2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (1861-1865)

Also Known As: Second Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

Updated: July 28, 2014

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.

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.

Cavalry regiments established in Ohio were known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Regiments formed in Ohio served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. On October 10, 1861, the 2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry completed muster into service at Camp Wade, near Cleveland, Ohio. Benjamin F. Wade and John Hutchins organized the regiment, with most of its members coming from the Western Reserve section of Ohio.

In late November 1861, the 2nd departed Camp Wade for Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. Here, the regiment received sabers and engaged in drill. On December 20, 1861, twenty of the organization’s members entered Kentucky, where the soldiers performed scouting duty. The remainder of the 2nd stayed at Camp Dennison until early January 1862, when officials ordered the regiment to Platte City, Missouri. The organization traveled to this location via railroad and proceeded through Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Missouri, and St. Joseph, Missouri. The 2nd encamped at Platte City for three weeks, patrolling the border between Missouri and Kansas.

On February 18, 1862, officials ordered the 2nd to Fort Scott, Kansas. On the march, on February 22, as the regiment moved through Independence, Missouri, William Quantrill’s Confederate guerrillas attacked the Ohioans. The 2nd drove off the attackers, killing five, wounding four, and capturing five enemy soldiers, while just having one man killed and three more wounded. The regiment arrived at Fort Scott on March 1. In early April 1862, the command moved to Carthage, Missouri, where the organization destroyed several guerrilla camps, before returning to Fort Scott. Authorities ordered two companies to Iola, Kansas to garrison the town. On April 15, the entire regiment advanced to Diamond Grove, and on the return march to Fort Scott, officials detailed six of the Ohio companies to garrison Carthage.

In late May 1862, the 2nd reunited at Fort Scott and joined a Union advance into Indian Territory in early June. Upon reaching Spring River, the regiment along with some artillery pieces, advanced against Confederate Stand Waite’s camp at Cowskin Prairie, driving the enemy soldiers from this site. The entire Union force next moved to Baxter’s Springs, remaining at this location for a few weeks, before moving to Flat Rock Creek. In mid-July 1862, the 2nd advanced with other Northern units against Fort Gibson, capturing this Confederate fortification along the Arkansas River.

On August 15, 1862, the 2nd returned to Fort Scott and entered camp. At this time, the regiment had fewer than 250 horses suitable for duty. In late August, the command spent ten days pursuing an enemy force, but the Ohioans failed to engage the Confederates. After this expedition, officials detailed 152 members of the 2nd to form a light artillery battery. In early 1863, this battery became the 25th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery. In early September 1862, the mounted portion of the regiment and the artillery battery joined a Union advance into Missouri and Arkansas, which culminated in a Northern victory at the Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas on December 3, 1862. During the campaign, the 2nd also engaged enemy soldiers at Carthage and Newtonia, Missouri and at the Arkansas communities of Cow Hill, Wolf Creek, and White River.

While the mounted portion of the 2nd participated in the campaign into Arkansas, the dismounted portion of the regiment moved to Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio, where the men received horses. In February 1863, the entire 2nd reunited at Camp Chase. In April of that year, the regiment departed Columbus for Somerset, Kentucky, advancing through Cincinnati and the Kentucky communities of Maysville, Lexington, and Stanford. The 2nd remained at Somerset, conducting periodic reconnaissance, until June 27, 1863. While at Somerset, the command skirmished with enemy forces at Steubenville, Monticello, and Columbia. In early June, officials also dispatched four of the regiment’s companies on a raid against Knoxville, Tennessee, with the Ohioans destroying a sizable quantity of supplies and a number of railroad bridges.

On June 27, the 2nd’s brigade departed Somerset and joined the Union’s pursuit of General John Hunt Morgan’s Confederate cavalry through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. The regiment pursued the Southern raiders for approximately 1,200 miles and helped to capture the Confederate general. The 2nd next moved to Cincinnati, where General Ambrose Burnside, commander of the Department of the Ohio, granted the unit’s members a brief furlough to return to their homes.

