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6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Three Years Service)


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 6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Officials recruited the organization principally from Cincinnati, Ohio, and a majority of the members had previously served in the Guthrie Gray Battalion, a volunteer military unit. The regiment mustered into service at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 18, 1861. The 6th Regiment had previously organized for three months service, but officials requested that the regiment's members reenlist for three years service. Those soldiers that did reenlist became the nucleus of the new 6th Ohio.

On June 30, 1861, the 6th Ohio departed Camp Dennison for western Virginia, arriving at Grafton in modern-day West Virginia on July 2, 1861. The regiment next proceeded to Philippi and then to Laurel Hill, both in present-day West Virginia. The 6th helped additional Union forces to drive Confederate soldiers from Laurel Hill and pursued the retreating Southerners to Corrick's Ford, where the Federals killed the enemy commanding officer, General Robert Garnett, on July 13, 1861. Following this engagement, the 6th marched to Beverly, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), before moving to Elkwater in present-day West Virginia in August 1861. At this location, the regiment conducted several expeditions against enemy forces.

On November 19, 1861, the 6th departed Elkwater for Parkersburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The regiment next boarded steamers and sailed down the Ohio River to Louisville, Kentucky, where the organization joined the Army of the Ohio's Fifteenth Brigade, Fourth Division. The 6th entered winter encampment at Camp Wickliffe, Kentucky, sixty miles south of Louisville.

On February 14, 1862, the 6th marched to West Point, Kentucky, where the organization boarded steamers for Fort Donelson, Kentucky. Union forces captured this Confederate fortification before the regiment arrived, prompting officials to send the 6th to Nashville, Tennessee. The Army of the Ohio's Fourth Division arrived at Tennessee's capital city on February 25, 1862. The 6th's United States flag was the first national flag to fly from the state capitol building during the Civil War. At Nashville, officials assigned the regiment to the Tenth Brigade.

On March 17, 1862, most of the Army of the Ohio, including the 6th, departed Nashville for Savannah, Tennessee. The regiment entered camp at this new location on April 5, 1862. On the following day, the Battle of Shiloh opened at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, eleven miles from Savannah. The 6th's brigade, including the 94th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 36th Regiment Indiana Infantry, were the first units of the Army of the Ohio to reach the battlefield. The brigade helped to repulse the last Confederate charge of the engagement's first day. On April 7, 1862, the battle continued, with the 6th remaining as a guard for the 5th United States Artillery, avoiding any direct confrontation with enemy soldiers. After this Union victory, the 6th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. SIXTH REGT. OHIO VOLUNTEERS, Battle-field at Pittsburg Landing, April 9, 1862.

COL.: In compliance with your order I submit the following report of the action taken by the Sixth Regt. Ohio Volunteers, in your brigade, in the late battle of Pittsburg Landing:

The regiment was disembarked at about 5 o'clock on the evening of the 6th instant, and marched up the hill as quickly as possible amid the confusion and panic existing among some disorganized regiments at the landing place. I formed line of battle, under your directions, some 200 yards from the river, to support a battery then in danger of being charged by the enemy. The regiment laid on arms all night, two companies acting as skirmishers.

At daylight on the 7th the brigade formed in line of battle, skirmishers in advance, the Sixth Regt. holding the right. About a mile from the place we had occupied in the night our advance met the enemy, and the battle was immediately opened. During the day the regiment was continually under a hot and heavy fire, supporting for the greater time Terrill's regular battery, and at one time furnishing a company to manage the guns of said battery, its men having been mostly killed or wounded. The regiment was held as a reserve, and once changed front perpendicular to the rear, and once forward on the first company, in order to re-enforce our hotly-attacked lines. Late in the afternoon we advanced briskly forward and occupied the left of the ground once occupied by Stuart's brigade, which had been all day in the possession of the enemy. At no time were we actively engaged in the fight, although the regiment acted with the greatest coolness and promptitude on every order that was given them.

Our loss is 2 killed, 2 missing, and 5 wounded.


N. L. ANDERSON, Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Sixth Regt.

Col. JACOB AMMEN, Cmdg. Tenth Brigade.

The Northern force remained at Pittsburg Landing for the next several weeks. In late April, the Union advanced upon Corinth, Mississippi, an important railroad junction. Beginning on April 29, 1862, Union forces, including the 6th Ohio, besieged the Confederate garrison, until forcing the enemy to withdraw on May 30, 1862. After Corinth's occupation, the 6th Ohio joined the Union's pursuit of the retreating Confederates, before marching into northern Alabama, via Iuka, Mississippi, with the remainder of the Army of the Ohio. The regiment entered camp at Athens, Alabama in mid-June 1862. On July 17, 1862, the 6th's division marched for Murfreesboro, Tennessee, entering camp at this new location.

