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53rd 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 53rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Governor William Dennison authorized the creation of this regiment on September 6, 1861. Recruitment occurred at Jackson, Ohio and was not completed until January 1862.

On February 16, 1862, the 53rd boarded a steamboat at Portsmouth, Ohio and proceeded to Paducah, Kentucky, where the organization joined the Third Brigade of General William T. Sherman's division. Sherman's command boarded steamers and sailed to Savannah, Tennessee, where the division disembarked and moved against the Memphis and Charleston Railroad near Iuka, Mississippi. Upon the expedition's conclusion, the 53rd entered camp near the Shiloh Church at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. On April 6, 1862, more than three hundred of the regiment's enlisted men and one-half of the organization's officers were so ill that they were unfit for duty. On that day, a Confederate army attacked the Union's Army of the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing. In the resulting Battle of Shiloh (April 6 and 7, 1862), the 53rd performed admirably, slowly retreating on the engagement's first day with the rest of the Union army and driving the Confederates from the field on the second day. On April 8, the regiment accompanied a cavalry battalion after the retreating Southerners. Confederate forces attacked the cavalry units, capturing many of these Northerners. The 53rd launched a counterattack, freeing most of the prisoners and prompting the Southerners to withdraw. After this engagement, the regiment returned to the organization's old camp at the Shiloh Church. After the Battle of Shiloh, the 53rd's commanding officer issued the following report:


SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of part taken by my regiment in the engagements of the 6th, 7th, and 8th; Shortly after daylight on the morning of the 6th the regiment was formed on the color line under order and direction of Col. Appler. After remaining here for a time they were moved to the left of our camp, forming line of battle perpendicular to the first line. Soon after Col. Appler ordered the regiment to face about and wheel to the right and taken position in rear of the camp, which maneuver was executed under fire of the rebel skirmishers. The new line of battle was formed just in rear of our camp, in the edge of the woods. A section of Waterhouse's battery took position in the woods to our right. Gen. Sherman and staff rode up to the open field in front of the left wing, and were fired upon by the rebel skirmishers, now advancing through the thicket in front of our camp, killing an orderly.

Gen. Sherman, riding back, ordered Col. Appler to hold his position; he would support him. A battery opened upon us. The section of artillery on our right, after firing two shots, limbered up and went to the rear.

A line of rebel infantry advanced to within 50 yards and were fired into by the left wing and recoiled. Advancing again, they were met by a fire from the regiment, under which they again fell back. At this time Col. Appler gave the command, "Fall back and save yourselves." Hearing this order, the regiment fell back in disorder, passing around the flanks of the Illinois Forty-ninth.

Here, in connection with the company officers and the adjutant, I succeeded in rallying the regiment, and was about to station them at the crossing of the creek, above the Big Springs, to repel force who were turning the flank of the Fifty-seventh Ohio, when Col. Appler, by direction, he says, of a staff officer of Gen. McClernand, moved the regiment by the left flank up the ravine and afterward by the right flank, taking position on the hill to the left of Shiloh Chapel, and near the front of Gen. Sherman's headquarters.

The regiment remained in this for some time exposed to a galling fire, which could not be returned without endangering the regiment in front, who were hotly engaged. Col. Appler here abandoned the regiment, giving again the order, "Fall back and save yourselves." Companies A and F, under command of Capt.'s W. S. Jones and J. R. Percy, with Adjutant Dawes, remained in the front, and soon after became hotly engaged, in connection with the Seventeenth Illinois. This regiment retreating these two companies fell back after them, making as much resistance as possible. They afterwards joined the Forty-eighth Ohio, and with them aided inn repelling the final assault made Sunday evening, and joined me again at night.

When the remaining eight companies of the regiment fell back I became separated from the. When I again joined them they were formed with a portion of the Seventy-seventh Ohio, under command of Maj. B. D. Fearing.

I immediately assumed command. Shortly afterwards, at the request of Capt. Bouton, First Illinois Artillery, moved to a point near the siege-gun battery, where he took position, with my regiment as support. Shortly after, at about 3.30 p.m., Capt. Hammond, assistant adjutant-general to Gen. Sherman, rode up and ordered Capt. Bouton's battery into position on the front and right. He called upon us to go out and support the battery. I immediately formed my men and marched out, several fragments of regiments near by refusing to go. Marching out, probably half a mile, the battery halted, and I formed on their left. Capt. Bouton opened fire and was answered by sharp fire of shot and shell from the rebel batteries, followed by canister, which killed a number of his horses and rendered his position untenable.

