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7th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry


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.

Cavalry regiments established in Ohio were known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Regiments formed in Ohio served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. During August, September, and October 1862, the 7th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry organized. Governor David Tod ordered regimental officers to recruit three hundred men for the regiment from Hamilton County, two hundred men from Gallia County, and one hundred men each from Clermont, Brown, Adams, Scioto, Athens, Meigs, and Washington Counties. The regiment’s members rendezvoused at Ripley on October 3, 1862. The men were to serve for three years.

In October 1862, before the 7th’s members mustered into the service, a detachment of Confederate cavalrymen occupied Augusta, Kentucky, burning much of the town. Company E of the 7th crossed the Ohio River and traveled the few miles downstream to Augusta, driving the enemy from the community without suffering a single casualty. Soon after this victorious expedition, Companies A, B, C, and D crossed the Ohio River on a scout of eastern Kentucky, traveling as far west as Falmouth. The command returned to Ripley with twenty-five mules that Confederate agents had recently purchased from a Kentucky farmer.

On November 22, 1862, Companies A, B, C, and D departed Ripley for the vicinity of Lexington, Kentucky, where these units remained until December 21, 1862. On this date, the Ohio companies joined a Union expedition into eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia, eventually reaching Jonesville, Virginia. On December 30, 1862, the Northerners arrived at Zollicoffer Station, along the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. The Union soldiers captured the town’s entire enemy garrison and burned a railroad bridge over the Holston River. Companies A and D proceeded to Carter’s Station, capturing a detachment of enemy soldiers and destroying a railroad bridge over the Watauga River. The entire expedition returned to Winchester, Kentucky on January 9, 1863.

While Companies A, B, C, and D conducted their raid into Virginia, on December 20, 1862, the 7th Regiment’s second battalion advanced from Ripley to Lexington, Kentucky. Officials ordered one company to Harrodsburg, Kentucky and the three remaining companies to Danville, Kentucky. On December 31, 1862, the remainder of the 7th departed Ripley for Lexington, where the companies entered camp at Camp Ella Bishop.

On February 22, 1863, the reunited 7th advanced, via Stanford and Lancaster, to Richmond, Kentucky, in search of enemy forces. Finding no Rebel soldiers in Richmond, officials divided the regiment, sending part to Hazel Green and the second portion to Mount Sterling. At each location, the Ohio men engaged and defeated Confederate forces, driving the enemy from Kentucky. The 7th next returned to Lexington, where the organization entered camp for a few days.

In mid-March 1863, Confederate forces invaded Kentucky. Union forces stopped the enemy advance at Danville, Kentucky and then pursued the withdrawing Southerners. The 7th Ohio joined the pursuit and, on March 31, 1863, participated in the Battle of Dutton Hill, near Somerset, Kentucky. The Ohio unit initially supported an artillery battery, but as the Confederate line faltered, the regiment’s Companies G, I, K, L, and M launched a sabre charge, driving the Southerners from the field. Confederate cavalrymen launched a counterassault, but the 7th’s Companies E, F, and H repulsed the attack. In this battle, the 7th captured approximately 330 prisoners and two battle-flags.

After briefly pursuing the retreating Confederates, the 7th entered camp at Monticello, Kentucky. On May 1, 1863, the regiment joined a Union advance against enemy soldiers at Mill Springs, driving the Southerners beyond the Cumberland Mountains. The 7th next entered camp at Somerset, Kentucky. In June 1863, the Confederates returned to Kentucky, approaching Monticello. Five Northern cavalry regiments, including the 7th, defeated the enemy, but on the Union’s return ride to Somerset, the Southerners attacked the rearguard at Rocky Gap. The Ohio regiment blunted the assault, giving the remaining Northern units time to join the fray. The two sides remained on the battlefield on the following day but did not engage. The Southerners withdrew the next day.

On June 10, 1863, one hundred men from the 7th joined a raiding party against the Knoxville and Chattanooga Railroad. The Northerners proceeded through Williamsburg and Jillico Mountain to Wartzburg, where the Federals captured 150 enemy soldiers and a sizable quantity of supplies. The command next advanced to Lenoir Station, Tennessee, where the men destroyed the track, before moving to the vicinity of Knoxville, Tennessee, where the Northerners briefly shelled the Confederate garrison. The Union cavalrymen then proceeded to Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, burning a railroad bridge here over the Holston River and destroying a large quantity of enemy supplies.

On June 28, 1863, the cavalry force ended its raid and joined in the Northern pursuit of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry force, which was advancing into Kentucky. The 7th Ohio rode after the Southerners, arriving at Brandenburg, Kentucky, on the Ohio River, on July 10. After securing boats from Louisville, Kentucky, the Ohio regiment crossed the river into Indiana, chasing Morgan’s cavalrymen through the communities of Corydon, Vienna, and Lexington, before entering the State of Ohio on July 13. The pursuit continued through the Ohio communities of Mount Pleasant, Springdale, Glendale, Miamiville, Shady Grove, Batavia, Williamsburg, Sardinia, New Hope, Locust Grove, Jasper, Piketon, and Rutland Corner. On July 19, the 7th encountered a portion of Morgan’s command at Buffington Island. The regiment drove in the Confederate pickets and prompted the remaining Southerners to flee. The 7th pursued the enemy until nightfall, capturing nearly 2,500 soldiers.

