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31st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry


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. Between August 4 and September 7, 1861, the 31st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years.

On September 27, 1861, the 31st departed for Cincinnati, Ohio, arriving the same day. Previously, officials had ordered Companies A and B to Gallipolis, Ohio to guard an army supply depot, but these companies rejoined the rest of the regiment at Cincinnati. On September 31, the 31st departed Cincinnati, traveling to Camp Dick Robinson, Kentucky, where the regiment arrived on October 2. The 31st remained at this camp receiving drilling until December 12, 1861, when officials ordered the regiment to Somerset, Kentucky, where it engaged in numerous reconnaissance missions. On January 19, 1862, authorities ordered the 31st to Mill Springs, Kentucky, where the Battle of Mill Springs was raging. The regiment arrived too late to engage the retreating Confederate soldiers. At Mill Springs, officials ordered the 31st to become part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, in the Army of the Ohio. The 31st then traveled to Louisville, Kentucky via Lebanon, Kentucky, where the regiment boarded the Magnolia and set sail for Nashville, Tennessee, traveling on the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers.

After a brief rest at Nashville, the 31st moved to Columbia, Tennessee, where it helped to escort the Army of the Ohio's supply train to Clifton, Tennessee. The regiment did not participate with the rest of the Army of the Ohio in the Battle of Shiloh (April 6 and 7, 1862), but the 31st did participate in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi. On June 22, the regiment advanced to Iuka, Mississippi, where it engaged Confederate forces, driving the Southerners from the battlefield. On June 26, the regiment advanced towards Tuscumbia, Alabama, arriving on June 28. At Tuscumbia, the 31st conducted several raids on Confederate forces in the vicinity. Authorities ordered two companies of the 31st to Decatur, Alabama and one company to Trinity, Alabama, with the remaining companies staying at Tuscumbia. On July 19, the 31st's companies at Tuscumbia and the rest of its brigade left Tuscumbia for Huntsville, Alabama, reaching this new destination on July 22, after traveling through Decatur and crossing the Tennessee River on a small ferry boat. While crossing the river, news reached the 31st that the detachment at Trinity had come under attack by Confederate cavalrymen under General Joseph Wheeler. Of the twenty-eight men at Trinity, one-half of them had been killed or wounded, but the Union soldiers had successfully defended the town. Expecting a second attack, officials ordered six companies of the 31st to Trinity, but no Confederate assault occurred.

Following regrouping at Huntsville, the 31st traveled with the rest of the Army of the Ohio to Decherd, Tennessee. Soon after arriving at this location, the 31st and the rest of the Army of the Ohio engaged in the pursuit of Braxton Bragg's Confederate force as the Southerners advanced into Kentucky. Traveling via Nashville, the Army of the Ohio eventually reached Louisville, Kentucky before advancing southward. The Army of the Ohio engaged Bragg's Confederates at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky (October 8, 1862), prompting Bragg to withdraw. The 31st saw limited combat in this battle. Following the engagement, the regiment advanced towards Nashville, eventually encamping in the vicinity of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. While here, reports reached the 31st that a Union supply train was under attack at nearby Lavergne, Tennessee. The 31st with two other regiments saved the train. During the winter of 1862-1863, the 31st joined the Army of the Cumberland and participated in the Battle of Stones River from December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863.

During early 1863, the 31st remained in the vicinity of Murfreesboro. On June 23, 1863, the regiment participated in the Tullahoma Campaign, including at the Battle of Hoover's Gap (June 26, 1863). Following this campaign, the Army of the Cumberland, including the 31st, engaged in the Chattanooga Campaign. At the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia (September 19 and 20, 1863), the regiment suffered severe casualties both days of the battle. Following the Army of the Cumberland's retreat to Chattanooga, Tennessee, the 31st took a position in front of Missionary Ridge. On November 25, 1863, the regiment participated in the Battle of Missionary Ridge, successfully ending the Confederate siege of Chattanooga. The 31st was among the first regiments to reach the crest of the ridge. Following the battle, an officer of the 31st issued the following report:

HDQRS. THIRTY-FIRST OHIO VOLUNTEERS, Chattanooga, Tennessee, December 1, 1863.

