With the Civil War’s outbreak, both the North and the South were ill prepared for the conflict. Ohio Governor William Dennison hoped to utilize the state’s militia forces to assist President Abraham Lincoln in reuniting the nation.
With the Civil War’s outbreak, both the North and the South were ill prepared for the conflict. Ohio Governor William Dennison hoped to utilize the state’s militia forces to assist President Abraham Lincoln in reuniting the nation. Unfortunately for Dennison, many of Ohio’s militia units were no longer in existence. Those units that continued to operate were primarily social organizations that rarely practiced military maneuvers. Following the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, in April 1861, President Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand volunteers to subdue the Confederate States of America. Despite the lack of a well-trained militia, Governor Dennison beseeched communities to send their militia companies to Columbus, Ohio for possible use by the North during the American Civil War.
To process Ohio’s volunteers, Governor Dennison ordered the creation of Camp Jackson at Columbus. To help speed soldiers’ inductions into Ohio’s military, Dennison soon authorized the establishment of other camps across the state, including Camp Cleveland at Cleveland, Ohio. Officials named Camp Cleveland after the city of Cleveland in July 1862. Located in the modern-day University Heights District of Cleveland, Camp Cleveland remained in use from 1862 to 1865. The camp contained the United States General Hospital at Cleveland. Between December 1862 and July 1865, the hospital treated 3,028 patients. At least ninety-one deceased patients were buried in Woodland Cemetery. In September 1865, federal authorities had Camp Cleveland dismantled, with the lumber and other supplies sold at auction. Numerous regiments of Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Cleveland as did the 19th Regiment Ohio Light Artillery. A total of 15,730 Ohioans trained at Camp Cleveland during the war. Officials discharged approximately 14,000 men from the service at the end of their enlistments or upon the war’s conclusion at Camp Cleveland. Camp Cleveland consisted of 35.5 acres of land.