b. 1840 d. 1921
Rudolph was a 21-year-old farmer in Hiram when he enlisted as a private in June 1861 for three years in Co. A of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
During the war, he kept up a steady correspondence with his sweetheart, Clara Strong.
Rudolph and the 23rd Ohio spent most of its time in western Virginia (the part that became West Virginia), keeping the area free of Confederate forces and southern sympathizers. In late summer of 1862, the 23rd was moved eastward and participated in the Battle of South Mountain and then, in September, the bloody conflict at Antietam.
Rudolph’s letters to Clara describe how he felt about being shot at, trying to kill other human beings, and seeing his comrades killed and wounded.
After Antietam, Rudolph and the 23rd returned to West Virginia. He spent much of the rest of the war serving as a company clerk there and in Gallipolis, Ohio.
Upon the expiration of his enlistment, he returned to Hiram and married Clara. He worked as a farmer in the Hiram area and as a postal employee in Cleveland.
Rudolph died in 1921 and is buried in West Park Cemetery in Garrettsville, Ohio.
James Rudolph joined the 23rd Ohio Infantry and, except for a bloody excursion to South Mountain and Antietam, spent most of the war in West Virginia. Two future presidents came out of the 23rd: William McKinley and Rutherford B. Hayes. After the war, Rudolph married Clara Strong. Photos courtesy of Hiram College Special Collections Department.