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 1864, the governors of several Northern states convinced federal authorities to call up state militia forces for regular military duty. The governors believed that these militiamen would free regular soldiers currently serving in forts or guarding other important sites in Northern states for duty with the Union's invading armies in the Confederacy. Hopefully this surge of men, known as Hundred Days' Men, would allow the North to defeat the South in one hundred days or less while keeping Northern states safe from Confederate attack and anti-war unrest.
In early May 1864, recruits for the 139th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry originally rendezvoused at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. On May 11, the men traveled via rail to Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio, where the 139th formally mustered into service. The men in the regiment were to serve one hundred days, and most of them had seen military duty earlier in the war.
On May 20, 1864, authorities dispatched the 139th to Washington, DC, via the Central Ohio Railroad and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. On June 1, 1864, officials ordered the regiment to Point Lookout, Maryland, where the 139th remained for the rest of its term of service guarding Confederate prisoners. Approximately 1,800 Northern soldiers, including the 139th, guarded nearly 22,000 Southern prisoners. On August 22, the regiment marched to Baltimore, Maryland, where it boarded trains for Camp Chase. On August 26, 1864, the 139th mustered out of service at Camp Chase.
During the 139th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry’s term of service, fourteen men, including one officer, perished from disease or accidents, while no men died from wounds received on the battlefield.