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 7, 1864, the 171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Sandusky, Ohio. Most enlistees came from the following militia units: the 51st Battalion Ohio National Guard from Trumbull County, the 14th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Portage County, the 85th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Lake County, and the 86th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Geauga County. The men in the regiment were to serve one hundred days.
Upon the 171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's formation, authorities dispatched the regiment to Johnson's Island, where the men served on guard duty. The 171st remained at Johnson's Island until June 9, 1864, when officials sent the regiment to Covington, Kentucky. Upon reaching Covington the regiment quickly departed via train for Cynthiana, Kentucky. Confederates had burned a railroad bridge known as Keller's (also spelled Kellar's) Bridge. The 171st went on picket duty, waiting for the bridge's repair. A portion of General John Hunt Morgan's Confederate cavalry attacked the Northern regiment on June 11, 1864. The 171st repulsed several Confederate assaults, despite the Southerners outnumbering the Northerners approximately two to one. Unfortunately, the soldiers of the 171st Regiment were eventually forced to surrender to Morgan's command. Thirteen members of the 171st died in the engagement, and another fifty-four men were wounded. Morgan attempted to negotiate an exchange of nearly 740 prisoners with Northern officials, but they refused. Advancing Union soldiers forced Morgan to parole the 171st Regiment. The regiment then marched to Augusta, Kentucky, where it boarded boats for Covington, Kentucky. The 171st Regiment eventually reached Camp Dennison outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. Officials soon dispatched the regiment to Johnson's Island, where it again served on guard duty once the United States War Department declared the soldiers' paroles invalid. Authorities mustered the 171st out of service on August 20, 1864.
During its time of service, the 171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry lost seventeen men on the battlefield. The regiment lost an additional fifteen soldiers to disease or accidents.
The following reports detail the 171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's exploits, including the Battle of Keller's Bridge, in Kentucky.
Report of Col. Joel F. Asper, One hundred and seventy-first
COLUMBUS, OHIO, June 20, 1864.
CAPT.: I have the honor to report to headquarters Northern
Department a full account of the march of my regiment from Johnson's
Island into Kentucky (Gen. Burbridge's district), with an account of
the disaster which occurred to it there, together with the condition and
situation of the field officers, as well as the situation and condition of
the line officers and men since their capture by Gen. Morgan.
About 8 a.m. June 9 instant I received an order for the march of my
regiment to Covington, Ky., to report to Brig. Gen. E. H.
Hobson, eight companies being on Johnson's Island on duty. A copy of
the order is annexed, marked Exhibit A. My orders issued at once, and
preparations were commenced by cooking rations, &c. At 10.30 o'clock
I received a copy of a dispatch from Gen. Heintzelman, and was
ordered to march at once. A copy of the dispatch is annexed as Exhibit
B. The cooking of the rations ceased, and in one hour and a half the
regiment was on the march. It was taken across the bay, loaded, and at
4 p.m. the train started for Cincinnati. At Springfield it was delayed two
hours waiting for our baggage and horses, which had been stopped at
Urbana with the train containing Twenty-fourth Ohio Battery. I arrived
at Cincinnati at 1 p.m. on the 10th. Here I was ordered to report at
Col. Marker's headquarters, which I did. I made requisition for two
days' rations and 30,000 rounds of ammunition, crossed the Ohio River,
and reported to Gen. Hobson about 4 o'clock of the 10th. In
pursuance of orders I placed my command in light marching order;
loaded it on the train; also assisted to load over 300 horses. A copy of
the written order received by me is annexed and marked Exhibit C.
