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.
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. From August to October, 1861, the 1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Corwin, at Dayton, Ohio. The 1st Regiment had previously organized for three months service, but officials requested that the regiment's members reenlist for three years service. Those soldiers that did reenlist became the nucleus of the new 1st Regiment.
On October 31, 1861, the 1st departed Camp Corwin for Cincinnati, Ohio, where the organization boarded the steamer Telegraph No. 3 for Louisville, Kentucky on November 5, 1861. Arriving this same day at Louisville, the 1st encamped at Camp York. Three days later, the unit advanced to West Point, Kentucky at the mouth of the Salt River. On November 15, 1861, the regiment marched to Camp Nevin, Kentucky, where the 1st joined the 4th Brigade, 2nd Division of the Army of the Cumberland. In mid December 1861, the 1st departed Camp Nevin and advanced to Bacon Creek, Kentucky. On December 17, 1861, the organization marched to Green River, Kentucky, remaining at this location until mid February 1862. While at Green River, the regiment engaged in constant drill.
On February 14, 1862, the 1st began a march to West Point. The organization was to board steamers to assist General Ulysses S. Grant’s assault on Fort Henry, but before reaching West Point, the regiment heard of the fort’s capitulation. Authorities ordered the 1st to return to Green River.On February 17, 1862, the 1st departed Green River for Nashville, Tennessee, arriving at this new location on March 3, 1862. Thirteen days later, the regiment left Nashville for Columbia, Tennessee. The unit arrived at the Duck River opposite Columbia on March 21, 1862. While other units repaired a bridge over the river, the 1st encamped for ten days. On March 31, 1862, the regiment crossed the river, entered Columbia, and then began an advance to Savannah, Tennessee.
On April 6, 1862, the 1st arrived at Savannah. Confederate forces attacked Union soldiers at nearby Pittsburg Landing that same day at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6 and 7, 1862). The 1st advanced towards the battlefield, arriving early on the morning of April 7, 1862. During the second day of the engagement, the 1st performed bravely, helping Northern forces to drive the Confederates from the battlefield. The regiment also helped repulse the final Southern counterattack of the battle. In this engagement, the 1st had sixty enlisted men or officers killed or wounded.
The 1st next joined the Union assault of Confederate forces at Corinth, Mississippi. In this campaign, the regiment participated in a brisk skirmish at Bridge Creek, driving the Southerners from the field. Three days later, Northern soldiers entered into Corinth. The1st performed garrison duty at Corinth until June 10, 1862, when officials ordered the regiment to Nashville. The organization marched for Nashville via Iuka, Tuscumbia, Florence, Huntsville, and Boiling Creek. Before the 1st reached the Tennessee capital, officials ordered the regiment to Tullahoma to assist in repelling an anticipated Confederate attack. The engagement did not occur, and the organization moved to Cowan’s Station on July 18, 1862. The unit remained at Cowan’s Station until August 24, 1862, when the regiment began a movement towards Nashville. The 1st arrived at Pelham on August 24, 1862, at Altamont on August 28, 1862, and at Nashville, after traveling through Manchester, Murfreesboro, and Lavergne, on September 7, 1862.
On September 10, 1862, the 1st Regiment joined the Army of the Ohio’s pursuit of Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s army, which was launching an invasion of Kentucky. The Northern force arrived at Louisville on September 26, 1862 and, five days later, began a movement against Bragg’s army. The 1st Regiment engaged a portion of Bragg’s command at Dog Walk, Kentucky on October 9, 1862, with the regiment having eight or nine men killed or wounded. The main Union and Confederate armies met at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky that same day, but the 1st saw no action in this engagement, as the organization did not reunite with the rest of the Army of the Ohio until October 11, 1862, two days after the battle’s conclusion.
On October 13, 1862, the 1st joined the Union’s pursuit of Bragg’s retreating Confederates. The regiment marched through the Kentucky communities of Danville, Crab Orchard, and Hall’s Creek, before disengaging. The regiment next advanced to Nashville, arriving at this location on November 16, 1862. At Nashville, the 1st encamped on the grounds of the Tennessee Insane Asylum. Officials also placed the regiment in the 2nd Division, 14th Corps of the Army of the Cumberland.
On December 26, 1862, the 1st advanced with the rest of the Army of the Cumberland towards Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s army was located. The march took four days, with the 1st engaged in constant skirmishing with Southern forces. The Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863) erupted on December 31, 1862. The 1st was initially located on the Union right, but Confederate soldiers drove the Northern right from the battlefield. After the arrival of reinforcements, the Northerners reoccupied their original position. Over the battle’s next two days, the 1st saw limited combat, only participating in a few skirmishes. On January 4, 1863, the Army of the Cumberland occupied Murfreesboro, with Bragg’s Confederates having withdrawn the previous evening. After the battle, the commanding officer of the 1st issued the following report:
HDQRS. FIRST REGT. OHIO VOLUNTEERS, In Camp, January 5, 1863.
CAPT.: I have the honor to report the part taken by my regiment in the recent battles and skirmishes about Murfreesborough.
