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.
On May 9, 1864, the 161st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio. Most enlistees came from the 70th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Tuscarawas County, the 43rd Battalion Ohio National Guard from Morgan County, the 93rd Battalion Ohio National Guard from Noble County, and one company from the 58th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Hancock County. The men in the regiment were to serve one hundred days.
On May 9, 1864, authorities dispatched the 161st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry to Cumberland, Maryland. The regiment arrived at Cumberland on May 12. The 161st remained encamped at Cumberland until May 28, 1864, when officials transferred the 161st to Martinsburg, West Virginia. Beginning on June 4, Companies A, B, D, F, and H escorted a supply train through the Shenandoah Valley to Lexington, Virginia, where the units arrived on June 11. The companies traveled with David Hunter's Union army as far as Lynchburg, Virginia, when the units returned to Martinsburg. The companies escorted 150 wagons and ambulances, as well as 150 Confederate prisoners and several hundred escaped slaves, to Martinsburg. Leaving on June 17, 1864 and traveling through Beverly and Webster, the companies reached Martinsburg on July 2. These companies immediately marched to Hainesville, where they joined the rest of the 161st, on the evening of July 2. That same evening, officials ordered the entire 161st to return to Martinsburg. On July 3, authorities sent the regiment to Maryland Heights via Shepherdstown, Maryland and Sharpsburg, Maryland. At Maryland Heights, the 161st skirmished with portions of Confederate Jubal Early's army. The regiment remained at Maryland Heights during the rest of its term of service. On August 25, 1864, officials ordered the 161st to Camp Chase, where authorities discharged the regiment from military service on September 2, 1864.
During its time of service, the 161st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry had one man killed on the battlefield, and an additional thirteen men, including one officer, died from disease or accidents.