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1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry


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.

Cavalry regiments established in Ohio were known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Regiments formed in Ohio served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. On October 5, 1861, the 1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry mustered into service at Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio.

In mid-September 1861, even before the entire regiment had mustered into service, officials dispatched Companies A and C to western Virginia. These two companies remained in the Eastern Theater, primarily in present-day West Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, and in the vicinity of Washington, DC until January 1865, when these two organizations reunited with the 1st. On October 1, 1861, authorities ordered Company B to Cincinnati, Ohio, where the organization conducted a scout to and skirmished with Confederate forces at West Liberty, Kentucky. Company B remained in the Cincinnati area until early December 1861, when it rejoined the bulk of the 1st at Louisville, Kentucky.

On December 9, 1861, the remaining companies of the 1st boarded railroad cars at Camp Chase and proceeded to Louisville, Kentucky, arriving at this destination two days later. The 1st was the first cavalry regiment to arrive at Louisville from any state during the American Civil War. These Ohioans remained at Louisville until January 16, 1862, when the men advanced to Lebanon, Kentucky and joined General George Thomas’s command. At Lebanon, the 1st conducted several expeditions against enemy guerrillas and also engaged General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate cavalrymen.

On February 14, 1862, the 1st departed Lebanon for Louisville, where the regiment boarded steamers on February 28, 1862 for Nashville, Tennessee. The organization arrived at the Tennessee capital six days later and entered camp for one week. Now serving with the Army of the Ohio, on March 14, the 1st joined this force’s advance into western Tennessee. On the march, the Ohio regiment skirmished repeatedly with enemy forces. The 1st arrived at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee on April 7, 1862, the day following the Union victory at the Battle of Shiloh. The regiment participated on the Northern advance against Corinth, Mississippi, routinely skirmishing with enemy forces. Following the Confederate withdrawal from Corinth, the 1st pursued the retreating Southerners as far as Booneville, Mississippi, where the Ohioans entered camp.

On June 7, 1862, the 1st made a reconnaissance into central Mississippi, avoiding contact with any enemy forces. Five days later, the organization departed Booneville for Corinth, where the 1st enjoyed almost one week of rest, before officials dispatched the regiment along the Mobile and Charleston Railroad to protect the line from Confederate guerrillas. Companies L and M garrisoned Bear Creek, while Companies B, D, G, and H guarded Tuscumbia, with Company I at Decatur and the remainder of the 1st stationed at Courtland . The 1st performed this duty, regularly skirmishing with enemy cavalry and guerrillas, until August 1, 1862, when the organization advanced to Decherd, Tennessee.

From Decherd, on August 17, officials sent six companies to McMinnville and, two days later, the remaining companies to Fayetteville. The second detachment encountered enemy forces and had seven men captured. The regiment soon joined the North’s pursuit of Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg and Kirby Smith, who were leading armies into Kentucky. During the march, the companies of the 1st remained separated until the day after the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky (October 8, 1862). The Union victory at this engagement prompted the Southern armies to withdraw from Kentucky. The various companies of the Ohio regiment routinely engaged enemy forces, and after the battle, the regiment pursued the retreating Southerners through the Kentucky communities of Harrodsburg, Sanford, and Crab Orchard.

The 1st spent the remainder of October and the first weeks of November 1862, pursuing Confederate cavalry under the command of General John Hunt Morgan. The regiment pursued the Southerners to Bowling Green, Kentucky and then advanced into Tennessee, confronting Morgan’s command at Gallatin and capturing seventy-five prisoners. The 1st proceeded to Nashville, Tennessee, arriving in mid-November, where the organization entered camp.

In late December 1862, the 1st joined the Union’s Army of the Cumberland’s advance against the Confederacy’s Army of Tennessee at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The regiment skirmished repeatedly with enemy forces on the advance and, at the Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863), held a position on the extreme Union right. The 1st helped retake a portion of the Union line on December 31, after Southerners initially drove the Northern defenders from the battlefield. After this engagement, officers in the 1st issued the following reports:

CAMP FIRST OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 6, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry:

On the morning of January 1, I was ordered to take command of the regiment, and was immediately ordered in the rear of Stewart's Creek and on the right, on picket or outpost duty. In the evening I was ordered back in front of Stewart's Creek and on the right, to stand on picket for the night.

On the morning of the 2d, I was ordered to advance my regiment forward on the right, which I did, and found the enemy in my front, and skirmished with them until dark. I was then ordered into camp for the night.