On the morning of December 27, 1863, when about a mile below Nolensville, the enemy appeared in our front. I was ordered by you to form a line of battle on the right of the pike, my left resting on the right of the Sixth Indiana, and deploy two companies as skirmishers, and to advance. I did so, deploying Company B, Lieut. Dornbush commanding, and Company D, Lieut. Hayward commanding. We had severe skirmishing all day, but drove the enemy before us, and encamped near Triune.
On the morning of December 30 we were ordered to join our division, which had preceded us the day before, within about 4 miles of Murfreesborough. We arrived about 4 o'clock, and, after making a reconnaissance on our right, we fell back and bivouacked for the night in a piece of woods in the rear of our division.
On the morning of the 31st, about 6.30 o'clock, I heard what I thought to be heavy skirmishing on our right. I immediately ordered my command under arms, and marched to and halted on the edge of the woods just to the right of where we bivouacked the night previous. A few moments after, by your orders, I moved forward at a double-quick across a large open field, and formed my line behind a rail fence, on a line with the Sixth Indiana [they occupying a piece of woods to my left], with two pieces of Simonson's battery between us, the Seventy-ninth Illinois and Thirtieth Indiana occupying a piece of woods to my left], with two pieces of Simonson's battery between us, the Seventy-ninth Illinois and Thirtieth Indiana occupying the right, the Seventy-ninth in reserve.
I ordered Lieut. Hayward, Company D, to deploy the first platoon of his company as skirmishers. This had hardly been done when the enemy appeared in our front in three distinct lines of battle, followed by columns, closed in mass, several batteries of artillery, and a large amount of cavalry, the left of their lines extending not less than one fourth of a mile to the right of the Thirtieth Indiana. As soon as they arrived within about 150 yards of my line, I opened fire, which checked their advance for about fifteen minutes. Their line then in front of me seemed to separate, and I saw them marching by the flank to the right and left of us. Immediately after this maneuver, the two regiments on my right gave way, and left my flank entirely unprotected. The enemy's left then changed their front to the right and marched diagonally toward my right. At this moment the Sixth Indiana was forced from their position, the enemy immediately taking possession of the fence they occupied. They then again appeared in my front and opened an enfilading fire on my regiment.
Finding it was impossible to hold my position without being annihilated, I ordered my regiment to fall back, intending to take a position in the rear of the Louisville Legion, which was at that time supporting me. My regiment started back in good order, but coming in contact with the Louisville Legion [Col. Berry having just ordered a change of front forward on first company, to protect our right], we became entangled with them, as we did also with the Ninety-third Ohio, which you had ordered to our support. I then fell back in some confusion to the woods occupied by me some half an hour previous.
Here I tried to form my line, but again became entangled with a part of the First Brigade. My regiment became scattered, and it was impossible to get them into line until we had fallen back through the woods into a cotton-field and into another piece of woods. Here, by your help and the united efforts of my officers, I succeeded in rallying part of my regiment, and took position on the left of Col. Berry, who had also succeeded in rallying part of his regiment. Here the enemy was checked and driven back a short distance, but soon rallied and came down in a solid mass, and we were obliged again to retire.
In a short time after, I rallied a portion of my regiment, and meeting Capt.'s Trapp and O'Connell, who had succeeded in doing the same [in all, amounting to about 100 men], I halted and formed a line. Here I was joined by a portion of the Ninety-third Ohio, under the command of Lieut. Harman. I took command of the whole.
At this moment I received an order from Gen. Johnson to proceed immediately to a certain point, but the guide missed the place, so I took a position on the left of a regiment [I do not know what regiment] which was hotly engaged with the enemy. Here I remained until I was ordered to fall in the rear of Gen. Rousseau's division.
Soon after, Col. Anderson, of the Ninety-third Ohio, came up and took command, and was ordered to proceed in the direction of the river; that we were needed there. Word soon came that our division was again forming on the left of the railroad running toward Nashville.; immediately proceeded to that point, where I found about 100 more men of my regiment, under command of their respective officers.
By your order, I again moved forward with the balance of our brigade to the support of another brigade, which was hotly contesting the ground we now occupied. After a short and severe fight the enemy were driven off, and with considerable fighting and skirmishing it has been held ever since.
The loss in my regiment is heavy, so far as heard from-8 non-commissioned officers and privates killed; 1 officer and 46 non-commissioned officers and privates wounded, and 81 missing; a partial list of which you have already received.
My officers and men behaved most gallantly, and I do not think there are any soldiers in the world that could have done better under the circumstances. I would most respectfully recommend for your favorable consideration Capt.'s Kuhlman, Company B, acting field officer; Trapp, Company G; O'Connell, Company F; Pomeroy, Company E; Prentiss, Company H; Hooker, Company A, and Snodgrass, Company I; First Lieut.'s Henry Dornbush, Company B, commanding, and George L. Hayward, Company D, commanding; Adjt. Samuel W. Davies, and Second Lieut.'s Kuhlman, Company B, commanding Company C; R. B. Chappell, commanding Company K; Denny, Company G, and Varian, not yet assigned to any company. They are all justly entitled to the thanks of their superiors for their gallant conduct in the past few days. All have been engaged in the service since the breaking out of the rebellion; have been in several engagements, and proved themselves worthy the confidence reposed in them. A more gallant and braver set of officers never entered a field. I would also mention our surgeons, Drs. Wilson and Barr. They performed their duties faithfully and unflinchingly.
