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10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry


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.

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.

Cavalry regiments established in Ohio were known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Regiments formed in Ohio served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. In October 1862, the 10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry began to organize at Camp Taylor at Cleveland, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve for three years. Despite organizing in October 1862, the regiment was not fully equipped with arms and horses until the spring of 1863. At this time, the 10th departed Camp Taylor for Nashville, Tennessee, where the command entered camp near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

At Murfreesboro, the 10th participated in periodic expeditions and picket duty. In late June 1863, the regiment embarked upon the Union's Army of the Cumberland's Tullahoma Campaign (June 24-July 3, 1863), a Northern advance through southern Tennessee and northern Alabama. The 10th skirmished routinely with Confederate cavalry during the campaign. The regiment remained at Huntsville, Alabama and Shelbyville, Tennessee until early September 1863, when the command joined the Union's Army of the Cumberland's advance against the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee at Chickamauga, Georgia. At the Battle of Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863), the 10th did not engage the enemy, instead guarding communication lines. Following this Northern defeat, the Army of the Cumberland withdrew to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the Army of Tennessee besieged the Northern force.

The 10th Ohio did not remain at Chattanooga during the siege, with officials ordering the regiment into the Sequatchie Valley to attack Confederate guerrillas under the command of Champ Ferguson. While performing this duty, some of the 10th accompanied a portion of the 15th Regiment Pennsylvania Cavalry into eastern Tennessee. On this expedition, which lasted approximately three months, the Northerners battled regularly with Confederate forces. In one engagement, the command captured Governor Zebulon Vance of North Carolina, who had led five hundred enemy soldiers against the Union force. While this detachment from the 10th operated in eastern Tennessee, the remainder of the regiment, following the successful conclusion of the Siege of Chattanooga for the Union, moved into northern Georgia, entering camp first at Rossville, before moving to Bridgeport, Alabama.

The 10th Ohio reunited at Bridgeport in early 1864. In the spring of 1864, the organization traveled to Lavergne, Tennessee, where, after one month of rest, the command received fresh horses. The 10th returned to the front at Ringgold, Georgia, where officials placed the regiment in the Second Brigade, Third Division Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Cumberland.

In early May 1864, the 10th embarked upon Union General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The goal of this expedition was for Northern forces to capture the important manufacturing center of Atlanta, Georgia. The regiment fought in many of the largest engagements of the campaign, including the Battles of Resaca, Marietta, and Lovejoy's Station. The 10th also participated in several raids in the rear of Atlanta, cutting supply and communication networks into the city. With the Union's seizure of Atlanta on September 2, 1864, the regiment entered camp in the vicinity of the city. The organization also carried out periodic foraging excursions for the next ten weeks. After the Atlanta Campaign, the 10th's commanding officer issued the following report:

On the 2d day of May the regiment, with the division, stationed at Ringgold, Ga., advanced on a reconnaissance in the direction of Tunnel Hill, engaging the enemy along his lines in front of that position, inflicting considerable punishment, and sustaining a small loss in killed and wounded. On the 7th the regiment, with the division, marched from Ringgold by way of Nickajack Gap, the duty of the command consisting mainly in keeping open communication between Maj.-Gen. McPherson's column on the right and that of Maj.-Gen. Thomas, the center of the advancing army, until the 10th of May, during which time the enemy's pickets and scouts were occasionally met. On the 10th Snake Creek Gap was passed, and the command halted in Sugar Valley. On the 12th, the division advancing on the Resaca road, the regiment drove an outpost guard of the enemy from the Calhoun road, which runs parallel to the railroad and one mile and a half west of Resaca. This position was held four and a half hours by the regiment against superior numbers, when the command retired and bivouacked. On the 13th an advance was made on the same position in the same manner, the regiment driving the enemy, who resisted the advance more obstinately than on the previous day. Early in the engagement Brig.-Gen. Kilpatrick, commanding division, at the head of the command, received a severe gunshot wound in the thigh. The position was held until the command was relieved by a division of infantry from the Sixteenth Army Corps. May 14, the business of keeping open communications, scouting, &c., was resumed, and continued until the 19th, when a point five miles south of Kingston was reached. From this place the command returned to Adairsville, on the railroad, for the purpose of guarding the line of communication with the rear.

