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. On December 7, 1861, the 40th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years.
On December 11, 1861, the 40th departed Camp Chase, via railroad cars, for Paris, Kentucky, where it marched to Paintville, Kentucky. On January 10, 1862, the regiment participated in the Battle of Middle Creek, Kentucky, with the Union forces emerging victorious. Following the battle, the 40th remained at Paintville until February 1862, when the regiment moved to Piketon, Kentucky. At Piketon, the regiment served on garrison duty with a Kentucky regiment until June 13, 1862, when the 40th advanced to Prestonburg, Kentucky. In mid July 1862, Union authorities ordered the abandonment of Prestonburg, and the 40th retired to Louisa, Kentucky, where it served on garrison duty until September 13, when officials ordered the regiment to the mouth of the Sandy River and then to Gallipolis, Ohio. On October 4, the 40th left for Guyandotte, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), before departing for eastern Kentucky on November 14, 1862.
On February 20, 1863, the 40th began to march towards Nashville, Tennessee, where the regiment became part of the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Reserve Corps. In early March, officials ordered the regiment to Franklin, Tennessee, where the 40th participated in the pursuit of Confederate forces under the command of Earl Van Dorn. On April 10, a portion of Van Dorn's cavalry attacked the 40th Regiment while it was on picket duty outside of Franklin. The regiment successfully repulsed this assault. The 40th remained in the vicinity of Franklin until early June 1863, when it advanced to Triune, Georgia.
On June 23, 1863, the 40th departed Triune, participating in the Tullahoma Campaign. The regiment marched with General William Rosecrans's Army of the Cumberland through the Georgia communities of Shelbyville, Wartrace, and Tullahoma, remaining at Wartrace and Tullahoma until September 7, when the 40th and the rest of the Reserve Corps advanced to Chickamauga, where the regiment participated in the Union defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia (September 19 and 20, 1863). Following this engagement, the 40th retreated with the rest of the Army of the Cumberland to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the regiment first took up a defensive position at Moccasin Point before retiring to Shellmound, Tennessee, where four companies reenlisted. On November 24, 1863, the 40th participated in the Battle of Lookout Mountain and briefly pursued the defeated Confederates before returning to Shellmound.
On January 20, 1864, the 40th marched towards Cleveland, Georgia, arriving at this community on February 6. Beginning on February 22, the regiment participated in a reconnaissance to Dalton, Georgia, returning to Cleveland on February 28. On May 2, 1864, the 40th embarked upon William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign, participating in most of the campaign's battles.
On October 7, 1864, at Pilot Knob, Georgia, authorities ordered the discharge of all members of Companies A, B, C, and D of the 40th who did not desire to reenlist, as the regiment's original term of service had expired. The remaining companies and those men who did reenlist engaged in the pursuit of Confederate forces under John Bell Hood in Tennessee, before mustering out of service or reenlisting at Nashville, Tennessee in December 1864. Due to an insufficient number of men available for service, officials ordered the consolidation of the remaining companies of the 40th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry with the 51st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry at this time. The 40th Regiment ceased to exist, becoming part of the 51st Regiment.
During the 40th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, 102 men, including six officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 135 men, including one officer, succumbed to disease or accidents.