I had forgotten to mention that some time during the day a portion of my regiment, under Lieut. Dornbush and Adjutant Davies, gallantly repulsed a charge of the enemy's cavalry, and drove them off altogether.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. STAFFORD,
Maj. First Regt. Ohio Volunteers, Cmdg.
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Fourth Brigade.
At Murfreesboro, the 1st Regiment entered winter encampment, and officials placed the organization in the 2nd Division, 20th Army Corps of the Army of the Cumberland.
On June 24, 1863, the 1st departed Murfreesboro and embarked upon the Tullahoma Campaign, engaging Confederate forces at Liberty Gap. The Union soldiers reached Tullahoma, Tennessee on July 1, 1863, realizing that Bragg’s Confederates had withdrawn. The 1st encamped in the vicinity of Tullahoma until August 16, 1863, when the organization began a march via the Tennessee communities of Estell Springs, Winchester, and Salem to Bellefonte, Tennessee on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad.
On August 30, 1863, the 1st joined the Army of the Cumberland on the Chickamauga Campaign. Between August 30 and September 18, 1863, the regiment marched from Bellefonte via Stevenson, Alabama, Caperton’s Ferry, the Raccoon Mountains, the Lookout Mountains, the Broomtown Valley, and Pond Springs to the vicinity of Chickamauga, Georgia. At the Battle of Chickamauga (September 19 and 20, 1863), the 1st initially performed picket duty on the Union right, but by mid morning of the engagement’s first day, officials ordered the unit to reinforce the Union left. The 1st participated in a Northern counterattack that afternoon, reclaiming territory that Confederate forces had seized earlier that day. As dusk fell, the Southerners launched their own counterattack, initially driving portions of the Northern line from the field, but the 1st’s members held their position, forcing the Confederates to withdraw. During the battle’s second day, the regiment again repulsed two Confederate attacks on the Union left, before retreating the night of September 20, 1863 towards Chattanooga, Tennessee. At the Battle of Chickamauga, the 1st had approximately 120 men killed or wounded. After the battle, the commanding officer of the 1st issued the following report:
HDQRS. FIRST REGT., OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY. In the Field, September 27, 1863.
CAPT.: By direction of the colonel commanding the; brigade the following report of the operations and losses of the First Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry is respectfully submitted from the 18th instant to the present time:
On the morning of Friday, the 18th instant, the regiment moved to the front under my command and took position in line of battle, relieving the One hundred and fifth Ohio. Three companies were at once advanced as skirmishers to; within sight of; the enemy, and shortly after, it being ascertained that no connection existed on our left, five more companies were moved out and a regular picket line;; established, connecting the Ninety-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry on our right with a shifting line of infantry pickets on our left.
This position was occupied until the morning of Saturday, the 19th instant, our picket line sustaining most of the time during the day and irregular and distant fire from the pickets of the enemy without returning it. The regiment withdrew from this position early Saturday morning, under marching orders, and moved about 10 or; 12; miles up the valley to the north and east, and were halted in an open field near a tannery, under fire of the enemy's cannon. During the few minutes that we; lay there, 1 man, belonging to Company K, was mortally wounded and died next morning.
Being ordered forward we; moved rapidly to the front, in doublequick time, and a quarter of a mile farther on I deployed in line of battle on the left of Gen. Willich's brigade, my regiment forming the right of the first; line of the Third Brigade. A platoon of skirmishers from each of my flank companies (B and G) was deployed in front of the regiment and moved forward to find and feel the enemy. Two hundred yards sufficed to bring them under the enemy's fire, and I moved the regiment up rapidly, keeping even with the first line of Gen. Willich, halting when his line halted and advancing as he advanced.
The enemy fell back steadily and rapidly before our advance, and were hotly followed up and pressed by the skirmish line. The enemy abandoned a battery on the right of my line, which was taken; in charge by Gen. Willich's brigade, in whose immediate front it was situated. After pressing the enemy back about a mile d a; half in this manner, I halted my regiment, agreeably to orders, in an open field of weeds, with my right near the woods and my left advanced; diagonally across the field; fronting to the east, with from 100 to 300 yards of open descending ground in my front, terminating in a ravine, beyond which was an open forest; into which my skirmishers had followed the enemy. Col. Baldwin shortly afterward ordered me to change front to rear on the first company and retire behind the fence on; my right, information having been received from Maj. Stafford, in command of the skirmish line (now strengthened by the remaining platoons of the two flank companies), that the enemy was moving to our left.
But a short time elapsed after this disposition; was made till the enemy precipitated a heavy force upon the regiments on our left, closely followed by an attack, in our front and upon the brigade on our right. I opened fire by file as soon as our own skirmishers were clear of our front, and soon drove the enemy back from the open field and well into the woods, when, finding myself free from fire,; and that the enemy was directing his whole attention to the regiments on my right and left, I sounded the signal to cease firing and again moved into the open field where my fire would be more effective against the enemy.
