Raising The Sultana

Pvt. John Franklin Chenoweth, Oldest Son Never Returned Home

Sylvia Clemons | 05 April at 09:40 | Comment(s)
Pvt. John Franklin Chenoweth was born on January 5, 1844.  He was the eldest son of Stephen K. Chenoweth  and Casandra Perfect.  His father came to Henry County from Ohio and his mother came, with her parents, from Marion County, West Virginia. They both settled in Prairie Township, Henry County, and were married on February 11, 1841, the ceremony being performed by William H. Williams, a Justice of the Peace. They had five children, two boys and three girls.

When the Civil War began, John Chenoweth only 17 years old enlisted in Company F, 57th Indiana infantry on November 4, 1861 at Middleton, Indiana.  He was mustered in as a private to the Company F, 57th Indiana Infantry, November 18, 1861. He was a faithful soldier, veteranized with the regiment and came home on veteran furlough, this being his first visit to his parents, at the old home, since his enlistment in the army. He was slightly wounded in the Atlanta Campaign.

He fought at Shiloh, Corinth, Stone River and Mission Ridge. In battles at Stone Face and Resaca, Georgia, he was twice wounded.
At the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, November 30, 1864, he was captured and taken to Cahaha Prison, Alabama, where he remained a prisoner until March, 1865, when he was released. With others of his comrades, he was sent to Vicksburg, Mississippi, Surviving this and being freed at war's end, he found himself aboard the overloaded steamship Sultana with 2,000 other veterans returning home up the Mississippi River. At 2 o'clock on the morning of April 26th, the boiler of the ship exploded, killing 1,500 passengers, including the unfortunate John. This stands today as the worst maritime disaster in U. S. history.