Things you stumble upon…

A few years ago, I went to Sunbury Ohio (jut north of Columbus) for a horse show. My wife rides, and was in the regional finals.

While there, I had some free time, and took a morning to explore the local connections with General Rosecrans.

William Starke Rosecrans was born on September 6th, 1819, in Delaware County, Ohio. His father’s farm was on Little Taylor Run. The House is long gone. We know the rest of the story: West Point, army officer, Mexican War, Inventor, and then Civil War General. Had circumstances been even slightly different at Chickamauga, it is possible that schools would teach about the Rosecrans administration instead of the Grant or Garfield presidencies.

Postwar, after a stint as Ambassador to Mexico (From which Grant removed him in 1869) Rosecrans was most famous for his time in the U.S. Congress, from 1880 to 1885, as a representative from California.

Rosecrans bought a ranch in California, in present-day Redondo Beach, and retired there in 1889 – he was also restored to the rank of Brigadier General, USA, and placed on the retired list at this time. He died there 10 years later, in 1898, and lay in state in Los Angeles.

In 1902, a joint session of congress voted to transport his body east, so he could be interred at Arlington.

No statue of Rosecrans exists today. The Society of the Army of the Cumberland memorialized General Thomas in Washington DC, and there was talk of a similar effort for Rosecrans, which came to naught. At Chickamauga, of course, no generals have statues; and Rosecrans’ other battlefields were not parks until later.

However, there is an interesting monument to his birthplace. I stumbled across a reference to it in the Sunbury public library, and promptly set out to locate the place. I found it along (fittingly enough) Rosecrans Road, marking the site of the original family farm. It was placed by the American Legion in 1940, with a rejuvenation in the past few years.

I attend a wargame convention at Columbus every year (Origins, for those of you who care) and try to make a point of visiting the General during my trip.

I wonder how many others have visited the site.


4 Responses to “Things you stumble upon…”

  1. David Woodbury Says:

    As you mentioned, there are no statues of Rosecrans (that I know of), but he is memorialized by the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery near San Diego, and by a busy street in Los Angeles County, Rosecrans Avenue.

  2. Kent Dorr Says:

    I have been to the site of the Rosecrans homestead. Its been a few years since my visit, but IIRC, what was left of the house was still standing but barely.

    Kent Dorr

  3. davidpowell334 Says:

    There is a small community here in Chicago – once a suburb, now more of a crossroads, some miles north of the city – that carries the name “Rosecrans.” Wikipedia claims it was named for the General, but I have never confirmed that indpendently.

    Dave Powell

  4. Polly Horn Says:

    What you all say was true. However members of the Big Walnut Area Historical Society are trying to right this wrong. We have formed the Rosecrans’ Command Headquarters for living history purposes and to erect an equestrian statue in honor of Major General W. S. Rosecrans. As of today we have raised a little over half of the $150,000 for the statue.

    Learn more about the man and the statue on our website at We hope to have the statue dedicated in 2013.
    Polly Horn

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