This position was held till the enemy was repulsed all along the line and had fallen back beyond our fire, when, by order of Col. Baldwin, I again took position behind the fence, and strengthened it by a hastily constructed barricade of rails. Maj. Stafford was again sent forward with skirmishers into the woods beyond theopen field. Companies A, C and G were detailed on this duty, under the respective commanders, captain Hooker, first Lieut. Boyer, and Capt. Trapp. Company G, which had skirmished from the beginning of the action, was soon after relieved by Company E, under command of Capt. Dornbush. Information was sent me that the enemy were now moving to our right, which was; promptly communicated to Col. Baldwin. About sunset my skirmishers were pressed back with serious loss to within a few yards of the regiment, where they were exposed to so hot a fire from the enemy that I recalled them to tempt the enemy into the open field. In this skirmish Capt. Dornbush was seriously wounded in the thigh, and the command of his company devolved on First Lieut. Leonard.
Finding the enemy not disposed to enter the open, and the firing having increased on my right, I sent Company A again into the field as skirmishers to prevent the enemy's getting too close to my front unobserved, the nature of the ground being such as to raise an apprehension of that character. This company was in the act of deploying when it found itself exposed to a very hot fire on its right flank, and immediately took position to meet it and opened fire warmly in return. At this instant Gen. Willich's regiment, on my immediate right, opened fire in line, and warned by all these indications where the real attack would come I; hastily recalled the skirmishers, intending to meet it by a volley at short range. Unfortunately the recall of the skirmishers, who fell back firing, and; the heavy roll of musketry on our right, with the whistling of the enemy's bullets, set the guns of my right company going and an irregular file fire ran along my front from right to left, mainly directed to the enemy in my front. Meantime, I strove in vain to make myself; hear to stop the firing and to cal the regiment to attention. In thirty seconds the regiment on my right was broken and running to the rear in great confusion, and while I was striking my men (who were lying down) with the flat of my sword to get their attention; the rebel line was seen within 40 yards of my right flank moving rapidly up perpendicularly to it. I was barely able to get my men to their feet in time to see the rebel colors flaunted almost in their faces, and their guns being mostly unloaded I directed them to retire. The regiment fell back; about 150 yards, and rallying handsomely upon the colors, delivered a withering fire upon the enemy, which checked his advance and drew in return a storm of grape, canister, and musketry. The contest raged till long after darkness and the dense smoke of battle had shut out everything from view but the flash of the enemy's guns, and only terminated when the; enemy ceased to return our fire.
During the fight the sound appeared to indicate that the regiments; on our left were being pressed back, and I sent First Lieut. Chappell to ascertain the state of facts there and assure those troops of our intention and ability to hold our own. I sent the same officer to the right to communicate with Gen. Willich, and his report relieved me from apprehension in both directions. On the termination of the fight I learned from Gen. Willich that an order had been issued for the Second Division to fall back, which I communicated to Capt. Strader, of Col. Baldwin's staff, and in half an hour the regiment retired at the head of the brigade to the place where the knapsacks had been deposited on entering the fight.
Bivouacking there till morning, I was ordered to take position in line of battle on the left of the brigade in the second line and construct a breastwork for defense. A substantial work was soon built and; hardly completed when the enemy opened a fierce attack in our front. So suddenly did it burst upon us, that Capt. Hooker in command of Company A, as skirmishers, was unable to get back to the regiment, and fought till the enemy was repulsed behind the breastwork of the first line. Twenty men were detailed from my command to man the guns of the Fifth Indiana battery, who fought with it during the day. In the intervals between the attacks of the; enemy in our front on Sunday;; I had usually one or more companies of skirmishers covering the front, under the command of Maj. Stafford, who had charge of the skirmish line of the brigade.
About the time the enemy made his second attack in our front, and while my command was moving to relieve the Ninety-third Ohio on the first line, it was discovered that the enemy had broken through Gen. Baird's line on our left, and filled the woods to our left and rear with his troops. The open field between us and these woods was covered with fugitives in Federal uniform fleeing from the victorious enemy. Under the command of Col. Berry, I at once about-faced, and changed front to oppose them, and almost immediately afterward moved forward, recrossing the breastworks of the second line into position on the right of the Louisville Legion, and opened fire upon the enemy, checking his advance and; driving him; instantly to the cover of the woods. With one impulse, and apparently without command, the entire line rushed for the woods.
I turned to see if the movement had been ordered, and received Col. Berry's order to halt and return my regiment to its proper; position at the breastwork. My voice could not be heard in the confusion, and, seizing the colors, I had the halt and "to the colors" sounded; by my bugler, and succeeded in getting about two-thirds of my regiment into line and back to position. The; remainder went on ignorant that a halt had been ordered, and took part with the legion and Fifteenth Ohio in the brilliant charge which saved us from molestation, when later in the day they again broke Gen. Baird's line and entered the same woods.
