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. During the summer and early autumn of 1861, the 44th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at the fairgrounds at Springfield, Ohio, completing muster by October 14, 1861. The men in the regiment were to serve three years.
On October 14, 1861, the 44th departed Springfield for Camp Piatt, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The regiment traveled through Cincinnati, Ohio, arriving at Camp Piatt on October 19. Two weeks later, five companies moved to Gauley Bridge, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), where they engaged Confederate forces. At this same time, two hundred men advanced to Platona and then Logan Court House, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), forcing a small Confederate force to retreat without an engagement. The 44th soon regrouped at Camp Piatt, where the regiment remained for the next five months. In early 1862, Companies A, B, and K crossed the Kanawha River to provide additional protection to Camp Piatt, remaining there until May 1, 1862.
On May 1, 1862, officials ordered the 44th to Gauley Bridge, where it brigaded with the 36th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 47th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The 44th soon advanced to Lewisburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia) and also destroyed a portion of the Jackson River Railroad at Dublin Depot, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The 44th and an accompanying regiment quickly retreated to Lewisburg, as Confederate forces approached. On May 23, the Battle of Lewisburg occurred, with the 44th playing an active role in the engagement. The Northerners routed the Southern force in the battle, capturing numerous prisoners and three cannons.
Following the Battle of Lewisburg, the 44th remained at Lewisburg for a short time, before retiring to Meadow Bluffs, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). At this new location, the 44th engaged in guard duty and fortified the community. On August 15, 1862, the regiment advanced to Camp Ewing, staying one week, before retiring to Camp Tompkins along the Kanawha River. On September 9, six thousand Confederates attacked the 44th along with another Union regiment at Camp Tompkins, forcing the Northerners to retreat to Gauley Bridge. The two Union regiments attempted to defend Gauley Bridge, but the Confederates drove them from the town, forcing the Northerners to retire to Camp Piatt. After a short rest, the Northerners at Camp Piatt retreated to Charleston, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), where Confederate forces attacked on September 13. The Southerners slowly drove the Union force from the battlefield, but the Northerners were able to retreat in safety after destroying a suspension bridge over a tributary of the Kanawha River. The Union soldiers retreated to Racine, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia) on the Ohio River before moving to Point Pleasant, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). Officials soon ordered the 44th to Kentucky, where the regiment spent some time at Covington, Kentucky, expecting an assault by Confederate forces under the command of General Kirby Smith. Smith did not attack, and authorities ordered the 44th and other Union forces to pursue the Confederates as far as Lexington, Kentucky.
At Lexington, the 44th Regiment became part of the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division of the Army of Kentucky. The regiment primarily engaged in scouting duty between Richmond and Danville, Kentucky, until officials, on December 20, 1862, ordered the 44th to Frankfort, Kentucky, where the regiment's members became mounted infantry. The 44th then pursued Confederate forces, most notably those Southerners under the command of John Hunt Morgan, operating in Kentucky. The regiment participated in numerous skirmishes with Confederate forces and helped to drive the Southerners from the battlefield at the Battle of Dunstan's Hill. Serving in this capacity, the 44th remained in Kentucky until the autumn of 1863.
In the autumn of 1863, the 44th, now operating as regular infantry, joined General Ambrose Burnside's advance into Tennessee. The regiment performed admirably in the Knoxville Campaign, participating in all engagements. Following the campaign, the 44th went into camp at Strawberry Fields, near Knoxville, Tennessee, where officials, on January 1, 1864, asked the regiment's members to reenlist as a cavalry regiment. By January 5, five hundred out of approximately 650 men had agreed to reenlist. On January 7, the 44th began the march to Camp Nelson, Kentucky. On January 21, the regiment left Camp Nelson via railroad cars for Cincinnati, Ohio, where the 44th arrived the following day. The regiment took up quarters at the 5th Street Bazaar, until it was both mustered out of the service as the 44th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry and re-mustered as the 8th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry on January 29, 1864. Officials then granted the men a brief furlough to Springfield, Ohio, discharging those soldiers who did not reenlist.
The 44th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry had at least eight men killed and two men wounded on the battlefield, with an additional six men captured or missing.