On August 17, 1862, the 6th joined the Army of the Ohio's pursuit of Confederate General Braxton Bragg's army, which had launched an invasion of Kentucky and was threatening Ohio's southern border. The Union army beat the Confederates to Louisville and, after several weeks of rest, advanced against the Southerners. On October 8, 1862, the Army of the Ohio engaged Bragg's Confederates at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, but the 6th, now part of the Third Brigade, Second Division, did not participate in the engagement. As a result of this battle, the Confederates withdrew from Kentucky. The Army of the Ohio briefly pursued the enemy, before marching to Nashville, Tennessee and entering camp.

In late December 1862, the 6th joined this Army of the Cumberland's advance upon Bragg's Army of Tennessee, which was situated at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. At the Battle of Stones River, the two armies clashed from December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863. The 6th engaged the enemy each day of the battle. Confederate forces drove the regiment back on the engagement's first day, with the 6th losing 152 men killed, wounded, or captured out of 383 soldiers available for duty. After this Union victory, the 6th's commanding officer issued the following report:

NASHVILLE, TENN., January 7, 1863.

COL.: In accordance with orders from headquarters, I have the honor to make the following report of the part taken by the Sixth Regt. Ohio Volunteers in the late series of battles, beginning on the morning of December 31.

At about 8 a.m. on that day we were drawn up in line of battle in the open field to the north of the burnt brick house, and to the west of the cedars, while Rousseau's division filed by us to get position. Scarcely had the rear of that column passed when heavy firing was heard to our right, coming from the cedars and approaching rapidly. I was ordered with my regiment into the woods. I immediately changed front and advanced some 200 yards, when I saw our troops flying in wild disorder, and hotly pursued by the enemy. I formed my line and awaited the escape of our men and the nearer advance of the enemy. In a few moments a terrible fire was opened on us, scarce 100 yards distant, from a rebel line apparently four deep. This fire we returned, and a dreadful carnage ensued on both sides. Finding myself hotly pressed, I had determined on a charge, and the order was already given to fix bayonets, when I saw my regiment flanked almost completely on both sides by two rebel regiments. I gave the order to fall back, firing. As soon as we reached the edge of the woods, Lieut. Parsons, of the Fourth (Regular) Artillery, opened on the enemy with terrible effect, and I reformed my line behind his guns, having held my position against tremendous odds, but with great sacrifice, for forty minutes.

I then replenished my ammunition, and was soon after ordered to throw my regiment diagonally across the Murfreesborough pike and hold that position. This I did, under a destructive fire and with much loss, during the rest of the day and until midnight, when I was relieved by the Twenty-fourth Ohio, and took my regiment a short distance to the rear.

During January 1, my regiment was moved from one place to another as the plan of the battle required, but did not get into any general action.

On Friday, the 2d, my regiment was ordered with the brigade across the river, and placed in position on a slight eminence to the rear of and as a support to Van Cleve's division.

All was quiet until about 3.30 p.m., when tremendous fire was heard along our front, and whole masses of the enemy were hurled against Van Cleve's division, which soon gave way. The enemy came down boldly, when I brought my regiment into action, simultaneously with the Eighty-fourth Illinois, and we opened a severe cross-fire the enemy. For more than an hour we held the hill, and under our heavy fire, and that of a battery from the other side of the river, the enemy soon gave way, and when re-enforcements poured in for us they were already in full retreat.

We held our position without further molestation till Sunday morning, when were ordered across the river into camp, the enemy having retreated.

My regiment, both officers and men, behaved throughout with energy, courage, and discipline. The loss was 177 killed, wounded, and missing. Among the former was Adjutant Williams, who fell cheering the men on, regardless of all personal danger. Accompanying is a correct list of the casualties.


N. L. ANDERSON, Col., Cmdg. Sixth Ohio Volunteers.

Col. GROSE, Cmdg. Tenth Brigade.

Following the Battle of Stones River, the 6th Ohio remained encamped in the vicinity of Murfreesboro, participating in a few excursions to drive Confederate forces from the region and also to collect forage. In late June 1863, the Army of the Cumberland, including the 6th, embarked upon the Tullahoma Campaign (June 24-July 3, 1863), a Union advance into southern Tennessee and northern Alabama. Upon the campaign's conclusion, the regiment encamped at Manchester, Tennessee, where the organization performed garrison duty.

In mid-August 1863, the 6th departed Manchester and embarked upon the Army of the Cumberland's advance into northern Georgia. The regiment skirmished repeatedly with Confederate forces belonging to General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. On September 19 and 20, 1863, the two armies fought the Battle of Chickamauga. The 6th remained engaged both days, losing 125 men killed, wounded, or missing out of 384 soldiers available for duty. On the evening of September 20, the entire Army of the Cumberland withdrew to Chattanooga, Tennessee. After this battle, the 6th's commanding officer issued the following report:

CAMP SIXTH REGT. OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, Near Chattanooga, Tenn., September 27, 1863.