Among the losses attending this charge I have to report Second Lieut. Hallenberg, seriously wounded in two places; First Sergeant Burgdorf, Company B, mortally wounded, and a number of my bravest men killed and wounded. When ordered to retire in line of battle, my regiment moved off in double-quick and in good order, and although subjected to an enfilading fire from the enemy's batteries, accomplished the movement with a loss which, though unable. A half hour sufficed to place us safely on the hills to the rear, and no further loss was sustained by the regiment till the following Tuesday, when it was placed in an exposed position on the bank of the creek south of Chattanooga, and endured the fire of rebel shells and solid shot from batteries on our flanks and front for the space of about one hour's time. By this fire or by the fire of two guns of the Second Minnesota Battery, situated in rear of our right flank, 2 sergeants and 4 privates were wounded. The wound of Sergeant Miller, of Company C, was terrible and mortal. He died in a few hours after. On that evening the regiment was retired to a better position, and a strong breastwork constructed on that night and the following day.
On Thursday a reconnaissance of the front was twice made by Maj. Stafford, Capt. Hooker, with; Company A, forming part, of his force on the last, and Capt. Patterson, with company H, on the first occasion. The first was without loss, but the last cost the death of John McCarthy, private company a, and the wounding of John Shannon, also private of same company. The regiment continued in front till Friday evening, when it was ordered to the rear,; and, after eight days and nights of duty under arms and under fire, was permitted to enjoy the rest it so much needed.
In all these varied duties of picket reconnaissance, skirmish, battle, and siege which the experience of these eight days covers, my command behaved admirably; always vigilant, patient, active, and brave. Officers and men deserved victory and obtained it, for they were successful throughout-uniformly so. Some cowards there were among us, it is true, but only enough to make brighter the example of the brave men of the command.
To the officers and men of the regiment generally I tender my sincere thanks for their good conduct. To the valuable services of Maj. Stafford and Capt. Trapp, the senior captain present, I am much indebted; both are experienced soldiers, of tried courage and ability. The regiment sustained a heavy loss. First Lieut. Jackson was killed by a grape-shot on Saturday night while gallantly waving his sword and encouraging his men. Capt. Dornbush and First Lieut. Grove were wounded seriously on Saturday afternoon. The latter rejoined his command on Sunday morning, but was unable to continue with it. Second Lieut. Hallenberg, whose conduct is always admirable, was separated from his command in the pursuit on Sunday; and wounded in the woods to our rear. He rejoined his company afterward, but was compelled to leave it on the retreat. Fourteen in all are known to have been killed, 80 are wounded, and 1 officer, First Lieut. and Actg. Adjt. Charles N. Many killed and wounded, and probably some prisoners. Among the killed are Sergt. Andrew Losh, Sergt. William B. Riddle, and Corpl. Robert M. Taylor, of Company G; Sergt. William D. Miller, Company C; Private J. H. Springher, Company I.
Privates Caleb Copeland, Company A, and John McCarthy, Company A, deserve special mention for their gallantry. We need not stint their praise. No after act can sully the brightness of the record they have left.
Please; find accompanying list containing names of killed and wounded, marked A. Thirty-eight prisoners were taken by my skirmishers on Saturday and turned over to the provost-marshal of the brigade.
I have the honor to be, captain, very respectfully,
Lieut. Col. First Ohio Vol. Infantry, Comdg. Regt.
Capt. FRANK P. STRADER,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Third Brigade.
At Chattanooga, the 1st took a position in front of Orchard Knob. Officials also placed the regiment in the 3rd Division, 4th Corps. Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s army soon besieged the Northerners at Chattanooga. On November 23, 1863, the regiment participated in an assault on Orchard Knob, driving the Confederate defenders from the position. Two days later, the Battle of Missionary Ridge occurred. Initially, the 1st regiment and other units in front of the ridge were only to take Confederate defenses at the foot of the ridge, but against orders, the Northerners stormed up the mountain, driving Confederates from the entire ridge and effectively ending the Siege of Chattanooga. At the Battle of Missionary Ridge, the 1st had five officers and seventy-eight enlisted men killed or wounded. During the Siege of Chattanooga, the commanding officer of the 1st issued the following reports:
HDQRS. FIRST OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, October 30, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of my command, in the affair of the 27th instant, at Brown's Ferry:
On the afternoon of the 26th, I had been put in command of the remnants of the regiments composing the Second Brigade, and had proceeded to organize them into companies of one or two to a regiment, according to data obtained from the assistant adjutant-general of the brigade. This organization was completed, but full reports from all the regiments had not been received at my headquarters when I was notified to march with my command at once. Accordingly, the command, consisting of the Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, under command of Maj. Erwin; Sixth Kentucky Northup; One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio, under Maj. Hampson; Forty-first Ohio, under Capt. Horner; First Ohio, under Capt. Trapp; Ninety-third Ohio, under Capt. Bowman; Fifth Kentucky, under Capt. Huston, and Sixth Indiana, under Capt. Prather, consisting of 750 men in the aggregate, as appears by the inclosed summary of reports, to which attention is respectfully invited, was at once assembled on regimental grounds, and, as soon as I could receive my instructions from Gen. Hazen, was formed on the road and moved to a point on the north bank of the river, near Brown's Ferry.
