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.
Artillery batteries formed in Ohio became known as batteries of Ohio Volunteer Artillery. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. On July 6, 1861, the 1st Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery mustered into service at Camp Chase, at Columbus Ohio. The men in the battery were to serve three years and primarily volunteered from Clermont, Richland, Huron, Montgomery, and Crawford Counties, Ohio. The 1st was also known as McMullin’s Battery, named after James R. McMullin, a captain in the battery.
After mustering into service, the 1st reported for duty in western Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), in the Kanawha and Gauley River Valleys. The battery participated in the Union victory at the Battle of Carnifex Ferry (September 10, 1861). The battery was known as a “jack-ass battery,” as the organization only had four cannons and utilized mules instead of horses to move the artillery pieces. The 1st remained in western Virginia until the late summer of 1862, when the organization temporarily joined the Union’s Army of the Potomac and fought in the Battles of South Mountain (September 14, 1862) and Antietam (September 17, 1862). After South Mountain, the commanding officer of the 1st Battery issued the following report:
FIRST BATTERY OHIO ARTILLERY, Camp in the Field, September 16, 1862.
SIR: I have the honor to transmit an outline report of the part taken by my battery in the engagement of the 14th instant: In obedient to orders from you, my battery took position about halfway up South Mountain and to the; National road, when I immediately engaged a six-gun battery of the enemy for some thirty-fire or forty minutes, when he opened another battery to the left of the first, the range being nearly or quite 1,700 yards. In about an hour the enemy’s first battery was silenced. My guns then continued to play upon the enemy’s second battery until late in the afternoon, when it was moved out of range.
About 11 o’clock, in obedient to an order from yourself, I sent one section, under command of First Lieut. George L. Crome, to take position on the top of South Mountain, which Lieut. Crome reached with difficulty, being compelled to move his pieces by manual force, and opened on the enemy, in position behind a stone wall, with canister at a distance of 40 yards.
After expending; four double rounds, Lieut. Crome was; struck in the breast with a musket-ball while engaged in loading one of this pieces, three; of his cannoneers being wounded. The enemy was driven from his position, and the section remained on the field. Lieut. Crome lived about two hours, when he expired. His loss is to be deeply regretted, for he was a brave and noble man, who at the first call of this country left the endearments of home for its defense. Yet it is a consolation to his friends and companions in arms to know that he died at his post in the discharge of more than his duty.
Lieuts. McClung Fair, and Channel ( the latter on detached duty from the Twelfth Ohio Volunteers Infantry), and the men of my battery, all did their duty. Not a single exception came under my observation or to my hearing.
I am, colonel, with respect, your obedient servant,
J. R. McMULLIN,
Capt. First Battery, Ohio Artillery.
Col. E. P. SCAMMON,
Commanding Kanawha Division.
Following Antietam, the battery returned to western Virginia and spent 1863 patrolling the area. The 1st engaged Confederate forces at Newbern Bridge and Cloyd Mountain and then entered into camp at Lewisburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia).
In May and June 1864, the 1st participated in the Lynchburg Campaign. The battery joined General David Hunter’s command at Staunton, Virginia. The Northerners advanced to Lexington, Virginia, where the Battle of Lexington occurred on June 12, 1864. In this engagement, the 1st had one man killed and succeeded in dislodging Confederate sharpshooters from the Observatory at the Virginia Military Institute. The battery also fought in the Battle of Lynchburg (June 17 and 18, 1864). After this Union defeat, Hunter’s army retreated to Parkersburg, West Virginia.
At Parkersburg, the 1st traveled by train to Martinsburg, West Virginia. On July 20, 1864, the battery accompanied other Union soldiers towards Winchester, Virginia. Four miles from Winchester, the Union forces engaged Confederate soldiers at Stephenson’s Depot, capturing 150 Southerners and four artillery pieces. On July 24, 1864, General Jubal Early’s Confederate army overwhelmed the Union forces near Winchester, prompting the Northerners to retreat across the Potomac River to Williamsport, Maryland. At Williamsport, officials determined that the 1st Battery’s equipment was unfit for duty. Authorities seized the organization’s cannons and ordered the battery to Martinsburg, West Virginia, where it performed guard duty for six months. In late March 1865, the 1st moved to Harper’s Ferry, Virginia and, upon the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia’s surrender, transferred to Washington, DC. At Washington, the battery garrisoned Fort Meigs. On June 17, 1865, officials ordered the 1st Battery to Columbus, Ohio, where the organization mustered out of service on June 26, 1865.
During the 1st Battery’s term of service, the organization had seven men, including one officer, killed on the battlefield and fifteen soldiers die from disease or accidents.