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36th 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. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.

In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.

Infantry regiments formed in Ohio became known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Soldiers of Ohio infantry regiments served the Union for varying lengths of time, ranging from one hundred days to three years. One of the three-year regiments was the 36th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The regiment organized at Camp Putnam, at Marietta, Ohio, and mustered into service on August 27, 1861.

In late August, six of the 36th’s ten companies crossed the Ohio River into present-day West Virginia. These units battled Confederate guerrillas operating in western Virginia. Eventually, the entire regiment, including the four companies left at Marietta, encamped at Summerville, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The 36th spent the winter of 1861-1862 at Summerville, conducting periodic expeditions against enemy guerrillas in the surrounding countryside. For a brief time, officials ordered Company A to Cross Lanes in present-day West Virginia for garrison duty.

On May 12, 1862, authorities ordered nine companies of the 36th, excluding Company B, to advance to Lewisburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). At this town, the regiment joined the 44th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry and a battalion of the 2nd Regiment West Virginia Cavalry and advanced against enemy forces near Covington in present-day West Virginia. The Northerners drove the Southerners from their positions and returned to Lewisburg. On May 23, Confederate forces under General Henry Heth attacked Lewisburg. The 36th and 44th Ohio stormed the Confederate line, driving the Rebels from the field. The Northerners captured four artillery pieces, three hundred stands of arms, and 175 prisoners. The 36th had seven men killed, forty-four wounded, and five soldiers captured.

On May 29, 1862, the 36th encamped at Meadow Bluffs in present-day West Virginia, before moving upon Union, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The Northerners hoped to surprise Heth’s Confederates at this town, but the Southerners withdrew as the Union soldiers approached. On August 14, 1862, the regiment started for Camp Piatt on the Kanawha River in present-day West Virginia. At this location, the organization boarded steamers and sailed to Parkersburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The 36th next advanced to Warrenton Junction, Virginia, where the organization served as the headquarters guard for General John Pope’s Army of Virginia. The Northern army engaged the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Bull Run II (August 28-30, 1862). The 36th remained in the reserve during this engagement but did help to return fleeing Union soldiers to their units. After this battle, the regiment briefly entered camp at Munson’s Hill, Virginia, before joining the Union’s Army of the Potomac’s pursuit of the Army of Northern Virginia, which had launched an invasion of Maryland.

On September 12, 1862, the 36th reached Frederick, Maryland, skirmishing with Confederate General James Ewell Brown Stuart’s cavalry before occupying the town. Two days later, the regiment participated in the Battle of South Mountain. The organization routed a portion of the Confederate line but concluded the battle as a guard for a Union artillery battery. On September 17, 1862, the 36th joined in the Battle of Antietam. Serving on the Union left, the regiment helped drive back the Confederate right, before enemy reinforcements counterattacked and regained most of the ground that the Northerners had seized earlier in the day.

Following the Northern victory at Antietam, the 36th encamped until early October 1862 along the banks of Antietam Creek. The regiment departed Antietam on October 6, 1862 and arrived at Charleston, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia) on November 16, 1862. On January 25, 1863, the 36th boarded steamers and sailed for Nashville, Tennessee. A few days after arriving, the organization, along with the 11th and 92nd Regiments Ohio Volunteer Infantry, advanced to Carthage, Tennessee on the Cumberland River, where the 36th encamped for the next five months.

In late June 1863, the 36th moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where the organization joined General William S. Rosecrans’s Army of the Cumberland’s advance into southern Tennessee and northern Alabama. Known as the Tullahoma Campaign, during this expedition, the regiment defeated enemy forces at Hoover's Gap, before entering camp in northern Alabama. In late August 1863, the regiment advanced with the Army of the Cumberland into northern Georgia. On September 19 and 20, 1863, the Army of the Cumberland engaged the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee at the Battle of Chickamauga. The 36th participated in both days of this battle, having seventy men killed, including the regiment's colonel, W.G. Jones. After this Union defeat, the Army of the Cumberland withdrew to Chattanooga, Tennessee, with the 36th's Fourteenth Corps covering the retreat. After the Battle of Chickamauga, the 36th's commanding officer issued the following report:

CAMP AT CHATTANOOGA, September 23, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the Thirty-sixth Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry for the two days' battle, September 19 and 20, 1863:

On the morning of the 19th we went into position on the right of the road leading to Ringgold, and about 1 1/2 miles east of Crawfish Spring. From there we were ordered 1 mile to the east and front to relieve the Ninety-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who had been engaged in the woods on the right of the road. About 3 p. m. the troops on our right were driven back by the enemy, which caused us to change front to the right and to the rear of the Ninetieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and one other regiment. In a short time they were driven back through our lines; we then engaged the enemy, who were in considerable force. In a very few minutes, and when we were suffering terribly from the enemy's fire, I went to look for the colonel but did not see him. I then ordered a charge, which was obeyed most gallantly by my regiment and the Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who had formed on our left. We drove the enemy from a quarter to half a mile, when I halted and reformed. We were then ordered back to our former position. I then learned that Col. Jones had been wounded in the early part of the engagement. About 6 o'clock I took position in the road and to the right, where we camped for the night with the balance of the brigade.

