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15th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery


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.

Artillery batteries formed in Ohio became known as batteries of Ohio Volunteer Artillery. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. In December 1861 and January 1862, military authorities recruited the 15th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Trumbull Counties, Ohio. The battery then traveled to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, where the organization mustered into service on February 1, 1862. The battery was also known as Spear’s Battery, named after one of the organization’s captains, Edward Spears. The men in the battery were to serve three years.

On February 16, 1862, the 15th traveled to Cincinnati, where the organization boarded steamers for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Upon the unit reaching Paducah, Kentucky, General William T. Sherman ordered the battery to report to General Ulysses S. Grant at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. Departing Paducah on April 16, 1862, the 15th arrived via steamer at Pittsburg Landing on April 20, 1862, where the unit joined the 4th Division of the Army of the Tennessee. On the trip to Pittsburg Landing, Confederate guerrillas fired upon the steamer, prompting the battery’s members to disembark, to drive the Southerners from the community, and to destroy the town from which the guerrillas opened fire.

After reaching Pittsburg Landing, the 15th embarked upon the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi. After the Union soldiers captured this important railroad junction, officials dispatched the battery to Memphis, Tennessee, which the unit reached on July 21, 1862. On September 6, 1862, the organization began an advance to Bolivar, Tennessee, arriving one week later. At this location, the battery engaged in several skirmishes with Confederate guerrillas and regular troops. On September 20, 1862, the 15th and other Union forces participated in a reconnaissance towards Grand Junction. The next day, the Northerners encountered Confederate soldiers under the command of Sterling Price and Earl Van Dorn. A running skirmish erupted, with the Southerners eventually retreating. The 15th had one man killed and one soldier captured in this expedition. On October 5, 1862, the Battle of Metamora occurred, with the 15th having two men wounded. Two days later, the battery returned to Bolivar.

On November 15, 1862, the 15th advanced to La Grange, Tennessee. Thirteen days later, the battery joined General Grant’s advance on Vicksburg, Mississippi. Grant terminated this expedition after Confederate forces destroyed his army’s supply depot at Holly Springs, Mississippi. The 15th retreated to Calersville, Tennessee, arriving on January 18, 1863. The Union soldiers commandeered civilians’ homes for barracks. On March 9, 1863, the battery began a march to Memphis, Tennessee. While on this march, the organization participated in the Battle of Coldwater, Mississippi (April 19, 1863), having two men killed and two soldiers wounded. The battery reached Memphis on April 23, 1863 and departed this city for Vicksburg, Mississippi on May 11, 1863. The battery participated in the Siege of Vicksburg, which ended with the Union’s capture of this Confederate stronghold on July 4, 1863.

Immediately following Vicksburg’s capture, officials dispatched the 15th with General William T. Sherman’s command to Jackson, Mississippi to lay siege to Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s command within the city. On July 12, 1863, the battery participated in an attack on the Confederate line, having two men wounded. The Northern soldiers occupied Jackson on July 17, 1863, Johnston having evacuated the city the previous night.

By late July 1863, the 15th returned to Vicksburg and, on August 15, 1863, advanced to Natchez, Mississippi, where the battery participated in several expeditions. On December 1, 1863, the unit returned to Vicksburg, encamping at Clear Creek, eight miles from the city. On February 3, 1864, the organization joined William T. Sherman’s expedition against Meridian, Mississippi, destroying railroad track between Quitman, Mississippi to the Pearl River. The battery returned to Clear Creek on March 4, 1864. Thirty-six original members of the unit reenlisted at Clear Creek, receiving a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio.

On May 2, 1864, the 15th departed Clear Creek for northern Georgia to join William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The battery traveled via Cairo, Illinois, Clifton, Tennessee, Huntsville, Alabama, Decatur, Alabama, meeting Sherman's command at Acworth, Georgia on June 8, 1864. The organization fought in the Battles of Kennesaw Mountain, Nicojack Creek, Chattahoochie River, Atlanta, Jonesborough, and Lovejoy's Station, as well as in the Siege of Atlanta, Georgia. This city fell to Sherman’s army in early September 1864.

The 15th spent September 1864 in the vicinity of Atlanta, recuperating from the lengthy campaign. The battery briefly pursued Confederate General John Bell Hood’s army, which was launching an invasion of northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and central Tennessee in the autumn of 1864, but upon reaching Gaylesville, Alabama, the unit returned to Atlanta, arriving on November 11, 1864.

Beginning on November 13, 1864, the 15th participated in Sherman’s March to the Sea. In the Siege of Savannah, Georgia, the battery had two men killed. In early 1865, the organization embarked upon Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign. Traveling through Columbia, South Carolina and Goldsboro, North Carolina, the 15th was present at Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s surrender in late April 1865. The battery then proceeded to Washington, DC, where the unit marched in the Grand Review. In mid June 1865, officials dispatched the organization to Columbus, Ohio, where the 15th mustered out of service on June 20, 1865.

During the 15th Battery’s term of service, eight men died on the battlefield, while thirty soldiers perished from disease or accidents.

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