When ready to move I reported in person to Gen. Hobson, and was
ordered to move my train at once, proceed to Cynthiana, and await
orders. The train moved about 10 p.m. Having heard that a small body
of rebels or guerrillas had been seen near the railroad about twenty-five
miles up the track, I gave the strictest orders to guard against any
surprise, ordering sentinels posted in each car, the men to be ready with
guns and accouterments, and all line officers to remain with their
commands. We proceeded without interruption to Keller's Bridge, over
the Licking River, which is about one mile over the railroad track and
two miles by the dirt road from Cynthiana. The bridge had been burned
by Morgan's men two or three days before. On Thursday the One hundred
and sixty-eight Regt. Ohio National Guard, Col. Garis, had been
sent up this railroad, dropped in detachments along its line, with five
companies under Col. Garis in Cynthiana. This I had been advised
of. The train arrived at Keller's Bridge at 4 o'clock in the morning. I
immediately ordered my men out of the cars, had them stack arms on
the left of the track, the ground offering a good position for defense. I
had details made, and the rations and ammunition unloaded and
distributed, and our private horses taken from the train. On getting out
I placed a picket, consisting of one company, on duty, on the top of the
hill which overlooked the valley and much of the country about. Having
taken off our regimental stores, and while the men were putting rations
and ammunition into haversacks and cartridge-boxes, I then went to
inquire about getting off the Government horses, four car-loads of which
were on my train. I went back to the second train, which had followed
us closely, and in a short time found Capt. Butler, assistant
adjutant-general on Gen. Hobson's staff, who directed me to make
a detail of 230 men and 10 officers to mount a portion of the horses,
and this detail was to get the horses out of the train. I ordered the detail
made, and the adjutant set about it. About this time picket-firing had
been commenced at the town in our advance. I was also notified by a
man from my advance company that a large cavalry force was moving
on our right. I saddled my horse, rode to the point of observation, saw a considerable
force which I knew was rebel cavalry. At this time the sergeant-major
of Col. Garis' regiment came to me and reported that colonel Garis
had been attacked by 1,500 of Morgan's cavalry; that he would hold the
town as long as he could, and wished me to come to his assistance as
speedily as possible. I ordered the lieutenant-colonel to form the line,
and rode back and reported to Capt. Butler. He directed me to wait
until Gen. Hobson should come forward. He soon came forward. My
line was forming in good style, faced toward the rebel approach. By the
time Gen. Hobson came up, a large column of cavalry was coming
down the road toward us, either for the purpose of getting between us
and Col. Garis or to get to colonel Garis' rear; and by direction of
Gen. Hobson, I placed two companies, under command of Maj.
Fowler, on a point of the hill across the railroad. These companies
opened fire upon the column immediately and drove it back, several
saddles being emptied at the first fire. I had in my command 690
officers and men. This included musicians, hospital attendants, and all
supernumeraries. There were about 100 men of different detachments
on Gen. Hobson's train, mostly from Kentucky regiments. These men
and one company from my regiment were thrown forward as
skirmishers, Gen. Hobson assuming command of the whole force,
and Capt. Butler, of the staff, having charge of the skirmish line. The
battle opened about 5 o'clock in the morning. It was hotly contested on
both sides. The force directly opposing us from the start was Col.
Giltner's brigade, of Morgan's command, 1,500 strong, armed with the
Enfield rifle. This brigade dismounted and advanced as infantry. We
held them in check and drove them back twice, and had there been no
other force, we should have been the victors on the field. Between 11
and 12 o'clock another brigade came into our rear and took position in
a wheat-field; besides, another had flanked around and took position on
our right flank and rear. This was commanded by Col. Martin, and
the other by Gen. Morgan in person. I made disposition of my
exhausted and scattered command to meet it. I placed all I could spare
from my front line against a high fence to our rear where they would be
partially protected by the two fences of a lane. By the time the
dispositions could be made a flag of truce was seen approaching our
lines. I was directed by Gen. Hobson to receive it. I went out and
met Capt. Morgan, of Gen. Morgan's staff. He carried a demand
from Gen. Morgan for our surrender as prisoners of war. I started
to report to Gen. Hobson, and on my way was summoned to meet
another flag carried by the rebel Col. Martin. I replied to him that
I was considering then a demand from Gen. Morgan. I reported to
Gen. Hobson. He asked my opinion about it. I told him that I could
hold out an hour longer, but that the end was plainly to be seen unless
relief was at hand, and we knew of none. Gen. Hobson thought I
could not hold out more than twenty minutes, or thirty at most. We
were unanimous in the conclusion that from the exhausted condition of
the men, having been fighting six hours without rest or water, that we
could not hold out much longer if attacked vigorously from front, rear,
and flanks, and to save the slaughter that must ensue from such an
attack policy and duty alike required a surrender. Col. Garis had
surrendered as we believed more than four hours before. No firing had
been heard from that quarter since early in the morning, and a scout we
had sent to ascertain the result had been driven back by rebel pickets.
