I am in Chillicothe, Ohio, on business as I write this. I work for a paper company with a large paper mill here in town. This morning before work I had a chance to drive around for a while in the old veterans section in Grandview Cemetery. Among the hundreds of vets’ graves is Civil War general Joshua Sill, a Federal commander in the western armies. There are dozens of Gettysburg veterans buried here, predominantly men who served in the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
The 73rd OVI was primarily raised in Ross County and the rural region surrounding Chillicothe. Among its ranks at Gettysburg was George Nixon III, a heavily bearded middle-aged farmer who left behind a wife and a large brood of kids to enlist in the army. Nixon, a native of Pennsylvania, was severely wounded at Gettysburg on July 2 in skirmishing west of Emmitsburg Road. After dark, a young German-born musician named Richard Enderlin scampered out into no man’s land and dragged Nixon back to Union lines, an act that would win the 20-year-old Sergeant Enderlin the Medal of Honor years later. However, Chillicothe farmer George Nixon would never see his kids again, perishing a few days later from his wounds.
George Nixon of the 73rd OVI is buried in the Ohio section of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. In the late 1950s, his great-grandson Dick paid a visit to the gravesite. Vice-President Nixon laid a wreath at his ancestor’s marker.
Chillicothe’s cemeteries have quite a few Nixons among the tombstones – some of which I presume from the birthdates were George’s children or other relatives. He lies on a far-off Pennsylvania hilltop, far from his loved ones. Rest in Peace, George Nixon and all of my fellow Buckeyes who served their country.
Richard Enderlin, by the way, was honored with his image on the memorial Civil War statue that currently stands on the median strip on North Paint Street, a prominent location near the city park. He died February 11, 1930, at the age of 87 and is buried in Grandview Cemetery, the only MOH winner from Chillicothe during the Civil War.