In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units.
In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.
Infantry regiments formed in Ohio became known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. In August 1862, the 103rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Cleveland, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years and consisted primarily of enlistees from Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Medina Counties, Ohio.
Upon organizing the regiment, officials quickly ordered the 103rd to Cinicinnati, Ohio to help defend this city from an anticipated Confederate attack by General Kirby Smith. The regiment took a defensive position at Covington, Kentucky and, on September 6, 1862, advanced to Fort Mitchel, Kentucky. Smith’s Confederates did not attack the Union forces in the vicinity of Cincinnati, and the Northerners engaged in a pursuit beginning on September 18. The 103rd marched towards Lexington, Kentucky, but after not catching the Rebels after three days, the regiment marched northward to Snow’s Pond, Kentucky. On October 6, the 103rd and the rest of its brigade began to seek out Rebel cavalry forces conducting raids in Kentucky. On October 21, the regiment entered Lexington. On October 29, the 103rd departed Lexington for Frankfort, Kentucky, where the regiment remained in camp until April 1863.
On April 5, 1863, the 103rd left Frankfort for Stamford, Kentucky, traveling via Nicholasville and Camp Dick Robinson. On this march, the regiment participated in several skirmishes with Confederate guerrillas. On April 25, a Union force, consisting of both infantry and cavalry began a pursuit of the guerrillas, traveling through Somerset and Mill Springs. On April 30, the Union cavalry attacked the guerrillas, driving them from the battlefield. The Northern infantry, including the 103rd, did not arrive at the scene of the engagement in time to participate. After this encounter, the Union force returned to the Cumberland River, establishing defensive positions on the river’s north bank. The 103rd took position at Stigall’s Ferry, and soon a Confederate force attacked with minimal casualties on either side.
On July 5, 1863, the 103rd with other forces advanced to Danville, Kentucky but soon withdrew to Hickman Bridge after reports that a Confederate force had gotten behind the Northern soldiers. The regiment quickly returned to Danville, where it joined the 23rd Corps. On August 18, 1863, the 23rd Corps and the 9th Corps, both under the command of Ambrose Burnside, began to advance towards Knoxville, Tennessee via Stamford, Crab Orchard, Burnside’s Point, Chitwood, Montgomery, Emery’s Iron Works, Lenoir, and Concord. As the Union soldiers approached Knoxville, the Confederates retreated. Riding railroad cars, the 103rd and other Union forces advanced to Henderson Station but soon retreated to Lickbrick Bridge after Rebels attacked the 100th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Greenville, Tennessee. The Union force soon advanced to Greenville, forcing the Confederates to withdraw to Jonesboro, Tennessee. Union cavalry and infantry followed in pursuit, but officials soon ordered the Northern troopers to return to Greenville. The men remained here a brief time and then fell back to Bull’s Gap. Starting on October 5, 1863, Union forces advanced towards Blue Springs. That day, the Northerners encountered a Confederate force nine miles from Blue Springs. Two companies of the 103rd engaged the enemy, losing three men killed, four wounded, and six captured. The companies retreated, but the Confederates also withdrew before additional Union reinforcements arrived. On October 11, the Northerners secured Blue Springs after a fierce engagement with the Confederates.
On November 4, 1863, officials ordered the 103rd to Knoxville to assist in the defense of this city against Confederate General James Longstreet’s army. On November 25, Confederates attacked six companies of the 103rd. A fierce engagement resulted, with the 103rd and reinforcements from the 65th Regiment Illinois Infantry and the 24th Regiment Kentucky Infantry driving the Southerners from the battlefield. The 103rd had approximately thirty-five men killed or wounded in this engagement. On December 2, Longstreet withdrew to Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. Union forces initiated a pursuit on December 7, 1863. Minor skirmishing occurred, but upon reaching Bear Station, the Northerners returned to Strawberry Plains, calling off the pursuit and settling into winter encampments.