A detail from my regiment, under Sergt. M. K. Bosworth, assisted in drawing off his guns. Remained here during the night, and in the morning were ordered to advance, the Eighty-first Ohio on our left and the Forty-fifth Illinois on our right.

Moved out with skirmishers well to the front for nearly a mile, when our skirmishers, under command of Lieut. R. A. Starkey and Lieut. J. W. Fulton, encountered the rebel vedettes, driving them steadily until we reached the edge of the field known as McClernand's drill ground. Here a rebel battery opened upon us, doing but little damage, however, as our men were protected by the conformation of the ground. This battery was soon partially silenced by our artillery, and we were ordered to fix bayonets and charge. My men advanced in good style across the field. Nearing the battery, it was discovered to be entirely abandoned.

The line was halted, and skirmishers sent out in front reported a large rebel force rapidly advancing immediately in our front. They opened a sharp fire upon us, which was returned with good effect. Shells from a battery of our own upon our right and rear commenced bursting over our heads. The rebels, repossessing the battery from which we had once driven them, opened upon us again. The Eighty-first Ohio, upon my left, fell back across the open field. The staff officer who had taken upon himself the direction of the line rode up and twice ordered my regiment to retreat. The second time they fell back in considerable disorder, having to pass the line of fire of our own and the rebel batteries. While engaged in rallying my regiment, upon the other side of the field, Gen. McClernand rode up and ordered me to post them as sharpshooters. Remained in this position until the advance of Gen. Buell's troops across the field to the left closed the day in our favor, when I marched my regiment to the left, through the drill ground of our division, to Shiloh Chapel, where I was shortly afterward joined by the remainder of the brigade.

On the morning of the 8th we were ordered with the rest of the brigade to pursue the retreating army. About 5 miles out a cavalry charge was made upon the Seventy-seventh Ohio, deployed in the advance, resulting in the rout of that regiment and a battalion of the Fourth Illinois Cavalry, their immediate support. We were ordered by Col. Hildebrand to their support, and advanced at a double-quick, with fixed bayonets, driving the rebel cavalry before us, killing and wounding a number of them and forcing them to relinquish most of the prisoners taken.

Halting here, details were made from my regiment to destroy the rebel camp near at hand, to carry off the wounded, bury the dead, and collect the arms. This being accomplished, we returned to our old camp near Shiloh Chapel. The list of casualties during the 6th and 7th is as follows; Killed, 9; wounded, 44; missing,0. Seven men were slightly wounded on the 8th.


R. A. FULTON, Lieut.-Col. Cmdg.

Lieut. S. S. McNAUGHTON, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

On April 29, 1862, the 53rd Ohio departed Pittsburg Landing for Corinth, Mississippi, where the Union's Army of the Tennessee besieged the city's Confederate garrison until May 30, 1862. The regiment served in the siege lines, constructed numerous entrenchments, and fought the enemy in several engagements. Following the Confederates' evacuation of Corinth at the end of May 1862, the 53rd accompanied General Sherman on an advance to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. The organization advanced through the Mississippi communities of Moscow and Lafayette, eventually arriving at Holly Springs, where the regiment helped drive Confederate soldiers from the community on July 1, 1862. After remaining at this location for one week, the 53rd returned to Moscow, where officials ordered the regiment to Memphis, Tennessee.

The 53rd Ohio arrived at Memphis on July 21, 1862. The regiment entered camp near Fort Pickering. In late November 1862, the organization joined General Ulysses S. Grant's advance against Vicksburg, Mississippi. The 53rd marched as far as Coffeeville, Mississippi, when officials suspended the campaign. The regiment returned to Tennessee and entered winter encampment at La Grange in early January 1863. The Ohioans spent the winter months helping to construct a fort in this community.

On March 7, 1863, the 53rd marched to Moscow, where the organization performed guard duty. Officials eventually provided mounts for the regiment, so the command could more easily drive enemy guerrillas from the region. On June 9, 1863, the 53rd returned to Memphis and boarded the steamer Luminary for Young's Point, Louisiana. The regiment arrived at this location three days later and quickly sailed up the Yazoo River to Snyder's Bluff, Mississippi, where the organization disembarked. After remaining at this location for several days, the 53rd advanced to Oak Ridge, Mississippi, where the command remained for the duration of the Vicksburg Campaign, which ended with the Union's occupation of this Confederate stronghold on July 4, 1863.