On the 7th of June the regiment moved to Gillem's Bridge, on the Etowah River, four miles south of Kingston, and there remained scouting, patrolling, &c., until July 3, when the command moved to Cartersville. Here the regiment was engaged in scouting by detachments, guarding communications &c., until August 3, when the command started for the front, arriving at Sweet Water bridge on the 6th. During the 11th and 12th the command reconnoitered along the Chattahoochee River, in the direction of Campbellton, and on the 14th moved across the river to Sandtown. During the 15th and 16th a reconnaissance of the enemy's left flank was made. On the 18th the command started with the object of operating on the enemy's lines of communication. On the morning of the 19th the enemy was encountered in considerable force at Red Oak Station, on the West Point railroad. As the Second Brigade was passing this point an attempt was made by the enemy to intersect the column, and the Tenth Ohio, being the rear regiment, only succeeded in passing after a sharp contest. At sunset of this day the command succeeded in driving the enemy from Jonesborough, on the Atlanta and Macon Railroad. On attempting to move southward from this place, the Tenth Ohio in advance, the column came upon a strong barricade hidden by the darkness, behind which the enemy lay in strong force, and from which the advance was forced to recoil by the murderous fire they received. A second attempt to pass the point was made with the like result, and the loss of valuable men killed and wounded. Failing to effect a passage here the command, by a rapid movement in another direction, succeeded in reaching the railroad at Lovejoy's Station. Here, however, before much had been accomplished in destroying the track, an attack was made by the enemy in heavy force, consisting of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, which succeeded in surrounding our position. A charge was ordered, and succeeded so far as to drive the enemy from his artillery, throw his cavalry into utter confusion, and enabled the command to pass on its way with little loss and in perfect order. From here the column moved by easy stages, by the way of Decatur, to the right of our army, and thence to Sandtown, arriving August 23. On the 27th of August at 1.30 a. m., the Tenth Ohio Cavalry, with the division, marched from Sandtown, Ga., prepared for an advance upon the enemy's lines. There being in the regiment, however, an average of but twelve rounds of ammunition at the cross-roads, three miles west of Camp Creek bridge, the command bivouacked. On the morning of the 28th the march was again resumed, and the West Point railroad crossed near Red Oak Station, the command halting near this point. The regiment was posted on the right at Church, and was immediately attacked by a force of dismounted cavalry, estimated at 300, and two pieces of artillery. The skirmishing continued four hours, when the command was relieved by a division of the Sixteenth Army Corps, and bivouacked near the church.

On the 29th the cavalry was engaged in reconnoitering in the direction of Fayetteville, returning for the night to the church, where fifteen rounds of ammunition were received, the twelve rounds with which they had started having been nearly expended in the skirmish of the day previous. On the 30th the column advanced toward Jonesborough. At ——- plantation the enemy was encountered behind strong barricades, and, after a brief engagement, was driven from his position. During this engagement First Lieut. Henry H. Crooks was killed by a gunshot in the head while in the discharge of his duty as aide-de-camp to Lieut.Col. Jones, commanding brigade. During the ensuing night the regiment picketed the junction of the Fayetteville and Jonesborough roads, four miles west of the latter place. On the 31st, having rejoined the command, an advance was made to Flint River at ——- Ford. Here the Second Brigade and a part of the First were thrown across the river, and barricades hastily constructed. Scarcely had this been done when a large body of the enemy's infantry (subsequently ascertained to be Cleburne's division), with a battery of artillery, furiously assaulted the feeble works. After a most determined resistance and the exhaustion of the ammunition the command retired across the stream, the men of this regiment only leaving the last barricade after the last cartridge had been fired, some even remaining without ammunition to encourage those who were more fortunate to hold the enemy in check until the main body of our troops were over the stream. This retrograde movement drew the enemy upon the lines of our infantry, by whom they were at once engaged.

