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, officials began to organize the 129th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Taylor, at Cleveland, Ohio. Enlistment occurred slowly, as fewer Ohio men were willing to volunteer for military duty. From June to August, several companies sat idly in camp, waiting for enough recruits to form the regiment. Finally, on August 10, 1863, the 129th mustered into service. The men in the regiment were to serve six months and consisted of enlistees from across Ohio.
Beginning on August 10, 1863, the 129th traveled by train to Camp Nelson, Kentucky via Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. Upon reaching Camp Nelson, the regiment became part of the 9th Army Corps. On August 20, the 9th Corps departed for Cumberland Gap, Kentucky, traveling through Lancaster, Crab Orchard, Mount Vernon, London, Barboursville, and several additional Kentucky communities. The 9th Corps reached Cumberland Gap on September 8. Confederate forces had heavily fortified Cumberland Gap, but Union soldiers completely surrounded the location. After a relatively minor skirmish, the Confederates surrendered.
The 129th remained at Cumberland Gap until December 1, 1864, when officials ordered the regiment to the Clinch River near Knoxville, Tennessee. Traveling through Tazewell, Virginia, the 129th arrived the following day and immediately engaged Confederate soldiers under the command of General James Longstreet. The Union forces emerged victorious, and the 129th Regiment performed picket duty along the Clinch River for the rest of December. Many of the regiment’s soldiers were without shoes or other articles of clothing, as they departed Cumberland Gap with such little notice that they could not pack their belongings. The Union military also faced difficulty providing the men in eastern Tennessee with enough food and other provisions. In late December, the 129th moved to Tazewell, where the regiment performed garrison duty, but the supply difficulties continued. Military authorities ordered the regiment to fend for itself by commandeering supplies from the civilian population. Confederate forces prevented the regiment from foraging too far from camp. The 129th soon returned to Cumberland Gap, remaining there until early February. The regiment then moved to Camp Nelson and then to Cleveland, Ohio, where the 129th Regiment’s companies mustered out of service at Camp Taylor between March 5 and March 11, 1864.
During the 129th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry’s term of service, twenty-five men perished from disease or accidents. No men died from wounds received on the battlefield.