On March 12, 1864, the 103rd was ordered to advance against the Confederates now located in northern Georgia. By March 18, the 103rd had advanced to Morristown, Tennessee, where Confederate forces attacked, driving the Northerners to Mossy Brick, where they remained until April 1, when the 103rd and the rest of the Union Army of the Ohio advanced to Bull’s Gap. A few days later, the army took railroad cars to London and then traveled on foot to Charleston. The 103rd, still part of the 23rd Corps, soon joined William T. Sherman’s advance towards Atlanta, Georgia. The army reached Resaca, Georgia on May 13, 1864, and on the next day the 23rd Corps assaulted the Confederate works. The Northerners drove the Rebels from the field and pursued them through Cassville, Georgia, Cartersville, Georgia, and across the Etowah River. In the Battle of Resaca, the 103rd lost approximately one-third of the regiment killed, wounded, captured, or missing. On June 2, the Northern army again assaulted the Confederates, forcing the Southerners to retreat that evening. In this engagement, the 103rd had nine or ten men killed or wounded. On June 10, the 103rd formed a skirmish line against the Confederates, prompting the Rebels to withdraw to Nares Creek, Georgia. The regiment lost three men killed and four or five soldiers gravely wounded. On July 8, the 103rd crossed the Chattahoochie River in advance of Sherman’s army. Facing no Confederate opposition, the regiment rested along the river for several days and then proceeded to advance with the rest of the army through Decatur, Georgia, reaching the outskirts of Atlanta on July 20.
During the siege of Atlanta, the 103rd remained in position. On July 28, Confederates wounded two members of the regiment and, on August 6, killed one more, while the 103rd supported a Northern charge. On August 28, the Union army began to advance southward, with the 103rd destroying railroad track near Rough and Ready, Georgia. The regiment then advanced to Jonesboro but failed to arrive in time to participate in the engagement there. In early September, officials ordered the 23rd Corps to Decatur, arriving there on September 8. During the Atlanta Campaign officers in the 103rd issued the following reports:
Report of Capt. Philip C. Hayes, One hundred and third Ohio Infantry, of operations May 14.
IN THE FIELD, NEAR BIG SHANTY, GA.,
June 14, 1864.
SIR: On the morning of the 14th of May, 1864, the One hundred and third regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 363 strong, commanded by Capt. W. W. Hutchinson, was ordered, with the Sixty-third Indiana, Twenty-fourth Kentucky, and Fifth Tennessee, to make an advance—the One hundred and third was on the right of the rear line. We marched out of the woods where we were encamped and came to an open field, on the opposite side of which was the enemy. We were made aware of the enemy's presence and whereabouts by his firing, which he began as soon as he saw us. This was about 12 m. As we came nearer the place where the enemy was posted, his firing became more violent and destructive, yet we preserved a good line and moved forward over this open field with coolness and determination. On the right of the enemy's position was a hill, behind which we were ordered to shelter ourselves until further orders. This we did, lying on our faces to avoid the shot and shell which whistled terribly over our heads. Our loss in coming over this open field consisted in that of Capt. J. T. Philpot killed with shell and 1 or 2 wounded. We lay under this hill about an hour, and were then ordered forward. This order the regiment obeyed unflinchingly, although under a withering fire. We passed two lines of the enemy's rifle-pits and here came upon the top of a hill, which was taken, with the enemy's rifles and cannon. Here we met with our severest loss, as the bullets, shell, grape, and canister fell around us thick as hail. Just as we got over the top of this hill Capt. Hutchinson was mortally wounded; he was borne off the field and died soon after. This left me in command. As soon as we came to the top of this hill we were in sight of the enemy, and began to open upon him with our musketry; the boys sheltering themselves as best they could, fought most vigorously for about two hours. At this time our ammunition gave out. This left us in a critical situation.
We managed to supply some of our men by rifling the cartridge-boxes of the dead and wounded; others were obliged to go unsupplied; yet we could not leave our position, for such all act would break our lines and might prove fatal to us. Hence I was under the necessity of keeping the regiment in this position for an hour or more under a terrible fire and without the means of returning it. At last the Fourth Corps came to our relief, and our regiment was withdrawn. We fell back in good order, and started for the rear to replenish our stock of ammunition.
