Oscar Kelton, 1st LT Company A, 95th Ohio Infantry, USA

Photo of Oscar Kelton, 95th OH Infantry, taken in 1863. Oscar is sitting in a chair in his military uniform looking straight ahead.
Photograph of Oscar Kelton taken in 1863

Oscar Dwight Kelton was born on September 3, 1843 to Fernando and Sophia Kelton. Oscar grew up in a fervent abolitionist home in Columbus, Ohio. His family used their home as a stop on the Underground Railroad to aid formerly enslaved people on their journey to freedom. Oscar was the first man to enlist in Company A of the 95th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He enlisted as a private and was quickly promoted to Orderly Sergeant.

The 95th Ohio Infantry was organized at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio and mustered in for three years’ service on August 19, 1862, under the command of Colonel William Linn McMillen. The regiment was engaged at the Battle of Richmond in Kentucky where most of them were captured and later paroled. Oscar was not at this battle as he was assigned to detached duty at that time. The regiment was later engaged in the Vicksburg Campaign throughout 1863. They fought not far from the Natchez Trace during the Battle of Jackson, MS on May 13, 1863.

After the fall of Vicksburg, the 95th Ohio was transferred north to Memphis, TN in which they joined the Sturgis’ expedition that ended in disaster for the Federal army at the Battle of Brices Cross Roads on June 10, 1864.

During the battle of Brices Cross Roads near Tishomingo Creek Oscar Kelton was killed in action while the rest of the federal army retreated back to Memphis. On June 15th, five days after the battle, the Kelton family received a telegram that no family wanted to receive. It was sent by one of Oscar’s comrades and read “Oscar D Kelton was killed n battle near Corinth last friday his body is in the hands of the enemy...”

Two years later in 1866 Fernando Kelton, Oscar’s father traveled to the Brices Cross Roads battlefield to find his son’s remains and transport him home to Columbus, OH. Fernando was able to find Oscar’s remains with the help of a local woman and Oscar was returned to his family in Ohio on May 7, 1866 and was buried in the family plot at the Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, OH.

Last updated: July 28, 2020

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