James Patton was born on February 28, 1828 near Lexington in Clark Co., Kentucky. His mother Ann McCoy Patton brought him to Ohio in about 1835 after the death of his father Charles. He married Ruth Sinclair, the daugther of George Sinclair and Priscilla Gilbert, on November 7, 1852. They had 11 children, of whom 7 lived to be adults. At the time of the Civil War, they were living in New Vienna. Later, they moved to Highland.
James enrolled in the 175th OVI on September 6,1864 at Hillsboro, Ohio. (His nephew James H. Patton enrolled at the same date and placed.) The 175th was assigned garrison and railroad guarding duties in Tennessee, protecting the supply lines of General William Tecumseh Sherman, who had invaded Georgia. In November 1964 Confederate forces under John Bell Hood marched into Tennessee. The 175th OVI and several other Union forces retreated in great haste before the larger Confederate army, skirmishing and suffering casualties on the way. They finally make a stand at Franklin in an attempt to buy time while their valuable supply train was moved across a river.
On November 30, 1864 the Confederates attacked the Union entrenchments repeatedly, breaking the line, but at tremendous cost. Union reserves, among them the 175 OVI, helped beat back the Confederate breakthrough. Franklin was one of the bloodiest battles of the war. It is estimated that there were 9300 casualties among the 45,000 who fought on both sides, including 3800 killed or missing. The Confederates, who had stormed fortified positions across a broad open field, suffered the lion's share of the losses.
Although they retained the battle field, the Union force was not strong enough to face another onslaught. They retreated by night north to Nashville, where Hood and the Confederate army was decisively defeated on December 15, 1864. An account of the 175th OVI's service may be found on the internet at
James Patton was severely injured during the chaotic retreat from Franklin, and was partially paralyzed in his left hand for the rest of his life. His wife Ruth died on April 1, 1876. He died in Waitsburg, Washington, on January 5, 1909. Both Ruth and James are buried in the Auburn Cemetery near Highland, along with a few of their children and James' sister Margaret.