The morning of the 3d, I was ordered to march my regiment to the rear of Stewart's Creek, with I did. In the evening I was ordered to join my command with the Fourth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry and make a reconnaissance on our left, which was done, and we returned to camp the same night.

Remained in camp on the 4th until evening; was ordered to the front, and left to guard the railroad bridge for the night.

On the morning of the 5th went on scout beyond Murfreesborough, on the Shelbyville pike, and returned, no casualties having happened during the time included.

Your most obedient,

JAMES LAUGHLIN, Maj., Cmdg. First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

Col. L. ZAHM, Cmdg. Second Cavalry Brigade.


December 26, left Nashville for Franklin; arrived at Franklin at 3 p. m. found the enemy occupying the town; drove them from it and proceeded to Wilson's Creek pike, and encamped for the night.

December 27, left camp at 8 o'clock; proceeded toward Triune; struck the enemy's pickets within 5 miles of Triune; drove in their pickets, captured 6, and returned to the camp occupied the previous night.

December 28, left camp at 8 o'clock for Triune, where we encamped.

December 29, left camp at 9 o'clock on a reconnaissance toward Murfreesborough. Struck the enemy's scouts when within 1 mile of Stewart's Creek, when active skirmishing commenced and continued until sundown, having driven the enemy's cavalry at least 3 1/2 miles. One man missing while crossing Stewart's Creek. At sundown we retired back across Stewart's Creek and encamped.

December 30, skirmished with the enemy all day on the right of Gen. Johnson's division, driving the enemy's cavalry wherever they made their appearance, and retired and encamped in the camp occupied by us the night before.

December 31, at 7 a. m., I was ordered by you to take two companies and make a thorough reconnaissance up the creek in the woods on our right. After throwing out skirmishers into the woods, I received orders from you to withdraw my command as soon as possible, for the enemy were advancing in force on my left. I immediately withdrew at full speed, and passed the enemy's left (infantry) within 150 yards under heavy fire, slightly wounding only 1 man and 2 horses. After passing their flank half a mile, I discovered your brigade formed in line of battle in the corn-field on the opposite side of the creek. Being unable to join my regiment at this point, I proceeded down the creek half a mile and crossed, joining the brigade on the right (my regimental was on the left), retiring slowly in column of fours. After retiring half a mile, we were again formed in line of battle, and remained until we were under a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery, when we were compelled to retire. Here the brave and heroic Maj. D. A. B. Moore fell, mortally wounded. We then retired across a corn-field, the enemy in full and fast pursuit, with at least three times our number, when we again formed, receiving three heavy charges from the enemy's cavalry, but repulsed them every time with a fire from our carbines. Their artillery was still open on us. We then retired through the woods toward the Nashville pike, when we formed in a corn-field. The enemy (cavalry and infantry) immediately appearing, our noble commander, Col. Minor Milliken, ordered our regiment, five companies, to charge them. Being unable to hold his position after the charge, he ordered the regiment to retire, when he received the fatal shot that killed him instantly. About this time Second Lieut. Condit was killed, and our adjutant, First Lieut. William Scott, fell seriously wounded. The companies then retired to the pike and crossed Stewart's Creek on the pike. I found myself in command, and repulsed the enemy, who had pursued to the creek and taken possession of our wagon train, killing 2 and wounding 4. At this time the brigade came across the creek and organized.

January 1, at 9 a. m., Maj. Laughlin reported for duty and took command of the regiment.

VALENTINE CUPP, Capt., Cmdg. First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

Col. L. ZAHM, Comdg. Second Cav. Brig., First Div., 14th Army Corps.

Following the Union victory in this battle, the regiment took up a position at Lavergne, Tennessee, protecting the Union’s communication lines between Murfreesboro and Nashville.

In late June 1863, the 1st departed Lavergne and embarked upon the Army of the Cumberland’s Tullahoma Campaign into southern Tennessee and northern Alabama. During this campaign, the regiment joined a raid into northern Alabama, passing through the communities of Huntsville, Athens, Pulaski, and Fayetteville and capturing several hundred horses and mules and Rebel prisoners.

In mid-August 1863, the 1st joined the Army of the Cumberland’s advance into northern Georgia, participating on several raids into the state. On September 19, the regiment participated in the Battle of Chickamauga, taking a position on the Union right. Despite being greatly outnumbered, at approximately noon of this day, 250 members of the 1st charged the Confederate line. As the men advanced, officials countermanded the order, and the Ohioans raced back to their own lines but still lost nearly fifty men killed, wounded, or captured. The regiment spent the battle’s second day (September 20) principally in the Union rear, before withdrawing to Chattanooga, Tennessee beginning that evening. After this engagement, the regiment’s commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. FIRST OHIO CAVALRY, Camp Crook, September 1, 1863.

