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13th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry Battalion


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.

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. Soldiers of Ohio infantry regiments served the Union for varying lengths of time, ranging from one hundred days to three years. One of the three-year organizations was the 13th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry Battalion. The 13th Battalion had previously organized for three years as the 13th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

On May 3, 1864, the 13th Regiment embarked upon Union General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The goal of this expedition was for Northern forces to capture the important manufacturing center of Atlanta, Georgia. The 13th fought in many of the largest engagements of the campaign, including the Battles of Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, Jonesborough, and Lovejoy’s Station. During the campaign, the men of the 13th who did not reenlist at the end of their initial three-year period of service returned to their homes. Officials attempted to incorporate the remaining men with the 19th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The 13th’s soldiers refused, prompting authorities to countermand the previous order. Having just two hundred soldiers, the 13th no longer qualified to be a regiment. Instead, the organization became known as the 13th Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry Battalion. Union forces occupied Atlanta on September 2, 1864, bringing the campaign to a victorious conclusion for the North. After the Atlanta Campaign, the 13th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. BATTLN. 13TH REGT. OHIO VETERAN VOLS., Atlanta, Ga., September 11, 1864.

CAPT.: In compliance with orders just received, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my command in the operations which have culminated so gloriously to our arms by the occupation of Atlanta:

At noon of Tuesday, May 3, in connection with the balance of the brigade, we marched from McDonald's Station, Tenn., my effective force consisting of 22 commissioned officers and 311 muskets. We participated in all the movements incidental to the advance, embracing Tunnel Hill, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, &c., but no casualties occurred until the evening of May 17, when near Adairsville. The enemy resisted our advance, and my regiment was thrown out upon the right flank, a portion of it being deployed as skirmishers.

The reserve was formed in a skirting of timber, where the enemy having got a section of artillery into position, we were for a time exposed to its fire, and I had 2 men wounded with fragments of shell. Nothing of importance transpired again until the evening of Thursday, May 19, when near Cass Station we encountered the enemy again. My regiment in supporting the Seventeenth Kentucky on the skirmish line had 1 man mortally and 2 severely wounded. May 23, we marched from Cass Station, crossed the Etowah River at 4 p. m., and proceeded on in the direction of Dallas. On the 26th, after crossing Pumpkin Vine Creek, the scene of the fight of the Twentieth Army Corps the evening previous, our lines were formed for battle, and I had 1 man killed in getting into position. Nothing of especial interest occurred in which my command was engaged until about 4 p. m. the next day, May 27, when we encountered the enemy near Pickett's Mills, some three miles north of Dallas, after a fatiguing march over a rough, densely wooded country. My regiment was in the first line of the attacking column of the brigade, with the Seventeenth Kentucky on its left. Two of my companies, viz, C and H, were not engaged, having been thrown out on the skirmish line during the march, and in the confusion incidental thereto separated from their command, and did not rejoin it until about midnight. The position occupied by the enemy was a ridge running parallel to our line of march of this afternoon, and our advance had to be made over ground most unfavorable; dense woods, tangled vines, rocks and ravines impeded our way at every step; but we pushed on under a murderous fire, never halting for a moment until within about twenty yards of the crest of the ridge, when we found ourselves under a formidable line of defenses from which the enemy poured a deadly fire of musketry and artillery. We had suffered severely in getting to this position, but once there were comparatively safe, shielded by the slope of the hill. A battery on the right, where our lines had failed to advance, enfiladed our lines and occasioned us some loss. We remained in this position until our ammunition was exhausted and all hopes of re-enforcements despaired of, so at 10 p. m. when the enemy charged our lines we fell back, firing our last round of ammunition upon the advancing foe. Arriving at the point where our lines had been formed in the afternoon, we joined the rest of the brigade, and went into bivouac some half a mile to the right about midnight. Our casualties in this engagement embraced Capt. Samuel W. McCulloch, Company D, mortally wounded; Second Lieut. James Thompson, Company F, severely wounded; 5 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded; 26 enlisted men wounded; 26 enlisted men missing in action, making an aggregate loss of 59 out of about 200 engaged. On the morning of the 31st we advanced our lines about a half a mile, and began to throw up breast-works while thus engaged the enemy made a spirited assault upon our whole line, but the reserves of the skirmish line checked their advance and we completed our works. The morning of Sunday, June 5, disclosed the enemy gone from our front, and the next day we took up our line of march in the direction of Acworth Station, where we bivouacked and remained until the morning of June 10, when we marched toward Marietta. Our movenents from this to the 21st instant were very slow, the advance being made by parallels, driving the enemy from one position to another, line upon line of most formidable works marking the course of their retreat. I had 2 men killed on the 18th by solid shot from a battery that enfiladed our position. On the afternoon of the 21st, near Kenesaw Mountain, my command participated in the advance made by our brigade when we captured the enemy's rifle-pits and were thus enabled to secure a good position some half a mile to the front. Two men mortally and 4 severely wounded were the casualties in my command in this movement. We remained before Marietta performing the usual duties, confronting a vigilant enemy, making occasional demonstrations upon his lines until the 27th, when a general advance was attempted, and my command with the rest of the brigade marched about a mile to the right at 7 a. m. to the support of Newton's division. I had 1 man wounded in this movement.

