Hosea W. Alexander

Civil War Soldier

 Co. I, 4th O.V.I.                                 (3+3)

by John Quist


      Hosea William Alexander was born in Delaware, Delaware County, OH in 1839. (1

      His father, Joseph C. Alexander, was born on January 11, 1808. (2)   The state of his birth seemed to change with every U.S. census:  Pennsylvania (1850), New York (1860), Ohio (1870), and Pennsylvania (1880).  The Delaware County record of his death stated that he was born in New Hampshire. (3)  According to one family record, his place of birth was Eire County, PA. (4)  Eire, PA seems most likely to be correct. 

      “Joseph C. … carried the first mail from Mt. Vernon to Cleveland, O[hio] in 1817, being but 9 years of age.  He rode an Indian pony and was 9 days making the trip, stopping with the Indians on the route.  He went to Delaware [OH] in 1826, engaged in the mercantile business, but after a time went into the Recorder’s office and for many years held offices of public trust.” (5)  His occupations varied from census to census:  boarding house (1850), mechanic (1860), “huckster” (1870), and nothing listed. (1880). 

      On September 22, 1833 in Delaware County, Joseph married Delight Sweetser, (6) born on February 13, 1813 in Dummerston, Windham County, VT, one of nine children.  Joseph and Delight had five children:  Cecelia (1836), Ruby Iantha (c.1837), Hosea William (1839), George B. (1840), Drayton P. (c.1848). (7

      On December 10, 1861, Joseph enlisted as a Private in Delaware County’s Co. K, 66th Oho Volunteer Infantry Regiment (66th O.V.I.). (8)  In the 1886 book, The Military History of Ohio, it was stated that Joseph was wounded and disabled at Culpeper Court House, VA, (9) most likely on August 9th during the Battle of Cedar Mountain in Culpeper County.  Joseph’s wounds were severe, for he was hospitalized until he was discharged on October 20, 1862 from a hospital in Alexandria, VA and the service. (10)  According to the pension records of 1883, he received $6.00 per month for wounds to his left arm, left shoulder, and left side. (11

      Delight (Sweetser) and Joseph C. Alexander died in Delaware and were buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, she on December 22, 1886 (12) and he on January 4, 1889. (13)

      The 1860 U.S. census stated that Hosea Alexander’s occupation was that of laborer.

      When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to help quell the rebellion by southern states.  Men of Ohio responded quickly, and several new regiments were enrolled for a term of three months’ service, which was considered to be sufficient to end the war.  The 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment (4th O.V.I.) was organized on April 25 at Camp Jackson in Columbus, Franklin County. (14)  Hosea Alexander was appointed Corporal and assigned to Company I. (15)  The regiment was then moved to the newly constructed Camp Dennison (about 12 miles northeast of downtown Cincinnati, OH) on May 2, where it served three months on garrison duty until June 4.  On that date, many of the men joined the newly reorganized three years regiment. (16)  Hosea re-enlisted as Sergeant in Company I. (17)  The three months men who chose not to re-enlist were mustered out on July 24.

      The regiment was moved to Grafton, (W)VA and actively served in western Virginia throughout 1861.  They participated in the Battle of Winchester, VA (March 23, 1862) and Battle of Port Republic, VA (June 9).  After suffering serious losses in a prolonged firefight at Antietam, MD (September 17), their brigade was given the nickname “Gibraltar Brigade” because of its firmness in battle.  They fought in the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg, VA (December 11-15), Chancellorsville, VA Campaign (April 30-May 6, 1863), and Battle of Gettysburg, PA (July 2-3). (18)  On September 1, Hosea was promoted to First Sergeant. (19)  After much movement in different directions, but with little combat, the 4th O.V.I participated in the long Wilderness Campaign in Virginia (May-June, 1864). (20)  On May 18, during an ill-conceived assault on well-entrenched Confederate forces at Spotsylvania Court House, VA, Hosea was wounded. (21)  He was mustered out of the service with Company I on June 21 on the expiration of their term of service. (22)

      Hosea’s brother, George B, served as a Private in Company F, 138th Indiana V.I. (23)  Other Alexander family members who served in the war were the youngest son of his uncle William, his uncle James and two of his sons, and two sons of his aunt Louisa. (24)

      Hosea Alexander returned to Delaware but did not remain inactive long.  He went to Columbus and enlisted on May 11, 1865 for three years’ service as First Lieutenant of Company F in the Sixth Regiment, U.S. Volunteer Infantry. (25)  The regiment was assigned to the “West.”  There are five reports (November 1865 – February 1866) which mention Hosea at Camp Douglas, Utah Territory, (26) which was established in October 1862 as a small military garrison about three miles east of Salt Lake City to protect the overland mail route and then the telegraph lines along the Central Overland Route from Indian attacks.  The camp was named by President Lincoln for his 1860 presidential campaign opponent Stephen A. Douglas. (27)  On March 5, 1866, Camp Douglas was included in the Department of the Platt, an Army administrative district headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, encompassing Iowa, Nebraska, Dakota Territory, Utah Territory, and a small portion of Idaho. (28)  Hosea and Company F were mustered out of the service on October 10, 1866. (29)

