Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    One of the heroes of the war of the Rebellion whose memory is proudly cherished by the citizens of Miami county is Augustus H. Coleman, the son of Dr. Asa and Mary Kiefer Coleman. His ancestors were of Revolutionary stock, and in every war of the nation from that of 1776 some of the family have been soldiers. Colonel Coleman was born in Troy, October 29, 1829, and received his elementary education in the Troy schools. In June, 1847, he entered as a cadet the Military Academy at West Point, from which he graduated a fine scholar, and a thorough soldier in 1851. After his graduation he returned home, and occupied himself in the peaceful life of a farmer. When President Lincoln issued his call for seventy-five thousand men, A. H. Coleman responded, and in forty-eight hours he raised Company D, Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and went with them to Columbus, Ohio, where he was unanimously chosen captain of the company, when they reached Columbus April 26, 1861. Upon the organization of the regiment he was made major, his commission bearing date April 29, 1861. The regiment re-enlisted for three years, and was mustered into service on the 20th of June, 1861, and on the 7th Of July was ordered to the Kanawha valley, and attached to the division of troops commanded by General J. D. Cox. Major Coleman was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel on the 9th of January, 1862. His military education was of great benefit to the regiment, for he was a. good drill master, and in a short time had brought the command to such a high standard of drill and discipline that its reputation extended all through the army, and it was always called upon to serve when the duty was hard, and demanded the best drilled troops. There was some dissatisfaction at the rigid discipline, but when the experience of war made the men veterans they appreciated the military instructions of the officer, and loved the man for his thoughtful care of his men and his gallant bravery. In time of danger and peril he was especially vigilant and watchful, and took every precaution against surprise, visiting his picket lines in person, and remaining near the most exposed positions. On the 12th of September, 1862, the Kanawha division, under the command of General Cox, was moving on the rebel lines near Frederick City, Maryland, and in the battle the rebels captured two pieces of artillery. General Cox called to Colonel Coleman: "Will the Eleventh recover those guns?" The colonel formed his men, gave the orders, led the attack, and with a shout defiance the gallant Ohio boys dashed at the rebels, drove them from the guns, and with the spirit of battle upon them they pressed on the rebel lines, advanced into the city, and only halted in their brave and gallant charge when the enemy was defeated and in hasty retreat. The next day the battle of South Mountain was fought, and the regiment and its colonel won new laurels for splendid work on the field of battle. In that engagement circumstances were such that Colonel Coleman not only showed that he was an efficient commander of a regiment, but he displayed the ability that marks a successful commander and had his life been spared he would have soon been trusted as a general.

    In the battle of Antietam this flower of the chivalry of Miami county died while leading his regiment across the famous stone bridge. On the 7th of September an assault was ordered on the stone bridge, but the enemy's fire was so severe that the troops wavered and fell back. Then came an order from General McClellan, "Carry the bridge at all hazards." The troops were reformed, and the Eleventh Regiment was placed in front, to lead the storming party. Steadily, swiftly and with the resolution to conquer or die, Coleman led his gallant men on the bullet-swept bridge, and there was mortally wounded. Seeing their colonel fall, the regiment wavered for a moment, and then to revenge their colonel's death, they rallied, pressed on, crossed the bridge, scaled the bluffs and drove the rebels from their position. And thus died on the field of honor one of the bravest soldiers Miami county ever sent forth to battle for the Union and the flag. Before the war he was married to Miss Clara Shaffer, and by this union had two children, Rachael Augusta and George Edwin, both of them married and living in the state of Washington. His widow, after the war, married A. R. Byrkett, an able lawyer, and they are also living in the state of Washington. The Grand Army Post of Troy bears the name of the A. H. Coleman Post. The Women's Relief Corps bears the name of Coleman, and some time in the future the writer hopes that a monument will be erected in the public square of Troy to the memory of the gallant soldiers of Miami county who fell upon the field of battle.

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