CAPT.: In compliance with orders from headquarters First Brigade,I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment during the week ending November 29:

At 3 p. m. of the 23d ultimo, I received orders to follow the brigade in its advance on the picket line to the right of Fort Negley. I was assigned to a position on the left of the front line, in which I remained until the brigade marched to the attack of Missionary Ridge on the 25th ultimo.

At daybreak on the 25th, information was brought to me that the enemy's pickets were no longer visible. I rode out to some distance within their lines, and discovering no signs of the enemy, I returned and reported the fact to the generals commanding the Third Division and the First Brigade.

I then took some men of my regiment and advanced farther toward the enemy's camps. After proceeding about a mile I found about a regiment of the enemy in breastworks, and some of the camps occupied by troops. I reported to the general commanding Fourteenth Corps, and by his permission I took one company of the Thirty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Lieut. Wilkin commanding, and one company Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Capt. Brown commanding, and deploying them as skirmishers, I advanced to within about 500 yards of the camps, which were being set on fire by the retreating enemy. I then discovered two regiments retiring slowly from the woods on my left, and afterward occupying the breastworks upon the hill-side in rear of their camps. Upon my return to our lines I found the brigade had marched with the remainder of the division to a position on the east of Fort Wood, where I rejoined them about 2 p. m. The brigade was formed in two lines, the Thirty-first on the left of the second line in double column.

The advance was ordered about 3.30 p. m., and the brigade at double-quick crossed the open ground to the foot of the ridge under a furious and well-directed fire of artillery and musketry. The nature of the ground being nearly precipitous and intersected by deep and narrow ravines, utterly precluded an attack in military formation. The strongest and bravest men reached the enemy's breastworks first, driving the rebels from them in utter confusion. The colors of the Thirty-first, with those of the Eleventh Ohio, had the proud distinction of crossing the breastworks in their immediate front in advance of any others of the division.

Upon reaching the top of the ridge, I found the enemy in full retreat down the slopes on the east side, and at the same time received a severe fire from the enemy on the ridges running at right angles to the main one, which position enabled them to enfilade us. Lieut.-Col. Street, Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry; Capt. Whedon, Eighty-second [Indiana]; Lieut.'s Wilkin, Scott, and Adjutant Hayden, Thirty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with other officers with whose names I am unacquainted, but from every regiment of the brigade, here most gallantly aided me in rallying the men, and after nearly two hours' severe fighting we succeeded in driving the enemy from five points and comprising a distance of a mile from the spot at which the ascent was made. During the advance I passed seven guns and one limber, with horses attached, but would not allow any of the men then fighting with me to remain with them, as they were already in our possession, and the brigade which had been reformed could remove them at their leisure. The individual honor of capturing those guns cannot be assumed by any regiment; they were captured by the dash and gallantry of a few men and officers from each regiment in the brigade.

I have the honor to recommend to the notice of the general commanding the brigade the gallant conduct of Private James Walker, Company K, who carried the colors after two of the bearers had fallen. He also captured one of the enemy's colors, which he had the honor to deliver to the general commanding First Brigade. Private S. Wright, Company K, assisted him in carrying the rebel colors, and displayed bravery.

Conspicuous for bravery during the advance on the top of the ridge were Capt. Cahill, Company B; Lieut.'s Scott, Company E; Wilkin, Company G; Miller, Company F. Adjutant Hayden fought by my side throughout the day, and was struck by a spent ball at the conclusion of the fight. The energy and soldierly bearing of these officers had a great effect in keeping the men to their work.

I have to regret to loss of Lieut. Rochester, commanding Company D, who was instantly killed on the hill-side; Lieut. Wilkin, shot in the shoulder while among the foremost in the advance. Capt. Barber gallantly rallied and reformed the men as they arrived on the top of the ridge. Lieut.'s Aplin, Pollock, Carlile, and McArthur proved themselves good officers and brave men.

