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. On October 2, 1861, the 16th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Camp Tiffin in Wooster, Ohio for three years of duty. In late November 1861, officials dispatched the regiment to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, with the 16th arriving on November 28. The regiment remained at Camp Dennison until December 19, 1861, when the 16th's members finally received their weapons and departed for Lexington, Kentucky. On January 12, 1862, the regiment advanced to Somerset, Kentucky, where the 16th protected repaired roads and railroad track to support General George Thomas's force at Mill Springs, Kentucky. On January 19, 1862, the Battle of Mill Springs occurred. Authorities ordered the 16th Regiment to the battlefield, but the regiment arrived too late to take part in the battle.
In early February 1862, authorities ordered the 16th Regiment to London, Kentucky and then to Cumberland Ford, Kentucky, where the regiment arrived on February 12. At Cumberland Ford, the 16th OVI primarily served on garrison duty. On March 12 and March 22, 1862, the regiment made reconnaissances towards the Cumberland Gap and engaged in some brief skirmishes with Confederate forces. The 16th OVI made another reconnaissance towards the Cumberland Gap on April 28, 1862. A skirmish erupted with Confederate soldiers near the Cumberland Gap. The 16th Regiment suffered one man killed and two wounded before withdrawing. The regiment spent May 1862 practicing for an assault on the Cumberland Gap and, on June 10, 1862, began its approach towards the Confederate position. On June 17, 1862, the 16th reached the Cumberland Gap, which Southern forces had evacuated without a fight. The regiment remained at the Cumberland Gap until August 3, 1862, primarily fortifying the Union position.
On August 6, 1862, officials ordered the 16th OVI to Tagewell, Kentucky to assist the 14th Regiment Kentucky Infantry in an engagement with Confederate forces. The Southerners drove the Northern soldiers from the battlefield once the Union troopers ran out of ammunition, capturing nearly all of the men in Companies B and E of the 16th Regiment. The Union soldiers retreated to their fortifications at the Cumberland Gap, but the Confederates did not attack. The 16th Regiment remained at the Cumberland Gap until September 8, 1862, when officials ordered the regiment to Manchester, Kentucky to resupply. With insufficient supplies available, the 16th Ohio, along with the other Union soldiers who had occupied the Cumberland Gap, retreated towards the Ohio River. Numerous skirmishes occurred on the march to Greenupsburg, Kentucky via Grayson, Kentucky. The Union force reached Greenupsburg on October 3, 1862. The 16th OVI then proceeded to Portland, Ohio, where it stayed until October 21, 1862.
On October 21, 1862, officials dispatched the 16th Regiment to Charleston, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The regiment remained at Charleston until November 10, 1862, when the 16th marched to Point Pleasant, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia) and boarded steamers for Memphis, Tennessee, arriving at this city on November 27, 1862, where it joined William T. Sherman's command.
On December 20, 1862, Sherman's force moved towards Vicksburg, Mississippi and fought the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou on December 29, 1862. In this battle, the 16th OVI lost three hundred men and eleven officers killed, wounded, or captured. In early 1863, the 16th OVI helped capture Arkansas Post, Arkansas and then encamped for the remainder of the winter at Young's Point, Louisiana. On March 8, 1863, officials ordered the 16th Regiment to Milliken's Bend, Mississippi, where it joined Ulysses S. Grant's assault on Vicksburg, Mississippi. The regiment fought in the Battle of Thompson's Hill on May 1, 1863, the Battle of Champion Hill on May 16, 1863, the Battle of Big Black River Bridge on May 17, 1863, and an assault on Vicksburg on May 19, 1863. The 16th Ohio participated in the Siege of Vicksburg until the city's capitulation on July 4, 1863.
On July 6, 1863, authorities dispatched the 16th Regiment to Jackson, Mississippi, where Union forces laid siege to this city. Following Jackson's capture, the 16th Regiment returned to Vicksburg, where officials sent the regiment to Carrollton, Louisiana near New Orleans, Louisiana. The regiment arrived at Carrollton on August 15, 1863.
On September 7, 1863, the 16th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry participated in General Nathaniel Banks’s assault in Teche Country in Louisiana. The Union force traveled to Opelousas, Louisiana via Algiers and Brashear City. No engagements occurred with Confederate forces, and the 16th returned to New Orleans, where officials dispatched the regiment to Texas. The 16th OVI landed at DeCrow’s Point, Texas and then traveled to Indianola, Texas and Fort Esperanza, Texas on Matagorda Island.
On April 21, 1864, the 16th Regiment arrived in New Orleans, where it remained only two days before advancing to Alexandria, Louisiana to reinforce Nathaniel Banks’s army, which was returning from an expedition to the Red River. The regiment arrived at Alexandria on April 26, 1864 and engaged in several skirmishes with Confederate forces over the next several weeks. Five companies of the 16th OVI also helped to construct a dam on the Red River to make portion so the river navigable for Union gunboats. On May 15, 1864, Banks’s entire command retreated to Morganza, Louisiana, where the 16th Ohio performed garrison duty.
On October 6, 1864, officials ordered the 16th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry to Columbus, Ohio, where authorities mustered and discharged it out of duty on October 31, 1864.
During its term of service, the 16th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry traveled 1,285 miles by train, 3,619 miles by steamboat, 1,200 miles by steamship, and 1,621 miles on foot. Sixty-two men, including two officers, died on the battlefield. One soldier committed suicide; one died from an accidental shooting; and two men drowned. An additional 185 men died from disease. Of the original 1,191 men who joined the regiment, only 477 remained to be mustered out in October 1864.