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 units in Ohio served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. By mid 1863, Union soldiers had captured numerous Confederate fortifications in the South. The United States government authorized the creation of heavy artillery units to garrison these forts. Ohio provided the government with the 2nd Regiment Ohio Heavy Artillery, which consisted of twelve different batteries. The 2nd's Battery B mustered into service on August 5, 1863, at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. The men in the battery were to serve three years.
On August 19, 1863, Battery B crossed the Ohio River and encamped at Covington Barracks, at Covington, Kentucky. The organization remained at Covington until September 5, 1863, when the battery moved to Fort Smith at Bowling Green, Kentucky. The battery garrisoned Bowling Green until May 26, 1864, when the organization began an advance to Charleston, Tennessee. On August 3, 1864, Battery B moved to Cleveland, Tennessee, where the organization engaged Confederate forces under Joseph Wheeler, helping the Union soldiers to repulse the Southerners' attack, on August 17, 1864. After this engagement, the commanding officer of the 2nd Ohio Heavy Artillery issued the following report:
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Fort McPherson, Cleveland, Tenn., August 22, 1864.
MAJ.: I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 17th instant I received warning of the approach of the enemy in force, and about noon my cavalry pickets were driven in from the Dalton road. At this time my command was posted as follows: The battalion (four companies) of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, under Maj. George F. Barnes, and a section of light artillery, under Second Lieut. E. R. Davidson, Second Ohio Heavy Artillery, at the building formerly occupied as my headquarters. The Second Battalion (seven companies) of my regiment, under Maj. D. W. Hoffman, at Camp Sedgwick, on the ridge midway between Fort McPherson and the town, and a detachment of my regiment (100 men), under First Lieut. A. J. Thompson, at Fort McPherson. As soon as the enemy made his appearance and commenced an attack upon the;; troops near the depot, Lieut. Davidson opened with effect upon him, followed up by Lieut. Thompson from the fort, when the advance of the enemy broke to the rear. A flag of truce soon after appeared in view, and I at once ordered a cessation of the firing until the purport of it could be ascertained. By this flag I received a note from Maj.-Gen. Wheeler, of which the following is a copy:
HDQRS. CAL CORPS, August 17, 1864.
OFFICER COMDG. U. S. FORCES, Cleveland, Tenn.
I desire to know if you intend compelling me to shell the town?
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Maj.-Gen., C. S. Army.
To which I replied as follows:
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Cleveland, Tenn. August 17, 1864.
Maj. Gen. JOSEPH WHEELER, C. S. Army:
GEN.: In reply to your note just received, I have to say that I have no objections to your shelling the town.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. GIBSON, Capt. Third U. S. Artillery and Col. Second Ohio Heavy Artillery.
After an interval of twenty minutes Lieut. Thompson opened fire again from the fort, but deeming Lieut. Davidson's position insecure unless supported by my whole command, I ordered Maj. Barnes to withdraw him and the cavalry to Camp Sedgwick, from which point Lieut. Davidson again opened upon the enemy, who could be seen in large force in the woods directly in our front. I at the same time ordered all patients in the hospital, citizens, and all public stores to be removed from the town, and whatever stores should remain after night-fall I gave orders to burn in case of necessity. During the afternoon Capt. Bachmann, of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, with his company, was sent to reconnoiter the woods in our front, and had a sharp skirmish with a body of the enemy posted there. The enemy appearing to make an effort to get in rear of my position, I sent out scouts from the cavalry on the Charleston and Harrison roads, who reported him as having crossed both roads in force. The position I occupied with my main force being totally indefensible, except from an attack directly in front, and moreover interfering to a serious extent with the fire from Fort McPherson, I removed my whole command, as soon as night set in, to the fort. This precaution, I am satisfied, saved my command from serious loss, as I have since learned from rebel deserters that it was the intention of the enemy to attack me after night-fall from my rear. The next morning, however, I found that the enemy had disappeared, having done no further damage than the cutting of the telegraph wires and the destruction of a few yards of railroad above and below the town.
Our casualties comprise, I regret to say, Capt. Philip Rothrock, Second Ohio Heavy Artillery, severely wounded by a shell, and 2 enlisted men of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry slightly wounded.
A wounded rebel soldier states that the enemy lost 8 killed by one shell and as many more wounded by our artillery fire.
I am much indebted to Maj. Barnes, Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, for the invaluable assistance rendered me by his cavalry, and I most cheerfully testify to the indefatigable exertions of his officers and men in watching and giving information of the movements of the enemy. I must also commend in the highest terms First Lieut. A. J. Thompson, acting engineer officer, for the admirable services of his pieces from Fort McPherson, and the skill, energy, and industry he has displayed in the construction of that work. Second Lieut. E. R. Davidson is also entitled to credit for the services rendered by his section of light artillery.
The officers and men of my regiment were zealous and indefatigable in their preparations to meet an attack from the enemy, and labored in the trenches near Camp Sedgwick and Fort McPherson night and day for the greater part of seventy-two hours.
In rendering this report, I deem it proper to say that this attack of the enemy has satisfied me that my true position for the defense of the railroad and the public buildings and stores at this place is near the building from the vicinity of which Maj.-Gen. Steedman ordered me to remove. With the fort now finished, and one just commenced midway between it and the town, and batteries and riflepits around the building referred to, I can hold the place against any odds, and completely protect the railroad and everything intrusted to my care. I respectfully, but earnestly, insist upon being allowed to make such dispositions for defense at this place as I have suggested, and if my suggestions are disapproved, I respectfully request that the matter be referred to Maj.-Gen. Sherman for his orders;;
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. GIBSON,
Col. Second Ohio Heavy Arty., Comdg. U. S. Forces.