The list of killed and wounded has already been forwarded to your office.*

I am, captain, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Thirty-first Ohio Vol. Infty.

Capt. W. B. CURTIS,

Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Following the Battle of Missionary Ridge, many of the 31st's remaining members reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to Ohio. In Ohio, the regiment secured 374 new recruits, raising the regiment's strength to approximately eight hundred men. Following the furlough, the 31st returned to Chattanooga.

On May 7, 1864, the 31st embarked upon William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign, engaging the enemy at every battle of the campaign except for the Battle of Jonesborough. Following Atlanta, Georgia's capture, the 31st pursued John Bell Hood's Confederate army as far as Gaylesburg, Alabama, before the regiment returned to Atlanta. During the Atlanta Campaign, officers of the 31st issued the following reports:

HDQRS. THIRTY-FIRST OHIO VET. VOL. INFANTRY, Near Atlanta, Ga., August 17, 1864.

CAPT.: In compliance with orders from the colonel commanding the brigade, the subjoined report of the part taken by the Thirty-first Ohio Veteran Volunteers during the campaign commencing May 7 up to the 5th instant is respectfully submitted. As the regiment was commanded by Col. M. B. Walker for the greater part of the time for which the report is required, I am unable to furnish more than a mere outline of operations.

The regiment marched from Ringgold on the 7th of May and was ordered on picket in the vicinity of Tunnel Hill. On the 8th arrived in front of Buzzard Roost Gap and remained in position until the 12th, when it marched to Snake Creek Gap, some miles east of its former position. On the 14th the regiment was deployed on the right of the front line of the brigade, and, being ordered to send out skirmishers, details of veterans from each company, under command of Capt. W. H. Wade, were advanced onto a ridge in front of the open field, then occupied by the brigade. The skirmishers were soon engaged, and soon after the whole line was ordered to advance. Upon reaching the crest of the second ridge a line of troops, said to belong to Hascall's brigade, of Judah's division, Army of the Ohio, advanced from the woods in our rear, and passing our front line, advanced some paces in its front. The regiment being then ordered forward, upon reaching the crest of a third ridge, it was exposed to a heavy fire of artillery from batteries planted upon hills on the opposite side of a valley and distant about 500 yards. The word being still "forward," the regiment rushed down a nearly precipitous declivity and advanced to the edge of a creek, over which the front line had already struggled. The enemy here opened with musketry and two batteries, but the regiment gallantly dashed into the creek and was emerging from it when the first line (Hascall's troops), unable to maintain their advance under so murderous a fire, fell back, and a portion of it passed through and over the right wing of the regiment, which was not protected by the banks of the creek, which on the left were high and the water deep. A portion of the regiment regained the ridge and there reformed. The remainder were, by order of the colonel commanding, engaged in keeping up a fire on the enemy's works, under cover of which the men retired singly or in small squads and rejoined that portion of the brigade which had been halted on the ridge. After remaining in support of batteries which were then brought up to the front until the following morning the brigade was moved to position on the right and in reserve, and remained there until the occupation of Resaca by the army. On the 16th crossed the Oostenaula River, passing through Calhoun toward Adairsville. Marched on the 17th and 18th. On 19th encamped four miles from Kingston. On the 23d forded the Etowah River. On the 26th were ordered to escort train to Kingston. Returned with it to Burnt Hickory on the 29th and encamped on Pumpkin Vine Creek. Guarded the trains of Fourteenth Corps until the 1st of June, when the regiment marched to a position three miles from Burnt Hickory. On the 5th camped eight miles from Acworth. On the 8th the regiment was detached from the brigade and sent as escort to Cartersville. On the 15th rejoined the brigade, which was then in position in line. On the night of the 16th six companies were ordered to build works for a battery on the skirmish line, which were executed by daylight. On the 18th moved up to within 200 yards of the enemy's works and sent out 100 men as skirmishers, who, in conjunction with details from other regiments, ultimately drove the enemy from their works. On the 19th moved through the enemy's abandoned position and formed in front of Kenesaw Mountain. Skirmishers being ordered to the front, two companies, under the command of Capt.'s Wade and Stone, advanced to the edge of a piece of woods and soon became engaged with the enemy's skirmishers. The regiment was ordered to support them, and four companies were advanced to the edge of an open field, in which the deployed line had been very imprudently halted by an officer and the inspector of the Second Brigade. So dangerous did their position become that it was only by the personal gallantry of Capt. Stone that his men could be supplied with ammunition. It was not deemed prudent to relieve the company until after dark. On the 20th camped in the second line of the brigade. On the night of the 22d was placed in the front line, where it remained under a perpetual fire until the 26th, when it marched to a position on the right of the corps and bivouacked for the night. On the 27th formed at the base of a hill under a very heavy fire of artillery, under which it ascended the hill and was ordered behind works constructed by the Twentieth Corps. Remained there until the 30th; was then advanced to relieve Gen. Geary's division. Remained there until the 3d of July, when, Marietta having been evacuated, the brigade moved forward and took up a position south of the town.

