Notes and Documents
A Union Medical Officer Views the "Texians"
Edited by HARRY F. LUPOLD*
T HE UNION ARMY OCCUPIED TEXAS IN JUNE, 1865. JOHN C. GILL,
an Ohio army surgeon and a member of the I 14th Ohio Volunteer
Infantry, was one member of that occupying force who has left some vivid
impressions of his encounters with "Texians."' Dr. Gill first met the Texans
in 1864 when he was captured by the Confederates in the abortive Red
River Campaign. He, and over 200 other Union prisoners, were marched
to Camp Ford, near Tyler, Texas.2
During the six weeks that he was captive, he showed great pleasure with
the Texans and their treatment of him. Gill's feelings toward the "Texians,"
however, underwent change and, in 1865, as part of the army of occupation
in Texas, he wished that the Union Army "had laid it [Texas] in waste."3
John C. Gill was born on August 8, 1836, in Cleveland, Ohio. Graduat-
ing from the Western Reserve Medical School in 1859, he ultimately en-
tered the Union Army as an assistant surgeon, serving with the 12oth Ohio
Volunteer Infantry.4 On November 27, 1864, his regiment lost its identity
and was merged with the i 14th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, something Gill
*Mr. Lupold is an associate professor of history at Lakeland Community College, Men-
'The John C. Gill Letters are currently in the possession of Mrs. Eleanor Parsons of
Willoughby Hills, Ohio. Mrs. Parsons, storyteller and historian in her own right, is Gill's
2The Red River Campaign in March, I864, was an "elaborate . . . costly fiasco" for
the Union. To tighten Union control upon upper Louisiana and East Texas, General
N. P. Banks and Admiral David D. Porter planned a land-and-water campaign up the
Red River. See J. G. Randall and David Donald, The Civil War and Reconstruction
(2nd ed.; Boston, I96I), 452-453 (quotation); W. Birkbeck Wood and James E. Ed-
monds, Military History of the Civil War (reprint; New York, 1960), 71-72. For a com-
prehensive analysis of the Red River Campaign, see Ludwell H. Johnson, Red River
Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War (Baltimore, 1958).
3J.ohn C. Gill to Mary A. Corlett Gill, July 7, 1865, Gill Letters.
4The Iloth Ohio Volunteer Infantry was organized near Mansfield, Ohio, in August,
1862. It became part of the right wing of the Army of Tennessee. See Whitelaw Reid,
Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers (2 vols.; Cincinnati, 1868),
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/. Accessed July 5, 2015.