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 July 13, 1863, the 86th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Camp Taylor, at Cleveland, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve six months. Several of the officers had served in the earlier 86th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry that had served for three months in 1862.
Upon mustering into service, the 86th moved to Camp Tod at Columbus, Ohio. Officials quickly dispatched the regiment in pursuit of Confederate General John Morgan's cavalry force that was operating in southern Ohio. The 86th arrived at Zanesville, Ohio, where the regiment performed garrison duty. Two hundred men traveled down the Muskingum River to Eagleport, Ohio, as military leaders believed that the Confederates would try to ford the Muskingum River at this location. The Union soldiers arrived just as the Southerners were completing their crossing. A skirmish occurred, as the men from the 86th hoped to detain the Rebels long enough for Northern reinforcements to arrive. The Confederates withdrew. These two hundred Union men then returned to Zanesville, but the rest of the 86th had advanced to Washington, Ohio, just missing Morgan and his raiders. The regiment continued its pursuit and, in conjunction with other Union forces, captured Morgan and his command at Salineville, Ohio.
Following Morgan's capture, the 86th returned to Camp Tod. On August 8, 1863, officials ordered the regiment to Camp Nelson, Kentucky. The 86th reached Camp Nelson on August 11, 1863 and left for Cumberland Gap in eastern Tennessee on August 17, arriving on September 8. Confederate soldiers occupied the community, but Union forces now had the Southerners surrounded. On September 9, the 86th formed battle lines along Harlem Road, while other Union troops also prepared to assault the Confederates. Before the battle occurred, the Southerners surrendered. The 86th remained at Cumberland Gap on garrison duty for the remainder of its term of service.
On January 16, 1864, the 86th departed Cumberland Gap for Nicholasville, Kentucky, where the regiment arrived on January 23. The 86th then proceeded to Camp Taylor, arriving on January 26. The regiment mustered out of service on February 10, 1864.