On the 5th fortified strongly on the railroad about ten miles from Atlanta. On the 9th advanced a quarter of a mile and fortified strongly. On the 10th marched to Pace's Ferry, on the Chattahoochee River; remained in camp until the 17th; crossed the river on pontoons and camped in reserve. On the 19th was ordered out, "stripped for action;" advanced on Peach Tree Creek and reconnoitered for a crossing; in the evening was ordered to cross the creek, following the Eighty-ninth Ohio and Eighty-second Indiana; crossed without loss and fortified during the night. On the 20th advanced to the crest of the hill, and on the 21st the regiment was ordered to ascertain the position and strength of the enemy. Companies K and G, under the command of Capt.'s Wade and Stone (who, although acting as field officers, gallantly led their own companies), were ordered forward as skirmishers, and soon developed the enemy's position. Companies F, Lieut. Carlile, and H, Capt. Wilkin, were ordered forward in support. Several casualties occurred during this reconnaissance, and the regiment was relieved by the Twenty-third Missouri. On the 22d moved forward on Atlanta and formed in line opposite some heavy works in front of the city; fortified in the third line of the brigade. On the 24th was detached with Eighty-ninth Ohio, Col. Carlton commanding, in support of Gen. King's brigade, of Johnson's division; constructed works on the second line, and had orders to re-enforce any attacked point; was exposed to heavy artillery fire from the 23d to the 30th, the 64 and 20 pounders having a perfect range on the camp. On the 3d of August marched to the right of the Army of the Tennessee; in the evening crossed Utoy Creek; advanced through thick brush and woods, and at night-fall commenced fortifying; completed works by daylight. On the 4th moved in support of a portion of the brigade, ordered to advance skirmish line; returned to former position at night. On the morning of the 5th, the skirmish line being ordered to advance and endeavor to capture the enemy's rifle-pits, was strengthened to 150 men. Capt. Stone, brigade officer of the day, having arranged a plan of attack, moved forward his line until within 100 yards of the enemy, and, at the bugle-call, in conjunction with the skirmishers of the other brigades of the Third Division, dashed into the rifle-pits and captured nearly the enemy's entire line. The detail from the regiment brought in 2 commissioned officers and 54 enlisted men, with a loss of but 1 killed and 3 wounded, a result mainly owing to the skill, coolness, and, when necessary, daring bravery of the officer in charge of the line. I am happy to be able to express my satisfaction with the regiment during the time I have had the honor to command it. Recruits have vied with veterans in uncomplaining endurance of the privations of this trying campaign, and have in most cases emulated them on the battle-field. I have to deplore the loss of Capt. Cahill, who was instantly killed by a sharpshooter on the 23d of June. The service has lost a fine officer and his comrades a courteous gentleman and true friend. I cannot close without making mention of the services of Capt.'s Wade and Stone, respectively acting lieutenant-colonel and major. Ever ready in time of danger, their skill, coolness, and courage render them valuable officers upon all occasions when those qualities are most wanting. Accompanying will be found a list of casualties* during the campaign to the 5th instant.