During the 1st day of September the regiment was engaged in guarding approaches on the extreme right of the army. On the 2d the command moved to a point southwest of Lovejoy's Station. From this date to the 8th no incident worthy of note occurred to the regiment, except that on the 6th, on the road from Jonesborough to Red Oak Station, a body of the enemy's mounted scouts, numbering about 100, was encountered, who, however, offered but slight resistance to the progress of the column.

THOS. W. SANDERSON, Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Tenth Ohio Vol. Cavalry.

In mid-November 1864, the 10th Ohio joined General Sherman's "March to the Sea." The ultimate goal of this campaign was for the Union military to seize Savannah, Georgia. The regiment engaged Confederate General Joseph Wheeler's cavalry forces throughout the campaign, including at Jonesville, at Bear Creek Station, at Griswoldsville, at Gordon, and at Waynesboro. The Union military occupied Savannah on December 21, 1864, with the 10th entering camp near the city. After the "March to the Sea," the 10th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. TENTH OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, King's Bridge, near Savannah, Ga., December 22, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Tenth Regt. Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, under my command, from the time of leaving Marietta, Ga., until the arrival of the Third Cavalry Division at this place:

On the 16th day of November, Wheeler's command having been encountered at Bear Creek Station, the Tenth Ohio was ordered to the advance, and directed to drive the enemy two miles upon a road leading to the right. In attempting to do so two brigades of rebel cavalry were encountered strongly posted on a ridge behind barricades. Two squadrons of the regiment were dismounted on the enemy's left flank to engage their attention while his right was being turned by a saber charge, which was done in gallant style, under the command of Maj. Filkins, in command of one battalion of the regiment. The enemy were driven at all points from their barricades and closely pursued for more than a mile. No other troops assisted in this action. Twenty prisoners, including 3 commissioned officers, were captured. The loss of the enemy was not ascertained. The regiment lost 4 killed, 7 wounded, and 4 captured. It is but just that I should call attention to the heroic conduct of Sergt. Henry Shrieves, of Company C, who led his company, being several rods in front of them, in the saber charge, inciting the men by his example to deeds of valor until he fell wounded by a ball through the thigh. The complete success of the charge, against more than four times the number of those who made it, the assailed at the same time protected by barricades, was in a great measure attributable to his gallantry.

The regiment was not engaged again until the arrival of the command at Macon on the 29th day of November, when, during the progress of the demonstration made by Gen. Kilpatrick upon that place, the regiment was ordered to make a saber charge along the Clinton and Macon road, from which the enemy were then firing. The distance to reach the guns was something over half a mile along a road through deep woods which concealed the enemy's guns and their works. The regiment (except one battalion, detached), in pursuance of orders, charged along the road, reached the enemy's guns, which were in a redoubt, completely blocking the road, there being only room for two horses to enter of the redoubt were long lines of breast-works and rifle pits filled with infantry. On the left of the road there was also a battery commanding the road and the point where the road crossed a small but deep creek, being and point from which the regiment started on the charge. Notwithstanding all these obstacles the regiment charged into the redoubt and for a moment had complete possession of it, and could, if the men had possessed the means, have spiked the guns. As the head of the column entered the redoubt the first line of the enemy's infantry (apparently militia) seemed to be stampeded and panic-stricken and were rapidly falling back. The second line, however, were seen advancing to gain a position behind the works abandoned by the militia. An infantry line was also seen advancing from the woods on the left of the road, and seeing that the guns could not be removed, and that there was barely time to withdraw the regiment before the rebel infantry would be upon us, I ordered the column to retire. This was done in good order, under fire from the enemy's guns. The loss of the regiment in this charge was seven wounded. It is with pleasure I call the attention of the colonel commanding to the heroic conduct and bearing of Capt. J. H. Hafford, of Company M, commanding Companies C and M. His squadron was in the advance and its head. He was the first man to enter the fort, where his force was shot under him, and falling upon him he could not extricate himself in time to prevent his capture. He is now in the hands of the enemy.

