Pvt. John M. Clark, Drummer

OH Vol Inf, Co C, 60th Reg

OH Cav, Co. C, 5th Reg.

John M. Clark, born August 4, 1844, on Blacks Creek, near Collierstown, Rockbridge County, Virginia, had a zestful and colorful life.  In 1858, at the age of 14, he moved with his parents, Samuel and Ann Clark, to Greene County, Ohio.  At the age of 18, during the Civil War, he enlisted August of 1862 in the 5th Ohio Cavalry, Co. C, Governor Todd's Independent Scouts; remained 1 year, serving in Kentucky.  John then re-enlisted March 26, 1864, Camp Chase, Jamestown, Ohio in the 60th Ohio Infantry Volunteers, Company C.  He served as a private and was drummer for the unit.  That same month, Ulysses S. Grant had just assemed command of all United States Armies in the field.

The 60th Ohio was assigned to the Second Brigade, Third Division, Ninth Army Corps, under Major General Amborse E. Burnside and seved under the direct orders of Ulysses S. Grant until May 24, 1864, when it was assigned to the Army of the Potomac.  Within weekd of John M. Clark's enlistment, and with no training for the unit, they were thrown into the bloddiest battles of the Civil War.

May 5, 1864 began the Battle in the Wilderness, a deep thicket of thorny underbrush and twisted vines, near the Orange Turnpike, west of Fredericksburg, VA. General Lee's Confederate Army attacked the Union troops as they lay in rest, on march towards Richmond.  The attack was a sudden surprise for Grant and the heavy woods, almost unpassable, was a distinct advantage for the more experienced Confederate Army who was familiar with the area.  The 60th Ohio bore an honorable part of this battle between May 5-7, 1864.  While the battle was deemed a draw, it is called by many as a slaughter with 2,246 Union soldiers killed and another estimated 14,500 wonunded (about 17.3% of the Union force engaged).  The Confederates had killed and wounded nearly 12,000 (about 18.1%). Many were left to burn in a forest fire on the evening of May 5th.

In keeping with the typical heartiness of the Clarks, John M. Clark survived and was paroled at Savannah, Georgia on November 26, 1864.  But six months in Andersonville had taken a toll; he weighed only 75 pounds and was unrecognizable by his mother.  John recieved his discharge two days after his 21st birthday on August, 6, 1865.

John M. Clark married Jennie Howard, the daughter of  Elijia and Elizabeth Howard, on January 8, 1869.  He moved to Greene County, Illinois in  1866 and raised 11 children.  He worked as a farmer, carpenter, and wagon maker, ran a steam saw and ran the first steam thresher that was ever run in Macoupin County.

He served 31 years in Rockbridge in the office of constable and was a member of the Wesner Post (Greenfield) G. A. R.

John M. Clark died on May 16, 1905 in Rockbridge and is buried at Dowdall Cemetery.