The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.sculpt
    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.

Bringing the Civil War to life 2009.05.20

Written by David Green.


What was it that called the men of Ohio to war in 1860? How could an American take up arms to shoot at a fellow U.S. citizen?

It wasn’t slavery, said a reënactor from the Ohio 21st, not in this part of the country. civil.war.in_woods.jpg

“Slavery was just a small part of it. We never saw slavery until we went into Tennessee. We Ohioans didn’t care that much about slavery. We fought to keep the Union in one piece.”

That was the opinion of a Union officer who spoke to Fayette fifth and six grade students at the Opera House May 8.

When a Confederate soldier took his turn on the stage, he explained the interference the south was receiving from Washington, D.C.

“I’ll tell you why we fought,” he said, pointing to the man in the blue uniform. “He invaded my country. He came into Tennessee. He was from the United States of America. The people from the north came down to my country to tell me how to live.”

“This is our country and you don’t have the right to leave it,” the Union officer fired back. “It was our patriotic duty to keep the country together.”

Ohio contributed the third highest number of soldiers to the Union cause, and that includes some women who dressed as men in order to fight. Several underage boys wrote the number 18 on a slip of paper and put it in their shoe. Then, when asked, they could honestly say they were “over 18.”

The Ohio 21st was a diverse group, drawing citizen soldiers from the Michigan border down through Defiance and Findlay.

They fought in Kentucky and Tennessee and down into Alabama. Then they traveled back to Tennessee, and once more into Alabama before joining Sherman’s grand march to the sea through Georgia. They were serving in North Carolina when the war ended.civil.war.tour.jpg

“The 21st walked a lot of miles up and down some pretty big hills. You have to pack pretty light to climb those hills. We had wagons with supplies until the Johnnies burned them.”

They also lost a lot of pack horses and soon everything had to be carried by back in a knapsack. A smaller haversack contained three to five days of food. Without refrigeration, bad food led to sickness and death for many soldiers.

Wool jacket and pants, along with long underwear, were worn year around. Clothing generally lasted six months before it had to be replaced.

Leather shoes included leather soles that often wore out in three months time. A wide-brimmed hat kept sun off the neck and rain out of the face.

The soldiers pointed out the differences in the uniforms of the North and the South, and also one similarity: the pants. Confederate soldiers took Union pants while on patrol or from captured supply trains.

“They’re better than mine,” the Confederate soldier explained.

Students finished the session by asking some questions.

• What did you do around the campfire?

“You don’t want to know. We did a lot of singing and letter writing.”

• When you ran out of ammunition, what would you do?


“A supply train was at the back and a runner would be sent to the rear. In one battle, the runner went back and the train was gone. We started searching the dead and wounded for ammunition.”

• Was there ever a shortage of food?

“Often, especially in the south. Our supply trains were weaker there. We ate hard tack and we were lucky to have that. If we were lucky, there would be weevils in the food. Insects were eaten sometimes, especially by the South near the end of the war.”

The Confederate officer told students what a soldier once wrote home in a letter: War is months and months of boredom punctuated by moments of hell.

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