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10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry


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.

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. The 10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service as a three-year organization at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio on June 3, 1861. The 10th Regiment had previously organized for three months service, but officials requested that the regiment's members reenlist for three years service. The soldiers that did reenlist became the nucleus of the new 10th Regiment.

By June 24, 1861, the 10th had departed Camp Dennison for Grafton, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), where the regiment joined General George McClellan's command. In early July, McClellan's force advanced; through Clarksburg to Buckhannon, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). On the march to Buckhannon, the 10th rushed to the aid of five companies of the 17th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry that a Confederate force had besieged at Glenville in modern-day West Virginia. Before the 10th arrived, the other companies of the 17th Ohio had freed their comrades. The 10th continued the march to Buckhannon, where the organization spent the next two months carrying out periodic expeditions.

In September 1861, the 10th, with additional Northern units, advanced to Carnifex Ferry, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), where the Northerners engaged a Confederate force in the Battle of Carnifex Ferry on September 10, 1861. The 10th was the first Union regiment to engage the enemy command. The regiment's color-bearer had his right hand shot off in the first charge. He picked up the regimental colors with his left hand and continued to advance. Realizing that he was mortally wounded, the man screamed to his comrades, "Never mind me, boys. Save the flag!" The 10th failed to take the Confederate position, but the Southerners withdrew from the field the next day.

After resting for a few days at Cross Lanes, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), the 10th continued with the Union's campaign against Confederate forces in the region. For much of this expedition, the regiment guarded the supply trains for the Union army. Upon the retreat of the Confederate force from western Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), the 10th returned to Cincinnati, Ohio, arriving on November 2, 1861.

By mid-November 1861, officials had ordered the 10th to Kentucky, where the regiment joined the 17th Brigade, 3rd Division of the Army of the Ohio, with the 3rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the 13 Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the 15th Regiment Kentucky Infantry, and Loomis's Battery. The 10th marched through Kentucky and Tennessee to northern Alabama, where, after three months, the regiment began to serve as garrison troops at Huntsville.

In September 1862, the 10th departed Huntsville and joined the Union's pursuit of Confederate General Braxton Bragg's army, which had launched an invasion of Kentucky and was threatening Ohio's southern border. On October 8, 1862, the Union's Army of the Ohio, including the 10th, confronted Bragg's Southerners at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky. In this engagement, the 10th initially operated as skirmishers on the Union front, before serving as infantry support for Loomis's Battery. When the battery exhausted its ammunition, the 10th moved to the front. Confederates soon appeared on the regiment's two flanks, prompting the organization to attack the main Southern line in front of the 10th. Finding itself in an untenable position, the regiment withdrew to a new Union line. Upon the battle's conclusion, Bragg's Confederates withdrew into Tennessee, giving the Northerners a costly but important victory. The 10th entered the engagement with 528 men available for duty. Following the battle, the regiment had just 263 soldiers available for duty.

The Northerners pursued the Confederates into Tennessee, eventually taking up a position at Nashville. In late autumn 1862, officials disbanded the Army of Ohio and assigned the former organization's units to the Army of the Cumberland under General William Rosecrans's command. At this time, officials assigned the 10th Ohio to serve as head-quarters and provost guards for the Army of the Cumberland. In this capacity, the regiment; guarded the head-quarters staff, watched prisoners, and prevented straggling during engagements.

At the Battle of Stones River (December 30, 1862-January 2, 1863) at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the 10th guarded the army's communication lines, most notably three bridges across Stewart's Creek. These Ohioans also prevented more than three thousand Union soldiers from leaving the battlefield in just one two-hour period, forcing the retiring soldiers back to their regiments. In this battle, the 10th also assisted a Union force at Lavergne, Tennessee. Confederate general Joseph Wheeler's cavalry had besieged the city. The 10th's commanding officer; sent seven companies to the town's aid. These units prompted the Southerners to withdraw. Upon learning that the 10th had driven off Wheeler's Confederates, General Rosecrans issued the following dispatch:

Lieutenant-Colonel Burke, Tenth Ohio Infantry:

The General commanding has received your dispatch, and is highly gratified with your conduct. By command of General Rosecrans.

Frank Bond, Lt. and A.D.C.