On July 4, 1863, the 53rd joined General William T. Sherman's advance upon Jackson, Mississippi. The Northerners engaged a Confederate force at the Big Black River and then besieged the Southern garrison at Jackson. On July 17, the city's Confederate defenders withdrew, giving control of Mississippi's capital to the North. After a brief pursuit of the withdrawing Confederates, the 53rd entered camp along the Big Black River on July 20, 1863. The 53rd's commanding officer issued the following report regarding the advance on Jackson:

NEAR JACKSON, MISS., July 21, 1863.

COL.: I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the advance on Jackson:

We marched from Oak Ridge on the afternoon of the 4th of July, arriving at Big Black River on the evening of the following day, where three companies of my regiment engaged in skirmishing with the enemy that night and the following day in the afternoon, when we crossed the river. Of my operations from that time until we arrived immediately in front of the enemy's works at Jackson, on the evening of the 10th, you are already advised, as we were all the time under your observation.

From the evening of July 10 until about noon on the 16th, my regiment remained all the time within range of the enemy's guns. During that time all of the companies were thrown forward into the front line of skirmishers, where we had 9 men wounded. About noon on the 16th, in obedience to your order, I rejoined the brigade, which had two days previously retired 1,000 paces to the rear.

With feelings of great pleasure, I announce the fact that every officer and soldier in my command have performed their arduous duties cheerfully. Their patience and courage well deserve the admiration of their commanding officers and the gratitude of their country.

Very respectfully,

W. S. JONES, Col., Commanding.

Col. J. R. COCKERILL, Commanding Brigade.

On October 1, 1863, the 53rd marched to Vicksburg and boarded transports for Memphis. In mid-October, the regiment departed Memphis for Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee had besieged the Union's Army of the Cumberland. The regiment traveled through LaGrange, Tennessee, Iuka, Mississippi, Florence, Alabama, and Trenton, Georgia. At Trenton, the 53rd was among the first Union forces in the town, driving Confederate soldiers from the community. The regiment entered Chattanooga on November 24, 1863 and participated in the Battle of Missionary Ridge, helping Union forces to drive the Confederates from the ridge and to bring the Siege of Chattanooga to a victorious conclusion for the North. The 53rd participated in the Union pursuit of the retreating Confederates as far as Ringgold, Georgia, before returning to Chattanooga.

On November 26, 1863, the 53rd marched towards Knoxville, Tennessee, where a Confederate force had besieged the city's Union garrison.. Before the regiment arrived at Knoxville, other Union forces lifted the siege, prompting the 53rd to march for Chattanooga, arriving in late December 1863. On January 1, 1864, the regiment then proceeded to Scattsboro, Alabama on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, where the organization entered camp. In January 1864, many of the 53rd's members reenlisted. The re-enlistees received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. Upon returning to the front in April 1864, the 53rd returned to their old camp at Scattsboro.

On May 1, 1864, the 53rd Ohio embarked upon Union General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The goal of this expedition was for Northern forces to capture the important manufacturing center of Atlanta, Georgia. The regiment fought in many of the largest engagements of the campaign, including the Battles of Sugar Valley, Resaca, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Nicojack Creek, and Atlanta.After the Atlanta Campaign, officers of the 53rd issued the following reports:

HDQRS. FIFTY-THIRD OHIO VETERAN VOL. INFANTRY, Before Atlanta, Ga., July 25, 1864.

