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. Beginning in the autumn of 1861, officials began to recruit the 77th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Tupper, at Marietta, Ohio. On November 1. 1861, the regiment officially organized and soon moved to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. Men in the regiment were to serve three years.
On February 17, 1862, the 77th left Camp Dennison for Paducah, Kentucky, arriving on February 20. At Paducah, the regiment joined General William T. Sherman's command and was brigaded with the 53rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the 55th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and two battalions of the Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. On March 9, 1862, the 77th, with other Union forces, boarded transports and sailed to Yellow Creek on the Tennessee River, where the Northerners attempted to destroy portions of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. The regiment arrived at Yellow Creek on March 14, departed the following day, and sailed to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, arriving on March 16. On the next day, the 77th conducted a reconnaissance to Monterey, Tennessee. On March 18, the regiment encamped on the grounds of the Shiloh Church, two miles from Pittsburg Landing. Over the next several weeks, the 77th conducted several reconnaissances in the direction of Corinth, Mississippi and, on April 1, boarded steamers for Eastport, Mississippi, where the organization had a skirmish with Confederate forces between Eastport and Iuka, Mississippi. The 77th returned to its camp at Shiloh Church on April 5.
On the morning of April 6, 1862, Confederate forces launched a surprise attack against the Union army at Pittsburg Landing, beginning the Battle of Shiloh. The 77th was positioned near the center of the Union line. The regiment initially held its position but had to withdraw as the Union left crumbled. On April 7, the engagement continued, but during the evening of April 6, Northern reinforcements from the Army of the Ohio arrived on the battlefield. The Northern military now had the advantage and, after much fighting, forced the Confederates to withdraw. The 77th participated in a brief pursuit of the Confederates on April 8, engaging in a skirmish with Confederate forces under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Between April 6 and 8, the regiment had fifty men killed, 114 men wounded, and fifty-six men missing or captured.
From April 9 to 29, the 77th encamped on the Shiloh battlefield, before joining the Union army's advance to and the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi. Following the Union's capture of this important railroad junction, the regiment spent nearly two months repairing the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, before moving to Memphis, Tennessee on July 21, 1862. On August 27, the organization departed Memphis for Alton, Illinois, where officials assigned the 77th to guard military prisons. The regiment performed this duty until July 31, 1863, when the 77th departed for Helena, Arkansas, arriving on August 5, 1863.
At Helena, the 77th joined the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, Arkansas Expedition, under the command of General Frederick Steele. The regiment remained under Steele's command until December 20, 1863, when most of the 77th's members reenlisted. The organization departed Arkansas for Columbus, Ohio on December 23, 1863 and was mustered into veteran service on January 22, 1864 in Ohio's capital city. The 77th's soldiers received a thirty-day furlough and had to rendezvous at Camp Dennison in late February 1864.
On March 4, 1864, the 77th departed Camp Dennison for Shreveport, Louisiana, via Little Rock, Arkansas. The regiment arrived at Shreveport on March 23. Officials assigned the 77th to patrol between Arkadelphia and Camden. In Arkansas, the commanding officer of the 77th issued the following report:
HDQRS. SEVENTY-SEVENTH Regt. OHIO VET. VOL. INFY., In Camp, Arkansas, April 6, 1864.
CAPT.: I have the honor to report that, in accordance with instructions received on the evening of April 2, I marched my command, accompanied with two pieces of Company E, Second Missouri Artillery, from Okolona, Ark., out about 2 1/2 miles on a road running in a northwestern direction, and intersecting with the Washington road, to support the First Iowa Cavalry, which was reported engaged with the enemy on the Washington road, and falling back. Having selected a good position, I directed the pieces to be planted and held my regiment in line about an hour, when I received orders from Gen. Salomon to return to Okolona, where I encamped for the night, the remainder of the brigade having gone on to the Little Missouri River. On the morning of the 3d, I received verbal orders from Gen. Salomon to report with my command to Col. Adolph Engelmann, commanding the Third Brigade, who had orders to march his brigade back to Spoonville, Ark. I reported accordingly and accompanied his brigade to Spoonville and returned last evening, when I was relieved from duty with the Third Brigade and ordered to report back to you in the morning.
WM. B. MASON,
Col., Cmdg. Seventy-seventh Ohio Vet. Vol. Infy.
Capt. W. E. WHITRIDGE,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
On April 22, 1864, authorities ordered the 77th Regiment, the 36th Regiment Iowa Infantry, and the 43rd Regiment Indiana Infantry to escort a supply train from Camden to Pine Bluffs. As the train passed through Marks's Mills on April 25, Confederate forces attacked and overwhelmed the 36th Iowa and the 43rd Indiana. Assigned to guard the train's rear, the 77th rushed to the scene of the attack, with the Southerners forcing most members of the 36th, the 43rd, and the 77th to surrender. The Confederates forced the captured Northerners to march to Camp Ford near Tyler, Texas, where the 77th's members remained until exchanged in February 1865.
The 77th's members not captured at Marks's Mills formed a company and remained with General Steele's command. These men participated in the Battle of Jenkins's Ferry, having one-half of the command killed, wounded, or missing.
Upon the release of the 77th from Camp Ford, the regiment joined the Army of the Gulf and participated in the capture of Mobile, Alabama. Officials then ordered the 77th to Texas, where the organization marched from Brazos de Santiago to Clarksville, Texas and arrived at Brownsville, Texas on August 1, 1865. The 77th mustered out of service at Brownsville on March 8, 1866. The regiment departed for Columbus, Ohio this same day, arriving on March 23. On March 25, officials discharged the regiment's members from the military. The 77th was the last Ohio Volunteer Infantry organization to muster out of service from the Civil War.
During the 77th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, seventy men, including two officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 210 men, including two officers, succumbed to disease or accidents.