I was then deputed to arrange the terms of surrender, which
I did with Capt. Morgan. The terms were: Gen. Hobson's forces
to surrender unconditionally as prisoners of war; the officers to retain
their side-arms; all private property to belong to the captors. After
Gen. Morgan rode up he said we had made so gallant a fight that we
should all have our horses. Lieut.-Col. Harmon had a valuable
horse which Col. Martin insisted upon keeping, and he was permitted
by Gen. Morgan to do so, but with this exception the terms as
modified by Gen. Morgan were strictly observed. I was ordered to
form my command, stack arms, and march them off, and then make a
list of names, companies, and regiments. Before this could be done they
were ordered away under a guard, the field officers being detained with
Gen. Hobson and staff.
Our loss was 14 killed and 45 wounded. My surgeon stated to me on his
way down Covington that he thought our loss in killed and wounded
would reach 75 or 80. I have no means of stating accurately, having
been separated from the command since the surrender. Our loss in
prisoners is about 500, some men having escaped.
I fought my command as well as I could and to the best possible
advantage, Gen. Hobson giving no general directions during the battle
besides his personal assistance to keep the men up to the work. Gen.
Hobson surrendered only when to have held out longer would have been
mere idle bravado, and would have induced reckless and wholesale
I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of most of my officers and
men. Two or three officers failed to do their duty, and some men
skulked away; but no more than is usual in most regiments. Most of
these men had never been under fire, but they fought splendidly, coolly,
and behaved like veterans.
Gen. Hobson was cool, brave, and judicious; was exposed all the
time to the rebel fire, and deserves well of the Government.
My own horse was shot under me and disabled, and I had several other
evidences of the close firing of rebel sharpshooters, but escaped unhurt.
The foregoing account the battle of Keller's Bridge is preliminary, and
quite necessary to a full understanding of the anomalous condition of
Gen. Hobson and staff and the field officers of my regiment.
After the surrender Gen. Morgan proposed to send Gen. Hobson
and staff, together with the field officers of my regiment, out under a
flag of truce to get into communication with the military authorities for
the purpose of securing a special exchange of ourselves, and to secure
an exchange of our men for some of his own then held as prisoners in
Kentucky; or if this could not be effected, that our Government might
be induced to accept his parole of them, so that they would be accounted
for by the Richmond Government; and if we failed to secure an
exchange, then we must return and report to Gen. Morgan as
prisoners. Gen. Hobson refused at first to go into the arrangement.
After consultation I advised that it be done for the benefit of our officers
and soldiers, who are only 100-days' men, as it would be peculiarly
hard to take these men south to languish in Southern prisons for several
months, and I believed the Government would not permit it. It was then
agreed to accept the proposition of Gen. Morgan. Gen. Morgan
and Gen. Hobson agreed upon the terms of a paper to be signed. It
was drawn up in pencil and signed by us all. Inspector-Gen. Allen,
of Gen. Morgan's staff, then drew one in ink, and in doing so added
to it a general parole. This we refused to sign; first,
because it was not according to agreement; and second, because we
absolutely refused to accept a general parole. It was then changed as
agreed upon first, and signed. Annexed is a true copy of this paper,
marked Exhibit D.*
The paper being signed horses obtained (Gen. Morgan had ordered
a horse given me to replace my disabled one), with an ambulance for
those who had no horses, Gen. Hobson's and staff's horses being on
the train, which had been run back, thrown from the track, and
destroyed, we started for some point where communication could be had
with the military authorities by telegraph. We expected to find such
communication at Boyd's Station, on the Kentucky Central Railroad, but
the operator had abandoned the station, and we proceeded to Falmouth,
where we arrived Sunday evening. Our escort was Capt. C. C.
