Lot 139

Civil War Manuscript Regarding Case of the Late 1st Lieut. R.C. O'Bryon, 5th O.V.C.
Report of Col. Thomas T. Heath, 5th Regt. O.V.C. (Ohio Volunteer Cavalry), Head Quarters, Huntsville, AL, 12 April 1864. 6pp, two folded sheets tied with ribbon. This is one of the bluntest letters we have seen. To Major R.R. Townes, AAG, Heath reports:

In obedience to the order referring the case of "late 1st Lieut. R. C. O'Bryon Co "B" 5th O.V.C." to me for "report and recommendations" - I have the honor to report.

I - Major John Henry 5th O.V.C. to whom the tender of resignation was made is now a prisoner of war.

II - It is believed that the endorsement of Major Henry was strictly true, but did not convey a tithe of the truth as known to himself - to every commissioned officer in the regiment....

III - The undersigned officially knew "1st Lieut. R.C. O'Bryon" from Sept 9th 1861 when he entered the service of the U.S. - He has positive knowledge that the most part of the time he was in the service, said "Lieut R.C. O'Bryon" had either "Gonnorrhea" or "Syphilis," that at one period he had both diseases at the same time. And that said "Lieut. R.C. O'Bryon" openly boasted before officers and enlisted men, of his having these diseases, and that such boasts were habitual with that officer.

IV -..."Lieut. O'Bryon" was not reported sick in the squadrons morning report, and was able to walk about camp, yet it is a truth that he repeatedly asked the subscriber to be relieved from doing duty with his squadron, always on the ground of physical disability arising from venereal disease, and that from that cause, or some other, he is positively known to have attempted to perform duty but once in several months, and in that instance the troops did not march five miles.
     While in the service "Lt. O'Bryon" never discharged a singe duty intelligently and faithfully, but in one instance when entrusted with care of enlistment papers, detachment rolls, certificates and accounts, for over three hundred men recruited in Ohio, he lost the whole, and was totally unable to give any account of his official business, whereby inten(?)iseable confusion, great loss and delay arose.
    ...The valor of "Lt. O'Bryon cannot be spoken of from experience, as he never was in battle or skirmish with his squadron....
     When "Lt. R.C. O'Bryon" left the regiment, after dismissal he disposed of a horse the property of the U.S. worth $150.00 and appropriated the same to his own use.

V - Of the twenty two names subscribed to the paper requesting that said "Lt. O'Bryon be honorably reinstated" - The first, resigned after the Gov. of Ohio had recommended him to be dismissed for the good of the service," and which he was under the gravest charges. Three others were "dishonorably dismissed" - three were not officers at all. The last four had been and then were on detached service for more than a year and had not been associated with "Lt. O'Bryon."
     Of the remainder, most of the officers have personally assured me that they did not read the paper they signed, but that it was read to them and purported to be a request that favor be shown "Lt. O'Bryon" and through sympathy they signed the paper....

I am induced to recommend most respectfully, that the status of "Lt. R.C. O'Bryon" late of this regiment, remain unchanged so far as to prohibit his return to this regiment. My duty to myself, my brother officers, and the service, demand that the plain truth be set forth without varnish....

And set it out without varnish Colonel Heath did!
Est $200 - $400