I am, captain, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieut. Col., Comdg. Thirty-first Ohio Vet. Vol. Infty.

Capt. W. B. CURTIS,

Asst. Adjt. Gen., 1st Brig., 3d Div., 14th Army Corps.

HDQRS. THIRTY-FIRST OHIO VET. VOL. INFANTRY, Atlanta, Ga., September 9, 1864

CAPT.: In compliance with orders from brigade headquarters, I beg to submit the following supplemental report of the operations in which my regiment took part from the 5th ultimo to the close of the campaign.

August 6, regiment took up position on the right of First Division in the second line. 7th, was ordered to form on the right of First Division in advanced position, and fortified during the night. The position was one of great danger, and several valuable lives were lost and many men wounded before the regiment was relieved from the line. During the night the enemy came out of their works to attack, but were soon driven back. Remained in first works until the night of the 11th, when regiment occupied works built by part of Second Division. Remained in that position until the evening of the 26th. During this interval of comparative quiet the men benefitted by the rest; the enemy shell the camps occasionally, but do no injury; picket-firing almost entirely ceased, and desertions from the enemy were numerous. At 7 p. m. received orders to march at any moment. The enemy having intimation of the movement open fire upon us with shell and case-shot, throwing them with great accuracy, but the men, being well protected, were unhurt. Marched at 3 a. m. August 27; camped as guard to the train. 28th, rejoined division; cross West Point railroad, and camp in rear of second Brigade. 30th, marched at 7 a. m. and took up position about three miles from Flint Creek; threw up works. 31st, advanced a mile; threw up works; at 1 p. m. cross Flint River and threw up works in woods in view of roads on which enemy's columns were passing; at 6 p. m. the regiment, with the Eighty-second Indiana, move out on the railroad to Morrow's Station, to re-enforce Eighty-ninth Ohio; build works during the night on the railroad and prepare to hold them against any force; the energy displayed by both officers and men in constructing works, and general soldierly bearing of the entire command, was praiseworthy in the highest degree.

At 10 a. m. on the 1st of September ordered to abandon the works and rejoin the brigade, and at 3 p. m. march in rear of the division as guard to hospital train; encamped three miles from railroad as guard to hospitals. Rejoin the brigade at 10 a. m. on the 2d and take position near railroad and about one mile from Jonesborough. Remained until the 6th, when the command marched as rear guard on its return toward Atlanta. The regiment has, during this campaign, had to contend with many difficulties. The short time which elapsed between the reorganization of the Thirty-first Ohio Volunteers and the commencement of the campaign gave but little opportunity to drill and discipline the recruits; nevertheless they have vied with the veterans in endurance and gallantry, and give great promise for the future. The casualties extending over the whole period of active operations fully equal those of a general engagement. I have in my previous report made mention of such officers as distinguished themselves, and with one solitary exception, already reported, the line officers have sustained their former reputations. Assistant Surgeons Varney and Chapel have labored faithfully whilst with the regiment.*

I have the honor to be, captain, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieut. Col., Comdg. Thirty-first Ohio Vet. Vol. Infty.

Capt. W. B. CURTIS,

Asst. Adjt. Gen., 1st Brig., 3d Div., 14th Army Corps.

On November 16, 1864, the 31st began Sherman's March to the Sea. The regiment traveled to Savannah, Georgia via Decatur, Covington, Monticello, and Milledgeville, destroying a sizable Confederate ammunition depot at this last city. The 31st reached the outskirts of Savannah on December 12. Following a brief siege, the city fell to Union forces. The 31st remained at Savannah until February 20, 1865, when it embarked upon Sherman's Carolinas Campaign. The regiment participated in every major engagement of this campaign. During the campaign, an officer of the 31st filed the following report:

HDQRS. THIRTY-FIRST; REGT. OHIO VET. VOL. INFANTRY, Goldsborough N. C., March 27, 1865.