COL.: I have the honor to report that on the 22d instant the Fifty-third Regiment, under my command, was ordered to advance with the One hundred and eleventh Illinois to support the skirmishers to reconnoiter the position of the enemy near Atlanta. We advanced in line of battle about half a mile, driving the enemy's skirmishers before us to their outer line of fortifications, which were abandoned at our approach. We then again advanced about half a mile to the top of the hill near Atlanta and halted and remained until about 3 p. m., when, finding a superior force of the enemy advancing upon us from their works and about to flank our position, we retire, according to orders, to the line of fortifications held by the enemy in the morning, and then seven companies of the regiment were formed in the rear of the Thirty-seventh Ohio Volunteer Infantry as a reserve, and were scarcely in position when the enemy charged the works. The Fifty-third was ordered up to the works. They promptly obeyed, and engaged the enemy and opened a brisk fire on them as they advanced, and the lines of the enemy in their front fell into confusion and were retreating, when another column of the enemy, by a concealed approach by the rail and State roads, got in the rear of the battery and the Forty-seventh and Fifty-fourth Ohio Regiments, who were on the left of the Fifty-third Regiment, and attacked them in the flank and captured the battery and turned the left of those regiments, and they retreated in disorder; and the Fifty-third then also fell back in confusion to the second line of fortifications, when the whole line rallied and charged the enemy, but were compelled to fall back a few rods through a chaparral or thicket, when they were again rallied and returned to the charge and assisted the re-enforcements in driving the enemy from the works, and captured quite a number of prisoners, probably 200, who were taken charge of by other regiments and sent to headquarters. We then went into position occupied by the battery. Companies A, F, and D, who had been detached to the support of Battery H, First Illinois Artillery, remained until the guns were spiked and most of the horses killed before they retired. It would be impossible to make a distinction in the conduct of the officers, who all acted with gallantry and bravery and used every exertion to rally and encourage the men, and I saw no indication of cowardice or hesitation in returning to the charge in any, but we became separated during the battle.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

R. A. FULTON, Lieut. Col., Comdg. 53d Regt. Ohio Vet. Vol. Infty.

HDQRS. FIFTY-THIRD OHIO VETERAN VOL. INFANTRY, Near East Point, Ga., September 8, 1864.

CAPT.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by my regiment in the late campaign, commencing on the 1st of May, 1864, and ending on the 8th of September, 1864, resulting in the capture of the city of Atlanta, Ga.:

In obedience to orders from headquarters Third Brigade, Fourth Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, the regiment marched from Scottsborough, Ala. Nothing of interest occurred until the 12th of May, when my regiment was (by order of Maj.-Gen. Logan) transferred from the Fourth to the Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, and assigned to the Second Brigade of said division. On the 13th, in obedience to orders from brigade headquarters, marched about four miles, formed in line of battle, and moved forward about 12 o'clock; halted on a ridge in sight and in good range of a rebel fortification on the opposite side of the Oostenaula River, from which we received an enfilading fire, wounding quite a number. Seeing that it would not do to remain in this position, I, by order of Col. Jones, immediately changed front of two companies to the rear, so as to front the enemy and return the fire. Soon after I was ordered to move by the left flank; marched about half a mile to the left, and formed a new line on the ridge; moved forward across an open field and on to a high hill in sight of the enemy's works; halted here for a few minutes, when the Fifty-third charged down the hill through an open field, driving the enemy from their position; remained here until dark and moved back, taking our place in the line; remained here all night, and until the evening of the 14th, when we were ordered (with the rest of the brigade) to the support of the First Brigade in charging across Camp Creek. Took position on the south side and intrenched ourselves during the night, thinking we would be attacked early in the morning, but were not; remained in this position on the 15th, skirmishing with the enemy. On the 16th, the enemy having evacuated, were ordered to move. The loss of the regiment in this action was 3 enlisted men killed and 39 wounded. We marched about six miles and crossed the Oostenaula River, and advanced about two miles to where our forces were engaged, but the fighting ceased as we arrived. On the 17th we advanced, and marched to the enemy's defenses, and they abandoned them, and we continued to the rear of Spring Hill, when our advance was fired upon. We formed in line of battle, charged them, and they retreated. We again marched several miles, and were again fired upon by artillery. We halted, and our artillery being brought into position, opened fire, and the enemy fled. We then encamped for the night. On the 18th my regiment was guard to wagon train. On the 19th marched to Kingston; remained in camp at that place until the 23d, when we marched nineteen miles to Wharton Creek. On the 24th and 25th to Pumpkin Vine Creek, near Dallas. On the 26th to the east side of Dallas, and the First Brigade engaged the enemy and fought until dark. On the 27th skirmished with the enemy all day and night. On the 28th the enemy charged our line with Finley's brigade of Florida troops, formed in column of regiments, and, owing to the nature of the ground, directed their attack against the Fifty-third principally, and were repulsed with heavy loss, estimated at 600. On the 29th they again charged our lines and were repulsed. On the 30th and 31st skirmished all day.

