: This photograph is a formal portrait of 2nd Lt. Henry O. Dwight of the 20th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company H. The clean-shaven young man is in his late teens or early twenties. Wearing his officer's uniform and sword, he stands slightly in front of a studio drapery and next to a small covered table. His right hand rests on the table, and with his left hand he holds his plumed hat.
Henry Otis Dwight (1843-1917) was born in Constantinople to Harrison G. Otis Dwight and Mary Lane Wright, who were American missionaries in Turkey. The younger Dwight was educated in Turkey but returned to the United States to attend college. He enrolled in Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, but in September 1861 he joined the 20th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. During the next four years his regiment participated in nearly every major battle in the Western Theater during the U.S. Civil War, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Raymond, Port Gibson, and Vicksburg, among others. The 20th Ohio also marched with Sherman through Georgia and South Carolina. Dwight enlisted as a private but was promoted successively to sergeant, second lieutenant, first lieutenant, and brevetted captain. He declined an appointment as a captain in the regular army and was mustered out on July 19, 1865, in Columbus, Ohio.
During his time with the 20th Ohio, Dwight created drawings of battles, camp life, and scenes from his unit's travels. He also wrote a partial narrative of his time in the Union Army. In 1864 the "New York Times" and "Harper's New Monthly Magazine" published his accounts of the Battle of Atlanta. Two decades later his account of the Battle of Raymond was published in the "New York Daily Tribune."
In May 1863, Dwight and other Union soldiers passed through Claiborne County, Mississippi, on their way to Port Gibson. During the journey Dwight made a sketch in his diary of nearby Windsor Plantation, a magnificent antebellum mansion. His sketch bears the caption "May 1st 1863. Residence Near Bruinsburg Miss." In February 1890 a fire destroyed the home, leaving only 23 stately columns to mark its site. Years later Dwight's diary and the sketch of Windsor Plantation were discovered in the Ohio State Archives, Columbus, Ohio. Before that discovery, all known renderings of Windsor Plantation had been based on oral descriptions. Dwight actually had seen the home, so his sketch has the authority of an eyewitness report.
Dwight returned to Constantinople in 1867 as a business agent for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. In March 1867 he married Mary Bliss, the daughter of an American missionary working in Turkey. In 1872 he began working as an editor in the board's publications' department. From the mid-1870s to early 1890s he was a correspondent in Constantinople for the "New York Daily Tribune." Dwight also wrote several books on Turkey and Turkish life. In 1880 Dwight was ordained a minister in the Congregational Church. He resigned his commission as a minister in 1901 and returned to the United States. In 1907 he became recording secretary of the American Bible Society, a post he held until his death on June 19, 1917, in Roselle, New Jersey.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL06951 Subjects
: Dwight, Henry Otis, 1843-1917; United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 20th (1861-1865); Portrait photography; Military officers; Military Ohio Places
: United States