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. During the summer of 1863, Governor David Tod authorized the recruitment of African-American military units, with the first such organization being the 127th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The 127th organized at Camp Delaware, at Delaware, Ohio. The regiment gained members slowly, and the 127th gained full strength, officials designated the organization as the 5th Regiment United States Colored Troops. Other African-American Ohioans had enlisted in earlier established African-American regiments, primarily the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Infantry.
In November 1863, the 5th Regiment had formed nine out of ten companies, and authorities ordered the organization to Norfolk, Virginia. In December 1863, the regiment along with other Union forces participated in a raid to Elizabeth City, North Carolina. While marching to this location, Confederate guerrillas attacked four companies of the 5th, killing four soldiers, but the regiment drove the Southerners from the field.
In January 1864, the 5th left Norfolk for Yorktown, Virginia, remaining at the new location until April 1864. During this time, the regiment twice advanced to the Chickahominy River, within a few miles of Richmond, Virginia. The 5th's tenth company joined the regiment in February 1864.
In May 1864, the 5th traveled to Fort Monroe, Virginia and embarked upon Major General Benjamin Butler's advance upon Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, as part of the "Colored Division" of the 18th Army Corps. During this expedition, the regiment was the first Union one to occupy City Point, Virginia. The organization remained at City Point until mid June 1864, fortifying City Point and Fort Converse. On June 15, 1864, the "Colored Division" of the 18th Corps, including the 5th, successfully assaulted and captured Confederate entrenchments at Petersburg. The Union commanding officer overseeing the assault, General William "Baldy" Smith, concluded after the attack, "No troops ever did better fighting."
From June 16, 1864 to August 15, 1864, the 5th occupied the trenches surrounding Petersburg and also helped construct additional fortifications. In late August 1864, officials dispatched the regiment to Deep Bottom, Virginia, where many of the organization's members served in Union hospitals as orderlies. On September 19, 1864, the 5th participated in the Battle of Chapin's Farm at New Market Heights, Virginia. At this engagement, the regiment, in conjunction with other Union troops, successfully captured the Confederacy's Fort Harrison. Later this same day, Northern forces, including the 5th, assaulted Fort Gilmer, but stiff Confederate resistance caused the Union forces to withdraw. In this battle, the regiment had one officer killed and eight wounded and eighty-five enlisted men killed and 248 wounded out of 550 men engaged.
The 5th next joined General Alfred Terry's expedition against Fort Fisher, North Carolina. During the Battle of Fort Fisher, the regiment successfully blocked Confederate reinforcements from reaching the besieged fort. The 5th also participated in the Union's assault of Sugar Loaf and Fort Anderson, before performing garrison duty at Raleigh, North Carolina.
Upon the Civil War's conclusion in April 1865, the 5th served as garrison troops at Goldsboro, North Carolina before performing the same duty at the North Carolina communities of; Newbern and Carolina City. In September 1865, officials ordered the regiment to Columbus, Ohio, where the organization mustered out of service on October 5, 1865.
During the 5th Regiment United States Colored Troops' term of service, eighty-one men, including four officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 168 men, including two officers, succumbed to disease or accidents.