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McCandliss, Robert Robinson (1863-1865) | Morse Department of Special Collections

Name: McCandliss, Robert Robinson (1863-1865)


Historical Note:

Born in Warren County, Ohio, Robert Robison McCandliss (1826-1908) was a Civil War surgeon who enlisted in the Union Army as a medical officer in 1862. He and his wife, nurse Priscilla McCandliss, rode with the 110th Ohio Volunteers. Captured during the Battle of Winchester, the pair were taken as prisoners.

After the Civil War, McCandliss and his family moved West. He established a medical career in Emporia, Kansas. By 1880, he owned a 9-acre farm in Lyon County.  McCandliss died 5 May 1908 and was buried in Emporia's Maplewood Memorial Lawn Cemetery, Lyon County, Kansas.

November, 1826 - Robert R. McCandliss is born in Warren County, Ohio. He later graduated from Miami Medical College in Cincinnati, Ohio.

December 17, 1835 - Priscilla Youart is born in Troy, New York.

December 29, 1852 - Priscilla and Robert R. McCandliss marry in Hillgrove, Ohio.

August 25, 1862 - Dr. McCandliss enlists in the Union Army as a medical officer. McCandliss is attached to the110th Ohio Volunteers.

May, 1863 - The 110th Ohio Volunteers moves to Washington City. Priscilla accompanies Dr. McCandliss as a nurse. Over the course of the war, the McCandlisses stay at several boarding houses and roadside inns along the routes utilized by the regiment.

May 1, 1863 - Upon the resignation of Surgeon Sumner Pixley, Dr. McCandliss is raised from the position of Assistant Surgeon.

May 6, 1863 - As there were no available rooms for rent, nearby, Dr. McCandliss spend the night in the ambulance with Kife and Foster.

May 7, 1863 - The 110th Ohio Volunteers is attacked by Bushwackers who continued to harass the line for several days.

June 4, 1863 - Dr. McCandliss is present at the first death of the regiment, Samuel Thompson of Camp D, at the makeshift hospital.

June 13,1863 - The regiment is attacked by Confederate forces a mile south of Metz

June 14,1863 - The regiment retreats to the main fortification during the Second Battle of Winchester in Virginia.

June 15,1863 - During the Second Battle of Winchester, the regimental commanders orders the medical staff to elicit an evacuation of the hospital from the fortification. The evacuation is interdicted when the enemy completely encircles the Union camp. The Confederates reportedly capture 4,000 prisoners, including 100 wounded prisoners of the 110th Ohio Regiment under the care of Dr. Robert McCandliss, his staff, his wife, and the doctor himself.

June 21,1863 - The wounded prisoners are moved from the makeshift hospital to nearby York Hospital.

July 8,1863 - The doctor and his accompaniment (including Priscilla, Frank Foster and Dr. Smith) are separated from the rest of the regiment and sent to Richmond for court martial.

July 11,1863 - After marching sixty miles in captivity, the axel on the ambulance breaks. The prisoners are, subsequently, put on a train for Richmond

July 12,1863 -  The prisoners arrive in Richmond at two o’clock in the morning. They are placed before the Provost Marshall for court martial by the Confederacy. After a brief hearing, the prisoners are placed on half-ration status and divided between the region’s rebel prisons. Dr. McCandliss is ordered remanded to the notorious Libby Prison. Priscilla is remanded to Castle Thunder Prison. The remainder of the prisoners are removed to Citizen’s Prison. Two weeks later Priscilla McCandliss is paroled.

July 19, 1863 - Dr. McCandlisss attends a sermon by Ebenezer Walker Brady of the 116th Ohio Volunteers. Around this time, the doctor assumes the duty of medical care for prisoners at Libby Prison.

August 1, 1863 - Rumors circulate that a prisoner exchange will take place the following week. The exchange does not materialize.

August 2 ,1863  - Dr. McCandliss is given extraordinary latitude of sitting on the rooftop of the prison, watching the activities of the James Cotton Mills and a procession of gunboats sailing the James River.                      

August 5, 1863 - Dr. Meaher and Henry Milles are noted as arriving at the prison from Winchester, Virginia.

August 17, 1863 - Along with the other prisoners, Dr. McCandliss has his remaining Union currency confiscated by prison officials.

August 21-25, 1863 - The prisoners learn of a prisoner exchange commission being discussed between the Union and Confederate armies.

September 12, 1863 - Dr. McCandliss notes at least eleven regiments of Confederate soldiers and artillery moving through the area.

September 13, 1863 - The prisoners learn of Union victories in Tennessee.

September 25, 1863 - The prisoners watched a large gallows being erected at Castle Thunder for the hanging of Union spy Spencer Kellogg Brown, son of the Kansas Osawatomie township founder, Orville Brown. After several previous successful intelligence and sabotage operations,  Brown was arrested, tried, and convicted in connection with the sinking of the ferry supplying Fort Hudson in Georgia.

September 27, 1863 - One of the doctor’s patients, prisoner William Mays, dies in Libby Prison Hospital, leaving behind a wife and two small children

September 28, 1863 - Details of the hanging of Spencer Kellogg Brown reaches the prisoners.

October 8, 1863 - The chaplains are removed from the Libby Prison populace and sent to Citizen’s Prison in Richmond, Virginia.

October 11, 1863 - Forty-three new prisoners arrive from Union General William Rosecrans’s army in which Dr. McCandliss discovers many friends.

October 16, 1863 - New rumors spread of a flag of truce and a prisoner exchange to be held in the near future.

October 20, 1863 - Dr. William P. Rucker escapes from prison.

October 31, 1863 - When some inmates are caught throwing items to passers-by outside the walls, prison official threaten to “nail up” the windows of the prison.

November 24, 1863 - Dr. McCandliss is released from Libby prison and conducted north.

December 2, 1863 - Dr. McCandliss arrives in Washington City. He witnesses the placement of the “God of Liberty” placed on the dome of the Capitol building.

June 25, 1865 - Upon mustering out from the Union Army as major surgeon of the 110thOhio Volunteers, Dr. and Mrs. McCandliss move to Savannah, Missouri.

1870 - The couple’s first child is born stillborn.

1871 - Dr. and Mrs. McCandliss move to Emporia, Kansas, where Priscilla gives birth to three boys, including Robert, Harry, and William.

1893 - The eldest McCandliss son, Robert E., dies of a brain tumor.

August 24, 1899 - Priscilla McCandliss dies in Emporia, Kansas.

May 5, 1908 - Dr. Robert McCandliss dies at home.

1901 - Harry McCandliss dies.

March 17, 1933 - William Burton McCandliss dies in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Sources: Sources outside the collection used in preparing the biographical note includes newspapers articles and internet records.  These items have been printed and placed in the box with the diary.
Note Author: Paul A. Thomsen





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