COL.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Sixth Ohio in the recent battles of Missionary Ridge:

On the morning of the 18th instant, the effective force of the regiment was 23 officers and 324 enlisted men. On the evening of the 18th, while on outpost duty, Private Hooth, of Capt. Thatcher's company was shot by the enemy's pickets and instantly killed.

On the morning of Saturday, the 19th, after returning from a reconnaissance made by the brigade under your personal direction, we were posted in the second line of the brigade, two or perhaps more of the right companies extending beyond out front line, the right company detached and posted on the right of Cushing's battery. We had been thus placed for a short time when the engagement began and soon became general, the enemy pushing toward our right. Our regiment was extended in that direction and all were hotly engaged. The loss of our regiment was very severe. Capt. Gilman, Adjutant Throop, and Sergeant-Maj. Mellon were all severely wounded. We held our position until the enemy was repulsed, when, our ammunition being entirely exhausted, we retired, by order of Gen. Palmer, across the road to the rear of the Seventeenth Indiana Battery to get a fresh supply of ammunition. Having received it, we were moving in order to join the brigade when the troops in our front and on our right gave way in confusion and the enemy made a dash for the battery, which had been placed in reserve and was without infantry support. We immediately formed in the rear of the battery for its defense, under as hot a fire of musketry as I ever saw. The enemy in front was held in check by a furious discharge of grape and canister from the artillery, but in a few minutes gained our right flank and poured in a destructive fire. We then changed front to the rear on tenth company and held them while five of the six guns were safely retired, when we fell back through the woods in rear of Brannan's division, coming into the Rossville road at a point where Cushing's battery was stationed, from where we reported to you and rejoined the brigade.

Our loss in this fight was heavy. Col. Anderson was struck by a musket ball in the shoulder and severely wounded. Capt. Tinker fell mortally wounded; Capt. Montagnier was shot through both legs. Lieut. Holmes was missed here, and I fear is either dead or wounded and a prisoner. Lieut. Choate was also sightly wounded. The behavior of all these officers was above all praise. Night having now fallen and the fight ceased, Col. Anderson, for the first time, retired to have his wound dressed, when it was found to be of such a nature as to preclude the possibility of his remaining longer in the field, and he was sent to the rear and the command of the regiment devolved on me.

Early the next morning we were employed, under your direction, in constructing defenses on an eminence on the east of the Rossville road, and nearly parallel with it, in an open wood. When these were about finished, they were occupied by other troops (whose I do not know), and we were retired and placed in reserve. The brigade being in two lines, my regiment in the second line, formed in double column at full distance, on the right of the Thirty-sixth Indiana, formed in like manner, and in rear of the Eighty-fourth Illinois, deployed in line of battle. We rested here, I should think, over half an hour, when we were moved to the left and formed at nearly right angles with our former position, and facing a little east of north, in a corn-field just east of the Rossville road; we were on the extreme left of the brigade, with the Twenty-fourth Ohio on our right. The enemy were attempting to turn our left and were delivering a hot fire in front of our position, when our batteries in the field opened upon the rebels (I suppose, though I then thought I then thought the mistook my regiment for the enemy), but firing too low they killed and wounded numbers of my men and officers, among them Capt. Bense, senior captain and acting major, and Lieut. Cormany. It was a trying position, the enemy's fire in our front and our own in the rear, and more danger in retiring than in remaining. At length the fire of the battery ceased, and I moved my regiment by the right flank to a little hollow, near where we reformed, and were then placed on the right of the Twenty-fourth Ohio, and between that regiment and the regular brigade, my left a little retired from my former direction, and a part of my front covered by one of the regiments of our brigade. WE here mat the full force of the enemy's advancing column and were forced back in some confusion, but rallied and drove the enemy. The pursuit was broken and irregular on the part of all our troops, who, however, inflicted severe punishment on the flying rebels. My regiment became divided and in retiring a portion, with some of my officers, got to the west side of the Rossville road and were for some time separated from me.

When I returned from the pursuit, I reformed on the right of a portion of the Sixteenth Regulars at the breastworks to the right of my last position and was joined by a portion of the Eighty-fourth Illinois, under Capt. Ervin, and a few of the Twenty-fourth Ohio, with Lieut. Kies and the colors of their regiment. We remained there until the brigade was reformed under your direction and moved to the right in support of Reynolds' troops, and, though under fire more or less all the time until we were retired from the field, were not again actively engaged. We retired in good order under a heavy cross-fire of the enemy's artillery, losing but 1 man, and camped with the brigade at Rossville.