Morgan, aide-de-camp, and Surgeon Goode, of Gen. Morgan's staff,
Maj. Chenoweth, of the line, a Mr. Voorhies, said to be a soldier,
lately joined them at Lexington, and an ambulance driver, who was also
a soldier. These men were all armed. Voorhies carried a flag of truce
in advance. We were received into our lines at Falmouth; the rebel
officers were assigned quarters and kept close. Gen. Hobson
immediately placed himself in communication with Gen. Burbridge,
his superior officer, commanding the District of Kentucky, and the
result is, two telegrams, copies of which are annexed as Exhibit E.
On Friday morning Gen. Hobson and staff, in pursuance of said
telegrams, started overland for Lexington (having first obtained
permission to go that way), to report to Gen. Burbridge, taking with
them the rebel officers and men, and myself and the other field officers
of my regiment came to Cincinnati, as directed by Gen. Burbridge,
and from thence I came on here to report, leaving the lieutenant-colonel
and major at Cincinnati. The regiment, with the line officers, was
paroled on Sunday after the battle between Gen. Morgan and Gen.
Capt. Morris, one of my captains, who was present and participated
in the whole matter, reports as follows: On Saturday evening, after our
surrender, the prisoners, comprising all they had taken at Mount
Sterling, Lexington, and Cynthiana, and those from our regiment, about
1,300, were started off on the Claysville pike, and marched about six
miles. In the morning they were started up and marched about ten miles
on the double-quick. At length they were halted, the officers called to
the front and center, and they were then offered horses to ride, provided
they would give their parole of honor that they would not attempt to
escape. While discussing the matter, Capt. Morris asked permission
for an interview with Gen. Morgan, which was granted. Capt.
Morris stepped to Gen. Morgan and told him that this treatment was
not according to the terms of the surrender. Gen. Morgan replied that
he was aware of that, but that circumstances altered cases, and said to
Capt. Morris if the officers would agree to respect their parole he
would parole them and let them go. Capt. Morris told him he would
report to the other officers and let them decide, which he did, and they
all agreed to accept a parole and respect it. They were then paroled. A
copy of this parole is annexed and marked Exhibit F. The
inspector-general then mounted Capt. Morris and compelled him to
ride along the lines with him, and he then told the men they were
paroled, administering to them some oath, or some sort of obligation.
They were started to August, thence to Cincinnati,
and by your orders have been transferred to Camp Dennison.
They are there now in a very uncomfortable condition; some have gone
home (the officers and men of the One hundred and sixty-eighth Ohio
National Guard have all gone home), and they say, as reported to me,
as I came along, that they insist upon being exchanged before being sent
to duty again, as they gave a solemn oath not to take up arms until
exchanged, because if they are expect to be murdered if captured again.
I make this statement in their behalf and ask action upon it.
