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18th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Three Years) (Second Organization)


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.

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. The 18th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service as a three-year organization at Chattanooga, Tennessee in November 1864. This was the third 18th Ohio formed during the Civil War. The first organization enlisted for three months of service in 1861. Many of this regiment's members reenlisted for three years of service in 1861, creating the second 18th Regiment. The third 18th Ohio formed after the second regiment mustered out of service on November 9, 1864. The third 18th Regiment primarily consisted of re-enlistees from other Ohio regiments who chose to remain in the military after their original three-year commitment ended. Veterans from the 1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 18th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 24th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and 35th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry comprised the new 18th Regiment.

Upon mustering into service in November 1864, the 18th Ohio joined the Union's pursuit of Confederate General John Bell Hood's army, which was advancing upon Nashville, Tennessee. In the Battle of Nashville December 15-16, 1864), the regiment assaulted the Confederate line on Overton Hill. While the Ohioans fought fiercely, the Southerners drove the Northerners back. On the battle's second day, the 18th, with other Union regiments, succeeded in taking the hill and driving Hood's Confederates from the battlefield. In this engagement, the 18th had four officers and seventy-five enlisted men killed or wounded out of less than two hundred soldiers available for duty when the battle erupted. After the Battle of Nashville, the 18th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. EIGHTEENTH OHIO INFANTRY, Chattanooga, Tenn., January 20, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the two days' battle before Nashville, Tenn., on the 15th and 16th of December, 1864:

In obedience to orders from Lieut.-Col. Grosvenor, commanding Third Brigade, First Provisional Division, Army of the Cumberland, the regiment, commanded by Capt. E. Grosvenor, moved out at daylight and took position on the Murfreesborough turnpike near the picket-line. Soon after the fighting commenced the regiment was moved forward in the second line, over an open field, until within a short distance of the enemy's works. There are halted for a short time, and remained under cover until ordered by Lieut.-Col. Grosvenor, commanding brigade, to charge and take the rebel works in our front. The regiment charged gallantly under a galling fire up to the works, and succeeded in reaching the interior of the works with near a hundred men, but finally had to fall back on account of not being properly supported on the left. The Second Battalion, Fourteenth Army Corps, started on the charge at the same time, and on the left of my regiment, but at the first volley from the enemy it broke and run from the field in confusion, leaving the enemy to concentrate his whole fire on my regiment. The regiment remained at the works ten or fifteen minutes, when it was ordered by Lieut. Grant to fall back, which it did, fighting stubbornly as it went. Capt. Grosvenor fell dead, pierced by three balls, soon after reaching the works. Lieut. Samuel W. Thomas was also killed at about the same time. When within about forty yards of the works I was struck by a spent ball on the knee, paralyzing my leg and rendering me quite helpless; Capt. Grosvenor being killed and myself wounded, the command of the regiment devolved upon Lieut. Charles Grant, next in rank, who deserves great praise for the promptness displayed in bringing the regiment off and reforming it. After the regiment was reformed I was assisted to mount a horse, and commanded the regiment during the rest of the fight. Soon after reforming, the regiment, with the rest of the brigade, was moved to the right, and took position directly in front of Rains' house. I received order from Lieut.-Col. Grosvenor to push forward a heavy line of skirmishers to annoy and silence, if possible, a rebel battery, situated in the rear of Rains' house, on the west of the railroad, that was shelling our troops on the right; the skirmish line moved forward, under Lieut.'s Grant and Collings, who pushed it rapidly up to Rains' house; the battery was silenced, and only fired two or three more shots during the afternoon. The regiment remained on the skirmish line until dark, when it was relieved by the colored troops, when we moved back a short distance and bivouacked for the night.