On the 1st of June marched to New Hope Church, and remained until the 6th, when we marched toward Acworth, and then to Big Shanty until the 15th, skirmishing most of the time. On the 15th the Fifty-third supported the Fourth Division in making a charge and taking a position in advance, and capturing nearly two regiments of prisoners. On the 16th advanced to the first breast-works at the foot of Kenesaw Mountain. On the 17th made a feint or demonstration on the enemy's lines. On the 18th skirmished all day, and advanced picket-lines in the night. On the 19th the enemy evacuated their works in our front, and the troops advanced to the foot of the mountain and remained, skirmishing with the enemy, until the 27th, when the Fifty-third, with other regiments of our brigade, charged the enemy's works. We formed line, the, Fifty-third Ohio, Eighty-third Indiana, and Thirtieth Ohio forming the front line, supported by the Forty-seventh Ohio, Thirty-seventh Ohio, and Fifty-fourth Ohio Regiments. Our line was formed behind the works occupied by the First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps. At 8 a. m. the signal was given, and we moved forward over the works, charged through an open field, under a galling fire from the enemy's musketry and artillery, reached the edge of the woods, and crossed the ravine. Here we halted and reformed the line, the enemy keeping up a continuous fire of musketry and artillery from their works. In about fifteen minutes the bugle sounded "forward." In an instant the line moved forward with a yell through the woods and underbrush, over logs and ravines, and mounted the enemy's rifle-pits, situated at the outer edge of the woods, and occupied by the Sixty-third Georgia Regt. After a desperate hand-to-hand fight, in which the bayonet and butts of muskets were used, we succeeded in capturing their works. We captured about 40 prisoners, killing and wounding more than that number. The rebels fought with a desperation worthy of a better cause. The conduct of our soldiers and officers on this occasion needs no comment. Never did men show more gallantry, mounting the works, shooting the enemy, and beating them over their heads with the butts of their guns. While this desperate struggle was going on the enemy, from their main works, kept up a very destructive fire of musketry and artillery. Their main line of works was in good musket-range, and they did considerable execution. After their first line was taken, we pressed forward toward their main line. After charging through an open field, we reached the crest of a hill in front of their works, which afforded us but slight shelter. Here we were ordered by Col. Jones to lie down. After lying here about ten minutes, our flank exposed to a terrific cross-fire, and a report that the enemy were trying to get in our rear, we received orders to fall back to the woods, which we did, holding the first line of works we took. We remained in this position until night, when we were relieved by a portion of the First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps. Our loss was 3 commissioned officers, Lieut.'s Shoop, Bradley, and Misner, wounded, 7 enlisted men killed, and 57 enlisted men wounded.