On the morning of the 20th we moved to the position occupied by our brigade. We held that position until 4 p. m., when the enemy had us nearly surrounded. We were then formed on the west side of the road, fronting southeast. We then faced about and charged the enemy about a mile, driving and routing them completely. Passing one of their batteries, killed their horses and dismounted their guns. We then formed on the hill where some of the Reserve Corps were posted, and marched to Rossville, arriving about 10 p. m.

Casualties in the two days' fighting: Killed, 12; wounded, 65, and missing, 14.

Too much praise cannot be awarded to both officers and men for their gallantry. Without an exception they behaved nobly, driving the enemy, who were in greatly superior numbers, in every instance.

The success of this regiment and brigade is not owing to its discipline and efficiency alone, but to its confidence in the skill of its brigade commander. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. F. DEVOL, Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Regt.

Capt. W. B. CURTIS, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

The Confederacy's Army of Tennessee besieged the Army of the Cumberland from late September to late November 1863. In October, the 36th joined a Union expedition to Brown's Ferry on the Tennessee River. The Northern force drove away enemy soldiers, opening a tenuous; supply line into Chattanooga. On November 25, 1863, the regiment also participated in the Union assault upon Missionary Ridge. Northern soldiers drove the enemy from this ridge, prompting the Southerners to withdraw from Chattanooga and bringing the siege to a victorious conclusion for the Union. During the Chattanooga Campaign, the 36th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. THIRTY-SIXTH OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 30, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Thirty-sixth Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the battles before Chattanooga:

Agreeably to orders, the regiment reported at brigade headquarters about 10 a. m., November 23, and was moved out with the remainder of the brigade, and took position near the Rossville road. The circumstances requiring it, our position was changed by the general that afternoon and the next day (24th). About 10 a. m. of the 25th, we moved in double column 1 1/2 miles to the left. My regiment was there assigned to the center of the first line, the Eleventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry on my right and the Ninety-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry on my left. Two companies (B and H) were thrown forward as skirmishers; remained there until 3 o'clock; moved forward a short distance, halted, deployed, and immediately again moved in line of battle through a skirt of woods.

As soon as we reached the open ground, the enemy opened on us with artillery from the top of Missionary Ridge. We were then ordered to double-quick, which we did, passing the second line off the enemy's breastworks, which was occupied by Gen. Beatty's brigade; reached the base of the ridge, where also were some troops under cover. We rushed up the ridge as fast as possible, under a terrible enfilading fire from right and left and front. Near the top, and about 6 rods from the enemy's breastworks, we passed over, I think, the Ninth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, reaching the breastworks where the enemy lay. A terrible-almost hand-to-hand-fight ensued. Stubbornly did the enemy contest the works. There we took a number of prisoners, which I passed to the rear without a guard.

Those of them who did escape made a second stand on the crest, from 4 to 6 rods beyond, but they were at once killed, captured, or routed. On our left was heavy force of the enemy's infantry and two pieces of artillery. The infantry kept up a constant fire; the artillery fired two rounds, when we made a charge on it and captured two pieces, but not until they had succeeded in getting them some distance down the eastern slope to their rear. The pieces were unlimbered and immediately hauled back to the top of the ridge by the men and placed in position. The taking of the artillery was done mainly under the superintendence of Sergeant Adney, of Company B, and Sergeant Halliday, of Company H. Some men from the Eleventh and Ninety-second Ohio Volunteer Infantry assisted in hauling the guns back. The men thought it best by this time to find their regiment, and left the guns, which fell into the hands of the Second and Third Brigades of our division, who, by this time, had come up. I since have learned that they claimed the taking of them, but the above are the facts in the case and can be substantiated. at dusk we went into position on a spur of the ridge farther to the right near the woods, and remained There one hour, when we were ordered to fall in, and march back to the foot of the western side of the ridge, where we took position facing northeastward, and remained till about 9 a. m. of the 26th, when we again crossed the ridge and went on a reconnaissance about 2 miles to the front; saw no enemy, and returned by the main road to the top of the ridge. From there we marched some 7 miles, and bivouacked on the Rossville and Ringgold road. Marched the morning of the 27th, at 3 o'clock, for Ringgold via Graysville, arriving at the former place at 3 p. m. Remained there till the morning of the 29th, when we returned to camp via Rossville. Arrived about dark.

Capt. J. C. Selby, Company K, was wounded in the right arm (which has since been amputated) near a log cabin to the left of where we went up the ridge. First Lieut. O. J. Wood, Company B (then in command of the company), seriously wounded, the ball passing from left to right side and through the right lung; Second Lieut. J. M. Hanlin, slightly wounded in leg.