We found the road near this point completely blocked by the ambulance, guns, and caissons of the First Tennessee Battery, and the adjacent ground covered with sleeping men, reported to belong to Gen. Turchin's command. Through and around these I attempted to move my command, until, arriving at the margin of the wood, I found and wakened Capt. Abbott, of the battery, who informed me that the river was in our immediate front, and I could proceed no farther without exposure to the enemy. Unable to find Gen. Smith, who was expected to be awaiting my arrival, and under whose orders the enterprise was to be carried out, I directed regiments right and left of the road, as room could be found, and about 1 o'clock, on the morning of the 27th, officers and men lay down, without fires, to obtain such sleep as was practicable under the circumstances. At 4.30 in the morning, Adjutant Homan, of the First Ohio, kindled the signal fires, as had been agreed upon, and left 6 men of the Twenty-third Kentucky, to keep them burning brightly; and a half hour later I succeeded in finding Gen. Smith, who ordered my command forward at once, in the open ground, nearer the river, in three detachments, left in front, facing the river, and that seventy-four axes be distributed to the command. These orders were speedily carried out, and we lay anxiously expecting the arrival of the boats which were to transfer us to the opposite bank of the river.
The boats from above seemed long in arriving, and I had just got orders from Gen. Smith to move noiselessly to the water's edge with my command, when a sharp and rapid discharge of rifles told that the critical moment had arrived. Reaching the river I saw for the first time the position assigned to my command, and was instructed to embark it in the boats as soon as they should land, and push rapidly up the crest of the hill to the left of the gorge, as soon as we reached the opposite bank. Our brigade was supposed to have already formed its squads on this crest, while at the same time I understood that Gen. Turchin had taken possession of the hill to the right of the gorge. Lieut.-Col. Kimberly, of the Forty-first Ohio, having promised to see to the embarking of the troops, I myself crossed in the first boat, to direct their formation and operations on the opposite shore. The First Ohio was the first to land, and, with Capt. Trapp at its head, crossed the ravine by a foot-log and pushed rapidly by the left flank up the narrow edge which forms the crest of the ridge. Adjutant Homan, my sole but very efficient aide, accompanied it as guide, and I remained at the landing to form and push on the others.
The last of this regiment had not crossed the log when a soldier of the Twenty-third Kentucky came hurriedly from the front, with a message from Col. Foy that he had discovered a heavy force of cavalry in his front and must have re-enforcements at once. Knowing little of the situation, and having received explicit orders as to the disposal of my force, I told him to look for Gen. Hazen, or some other officer in command of the squads, but that if the colonel should not get help before, I would send him the remnant of his own regiment when it arrived. Hardly had this messenger gone 20 paces on his return when a rattling fire opened down the gorge in front. The Sixth Indiana, which was the second regiment to cross, was at this time struggling up the bank and about to cross the log. I ordered them to form at once across the road, and move down to the assistance of Col. Foy. The order was obeyed with alacrity by Lieut.'s Siddall and Neal, who formed as many as could be got together speedily, and moved gallantly to the front, but meeting the command of Col. Foy coming back under orders, and finding about the same time that the enemy held the hill to the right of the gorge, they came back and were closely followed up by the enemy to within 20 paces of the log crossing of the ravine.
As other squads came up from the boat (the Sixth Indiana and Sixth Kentucky first) they were pushed up the side crest on the right; except a part of the Sixth Indiana, which crossed the ravine, and received a severe fire in doing so, to occupy the side crest on the left, left vacant by the First Ohio, which had pushed on farther along the ridge. The Twenty-third Kentucky was ordered to report to Col. Foy at once, and unite with the remainder of the regiment. Fragments of the One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio and Sixth Ohio were also formed on the right crest, and the Fifth Kentucky, Ninety-third Ohio, and Forty-first Ohio, which landed last pushed without orders straight to the very top of the hill, on the right, being led by that gallant officer, Capt. Huston, of the first-named of these regiments. Before they reached position the enemy fled, and we were masters of the gap. I immediately directed an officer commanding a regiment near the road to send skirmishers to the front, and the advance of Gen. Turchin's brigade (Thirty-first Ohio), under Col. Lister, having arrived, I withdrew my command on the right and moved over and formed, under your direction, general, along the crest of the left ridge.
My command, as you know, was made up of odds and ends, after the best fighting men had been called out, and consisted of all who were able to march. Extra-duty men, unarmed men, company cooks, musicians, and cowards, huddled under the cover of the bank and log-house near the river. The hastily formed organization of the night before was not intended for fighting purposes, and had no reference to transportation in boats. It was completely broken in crossing the river, consequently it is almost unjust to refer to the troops engaged, who had landed after the fight opened, by name. The organizations broken up, the uncertain light of early morning rendering it difficult to distinguish the most familiar acquaintances, utterly ignorant of the country and the position of our other forces, or the strength of the enemy, troops who fight well under such circumstances; deserve the highest praise. I shall not shrink from comparison of the valor displayed by my command with that of the squads selected for courage, &c. I regret that the circumstances above named, and want of familiarity with the command, prevent my doing justice in individual cases. The list of casualties has already been forwarded, and untoward circumstances compel me to give up the thought of accompanying this with a list of the names, which I had entertained.