Maj. S. B. MOE,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. District of the Etowah, Chattanooga, Tenn.
On October 9, 1864, Battery B began an advance to Fort Saunders at Knoxville, Tennessee. The battery departed Knoxville for Strawberry Plains, Tennessee on November 18, 1864. Officials ordered the battery to assist beleaguered Union forces at Strawberry Plains. Two days later, Battery B moved to Knoxville, Tennessee. On December 7, 1864, the battery, along with other Union forces, participated in a brief campaign into western Virginia, returning to Knoxville on December 29, 1864. In early January 1865, Battery B began to garrison Camp Rothrock and Fort Byington, at Knoxville. While operating in the vicinity of Knoxville, the 2nd's commanding officer issued the following reports:
HDQRS. FIRST BATT., SECOND OHIO HEAVY ARTILLERY, Knoxville, Tenn., February 3, 1865.
CAPT.: I have the honor to submit the following report; Early on the morning of the 29th ultimo I received orders to report at the depot with my command. Maj. Standish, Tenth Michigan Cavalry, ordered four companies of my battalion, Companies A, B, G, and M, to embark on the first section of the train, also fifty men under Capt. Roberts, Tenth Michigan Cavalry, Maj. Standish to follow with Company I, Second Ohio Heavy Artillery, and a detachment of his regiment on the second section. I received instructions to run as far as Mouse Creek and wait for orders. At Loudon we learned of the disaster of the second section of the train. At Mouse Creek we took aboard a telegraph operator and proceeded to Athens, where we arrived at 2.35 p. m. The garrison, composed of a part of the Seventh Tennessee Mounted Infantry, about 500 men, were scattered through the town and country a greater portion of them having disappeared in the timber on the approach of the enemy the day previous and had not yet returned. At 3 p. m. Lieut.-Col. Grosvenor arrived from Chattanooga with 700 men and two pieces of artillery.
From the best information we learned that about 200 guerrillas dashed into the place the day before about 1 p. m. and that they were in the public square before the garrison knew it; that they remained three hours and drew off at their leisure without doing any injury to the town. On the morning of the 30th the troops from Chattanooga returned. As I was then in command I moved my battalion into the town, quartering one company in the bank and three in the academy. Capt. Roberts mounted his men the evening of the 29th and scoured the country in the direction of the mountains ten or twelve miles without finding any signs of the enemy. On the 30th I sent a detachment of the Seventh Tennessee to arrest three of the most noted rebel sympathizers in the county, to hold as hostages for Maj. McGaughey, who had been taken prisoners by the guerrillas. The officer in charge of the detachment found but two of the three, John Goldy and David Cobb. On Tuesday we were alarmed by several citizens dashing in with the report that 500 of the enemy were at Scarborough's Mills and moving toward Athens. As these men were vouched for as being loyal and reliable men, I made proper disposition of the forces and awaited the appearance of the enemy. At 3 p. m. I sent scouts out on several roads who returned at dark and reported all quiet. I allowed the men to return to their quarters with instructions to be ready to fall in at a moment's notice. At 2 a. m. February 1 the Tennessee vedettes, on the Columbus road, ran in past the pickets from the Second Ohio and reported they had been fired on, and that they returned the fire. The men were soon under arms and we waited patiently until daybreak for the enemy. As none appeared I sent Lieut. Burrows, with twenty-six men of the Second Ohio Heavy
Artillery, mounted, out with instructions to scour the country thoroughly and return by 2 p. m. He returned and reported he had visited Scarborough's Mills and other points where the enemy were reported to have been seen the day previous; that no enemy had been at any of the places; that none had been in the country since early Sunday morning, except fire of six, who were stealing horses, on Monday, the 30th. That evening I received orders to return with Companies A and B to this place.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. A. STEVENSON,
Capt. Cmdg. First Battalion, Second Ohio Heavy Artillery.
Capt. W. W. DEANE,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Fourth Division, Twenty-third Army Corps.
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Strawberry Plains, Tenn., January 31, 1865.
CAPT.: I have the honor to state that the expedition under Lieut. Dodge has returned. A fight occurred at or near Stearns', and our men retreated. They report killing several of the enemy in a ruining flag. We lost no men. According to your order, I sent Lieut.'s Wiley and Smith with sixty men of Second Ohio Volunteers Heavy Artillery to report to Lieut. Dodge. Leaving camp at 7.30 p. m. on Saturday they marched twenty miles before daylight. On account of the severity of the march a great many men gave out so that in the fight the infantry numbered only thirty men. I have ordered Lieut. Dodge to make a report of the action, which I will forward as soon as received. If you order it, I will have Lieut. Willey, in command of the infantry, make a report also, as there seems to be quite a difference of opinion as regards the necessity and management of the retreat.
DAN. W. HOFFMAN,
Maj., Second Ohio Volunteer Heavy Artillery, Cmdg. Post.
Capt. W. W. DEANE,
Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Knoxville, Tenn.
In August 1865, officials ordered Battery B to Nashville, Tennessee, where the organization mustered out of service on August 23, 1865. Authorities then sent Battery B to Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio, where officials discharged the battery's members from military duty on August 29, 1865.