The question submitted, upon which a decision of the Government is
asked, is whether these line officers and men, not having been reduced
within the permanent lines of the rebel armies, are prisoners of war at
all; and whether Gen. Morgan in letting them go with a parole,
however formal, did not in fact abandon them, and they are thereby
liberated. There may be some doubt upon the subject, but whatever the
strict legal right may be under the cartel, still I believe it would be
policy on the part of the Government to accept this parole and exchange
them at once, in order that they be again put into the field. It will place
them in a condition to go to duty more willingly and heartily, and not
with the fear that if again captured they would be murdered. They have
yet about two months and a half to serve. Gen. Hobson and staff and
the field officers are under a different obligation. Their parole binds
them to return if a special exchange cannot be effected. They were
treated with kindness and courtesy and do not desire or wish to violate
their pledge. Although the proposition came from Gen. Morgan, yet
it was for our benefit, for if not accepted we would have been mounted
on fresh horses and run into Gen. Branch's [Vance's?] lines as soon
as possible. This they told us after it had been arranged. If the principle
of the cartel that we were not reduced to possession within the
permanent lines of the army liberates us, we desire that the Government
assume the responsibility of so deciding and then to protect us. I would
beg the authorities to consider thoroughly, first, the point whether the
agreement partly executed is not equivalent to being reduced to
possession; whether in fact it was not such reduction of possession as to
bring us within the provisions of the cartel. But in either case we are not
to decide, and it will be for us to act as the authorities shall order. The
arrangement was made in good faith and we desire it carried out. I
would beg to ask the Government to be liberal in their action upon this
matter, as well as in the construction of the rules of war under which it
must be decided. We have fought hard and bravely, and to some
purpose, too, as a short statement will show.
Gen. Morgan had planned to sweep down the Licking River Valley,
plunder as he went, ride into Covington, plunder and burn it, then turn
the guns of the fortifications upon the city of Cincinnati, shell it until he
was satisfied, then turn up the Ohio and ride out of the State via
Maysville and Pound Gap. He had burned the bridges at Paris and
Cynthiana to prevent troops following him on the railroad; he had made
a feint upon Frankfort, to draw off Gen. Burbridge, which he
partially succeeded in doing. He had fresh horses, was twenty-four
hours the start, with no force at Covington, and none on the line of
march except ours. Our fight was so obstinate and protracted that the
fighting, taking care of his killed and wounded and the prisoners,
detained him until Gen. Burbridge could come up. The rebel officers
admitted that this was Gen. Morgan's plan, and that they had been
checked in the execution by our fight. Gen.
Burbridge was able in a short and decisive fight to completely rout
Gen. Morgan's forces so that they were compelled to fly the State in
a scattered condition. We beg to be allowed to believe that we have, by
our sacrifice, rendered the Government and our own State some service,
and ask to have these questions considered fairly, and to be liberally and
fairly dealt with by our Government.
I have the honor, captain, to be, your most obedient servant,
J. F. ASPER,
Col. 171st Regt. Ohio National Guard.
Capt. C. H. POTTER,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Northern Department, Columbus, Ohio.
SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 124. HDQRS. U. S. FORCES,
JOHNSON'S ISLAND AND SANDUSKY,
Johnson's Island, Ohio, June 9, 1864.
* * * * * * *
5. Pursuant to orders from Maj.-Gen. Heintzelman, commanding
Northern Department, Col. J. F. Asper will immediately prepare so
much of his regiment (the One hundred and seventy-first Ohio National
Guard) as remains at this post, to move by rail from Sandusky to
Covington, Ky., via Cincinnati, and will, at Covington, report to
Brig. Gen. E. H. Hobson for duty. The regiment will take
camp and garrison equipage and four days' cooked rations, and be in
every way prepared for field services. It will take tents of a new issue
from Capt. L. M. Brooks, assistant quartermaster. The regiment will
be ready to leave this post at 3 o'clock this afternoon, and will turn over
to Capt. Brooks, assistant quartermaster, and leave it tents and
quarters now in use standing, and in as perfect condition as they are
now in. Capt. L. M. Brooks, assistant quartermaster, will furnish
transportation, to be ready at the earliest moment possible.
By command of Col. Charles W. Hill:
A. N. MEAD,
Capt. and Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
COLUMBUS, June 8, 1864.
(Received Sandusky, Ohio, 8.30 a.m. 9th.)