With a single exception the behavior of my officers was all that could be desired. I would especially mention Capt. Bense, acting major; Capt.'s Thatcher and Russell, and Lieut.'s Choate, Irwin, Lewis, Meline, and Glisan, whose gallantry was conspicuous. Lieut. McLean, after behaving badly on the field, absented himself on Sunday morning and did not return until Monday afternoon.

I placed him in arrest, and have preferred charges against him.

Among the non-commissioned officers and privates, instance of gallant conduct were numerous, but space prevents their mention. During the whole of the two days' fight the men suffered severely from the want of water.

I am happy to be able to report my regiment in fine condition and good spirits.

I annex herewith a statement in detail of all casualties in my command.

Very respectfully,

S. C. ERWIN, Maj. 6th Ohio Vol. Inf. Comdg. Regt.

Col. W. GROSE, Comdg. Third Brigade.

At Chattanooga, Bragg's Confederate army besieged the Union garrison from late September to late November 1863. For most of the siege, the 6th remained on the Union right. On October 25, 1863, a portion of the regiment assisted other Northern forces in opening a supply line into Chattanooga by driving enemy soldiers from Brown's Ferry, Tennessee. On November 23, 1863, the 6th also participated in the Battle of Orchard Knob, driving Confederate soldiers from this strategic position. Two days later, the organization fought in the Battle of Missionary Ridge, driving Bragg's remaining soldiers from the ridge, attaining a Union victory, and ending the Chattanooga Campaign. In this final battle, the regiment thirty-three men killed, wounded, or missing out of 265 soldiers available for duty. After the siege, the 6th's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. SIXTH REGT. OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, Camp near Knoxville, Tennessee, December 8, 1863.

CAPT.: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by my command in the engagements of the 23d and 25th November, near Chattanooga, Tennessee:

On the afternoon of the 23d, I was ordered, with my regiment, to take position on the left of the second line of battle, and moved forward with the brigade, but took no active part in the engagement. That night threw up breastworks in our front.

On the evening of the 24th, the Twenty-third Kentucky (Lieut.-Col. Foy commanding) was ordered to report to me, and at dark my command was sent on picket and relieved the One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio.

About 10 o'clock on the morning of the 25th, I was ordered to advance my line and ascertain what force the enemy had in their works at the foot of Missionary Ridge. I did so, and drove their pickets into the rifle-pits, and found that but a small force occupied them. The skirmishers of the brigade on my left having been ordered to fall back, did so, which obliged me to retire my line and occupy the edge of the woods through which I had passed. At this time Maj. Erwin was struck by a piece of shell and instantly killed. In the death of this valuable officer the regiment suffered a heavy loss, as his bravery and efficiency had endeared him to all.

Between 2 and 3 p.m. my command was relieved by the One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio and returned to our line of works. Soon after the Sixth Kentucky (Maj. Whitaker commanding) reported to me, and I was ordered to take position on the left of the first line of battle. At the signal for advance, moved forward and gained the crest of the ridge, with the balance of the brigade.

I am pleased to state that every officer and man of my command did his duty. To Maj. Whitaker, Sixth Kentucky, I am indebted for the aid he rendered me in the advance on the ridge.

Attached I forward a list of the killed, wounded, and missing during the several engagements of the 23d and 25th ultimo.

During the march from Chattanooga to this nothing occurred worthy of mention.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. C. CHRISTOPHER, Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.

Capt. JOHN CROWELL, Jr., Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

The 6th next pursued the retreating Confederates to Ringgold, Georgia, before marching for Knoxville, Tennessee, where a Confederate force had besieged the city's Union garrison. The regiment arrived at Knoxville of December 7, 1863 and helped to lift the enemy siege. During the remainder of 1863 and January 1864, the organization remained in eastern Tennessee, briefly encamping at Blair's Cross Roads, Morristown, Dandridge, Rutledge, and other locations, before entering camp at Lenoir on February 14, 1864. With its division, the 6th next encamped at New Market, Tennessee.

On April 12, 1864, the 6th advanced to Cleveland, Tennessee. The regiment performed garrison duty at Cleveland until May 17, 1864, when officials ordered the organization to join General William T. Sherman's advance upon Atlanta, Georgia. The 6th joined Sherman's army at Kingston, Georgia. Assigned to General George Thomas's command, this officer ordered the regiment to Resaca, Georgia, where the unit guarded a railroad bridge. Having completed its three years of service, on June 6, 1864, the 6th departed Resaca for Camp Dennison, where the organization mustered out of service on June 23, 1864.

During the 6th Ohio's term of service, eighty-six men, including four officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional fifty-eight men, including two officers, died from disease or accidents.

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