December 16, the enemy fell back during the night. We marched at 7 a.m. over the battle-field of the day before; our dead that had been left on the field had been stripped of their clothing by the enemy and left exposed on the open field. We moved across the Nolensville pike and found the enemy strongly posted on Overton Hill, near the Franklin pike. My regiment took position in the second line, west of the railroad and near the foot of Overton Hill. At about 4 p.m. the order was given to assault the enemy, strongly posted on the hill. We moved forward at double-quick, through a small piece of woods with thick underbrush, and across an open corn-field, under a very heavy fire of grape and canister. When within about 100 yards of the enemy's works the line was halted, and remained under cover in a small ravine until ordered to fall back. Just as the command was halted I received a very painful wound in the mouth, made it necessary for me to leave the field. I turned over the command of the regiment to Lieut. Charles Grant, who commanded during the rest of the campaign.

The regiment, composed of different detachments hastily thrown together but a short time before the battle, fought nobly. The officers and soldiers, without an exception, deserve great praise for their soldierly endurance throughout the two days' fight. I wish to speak briefly of the gallantry and soldierly qualities of Capt. Grosvenor and Lieut. Thomas, who died so nobly at the head of their commands; they were both brave and efficient officers.

Lieut. J. B. Emery was severely wounded on the first day while bravely leading his command against the enemy's works. Lieut.'s Grant, Collings, and Lynch deserve special mention for the promptness in which obeyed all my orders. Lieut. D. M. Bates, acting adjutant, rendered me invaluable service during the campaign; he is a good worthy officer, and deserves promotion. Lieut. R. B. Chappell, acting regimental quartermaster, although not in the fight, rendered me very valuable assistance; by his untiring energy the command was well supplied with rations and ammunition at all times during the fight.

Owing to the scarcity of officers several companies were necessarily commanded by sergeants. Those who distinguished themselves as such are Sergt. B. F. Davis, Company A; Jerome F. Fry, Company C; James G. Irwin, Second Ohio; and Henry Carr, Twenty-fourth Ohio. They are all good soldiers and deserve promotion.

To Sergt. William H. Emrick, Thirty-fifth Ohio, I owe especial thanks for his assistance in helping me off the field when wounded in the first days' fight.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. M. BENEDICT, Capt., Cmdg. Regt.

Lieut. E. P. JOHNSON, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Following the Battle of Nashville, the 18th Ohio joined in the Union's pursuit of Hood's retreating army. The regiment pursued the Southerners as far as Tuscumbia, Alabama, before marching to Chattanooga, arriving at this final location on January 10, 1865. The 18th entered winter encampment at Chattanooga. In the spring of 1865, the command participated in several expeditions against Confederate cavalry units operating in eastern Tennessee. In April 1865, the regiment took up a new position near Fort Negley in Chattanooga. While at Chattanooga, an ordnance explosion occurred. The 18th's commanding officer issued the following report regarding this incident:

CHATTANOOGA, June 9, 1865.

A disastrous explosion took place here to day at about 1.30 p. m. The old brick ordnance building blew up by fire from a locomotive on the track adjoining. The fire spread and burned the two lower warehouses filled with forage. We saved the third warehouse filled with commissary, but had to remove nearly all the stores. At one time over 100 feet of the house was burning at once, and the military bridge was in momentary danger, but was saved. The loss to Government will reach $150,000 and at least ten men killed and wounded of the One hundred and eighty-sixth Ohio. One warehouse had 8,000 bales of hay. The murderous charge of gross neglect of duty made by officers and men against Capt. Hogan, ordnance officer, as also the fact that be was not to be found after the first explosion, has induced me to arrest him. If half the report is true, he is a great criminal. The whole matter should be thoroughly investigated. I will make a more full report by mail to-morrow. The new ordnance depot was only saved by great labor and courage.

C. H. GROSVENOR, Brevet Brig.-Gen., Cmdg.

Brig.-Gen. WHIPPLE, Chief of Staff.

In July 1865, the 18th advanced to Atlanta, Georgia, where the organization and its officers performed provost-marshal duty. On October 9, 1865, the regiment mustered out of service at Atlanta and proceeded to Columbus, Ohio, where officials discharged the 18th's members on October 22, 1865.

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