150 years ago today, Cincinnati was no doubt abuzz with news of the Battle of Ivy Mountain ... a Civil War battle in Eastern Kentucky a few days before. The 150th anniversary of the Civil War is a chance to re-examine the conflict which ultimately would define the United States. Local 12 News reporter Jeff Hirsh shows us one man who has a closer connection to that war than most-his great-great-grandfather was a Union soldier who is buried in Cincinnati.
Spring Grove Cemetery is the final resting place for hundreds of Civil War veterans, some of whom fought and died in the war, others who survived like John L. Jeffries "That's a picture of him in the 17th Pennsylvania. This is a U.S. Army officer's square belt buckle. It's the standard American eagle. Back in the day the leather would have been black and shiny. This would have been a nice polished brass. It is what it is after 150 years."
And that's not all Jeffries carried into battle:"So this is the 1850 model U.S. Infantry sword. Basically captains and above would carry something like this. The higher the rank the more ornate the sword would get, and they also had presentation swords. This is what they would use to actually command their company."
It was a difficult life-breaking camp, marching for miles and once you got wherever you were going ... hoping you would come back alive. Jeffries was shot through the hand, returned to the war, and was shot again, in the arm. Jeffries was 32 years old when he signed up in 1861, as a 90-day volunteer in his native Pennsylvania. The father of four children, Jeffries rose through the ranks to captain. "The picture on the wall is him in his officer's uniform."
John Jeffries fought in battle after battle, and witnessed things he could never forget, no matter how hard he tried: "I would imagine after being wounded twice and seeing your brother killed in combat he had what we now call post traumatic stress. I'm sure that was a factor in why he wanted to leave the east behind and move to Cincinnati."
Jeffries lived in the East End and then moved to Madisonville, where he died in 1901. But his legacy lives on.
From WKRC Cincinatti