Civil War Doctor


by Suzanne Allen


                          Dr. Albert Green  Longwell, 88th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Post Surgeon, Regiment Surgeon, born March 29, 1830 in Marion County, Ohio, was the son of Ralph S. Longwell  and Elizabeth “Betsy” Thurston Longwell.  His grandparents were Hugh and Ann Alexander Longwell of New Munster, Maryland.  Ralph and Betsy moved back to Delaware County to the town of Eden in 1833. Of their thirteen children, two were boys.

                         Albert, after going through the public schools, attended Cherry Grove Seminary.  He studied medicine with Dr. Potter in Eden and attended lectures at Starling Medical College in Columbus.  He started his medical practice in Waldo, Ohio.

                          On February 22, 1859, he married Cordelia G. Eaton, daughter of Joseph and Ursula Potter Eaton in Delaware County, Ohio.  They had two sons, Charles Eaton Longwell, born November 23, 1860 and Harry Eaton Longwell, born April 3, 1862.

                           Albert attended more lectures at Ohio Medical College in Cincinnati, graduating in 1861.  He was in a partnership with Dr. Hendern in Delaware, Ohio for a while. 

                          In June 1861, he entered the Army as Assistant Surgeon, Fourth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  He followed the 4th Regiment and saw and repaired the damages of the Civil War until October 20, 1862.  He fell from a horse and twisted his spine which pushed against his bowels causing diarrhea so on November 10, 1862, he was honorably discharged and came home to repair his injured body.

                        Camp Chase near Columbus had six new companies organized from July 24 to August 3, 1863.  Albert became the new Head Surgeon with the rank of Major.  As the war continued, Camp Chase became overcrowded with prisoners (1726 in 1862 to 9423 in January 1865).

                          On  July 31, 1863, The Delaware Gazette reported, “Dr. A. Longwell of this place, formerly Surgeon of the 4th Ohio Regiment has been appointed Surgeon of the 88th (Governor’s Guards) Regiment stationed at Camp Chase”.

                          On September 4, 1863, the Delaware Gazette stated, “Drs. Longwell and Caruthers are rendering themselves popular with the “sugar boys” by their urbane manners and careful attention to the wants of the sick.”

                         The Delaware County News on February 9, 1865 reported the following news. “A Drake County “blue-coat” an inmate of the Post Hospital at Camp Chase, writes as follows of Dr. A. Longwell, Post Surgeon: Major Longwell is in charge of the Hospital as Post Surgeon, and he is the right man in the right place.  He is well thought of by all his patients and everyone under his command.  Never was an Army Surgeon more efficient or more popular than he.”

                          On March 9, 1865, the Delaware County News gave the following report.  “Wanted- There are so many sick at Camp Chase, that those in charge of the various hospitals are unable to procure the necessaries for them to eat, and in consequence thereof, the poor boys are suffering dreadfully.  The Chapel has been converted into a hospital for Paroled men, many of whom are almost daily arriving, just released from loathsome prisons, emaciated, sick and nearly starved, and they nearly all have to be taken to the hospital immediately upon their arrival.  This hospital is already crowded.  Can not citizens get them up a box or two and send down?  If they do, they can direct them to Captain Allen, Camp Chase, Ohio.”

                         On March 23, 1865, just a few weeks after the above report, the Delaware County News reported, “Dr. Albert Longwell, for several years a resident of this place, where he was highly esteemed for his many noble qualities of both head and heart, died at Camp Chase, Ohio on Sunday afternoon last, of Typhus Malaria.  He leaves a widow and two most promising little boys, together with an extended circle of relatives and acquaintances to mourn their irreparable loss.  At the time of his death, Dr. Longwell was Surgeon of the 88th OVI and was also acting as Post Surgeon at Camp Chase.  He was a most faithful officer, kind to his patients, administering to their wants with a gentle hand always pleasant and cheerful, having a joke to crack with all.  The sick were always glad when the hour arrived for him to make his rounds.  He invariably came in laughing, and would say to the boys, “Well, in a day or two more I will have you on your “pins” again, and then I will excuse you, and let you go home for a few days.”  His pleasant manner and talk cured far more of the “blue-coats” than did the medicine in the pills, powders, and liquids.  Never was a Surgeon so highly esteemed by the soldiers nor one so much like a father to them as was Dr. L., at the Post previously.  But two short weeks since while down at Camp Chase, I called upon my noble friend who had been so kind, and nursed me so tenderly while in the Post Hospital last fall, and whose many virtues will ever be green in my memory, and found him in the enjoyment of good health though kept very busy, owing to the large amount of sickness.  Now he is gone to another and no doubt better world.  How inscrutable are the ways of Providence and past finding out, L.”

                         Another Delaware County News of March 30, 1865 stated, “The 88th has just been called to mourn the irreparable loss of its beloved Surgeon, Major Longwell, who died on Sunday last after a brief illness.  The proper escort of four companies with reversed arms and hand with muffled drums paid their last respects to the deceased yesterday morning as he was being conveyed from his office here to the depot at Columbus, where his remains were taken to the place of interment, near Eden, Delaware County.  His wife was also conveyed from here at the same time in a critical state of health.”

