Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge #67 in association with the Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley will recognize the Civil War service of Colonel Jess Hildebrand, 77th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with the dedication of a historical marker in his honor. Hildebrand was an early member of I.O.O.F. Lodge #67 and served as its Secretary. The dedication event will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 22, 2018, at the lodge hall, 161 Front Street, Marietta OH. The historic lodge hall is handicapped accessible and will be open to the public following this event and light refreshments will be served.
Jesse Hildebrand was born on May 29, 1800 to near Cold Springs, Pennsylvania. He moved with his family to Washington County, Ohio in 1814. Here he joined the local militia as a drummer boy. In 1828 he was commissioned to the State Militia where he subsequently rose to the rank of Major General. He was active in the community as operator of a livery and stagecoach service in Marietta and served as Washington County Sheriff in 1850-1852.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Hildebrand, age 61, and Benjamin D. Fearing organized the 77th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. In their first engagement Hildebrand commanded a brigade of the 53rd, 57th and 77th OVI. At dawn on April 6, 1862 near Shiloh Church, Tennessee, the brigade absorbed the first Confederate attacks of the Battle of Shiloh. Throughout the day Hildebrand rode on horseback at the front of the lines to rally his and other brigades. Outnumbered 4 to 1, Hildebrand’s line held for three hours until forced back to Pittsburg Landing. There, the brigade reformed to support a battery.
The 77th was held in reserve on April 7 when General Buell arrived to drive rebel forces from the field. On April 8 Hildebrand led the 77th to assess the Confederate retreat but was savagely driven back by cavalry under the command of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forest. This action is recognized as The Battle of Fallen Timbers and concluded the Battle of Shiloh. Union General Sherman later remarked: “Colonel Hildebrand was as cool as any man I ever saw”.
After Shiloh, the 77th was riddled by losses and assigned to guard prisoners of war at Alton, IL. There, Hildebrand died from pneumonia on April 18, 1862. He is buried in Mound Cemetery with his wife, Aesenath Perkins.
The purchase of the Colonel Jesse Hildebrand historical marker is made possible by a grants from I.O.O.F. Lodge #67 and the Marietta Community Foundation, including the J. Francis and Lillian Strecker Smith Fund, Karl D and Anna Schultheis Marsch Fund, Broughton-Sugden Fund, F. Buchanon, J.H. McCoy, H. Switzer and Mildren Fund, Betty Markell Hallock Memorial Fund, Ida P. Zimmer Fund, Barb and Jack Moberg Charitable Fund, Juhola Family Charitable Fund, Charles Jobbs Rhodes and Beulah Lee Rhodes Memorial Fund, Tony Popp Memorial Fund, Norman J. Murray Family Charitable Fund, Virginia K. Mayle and Peter Polites Family Charitable Fund, Glen “Pete” and Jean Thorne Memorial Fund, Frank and Virginia “Ginny” Amrine Memorial Fund, Walter E. Patton Memorial Fund, Joy Ray Fund, Bob and Marilyn Schafer Family Fund and general unrestricted donations.
The Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley meets on the third Thursday of January, March, May, July, September and November. Meetings are open to the public and there are no membership dues or assessments. Education programs and historic marker projects are funded by proceeds from field trips to sites related to American history. This year’s trip will feature Monticello, Gaines’s Mills and Cold Harbor Battlefields, Yorktown, Jamestown, Williamsburg and Staunton, Virginia on October 18-21, 2018.
The Civil War Round Table is affiliated with the Marietta Community Foundation. Donations to the Marietta Community Foundation on behalf of the Civil War Round Table of the Mid-Ohio Valley Fund are tax deductible.