Ohio Civil War » Civil War A-Z » 0-9 » 59th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

59th 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.

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 October 1, 1861, the 59th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Ammen, at Ripley, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years.

Upon organizing, the 59th immediately departed via steamship for Maysville, Kentucky to assist authorities in maintaining law and order after officials arrested several Confederate sympathizers. Once the unrest ended, the 59th moved to Camp Kenton near Maysville. On October 23, the regiment departed Maysville with General William Nelson on a campaign to eastern Kentucky. The Union force traveled through the Kentucky communities of Mount Sterling, Hazel Green, and Prestonburg, engaging and defeating Confederate forces at Ivy Mountain. The Northerners pursued the retreating Southerners as far as Piketon, Kentucky, where the 59th entered into camp. The regiment remained here for one week, before marching to Louisa, Kentucky and then sailing to Louisville, Kentucky. At Louisville, the 59th joined the Army of the Ohio. On December 11, the regiment advanced to Columbia, Kentucky, arriving at this location on December 13, when the 59th entered winter encampment.

On February 13, 1862, the 59th left Columbia to rejoin the Army of the Ohio at Bowling Green, Kentucky. On February 25, the regiment left Bowling Green for Nashville, Tennessee, reaching this city on March 8, 1862 and going into camp at Camp Andrew Jackson. At Nashville, the 59th became part of the 5th Brigade of the Army of the Ohio. On March 18, the Union army departed Nashville for Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. The 59th marched to Savannah, Tennessee on the Tennessee River, reaching this location on April 6. The regiment then boarded the steamer John J. Roe and arrived at Pittsburg Landing at 10:00 PM on April 6. Within two hours, the 59th was on the front line at the Battle of Shiloh, which had begun on April 6. On the second day of this battle, the regiment constantly engaged Confederate forces, helping the Northern military to drive the Southerners from the battlefield. The 59th had nine men killed and forty-eight other soldiers wounded. After the battle, the 59th's commanding officer issued the following report:


In obedience to your order I respectfully submit the operations of the Fifty-ninth Regt. of Ohio Volunteers, U. S. Army, one of the regiments composing the Eleventh Brigade, under your command, in the Fifth Division, Department of the Ohio, under command of Maj.-Gen. Buell.

On the 6th instant the regiment landed at Pittsburg, Tenn., marched about half a mile, and bivouacked at about 11 p. m. Early in the morning of the 7th instant Gen. Buell's force moved in the direction of the enemy, Gen. Nelson's division on the left, Gen. Crittenden's division in the center, Gen. McCook's on the right. The Eleventh Brigade moved forward, and soon began to participate actively in what appearances seemed to indicate would be a severe contest with the rebel army, commenced the morning of the previous day. After the division had moved about 1 mile the battery of Capt. Bartlett's U. S. Artillery passed to the front, and got into position in front of and supported by the Eleventh Brigade, the Fifty-ninth Regt. opposite the center as a reserve, which position was occupied during the space of about one hour, during which time a spirited duel was progressing between the supported and opposing batteries, on or about the termination of which a heavy and continuous discharge of artillery and small-arms at no great distance to the left showed a strong effort was being made to penetrate our lines at that point, and the Fifty-ninth Regt. Ohio Volunteers was ordered to march by the left flank, following the Ninth Kentucky, which was formed on the left flank in a line with the Fifty-ninth Regt.

After advancing some distance in that manner, until the edge of a piece of low ground was reached in front of the lines, thickly overgrown with small brush-wood, which was being swept by one of our own batteries in the rear, the regiment halted, while Lieut.-Col. Olmstead rode back and informed the officer at the battery of our position, who instantly ceased firing in that direction. Skirmishers were sent forward in the mean time to ascertain if any of the rebels occupied the jungle; also to ascertain if any of the Federal forces were in front of our line, as the firing to the front and right was continuing. Lieut. Temple, accompanying the skirmishers, returned, and reported having seen a rebel flag on the opposite side of the underbrush, and a line of their infantry. The regiment then advanced into the edge of the growth of chaparral, when the firing of musketry was commenced on us, which was returned. At this point occurred the heaviest loss to the regiment, and in the vicinity of the regimental flag Lieut. Johnson, of the color company, fell, severely wounded, remarking, as he was carried to the rear, his death would be of little consequence if we gained the battle. The firing continued until stopped by order of Gen. Crittenden, who ordered skirmishers to be thrown forward, the regiment to follow, which was executed; Lieut. Watson, of Company A, capturing a rebel captain in the brush, who was turned over to Capt. Farris, of Gen. Boyle's staff.

