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.
Artillery batteries formed in Ohio became known as batteries of Ohio Volunteer Artillery. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. On March 10, 1862, the 8th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery organized at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. Officials recruited the battery in Darke, Miami, and Montgomery Counties, Ohio. The battery was also known as Markgraf’s Battery, named after the organization’s commanding officer, Louis Markgraf. The men in the battery were to serve three years.
The 8th remained at Camp Dennison until March 22, 1862, when the battery marched to Cincinnati and traveled, via train cars, to Benton Barracks at St. Louis, Missouri. At Benton Barracks, the organization joined General Henry Halleck’s command and immediately departed for Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, arriving on March 28, 1862. The battery fought in the Battle of Shiloh (April 6 and 7, 1862), having one man killed and three soldiers wounded. Following the Union victory at Shiloh, the unit embarked upon the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi. The 8th saw no combat in this expedition. After the North’s capture of this important railroad junction, the battery immediately marched to Memphis, Tennessee, arriving at this location on June 17, 1862. The organization performed garrison duty and also participated in several expeditions and skirmishes while stationed at Memphis.
On December 20, 1862, the 8th joined William T. Sherman's movement towards Vicksburg, Mississippi. Six days later, the battery fought in the Union defeat at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou (December 26 to December 29, 1862. On January 1, 1863, the organization retreated with the rest of Sherman's force to the Mississippi River and then sailed to Arkansas Post, Arkansas, where the Battle of Arkansas Post occurred from January 9 to 11, 1863. After this Union victory, the 8th moved to Young's Point, Louisiana, remaining at this location from January until April 1863.
In late April 1863, the 8th embarked upon General Ulysses S. Grant's Vicksburg Campaign. The battery fought in the Battles of Grand Gulf (April 29, 1863), Raymond (May 12, 1863), Champion Hill (May 16, 1863) and Big Black River Bridge (May 17, 1863) and also engaged the enemy in the Siege of Vicksburg, which ended in the Union's capture of this city on July 4, 1863.
Immediately upon Vicksburg’s capture, officials dispatched the 8th and other Union forces to Jackson, Mississippi to engage a Confederate army under the command of Joseph E. Johnston. Upon reaching Jackson, Northern soldiers immediately laid siege to the city. On the night of July 16, 1863, Johnston’s force evacuated Jackson, and the Union soldiers entered the city unopposed the following day. The 8th departed Jackson on July 21, 1863, reaching Vicksburg three days later. The battery stayed at Vicksburg until December 1863. In late January 1864, the 8th joined General William T. Sherman's Meridian Campaign. Upon the campaign's termination, the organization returned to Vicksburg, where the unit performed garrison duty and participated in a few expeditions and skirmishes until December 1864. On December 22, 1864, officials ordered a Union force, including the 8th, to destroy portions of the Central Mississippi Railroad. The Northerners demolished forty miles of track, three locomotives, and forty railroad cars. On the return march to Vicksburg, the battery fought in the Battle of Black River, with the Union forces driving the Confederates from the battlefield and destroying a bridge over the river. At Yazoo, Mississippi, a Southern force practically surrounded the 8th, but the battery escaped to the safety of Vicksburg.
The 8th remained at Vicksburg until May 20, 1865, when the battery relocated to Natchez, Mississippi. The organization returned to Vicksburg at the end of June 1865 and departed for Camp Dennison one month later. The 8th mustered out of service at Camp Dennison on August 7, 1865. During the 8th Battery’s term of service, one man died on the battlefield, while twenty-two soldiers, including one officer, perished from disease or accidents.