We went into camp that night and there remained, nothing of interest transpiring until about 3 a. m. of the 2d of July, when we moved to the right and relieved a portion of Gen. Schofield's command. On the 3d the Fifty-third marched toward Ruff's Mill, and found the enemy in position with artillery. After being reenforced by the remainder of the brigade (except the Eighty-third Indiana) charged across an open field, under a heavy fire of grape, canister, and musketry, and drove the enemy from his intrenchments, and remained in position until dark, and were relieved by a portion of the Sixteenth Corps. On the 4th supported the Fourth Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, when it charged the enemy's position one mile east of the mills. On the 5th marched six miles. On the 6th and 7th remained in position (in reserve). On the 8th marched about four miles and encamped near Nickajack Creek. On the 9th advanced half a mile and fortified. The enemy evacuated during the night. Remained here until the 11th when we marched on the road to Sandtown. On the 12th and 13th marched past Marietta and encamped near Roswell. On the 14th crossed the Chattahoochee River; remained during the 15th and 16th. On the 17th marched about ten miles toward Atlanta. On the 18th marched to near Stone Mountain, and destroyed about one mile of railroad. On the 19th marched six miles, and after driving the rebel pickets, destroyed one mile of railroad, and then marched to Decatur; formed in line, when the rebels opened fire with artillery, but they retired before we engaged them. On the 20th marched on the Atlanta road, Supported the skirmishers who encountered the enemy's pickets, but we drove them steadily before us to within two miles and a half of Atlanta, and halted and fortified. On the 21st remained in position. On the morning of the 22d it was ascertained that the rebels had evacuated their works. The Fifty-third was ordered out to support the skirmishers. We advanced to within three-quarters of a mile of Atlanta on the east side, where we threw up a few pieces of timber as a temporary protection. There were no troops on our right, the One hundred and eleventh Illinois Infantry lay on our left; two pieces of Battery A, First Illinois Light Artillery, occupied a position on the left of the Fifty-third. With the exception of skirmishing and occasional shots from Battery A, there was nothing of importance transpired in our immediate front until about 2 p. m., when our skirmishers reported the rebels preparing to charge us. Col. Jones, Cmdg. Fifty-third Ohio, One hundred and eleventh Illinois, [and] Battery A, First Illinois Light, sent them word to be ready to fall back in case they should come upon us in strong force. We were at that time some 600 yards from the main line, formerly the rebel line. It was not long, however, before the officer in command of the pickets reported that they were advancing. The battery was ordered to retire, which they did promptly. On came the rebels with their well-known yell. My regiment poured one volley into them and retired as ordered. We fell back to the frame house on the outside of our main line, halted, reformed our line, marched by the right flank through the works, and took position in rear of the Thirty-seventh Ohio. It was not many minutes, however, before the fighting became general, and I received orders to move my regiment forward to the works. The rebels fought desperately, coming up to within a few yards of our works, but every time they came up in our front we sent them back in confusion, but by a concealed movement on the railroad they got in the rear. The left flank of the Forty-seventh was first turned, then followed the Fifty-fourth, Thirty-seventh, Fifty-third, &c. The troops becoming somewhat confused and mixed up, fell back to our next line of works, where we rallied and moved forward. We charged through the woods to near the railroad, but were repulsed. We afterward formed in an open field on the south side of the railroad, and with the aid of one brigade of fresh troops retook and occupied our works. The rebel dead in my front numbered about 40. My regiment brought off the field about 25 mortally wounded. Our loss was 1 commissioned officer (Lieut. S. McMillen) wounded, 1 enlisted man killed, 13 enlisted men wounded, 25 enlisted men missing.

Nothing of interest occurred from this time until the 27th of July, when we marched around the rear of the army to the right. On the 28th marched, and formed line of battle on a ridge near the Lick Skillet road, and halted, throwing up a few rails for defense. Were then ordered to charge a position held by the rebel skirmishers, and drove them. The enemy were then, re-enforced. The Fifty-third was also re-enforced by the Forty-seventh, and Fifty-fourth Ohio Regiments. The enemy advanced in force and we retired to our reserve; fighting all day; repulsed several charges of the enemy. On the 29th remained in camp and buried the dead. On the 30th advanced to new line about half a mile distant.

On the 1st day of August we advanced our picket-line and worked at fortifications on new line, moving into them, on the 2d. On the 2d Companies B and G charged the enemy's rifle-pits, driving the rebels from three of them and capturing some 30 prisoners. The enemy being re-enforced drove our skirmishers back. In the afternoon our skirmishers were re-enforced; charged and retook the works and held them. On the evening of the 26th we left these works and moved, with the army, to the right, marching all night and the greater part of the next day (the 27th). Arrived at the Montgomery railroad on the 28th, and encamped for the night. The Fifty-third Ohio and Eighty-third Indiana, under my command, were ordered out to reconnoiter, but returned without finding the enemy. On the 29th four companies, under Capt. Parrill, were ordered out for the same purpose, but found no enemy. On the 30th marched on the Jonesborough road about five miles. Encountered the enemy's skirmishers and skirmished with them all day, driving them eight miles, the Fifty-third and Thirty-seventh Ohio Regiments supporting the skirmishers. Charged the enemy several times, the last time from the bridge over Flint River about one mile toward Jonesborough, through dense thickets, fields, &c. On the 31st the enemy charged us several times, but were repulsed without loss to us, but suffered from our fire. About 80 dead and a large number of wounded were found within range of our guns.

The enemy evacuated on the night of the 2d instant. The Fifty-third brought 8 prisoners and 58 guns, and marched in pursuit of the enemy to near Lovejoy's Station, on the Macon road and was placed in reserve. On the evening of the 6th we marched back through Jonesborough to our old works. On the 7th marched about ten miles to the fortifications east of Lee's Mills, and on the 8th to this place and encamped.