After the battle, the 10th's commanding officer filed the following report:

HDQRS. TENTH OHIO VOLUNTEERS, Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 28, 1863.

COL.: I beg leave to submit the following report of my command, while posted at Stewart's Creek Bridge, from December 31, 1862, to January 22, 1863:

I remained at Stewart's Creek with eight companies of the regiment, in charge of headquarters train, after detaching two companies of my command, under Capt. John E. Hudson, to accompany headquarters in the field.

On December 31, information reached me that the trains of the Twenty-eighth Brigade had been attacked and captured near Smyrna, at 9 o'clock in the morning of that day; and at a later hour, learning that the rebel cavalry were destroying it, I dispatched a party to the scene, and succeeded in saving 8 wagons loaded with supplies.

I had sufficient force to have saved this train entirely, but, owing to the extreme negligence of the quartermaster in charge of the train, in not reporting the fact of capture to me at an early hour, the enemy were enabled to carry away and destroy a large portion of it.

The force that attacked that train was very small, and I understand there was a guard with it, all of whom were paroled.

We were threatened with attack at the bridge during the whole day. I had the large train corralled in close order, and by extreme vigilance prepared to resist any attack during the night.

A large number of stragglers came back from the front, from an early hour of the day. I deployed a line of skirmishers across the country, from the pike to the railroad, with instructions to shoot down every straggler who attempted to force the line, and marched into camp at night over 1,100 of these men.

Regiments of stragglers were organized, officered by my own commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and put on duty.

On January 1, I was re-enforced by four companies of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry, under Lieut.-Col. Dickinson, and a section of Company D, First Ohio Battery, under Lieut. Newell.

Rebel cavalry threatened the post during the day, and their advance guard was twice repulsed by my pickets and reserve. Concluding not to attack at Stewart's Creek, this force, consisting of Wheeler's, Wharton's, Buford's, John H. Morgan's, and McCann's rebel cavalry, with two pieces of artillery, passed on toward La Vergne, where they attacked Col. Innes, First Michigan Engineers, at 1 o'clock. I apprised Col. Innes of the movements of this force at an early hour.

About 1 o'clock a squadron of affrighted negroes came charging at full gallop from Murfreesborough toward Stewart's Creek, and with such impetuosity and recklessness that over 100 passed the bridge before I could check the progress of the main cavalcade. They were dismounted and some of them ducked by my men. This was the advance of what seemed to me to be the whole army-cavalrymen with jaded horses, artillery and infantry soldiers, breathless and holding on to wagons, relating the most incredible defeats and annihilation of the army and their respective regiments, came streaming down the road and pouring through the woods on their way toward the bridge. In vain did my small guard stationed on the road try to check this panic. Officers drew their revolvers, but the fugitives heeded them not.

My regiment was in line of the hill-side, and I promptly fixed bayonet, marched at double-quick to the bridge, and drew up a line before it, sending out, at the same time, two companies, deployed as skirmishers, on the right and left, to prevent the passing of the creek by fording. The fugitives crowded in thousands, and at one time pressed closely up to the bayonets of my men. I ordered the battalion to load, and determined to fire if the crowd did not move back; seeing which, many took flight back toward the front. At this critical moment I was rendered most valuable assistance by Lieut. Rendelbrook, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, and his men, who were stationed at the bridge with their camp and train.

To him I assigned the duty of getting the stragglers into line, and nobly did his men execute his orders. Riding through the panic-stricken crowds, the cavalrymen drove them into a field, where a good line was formed, and every straggler taken and made dress up. When I had a regiment formed in this manner, I assigned it officers and marched it across the bridge, stacked arms, and rested it. In this manner I secured over 4,000 men. I must mention here the fact that the prominent movers in the panic were the quartermasters in charge of trains. There was only one who behaved with anything like courage and coolness-the quartermaster of the Pioneer Brigade.

Later in the day I was notified by Col. Innes that he was attacked fiercely by rebel cavalry; that a demand for surrender had been made twice, and asking to be re-enforced. I promptly dispatched four companies of the Fourth Michigan Cavalry and the section of artillery (Rodman guns) to his assistance, and ordered them to move up at a trot, holding my own forces ready to support them.