Col. CHARLES W. HILL,
Cmdg. Johnson's Island:
Have the One hundred and seventy-first Ohio, Col. Asper, ready for
field service at a moment's notice. The service will be temporary.
S. P. HEINTZELMAN,
COVINGTON, KY., June 10, 1864.
One hundred and seventy-first Ohio:
Move at once with your regiment on to Cynthiana, on the train. Report
in person, or by an officer, when you are about to start.
By order of Brig.-Gen. Hobson:
J. S. BUTLER,
PAGE 62-77 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. [CHAP. LI.
[Series I. Vol. 39. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 77.]
LEXINGTON, June 14, 1864.
Brig. Gen. E. H. HOBSON:
The general commanding considers no officers and men prisoners of war
except such as Morgan retained and took off with him, and directs that
you and your staff report here for duty as soon as practicable, and that
the three rebel officers be held as prisoners.
J. BATES DICKSON.
LEXINGTON, June 15, 1864.
Gen. E. H. HOBSON:
The general commanding directs that yourself and staff and Lieut.
J. W. Arnett, Fifty-second Kentucky, come here via Louisville, and
bring with you the rebel officers and private as prisoners of war. The
Ohio 100-days' officers had better go to Cincinnati.
J. BATES DICKSON,
NEAR CLAYSVILLE, KY., June 12, 1864.
We, the undersigned officers of the Army of the United States, having
been captured by Brig. Gen. John H. Morgan, of the C. S.
Army, do hereby give our parole of honor not to engage in military
service against the Confederate States until duly exchanged for officers
of equal rank.
B. H. ALLEN,
Inspector-Gen., Morgan's Cavalry.
Report of Capt. Richard O. Swindler, One hundred
and seventy-first Ohio Infantry.
HDQRS. 171ST REGT. OHIO NATIONAL GUARD,
Cincinnati, June 14, 1864.
GEN.: I have the honor to report that the detachment of the One
hundred and seventy-first Regt. Ohio National Guard, consisting of
all the companies except Companies E and K, and containing about 500
men, left Covington, pursuant to order from department headquarters,
on the evening of the 10th instant, under command of Col. J. F.
Asper, for Cynthiana, at which place the detachment arrived on the
morning of the 11th at 3 o'clock, or rather at Keller's Bridge, which
had been burned, and is some mile and a half north of Cynthiana.
Between 4 and 5 o'clock sharp firing was heard from the direction of
Cynthiana, which continuing for some time, the command at Keller's
Bridge was formed, under direction of Col. Asper, and very soon
after the enemy was seen approaching in some force mounted, and were
fired upon, and they fell back. About this time Gen. Hobson took command and
further disposition of the forces was made. Not far from 7 o'clock the
enemy appeared in large force west of the position occupied by us; they
dismounted and advanced upon us with loud yells, opening a fierce and
well sustained fire, and were resolutely met by our troops and held at
bay. After a contest of considerable duration, the enemy having partially
flanked our right wing, Companies A and G, which composed it, were
ordered to fall back a few rods, which they did under a galling fire,
suffering some loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners. The fight
continued without lull through the whole length of our front, until
between 11 and 12 o'clock, the combatants on both sides taking cover
as much as the ground would allow. Several attempts were made to turn
our left flank, every one of which failed, and after the last attempt the
enemy retired rapidly and in disorder. Large forces of cavalry had been
seen passing over the hills in different directions, and fearing an attempt
to get in our rear Gen. [Hobson] had ordered small parties to protect
the two fords, one to the left and one to the right of our rear, but soon
after the firing ceased it was observed that Morgan had thrown large
forces across the river, and was approaching in line of battle on two
sides, east and south, while Gilter's (or Giltner's) forces had reformed
in front. A flag of truce was then sent in, and terms of surrender were
offered and accepted; the officers to retain their side-arms, and private
property of the soldiers to be respected. Gen. Hobson and staff,
Col. Asper, Lieut.-Col. Harmon, and Maj. Fowler started
with a flag of truce, under escort, to communicate with general
commanding department touching exchange of officers and parole of
