A Missouri Family in the Civil War.
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A Small Biography of
J.R. Bing
Uniforms and Equipment
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Joining Up

The 9th Missouri Regiment (Federal).
This is part of the 9th Regiment, Missouri (Union). Bing's unit, the 29th Missouri, may have looked similar when they mustered into service, surrounded by boys who wished they were old enough to join too.

The Civil War was over a year old when Jonathan Bing joined the Union Army on August 2, 1862. By then neither the North or South thought they would have a quick and glorious victory. Several hard, bloody battles had already been fought and both sides were preparing for a long war. We don't know why Bing joined. But he had lived for some time in Missouri and Kansas, where the conflict over slavery had started many years before the Civil War began. The issues in the west were stark: should Kansas should be admitted into the United States as slave or free state? Bing's two brothers-in-law joined the Confederate Army and his father-in-law was a member of the Missouri Home Guard, a pro-southern organization, until he was sickened with cancer of the eye.

Bing signed up for a three year term in the Army. At that time volunteers enlisted as a group. The state governor would appoint a man of local importance as colonel. The colonel would appoint his junior officers and they would convince men from the area to join the companies that made up the new regiment. The new companies would be "mustered" into the Federal army, with everyone sworn in at once. Bing's company: Company H, Twenty-Ninth Infantry, Missouri Volunteers, commanded by Col. John S. Cavender, was mustered into the Army of Sept. 18, 1862. Bing's rank was corporal.

At age 32, Bing was older and had more skills and experience than most soldiers. The average soldier was 25 years old and 48 percent of the soldiers had been farmers. Bing was born in Gallia, Ohio on April 7, 1828. When he left school he went to Cincinnati, Ohio and served a five year apprenticeship where he learned the shipbuilding and carpentry trade. Then he moved from town to town working as a building contractor. He also worked for a while as master mechanic on a steamboat. In 1860 he moved to Leavenworth, Kansas. Later he moved back across the Missouri River to settle in Cameron, Missouri. He had married Louisa Jane Smith and they had one daughter, Ella, when Bing enlisted. All of Bing's moving around and city living probably toughened him and helped him survive as a new soldier. Training camps were swept with deadly epidemics of childhood diseases such as measles and mumps. The young soldiers, fresh from the farm, had never been exposed to these diseases and they died in great numbers. As far as we know Bing did not get sick while in training. Steamships on the Ohio.

Soldiers in the Mississippi campaign frequently traveled by steamship.

After forming, the regiment moved to Cape Girardeau, Missouri for training. They stayed at Cape Girardeau until Nov. 10, 1862, when they marched to Patterson, Missouri, and then marched back on Nov. 25. Then they boarded steamers and traveled south to Helena, Arkansas, where the regiment was assigned to Gen. Francis Blair's brigade.