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 regiments formed in Ohio typically became known as regiments of Ohio Light or Heavy Artillery. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. On August 12, 1863, the 1st Regiment Ohio Heavy Artillery mustered into service at Covington, Kentucky. The men in the regiment were to serve three years, although many of the soldiers had already served nearly one year as the 117th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This organization had formed on September 15, 1862, but on May 2, 1863, the United States War Department ordered the 117th to become the 1st Regiment Ohio Heavy Artillery. The regiment spent the next several months recruiting additional men, formally becoming the 1st on August 12, 1863.
Upon the regiment’s formation, officials ordered the various companies of the 1st Regiment Ohio Heavy Artillery to several different locations across Kentucky. Company D garrisoned Paris; Companies F and I protected Lexington; Companies H, K, L, and M guarded Camp Nelson; and the remaining companies remained in the Covington area. In January 1864, officials ordered the entire regiment to Knoxville, Tennessee. The 1st consolidated at Point Burnside, Kentucky, before departing for Knoxville. The regiment arrived at Knoxville on March 9, 1864. In June, authorities ordered four companies of the 1st to Loudon, Tennessee and a smaller detachment to Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, with most of the regiment remaining at Knoxville. In August 1864, General Joseph Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry forces attacked the Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Virginia Railroad, but the 1st Regiment successfully defended the railroad between Strawberry Plains and the Sweetwater River in Tennessee, protecting nearly 150 miles of track. Officers of the 1st Regiment issued the following reports after these engagements:
Report of Capt. Joshua S. Preble, First Ohio Heavy Artillery, of the pursuit of the Confederates and skirmish near Murphy, N. C.
HDQRS. CO. L. FIRST OHIO VOL. HEAVY ARTILLERY,
Loudon, Tenn., August 5, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report that on the 1st day of August, in accordance with instructions from Lieut.-Col. Patterson, commanding post at Loudon, Tenn., I repaired (with Capt. Bivens, commanding a squad of eighty men detailed from Companies M, L, C, and H, First Ohio Volunteer Heavy Artillery, for the purpose of driving a band of guerrillas) to Athens, Tenn. We arrived at the latter place at 12 m. of said day to find the rebels gone. In accordance with my instructions I then took command of the detachment. I pressed all the horses and mules I could find and mounted sixty of my men, and with them and five citizens, at 1.30 p. m., started in pursuit. We pushed on some thirty miles until it became dark, following the trail of the scoundrels, which was a wide one, they having plundered everything indiscriminately which came in their way. At 3 o’clock next morning we again started in pursuit, but owing to the fact that most of my men were poorly mounted, it was impossible for them to keep up. At 11 a. m. I came up with the enemy near the village of Murphy, in North Carolina, sixty-five miles from Athens. With fifteen of my men, all who had come up, I charged on the enemy. We killed 10 and wounded a number more. We captured 18 horses, 6 mules, 20 guns, 4 revolvers, and 2 small pistols, and a number of other articles. We took no prisoners. It is needless to add that the enemy were completely demoralized and fled in every direction. Our loss was 1 citizen-soldier killed. My men being very much fatigued and our horses completely done up, without rations or forage, I did not deem it advisable to pursue farther, and commenced our return, reaching Athens next day at 2 p. m. and reaching Loudon on the 4th instant.
It is with extreme pleasure I give my testimony to the good conduct of the brave men under my command. For three days, over a very rough and mountainous country, with but one meal, did these brave men toil on, yet not [one] word of murmuring was heard, but all anxious for the fray. I have only to regret that my men were not better mounted, so that they could have “been in at the death,” for in that event I think I could have rid the earth of all the cursed gang.
The enemy’s force consisted of part of the outlaw and murderer Vaughn’s force and numbered sixty-three men, all well mounted, but under whose immediate command I could not learn.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
J. S. PREBLE,
Capt. Co. L, First Ohio Vol. Heavy Arty., Cmdg.
Cmdg. Fourth Division, Twenty-third Army Corps.
Report of Capt. Samuel Bivens, First Ohio Heavy Artillery, of the pursuit of the Confederates and skirmish near Murphy, N. C.
