Ohio’s American Civil War soldiers and civilians sought to commemorate the troopers’ devotion to and service with the United States by constructing monuments and other memorials.
During 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.
Ohio’s soldiers and civilians sought to commemorate the troopers’ devotion to and service with the United States by constructing monuments and other memorials. Ohioans completed the first of these commemorations during the Civil War, with hundreds more being built after the conflict. Ohioans have built at least 295 monuments to commemorate Civil War veterans, civilians, political leaders, and war-related events in the state. Eighty-six of the state’s eighty-eight counties contain Civil War monuments, with Hamilton County, Lucas County, Lorain County, Brown County, and Franklin County each boasting ten or more memorials each. Only Clinton County and Noble County do not contain Civil War monuments.
In 1932, the Mrs. John Ellis Wool Tent No. 100 chapter of the Daughters of Union Veterans raised funds for a monument for Camp Wool, a Civil War encampment located at Athens, Ohio. 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 Wool. Originally known as Camp Jewett, named for one of Athens’ earliest Caucasian residents, officials soon changed the camp’s name to Camp Wool after War of 1812 and U.S.-Mexican War veteran John Ellis Wool.
Completed in 1932, the memorial to Camp Wool consists of a bronze plaque attached to a large boulder. The plaque reads: “Site of Camp Wool training and encampment ground during the war 1861-1865. Named in honor of General John Ellis Wood. Erected by the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Mrs. John Ellis Wool Tent. No. 100. 1932.” The monument stands approximately three feet tall and is located at the original site of Camp Wool—41 Central Avenue in Athens. The West Elementary School stands on the site today. The memorial remains in good condition.