I cannot close without complimenting the brave and gallant officers and men of this command, who, under all circumstances, stood up to the work like men. It would be invidious to make distinctions where all acted so nobly.

To Adjt. George W. Cavett, who aided me in all engagements, I am particularly indebted, and also to Maj. Dawes, Capt.'s Parrill, Galloway, Crumit, Lewis, and Fulton, and Lieut.'s Shoop, Bailey, Long, Cake, Gilbert, Earles, and Stalder.

Great credit is due Sergt. James D. Roberts, Company H, acting sergeant-major, who, on the 28th of July, grasped the colors from the color bearer, and with a small squad of men, headed by the lamented First Lieut. James H. Boyce, moved forward and planted them on the brow of the hill amidst a storm of bullets and shell, and staid with them until the enemy withdrew from the field.

I deeply regret to report the loss of the brave and gallant dead who have fallen in this campaign, among whom were the most gallant officers and men of my regiment. Capt. James R. Percy, Capt. Jacob W. Davis, First Lieut. Stafford McMillen, and First Lieut. James H. Boyce, and to the wounded, too much credit cannot be given.

Casualties: Killed. 19; wounded, 201; missing, 16; total, 236.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant, R. A. FULTON, Lieut. Col., Comdg. 53d Regt. Ohio Vet. Vol. Infty.

[Capt. A. C. FISK, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Second Brigade.]

HDQRS. FIFTY-THIRD REGT. OHIO VET. VOL. INFANTRY, In the Field, near Kingston, Ga., May 20, 1864.

I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my regiment in the actions [of] 13th, 14th, 15th May, near Resaca, Ga.:

On the morning of May 13, by order of Gen. Lightburn, I formed my regiment in line of battle along the road running from Dalton to Calhoun. Being on the extreme right of the Second Brigade, I immediately threw out a company in my front as skirmishers, and deployed another down the Calhoun road some 200 yards to my right. At this time I received an order from Gen. Lightburn to send two Companies forward to reconnoiter a hill some 600 yards in front of the right of my line. I immediately ordered Maj. Dawes to take Companies A and D, and advance them to the foot of the hill, throwing his line of skirmishers to the crest. This order was promptly executed by Maj. Dawes, who soon reported to me that his men were occupying the top of the hill and exchanging shots with the skirmishers of the enemy on the opposite bank of the river. About 12 o'clock Gen. Veatch formed his division on my right, when I received an order to retire my companies from the hill, and also the company on my right. At 1 p. m. advanced in line of battle, On the right of the brigade, toward Resaca, my skirmishers driving slowly the rebel skirmishers. Advancing in this manner for near a mile, the brigade halted to rectify its alignment. My regiment was fired upon from rifle-pits on the south bank of the Oostenaula River some 400 yards distant. In a moment I discovered that the fire was enfilading my line, and sent my adjutant to inform Gen. Lightburn of the situation and request permission to change the front of my right wing to escape the enfilade and better return the fire. Receiving the order, changed front of the right wing to rear on fifth Company and opened fire upon the riflepits, and in a few minutes almost entirely silenced them. Again moved forward in line of battle with the brigade. Just after crossing the crest of the hill west of Camp Creek, received an order to halt and rectify alignment, almost simultaneously an order to advance to the edge of the field at the base of the hill; moved forward, first strengthening the skirmish line. The moment the skirmishers emerged from the woods there was a fire from the enemy, posted behind trees and logs near the creek, which checked their farther progress. I determined to advance to their support with my entire regiment, and, if possible, drive the rebels across the creek. Gave the order to advance at doublequick, the Thirty-seventh, at the same time, moving forward on the same line, and had the satisfaction of seeing the coat-tails of a regiment or more of rebels leaving Camp Creek bottom for their rifle-pits on the Opposite hill. Halted in the bottom and delivered a few volleys, when the firing on their part subsided to the scattering shots of a skirmish line. With the Thirty-seventh Ohio remained in this position, with no support on the right until after dark, when I received orders to leave two companies as skirmishers, and retire a company at a time, to the edge of the field and join the brigade. Remained in this position till about 7 p. m. of the 14th, when I received an order to move my regiment across Camp Creek, and form on the right of the First Brigade, sharply engaged with enemy on the range of hills opposite; moved by the flank doublequick and formed on the right of the Eighty-third Indiana in position to enfilade the front of the First Brigade, throwing up a rifle-pit. Remained in position till early in the morning of the 16th, when I received an order from Gen. Lightburn to advance my skirmish line cautiously toward the enemy's works. Sent the order to Captain Fulton, commanding the skirmish line, who advanced the line promptly, and I believe he and his men were the first to enter the works of the enemy.

