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  • Writer's pictureBeth Stenstrom

Laughlin J. McKenzie

Laughlin J. McKenzie

Rank: Private, Co. D, 126th Ohio Regiment

Descendants: Charles B

Laughlin was born 4 October 1841 in Jefferson County, Ohio.

He enlisted in Company D of the 126th Ohio Regiment on 8 Sep 1862. The regiment was soon added the Seymour’s 2nd Brigade, Rickets’ 3rd Division, Sedgwick’s 6th Corps, USA. The regiment spent most of their time in 1862 in Maryland. In 1863, they were in DC and Maryland, and then participated in battles in Manassas, Bristoe, Brandy Station, and Mine Run, Va. They camped along the Rapidan during the winter of 1863 – 1864.

In May 1864, the Overland Campaign began, and the regiment was actively involved throughout the year. According to letters written back home May 11, 1864 to the Steubenville, OH Weekly Herald and published on May 17, 1864:

The engagement with the enemy began last Thursday (May 5) and is still going on. A great deal of hard fighting has been done by this army, since that time, and in this, the 126th had done its full share and done it well, but in this has suffered severely, as will be seen from the list of the killed, wounded, and missing, which I send (under a different letter).

We engaged the enemy first on last Thursday (May 5) at ‘Wilderness Tavern’ not far from where the battle of Locust Grove and Mine Run was fought last fall. Here they fought incessantly, Thursday and Friday, and a good part of the nights.

On Friday (May 6) evening late, the right flank of our brigade was turned, and our regiment almost surrounded in their rifle pits, making it necessary to fall back, cutting their way out, through a most galling fire, and a dense thicket of woods. Here occurred our heaviest loss. But the regiment and brigade, after falling back sufficient distance to enable them to do so, advanced, and that night held again their old position, but owing to the advances of the enemy, the darkness of the night, and the thick underwood, it was impossible to get all the killed and wounded, or to tell in reference to many, who are marked ‘missing” on the list, whether they are killed, wounded, or captured.

One of the wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness was Laughlin. He was shot the left wrist, the bullet travelled up his arm, and exited his shoulder while engaged in the Gordon’s Flank Attack He was also hit in the head with the butt of a rifle and lay on the battlefield for 1 ½ days before he was rescued. He finished the war as a member of the invalid corps.

He returned to Jefferson County, Ohio, married, and had at least 7 children. He died 8 March 1914 and is buried in Jefferson County, Ohio

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