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.
Sharpshooter units formed in Ohio became known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters. In September and October 1861, Ohio officials authorized the creation of ten companies of sharpshooters. These companies were to be known collectively as Birge’s Western Sharpshooters and were to be under the command of General John C. Fremont in Missouri. This plan did not materialize, but Ohio eventually did form ten different companies, including the 1st Independent Company Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters, which enrolled at Dayton, Ohio between September 18, 1861 and October 14, 1861.
On October 15, 1861, the 1st departed Dayton for St. Louis, Missouri, traveling via Cincinnati on the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad. Officials equipped the company with American target rifles, bear-skin shot pouches, scraped powder horns, squirrel-tailed caps, blue coats, and gray pantaloons. Upon arriving at St. Louis, the company went into camp at Camp Benton. On November 23, 1861, the 1st formally mustered into the regular service.
In Missouri, the 1st engaged in some skirmishes with Confederate forces, before officials dispatched the company to Fort Donelson in Kentucky. The 1st actually opened the Battle of Fort Donelson (February 11 to 16, 1862) and, after this Union victory, moved to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, where the company fought in the Battle of Shiloh (April 6 and 7, 1862). Following this battle, the 1st company joined the 14th Regiment Missouri Infantry. With this organization, the company participated in the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi and several expeditions in Mississippi and Alabama during the summer and fall of 1862.
On November 28, 1862, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton ordered the 1st Independent Company Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters to join the 66th Regiment Illinois Infantry as Company G. The 1st ceased to exist as a separate organization at this time and remained with the 66th for the war’s duration.
During 1863, Company G fought in the following engagements: Tuscumbia Bridge, Mississippi (February 8, 1863); Danville, Mississippi (March 24 and 31, 1863); Rienzi, Mississippi (April 1, 1863); Blackland, Mississippi (April 7 and 8, 1863); Rienzi, Mississippi (May 19, 1863); Jumpertown, Mississippi (July 19, 1863); Hatchie River, Mississippi (July 23, 1863); Booneville, Mississippi (August 31, 1863); and Whiteside’s Farm, Mississippi (September 9, 1863).
In December 1863, many members of Company G reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to return to their homes in Ohio. The company traveled to Chicago and then to their homes in Ohio. Company G returned to the front in time to embark upon General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. The company fought in the following engagements of this campaign: Taylor’s Ridge, Georgia (May 8, 1864); Snake Creek Gap, Georgia (May 9, 1864); Dick’s Ridge (May 11 and 12, 1864); Resaca, Georgia (May 13, 1864); Lay’s Ferry, Georgia (May 14 and 15, 1864); Rome’s Crossroads, Georgia (May 16, 1864); Dallas, Georgia (May 26 to June 1, 1864); Lone Mountain, Georgia (June 1, 1864); New Hope, Georgia (June 3, 1864); Big Shanty, Georgia (June 11, 1864); Brush Mountain, Georgia (June 15, 1864); Little Kennesaw, Georgia (June 21, 1864); Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia (June 25 to July 2, 1864); Nicojack Creek, Georgia (July 4, 1864); Howe’s Ferry, Georgia (July 7 and 8, 1864); Cross Keys, Georgia (July 18, 1864); Peachtree Creek (July 19, 1864); Decatur, Georgia (July 20, 1864); Atlanta, Georgia (July 21, 1864); Bald Hill, Georgia (July 22, 1864); Howard House, Georgia (July 22, 1864); Atlanta, Georgia (July 23 to 26, 1864); Utoy Creek (July 27, 1864); Ezra Church, Georgia (July 28, 1864); Proctor’s Creek, Georgia (July 31 to August 1, 1864 and August 4 to 11, 1864); Siege of Atlanta, Georgia (August 12 to 26, 1864); Jonesborough, Georgia (August 31 and September 1, 1864); and Lovejoy’s Station, Georgia (September 2 to September 5, 1864).
Upon the Union’s capture of Atlanta, the 66th Illinois participated in Sherman’s March to the Sea in the autumn of 1864, engaging the enemy during the Siege of Savannah, Georgia (December 10 to December 21, 1864). The regiment, including Company G, also fought in Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign during the first one-half of 1865, participating in the Battles of Congaree Creek, South Carolina (February 15, 1865); Columbia, South Carolina (February 16 and 17, 1865); Fayetteville, North Carolina (March 13, 1865); Bentonville, North Carolina (March 19 to March 21, 1865); and Goldsboro, North Carolina (March 21, 1865).
Following Confederate General Joseph Johnston’s surrender, the 66th marched via Richmond, Virginia to Washington, DC, where the regiment, including Company G, participated in the Grand Review on May 24, 1865.
Following the Grand Review, the 66th traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, where the entire regiment mustered out of service on July 7, 1865. Company G’s members proceeded to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, where officials discharged its members from duty.