Our loss in this engagement was 81–7 killed and 74 wounded. Several of the wounded have since died, but how many I know not.
I can say of the officers and men of the regiment that they all did nobly. Not a man or officer shrank from his duty, but each stood to his post unflinchingly. The two captains who were killed, fell manfully discharging the duties of their positions, each winning, by his heroic actions and noble death, glory unfading and a name that will never die.
Your obedient servant,
P. C. HAYES,
Capt., 103d Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Lieut. C. D. RHODES,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Second Brigade.
Report of Col. John S. Casement, One hundred and third Ohio Infantry, of operations May 15–July 7.
HDQRS. 103D REGT. OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY,
Camp on Cotton Creek, Ga., July 7, 1864.
CAPT.: In obedience to orders from brigade headquarters I have the honor to submit the following report of operations of this regiment, since the battle of Resaca, May 14, to present time:
Capt. Hayes, who was in command of the regiment from the 14th to the 21st, is now absent, sick, consequently I can give no detailed report of operations during that time. Suffice it to say the regiment was not engaged in any affairs resulting in casualties. I joined the regiment on the 21st of May, and was immediately announced as temporary commander of the Second Brigade, a position that I occupied until June 4. During that time the regiment was commanded by Lieut.-Col. Sterling, who is now acting assistant inspector-general on the staff of Brig.-Gen. Cox; the absence of any report from him precludes the possibility of giving a detailed account of the operations of the regiment for that space of time. During that time the regiment was actively employed in the various duties incident to the campaign, the most important of which was the burning (in conjunction with the Twenty-fourth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry) of the Etowah Iron-Works. Since June 4, the time I have been actually in command of the regiment, its duties have been arduous but not important; a slight skirmish at Noyes' Creek on the 21st and 22d, with a loss of 2 killed and 4 wounded, and one or two other slight skirmishes include all the fighting for the regiment up to the present time.
The conduct of the officers and men has been highly satisfactory to me.
Accompanying this report please find a complete list of casualties
from May 15 to July 7, the whole number being 2 killed and 16 wounded.*
I have the honor to remain, you obedient servant,
J. S. CASEMENT,
Col., Comdg. 103d Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Capt. C. D. RHODES,
A. A. G., 2d Brig., 3d Div., 23d Army Corps.
As Confederate General John Bell Hood launched an invasion of northern Georgia and Tennessee in autumn 1864, officials ordered the 103rd to Nashville, Tennessee, via Chattanooga. Before reaching Nashville, the regiment joined other Union forces at Pulaski, Tennessee and participated in the Battle of Spring Hill. While a Union division broke and ran during the Confederate attack, the 103rd and a Union artillery battery stood firm, succeeding in saving the day for the Northerners. By November 30, the 103rd had arrived at Franklin, but it did not take part in the Battle of Franklin. With the rest of the Union soldiers, the 103rd withdrew from Franklin to Nashville, escorting Confederate prisoners. Following the Battle of Nashville, the 103rd, on December 15, 1864, accompanied General George Thomas’s army in pursuit of the defeated Confederates.
In early 1865, officials ordered the 103rd and the rest of the 23rd Corps to Wilmington, North Carolina, with the soldiers arriving on February 24. The 23rd then traveled through Kingston, North Carolina and Goldsboro, North Carolina, where it joined General William T. Sherman’s army currently battling a Confederate force under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston. Upon reaching Raleigh, North Carolina on April 13, 1865, the 103rd remained in this city performing garrison duty. On June 10, the 103rd departed Raleigh for Cleveland, Ohio, which it reached on June 19. As the train carrying the 103rd descended the western side of the Allegheny Mountains, three cars fell down a steep embankment, killing three men and injuring numerous others. On June 22, 1865 the members of the 103rd mustered out of service..
During its term of service, the 103rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry lost thirty-nine men, including two officers, to wounds. An additional 109 soldiers, including three officers, died from disease or accidents.