In August 1863, the 2nd returned to duty at Stanford, Kentucky and joined the Army of East Tennessee. The regiment advanced southward, visiting Big Creek Gap, Loudon Bridge, where a skirmish erupted, Lenoir Station, and Cumberland Gap, where the 2nd helped capture the town’s Confederate garrison. The Ohioans next moved to Knoxville, before advancing, during September 1863, to Henderson Station, via Strawberry Plains, Mossy Creek, and Greenville.

During September and October 1863, the 2nd joined the Union effort to drive Confederate General James Longstreet’s command from eastern Tennessee. The regiment engaged Confederate forces at Zollicoffer, Blue Springs, Blountsville, Bristol, and Cumberland Gap. The organization also participated in the Northern effort to lift Longstreet’s siege of Knoxville, principally attacking the enemy’s flank. After the Confederate withdrawal, the 2nd pursued the retreating Southerners, skirmishing with enemy cavalry at Morristown, Russellville, and Bean Station, before entering camp at Mossy Creek. The regiment continued to skirmish routinely with enemy forces.

On January 1, 1864, 420 men from the 2nd out of 470 soldiers reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. On March 20, 1864, the regiment re-formed at Cleveland, Ohio. Officials ordered the command to Mount Sterling, Kentucky but quickly rescinded this order, dispatching the 2nd to Annapolis, Maryland instead, where the organization arrived on March 29, 1864. On April 4, the 2nd entered camp along the Chesapeake Bay and moved to Camp Stoneman, in the District of Columbia, on April 22. On May 1, the regiment departed Camp Stoneman for Warrenton Junction, Virginia, arriving two days later. At this location, the organization joined the Ninth Corps of the Army of the Potomac and advanced to the frontlines south of the Rapidan River, taking a position on the extreme Union right. On May 7, the 2nd skirmished with enemy cavalry. For the first few weeks of Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign (May 5, 1864-June 24, 1864), the regiment remained on the Union right flank, conducting periodic raids, including on May 28, when the organization captured a sizable amount of commissary stores at Newtown, Virginia.

¬†On May 29, 1864, officials attached the 2nd to General Philip Sheridan’s command—the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac. The regiment crossed the Pamunkey River two days later and drove enemy forces from Hanover Court House, Virginia. On June 1, 1864, the 2nd and its brigade advanced upon Ashland, Virginia. Confederate cavalry under the command of Fitzhugh Lee surrounded the Northerners, but after a stiff fight, the Union soldiers escaped. The 2nd returned to the Union right, protecting this flank for the duration of the Overland Campaign.

On June 17, 1864, the 2nd entered camp at Blackwater, Virginia, south of the James River. Five days later, the regiment joined a Union expedition against the Danville Railroad and engaged enemy troops at Nottaway Court House, at Stony Creek, and at Ream’s Station. The 2nd had one hundred enlisted men and five officers killed, wounded, or captured on this advance. The regiment returned to the regular Union lines on July 1, 1864, entering camp at Light House Point, Virginia, before serving on picket duty along the Weldon Railroad near the end of the month.

In early August 1864, the 2nd departed the frontlines and moved to Washington, DC. On August 13, the regiment next moved to Winchester, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley, arriving on August 17. At this location, the 2nd participated in a skirmish at Winchester, principally serving as the Union rearguard as the Northerners withdrew from and Confederate General Jubal Early’s soldiers occupied the city. For the next week, the Union force, including the 2nd, remained engaged with Early’s command, including fights at Summit Point (August 19), Charlestown (August 22), and at Harper’s Ferry (August 23-26). The 2nd next crossed into Maryland, briefly encamping at Boonsboro, then at the Battle of South Mountain field, before re-crossing the Potomac River into Virginia.

On August 30, 1864, Union forces, including the 2nd, advanced to Berryville, Virginia, driving Confederate forces from the town. For the first weeks of September 1864, the regiment served along on the Union left, performing picket duty and embarking upon an occasional raid, including on September 13, when the 2nd and the 3rd New Jersey Cavalry Regiment captured an entire Confederate infantry division on the outskirts of Winchester. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton mentioned the gallantry of these two regiments in a special proclamation.

