The five Croy boys who fought together on the Western Theatre received new orders. After taking Missionary Ridge in Tennessee and securing the supply lines and strategic placement of Chattanooga, the 92nd with Robert, William, Duncan, and David Croy moved south with Sherman. Having completed the three-year obligation to serve, the 36th was due to disband. They moved north, returning to Ohio.
The Union desperately needed these volunteers to reenlist. They were transported to Columbus where Governor John Broughin garlanded them with acclaim. He also explained an incentive plan. If a significant percent of the regiment reenlisted, they would be honored with the title of “veteran” for their regiment and each man reenlisting would receive a $100 bonus. They squeaked by with the required percentage. On February 15, 1864 329 men were sworn into the 36th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry. Among them was Greer Croy.
As part of the “negotiations,” the 36th received two out of the three things they requested. They would receive a 30-day leave to rest and visit family. They would not receive the Spencer repeating rifles they had seen in use in Tennessee. They would be transferred to serve under George Crook, now Brigadier General of the Kanawha Division of West Virginia.
When Greer Croy arrived home for his thirty days of recuperation in March of 1864, he was greeted by a proud father, relieved and still anxious mother, and two awed brothers, all of them bursting with their own questions. By the time Greer left to join Crook in West Virginia on March 29, 1864, his presence had convinced the last two brothers that they could wait no longer. Well, maybe he had only convinced Calvin. Calvin was young and filled with stories of adventure, and he turned eighteen years of age on May 13th. A regiment formed in that month, but mother Margaret would not send another boy off alone.
On May 2, 1864, Calvin and Nathan Croy, 20 years of age, joined the newly forming 148th OVI for a 100 day term.[i]Their service began in disaster. Barely out of Ohio, the train carrying the boys crashed. It killed a local boy in the regiment and injuring many. Calvin and Nathan went on to Washington, D.C. to man the trenches protecting the Capital. They were mustered out on September 14, 1864. Later Calvin would join his brothers in the 92nd marching through the Carolinas. But for one hundred days all seven of Margaret and Jacob’s boys were in the Civil War together.
At the same time, Crook and Greer’s 36th had received orders to destroy the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. Traveling light, living off the land, with orders to do no “indiscriminate marauding,” they marched through rain and mud along the Kanawha River, disrupting supply flow and creating havoc for the Confederacy. With the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain in Virginia, they accomplished the shut down that railroad and moved up the Shenandoah Valley.
Lacking supplies and equipment while battling heat, fatigue, and the guerilla tactics of the Rebels, they lingered on the verge of collapse. Then, in August of 1864, Major General Philip Sheridan arrived with 35, 000 troops. They rallied.
The culminating battle came at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. Thinking they now dominated the valley and the front, Sheridan had moved out to focus on Lee. But Major General Early of the Confederacy surprised the Union forces, causing general panic. The 36th held the line, and Sheridan, with word of the danger, returned to rally the troops. Many depict the moment as the now famous, if somewhat overly dramatic, “Sheridan’s Ride.”
There were 5,700 casualties at Cedar Creek with 554 killed. Greer Croy suffered his third and final wound of the war. He was mustered out to go home on March 18, 1865 with a surgeon’s certificate of disability.
Note: For further information http://www.ohiocivilwar.com (regiment timelines and other interesting facts) http://www.ohiocivilwar150.org/omeka/ (flags of regiments.) http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com (excellent outline of battles, regiments, etc.) and Kenneth P. Werrell, Crook’s Regulars: the 36th Ohio in the War of Rebellion (Christianburg, Virginia, KPW, 2012)
[i] NARA. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 (Ancestry.com) T288_105, also Martin R. Andrews, edited and compiled, History of Marietta and Washington county, Ohio and representative citizens, Vol. 1 (Biographical Pub. Co., Chicago, 1902) pg 755-756 https://openlibrary.org/books/OL6573096M (Includes interesting accounts of each Ohio regiments service from the perspective of the late 1800’s.)