Annexed I send a list of the casualties of enlisted men. It would be in vain for me to try to express how nobly and with what daring both officers and men conducted themselves in this (their fifth) great battle. Never as yet have they fallen back under fire in the face of the enemy. In this, all seemed eager to fight, and, under the leadership of their general, they felt confident of success. I would particularize did I not have to mention the whole.

Very respectfully, sir, your obedient servant,

H. F. DEVOL, Lieut. Col., Comdg. Thirty-sixth Regt. Ohio Vol. Infty.

Capt. W. B. CURTIS, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

The 36th entered camp near Chattanooga upon the siege's conclusion. In February 1864, many members of the regiment reenlisted. The re-enlistees received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. At the furlough's conclusion, the 36th reported for duty at Charleston, West Virginia. In early May 1864, the 36th embarked upon an expedition against the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad at Dublin Depot. The regiment never reached this community. After engaging enemy forces at Princeton, West Virginia and at Cloyd's Mountain, West Virginia. The Union forces won both engagements, capturing two artillery pieces and destroying numerous locomotives, railroad cars, siege guns, and a railroad bridge over the New River. After the engagement at Cloyd's Mountain, the Union soldiers withdrew to Meadow Bluffs, West Virginia, reaching this location on May 19, 1864.

In late May 1864, the 36th departed Meadow Bluffs for Staunton, Virginia. The regiment passed through White Sulphur Springs and Callahan’s Stand, before engaging and defeating a small Confederate force at Panther Gap Mountain. On June 5, 1864, the organization also battled a unit of enemy cavalrymen at the Cow Pasture River and, in the days immediately following, skirmished with Confederate units at Buffalo Gap. On June 8, 1864, the 34th reached Staunton and joined General David Hunter’s advance upon Lynchburg, Virginia on June 10. The Northern force advanced through Lexington, burning the Virginia Military Institute to the ground.The Union soldiers next marched to Buckhannon, where a brief skirmish occurred. The command crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Peaks of Otter, before engaging a small enemy force at Liberty on June 16, 1864. Two days later, the Northerners assaulted Lynchburg and nearly took the city. On that night, Confederate reinforcements arrived. When the battle resumed on the next day, the Northerners fought valiantly but evacuated the field the night of June 19. The victorious Confederates pursued the Union command, with a skirmish occurring at Liberty. The Northerners finally reached the safety of Charleston, West Virginia on July 1, 1864.

On July 10, 1864, authorities ordered the 36th to board transports for Parkersburg, West Virginia. The organization next boarded trains for Martinsburg, arriving at this community on July 15, 1864. At Martinsburg, the 36th joined a brigade of Union soldiers and advanced on Winchester, Virginia, hoping to seize this city before Confederate General Jubal Early’s army could occupy the town. To stop the Northerners’ advance, Early sent a portion of his army to the city. On July 19, as the 36th approached Cabletown, a fight ensued with enemy forces. The regiment forced the Confederates from the field but had three men killed and four more wounded. On July 20, the 36th’s brigade attacked the Southerners at Winchester, driving them from the battlefield and capturing all of the enemy’s artillery. On July 24, Early attacked the Northerners at Winchester, capturing the town from the Union soldiers. Early’s army pursued the withdrawing Northerners and attacked the Union command at Martinsburg on July 25. Again, the Northerners fled.

Following the defeat at Martinsburg, the 36th crossed the Potomac River into Maryland. In mid-August 1864, the regiment reentered Virginia and engaged Early’s Confederates near Front Royal on August 11. From August 12 to August 17, the 36th skirmished with the Southerners along Cedar Creek, before withdrawing to Berryville, Virginia. From August 21 to 27, the regiment skirmished with the enemy at Halltown, Virginia. On September 3, 1864, the 36th participated in the Battle of Berryville and then entered camp at Summit Point until September 19, 1864, when the organization fought in the Battle of Opequon. Following this Union victory, the Battle of Fisher’s Hill occurred on September 22, 1864. In this engagement, the 36th's brigade captured all of the Confederate artillery. The Northerners pursued the retreating Southerners as far as Harrisonburg, Virginia, before returning to Cedar Creek. Early’s Confederates pursued the Union army and encamped at Fisher’s Hill. The Southerners attacked the Northerners at Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864. After initially forcing the Union command to withdraw, the Confederates retreated from the battlefield, when the Northerners counterattacked.

For the remainder of the autumn of 1864 and the early winter months of 1864-1865, the 36th encamped near Kernstown, Virginia, until moving to Cumberland, Maryland in late December 1864. At this location, officials consolidated the 34th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry with the 36th. This organization retained the name of and the officers from the 36th Ohio. In April 1865, the regiment advanced to Winchester and then to Staunton, remaining at this location until mid-June 1865. At this time, officials ordered the 36th to Wheeling, West Virginia, where the organization mustered out of service on July 27, 1865. The regiment proceeded to Columbus, Ohio, where authorities discharged the unit's members on August 1, 1865.

During the 36th Ohio's term of service, 140 men, including four officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 163 enlisted men died from disease or accidents.

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