The morning of July 3 the enemy disappeared from our front; our troops occupied Marietta and we pushed forward toward the Chattahoochee River, reaching it at a point known as Pace's Ferry. About noon of the 5th instant the enemy offered a stubborn resistance there, and my battalion that night, under cover of the darkness, threw up a line of rifle-pits close to the margin of the river and occupied them. We remained in this locality until Sunday, the 10th, when we marched four or five miles to the left, preparatory to crossing the river, which we did unmolested on the afternoon of the 12th instant, and went into bivouac some mile and a half on the south side, where we remained until Sunday, 17th instant, when, with the balance of the brigade, we marched to the south side of Pace's Ferry to cover the Crossing of the Fourteenth Army Corps. On Monday, 18th instant, advanced upon Atlanta by the Peach Tree road. On the 19th drove the enemy from his line of defenses on Peach Tree Creek and established our lines some half a mile on the other side. I had 3 men wounded in charging across the creek. From this time to that of settling down before Atlanta, on the 22d instant, nothing of interest transpired. On that day we established our lines within two miles of the city, near what is known as Utoy Creek, and constructed a mile of good works about 800 yards from the outer defenses of the city, the pickets confronting each other at some 300 yards distance in rifle-pits. From this time up to the evening of August 25, when we withdrew, nothing of special interest transpired upon our immediate front. Every day and almost every night the artillery and musketry kept up a constant fusillade. We made several demonstrations upon the enemy's lines, and on the 24th of July carried their advanced rifle-pits, which enabled us to advance our picket-line some 200 yards. Three men wounded embrace all the casualties in my command during our stay before the city.

On Thursday night, August 25, my battalion held the picketline during the withdrawal of the troops of our brigade. Our movements were now directed against the Montgomery railroad, which we struck at 7 a. m. 29th of August, twelve miles southwest of Atlanta, and participated in its destruction. 0n the afternoon of Wednesday, 31st, we reached the Macon railroad and formed our lines to protect the details engaged in its destruction. The next morning, September 1, we pushed forward four miles farther in the direction of Jonesborough and demolished the road at that point. At 4 p. m. marched toward Jonesborough, where some of our troops were engaged, and formed our lines in an open field about a mile north of the town, exposed to an artillery fire, but we were not engaged. The next morning, September 2, passed through Jonesborough, the enemy having fallen back toward Lovejoy's Station; we followed up, and at 3 p. m. formed our lines about a half a mile to the left of the railroad and advanced upon the enemy, who occupied a ridge about a mile this side of Lovejoy's Station. Our movements had to be made over a very rough, broken country, made more difficult by fallen timber with which the enemy obstructed our way; we pushed on, however, and succeeded in carrying their rifle-pits and capturing the occupants, but coming upon their main works across an open field, some 300 yards from the edge of the woods, the line upon our right not having advanced at all, we could not hope to carry them alone, so we constructed hasty works at the line we had secured at the edge of the woods, and where we remained confronting the enemy, exposed to a heavy fire, until the night of the 5th, when the whole army withdrew. My loss here was 3 killed and 7 wounded. On Thursday afternoon, September 8, just two weeks from the time this movement was inaugurated, we returned and took possession of the prize-Atlanta, ours. We feel that the toils and labors of the past four months are amply rewarded.

