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 August 19, 1862, the 45th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years.
On August 20, 1862, the 45th traveled by train to Cynthiana, Kentucky, where the regiment remained until withdrawing to Covington, Kentucky during Confederate General Kirby Smith's invasion of Kentucky. At Covington, the 45th helped to prepare the city as well as Cincinnati, Ohio for an attack by Smith's force, but the Confederates withdrew without attacking either location. In October, the 45th advanced to Lexington, Kentucky, repairing railroad bridges on the Kentucky Central Railroad as the regiment advanced. At Lexington, the regiment was brigaded with the 18th Regiment Michigan Infantry, the 22nd Regiment Michigan Infantry, and the 112th Regiment Illinois Infantry. The 45th remained at Lexington until January 25, 1863, when it moved to Danville, Kentucky. At Danville, officials ordered the 45th to become mounted infantry, and the regiment spent February and early March pursuing Confederate cavalry forces in the vicinity of the Kentucky communities of Crab Orchard, Mount Sterling, Somerset, and Dutton's Hill. On March 30, at Dutton's Hill, the 45th entered into its first skirmish with Confederate forces. The regiment had one man mortally wounded in this encounter.
From March until July 1863, the 45th encamped at Somerset, guarding fords along the Cumberland River and conducting reconnaissance missions. On several occasions, small skirmishes with Confederate forces occurred, with the 45th suffering minimal casualties. In July 1863, the 45th entered into a pursuit of Confederate John Hunt Morgan's cavalry as it conducted a raid through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. The regiment successfully captured a portion of the Confederate force at Cheshire, Ohio on July 20, 1863.
Following Morgan's capture, the 45th moved to Camp Nelson, Kentucky and soon marched to Winchester, Kentucky in pursuit of Confederate soldiers. In August 1863, the 45th joined the Army of the Ohio. On September 1, the army reached Kingston, Tennessee, and the next day, officials ordered the 45th to Loudon, Tennessee. Serving as mounted infantry, the regiment remained in this general vicinity, routinely engaging Confederate cavalry forces, until mid October 1863. On October 20, Confederate cavalry attacked the 45th and its brigade, completely routing the Northerners. The 45th had seven men killed and nearly one hundred more soldiers captured. The 45th continued to battle Southern cavalry forces during the rest of October and November 1863. On November 15, Confederate cavalrymen attacked the 45th, which was dismounted. The Southerners captured more than one hundred Union soldiers and killed five others. The 45th retreated to Knoxville, Tennessee, which was currently facing attack by Confederate forces under General James Longstreet. The 45th participated in most of the engagements of the Knoxville Campaign, including Bean's Station (December 14, 1863), when Northern forces attempted to pursue the withdrawing Confederates.
Following the Knoxville Campaign, officials ordered the 45th to the Cumberland Gap, where the regiment remained until February 8, 1864. On that date, the 45th moved towards Mount Sterling, Kentucky, where the regiment was to receive new horses due to the declining quality of its former mounts. The 45th did not receive new horses and served the rest of the war as regular infantry. The regiment left Mount Sterling on April 6, 1864, moving to Camp Nelson, Kentucky. The 45th left Camp Nelson on April 19, 1864 and returned to Knoxville, arriving on May 3. After a few days of rest, the regiment traveled by train to Cleveland, Tennessee and then marched to Tunnel Hill, Georgia, embarking upon Union General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The 45th participated in most engagements of this campaign, playing especially large roles in the Battles of Resaca, New Hope Church, Lost Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, and Lovejoy's Station
Upon the successful completion of Sherman's Atlanta Campaign, the 45th returned to central Tennessee, where the regiment helped to repulse Confederate General John Bell Hood's invasion. The 45th participated in the Battle of Franklin and in the Battle of Nashville. Afte rthe Battle of Nashville, the commanding officer of the 45th issued the following report:
HDQRS,. FORTY-FIFTH OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, December 19, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the action before Nashville December 15 and 16:
On the morning of the 15th the regiment moved in front on the right of the brigade, and although frequently exposed to the enemy's artillery, our loss was very light, only one man wounded-Sergt. Joseph W. James, Company E; no other casualties on that day. On the 16th the regiment moved second from the right of the brigade, in the front line, and after advancing in line for about half a mile, we halted in a peach orchard in front of one of our batteries. The enemy, seeing our position, commenced a furious shelling, during which we had one man killed-James H. Eastman, Company F. In a short time we received orders to advance to within 300 yards of the enemy's works; we did so, and at once threw up breast-works, laid there some two hours, when we were notified that an advance was intended. We were to be governed by the movements of the regiment on our right, and which was a little in the rear of our line. The command "Forward!" was given, and as soon as the regiment on our right came up on a line with us we advanced over our works, and with a yell charged the enemy in their works, driving them in every direction and capturing many, and amidst shouts of applause the colors were planted on the enemy's works.
Not one of my officers faltered; all did their duty nobly. As far as I was able to ascertain the men did their duty well. Lieut. A. G. Henderson, Company C, was the first to reach the enemy's works, and came very near being captured, but support coming up at once, he was able to take his captors prisoners. I think I am safe in saying that he was the first to reach the enemy's artillery. In this charge we had two men wounded-Corpl. Wallace Botkin, Company K, mortally; William Norman, Company I, slightly. Much credit is due all my officers, but especially to Adjt. W. M. Williams, who was of great service to me in the absence of the other field officers; the adjutant was always at his post cheering the men, and being of much assistance to me.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. H. HUMPHREY,
Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Regt.
Capt. H. F. TEMPLE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
The regiment spent the winter of 1864-1865 in the vicinity of Nashville, before returning to eastern Tennessee in the early spring of 1865. In late April, the 45th returned to Nashville, where officials mustered the regiment out of service at Camp Harker on June 15, 1865.
During the 45th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, sixty-three men, including five officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 276 men, including one officer, succumbed to disease or accidents.