After the lapse of two hours, during which the cannonading of Col. Innes' stockade was kept up by the rebels (hearing the report of each gun), Mr. Reily, a citizen, made his escape through the rebel lines, bearing a dispatch from Col. Innes requesting me to re-enforce him, and the astonishing information that the troops I sent up under Lieut.-Col. Dickinson were on their way back to me without having fired a shot, and the rebels were burning the trains.

I quickly decided to save the trains and leave the bridge to the protection of the regiments of stragglers, and set out at a rapid pace for La Vergne with my own command. I met the section of artillery returning, as well as part of the cavalry. I ordered them to fall in behind me, and sent in a strong support of infantry to the guns.

The scene on the road was indescribable. Teamsters had abandoned their wagons and came back mounted on their mules and horses; wagons were packed across the road, and many capsized on the side of the pike; horses ran wild through the woods, and, although men were allowed by me to pass as wagon guards, there were none at their posts. They had left the road and were bivouacking in small parties in the woods, evidently careless of the fate of the trains.

The woods toward La Vergne were filled with small bodies of rebel cavalry, which were quickly dislodged by my skirmishers and driven off. I reached Col. Innes at La Vergne at 7 o'clock, and assisted him in arranging the trains and forwarding them to Nashville.

I detached four companies of my regiment, and Lieut.-Col. Dickinson's command, and sent them back to Stewart's Creek at daylight next morning, remaining myself at La Vergne, collecting supplies from the trains, gathering in cattle abandoned by our men, and sending them to the front.

With the remaining portion of my command I joined the garrison at Stewart's Creek, January 7, and immediately set to work putting it in a defensible condition by erecting a stockade and throwing up a small redoubt to cover the bridge.

I was relieved in command there by Lieut.-Col. Carroll, commanding Tenth Indiana Volunteers, on January 22, and reported for duty at headquarters.

In connection with the disgraceful panic of January 1, I would mention the names of the following officers: Lieut. Gilbert, Second Tennessee Cavalry, who had his horse hitched up to a wagon on the road, and who abandoned it with the teamsters, joining in the stampede; Lieut. Newell, Twenty-first Wisconsin, and the regimental quartermaster Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania, who abandoned the train of the Twenty-eighth Brigade, and, although within my lines, never communicated the fact of capture until it was too late to pursue the enemy.

Out of a crowd of runaway teamsters I took the names of four men who cut loose their mules from the wagons and left them to their fate: Henry W. Davis, Twenty-fifth Illinois; Scott Cunningham, Twenty-fifth Illinois; Henry Denney, Fifty-ninth Ohio, and Jacob Rohrer, One hundred and first Ohio. A number of commissioned officers came back with the men, but, on seeing the obstacles interposed to their passage, they returned voluntarily to the front.

My officers and men performed their duty faithfully and strictly. I was rendered signal assistance by Lieut. Rendelbrook, Fourth U. S. Cavalry, and the non-commissioned officers and men of his command, as also Lieut. Maple, Anderson Troop, who, with their commands, were constantly on duty, reporting the movements of the enemy, and assisting in effectually checking the disgraceful and causeless panic.

I would respectfully mention the name of Capt. Perkius, assistant quartermaster, headquarters quartermaster, who evinced the utmost zeal and vigilance, and assisted most materially in the defense of the post, and in restoring order among the trains.

I have the honor to be, colonel, with great respect, your obedient servant,

J. W. BURKE, Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Tenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Col. C. GODDARD, Assistant Adjutant-Gen. and Chief of Staff.

Following the Battle of Stones River, the 10th continued as the Army of the Cumberland's headquarters and provost guards. The regiment served in this capacity during the Tullahoma Campaign (June 24, 1863-July 3, 1863), the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia (September 19-20, 1863), the Siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee (September 1863-November 1863), and for a significant portion of General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign (May 7, 1864-September 2, 1864). During the Atlanta Campaign, the 10th was present for the Battles of Buzzard's Roost, Rocky Face Ridge, and Resaca.

In late May 1864, officials ordered the 10th Ohio to Cincinnati, where the regiment, having completed its three-year term, mustered out of service on June 4, 1864.

During the 10th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, eighty-nine men, including three officers, died on the battlefield. An additional seventy-nine men, including two officers, succumbed to disease or accidents.

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