After passing the jungle to command still advanced, passing a field on the left, above which, on the crest of a ridge, was seen a rebel battery, apparently partially disabled, upon which the command immediately advanced; Capt. Sheafe's company capturing a gunner, the rest escaping to a log dwelling-house about 100 yards distant, where also was stationed, apparently, an infantry support. Lieut.-Col. Olmstead was instantly dispatched to report to any general he might find the condition of affairs, and ask for a battery to occupy the position and more force to help sustain it. As the regiment reached a position by the guns the firing commenced from the building in the rear, while it at the same time received a raking fire from a battery across a field to the left, and being unacquainted with the position of our batteries, could not tell at the moment whether it might not be firing on us by mistake, and the regiment was ordered to fall back toward the ravine beyond which it passed, and while extricating it from that position a battery and infantry support came up, and Gen. Buell ordered the regiment to be moved up the hill immediately to support the same, which was instantly done, and the position maintained until the contest ended.

In conclusion I desire to express my satisfaction with the conduct of all the officers of the regiment and also with the men, as I was enabled to march them into and occupy any position ordered either by yourself, Gen. Crittenden, or Gen. Buell.

The following is the number of casualties in the regiment: Killed, 6; wounded, 21; missing (deserted), 2.*


Col. Fifty-ninth Ohio Volunteers, U. S. Army.

Brig. Gen. J. T. BOYLE.

Following the Battle of Shiloh, the 59th participated in the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi. The regiment participated in every major engagement before Corinth and was one of the first Northern regiments to enter the city on May 30, 1862. The 59th pursued the Confederates just beyond Rienzi and then advanced with the Army of the Ohio to Stevenson, Alabama, traveling through Iuka, Tuscumbia, Florence, Huntsville, and Athens. The regiment arrived at Stevenson on July 24, 1862 and went into camp at nearby Battle Creek. On August 20, 1862, the Army of the Ohio, including the 59th, entered into a pursuit of General Braxton Bragg's Confederate army, which was advancing towards Kentucky. The Army of the Ohio arrived at Louisville, Kentucky on September 25, 1862 and, on October 1, marched out from the city to find Bragg's army. On October 8, 1862, the Battle of Perryville occurred at Perryville, Kentucky. The 59th did not engage the Confederates at this engagement, being held in reserve during the battle.

Following the Battle of Perryville, the 59th engaged in the pursuit of Bragg's retreating Confederates. The Union force traveled as far as London, Kentucky, traveling through Danville, Mount Vernon, Crab Orchard, and Wild Cat, before officials suspended the pursuit. Traveling via Columbia, Kentucky, the 59th next moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky and soon advanced to Nashville, Tennessee, arriving in November 1862.

On December 26, 1862, the 59th left Nashville for Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Part of the 21st Army Corps, the regiment engaged in skirmishing with Confederate forces most of this day. On December 27, the 59th participated in an engagement with Southern forces at Lavergne, Tennessee. On December 28, the regiment experienced a day of rest and, on December 29, advanced to within three miles of Murfreesboro. On December 30, the 59th remained part of the reserve force, as the majority of the Union army prepared for the Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863). On the opening day of the battle, officials ordered the regiment to the Nashville Turnpike, where the 59th recaptured a supply train from Confederate forces. Later that same day, the regiment rushed to Stones River, where it helped stop a Southern advance that had driven back a portion of the Union line. The 59th had nine men killed and thirty-four wounded the first day at the Battle of Stones River. On January 1, the regiment took a position on the Union left and, on January 2, launched an effective counterattack against Confederate John Breckinridge's troops, forcing them to retreat. The Southern military retreated from Murfreesboro on January 3, and Union forces entered the city the next day. After the battle, the 59th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. FIFTY-NINTH REGT. OHIO VOL. INFANTRY, Camp near Murfreesborough, Tenn., January 5, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to transmit to you the report of the Fifty-ninth Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry, of your command, of the battles from December 31, 1862, to January 3, 1863.

On the morning of that day my command was formed at 4 o'clock, in accordance with previous orders, and, with the balance of the brigade, started at 8 o'clock to take position on the left, when we received orders to march immediately to defend the wagon train against the attack of the enemy, which was done with promptness, and they were driven back with loss, and the whole train was saved.

