In 1861, Alfred Biddleton McCreary left his home and family in Bradner, a small town in northwestern Ohio, and enlisted in the 26th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Assigned to the Army of the Cumberland, the 26th served in West Virginia until 1862 and then transferred to Kentucky. The regiment took part in the siege of Corinth and the battles of Perryville and Stones River, losing one-third of its men. It also sustained heavy losses at Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Lookout Mountain. The regiment reenlisted January 1, 1864, and joined Sherman's Atlanta campaign, fighting at Resaca, Kennesaw, Peach Tree Creek, and Jonesboro, and then moved on to Nashville.

After the war's conclusion, the 26th served in Texas until it mustered out of service in 1865. McCreary then enlisted in the 16th Kansas Cavalry and served on the western frontier. His letters home spoke of his great curiosity about the Native Americans he encountered and his sorrow over the loss of their way of life.

McCreary was a gifted amateur poet, as these verses (sent as a letter to his family) will attest. Reflecting the homesickness that often beset the soldier standing his lonely post late at night, the poem also exemplifies the feelings of loneliness, despair, love, and pride felt by the men of that era.

Many thanks to Ron Holcombe, the great grandson of A.B. McCreary, for sharing this priceless piece of family heritage with us.

"In Old Tennessee"

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Last modified 16-April-2001