Civil War Soldier Killed In the
            Steamer Explosion: A Narrative


How can I tell you how happy I am to be going home? I have spent the last three years fighting in battles against my own countrymen. I've torn up my country's railroad tracks and destroyed its bridges; I've walked hundreds of miles; I've had too little to eat, too little to drink, and too little to keep me warm. I've killed a man at 50 yards, and I've killed a man at the end of my bayonet. And I can tell you that there is no glory in war. There is only despair...and fear...and disgust.

The last 8 months of my military service were spent in the devil's very own house -- Andersonville Prison in Georgia. Those who believe in the romance of being a prisoner of war have never seen first-hand the horrors of more than 40,000 strong, able-bodied young men starving and rotting to death within the confines of a stockade that measured one thousand feet long and eight hundred feet wide. Andersonville contained all the ills that plague the human race. I have seen men who have killed a friend or fellow soldier for a bit of bread, a uniform button or trinket with which to trade with the guards for favors, extra food and tobacco. There was no hope of survival, yet somehow that is exactly what I have managed to do. And now I am abroad this steamer headed upstream on the great Ohio River to return home. There is no more precious place. Surely I am blessed to have lived through all my hardships....

(The steamer sank when its boilers exploded. Killed in the accident were 10 Civil War soldiers returning home from battle. One was never identified. Clyde E. Benner, a former Perry County Commissioner and Trustee donated the land for the placement of the markers. The property has passed down through the generations and is still maintained by the family. They keep flags and flowers on the graves, maintain the landscaping and added a split rail fence a few years ago.)