The 2nd next participated in the Battle of Opequon (September 19, 1864). During this engagement, officials ordered the regiment and its brigade to seize a line of hills between Opequon and Winchester. After four hours of fierce fighting, the Northerners seized the position from its Confederate defenders. The Union force pursued the retreating Confederates, with the 2nd typically in the front. The regiment chased the Southerners through Front Royal, the Luray Valley, New Market, Staunton, Waynesboro, Bridgewater, and Middletown, continuously skirmishing with enemy cavalry.

On October 19, 1864, the Northerners, including the 2nd, engaged Early’s Confederates at the Battle of Cedar Creek. The Ohio regiment helped to stem the Confederate assault and also to drive the Southerners from the battlefield. After this battle, the 2nd primarily performed garrison duty in the vicinity of Cedar Creek, until withdrawing to Kernstown, Virginia on November 1, 1864. At this new location, the 2nd continued to skirmish with enemy forces, including on November 12. On November 20, 1864, the regiment with other Union cavalry units advanced to New Market, skirmishing with Early’s Confederates. On December 10, the 2nd engaged Early’s cavalry at Moorefield and again, on December 20, at Lacey’s Springs. After this last expedition, the regiment entered winter encampment near Winchester.

On February 27, 1865, the 2nd joined a Union expedition towards Waynesboro, where the Northerners captured practically all of Early’s army, including five artillery pieces, thirteen wagons and ambulances, 650 prisoners, and 350 small arms. The command next advanced to Charlottesville, Virginia, before entering camp at White House, Virginia. While operating in the Shenandoah Valley, the 2nd’s commanding officer issued the following reports:

HDQRS. SECOND OHIO VETERAN VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Light-House Point, Va., July 24, 1864.

SIR: In obedience to Special Orders, No. 13, dated headquarters First Brigade, Third Division, Cavalry Corps, July 24, 1864, calling for detailed account of operations of this regiment since the commencement of the present campaign or since May 4, 1864, I have the honor to submit the following:

May 3, I reported with my command to Gen. A. E. Burnside, commanding Ninth Army Corps, at Warrenton Junction, Va.

May 4, at 2 a. m., I received orders to take the advance of the Ninth Army Corps and cross the Rappahannock River on pontoon bridge at or near Ingalls' Station. I arrived at this point at 5 a. m., and then received orders to take charge of a large drove of cattle and drive them to the Rapidan, where we arrived at 9 a. m. May 5, and immediately crossed at Germanna Ford.

May 6, at about 1 a. m., I was ordered to take up position on right of line, with a chain of pickets extending from right of Third Division, Ninth Army Corps, to Rapidan River and parallel with the plank road.

May 7, I retained this position till Saturday, when I was ordered by Maj.-Gen. Meade to report to Lieut.-Col. Hammond, Fifth New York Cavalry. I was by him withdrawn and ordered to take position near the Sixth Army Corps hospital on the plank road near Wilderness Tavern, with orders to report to Maj.-Gen. Sedgwick any movement of the enemy on the right of his line. At 3 p. m. the enemy opened a battery on the Twenty-second New York Cavalry, which was on our right, causing them to stampede, and by their breaking through one battalion of my regiment caused a momentary confusion therein. We were then ordered to the rear of the Sixth Corps. That afternoon we received orders to report to Maj.-Gen. Burnside, which we effected by 12 midnight May 8, and were then assigned to the rear of the Ninth Army Corps in its flank movement on Spotsylvania Court-House. At daylight we discovered the enemy advancing a line of skirmishers to feel our position. I immediately dismounted the First and Second Battalions, with orders to hold the line of rifle-pits recently vacated by the Ninth Corps. These we held until 6 a. m., when I deemed it advisable to fall back, which we did in good order, closely followed by the enemy. Loss this day, 1 lieutenant wounded; 1 man killed.

May 9, made a reconnaissance to the Rapidan in direction of United States Ford. Same night stood picket on plank road, 2 miles west of Chancellorsville.

May 10, sent one battalion, under command of Maj. Seward, to Belle Plain, as escort to Lieut.-Col. Goodrich, bearer of dispatches from Gen. Grant to War Department.