men, since which nothing has been heard of the party by the
undersigned, excepting newspaper reports. After the surrender many of
the arms were burned on the field by order of Morgan as worthless, and
the others put into the hands of his unarmed recruits. The line officers
and men were marched to town, where the afternoon was spent in
preparations for paroling the prisoners, name, and descriptive lists being
prepared, &c. In the evening we were marched out of town, together
with those of other commands previously taken, and turned into an open
field without food and but few blankets. The night was very chilly, and
on Sunday morning we were marched out on the Augusta road, taking
our line of march by 4 o'clock. We were made to double-quick, miles
in succession, fording Licking River, at Claysville, waist deep, and
smaller streams many times. Blankets, shoes, and all impediments were
thrown away, and with bleeding feet many of the prisoners continued to
march only because threatened with death if they fell out. Having
reached a distance of perhaps twenty-odd miles, by the route taken, and
still without a morsel of food, the officers were told by Morgan if they
would accept a parole for themselves and men he would grant it; if not,
he would parole the men and take the officers with [him] to Richmond
or other point in the Confederacy-mounted, if they would give the
parole of honor not to escape; on foot, and at double-quick, if they
would not give such parole. The line officers present, consisting of all
who had been in the fight, except Lieut. Earl, of Company I,
accepted the parole for themselves and men. The men were also sworn
not to bear arms against the Southern Confederacy, or do other military
service, till exchanged or released from parole, under the penalty of
death. They did not sign any paper. A copy of the parole taken by the
officers is herewith transmitted.* The
whole number of paroled men and officers belonging to the One hundred
and seventy-first Regt. is about 400, but the undersigned can not
state accurately now for want of reports. A descriptive list was not
furnished Gen. Morgan, but the names of the men were given him.
After being paroled the men were some twenty-two miles from Augusta
on the pike, on which for a considerable part of the way stone had been
newly broken and was so sharp as to cut shoes. The country had been
entirely stripped of food, the men had eaten little, many nothing since
Friday evening, their clothing insufficient, and the undersigned being
senior captain, put in command by Col. Asper immediately after
surrender, thought best to reach Augusta by the night of the 12th. This
was done by dark, the men having marched on that day over forty
miles, though unused to marching, being composed of farmers,
merchants, clerks, lawyers, &c. A few horses were procured on which
were carried those unable to walk. A few horses were Augusta had no
notice of our coming, but supplied our wants to their utmost ability, and
on the morning of the 13th instant, by my order, captain of the
steam-boat—-with two barges brought us to this place, where we
arrived in the afternoon, the men exhausted and fainting.
The loss of the regiment in the fight at Keller's Bridge was 13 men
killed and 50 wounded, many of them very seriously, some of whom
have since died. Not over 400 were in the battle, and if portions of
other commands were engaged with us it escaped the notice of the
It would not become me perhaps to say much as to the conduct of the
troops or the manner in which they were handled, but I saw no reason
to complain of either. The regiment was armed badly, many of the
pieces failing to reach the enemy at all; very many became useless
early; while they had many very fine guns-short Enfield rifles, Spencer
The number actually engaged with us was not less than 1,200 to 1,500
supported by as many more. Morgan acknowledged a loss of 74 killed
and wounded at Keller's Bridge, but from the number of wounded
carried from the field, seen by me and many of our men after the battle,
I do not hesitate to say his loss exceeded the number given.
I have received no written orders since I took command, except one to
report to Camp Dennison immediately. What orders Col. Asper
received while in command I do not know, as I have no information
upon the subject.
R. O. SWINDLER,
Capt., Cmdg. 171st Regt. Ohio National Guard.
Maj. Gen. S. P. HEINTZELMAN,