Diaries and Letters of Corporal Samuel McKinney Stafford

16th Ohio Battery of Light Artillery

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Brief History of the

16th Ohio Independent Battery of Light Artillery

 Organized at Springfield, Ohio at the old Fairgrounds (now the site of Fulton Elementary School and Davey Moore Park) from August, 1861 until early  September, 1861, under Captain James A. Mitchell.  The 16th was ordered to St. Louis on September 5, 1861 and was assigned to General Fremont’s command in Missouri. The Battery moved to Jefferson City, Mo. on October 13, 1861 and remained there on garrison duty until February 14, 1862.  While at Jefferson City, on December 27, 1861, the unit received its field guns.  They were model 1841 6-pounder brass (bronze) field guns, four of them being rifled 3.80 caliber, and two smoothbore 3.67 caliber.  They were manufactured by the Miles Greenwood Foundry of Cincinnati, Ohio.  On February 16, 1862, the unit moved back to St. Louis and then to Pilot Knob, Mo., on March 6, 1862.  At this time it was attached to the 1st Division, District of Southeast Missouri, Department of Missouri.  In March, the unit moved with General Steele towards Arkansas, joining General Curtis' army at Batesville, and after very severe marching arrived at Helena, Arkansas on July 15, 1862. The Battery remained near Helena until the spring of 1863, when it joined General Grant's grand move on Vicksburg, and participated in the battles of Port Gibson, Champion Hills and the siege of Vicksburg as a member of the 13th Corps, Army of the Tennessee.  After the surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 4, 1863, the unit marched to Jackson, Mississippi.  In August it shipped for New Orleans and in January, 1864, moved to Texas where it suffered severely for the want of rations. Returning to New Orleans in June it spent the remainder of its term of service very pleasantly, and was finally mustered out August 2, 1865.


Samuel McKinney Stafford

Samuel was born on August 6th, 1837, in a log cabin in Pike Township, Clark County, Ohio.  He attended Linden Hill Academy in New Carlisle, Ohio and the Troy Normal School.  In 1858, Samuel began a career as a school teacher.  In 1859, though, he began selling trees through Ohio and Kentucky.  In September, 1861 Samuel joined the 16th Ohio Battery of Light Artillery as a corporal.  He was with the unit through November, 1862 when he was discharged for disease.  He returned to New Carlisle and served as a colonel of the 2nd Clark County Militia.  Following the war, Samuel returned to teaching and farming.  Samuel joined Honey Creek Presbyterian Church in New Carlisle in 1864 and remained a faithful, serving member throughout his life.  He served as Sunday School Superintendent for 28 years.  Samuel was also active in the veterans' organization and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.  Samuel married Miss Elizabeth Serviss on March 19th, 1874.  Samuel and Elizabeth did not have any children.   Elizabeth died suddenly on April 28, 1905.  Samuel died on December 18th, 1922.


Samuel's Diaries and Letters

Samuel kept a diary throughout 1858 and 1859 and wrote letters home to his family while traveling as a tree salesman.  When he enlisted in the 16th Ohio Battery, Samuel wrote letters home from the very beginning and kept a diary which started in March of 1862.  Samuel's war-time diary, letters, and pre-war letters came from a noted Virginia estate in 2000.  Samuel's pre-war diary came to light in a sale in Fairborn, Ohio.  Now, the diaries and letters are back together and are available for everyone to read and enjoy.


If you are interested in purchasing a copy of

"Scholars Worse To-Day Than Ever!"

please see our contact page.

The book is $7.00 with $5.00 shipping.





"14 Months in the Union Artillery - the Diary of Private Wallace Byrd - 16th

Ohio Battery - September, 1861 to October, 1862"

This book is:

$9.00 each with $5.00 shipping




Living History Programs on the

16th Ohio Battery:


For this program, I discuss the 16th Ohio Battery .  I also bring a collection of 16th Ohio Battery items for this program.  I can present the program in first person in uniform as a veteran member of the unit (the year is 1882) or in third person in modern clothing.  Copies of the diaries are available for sale at the program. 

If you are interested in this program, please contact me.