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.
Sharpshooter units formed in Ohio became known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. In September and October 1861, Ohio officials authorized the creation of ten companies of sharpshooters. These companies were to be known collectively as Birge's Western Sharpshooters and were to be under the command of General John C. Fremont in Missouri. This plan did not materialize, but Ohio eventually did form ten different companies. Three of these companies, including the 1st Independent Company Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters, 2nd Independent Company Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters, and 3rd Independent Company Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters, joined the 66th Regiment Illinois Infantry as Companies G, H, and K on November 28, 1862. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Companies ceased to exist as separate organizations at this time and remained with the 66th for the war's duration.
During 1863, the 66th fought in the following engagements: Tuscumbia Bridge, Mississippi (February 8, 1863); Danville, Mississippi (March 24 and 31, 1863); Rienzi, Mississippi (April 1, 1863); Blackland, Mississippi (April 7 and 8, 1863); Rienzi, Mississippi (May 19, 1863); Jumpertown, Mississippi (July 19, 1863); Hatchie River, Mississippi (July 23, 1863); Booneville, Mississippi (August 31, 1863); and Whiteside's Farm, Mississippi (September 9, 1863).
In December 1863, many members of Company G and H reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to return to their homes in Ohio. Company K did not reenlist at this time, as it organized six months after the other two companies. Companies G and H traveled to Chicago and then to their homes in Ohio. The companies returned to the front in time to embark upon General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The company fought in the following engagements of this campaign: Taylor's Ridge, Georgia (May 8, 1864); Snake Creek Gap, Georgia (May 9, 1864); Dick's Ridge (May 11 and 12, 1864); Resaca, Georgia (May 13, 1864); Lay's Ferry, Georgia (May 14 and 15, 1864); Rome's Crossroads, Georgia (May 16, 1864); Dallas, Georgia (May 26 to June 1, 1864); Lone Mountain, Georgia (June 1, 1864); New Hope, Georgia (June 3, 1864); Big Shanty, Georgia (June 11, 1864); Brush Mountain, Georgia (June 15, 1864); Little Kennesaw, Georgia (June 21, 1864); Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia (June 25 to July 2, 1864); Nicojack Creek, Georgia (July 4, 1864); Howe's Ferry, Georgia (July 7 and 8, 1864); Cross Keys, Georgia (July 18, 1864); Peachtree Creek (July 19, 1864); Decatur, Georgia (July 20, 1864); Atlanta, Georgia (July 21, 1864); Bald Hill, Georgia (July 22, 1864); Howard House, Georgia (July 22, 1864); Atlanta, Georgia (July 23 to 26, 1864); Utoy Creek (July 27, 1864); Ezra Church, Georgia (July 28, 1864); Proctor's Creek, Georgia (July 31 to August 1, 1864 and August 4 to 11, 1864); Siege of Atlanta, Georgia (August 12 to 26, 1864); Jonesborough, Georgia (August 31 and September 1, 1864); and Lovejoy's Station, Georgia (September 2 to September 5, 1864).
Upon the Union's capture of Atlanta, the 66th Illinois participated in Sherman's March to the Sea in the autumn of 1864, engaging the enemy during the Siege of Savannah, Georgia (December 10 to December 21, 1864). The regiment also fought in Sherman's Carolinas Campaign during the first one-half of 1865, participating in the Battles of Congaree Creek, South Carolina (February 15, 1865); Columbia, South Carolina (February 16 and 17, 1865); Fayetteville, North Carolina (March 13, 1865); Bentonville, North Carolina (March 19 to March 21, 1865); and Goldsboro, North Carolina (March 21, 1865). On April 26, 1865, Company K mustered out of service at Springfield, Illinois due to having fulfilled its term of service.
Following Confederate General Joseph Johnston's surrender, the rest of the 66th marched via Richmond, Virginia to Washington, DC, where the regiment participated in the Grand Review on May 24, 1865.
Following the Grand Review, the 66th traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, where the entire regiment mustered out of service on July 7, 1865. Company G's and Company H's members proceeded to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, where officials discharged their members from duty.