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. In October 1861, Battery L of the 1st Regiment Ohio Light Artillery organized at Portsmouth, Ohio. This regiment had previously served for three months as a state organization. The battery reported to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, on November 7, 1861, where the organization drilled until January 20, 1862. Members of the battery were to serve three years.
On January 20, 1862, Battery L departed Camp Dennison for western Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The battery arrived at Patterson's Creek on January 27, 1862. The organization advanced to Paw-Paw Tunnel, where the unit encamped before advancing to Winchester, Virginia, via Martinsburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia) in early March. On March 20 and 22, 1862, the battery had two skirmishes with Turner Ashby's Confederate cavalrymen near Winchester. On March 23, 1862, the Battle of Winchester occurred, with Battery L holding several different positions on the battlefield. In this engagement, the battery had one man killed and several wounded. The organization remained in the Shenandoah Valley until May 1862, when officials ordered Battery L to Fredericksburg, Virginia. The battery arrived at this location on May 21, 1862, but authorities quickly ordered the battery's return to the Shenandoah Valley, where the organization participated in the Battle of Front Royal, Virginia (May 31, 1862). In this battle, the unit had one man wounded.
On June 1, 1862, Battery L advanced up the Shenandoah River to Port Republic, Virginia, where an engagement erupted, with the battery having one gun captured. A skirmish occurred with Confederate forces in the vicinity of Winchester on June 8, 1862, and the Battle of Port Republic was fought on June 9, 1862. In the skirmish and battle, Battery L had three artillery pieces and seven men captured and two men killed or wounded. Following the Battle of Port Republic, the battery retreated via the Virginia communities of Luray and Front Royal to Alexandria, Virginia.
On August 29, 1862, Battery L departed Alexandria for Chantilly, Virginia, where the Battle of Chantilly occurred the same day. The organization then accompanied the Army of the Potomac in pursuit of the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia, which was invading Maryland. The battery fought in the Battle of Antietam (September 17, 1862) and also engaged the retreating Southerners at Shepherdstown, Maryland on September 19, 1862. Battery L then entered into camp near Sharpsburg, Maryland.
On November 1, 1862, Battery L departed Sharpsburg for Virginia, where the organization eventually went into camp at near Stoneman's Switch between Aquia and Fredericksburg. On December 13, 1862, the battery entered Fredericksburg, engaging Confederate forces in the Battle of Fredericksburg. The unit remained in Fredericksburg until December 16, 1862, accompanying the defeated Army of the Potomac across the Rappahannock River. On February 21, 1863, the battery participated in a second assault on Fredericksburg, but deep mud and other harsh weather conditions stopped the movement.
On April 30, 1863, Battery L advanced with much of the Army of the Potomac to Chancellorsville, Virginia. The Battle of Chancellorsville occurred from April 30 to May 6, 1863, with the battery engaging Confederate forces on May 3, 4, and 5, 1863. The organization had at least two men killed and several more soldiers wounded in this engagement. Following this Union defeat, the battery entered into camp at Banks' Ford, Virginia on June 1, 1863, before departing, on June 13, 1863, on the Army of the Potomac's pursuit of the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia, which was conducting its second and final invasion of the North. This invasion culminated in the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863). Battery L arrived on the battlefield on the morning of July 2. Officials originally placed the organization on the Union's extreme right but, in the afternoon, ordered the battery to the Federal left at Little Round Top, helping Northern soldiers successfully defend this location. The unit remained on Little Round Top the battle's final day. During this engagement, Battery L had no soldiers killed and several men wounded.
After resting in the vicinity of Gettysburg and also in Maryland for several months, the Army of the Potomac, including Battery L, advanced into Virginia, where the battery encamped at Beverly Ford on the Rappahannock River. The organization next moved to Culpeper Court House, Virginia and, on October 12, 1863, joined the Union army's pursuit of the Army of Northern Virginia to the vicinity of Manassas Junction, Virginia. Battery L continued to operate with the Army of the Potomac and engaged Confederate forces at the Battle of Rappahannock Ford. On November 27, 1863, the battery crossed the Rapidan River at Gold Mine Ford and fought the enemy at Orange Court House Plank Road the following day, having one soldier killed and several more wounded. The organization then withdrew across the Rapidan and entered winter encampment at Warrenton Junction, Virginia. At this location, on December 22, 1863, Colonel John Singleton Mosby's Confederate partisan rangers captured five of the battery's members.
On January 1, 1864, thirty-five members of Battery L reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. After the furlough, the battery departed Warrenton Junction for Washington, DC, arriving at this new location in late April. The organization first garrisoned Camp Barry and then moved to Fort Phil Kearney and Fort Sumner. The battery participated in the Battle of Fort Stevens (July 11 and 12, 1864), which ended Confederate General Jubal Early's advance on Washington. Battery L engaged in the Union's pursuit of Early's command, fighting the Confederates at Snicker's Ferry before returning to the nation's capital. Officials then sent the battery to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia to continue the pursuit. Battery L fought in the Battles of Opequon, Virginia (September 19, 1864), Fisher's Hill, Virginia (September 21 and 22, 1864), and Cedar Creek, Virginia (October 19, 1864). In this final engagement, the battery had one soldier killed and twelve men wounded.
Following the Battle of Cedar Creek, Battery L encamped at Camp Russell, near Winchester. In late December 1864, the battery moved to Harper's Ferry and then to New Creek, West Virginia, arriving at this last location on January 4, 1865. The battery remained at New Creek until June 30, 1865, when officials ordered Battery L to Columbus, Ohio, where the organization mustered out of service on July 4, 1865.