Below is a recapitulation of the casualties of the campaign.

You will please to remember that on June the 8th my command was reduced to a battalion organization of four companies, with an aggregate effective force of only 150 men since that time.

Recapitulation: Killed or died of wounds-commissioned officer, 1; enlisted men, 16. Wounded-commissioned officer, 1; enlisted men, 45. Missing in action-enlisted men, 26. Aggregate, 89.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. T. SNIDER, Maj., Cmdg. Battalion.

Capt. W. S. S. ERB, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Following the Atlanta Campaign, the 13th entered camp near Atlanta for several weeks, before joining the Union’s pursuit of Confederate General John Bell Hood’s army, which was advancing through northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and southern Tennessee in the direction of Nashville. The battalion marched through northern Georgia and Alabama and confronted Hood's army with the rest of the Union's Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee (November 29, 1864). After this battle, the Northerners retreated to Nashville. On December 15 and 16, 1864, the Army of the Cumberland advanced against Hood's Confederates. At the Battle of Nashville, the Union army succeeded in defeating the enemy, driving the Confederates from Tennessee. The Army of the Cumberland, including the 13th, pursued the withdrawing Southerners. The battalion next entered camp at Huntsville, Alabama. The 13th's commanding officer issued the following report regarding the battalion's actions against Hood's army:

HDQRS. BATTALION THIRTEENTH OHIO VET. VOL. INFTY., Near Huntsville, Ala., January 8, 1865.

CAPT.: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by my command in the movements and operations against the enemy, commencing in front of Nashville, Tenn., on the morning of the 15th day of December, 1864:

In compliance with orders received the night previous, reveille was had at an early hour, breakfast over, tents struck, wagons packed and sent to the rear, and everything got in readiness to move at 6.30 a.m. In accordance with instructions from the brigade commander, my battalion was to remain and occupy the line of works vacated by the balance of the brigade, together with our own part of the line, until further orders. Our position was the same during the entire day and that night. Friday morning, December 16, before daybreak, in compliance with orders received the night previous, I reported with my command to Col. Knefler, commanding brigade, with the balance of the brigade, on the Granny White pike about one mile in advance of our old line of works. At about 7.30 a.m. the advance again commenced, our division moving the left of the Franklin pike; judging from the manner in which the division was formed, our brigade was in reserve, my battalion in rear of the brigade. Our formation was unchanged until between 3 and 4 p.m., when our brigade occupied the front. Skirmishers sent out from my battalion. At about 4 p.m. the rebel line in our front was observed to be giving way, when an advance was ordered. The rebel works in our front were occupied with little or no resistance. Four pieces of artillery stood smoking behind the embrasures, having been abandoned by the enemy. The pursuit was vigorously continued until total darkness compelled a halt, when "to camp" was ordered. Saturday morning, December 17, marched at an early hour, pushing rapidly forward under a drenching rain until near Franklin, where we camped to wait the construction of a bridge across Harpeth River. The advance and pursuit was continued from day to day as vigorously as the roads and very inclement weather would admit, until the evening of December 28, when we reached Lexington, Ala. On the morning of the 31st we resumed march, taking an eastern course, crossed Elk River on the 3d, and reached Huntsville, Ala., on the morning of the 5th day of January 1865. No casualties occurred in my command. The health and condition of the men was universally good, considering the cold, wet, and disagreeable weather exposed to. Men were placed upon three-fifths rations from the 26th day of December, 1864, until the 4th day of January, 1865, but fully supplied the deficiency by foraging rather extensively through the country on the line of march.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOS. T. SNIDER, Maj., Cmdg. Battalion Thirteenth Ohio Vet. Vol. Infty.

Capt. W. V. BURNS, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

On June 16, 1865, officials ordered the 13th to Texas, where the organization arrived at Indianola on July 10, 1865. On the following day, the battalion entered camp at Green Lake. On September 4, 1865, the 13th marched to San Antonio, Texas. On December 5, 1865, the battalion mustered out of service at San Antonio. The 13th proceeded to Columbus, Ohio, where officials discharged the unit's members at Camp Chase on January 17, 1866.

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