by S. E. Williams
On May 22, 1863 the 48th Ohio along with numerous other regiments charged the Confederate works at Vicksburg. On that day Ike Carman, who had only recently been promoted to Corporal on May first, earned a Congressional Medal of Honor. This charge was the sort of event that burns itself into the minds of those who survive it. The simple, mater-of-fact description of the charge in the regimental history makes clear that the entire regiment acting as a unit made a heroic effort against overwhelming odds. In the account Ike Carman is conspicuously mentioned in a book which otherwise never speaks of individual enlisted men outside of casualty lists.
"May 22d, orders were issued for a general assault along the lines at 11 o'clock A. M. The echo of the signal-gun had scarcely died away, when our brigade was ordered forward to take the fort in our front, situated on a hill, in an angle of their entrenchment's, where their guns commanded every approach. Down the ravine we started on double-quick, checking our speed for a moment in a deep gully, to reform our line before facing the fort, whose incessant fire shook the ground at every discharge. Then on we went, up the hill, through the brush and undergrowth, but did not check our speed until the right of the Regiment, in conjunction with the left of the 77th Illinois, reached the fort. Leaping into the ditch, and climbing the parapet, the colors of the 48th Ohio and 77th Illinois were planted on the fort. The rebel gunners surrendered and were hurried to the rear. During this charge Major Moats was mortally wounded in the knee.
We were now exposed to an enfilading fire from the right and left, which was thinning our ranks at a fearful rate. We were left there to contend against great odds, without any assistance whatever. At 4 P. M. the rebels massed their troops on our front, and attacked us with great fury, and re-took the fort, capturing the colors and fifty men of the 77th Ills. Ike Carmin, one of our color guards, with a bayonet-wound in the leg, clung to our flag and saved it from sharing the same fate. This was the signal for a second attack on both sides. Another charge was ordered all along the line. It was a glorious sight to see our troops advancing in plain view over the hills, to our assistance. But as soon as they got within range of the rebel fire, they were mown down and almost annihilated. So destructive was the concentrated fire of the enemy, that not a single man of those sent to reinforce us reached our line. In the meantime, a few spades and shovels had been brought up, with which the Regiment hastily threw up rude entrenchment's, from which they kept up an unceasing fire until dark, when the firing ceased and all became quiet. We remained on the battlefield until the town clock in Vicksburg struck the hour of 10 P. M., when we were ordered to retreat, which we accomplished without being discovered by the enemy. Before the engagement commenced, stretcher-bearers were detailed to carry the wounded of the Regiment off the battle-field. They succeeded in removing all the wounded to the rear.
When we retreated we attempted to carry off our dead, but on account of the darkness and the rugged nature of the locality, we had to abandon the undertaking, and leave them where they fell."
From Corporal Carman's military record we can add that he was "Wounded, -- severely below knee by bayonet" during this action. Isaac Carman's Medal of Honor citation states that he "Saved his regimental flag; also seized and threw a shell, with burning fuse, from among his comrades" His military record states the Medal of honor, awarded for gallantry at Vicksburg, Miss May 22, 1863 was received Feb. 25, 1895.
Isaac Carman was a 20 year-old farmer when he was enlisted as a private on September 9, 1861 by Job Parker into what became Company A of the 48th Ohio. He was from near New Lexington Ohio (aka Highland Ohio in Highland County) and was born in Monmouth County, New Jersey. He was 5 feet 10 inches tall with Black hair and hazel eyes.
Corporal Carman's military record states that he was "engaged at Shiloh, Holly Springs, Corinth, Chickasaw Bluffs, Post [of] Arkansas, Fort Pemberton, where serving on Gunboat Chillicothe, Port Gibson, Champion Hills, Wounded at Vicksburg May 22, 1863." He was taken prisoner April 8, 1864 at loss at Mansfield and exchanged Nov. 3, 1864 and join regiment at Nachez Miss. During Nov. & Dec. 1864 he was sent to Ohio to be discharged by reason of expiration of term of service. The Army charged him $0.87 for a cartridge box, belt-plate and gun sling he had lost and mustered him out Dec. 1, 1864. He is reported buried at Washington Courthouse, Ohio.
Most of his service, including his time as a prisoner, was served with the majority of the men of the regiment but from Jan. 23, 1863 to April 18, 1863 he was detached for service on the Gunboat Chillicothe. Isaac Carman's great contribution to his comrades at arms was during the bloody charge at Vicksburg where he stood out even in an outstanding regiment.
Isaac Harrison Carman, by Dan Carman, from the Carman Family History website
Corporal Isaac Carmen, from Ohio's Medal of Honor Recipients