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.
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. On November 24, 1863, the 12th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry mustered into service at Camp Taylor, at Cleveland, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve for three years.
Before mustering into service, officials sent, on November 10, 1863, a portion of the 12th to Johnson's Island, a Union prison camp near Sandusky, Ohio, to guard prisoners. By mid November 1863, the regiment had moved to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio and, on November 29, 1863, advanced to Mount Sterling, Kentucky, via Louisville, Kentucky and Lexington, Kentucky. The 12th spent the winter of 1863-1864 at Mount Sterling.
On May 23, 1864, the 12th embarked upon a raid to Saltville, Virginia. Union officials soon learned that Confederate General John Hunt Morgan's cavalry had entered Kentucky, and the 12th, on May 31, 1864, left Pound Gap, Kentucky in pursuit. The regiment encountered the Confederates at Mount Sterling on June 9, 1864, driving the Southerners from the battlefield. The 12th pursued the Rebels to Cynthiana, Kentucky, where the regiment again dispersed the enemy. The organization pursued the retreating Confederates for three additional days. On July 30, 1864, a portion of the 12th's Company A encountered sixty guerrillas near Lebanon, Kentucky, killing the Confederates' leader. The regiment then established its headquarters at Richmond, Kentucky.
Beginning on September 20, 1864, the 12th participated in a second expedition to Saltville, Virginia, failing to seize permanently the location from Confederate forces. The regiment next established its headquarters at Lexington, Kentucky, with the organization's various companies stationed in the surrounding countryside. In November 1864, the 12th reunited at Crab Orchard, Kentucky. On November 22, 1864, the regiment joined a third expedition to Saltville, Virginia. Traveling through Cumberland Gap, Bean's Station, Rogersville, Bristol, Abingdon, and Marion. At Marion, Union forces, including the 12th, engaged Confederate soldiers under the command of John C. Breckinridge. In this forty-hour engagement, the 12th conducted a charge directly against Breckinridge's cavalry, helping the Northerners to drive the Southerners from the battlefield.
On December 21, 1864, the Union forces captured Saltville from the Confederates. The 12th returned to Kentucky, establishing its headquarters at Richmond. In mid February, the regiment traveled via Louisville to Nashville, Tennessee, arriving on March 6, 1865. The organization soon moved to Knoxville, Tennessee via Murfreesboro, Tennessee. At Knoxville, the 12th joined General George Stoneman's expedition into Virginia and North Carolina. The Northern force struck the Lynchburg and East Tennessee Railroad at Christiansburg, Virginia, destroying thirty miles of track. The Union soldiers proceeded to Greensboro, North Carolina, attacking the Danville and Charlotte Railroad. On April 12, 1865, the Northerners captured a Confederate prison camp at Salisbury, North Carolina, freeing the Union prisoners. The Union soldiers continued their advance, destroying railroad track to Morgantown and Rutherford, North Carolina, as well as a sizable section of the Danville and Columbia Railroad south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Stoneman's force continued through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama, assisting in capturing Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president, as well as Confederate Generals Joseph Wheeler and Braxton Bragg.
Following this expedition, officials ordered the 12th to Lenoir in east Tennessee. The regiment stayed at this location for three months, before, in September 1865, moving to Pulaski, Tennessee, where the organization's companies patrolled the surrounding countryside. In early November 1865, the 12th rendezvoused together at Nashville, where officials mustered the regiment out of service on November 14, 1865.Officials sent the regiment to Columbus, Ohio. Authorities discharged the organization's members on November 22 and 23, 1865.
During the 12th's term of service, the regiment had fifty men killed on the battlefield and an additional 114 men, including two officers, die from disease or accidents.