I have the honor to be, &c., very respectfully,
Lieut. Col. First O. V. I., Comdg. Remnant of Second Brig.
Capt. JOHN CROWELL, Jr.,
HDQRS. FIRST REGT. OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, Camp near Knoxville, December 8, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by the First Ohio Regt. in the engagements of the 23d, 24th, and 25th of November, near Chattanooga, Tennessee
On the afternoon of the 23d, the regiment was consolidated with the Twenty-third Kentucky, under the command of Lieut.-Col. Langdon, of the First Ohio, and took its position, forming double column close en masse, on the right and in rear of the front line. In this manner the regiment advanced until the line in front became hotly engaged with the enemy. At this moment I was ordered by Col. Langdon to take two companies form the battalion and move to the right oblique, for the purpose of protecting the flank. I did so, taking Company B, First Ohio, and one company of the Twenty-third Kentucky, and pressed forward, taking possession of the enemy's line of breastworks on the right, being opposed only by a slim line of skirmishers. A few moments after we had occupied the enemy's works they appeared on our extreme right, advancing for the purpose, no doubt, of turning our flank. I deployed a line of skirmishers to cover the flank. At this moment Col. Langdon came up with the balance of his command, drove the enemy back, and held the position. In this skirmish the regiment behaved nobly, losing 1 man killed and 3 wounded.
On the night of the 23d, the regiment was occupied in strengthening its position and doing picket duty.
Nothing worthy of note happened on the 24th. On the morning of the 25th, two companies of the regiment being on the skirmish line, were ordered to advance along with the balance of the skirmishers of the brigade. They advanced to within about 300 yards of the enemy's works under a sharp fire from their infantry and artillery. Soon after, the two companies from the First rejoined their regiment. Lines were then formed preparatory to an advance on the enemy's works. The First took position on the right, in the front line, deployed, the first being under command of Col. Langdon. About 2 o'clock the line advanced under a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery and infantry. Their first line of works was carried by storm, and, after a few minutes' rest, the men pressed steadily forward up Missionary Ridge. About two-thirds of the way up Col. Langdon fell severely wounded while bravely leading his men forward. The brave Capt. Trapp fell about the same time badly wounded. Still the men moved steadily on, under a terrible fire, to the crest of the hill, driving the enemy out of their works, taking a great number of prisoners and two pieces of artillery. The crest of the hill gained, our position became very critical, Hazen's brigade being at that time the only one on the ridge, the enemy sweeping the ridge at every fire from his cannon on our right. Our men became considerably scattered in their advance up the ridge, and it was with a great deal of difficulty that a very great number of any one regiment could be gotten together. Hastily collecting about 20 men from my own regiment the balance having inclined to the left and fighting nobly, and a few from other regiments, I moved to the right on the crest at a double-quick, driving the enemy away and capturing their first two pieces of artillery on our right, they retiring over the crest to the left and opening a flanking fire upon us again. I ordered a charge, and the enemy was driven from their new position. They now opened four pieces of artillery upon us about 100 yards farther to the right, and also formed a line of infantry across the crest for the purpose, no doubt, of driving us from the ridge. I now had 15 men under Capt. Hooker, and about 15 more from different regiments. They all seemed determined not to give a single inch, though they were opposed by four pieces of artillery and nearly a whole regiment of infantry. I gave the command "forward," and all started at double-quick. It seemed incredible, nevertheless it is true, that our 30 men went at them with a right good will. The enemy broke and retreated in every direction, leaving their four guns and a great number of prisoners in our hands. This last battery was captured immediately in front of Gen. Sheridan's left regiment, they being about one-half the way up the ridge. We followed the enemy up and drove them from several pieces of artillery and caissons that they were trying to get off with. We also captured one cannon and caisson and one wagon on the opposite crest of the hill. I then returned and rejoined my battalion, now under command of Lieut.-Col. Foy, Twenty-third Kentucky.
The regiment behaved most nobly, both officers and men. They all took example from our noble colonel, who fell before the action was over. They vied with each other in deeds of heroism. I would respectfully recommend to your favorable consideration Capt.'s Trapp, Hooker, Jones Patterson; Lieut.'s Leonard, Homan, Varian, Grove, Ward, Kuhlmann, and Young; also, Dr. Barr. They are efficient officers, and deserve the highest encomiums for their noble conduct.
Lieut. Wollenhaupt, who was killed while gallantly urging his men forward, was a good officer, and beloved by all. His loss is severely felt in the regiment. The loss in the regiment was heavy, 1 officer and 11 men killed, 4 officers and 62 men wounded, making the loss in the regiment since the 23d as follows: Officers, 1 killed and 4 wounded; men, 11 killed and 65 wounded; total,81.
Upon the march from Chattanooga to this place nothing worthy of note occurred.
J. A. STAFFORD,
Maj., Cmdg. First Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Capt. JOHN CROWELL, Jr.,
Following the end of the Siege of Chattanooga, the 1st advanced with other Union troops to Knoxville, Tennessee to assist another besieged Northern force. After helping to lift the Siege of Knoxville, the 1st remained in eastern Tennessee for the duration of the winter of 1863-1864. The organization participated in several engagements with Confederate forces, most notably a skirmish at Dandridge on January 17, 1864.
On May 4, 1864, the 1st embarked upon General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The regiment engaged the enemy at the Battle of Buzzard’s Roost on May 10, at the Battle of Resaca on May 14, at the Battle of Adairsville on May 17, at the Battle of Burnt Hickory on May 27, at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain on June 17, and at the Battle of the Chattahoochie River. After this final engagement, the regiment saw only limited action, as the organization’s companies began to muster out of service, having completed their three-year term. The commanding officer of the 1st issued the following report about a scout that the organization participated on in early September 1864:
CAMP FIRST OHIO VOLUNTEERS, Whiteside's, September 6, 1864.
COL.: I have the honor to make the following report of a scout under my command made in accordance with instructions received from you:
I left this post Friday p. m., September 2, with one commissioned officer, forty-seven enlisted men of First Ohio and twenty-one men of the company of home guards stationed here. I was instructed to proceed to a point sixteen miles south of Trenton and gain what information I could of any force of rebel cavalry that might be in that section of country. I was directed particularly to look after Capt. Wetherspoon and his band. Ascertaining that a camp-meeting was in progress at Sulphur Springs, near the State line between Georgia and Alabama, I made my arrangements to be at that place on the following Sunday. In order to give no notice to any armed parties, I marched my command during the night-time, remaining concealed during the day, picketing the road to prevent any persons passing ahead of my command. In this manner I succeeded in reaching a thicket, within one mile and a half of where the meeting was held at Sulphur Springs, by daylight on Sunday morning without the knowledge of any persons but Union citizens. Along the route I got reliable information that the force of rebel cavalry under Capt. Wetherspoon, which passed through that country a few days before, had gone to their headquarters at Carrington Bend, across Coosa River. This force numbers eighty men, well mounted and tolerably armed. It is made up of deserters from rebel army, citizens, and a few regular cavalry of Tennessee and Alabama regiments. With the exception of ill-treating and robbing a few Union citizens, no damage was done by them. I also ascertained that Capt. Davenport with his company of Dade County Home Guards were at Gadsden, where he makes his headquarters, and that six of his men were in the neighborhood of Sulphur Springs, visiting relatives and attending the camp-meeting. I proposed capturing or killing these men, giving the men in the command their choice if they met with them. While remaining concealed in the woods, about 9 a. m., James Longley, private, Company C, First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was sent back to a house 250 yards in rear in charge of a wagon load of citizens going to camp meeting. I gave him particular instructions to return at once, which he failed to do, and was captured by four of this party of home guards. This was the first intimation they had we were near there. They came across from the main Gadsden road by a lane on their way to the meeting. After capturing Longley they left by same route, having their prisoner mounted behind one of them; fifteen minutes afterward, I was apprised of his capture, and about the same time was informed by a woman that they had passed her on the Gadsden road at full speed, having their prisoner with them. Having no way of pursuing, I waited some time longer before proceeding to the meeting. Had Longley behaved as a soldier should, he could have escaped before they reached the house or successfully defended himself. Without going into details, he acted the coward, and, as I am informed his reputation as a soldier is bad, the service loses but little in his loss. At 10 a. m. I divided my force into three squads and surrounded the meeting, but found none but citizens attending. The appearance of the soldiers at the meeting was the first intimation they had we were near. As the men who captured Longley were from that neighborhood and harbored by the citizens thereabouts, I concluded to arrest six of the most prominent citizens of rebel sympathies as hostages for Longley. I accordingly arrested Henry Smith, John Stewart, S. B. Austin, Benjamin F. Cooke, Levi Lowery,
and Daniel Clark. The last named is the father of one of the men who captured Longley. Stewart and Austin have taken the oath of allegiance.
None of them will deny that they sympathize with the rebel cause. Stewart and Lowery proposed to me that if I would release them on their parole of honor they would immediately start after the prisoner and return him, if possible, otherwise they were to report at Whiteside's. I agreed to the proposition and released them, giving them one week to report. I feel very confident the prisoner will be returned. The remaining citizens I brought to camp with me. I left Lieut. Hawkins and thirteen men of the home guards to remain in that section of the country for a few days. Being all natives of the place, I did not give them any instructions.
The crops in the valley are better than ever before known, and all will have enough to subsist during the winter; in some instances, farmers will have corn to sell to the Government.
I returned to camp Monday, September 5, 1864.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, &c.,
A. T. SNODGRASS,
Capt. Company I, First Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Col. BASSETT LANGDON,
First Ohio Volunteers, Cmdg. Post Whiteside's.
The 1st’s final company mustered out of service on October 14, 1864.
During the 1st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, 121 men, including five officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 130 enlisted men succumbed to disease or accidents.