We then received orders to march back and take position on the right; of Col. Beatty's command, in front, as our forces were hard pressed at that point, in line of battle, and moved forward to attack the enemy; and after moving across the woods we came into an open field, which we moved rapidly across until we reached the woods, and my skirmishers soon discovered the enemy in heavy force and in strong position in front, and fired upon him and fell back to the line, which I immediately ordered forward and made the attack; and after firing upon them several rounds, and holding them in check for some time, we were forced back by superior numbers about 20 paces, when, by the prompt assistance of my officers, we succeeded in rallying the regiment and took position behind a fence, and then poured volley after volley into the advancing ranks of the enemy, and held them in check until Maj. Frambes, upon the right, informed me that we were being flanked upon that wing and that the balance of the brigade was falling back, when I gave the order to fall back, inclining to the right in a skirt of woods, and thereby protecting, to a great extent, my command against a most galling fire in rear, and, to some extent, a flanking fire also.

My officers again coming promptly to my assistance, we succeeded in rallying the regiment again, and moved to the right, through the woods in front of the enemy, and by a well-directed fire checked his onward movement, and held him at that position until the balance of the brigade was put in position, when we moved forward and drove the enemy from the field with great slaughter and in complete disorder. We then, by your orders, took a strong position in the woods, and I threw forward my skirmishers; but the enemy, although making several demonstrations on the right, did not dare again to approach. We held our position until darkness closed the controversy for the day.

We then, during the night, moved to the left and went into camp, but were soon ordered to get into line of battle, and there remained until daylight, when we moved across Stone's River and took position upon the extreme left, and during that day had heavy skirmishing, until night ended the fight.

On the next morning we were ordered to form in column of divisions and take position near the woods and throw out our skirmishers, who soon came in collision with the enemy's, and each in turn advanced and fell back until about 11 o'clock, when the enemy got a battery in position and commenced to throw an occasional shell in the direction of our line, evidently feeling our position, when, by your orders, Maj. Frambes moved my command back and took position upon some low ground, and gave the order to lie close, to protect themselves against the enemy's shells, and there remained until about 2 o'clock, when the skirmishers were driven in, when I gave the orders to Maj. Frambes to deploy in line and move forward near the woods. About that time the enemy succeeded in planting a second battery directly in our front, and commenced to throw shells, when we again laid close to the ground. The enemy then planted another battery still farther upon his right and our left.

About 3 o'clock our skirmishers were driven in, and it was very soon apparent that the enemy was approaching in force to attack, and at that time he opened with musketry and artillery along his whole line, and moved forward upon our forces in five heavy columns of brigades; but in his movement all in front of us was entirely clear of our army, and his right had passed our right, and we were about wheeling to give him a flank fire, when we discovered emerging from the woods the same number of his columns, moving with his right upon our left and passing us, when Maj. Frambes was ordered to fall back with the command, which order was executed in excellent style until the enemy,; by his terrible discharges of musketry and artillery and the weight of his columns, bore down and threw into disorder our whole lines, when we were thrown back in confusion, but succeeded in again rallying our line at a fence in our rear; but all in vain, for no human power of our strength could withstand such a force.

But about that time the scene was destined to change. Our artillery and musketry opened upon their advancing ranks and columns with fearful destruction, but still he moved steadily forward. At that time every officer in my command seemed aroused to a sudden sense of duty, and dashed in to rally what he could for a grand stand, without reference to a general rallying of the regiment, and went into this terrible battle, Maj. Frambes taking command of one wing, Adjutant Holter of another, and each officer with all he could gather; and at that time the fight became terribly fearful, and the enemy was turned and thrown into complete confusion, and was driven, with awful slaughter, from the field. And I am proud to say that every officer and soldier in my command did his whole duty, and we gained, on that day, a magnificent victory.

We lost, during the several battles from December 31 to January 3, in killed, 3; wounded, 37, and we had 45 missing, very few of whom were captured by the enemy, many of them being ordered to guard the train to Nashville.

My command in the several battles captured 56 prisoners, among whom were 1 captain and 1 lieutenant. We commenced these battles with 291 officers and soldiers, and we have now for duty 206 officers and men. I had 2 officers wounded and there are 2 missing. It is due to my command to state that one part of them assisted in taking the battery which was captured.

