Imagine your 16-year-old son telling you that he is going to war. He can stand aside no longer, not while his brother fights in a war consuming the Nation. What do you say or do? If you are Jacob and Margaret Croy, it seems, you send your eldest son along to protect him. You are family. Duncan Croy, age 16, signed up for the war on the same day as his brother Robert, age 28. They volunteered for a three-year term in the 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company G, on August 5, 1862. Greer gave his age as 18. All death, census, and supporting data show his age to be sixteen at the time.[i] Robert, who would muster out as corporal, now had three children between the ages of six and two.
Now imagine these two are your brothers who are joining with another brother already serving in this historic conflict. Do you stay behind? You are young, idealistic, and you are family. William Croy, aged 25, enlisted with the same company in the 92nd only four days later, August 9, 1862. Like brothers Robert and Greer, he would muster out as a corporal. David Croy joined, at 20 years of age, on August 15, 1862. Within a ten-day period, they had all joined the war. Now only Calvin and Nathan stayed home to help their parents and watch after the families of William and Robert. [ii]
The 92nd proceeded to Gallipolis, Ohio for training with Austrian rifled muskets. By October they moved into the Kanawha Valley and into the brigade of General George Crook. With him was Greer Croy, serving in the 36th OVI.
Now the story of five brothers joins, briefly and dramatically. All five brothers now were serving in the war under the same General but in different regiments. They were dispatched by Ohio River transport to Nashville, Tennessee and then on to Carthage. In the two months spent in Carthage, they buried more than 90 men to disease.
In June they headed through endless rain to Big Springs, Tennessee. Here General John Turchin took command. A colorful and portly immigrant from Hungary, he would lead the brothers successfully through the next infamous campaign. First, though he would secure “green corn, blackberries, and fresh vegetables, speedily [eradicate] all traces of scurvy and disease contracted at Carthage…” [iii] His wife, Nadine, who followed him in battle, supported his efforts.
By September of 1863 the Army of the Cumberland had arrived in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The battles along the Georgia/Tennessee line loomed before them, ones that would tip the scale of the war.
Note: Copyright free photos from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs www.loc.gov/pictures
Next: the 36th OVI and the 92nd OVI in the Battle of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge.