Ohio Civil War » Civil War A-Z » 0-9 » 2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (three years service)

2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (three years service)


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 September 1861, the 2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Denison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. The 2nd 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 2nd Regiment.

In September 1861, the 2nd departed Camp Denison for eastern Kentucky, traveling through the Kentucky communities of Paris and Mount Sterling and eventually encamping at Olympian Springs. At this location, the regiment primarily tried to intercept recruits headed south to join the Confederate military. On October 22, 1861, the 2nd defeated Confederate forces under the command of Jack May at West Liberty, Kentucky. The organization next helped drive Southern forces from Prestonburg, Kentucky, followed by an assault of the Confederate position at Ivy Mountain. At this second engagement, the Union forces drove the Southerners from the mountain, with the 2nd having two men killed and seven more wounded. The 2nd pursued the retreating Southerners to Piketon, Kentucky, before proceeding to Louisville, Kentucky via Louisa, Kentucky. At Louisville, the regiment entered winter quarters along Bacon Creek.

In February 1862, the 2nd joined the Army of the Ohio’s advance from Louisville to Nashville, Tennessee. The Union force marched through Bowling Green, Kentucky and Gallatin, Tennessee, reaching Nashville in early March 1862. Officials soon dispatched the Army of the Ohio to Pittsburg Landing to reinforce General Ulysses S. Grant’s Union army. The 2nd Regiment proceeded along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, traveling through the Tennessee communities of Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Fayetteville, Huntsville, and Bridgeport. The organization participated in numerous skirmishes with Confederate forces, most notably ay Widow’s Creek near Bridgeport, with the regiment driving a Southern force from the area. The 2nd arrived at Pittsburg Landing in mid April 1862, following the Battle of Shiloh. The unit then performed various duties in western Tennessee, northern Mississippi, and northern Alabama, before moving to Louisville, Kentucky in the autumn of 1862 to intercept General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate army, which was invading Kentucky.

In early October 1862, the 2nd Regiment left Louisville with the rest of the Army of the Ohio in search of Bragg’s force. On October 8, 1862, the two armies met at Perryville, Kentucky, with the 2nd having twenty-nine men killed and ninety more wounded in this Union victory. The 2nd joined the Union’s pursuit of the retreating Southerners as far as Crab Orchard, Kentucky. The Army of the Ohio then marched for Nashville, Tennessee, arriving in late autumn 1862. At Nashville, officials reorganized the Army of the Ohio as the Army of the Cumberland and placed the 2nd Regiment in the 14th Corps.

In late December 1862, the Army of the Cumberland advanced towards Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where Bragg’s Confederate army was positioned. From December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863, the Battle of Stones River occurred. At this Union victory, the 2nd had eleven men killed, including John Kell, the organization’s commanding officer, and many more men wounded. After the battle, an officer of the 2nd issued the following report:


COL.: I have the honor to report, briefly, the part taken by the Second Regt. Ohio Volunteers in the action of December 31, 1862, and the following days.

On the morning of the 31st, after being ordered into the woods on our right center, with the balance of the brigade, and before being engaged, Lieut.-Col. Kell, then in command of the regiment, was ordered by Capt. McDowell, assistant adjutant-general on Maj.-Gen. Rousseau's staff, in person, to leave the position assigned us in the woods, and move to the support of Capt. Guenther's battery [H], [Fifth] United States Artillery, then stationed on the left of the main Murfreesborough turnpike. He did so without, I believe, reporting to you, as the exigency of the case would not admit of it. The regiment was formed on the flank of the battery, and, in conjunction with it, successfully repulsed the efforts of a brigade to capture it, killing and wounding many of the enemy, and capturing about 30 prisoners and a stand of colors belonging to the Thirtieth Regt. Arkansas Volunteer Infantry. At this time you made your appearance from the woods with the balance of the brigade, and from that time until we occupied this place we were under your eye.

Our loss was 11 officers and men killed and 34 officers and men wounded; among the former, Lieut. Col. John Kell, commanding the regiment, and First Lieut. Richard S. Chambers, Company F; among the latter, First Lieut. Lafayette Van Horn, Company I, mortally, and Capt.'s Maxwell and Hazlett severely. I cannot refrain from expressing my regret at the loss of Lieut.-Col. Kell and Lieut. Chambers, particularly the former. Brave, competent, and energetic, he had proven himself on several occasions well qualified for the position he held. His death is greatly to be deplored, and his loss will be severely felt by the regiment.

With very few exceptions, the regiment behaved well, and at some future time I will particularly recommend deserving men for promotion.

I have the honor to be,


Maj. Second Ohio Volunteers, Cmdg.


Cmdg. Ninth Brigade.

The unit remained encamped in the vicinity of Murfreesboro until embarking upon the Tullahoma Campaign in June 1863. During this expedition, the regiment engaged Confederate forces at the Battle of Hoover’s Gap, having one man killed, and two more wounded.

In September 1863, the 2nd embarked upon the Chattanooga Campaign and fought in the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia (September 19 and 20, 1863). In this Union defeat, the regiment lost 183 men killed, wounded, or captured. After the battle, an officer of the 2nd issued the following report:

BIVOUAC SECOND OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, In the Field, Chattanooga, September 25, 1863.

SIR: The Second Ohio Regt., under the command of Lieut. Col. O. C. Maxwell, Col. A. G. McCook being absent on detached duty, marched with the brigade of Col. Scribner on Friday evening, September 18, from Bird's Mill; passed Crawfish Spring, and soon after daybreak arrived at the crossing of the La Fayette and Chattanooga road. The command was halted there and formed into line of battle. About 8 a. m. two brigades passed our regiment toward the left of the field, and soon afterward heavy firing of musketry was heard in that direction. The First Brigade was put in motion, the Second Ohio being in the front line of battle, and marched in the direction of the firing, but keeping somewhat to the right. In half an hour the regiment came within sight of the enemy and opened a rapid and steady fire, advancing all the time, firing, loading, and cheering loudly. The enemy in a few minutes gave way and fled, leaving about a dozen killed and wounded in our immediate front, also about 15 or 20 prisoners, who were sent to the rear. A section of Martin's [Georgia] battery was in our front. The regiment killed all the horses belonging to one of the guns, and it was left on the field by us because we had no means to bring it off. The firing here ceased in front, and our line was halted about an hour. Skirmishing was then heard on our right flank; the regiment changed front forward, facing a corn-field through which the enemy was coming massed in heavy force. Immediately the engagement was renewed with great fury, the enemy pressing forward heavily on the right. So overwhelming was his force that the right of the brigade gave way by regiments, successively, until the Second Ohio, being on the left, retired, after all the regiments on the right had been driven from their position. In falling back from this position we expected to find a line of our troops supporting us, behind which the regiment would halt. In this we were disappointed, and the result was that the line retired thereafter in considerable confusion, but the regiment was rallied about half a mile to the rear. During this engagement Lieut.-Col. Maxwell was wounded, and the command devolved on Maj. Beatty. Here also the regiment lost heavily, particularly in missing, most of whom fell into the hands of the enemy. In the afternoon the regiment remained in line of battle, and was in the rear of Gen. Johnson's division when the latter was attacked by the enemy, at nightfall. After that engagement ceased, the brigade was moved to an open field, where it bivouacked for the night.

On the morning of Sunday, the 20th, at daybreak, the regiment marched back, and with the brigade and division was formed in order of battle on the crest of a hill; the enemy approached in front, feeling our position, but retired after a few shots were fired. We could see his flags. He then moved over on our left, and very soon heavy firing commenced there and in our front. The Second Ohio advanced to the front line, on the left of the Thirty-third Ohio, in fine spirits, and opened a steady and deadly fire, shouting and cheering the meanwhile with the greatest enthusiasm. Just as we advanced to this position a portion of the regular brigade gave way on our left, leaving for a time the Second Ohio alone on that part of the field, supported, however, by the Thirty-third Ohio. Our regiment took no notice of the vacancy, but rather redoubled their firing and cheering. The regulars were rallied and returned to their position. The firing on this part of the field was steady and unceasing for two hours and a half. Our line was held steadfastly; not an inch of ground was yielded. On the left of us our troops, after alternately advancing and retiring, finally drove the enemy from the field in front and the firing nearly ceased about 1 p. m. We threw up a slight breastwork meanwhile in our front, and threw skirmishers forward. About 4. 30 or 5 p. m. our skirmishers were driven in, and the battle was immediately renewed with great fury. Heavy columns of the enemy with artillery opened a tremendous fire all along the line, but their attack was steadfastly resisted; no impression whatever was made on our line, which remained unbroken some time after the troops on the right of our division gave way and retired. The falling back of the right forced us to retire to prevent capture. Here again the regiment in retiring, became confused, and lost many men.

Maj. Beatty, who commanded during the day, was wounded and taken prisoner. The army during that night retired toward Chattanooga, halted about midnight, and the regiment was again collected as far as possible. On the morning of the 22d we entered Chattanooga.

Inclosed herewith is a statement of the loss of the regiment, as accurate as it can be now prepared.

The loss of our field officers, Lieut.-Col. Maxwell and Maj. Beatty, which is greatly deplored, and the temporary illness of Capt. Mitchell, left the regiment under my command. Of our commissioned officers, Lieut.-Col. Maxwell, Maj. Beatty, and Lieut. Purlier are wounded; Maj. Beatty, Adjutant Thomas, Capt. Randall, Capt. Gallaher, Lieut.'s Purlier, McCune, Teeter, and Assistant Surgeon Carmichael are missing.

Our effective force on the evening of the 18th was 18 officers and 394 men. Our loss known is: Killed, 8; wounded, 49; missing, 124, including the above officers.

The regiment fired about eighty rounds of cartridges in the battle.



Capt. Second Ohio Vol. Infty., Comdg. Regt.

Lieut. DEVOL,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

The organization retreated with the rest of the Army of the Cumberland to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Confederate forces besieged the Northern soldiers until late November 1863. The regiment fought in the Battle of Lookout Mountain (November 24, 1863), having four men killed, and in the Battle of Missionary Ridge (November 25, 1863). The Union victories at these two engagements essentially ended the Siege of Chattanooga. The 2nd next participated in the North’s pursuit of the retreating Confederates, following the Southerners as far as Ringgold, Georgia. After the Battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, an officer of the 2nd issued the following report:

HDQRS. SECOND OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 30, 1863.

CAPT.: In compliance with orders, I have the honor to report the movements of the regiment from the 23d to the 29th instant, inclusive.

On the night of the 23d, I was, by your orders, placed in the outer line of intrenchments, remaining there all night, moving out and forming line immediately in front of the star fort on the morning of the 24th, where I remained until about 3 p.m., when, by your order, I moved in connection with the balance of the brigade across the mouth of Chattanooga Creek and up the slope of Lookout Mountain to the assistance of Maj.-Gen. Hooker's troops. Shortly after the line had been formed near the white house, and at about 8 p.m., you directed me to move with my regiment to the assistance of the Thirty-first Iowa, at that time severely engaged and threatened with a flank movement on the left. I immediately did so, taking up a position on the left and slightly in advance of that regiment. The night-time and the difficult nature of the ground made it impossible to move in the order I should have wished to, and before an opportunity offered of throwing forward skirmishers, and hardly had my line been formed, when I was heavily attacked by a concealed enemy at not to exceed 75 yards. I opened my fire, and, after a very spirited engagement of twenty or thirty minutes, silenced their fire, not, however, without having suffered some loss. During the temporary cessation of firing, I directed the men to throw up works of stone and logs, which was speedily done, and answered, in the subsequent attacks, a good purpose. By this time the Forty-second Indiana, Lieut.-Col. McIntire, had been directed by you to form on my left, and, in connection with the Eighty-eighth Indiana, Lieut.-Col. Briant, materially assisted in repulsing every effort of the enemy. We were attacked vigorously two or three times, and until the enemy evacuated, at between 12 and 2, were constantly annoyed by their sharpshooters. The mountain side is almost perpendicular, covered with huge bowlders, fallen trees, and obstacles of almost every nature, and is capable of a very strong defense, of which fact the enemy availed himself, having thrown up a very strong and effective line of works, from which he was finally compelled to fall back.

My loss (as per abstract attached) in this night attack was 2 commissioned officers (Capt. Warnock, Company D, and Lieut. Emery, Company C) wounded, and 2 non-commissioned officers and 2 privates killed, and 1 non-commissioned officer and 2 privates wounded, making a total of 4 killed and 5 wounded.

On the morning of the 25th, I moved by your direction along the face of the mountain to the Summertown road, descending that until we struck Chattanooga Creek, recrossing at the mouth, and moving to the right and front of the star fort, where my line was formed on the extreme right of the brigade, and in that position, at about 4 p.m., moved to the assault of Mission Ridge. Owing to the numerous obstacles, including a deep creek, my regiment, when it reached the edge of the timber, was in some confusion, but promptly rallied, and moved steadily but rapidly across the open space to the enemy's works near the base of the ridge. Here I for the first time discovered that I was on the extreme right of the whole line, with the enemy's left, including a section of artillery, overlapping my right at least 75 yards. By your direction one company (A) was thrown to the right and front as skirmishers, to guard against a flank movement, and, after a short rest in the enemy's works, I moved forward to the base of the ridge, following the general movement from left to right. Although the fire was very heavy while executing this movement, my loss was but slight, owing to the nature of the ground, the enemy in nearly every instance overshooting us. Up to this point my men had behaved splendidly, not one flinching or running. I remained at the foot of the ridge for some ten minutes, when, no apparent success having been met with on the left of me, the enemy made a slight advance from the crest and opened a very heavy fire, throwing portions of my own and two other regiments into confusion, and causing some of them to fall back. I attempted to stop it, but only partially succeeding, I deemed it best, under the circumstances, to order the men around me, composed of members of several regiments, to fall back to the works near the base of the ridge, which I did, accompanying them myself. I had my bugler blow "halt" and "to the color," and am proud to state that with but very few exceptions the men promptly obeyed, and opened a fire that not only checked the advance of the enemy, but drove them back. At this point I met the general commanding the brigade and explained what I had done, which he fully justified. In a few minutes we again advanced and carried the ridge, when, after partially forming my line, I was by your order moved obliquely to the right and front, occupying an inferior ridge, to guard against any movement on our flank. I opened up a fire on the enemy, when, after but little resistance, they made overtures to surrender, and, to the numerous of at least 250, including 2 lieutenant-colonels, 3 majors, and numerous line officers, did so. I also captured the battle-flag of the Thirty-eighth Regt. Alabama Infantry.

In this assault my loss was 1 non-commissioned officer and 6 privates wounded, a total of 7 wounded, 1 probably mortally.

On the 26th, we moved in the direction of Graysville, bivouacking at that place that night.

On the 27th, I had the advance on Ringgold, picking up several stragglers with my skirmishers. On the 28th, remained at that place, and on the 29th reached our old camp.

I cannot close this report without expressing my obligations to Capt. Warnock for his valuable assistance up to the time he was wounded, and hope that his long and faithful services may meet with their proper reward. He was assisting me, as I had no field officer with me. Color Corpl. James Ellis, Company E, for coolness and courage in the night attack on Lookout Mountain, is especially mentioned.

Respectfully submitted.


Col. Second Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry.


Asst. Adjt. Gen., 1st Brig., 1st Div., 14th Army Corps.

The 2nd encamped for the winter of 1863-1864 in the vicinity of Chattanooga. In February 1864, the regiment participated in a brief expedition to Buzzard’s Roost, Georgia, scouting enemy positions in the vicinity of this location. In early May 1864, the 2nd embarked upon General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. During this campaign, the regiment fought in the Battles of Resaca, Peachtree Creek, and Atlanta. On August 1, 1864, officials ordered the 2nd to return to Chattanooga for discharge, as the regiment’s term of service had ended. Before mustering out of service, the organization spent approximately one month pursuing Confederate cavalrymen under the command of General Joseph Wheeler. In September 1864, authorities dispatched the regiment to Columbus, Ohio, where the unit’s members mustered out of service on October 10, 1864.

During the 2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, 105 men, including nine officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 138 enlisted men succumbed to disease or accidents.

Related Entries