I cannot close this report without awarding due praise to my officers, and in doing this I must name them here, so that the world may know who have actually played a prominent part in these splendid victories before Murfreesborough, that must electrify the world, and cause every true Union man's heart to thrill for joy. I can, under all circumstances, rely upon Maj. Frambes, who was everywhere present in the very hottest of the battle, fearless of his own safety. He deserves his country's praise. Adjutant Holter, amid showers of bullets, carried my every order to any part of the field, regardless of his own safety. Let his country do him justice. Lieut.'s Woods and Kibbler deserve to be remembered by those who may live after them. Capt.'s Vanosdol and Sargent, and Lieut.'s Stevens and Smith can be relied upon in any emergency; and it was truly a source of pleasure to me to see Capt. L. J. Egbert move steadily forward in battle. He deserves his country's honor. Lieut. John O'Connor, after being severely wounded in the hand, bound it up himself, and he continued in command until night, at which time he had his finger amputated, and was compelled to leave the field. The name of such a patriot will live after him. Capt. Hill was severely wounded in the face, and was compelled to retire. A better officer I do not want.

My surgeons, Drs. Hays and Gordon, have my sincerest thanks for their prompt attention to the wounded.

Companies F, G, and H were commanded by Sergts. Jesse Ellis, Cohen, Hawkins, and Riley, each of whom deserves a commission, because they fairly earned them.

My color-bearers did not allow their flags to trail in the dust, but brought them safely from the field. In a word, I am perfectly satisfied with my whole command, and believe the Fifty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry has, in those four terrible days, faithfully discharged its duty, and deserves the country's admiration and esteem.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Fifty-ninth Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry.


Col., Cmdg. Second Brigade.

The 59th first guarded the Lebanon Pike, approximately one mile from Murfreesboro, before moving six miles from the city to Stone River Ford, where the regiment performed guard duty until late June 1863.

On June 24, 1863, the 59th embarked upon the Tullahoma Campaign. The regiment marched to McMinnville, Tennessee via Manchester, Tennessee. The 59th remained at McMinnville from late July 10, 1864 until September 3, 1864, when the Chattanooga Campaign began. The 59th marched through Bridgeport, Tennessee, arriving at Squirrel Town Creek near Chattanooga, Tennessee. On September 8, Confederate forces, under the command of General Braxton Bragg, evacuated Chattanooga and withdrew into northern Georgia. The 59th and the rest of the Union army pursued the Southerners. On September 13, the 59th made a reconnaissance to Lafayette, Georgia, discovering a Confederate force at this community. On September 15, the regiment advanced to Crawfish Springs, Georgia and, on September 18, first to Lee and Gordon's Mills and then to Chickamauga, Georgia. At 10:00 PM on September 18, the 59th briefly engaged Confederate soldiers, signifying the start of the Battle of Chickamauga (September 19 and 20, 1863).

At the Battle of Chickamauga, on September 19, the 59th came under a fierce attack at noon. The Confederates eventually forced the 59th to withdraw to Mission Ridge, where the regiment assumed a new line of battle. The 59th had six men killed, including two officers, and an additional thirty-five men wounded the first day of the battle. On September 20, the regiment helped comprise the Union left. Southern forces drove the Federal soldiers from Chickamauga. After the battle, the 59th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. FIFTY-NINTH OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, Chattanooga, Tenn., September 26, 1863.

CAPT.: I have the honor to report the part which my regiment took in the late engagements since crossing the Tennessee River at Bridgeport, on the evening of the 7th instant:

On the 8th, we pushed forward and overtook the division on the 11th instant, within 8 miles of Ringgold, Ga., while in pursuit of the enemy. My regiment was with the division on the 13th instant, when it made a reconnaissance of 2 miles on the La Fayette road beyond Lee and Gordon's Mills, in which some sharp skirmishing and cannonading took place. I was deployed in line with brigade in rear of First Brigade as support, but was not actually engaged. Nothing particular occurred from this time till the 18th instant, when we were at Crawfish Spring. Then the division was ordered down to Lee and Gordon's Mills to support Gen. Wood. I was ordered by Col. Dick to take position on the right-hand side of the road leading from Crawfish Spring to Lee and Gordon's Mills, near the mills, with the Thirteenth Ohio on my left. I had not remained here over an hour, when Col. Dick ordered my regiment and the Thirteenth Ohio to move down the Chattanooga road and cover the left of our line, entirely unprotected.

