, or Jug, Bridge, which carried the Baltimore Pike.
On the evening of July 8, Company C, commanded by Captain Charles McGinnis, was deployed one mile upstream to cover Hughes’ Ford, where Ware and his cohorts spent a lonely night. At 6 a.m. the next day, Early deployed Brig. Gen. Robert D. Lilley’s Brigade astride the Baltimore Pike, and his sharpshooters sniped at and probed the Ohioans. For the next 12 hours, the 149th faced a much larger enemy.
Close to 10 a.m., Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes’ Division replaced Lilley and deployed its excellent sharpshooter battalion. About the same time, Confederate cavalry tried to force a crossing at Hughes’ Ford. Supported by Company E and the mounted infantry, Company C repulsed the Rebels.
The main battle was fought on the left. Wallace retreated behind the cover of the 149th to take the Baltimore Pike. He ordered Colonel Brown to hold the Stone Bridge “to the very last extremity.” If pressed too hard, the Ohioans were “to disperse and take care of themselves.”
For the last hour of the battle, Colonel Brown and his men fought alone. Company C, its line of retreat cut, scattered in all directions. Almost every man was missing in action. Eventually most reported back to their unit. The 149th was mustered out on August 20, 1864, short 103 men; they had served 121 days.
Ware received $3.25 for clothing lost at Monocacy. His son, Corey Jacob, 4 years old when his father returned, never forgot the moment when his dad opened their gate and came back home. Ware resumed his harness and saddle work. He was a Mason, a Methodist and a widely respected member of his community. He died at age 78 and was buried July 9, 1907, exactly 43 years after the Battle of Monocacy, better known as the battle that saved Washington, D.C.
Originally published in the April 2006 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.