COL.: I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the First Ohio Cavalry on the scout, August 29, 1863:

In compliance with orders received from Col. Eli Long commanding Second Brigade, Second Division, cavalry command, I proceeded up the river to Moore's Spring (9 miles), meeting with no resistance until within 1 mile of Moore's Spring, but observed numerous picket posts the enemy had just left, the citizens on the route informing me the enemy's pickets were on the road just in advance of my advance guard.

When within 1 mile of Moore's Spring, Mr. Moore informed me that Capt. Rice, in command of a company of 150 men of the Third Confederate Cavalry, were encamped on the side of the mountain on the road leading from Bridgeport to Trenton, Ga., and that Col. Estes, of the Third Confederate Cavalry, was encamped 2 miles on same road with his regiment, supposed to number 400. While in conversation with Mr. Moore my advance guard was fired on by the enemy. Capt. Frankeberger, Company G, who had the advance, immediately ordered a charge, completely routing and demoralizing them to such an extent that the company on the side of the mountain fled ins such confusion as to leave a great many of their arms, &c., stacked against the trees, and made no resistance to prevent me gaining possession of top of the mountain, save, perhaps, ten or twelve shots.

After gaining the top of the mountain, I pursued them as fast as possible (keeping my flanks well protected) until within half a mile of Col. Estes' camp, when my advance was again fired on. My advance charged them again and charged into the camp, but the colonel had left with his command a few moments before my advance reached the camp, leaving clothing, cooking utensils, commissary stores, and their dinners cooking on the fire; everything indicating a very hasty evacuation. I pursued them until I reached John E. Price's farm, the point at which I was ordered to join the brigade.

I destroyed 20 stand of arms (short rifles), killed 1 man, and captured 6 prisoners.

Respectfully submitted.

VALENTINE CUPP, Lieut.-Col., Comdg. First Ohio Cavalry.

Col. ELI LONG, Comdg. Second Brigade.

Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee pursued the retreating Northerners and besieged the Union’s Army of the Cumberland in Chattanooga. For much of this time, the 1st was stationed along the Tennessee River at Washington, guarding various fords and other crossings. The regiment skirmished repeatedly with Confederate General Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry and participated in several expeditions against the enemy. At Washington, on October 1, 1863, the Ohioans had twenty-six men wounded or captured. Following the skirmish at Washington, a Union force, including the 1st, pursued Wheeler’s men into northern Alabama, traveling through Florence, Pulaski, Fayetteville, Winchester, Paint Rock Station, and Stevenson, where the regiment served on garrison duty.

In mid-November 1863, the 1st advanced to Chattanooga, arriving on November 22. That evening, a Union cavalry force, including the Ohio regiment, raided Bragg’s rear, capturing nearly five hundred men and six hundred mules and horses. The Northerners also destroyed approximately four hundred wagons and burned to the ground the South’s largest percussion cap and torpedo manufacturing facility. During the raid, at Cleveland, the Southerners caused fifteen casualties, with the Northerners harming nearly fifty of the enemy soldiers. The Union force returned to Chattanooga on November 25,

In late November 1863, following the Union victory at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, which ended the Confederate siege of Chattanooga, the 1st advanced towards Knoxville, Tennessee, where a Confederate force had besieged this city’s Union garrison. Northern troops prompted the Southerners to withdraw, and the Ohio regiment pursued the Confederates into western North Carolina, before returning to Knoxville. The 1st then primarily served on garrison duty and also escorted wagon trains principally between Knoxville and Chattanooga. On one such escort mission, at Calhoun, the Ohioans defeated a Confederate force, killing twenty-five men, wounding eighty, and capturing 131 enemy soldiers, while suffering just one trooper killed and three more wounded.

On January 1, 1864, the 1st entered winter encampment at Pulaski, Tennessee. At this location, approximately three hundred men reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. Upon the furlough’s completion, the regiment, including the non-re-enlistees, reunited at Nashville, Tennessee. On May 1, 1864, the 1st advanced to Columbia, Tennessee and then, on May 22, embarked upon General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign, uniting with the general at Rome, Georgia. During this campaign, the regiment principally protected supply and communication lines and also protected the flanks of the Union advance. The organization skirmished routinely with enemy forces, including at Courtland, Moulton, Somerville, Kennesaw Mountain, and in the vicinity of Atlanta. After this campaign, the regiment’s commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. FIRST OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Cross Keys, Ga., September 11, 1864.