In the course of an hour I received an order from Col. Dick to move my regiment, together with the Forty-fourth Indiana, down the Chattanooga road and report to Col. Wilder, who was being hard pressed by the enemy, with orders that that road must be held at all hazards. Col. Dick, our brigade commander, having reported to Col. Wilder, he ordered my regiment to take position in the woods on the east side of the Chattanooga road, and on the right-hand fork on a road leading to Ringgold, just in the edge of the woods, with a corn-field between me and the Chattanooga road in my rear. I had just gotten into position when the enemy advanced on a detachment of Col. Wilder's mounted infantry, placed in our front as skirmishers. It being but the advance of the enemy, the skirmishers succeeded in driving him back. But the enemy soon sent up a brigade of infantry, who drove the skirmishers back, but not without strong resistance.

In the meantime, my regiment was lying upon the ground in line of battle waiting his approach. When he advanced within 50 yards of my line, I gave the order to rise, fire, and charge, cheering loudly, the effect of which threw him into confusion, checked his advance, and caused him to fall back a short distance. After firing several rounds, on account of his being under cover of the woods and it now being dark, I gave the order to fall back about 100 yards to a ravine in the field, which was done in good order. I then threw out my skirmishers and remained until 4 o'clock in the morning, skirmishers occasionally firing at each other during the night. Thus ended the day, with 1 man severely wounded and 2 in the hands of the enemy, who, fortunately, effected their escape in the night. During the night circumstances convinced me that the enemy was in our immediate front in force. I reported these facts to Col.'s Wilder, Dick, and Minty, and stated that our line was too weak to hold the position we then occupied, and that we had better fall back across the open field to the Chattanooga road before daylight and avoid the necessity of being driven back in the morning. Col.'s Wilder and Dick then ordered me to fall back and take position on the west side of the Chattanooga road in the edge of the woods and put my skirmishers along the road.

At daylight of the 19th instant, sharp picket firing commenced across the open field. I constructed temporary breastworks of logs and rails to protect myself in the front [in case of an attack, which was ominous] to the best advantage possible. In this position, I remained until about noon, when Col. Dick ordered me to fall in with the balance of the brigade and move out with the division to meet the enemy, who had engaged a part of our force on the extreme left. We had not moved over half a mile down the Chattanooga road till I received an order from Col. Dick to form my regiment on the right by file into line, with the Forty-fourth Indiana on my left, and to advance in line of battle into the woods, and be sure to keep my left in line with and joined to the Forty-fourth Indiana.

I had not advanced over 300 yards when my regiment became engaged with the enemy, well positioned in a depression in the woods. I kept up an incessant fire, and advanced steadily all the time, driving the enemy slowly, before me until he reached his second line, when he came to a stand. I then ordered my regiment forward on double-quick, cheering heartily as we went, which caused the enemy to give way in confusion in my front. I then observed that my line was in advance of the remainder of the line, and my right flank was unprotected by an interval of half a mile caused by the force on my right not connecting with me. I then halted and had to lie down and fire at will. Shortly after I gave this order I discovered that the enemy was flanking me on my right and the line on my left me in great danger of being captured. I then gave the order to fall back. My regiment fell back in order about half way to the road, when I moved it by the left flank a short distance and then forward and joined the Thirteenth Ohio on its right and engaged the enemy vigorously, but my right flank being exposed, the enemy took advantage of it and charged upon us with the whole line in confusion. I succeeded in rallying a part of the regiment behind a line of artillery stationed on a ridge in an open field on the west side of the Chattanooga road. Here we succeeded in checking him by the aid of artillery and the stubborn fighting of the fragments of several different regiments for some time, but was finally forced to give way. I then fell back to the Crawfish Spring road, about a half mile, where, with the brigade, I camped during the night. Thus closed the day's fighting of my regiment, in which I had 1 officer and 2 men mortally wounded, 1 officer and 32 men wounded, and 5 men missing.

Sunday, 20th, after drawing rations for my regiment, I moved out in column of division by order of Col. Dick, with the brigade in column, and on the right of the Forty-fourth Indiana, and, crossing the field in our front, bearing to the left to support our forces on the left, who were being pressed hard by the enemy. After moving forward about 1 mile, I deployed into line and took position in the rear of the advance line of troops. I remained here about half an hour, when I was ordered to follow the Forty-fourth Indiana by the left flank at double-quick. I moved by the left flank about 1 mile. I was then ordered to take position in the rear of the line of the extreme left, with the Thirteenth Ohio on my left.