In the next action of note in which the division was engaged, at Reynolds, on the 28th of November, the Tenth being sent to the right flank of the line, which the enemy did not attack, was not attack, was not specially engaged, and nothing more of note occurred until the engagement at Waynesborough, on the 4th of December. On the morning of that day, when the command moved from bivouac at Thomas's Station to attack Wheeler's command near Waynesborough, the Tenth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry moved in the advance, under orders from the colonel commanding brigade, that as an opportunity occurred, to charge with the saber. A skirmish line was thrown out from the regiment, which drove the skirmish line of the enemy for more than a mile back in the direction of Waynesborough, upon their main line, strongly posted behind barricades, dismounted. As soon as this line was developed the regiment was arranged for a charge by battalions. The First Battalion, commanded by Capt. S. E. Norton, was directed to move down the railroad on the enemy's left flank; the Second, Maj. Platt, to move to the left so as to turn the barricades on the enemy's right; and the Third Maj. Filkins, was ordered to move straight on to the barricades; all to charge with the saber at a given signal. At the same time the Ninety-second Illinois (dismounted) moved in line of battle toward the rebel line. As soon as that regiment got within range, I ordered the charge, which was made in splendid style, the barricades carried, and the whole rebel line stampeded. The regiment captured over 70 prisoners. I have not been able to learn their loss in killed and wounded. In this action the regiment lost 4 killed and 7 wounded. Among the wounded was Capt. S. E. Norton, commanding the First Battalion, whose wound proved mortal. His loss to the regiment is irreparable. For faithfulness in the discharge of all his duties as an officer, and bravery upon the battlefield, exhibited on every occasion when an opportunity presented, could not be surpassed. The brilliant victory of the day was dearly purchased in his loss to the army and the country.

The total loss of the regiment since leaving Marietta, Ga., November 14, 1864, is as follows: Officers-wounded, 4 (1 mortally); captured, 2. Enlisted men–killed, 7; wounded, 22; missing, 13.

During the campaign the regiment captured 229 horses and mules. There were 180 of these killed in action and abandoned.

The undersigned, as commanding officer of the regiments, is fully satisfied with the bravery and gallantry of the officers and men of his command during the campaign, and only hopes that they have met the expectations of the colonel commanding brigade in the faithful discharge of their duties of officers and soldiers, and in their conduct upon the battle-field in one of the most successful and glorious campaigns of the war.

I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,

THOS. W. SANDERSON, Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Tenth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

Capt. H. J. SMITH, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brig., Third Cavalry Div.

In January 1865, the 10th Ohio embarked upon General Sherman Carolinas Campaign. In South Carolina, the regiment, again, participated in several skirmishes with Confederate forces. During this campaign, the 10th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. TENTH OHIO CAVALRY. In the Field, April 1, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this regiment since the 28th day of January, 1865:

The regiment made the march from Savannah through the Carolinas with the brigade to which it is attached, and during the campaign was only twice specially engaged with the enemy, to wit, at Aiken, on the 11th day of February, 1865, when the Second Brigade moved to Aiken and encountered the enemy in force. In covering the movements of other regiments in retiring the regiment lost as follows: Killed, 2; wounded, 4; missing, 10; total 16. Again, in the engagement of the 4th of March the regiment lost: Killed, 1; wounded, 1; missing, 1; total 3. During the whole campaign the regiment lost: Killed, 4; wounded, 10; captured, 11; missing, 23; total, 48.

There were captured by the regiment 98 horses and 27 mules.

Very respectfully submitted.

THOS. W. SANDERSON. Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Tenth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

Capt. H. J. SMITH. Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brigade, Third Cavalry Division.

Following the surrender of General Joseph Johnston's Confederate army in late April 1865, the 10th remained in North Carolina, serving as garrison troops. Officials mustered the organization out of service on July 24, 1865 at Lexington, North Carolina.

During the 10th Ohio's term of service, forty-two men, including three officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 159 men, including one officer, died from disease or accidents.

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