Eulogy for John Bertram

Good afternoon.  I’m George McCarthy, Presiding Judge of the Athens County Veterans Court. I am privileged to deliver a eulogy for civil war veteran, John Bartram in grave number 849.

John was only 17 when the war broke out in 1861. However, obviously swept up by the patriotism and optimism of the moment, and claiming he was already 19, John joined the 13th Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a drummer boy a scant two months later. Eventually elevated to the rank of Sergeant Major, he would then serve almost the entire three-year stint for which he had enlisted.

John experienced war at its crudest in a conflagration that would take the lives of over six hundred thousand young men – almost two percent of the country’s population at the time. Company F of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry would see action in the battles of Pittsburg Landing, Shiloh, Perryville, Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga, Knoxville, the siege of Atlanta, the Battle of Nashville, and others. On March 11, 1863, john was discharged as a Sargeant Major on a Surgeon’s Certificate of disability.

John’s long life after the war seems to have been smooth and, indeed, happy.  The 1880 census shows him as a stone cutter in Ironton  with a wife (Mary) and three girls, Nancy (15), Ellen (13) and Anna (8). And, in his late nineties, he was still married to Mary and working as a day laborer according to the census of 1900. Most likely he was simply a bit senile when he was put in the Asylum on the Ridges in at the age of 100.

Thus, although his war experience had not inflicted life disrupting psychological damage, John is to be remembered and honored for having been such a brave and enthusiastic soldier. We thank him for his service. Furthermore, he’s not just number 849. Rather, he was a good man, husband, father, employee who lived a rich long life. You’re not forgotten, John Bartram! Bless you.

The wreath for Sergeant Major Bartram. Photo courtesy of Loretta Twiford.

The wreath for Sergeant Major Bartram. Photo courtesy of Loretta Twiford.