During all these movements, I was under a hot and galling fire. I had not been in rear of this line more than twenty minutes, when it was driven back in confusion over my regiment, and, in fact, over the whole brigade. I immediately threw out skirmishers and endeavored to hold our position. We succeeded in checking him in our front, but, to our great surprise, we soon discovered that our brigade was cut off, the troops on our right having fallen back. Col. Dick attempted to cut through and join them again, but it was impossible; we were greatly outnumbered. Col. Dick them moved us off in the direction of the place we left in the morning, but we soon discovered that the enemy had possession of it, and we were forced to move farther to the right in the direction of the Crawfish Spring road. After moving about 1 mile, Col. Dick ordered his brigade to form in line under cover of the hill and move up to support Brannan [he being cut off at that time from the main part of the army as I understood]. Here my regiment did good service with the brigade in aiding Brannan in his critical position until we were completely outflanked on the right by infantry and artillery, and compelled to fall back, by superior numbers, completely cutting us off from Brannan and the rest of the army. Col. Dick made another attempt to gain the hill at a point about a half mile to the right, but did not succeed. Here I got separated from Col. Dick, who was cut off from me in attempting to occupy the hill in the second effort, leaving his acting assistant adjutant-general and the most of the brigade that was left under my command. Finding it impossible to regain the ridge, I moved down the hollow in the direction of the Crawfish Spring road, intending to move back round the ridge, I moved down the hollow in the direction of Chattanooga. I then ordered my command to fall in with Sheridan's troops and move with them. I had gone about 3 miles when I found Gen. Van Cleve with a part of the division. I fell in with the division and moved to within 4 miles of Chattanooga, where we bivouacked in an open field for the night. Thus ended the fight of my regiment for the day, in which I had 1 man killed, 5 wounded, 4 missing, and 2 taken prisoners.

September 21, the division moved to town and took position beyond the cemetery on the Harrison road. I had received an order from Col. Dick to move my regiment out to the Chickamauga River on the Harrison road, and hold the bridge over the river and prevent the enemy from crossing. I moved out and took my position in about a quarter of a mile of the bridge in the woods, and put out three companies on picket, and made every disposition necessary for safety. All quiet through the night.

September 22, sharp firing along the picket line about 9 o'clock. I had made ready to burn the bridges, provided I could not hold them. My pickets reported a heavy force of infantry and cavalry, with artillery, in my front. I gave orders to burn the bridges if they could not hold them, and about 12 m. I was forced to burn them. The enemy was then reported moving round on my flank. I sent a statement of the facts to Col. Dick and told him that our cavalry had all been ordered in, and that I would not be able hold the place without re-enforcements. Receiving neither re-enforcements nor orders, I held my position until about 3 p. m., when I found that I could not hold it any longer. I ordered my pickets to fall back slowly and cover my retreat. I sent out an advance guard, and threw out flankers on each side, and marched my regiment left in front in quick time for Chattanooga. The enemy effected a crossing above me, and came over the ridge, and was firing on my rear guard from three sides. I had not gone more than 1 mile when I halted my regiment and fronted it, to wait for the rear guard to come up and give the enemy fight. I do not think I had been halted a minute before the enemy opened out on my rear with a masked battery of four guns, not over 100 yards distant in the bushes. Discovering that I was cut off from town. I immediately double-quicked my regiment, leaving the battery to my left. I succeeded in cutting their line and getting between them and town; that is, their infantry force, which I think was about one brigade. I hade now nothing to do but to fight and fall back toward town. I had not gone far before I discovered a large force of cavalry deployed across the road and field in my front. I then gave orders for the regiment, except about 50, to move to the right and gain the woods and work their way down the river. I moved on down the railroad with about 50, driving their cavalry from the road, and drawing their attention to me while the rest should gain the woods.

