Bill Walker will make a presentation on his ancestor William Parker Johnson, a Athens County physician, who enlisted and served as a surgeon in the 18th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Dr. Walker served from September 24,1861 until his mustering out on the expiration of his term on November 9, 1864. The 18th OVI was raised in Athens County, and appears to be the only regiment actually raised in our county, though Athens County men served in a number of other regiments.
During the December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863 Battle of Stones River, which sustained the highest percentage of casualties of any Civil War battle, he served as regimental, brigade and hospital surgeon receiving recognition for his work. On December 31 his field hospital received artillery shelling and a direct attack by rebel forces overrunning McCook’s corps. This necessitated the field hospital’s immediate evacuation.
The trauma of the war and his family’s situation at home during the war served as the foundation for his humanitarian medical work after the war in Athens and Indianapolis. Copies of Johnson’s letters are in the possession of the Ohio University Library Archives and are a part of the permanent archival collection at the Stones River National Battlefield.