      Hosea returned to Delaware.  In April 1868, he was appointed Deputy Marshal, but was discharged on August 5. (30)  The U.S. censuses show that he had a variety of jobs: clerk in store (1870) and postal clerk (1880).  At some date, which is not clear on the form, he applied for a U.S. government pension as a Union Civil War veteran. (31)  In the 1890 Veterans’ Schedules, he gave his service unit as Company I, 4th O.V.I. and date of enlistment as 1861, yet reported his rank as Lieutenant. (32)

      Hosea was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.), being mustered in to Delaware’s George B. Torrence Post 60 on December 19, 1882. (33)

      Hosea William Alexander died on Tuesday, June 14, 1898 at the age of about 59 years.  “After months, aye, years of suffering, Hosea Alexander, that prince of good fellows, has succumbed to the ravages of disease and has been gathered in by the grim destroyer.  A telegram received by his brother, Geo. B. Alexander announces that he died in Indianapolis [Indiana] at 11 o’clock this morning.” (34)  The disease was cancer.  His remains were returned to Delaware by rail. (35)  The Delaware Semi-Weekly Gazette gave this sad account:  “Every one who knew Hosea knows how he suffered and how he sought relief at some of the leading hospitals of the country, and how his little fortune which he had accumulated by a life time of hard work, was wasted in a vain search for relief.  Several months were spent at Rome, N.Y., from where he was sent home as incurable, after undergoing most painful surgical operations.  When he came home, his spirit was unbroken, and he was the same genial good fellow as of yore, although he knew that he only had a short time – a few months at most to live.  Soon after he came home some one advised him to go to Indianapolis.  As a drowning man grasps at a straw, he grasped the possible chance to prolong his life.  Gathering a few dollars together that he had left from the sale of his property, he went to Indianapolis, and for a time he felt encouraged, but as time wore on, he again grew worse, and a few weeks ago he wrote a very pathetic letter to friends here, saying that the doctors only gave him twenty or thirty days to live, and it seems that they had his lease on life well timed.  He was a kind, big-hearted man, and a good citizen, and has a host of friends who will mourn his demise.” (36)

      Hosea was buried at Oak Grove Cemetery on Wednesday, June 22, following a funeral service at the cemetery chapel conducted by his G.A.R. comrades. (37)  It is interesting to note that on the headstone provided for him as a Union Civil War veteran it is stated that he was a Lieutenant of Company F, 6th Regiment U.S. Infantry, but no mention of Company I, 4th O.V.I. (38)


Compiled by John W. Quist

Delaware, Ohio

September 22, 2012








“Death Comes to the Relief of Hosea W. Alexander….” Delaware Semi-Weekly
, Delaware, OH, Friday, June 17, 1898, page 7

 2  “Joseph C. Alexander.” Find A Grave Memorial, findagrave.com (online)


3  “I.C. Alexander.” Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997, familysearch.org

4  “Joseph C. Alexander.” Comstock [Family Tree], trees.ancestry.com (online)

5  “William Washington Alexander.” Find A Grave Memorial

6  “Descendants of William Alexander.” Family Tree Maker’s Genealogy Site,
      familytreemaker-genealogy.com (online)

 7  “William Sweetser.” The Paul Steiner Family Tree, RootsWeb’s WorldConnect

       Project, wc.roots-web.ancestry.com (online)

8  “Joseph Alexander.” American Civil War Soldiers, ancestry.com

 9  “Alexander, Jos. C.” The Military History of Ohio, H.H. Hardesty, Publisher;
      New York, NY, 1886 (with special section for Delaware County), page 303

 10  Footnote 8


11  “Alexander, Joseph C.” List of Pensioners, Ohio, Delaware County, The
        Executive Documents
 Printed by Order of the Senate of the United States
        for the Second Session of the Forty-Seventh Congress, 1882-’83
. Vol. V-
       Part 3, page 83

12  “Delight Pierce Sweetser.” Find A Grave Memorial

 13  Footnote 2

14  “4th O.V.I.” wikipedia.com (online) 

15  “Hosea Alexander.” U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865, ancestry.com

16  Footnote 14 (three months regiment)

 17  Ibid (three years regiment)

Footnote 14

 19  “Hosea Alexander.” American Civil War Soldiers, ancestry.com

Footnote 14

21  “Alexander, Hosea W.” The Military History of Ohio, H.H. Hardesty,
         Publisher; New York, NY, 1886 (with special section for Delaware County
          page 303

22  Footnote 14

 23  Lytle, James R. 20th Century History of Delaware County, Ohio an

        Representative Citizens
,  Biographical Publishing, Chicago, IL, 1908, page

 24  Footnote 5

“Hosea W. Alexander.” U.S. Civil War Soldiers, 1861-1865, ancestry.com

26  “Hosea Alexander.” U.S., Returns from Military Posts, 1806-1916,

 27  “Fort Douglas, Utah.” wikipedia.com

28  “Department of the Platte.” wikipedia.com

 29  Footnote 25

30  “Hosea Alexander.” Delawareohiohistory.com/Police/list_bio.htm (online)

“Hosea W. Alexander.” Civil war Pension Index: General Index to Pension
       Files, 1861-1934
.   ancestry.com

 32  “Hosea W Alexander.” 1890 Veterans Schedules, ancestry.com


33  Footnote 21, page 324

Footnote 1

35  “Finally Answered.” The Herald, Delaware, OH, Thursday, June 18, 1898,
       page 3

 36  Footnote 1


38  “Hosea W. Alexander.” Headstones Provided for Deceased Union Civil War
        Veterans, 1879-1903
, search.ancestry.com

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