Bio Sketch: Howard Forrer (1841-1864), 63rd O.V.I. Civil War

Howard Forrer was born on November 11, 1841, in Dayton, Ohio, the youngest child (and only son, by the time of his birth) of Samuel Forrer (1793-1874) and Sarah Howard (1807-1887).[1]

Howard Forrer, undated

Howard Forrer, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 6, Folder 16)

Howard graduated in 1858 from Central High School in Dayton.[2] He was “an excellent scholar, and was always at the head of his classes, beloved by his teachers, and respected and honored by his classmates.”[3]

Although his career plan was to become a civil engineer (like his father), Howard accepted a position as an assistant teacher at the Second District School, which was located on Perry Street between First and Second, a couple of blocks from the Forrer family’s home at the southeast corner of First and Ludlow. Howard held this position from about 1860 until he joined the army in 1862.[4]

Howard Forrer, undated

Howard Forrer, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 6, Folder 16)

Apparently beginning in the late spring of 1862, Howard began participating in recruitment efforts for the 112th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in which he enlisted. In August, he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the 112th and went with the “Squirrel Hunters” to Kentucky during Kirby Smith’s invasion.[5]

In November 1862, the 112th regiment, which had not been filled, was consolidated with the 63rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiment. At that time, Howard was appointed Adjutant of the 63rd Ohio and served in that capacity thenceforth until July 1864.[6]

Howard Forrer in his Civil War uniform

Howard Forrer in his Civil War uniform

In May of 1864, the 63rd Ohio was assigned to Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. During the Battle of Atlanta, fought at Decatur, Georgia, on July 22, 1864, Howard was fatally shot in the neck and died almost instantly; he was 22 years old. [Howard died 148 years ago today.] Due to the ongoing battle, his body was not able to be recovered immediately. When his regiment returned the following day to retrieve his body, they found that he had already been buried by the locals near the spot where he had fallen, about 150-175 yards southwest of the county courthouse on the property of Benjamin F. Swanton.[7]

After receiving the horrific news of the death of his only son, Samuel Forrer began efforts to retrieve Howard’s body from Georgia. Due to the ongoing war and the condition of the roads in Georgia, this was not possible for more than a year after Howard’s death. In September 1865, Samuel finally received special permission from Major General George H. Thomas to disinter Howard’s body and have it brought to Dayton, provided this was done after October 15, and that the body be shipped in a metallic coffin.[8]

[For more on Howard’s Civil War service, see “A Tale of Two Howards” here on my blog.]

The remains of Howard Forrer finally returned to Dayton on November 13, 1865. He was buried on November 14, 1865, in Woodland Cemetery, in Dayton, Ohio.[9]

Howard Forrer's grave in Woodland Cemetery, Section 102

Howard Forrer’s grave in Woodland Cemetery, Section 102 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Forrer Genealogical Data, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 7:12, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio); Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 140. See also FPW, Series I: Samuel Forrer Family.

[2] Brief History of the Alumni of Central High School, Dayton, Ohio (Dayton, OH: Alumni Association of Central High School, 1887), vol. 1, 16.

[3] “Death of Adjutant Howard Forrer,” Dayton Daily Journal, 2 Aug. 1864, in Howard Forrer: Obituaries, FPW, 6:15.

[4] “Death of Adjutant Howard Forrer,” FPW, 6:15; Dayton City Directories, 1860-1863.

[5] “Death of Adjutant Howard Forrer,” FPW, 6:15; Sarah H. (Howard) Forrer to her daughters Mary FORRER (later Peirce) and Augusta (FORRER) Bruen, at Fort Hamilton, New York, 1862 (several letters), FPW, 4:5; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition.

[6] “Death of Adjutant Howard Forrer,” FPW, 6:15; American Civil War Soldiers (database), Ancestry Library Edition; “112th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry,” Ohio Civil War Central, accessed 19 Sept. 2011, http://ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=580.

[7] “63rd Ohio Infantry,” Wikipedia, accessed 19 Sept. 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/63rd_Ohio_Infantry; The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume 38, Part 3 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1891), 516-517; “Death of Adjutant Howard Forrer,” 1864, FPW, 6:15; Maps showing the location of the burial place of Howard Forrer, Howard Forrer: Documents concerning Army Career and Death, FPW, 6:12.

[8] A. C. Fenner to Samuel Forrer, 11 Jan. 1865, Howard Forrer: Documents concerning Army Career and Death, FPW, 6:12; J. G. Parkhurst to Samuel Forrer, 25 Sept. 1865, Howard Forrer: Documents concerning Army Career and Death, FPW, 6:12.

[9] “The Lamented Howard Forrer,” Dayton Daily Journal, 14 Nov. 1865; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Howard is buried in Section 102, Lot 1348.

6 responses to “Bio Sketch: Howard Forrer (1841-1864), 63rd O.V.I. Civil War

  1. Pingback: Bio Sketch: Sarah H. (Howard) Forrer (1807-1887), wife of Samuel Forrer | Glancing Backwards

  2. Pingback: Bio Sketch: Samuel Forrer (1793-1874), Miami-Erie Canal engineer | Glancing Backwards

  3. Pingback: Bio Sketch: Howard Forrer Peirce (1865-1899), prominent musician in Dayton, Ohio | Glancing Backwards

  4. Pingback: They all add up | Glancing Backwards

  5. This is a great post! My great-great-great-grandfather, Corp. Marcellus Sargent Roach, was also in the 63rd Ohio and was taken prisoner at this battle on July 22, 1864. Have you read ”
    The Colonel’s Diary: Journals Kept Before and During the Civil War by the Late Colonel Oscar L. Jackson…Sometime Commander of the 63rd Regiment O. V. I?”

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