Following Morgan’s Raid, the 7th returned to Tennessee, arriving at Knoxville on September 3, 1863. On the next day, the regiment advanced towards Cumberland Gap with additional Northern units. The Union command besieged the town’s Confederate garrison, which surrendered on September 9, 1863. On September 10, the 7th passed through Knoxville on its way to Carter’s Station, driving enemy soldiers from this final location. Officials soon ordered the Ohioans to withdraw to Bull’s Gap, where the men remained until October 10, when the 7th participated in the Battle of Blue Springs. In this engagement, the regiment drove enemy soldiers from the battlefield in an early-evening assault. The 7th pursued the retreating Southerners for five days and destroyed a large quantity of supplies, locomotives, railroad cars, and train track at Bristol, Virginia, before entering camp at Rogersville on October 19.

On November 1, 1863, the 7th departed Rogersville for a new position further up the Holston River Valley. On November 6, enemy forces under the command of W.E. Jones attacked Union troops in the Holston Valley. In the ensuing battle, the Southerners, numbering 3,500 men, drove the Union right, including one thousand soldiers and all of the 7th, from the field. The Ohio regiment lost 112 men killed and wounded.

After this defeat, officials ordered the 7th to Cumberland Gap, where the organization took up a position on the north bank of the Clinch River. The regiment stayed at this location throughout the Confederate Siege of Knoxville. Following the end of the siege on December 5, 1863, the 7th joined the Union pursuit of the retreating Confederates, skirmishing with the enemy at Bean Station on December 13 and 14. Nine days later the 7th engaged enemy forces at New Market and also had a stiff fight on Christmas 1863 near Dandridge, with Southern forces surrounding the Ohio regiment twice on this last occasion, before the Northerners drove through the Confederate lines.

The 7th began 1864 encamped along Mossy Creek, receiving just one-half bushel of cornmeal per brigade per day for sustenance. On January 20, the regiment moved via Knoxville to Sevierville, Tennessee. Three days later, the organization advanced to the French Board River, serving as pickets. One week later, the unit, along with other Federal troops, engaged Confederate General Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry, which had crossed the river. The Northerners captured several hundred prisoners and two artillery pieces, forcing the Southerners to retreat back across the river.

Officials next sent the 7th via railroad to Kentucky. The regiment traveled via Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, Louisville, and Lexington, reaching Nicholasville on May 9, 1864. In early June, the organization raced to Mount Sterling to repulse an attack by John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate cavalry, but authorities ordered the 7th to Lexington to defend a fort at that location instead. The Southerners attacked Lexington, destroying the railroad depot before withdrawing. The 7th and other Northern units pursued the enemy, engaging the Confederates at Cynthiana on June 12, 1864, forcing them from the battlefield, and capturing nearly five hundred prisoners. The 7th continued its pursuit of the withdrawing Southerners, including rescuing four hundred Union prisoners seized by Morgan’s cavalrymen, before entering camp at Nicholasville, Kentucky.

On July 4, 1864, the 7th departed Nicholasville for Georgia, where the organization joined General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. The Ohio regiment arrived outside of Atlanta, Georgia on July 26, 1864. Until September 2, 1864, the 7th participated in the Siege of Atlanta, remaining nearly constantly engaged with enemy forces. On September 2, the Ohioans moved to Decatur, Georgia, six miles east of Atlanta. Beginning on October 4, officials ordered the 7th to conduct numerous scouts and commissary raids of the countryside around Atlanta.

On November 6, 1864, the 7th joined the Union pursuit of Confederate John Bell Hood’s army, which was conducting a raid into northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and south central Tennessee. On November 30, 1864, the Ohio regiment took part in the Union defeat at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee, tenaciously holding its position on the left of the Northern line before withdrawing at nightfall to Nashville, Tennessee. The 7th spent the next several weeks serving on picket duty and conducting periodic scouts in the Nashville area, until moving to Edgefield, Tennessee on December 13, 1864 and being reassigned to the 1st Brigade, 6th Division of the Cavalry Corps. On December 15 and 16, 1864, the regiment participated in the Battle of Nashville, capturing four pieces of artillery on the engagement’s first day. After this Confederate defeat, the Southern army withdrew, with the 7th participating in the Union pursuit. The regiment was the first Northern unit to return to Franklin, capturing 2,700 enemy prisoners at a hospital at this location. On December 25, 1864, the Ohioans again attacked the Confederate rearguard, capturing three artillery pieces and an ammunition train.

The 7th next entered winter quarters at Gravelly Springs, Alabama. On March 22, 1865, the regiment joined a Union cavalry advance southwards, destroying transportation systems and manufacturing sites, including ironworks at Elyton, Monticello, and Columbiana. The Northerners skirmished routinely with enemy forces, most notably with General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry, including one such incident at the Alabama communities of Plantersville and Selma on April 1, 1865.

Upon the Civil War’s conclusion, the 7th first traveled to Macon, Georgia and then to Atlanta, before performing scouting duty in northern Georgia. The regiment then moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where officials mustered out the unit’s members from service on July 4, 1865, allowing the Ohioans to return to their homes.

During the 7th Ohio's term of service, twenty-eight men, including two offices, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 201 men, including four officers, died from disease or accidents.

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