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 116th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Gallipolis, Ohio and at Marietta, Ohio. The men in the 116th were to serve for three years. Companies A, C, D, E, and F organized in Monroe County, Companies B and G formed in Meigs County, Companies I and K came from Athens County, and Company H originated in Noble County. Before being mustered into service, Companies B and C guarded portions of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad, while the remaining companies rendezvoused at Marietta.
On September 1, 1862, officials ordered the 116th to Parkersburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The regiment left Parkersburg and traveled to Gallipolis on September 6, where the men received their weapons and other camp equipage. On September 18 and 19, 1862, all companies except for Companies F and K mustered into the regular service. Companies F and K did not reach full company strength until October 1862 and officially mustered into service on October 28. The rest of the regiment left Gallipolis on October 16, traveling to Clarksburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia) via Belpre, Ohio and Parkersburg. On October 27, the 116th advanced to Buckhannon, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), where Companies F and K joined the regiment the following day. At Buckhannon, officials brigaded the 116th with the 110th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 122nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and 123rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
On November 9, the 116th departed Buckhannon for New Creek, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), traveling via Webster. On December 12, the regiment advanced to Moorefield, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), marching via Burlington and Petersburg. On the march, Confederate guerrillas continuously harassed the regiment. At Moorefield, officials posted the 116th with an artillery battery. On January 3, 1863, Confederate forces attacked the combined Union force. Reinforcements arrived from Petersburg, forcing the Confederates to withdraw. The 116th had two or three men wounded by artillery shells and approximately twenty pickets captured.
On January 11, 1863, the 116th advanced to Romney, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). At this location, the regiment engaged in picketing, garrison, foraging, and scouting duties. On February 16, Confederates captured a fifty-man detachment from the 116th that was guarding a forage train. On March 17, 1863, the 116th marched towards Winchester, Virginia, where the regiment continued to engage in garrison, scouting, and foraging duties. Officials had dispatched Companies A and I to Bunker Hill, Virginia, where Confederates attacked the Northerners on June 14, 1863. In this engagement Southerners killed or captured approximately one half of the men in Companies A and I. On July 4, 1863, the 116th departed Winchester for Hagerstown, Maryland, where the regiment briefly rendezvoused with the Army of the Potomac. The 116th did not remain with the Army of Potomac, advancing first to Sharpsburg, Maryland and then to Martinsburg, West Virginia, arriving at this second location on August 4, 1863. While at Martinsburg, the regiment conducted a scouting mission to Winchester, with the commanding officer issuing the following report after the expedition:
WASHINGTON, D. C., August 14, 1863,
Colonel KELTON, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Headquarters U. S. Army:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report, for the information of the General-in-Chief, that, previous to leaving my command at Martinsburg, Va., for the purpose of attending the court of inquiry in this city in the case of Major-General Milroy, I learned there was a considerable quantity of public property, including a large quantity of telegraph wire collected by General Lee's army, left at Winchester and vicinity, in their precipitate flight through that town in their recent retreat. I ordered Major Quinn, First New York Cavalry, with 200 men, to proceed to Winchester to secure said property and ascertain as to rebel movements in the valley southwesterly of that point. I have just received a telegraphic dispatch as the result of that expedition, of which the following is a true copy:
MARTIN'S GAP, August 14, 1863.
COLONEL: Scout to Winchester returned last night with the notorious guerrilla Captain Shearer a prisoner. Brought 4 other prisoners, 2 wagon loads of United States property, and a couple convalescent Union soldiers. They report a large quantity of United States property there and at Judson Springs (some 7 miles distant). Will send party for it to-morrow.