CAPT.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Thirty-first Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry in the recent campaign from Savannah, Ga., to this place:

The regiment, under command of Capt. M. Stone, in accordance with orders from brigade headquarters, left its camp near Savannah on the morning of January 20, 1865, and marched to Cherokee Hill, where it encamped until the morning of January 25, at which time it marched for Sister's Ferry, on the Savannah River, via Springfield, reaching the former place January 29, after three days' marching in unpleasant weather and over bad roads.

At Sister's Ferry the regiment went into camp until February 5, when it crossed the river, and on the following day marched to Robertsville, S. C., thence to Barnwell, reaching three on February 10. After two days' march from the latter place it reached Johnson's Station, on the Charleston and Augusta Railroad, effectually destroying about 600 yards of this road. If went into camp for the night, and on the following day came to the South Edisto River, crossing both the South Edisto and North Edisto Rivers on February 14. Passing the town of Lexington, on the 16th, crossed the Saluda River. On the 17th, the Broad River. On the 19th it reached Winnsborough. On the 21st and on the following day destroyed several hundred yards of the Columbia and Charlotte Railroad and encamped in the evening on the Catawba River, where it remained until the night of the 27th, when it passed nearly the whole of the night in helping the teams across the river, and in crossing itself. Continuing the march it passed Hanging Rock on the 2d of March, and reached the Great Pedee River on March 5, crossing it March 7. On the 8th of March, near Rockingham, eight of the regiment were captured while foraging, all of whom escaped and returned except two, whose names are given in the list casualties appended. The regiment continued its march in the direction of Fayetteville. On the 10th of March First Lieut. A. M. Aplin and five men were captured while foraging, the names of whom are given in the list appended. The regiment marched into Fayetteville, N. C., on the 11th, where in remained until the evening of the 15th, furnishing during that time 115 men and 3 commissioned officers as provost guard for the city. Here on the 12th of March Capt. Stone was honorably mustered out of the service, at which time I assumed command of the regiment. On the night of the 15th regiment left the city and crossed the Cape Fear River, taking the direct road to Goldsborough. On the 20th reached the battle-ground near Mill Creek and was moved on the front line with the right resting on the Goldsborough road.

In accordance with orders from Col. Hunter, commanding First Brigade, Company K, Lieut. W. H. H. McArthur commanding, was thrown forward as skirmishers, and the regiment was moved some sixty yards to the front and left, and occupied the works that lad been used the day before by a portion of the Twentieth Army Corps. The regiment remained in position here during the heavy skirmish and artillery firing in front until night, when it was withdrawn with the brigade, and went into camp in rear of the First Division, Fourteenth Army Corps. On the 21st the regiment reported to Lieut.-Col. Matheny, of the Eighty-second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, to corduroy the road leading to the rear from the battle-ground, and on the 22d took up its line of March for this lace, reaching here the 23d instant, all in good health and spirits.

It is but just to state that during the whole of the time that Capt. Stone commanded the regiment he worked zealously for its interest and the good of the service, ever at his post and relay. I am pleased to state that the officers and enlisted men heartily co-operated with the commanding officer, and were prompt in doing their duty on all occasions.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Capt., Commanding Regt.


Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 1st Brig., 3d Div., 14th Army Corps.

Following Confederate General Joseph Johnston's surrender, the 31st moved to Washington, DC, where it marched in the Grand Review. Officials soon ordered the 31st to Louisville, Kentucky, where the regiment mustered out of service on July 20, 1865. The regiment's members then traveled to Camp Chase, where the men were formally discharged from the service.

During the 31st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, seventy-nine men, including two officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 154 men, including one officer, succumbed to disease or accidents.

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