HDQRS. CO. C, FIRST OHIO VOL. HEAVY ARTILLERY,
Loudon, Tenn., August 5, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to your order of Monday, August 1, 1864, I proceeded to Athens, Tenn., and on arriving there found that the rebel forces had left. I then pressed all the horses belonging to citizens that I could find. In all I had sixty-one men armed, equipped, and mounted. We then started in pursuit of the rebel forces, which were reported to be four hours ahead of us. We then marched until 10 o’clock at night, a distance of thirty miles, and finding the roads so bad and a heavy rain approaching we then bivouacked in an old church for the night. We started next morning at daybreak in pursuit, and after traveling a distance of six miles we came to where they had encamped. We then found it much easier to follow them, as a heavy rain had fallen during the night and their footmarks were very plain. We then followed them up and down the gorgeous mountains as fast as our horses could travel, and, in fact, many of them fell by the roadside, being entirely run down, and their riders were compelled to follow on foot. About 11 o’clock our advance (about fifteen men in all) came up with the rebel forces and we attacked them. The first fire the rebels broke in confusion. We then had a running fight for a distance of one mile, killing 8 or 10 of their number, capturing 18 horses, 6 mules, and about 18 stand of arms, besides numerous articles of plunder which they had stolen from Union citizens. The only casualty that occurred in my command was an old citizen by the name of Rue; he was killed instantly by a ball passing near his heart. Many of the rebels left their horses and took to the mountains on foot. We then dismounted and threw out our men on either side of the road and advanced about one mile. We then found it necessary to turn back, as our horses were run down, having traveled a distance of sixty miles without any food, over as rough a road as there is in North Carolina. After getting together our stock and plunder we started for Athens, and were compelled to travel thirty miles before we could get anything to eat for our men or horses. Many of the horses being run down, we were compelled to leave them on the mountains, which were replaced by hose that were captured. We arrived at Athens Wednesday evening, and found owners for all our captured stock expect three mules, which were banded “U. S.” I turned them over to Capt. Holloc, acting in concert with the provost-marshal of Athens in raising and mounting a company of scouts for McMinn County. I let the Union citizens around Athens have the captured arms, as they seem very anxious to defend their homes, and are almost without arms.
While gone we traveled a distance of 120 miles, over as rough country as there is in North Carolina, in the short space of forty-eight hours, without food for our horses or men.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Capt., Cmdg. Scouts.
Col. M. L. PATTERSON,
Cmdg. U. S. Forces, Loudon, Tenn.
On September 21, 1864, officials ordered Companies B, F, G, I, and K to accompany a Union force to Saltville, Tennessee to attack Confederate soldiers. On September 24, these companies participated in the Battle of Bull’s Gap, successfully repulsing a Confederate assault. By September 27, the Union troops had advanced to Carter’s Station, Tennessee, traveling through Greenville and Jonesboro. At Carter’s Station, a battle erupted between Northern and Southern forces, with the Union emerging victorious. Despite this victory, the Northerners withdrew via Bull’s Gap to Knoxville.
On October 7, 1864, officials ordered the entire 1st Regiment to Cleveland, Tennessee and then to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The 1st returned to Cleveland and also stationed several companies at nearby Charleston, Tennessee on October 19. The regiment participated in General Stoneman’s attack on Saltville, returning to the vicinity of Cleveland in December 1864. During December, the regiment conducted foraging operations with the Fourth Regiment Tennessee Infantry, the Tenth Regiment Michigan Cavalry, and the 1st Regiment United States Colored Artillery along the French, Broad, and Chucky Rivers in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. On this expedition, the Union force occupied the towns of Dandridge, Allen’s Ford, Leadville, Greenville, and Newport.
In the spring of 1865, officials brigaded the 1st Regiment with the Fourth Regiment Tennessee Infantry, the 1st and 2nd Regiments North Carolina Infantry, the 1st Regiment United States Colored Artillery, the 40th Regiment United States Colored Infantry, and Wilder’s Independent Battery, creating the 1st Brigade, 4th Division of the Department of the Cumberland. The brigade advanced towards North Carolina, occupying the mouth of Roane Creek and Taylorsville in Tennessee and State Gap, Boone, Watauga Gap, and the headwaters of the Yadkin River in North Carolina. In early May 1865, officials ordered the brigade to Ashville, North Carolina with detachments at Raban’s Gap in Georgia and Saluda Gap in South Carolina. The 1st Regiment soon returned to Greenville, Tennessee, and on July 15, 1865, it departed for Camp Dennison near Cincinnati, Ohio. At Camp Dennison, on August 1, 1865, the regiment mustered out of military service.
During its term of service, the 1st Regiment Ohio Heavy Artillery lost 165 men, including one officer, to disease or accidents, and an additional six men received mortal wounds.