My losses during the engagement were as follows: Killed, enlisted men, 5; wounded, 42; total, 47.

I cannot close this report without expressing my admiration of the courage exhibited by both officers and men of my command. Maj. Dawes, whose coolness and courage did much to inspire the men, is worthy of particular mention, as are also Lieut. Col. Fulton, Capt.'s Crumit, Davis, Galloway, and Lewis; Lieut. Stephenson, my adjutant, rendered me valuable and efficient aid.


W. S. JONES, Col., Cmdg.

Capt. A. C. FISK Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Second Brigade.

Following the Atlanta Campaign, the 53rd remained at Atlanta for a few weeks before joining the Union’s pursuit of Confederate General John Bell Hood’s army, which was advancing through northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and southern Tennessee in the direction of Nashville. The regiment marched through northern Georgia and briefly entered Alabama, before returning to Atlanta.

In mid-November 1864, the 53rd Ohio joined General Sherman's "March to the Sea." The ultimate goal of this campaign was for the Union military to seize Savannah, Georgia. The regiment engaged Georgia militia forces at Milledgeville, driving the enemy from the field. The regiment also engaged and defeated a Confederate detachment guarding the Gulf Railroad. Upon reaching Savannah, the 53rd joined the Union assault on Fort McAllister on December 13, 1864, driving the Southern defenders from the fortification at bayonet point. The Union military occupied Savannah on December 21, 1864, with the regiment entering camp in the city.

In early February 1865, the 53rd Ohio embarked upon General Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign. In South Carolina, the regiment participated in several skirmishes with Confederate forces, including at Congaree, at the North Edisto River, and at Columbia. In early March 1865, the 53rd entered North Carolina, arriving at Fayetteville in the middle of the month. At this location, the regiment constructed a pontoon bridge and destroyed a Confederate arsenal. The 53rd participated in the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina from March 19 to 21, 1865. Following this Union victory, the regiment moved to Goldsboro, North Carolina, before advancing to and entering camp at Raleigh, North Carolina on April 13, 1865. During the Carolinas Campaign, the 53rd’s commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. FIFTY-THIRD OHIO VOLUNTEERS, Goldsborough, N. C., March 28, 1864.

CAPT.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the late campaign:

We left Port Royal Island on the 30th day of January, 1865, and nothing occurred worthy of note until the 12th day of February, when the regiment at North Edisto River was deployed as skirmishers, and moved forward to the river through the swamps and found the enemy well posted on the opposite bank, and we engaged them. After a brief skirmish we succeeded in crossing the river and captured 1 commissioned officer and 22 enlisted men. Our loss was 1 killed and 4 wounded. Nothing more than the ordinary toils of a campaign occurred until we arrived at Columbia, S. C., when we were ordered out to engage and, if possible, silence a rebel battery, which we did effectually during the passage of the entire army and its trains. About noon I received orders to remain there and keep up a brisk fire until ordered away. About midnight I was ordered to join the brigade, which had moved up the river to the second pontoon at Columbia.

The conduct of officers and men was all that could be expected during the entire campaign.

The loss of the regiment was 1 enlisted man killed, 4 wounded, and 3 missing.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ROBERT CURREN, Capt., Fifty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Cmdg.

Capt. F. M. LEWIS, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig., 2d Div., Fifteenth Army Corps.

Following the surrender of General Joseph Johnston's Confederate army in late April 1865, the 53rd marched to Washington, DC, where the organization participated in the Grand Review on May 24, 1865. The regiment proceeded to Louisville, Kentucky, taking the Baltimore and Ohio railroad to Parkersburg, West Virginia and then boarding the steamer Sherman and sailing down the Ohio River the remainder of the way. In late June 1865, the organization proceeded to Little Rock, Arkansas, reaching this city on July 4, 1865. Officials mustered the command out of service at Little Rock on August 11, 1865. The 53rd's members traveled to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, where officials discharged the men from service.

During the 53rd Ohio's term of service, eighty men, including four officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 196 men, including six officers, died from disease or accidents.

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