By taking advantage of the railroad as a breastwork I succeeded in foiling the enemy. A portion of their cavalry charged upon my men in the field, but by the coolness of my officers and men they took advantage of the skirmish drill and soon repulsed them, with a loss to them of 2 men killed and 1 horse. During all this time they were shelling us rapidly, and their infantry making strong efforts to flank me. I had to leave the railroad once with my horse in order to get along. I rode around a curve in the dirt road, and was forced to run my horse through a small squad of rebels in order to pass. They demanded me to halt, but I road along rapidly, and compelled them to give way or be run over. They fired at me, but did no harm. I rode round to the railroad, halted my advance guard, and held the enemy in check till my 50 who came along the railroad had passed. I was now near our line, and fell back inside the line, having with me the colors and 50 men; the remainder kept coming in during the evening. Thus closed the day, with 1 man wounded and 2 officers and 14 men missing.

I have now given a statement of the facts as they occurred during the whole engagement. I am certain that I have not exaggerated in the least. I consider that we have just passed through one of the hottest battles of the war, and I can say that my regiment has done its whole duty. I have carried out every order I received promptly, and have had the hearty co-operation of every officer and soldier of my command, for which they have my heartfelt thanks. It is true we mourn the loss of a gallant Woods, Ellis, Ferree, Downing, Eckland, Howard, and Laycock, but we have the satisfaction of knowing that they fell at their posts while in the discharge of their duty in behalf and in honor of their country.

In behalf of the regiment, I tender our sympathy to the wounded, and trust that God in His providence will restore them and heal their wounds, and return them to us again, with increased vigor, to battle for their country.

Respectfully submitted.


Lieut. Col., Comdg. 59th Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry.

Capt. CHAS. F. KING, A. A. A. G., Second Brigade.

The Union forces retreated to Chattanooga, where the Southerners laid siege to the Northerners. During this time, officials positioned the 59th at the base of Missionary Ridge. On November 26, 1863, the regiment participated in the Battle of Missionary Ridge, helping Northern forces to drive Confederate soldiers from the heights and effectively ending the Siege of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Campaign.

Following the Battle of Chattanooga, the 59th marched to the relief of the Union garrison at Knoxville, Tennessee, helping to drive the Confederate forces from eastern Tennessee. Following the Knoxville Campaign, the 59th entered winter encampment at Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. On April 7, 1864, the regiment moved to Cleveland, Tennessee, and on May 2, the 59th embarked upon William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The regiment fought in most of the engagements of this campaign, including the Battles of Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Adairsville, Cassville, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, and Jonesborough. Following the Atlanta Campaign, the 59th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. FIFTY-NINTH REGT. OHIO VOLUNTEERS, Atlanta, Ga., September 12, 1864.

CAPT.: In compliance with an order from Col. Knefler, commanding brigade, the following report of the operations of this regiment since leaving camp at McDonald's Station, is respectfully submitted:

