By Ed Runyan
In the fall of 1861 — 151 years ago and several months after the start of the Civil War — men from Trumbull County and elsewhere in Northeast Ohio as young as 16 came to Warren to train and to serve in the 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Regiment.
Some 800 men spent three months in training at the Oak Grove Fairgrounds, which was on Elm Road on the site of the present-day Warren G. Harding High School.
The training camp was called Camp Hutchins in honor of the congressman who served the area, John Hutchins, a Warren attorney.
On Monday, historian Wendell Lauth, students from the high school, Civil War re-enactors and others assembled under a mighty oak that stood in 1861. They commemorated the site by unveiling a marker near that oak tree and the entrance to the school.
Carol Goddard, chaplain of the Women’s Relief Corps of West Farmington, a Civil War-era organization, commented that the regiment was part of that “most horrendous war,” and the marker is “a way to mark all that this country has endured and yet survived.”
The marker honors Hutchins as an “ardent anti-slavery man and Underground Railroad agent” and tells how the community sent off the regiment with “waving flags, campfires, thronged barracks and soldiers at drill.”
Lauth noted that the last Trumbull County Civil War veteran died in the 1940s, but several powerful reminders remain, such as the oak tree.
And until the new high school was built several years ago, one of the barracks from the camp and fairgrounds still remained, Lauth said. The barracks were dismantled and stored away.
Dr. Kenneth Lawrence of Orwell, whose ancestors included nine men who trained at Fort Hutchins, talked of the positive way that the regiment was received by the people of Warren.
“They loved being in Warren because they were supported so much,” Dr. Lawrence said of the regiment. “They enjoyed their time here.”
In January 1862, they moved to Camp Dennison near Cincinnati for further instruction and eventually received their horses in Wheeling, W.Va., and began their service to the Union Army in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.
The regiment eventually played an important role in the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee.
The Harding High School Band and Harding High School Chorus performed the national anthem and other music.