THOMAS F. WILDES,
Rather than send this communication by the intermediate channel by the slow and tortuous route of Cumberland, Md., General Kelley's headquarters, I take the liberty of forwarding it to your
I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,
A. T. McREYNOLDS,
Commanding U. S. Forces at Martinsburg, Va
On April 29, 1864, the 116th began a march with General Franz Sigel's army down the Shenandoah Valley. Marching via the Virginia communities of Woodstock, Harrisonburg, Cross Keys, and Port Republic, encountering Confederate forces at Piedmont. At the Battle of Piedmont, the 116th participated in an assault of the Confederate position, driving the Southerners from the battlefield. The regiment had 176 men killed or wounded in this engagement. The Northern force entered Staunton, Virginia, destroying Confederate property before advancing to Lexington, Virginia. The 116th soon returned to Staunton to escort a supply train to Lexington. On June 14, 1864, the regiment advanced towards Lynchburg, Virginia, arriving near this location on June 17, with the Battle of Lynchburg erupting. In the ensuing battle, Confederate forces repelled a Northern assault. That evening, the Union forces withdrew, arriving at Gauley Bridge, Virginia on June 29.
On July 2, the 116th marched to Camp Piatt, where the regiment boarded transport ships and sailed to Parkersburg, West Virginia. At Parkersburg, the 116th traveled via railroad cars to Cherry Run, West Virginia. At this location, the regiment discovered that Confederates had destroyed the track. The 116th marched to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia and then to Sandy Hook, Maryland. Officials next ordered the regiment into Loudoun County, Virginia, where, on July 11, 1864, the 116th. along with other Northern units, engaged Confederate forces under the command of General Jubal Early at Snicker's Gap. The Union force prevented the Southerners from accessing the gap during the day, but the Northerners withdrew in the evening. The regiment marched via Winchester, Martinsburg, and Hagerstown to Maryland Heights, Maryland, arriving at this final location on July 29.
The 116th next moved to Frederick, Maryland via Halltown. On August 12, 1864, the regiment advanced to Cedar Creek, discovering that Confederate Jubal Early had fortified Fisher's Hill. The Union forces withdrew to Halltown and erected fortifications. On August 26, the Northerners, under the command of General Philip Sheridan, advanced and entered into a fierce skirmish with the Confederates. The 116th lost heavily in this engagement. On September 3, Sheridan again advanced, engaging the Confederates at Berryville, Virginia. On September 19, the Battle of Opequon Creek occurred, with the Northerners killing, wounding, or capturing approximately one-fourth of Jubal Early's Confederate army. The 116th had four men killed and twenty-two wounded in this engagement. The regiment next participated in the Battle of Fisher's Hill (September 21 and 22, 1864), helping the Union attain victory in this engagement. At Fisher's Hill, the 116th had one man killed and four wounded. The regiment next advanced to Harrisonburg, Virginia, and then officials ordered the 116th to Dayton, Virginia to guard flour mills. On October 6, the regiment marched towards Cedar Creek, Virginia, skirmishing with Confederate forces on October 13, 1864 and participating in the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19. The 116th departed Cedar Creek on November 9, arriving at Opequon Crossing, Virginia on November 18. At this location, the regiment guarded the local railroad line, before leaving for Washington, DC on December 19. Upon arriving in Washington, the 116th boarded transport ships and sailed to Aiken's Landing, Virginia on the James River, where the organization entered into winter encampment.
On March 26, 1865, the 116th advanced to Petersburg, Virginia and participated in the last days of the Union's Siege of Petersburg. After Confederate forces fled the city, the regiment joined the Appomattox Campaign, which resulted in the surrender of the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865. The 116th then marched to Burkesville, Virginia, before moving to Richmond, Virginia on April 25.
Upon the war's conclusion, the 116th performed garrison duty at Richmond, where the regiment, with the exception of Companies F and K, mustered out of service on June 14, 1865. Officials transferred Companies F and K to the 62nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry due to these companies' members still having time left on their term of service. On June 15, the 116th boarded steamers, sailing via Fort Monroe to Baltimore, Maryland, where the regiment traveled on the Pennsylvania Central Railroad to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. At Camp Dennison, officials discharged the 116th's members on June 23, 1865.
During the 116th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, ninety-four men, including four officers, died on the battlefield. An additional ninety-one men, including three officers, succumbed to disease or accidents.