COL.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the First Regt. of Ohio Volunteer Cavalry in the campaign which has just come to a close:

On the 22d of May this regiment left Columbia, Tenn., with the Second Brigade, passing through Pulaski and Elkton, Tenn., and Athens, Ala., Crossing the Tennessee River at Decatur, Ala., at which place encountered Roddey's cavalry, entirely routing it, and capturing 12 prisoners, 5 wagons, and 1 regimental colors, and numerous articles of baggage. Passed through Courtland, Ala., and Moulton, at which latter place the brigade was surrounded and attacked by Gen. Roddey's command, and, after a sharp fight, succeeded in routing the enemy. In this fight the First Ohio lost 2 men killed and 3 wounded. Thence marched through Somerville, Ala., and, on the 31st, camped on Sand Mountain. Thence marched through Will's Valley, via Van Bureu, crossing Lookout Mountain, and marching through Big Springs Valley, via Cedar Bluff, crossed the Chattooga River, marching up the Coosa Valley, crossing the Oostenaula, and marching, via Rome, to Kingston, Ga. Thence marched, crossing the Etowah River, and by the South Pass of the Allatoona Mountain to Acworth, Ga., where the brigade joined the division.

On the 15th of June the regiment was engaged in a severe fight at Noonday Creek with the enemy's cavalry and infantry. In this engagement the regiment sustained a loss of 1 man killed and 1 captain and 9 enlisted men wounded and 2 men missing. Were engaged in several skirmishes during the remainder of the month, at the close of which were encamped in front of Kenesaw Mountain. After the evacuation of Kenesaw the regiment marched to Marietta, Ga., thence to Roswell, where the principal duty was picketing and scouting for ten days.

July 15, regiment was detailed by Gen. Garrard, and reported to Maj.-Gen. McPherson for the purpose of guarding train. Marched, in charge of train, on July 20 to Vining's Station, thence to Marietta, rejoined brigade at Buck Head, where remained some days doing picket duty.

On the 17th of August proceeded with brigade to Sandtown, and on the 18th started upon an expedition with Gen. Kilpatrick to destroy the enemy's communications in the rear of Atlanta. On this expedition the regiment was engaged vigorously on more than one occasion. On the morning of the 20th, as the expedition was marching from Jonesborough, the regiment was attacked, being the rear guard, and for two hours was under heavy fire. Same day was engaged, dismounted, with rebel infantry and cavalry near Lovejoy's, and also in a charge, in all of which the loss was 4 killed, 13 wounded, and 2 missing. Several of the wounded have since died. Returned to Buck Head, via McDonough, Lithuania, and Decatur.

During the late move of Gen. Sherman the regiment occupied a position on the left wing, and was not engaged, except in slight skirmishes.

The entire loss of regiment since leaving Columbia, Tenn., is 8 killed, 32 wounded, and 8 missing.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

T. J. PATTEN, Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.

[Col. B. B. EGGLESTON, Cmdg. Second Brigade.]

Following the Union’s seizure of Atlanta, Georgia on September 2, 1864, the 1st entered camp at this city, before joining the Northern pursuit of General John Bell Hood’s Confederate army, which had launched an invasion of northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and Tennessee during the autumn of 1864. On October 13, the regiment skirmished with enemy cavalry at Rome. In late October, officials ordered the 1st to Louisville, Kentucky, to be refitted with new horses. The organization reached Louisville on November 17. On December 28, 1864, the regiment departed Louisville for Gravelly Springs, Alabama, where the command entered winter encampment.

On March 19, 1865, the 1st rendezvoused with other cavalry forces at Chickasaw Landing on the south bank of the Tennessee River. The Northern command then advanced into the Alabama interior, passing through Jasper, Jones’s Valley, Montevallo, Randolph, Ebenezer Church, Selma, and Montgomery, skirmishing repeatedly with Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate cavalry. The Union cavalry force, next moved into Georgia, engaging enemy forces at Crawford and at Columbus. At this last location, the 1st helped to capture 1,200 enemy soldiers and ninety-six cannon.

Upon the Civil War’s conclusion in late April 1865, the 1st primarily performed garrison duty in Georgia and also in South Carolina. In September 1865, officials mustered the regiment’s members out of service, allowing the men to return to their homes in Ohio.

During the 1st Ohio's term of service, fifty-one men, including six officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 153 men, including three officers, died from disease or accidents.

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