On the 3d day of May last the regiment marched from the camp above mentioned, and about noon of the 5th of the same month arrived at Catoosa Springs, in Georgia. On the 7th the regiment moved to Rocky Face Ridge, which was then occupied by the enemy, who, just beyond this point, was intrenched at Buzzard Roost; here we remained, engaged in occasional skirmishes, in which we lost 1 man killed, 7 wounded, and I missing, until the morning of the 13th, when we marched in pursuit of the enemy, who had evacuated his position, and whom we next encountered before Resaca, where we arrived on the evening of the 14th. In the fighting at this place, our division being held in reserve, the regiment lost but 1 man wounded, on the 15th. 0n the 16th, the enemy having found it expedient to retire, we were again put in pursuit and engaged in occasional skirmishing, without any loss to us, until we came to Cassville, on the 19th, where we remained until the 23d, when we were again ordered to march, crossing the Etowah-River and Allatoona Mountain. We next encountered the enemy near Dallas, where was fought the battle of New Hope Church, where, out of eight companies (two having been left behind on the skirmish line), the regiment lost 1 killed, 29 wounded, and 16 missing, including the commanding officer, Lieut. Col. G. A. Frambes, and Adjt. M. J. W. Holter. Night having terminated the fighting of this bloody afternoon, we retired to the right and rear of the scene of action, and rested until morning, when we were moved still farther to the right, confronting and skirmishing with the enemy. On the 31st we were again moved to the right, where we threw up intrenchments and remained until the 4th day of June, when we were ordered again to the right, relieving and occupying the works of the Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps. The next morning the enemy left our front. On the 6th we were ordered to march in pursuit, and in the evening went into camp, where we remained until the 10th, when, after moving about two miles, we again rested until the 14th. On the 15th the enemy again abandoned their position in our front, and again we started in pursuit. We were thus constantly pushing the foe, and they intrenching and evacuating until we arrived near Marietta, where they sheltered themselves behind their works upon and about Kenesaw Mountain, we, in the mean time, losing 3 men wounded, and taking 20 prisoners, while on the skirmish line. Before the enemy were compelled to abandon their last-mentioned stronghold, we lost 1 man killed, 1 officer and 12 men wounded. Sunday, July 3, the enemy disappeared from our front; we started in pursuit at 7a. m., and camped four miles south of Marietta on railroad; moved into position and fortified. The next day the enemy abandoned their front line of works, and, being pushed, crossed the Chattahoochee River. We remained here until the 7th, when we changed position, moving a half mile to the right. On the 9th we advanced one mile. On the 10th we moved six miles farther up the river, where we remained until the 12th, when we crossed and camped about one mile and a half southeast of the point of crossing. On the 13th we advanced one mile, our regiment on the skirmish line. We remained in camp here until the 18th, when we advanced about three miles, camping seven miles northeast of Atlanta. On the 19th we advanced in front of the division as skirmishers, deploying at Buck Head; we pushed forward and discovered the enemy in strongly fortified position, with artillery, on left bank of Peach Tree Creek. We skirmished until about 4 p. m., when the regiment was ordered to charge. We did so, crossing the creek and entering the enemy's works, having 5 men wounded. We were relieved the same evening and returned to old camp. On the 20th we advanced to the left, taking position on Decatur road, the regiment being posted on picket-line in rear of the division; here we skirmished a little, losing 1 man wounded. About noon we were ordered to the brigade, with which we advanced two or three miles. Near sundown we were ordered to the front on skirmish line, relieving the Fifty-ninth Illinois Volunteers; skirmishers thrown forward; had 1 man killed. July 21, we moved forward about half a mile, forming under a hill, in the second line of the brigade. Next morning discovered that the enemy had again retired from our front. We pushed forward, and came upon them posted in the defenses of Atlanta. The regiment threw up works in line with the Eighty-sixth Regiment Indiana Volunteer infantry and Thirteenth Regt. of Ohio Volunteer Infantry, very heavy musketry and cannonading going on on our left in the mean time. In the evening we received orders to take up position on the right of the division, which we did, and fortified our new position, being all the time vigorously shelled by the enemy from heavy guns; here we had 1 man wounded. On the 24th the regiment was ordered back to the left of Third Brigade, and again fortified, this time on our skirmish line. Here we remained until the night of August 25, having lost while in camp and on the skirmish line 1 man killed and 9 wounded. At 8 p. m. we received orders to march. We moved out and marched in front of the brigade, passing the railroad, where we camped at about 2 a. m. August 26. At 8 o'clock in the morning we marched to the right, and thus continued marching daily, sometimes skirmishing with the enemy, until the 29th, when we came upon the Montgomery railroad, which, after going into camp, we assisted in tearing up, burning the ties, and bending and destroying the iron. On the 30th we continued our march some seven or eight miles, which brought us in the vicinity of the Macon railroad. The next day (31st) we again advanced, driving their skirmishers before us, and taking possession of the Macon railroad. September 1, we continued our march in the direction of Jonesborough, and found the enemy intrenched and engaged with the Fourteenth Army Corps two miles north of the town. The enemy escaping under cover of night, we started on their track in the morning and again came upon them in a strong position about five miles beyond Jonesborough, on the Cedar Bluffs. Here we charged, driving them into their works, with a loss to us of 4 men wounded. It being now night-fall, we went into camp near and in front of the enemy's works, where we remained until the night of the 5th, when we started en route for Atlanta, where we arrived without further fighting on Thursday, the 8th instant, thus terminating our campaign for the possession of Atlanta.*

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Capt., Comdg. Fiftyninth Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry.

Capt. W. S. S. ERB

Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

At the conclusion of the Atlanta Campaign, the 59th became part of the 23rd Army Corps, and officials ordered the regiment to Tullahoma, Alabama. On October 24, 1864, the 59th moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where the regiment mustered out of service, having fulfilled its commitment, on October 31. The regiment then traveled to Cincinnati, traveling via Louisville, Kentucky.

During the 59th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, forty-seven men, including two officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 110 men, including one officer, succumbed to disease or accidents.

Related Entries