                        On Sunday March 19, 1865, just months before the end of the war, Albert Longwell’s life had ended.  His wife, Cordelia, who traveled from Delaware to Camp Chase on horseback, was put in charge of her husband, due to the amount of illness in the camp.  After Albert’s death, Cordelia had become ill and died four days later on March 23, 1865.

        The Delaware Gazette reported that “Mrs. Dr. Longwell died at the residence of Honorable James R. Hubbell in Delaware.  She accompanied the remains of her husband from Columbus Monday morning and being too sick to be taken to the home of her parents, was removed to the residence of Mr. H., whose lady is sister of the late Dr. L., where she continued to sink rapidly till death ended her suffering.  Her disease was the same as that with which her husband died.  Two small children are left orphans by this sad bereavement.”

      “ In Albert’s pension record, it was sworn by B. F. Loofburrow, Delaware     County Clerk of Courts and the Honorable James R. Hubbell, congressman (both were married to Albert’s sisters, Martha and Mary) that they had both attended Albert and Cordelia’s wedding and also attended the funeral.  The two of them were buried in the same grave at Old Eden Cemetery.  Albert’s brother, Norton T. Longwell, became Charley and Harry’s guardian in Delaware County Probate Court case 1425.  Charles and Harry lived with their maternal grandparents Joseph and Ursula Eaton until they were grown (1870 U. S. Census).  Harry then took up farming in Morrow County and Charles raised a family and was a monument dealer in Ashley, Ohio.” (written by great great nephew, Paul A. Clay)

                          On March 24, 1865, the Delaware Gazette reported the following obituary for Longwell.  “Dr. Albert Longwell, Surgeon of the 88th Regiment, O. V. I. and Post Surgeon at Camp Chase, died last Sunday after a brief illness of typhoid fever.  He was a young man of great promise in his profession and was universally esteemed by those who knew him.  He was a native of this county, and before entering the military service a resident and practicing physician of our town.  He was formerly surgeon of the 4th Ohio Regiment and few surgeons in the service stand higher with those under their profession charge than did Dr. L., with the officers and men of the 4th and 88th.  His remains were interred at Eden, the place of his birth Monday afternoon.”

        The March 31, 1865 Delaware Gazette printed a Tribute of respect. “At a meeting of the Cilonian Society of the O. W. Female College, March 25, 1865, called in view of the death of Mrs. C. G. Longwell, wife of Major Albert Longwell, Surgeon of the 88th Reg. OVI.”

       May 5, 1865, Delaware Gazette 

       Funeral sermon preached for Dr. Longwell and wife appears on page 1.


Relatives of Longwell Placing Civil War Marker
Eden Cemetery on Veterans Day 2005
Susan Oberdier, Anna Marie Link Daugherty, Jim and Betty Link, John Oberdier, Bill Thurston, Penny Terry Condron, Bob Fleming, Carol Terry, Charlotte Pittman, Vinal Terry

Resources for above information, The Men and Women of Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio by the Hilltop Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio, the Delaware County News and Delaware Gazette.

Notes about Dr. Longwell

Democratic Standard, August 29,1861 p.3
    " Dr. Longwell left for VA. on Monday evening last, bearing many tokens to the Delaware boys, from their friends at home. He will be attached to the 4th Regiment, also."

     In the book, The Story of Joshua Breyfogle, a letter from Joshua to his wife tells about Dr. Longwell at Camp Pendleton in Winston, Maryland. “On August 22, 1861, Dr. Longwell arrived. In September the doctor took sick and he was the only doctor in camp. Later, Dr. Longwell dressed Willie Breyfogle’s foot at the hospital at Camp Pendleton.  One good God’s blessing is that we have a noble hearted doctor in our surgeon’s mate Dr. Longwell, he has been very kind indeed to me, when we left our camp for Washington, D. C. I was very unwell and rather than remain behind with McAbee I carried my knapsack blanket gun and accoutrements about fifty hours. Longwell saw me on the road and the fix I was in, he got me a horse to ride but I had the piles so bad that I could not sit let alone ride a horse.  But, he gave me permission to fall out of ranks and take my time which I did and got to the cars in good time”, wrote Joshua Breyfogle. The unit went to Harpers Ferry and then marched to Leesburg (Virginia).

Albert's son Charles had a son Albert Eugene, known as Bert (1889-1939) who married Minnie Orpha (Wintermute) Longwell (1870-1956) and they lived in Sunbury, OH. Their son was Charles Albert Longwell (1905-1952).  They are buried in Sunbury Memorial PArk.

Hugh and Ann Longwell also had a son, James Longwell who married Phebe Leonard.  James had a son John Wesley who would be a cousin of Albert Longwell.

John Wesley Longwell, married his first wife, Mary P. Adams on Nov. 26, 1863 in Delaware. They had two children, Marion and Cornelia.  She is buried in Ashley Union Cemetery. In 1876 John married his second wife,  Medora Andrews, daughter of Thomas Andrews and Alsina Boyd.  (Andrews built and lived in the house at 47 Morning Street in Sunbury).  John carried mail for Sunbury,  The BWAHS has his mail bag and Community Library has Medora's sample sewing machine.  John Wesley and Medora are buried in Sunbury Memorial Park.

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