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 13, 1864, the 170th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Bellaire, Ohio. Most enlistees came from the following militia units: the 74th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Belmont County and the 78th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Harrison County. The men in the regiment were to serve one hundred days.
On March 17, 1864, authorities dispatched the 170th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry to Washington, DC. The regiment arrived in Washington on March 22, 1864, where the various companies performed garrison duty in Fort Simmons, Fort Mansfield, Fort Bayard, and Fort Gaines, which helped protect the nation's capital city. Some additional soldiers served at Battery Vermont. Within a short period of time, the companies at Fort Bayard and Fort Gaines were transferred to Fort Sumner and to an additional battery along the Potomac River.
On July 4, 1864, authorities dispatched the 170th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry to Sandy Hook, Maryland to assist in the defense of Maryland Heights. Confederate General Jubal Early's army was advancing towards Washington, DC, and Union forces intended to stop the Southerner's advance. The 170th remained at Sandy Hook, engaging in some minor skirmishing until July 15, 1864. At this time, the regiment became attached to the Army of West Virginia, which was in pursuit of Early's force. During this expedition, the 170th Regiment had four men killed, nineteen soldiers wounded, and an unknown number captured.
Union authorities eventually dispatched the 170th Regiment up the Middletown Valley to intercept retreating Confederate forces. The Southerners followed another route, and Northern officials dispatched the regiment to Frederick, Maryland and, soon thereafter, to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia. The 170th then joined General Philip Sheridan's invasion of the Shenandoah Valley, where the regiment traveled as far south as Cedar Creek. The regiment soon returned to Harper's Ferry, where it remained until August 24, 1864, when officials sent the 170th to Columbus, Ohio. The regiment arrived in Columbus on August 27, 1864, and authorities mustered the 170th out of service on September 10, 1864.
During its time of service, the 170th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry lost four men on the battlefield. The regiment lost twenty soldiers, including one officer, to disease or accidents.