May 11, reported to Brig.-Gen. Ferrero by order of Maj.-Gen. Meade. By him ordered to report to Lieut.-Col. Hammond, Fifth New York Cavalry, and went into camp on old Fredericksburg pike road, 2 miles east of Chancellorsville. Here we drew 5 pounds of forage and removed our saddles for the first time in six days, during which period we had marched from the Rappahannock to Chancellorsville, doing duty both by day and night, and had been under the command of nine different officers, viz, Col. Crooks, Twenty-second New York Cavalry, Col. Thomas, Col. Davis, Gen. Ferrero, Gen. Wilcox, Lieut.-Col. Hammond, Col. Morrison, and Maj.-Gen.'s Burnside and Sedgwick.

May 11 to 15, on picket at Piney Branch Church. About noon May 15 a rebel cavalry brigade, under command of Col. Rosser, suddenly attacked us in two columns, driving in the pickets and causing us to fall back on the ford, which we held for some time, and until it was plain they outnumbered us 3 to 1, and were moving columns to our right and left with the intention of flanking our position. Maj. Nettleton, being in command of the regiment during my absence in Fredericksburg, then fell back slowly, fighting all the way, by forming alternate lines wherever the ground would admit it. On reaching Alrich's he found that infantry had come to his support, when, by order of Gen. Ferrero, he again advanced toward Piney Creek Church, coming upon the enemy's rear several times. At 4 p. m. he re-established his picket at Piney Creek Church. Our loss in this affair was 4 men wounded and 18 horses killed and wounded. We remained here on picket till May 19, when heavy firing on the right and rear of our army was heard, and we were ordered to make a demonstration against the enemy's flank. We moved out on the Old Tavern road and met the enemy, some 3 miles west of Chancellorsville, hotly engaged with our heavy artillery, who were guarding our train. Immediately formed dismounted line and advanced upon their left flank and rear. After considerable firing, in which we lost only 1 man wounded, the enemy fell back, we not pursuing. It was ascertained that this was part of Gen. Ewell's corps.

May 20, on picket at Piney Creek Church.

May 21, during the night a patrol from Company e was ambushed on the United States Ford road and 4 men killed or captured.

May 22, broke camp and marched to Guiney's Station, on Fredericksburg and Richmond Railroad.

May 23, marched to Bowling Green. Marched to Milford, where we remained till Friday,

May 27, when we marched to Newtown, where we captured a rebel commissary train of nine wagons loaded with corn, flour, bacon, beans, & C., also 2 prisoners.

May 28, received orders to report to Brig.-Gen. Wilson, Third Division, Cavalry Corps. Leaving Newtown at 4 a. m. May 29 marched to join Gen. Wilson, and reported to him on Pamunkey River near Hanovertown and near by him and assigned to First Brigade, Third Division, Cavalry Corps.

May 30, went into camp on south bank of Pamunkey River.

May 31, received orders to march. At about 9 a. m. met the enemy at cross-roads near Hanover Court-House, drove in their pickets, and was ordered to make a reconnaissance on the Richmond road. Had not proceeded far before we met the enemy in strong force; dismounted, deployed the regiment and formed on the left of the road in the woods, charged through, and drove the enemy over an open field beyond, they stubbornly contesting the ground and slowly falling back along the railroad on Hanover Court-House. This position the enemy retained until sundown, at which time a charge was ordered, to feel their strength or dislodge them. This regiment was formed in an open field on both sides of the road, the First Battalion, under Maj. Seward, supporting one battalion of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, deployed as skirmishers on the right. The Third Battalion, Second Ohio Cavalry, supported by the Second Battalion, commanded by Maj. Nettleton, was deployed on the left of the road. We moved forward, under a heavy fire of shot and shell, until within 600 yards of the top of the hill, where the enemy were posted behind breast-works of rails, and at this period a general charge was ordered, and the skirmish line, being re-enforced by the reserve, dashed forward with a shout and a yell, carrying everything before them. As we gained the crest of the hill our ammunition failed, and in some parts of the line the enemy were actually driven from their position with stones and clubs. Our loss was 25 killed and wounded. This battle, for the number engaged, and taking into consideration the nature of the ground over which it was fought, as it was composed of creeks and swamps, through which the men had to wade waist deep, and the superiority of the enemy's force (at least 3 to 1), was the severest I ever witnessed, and only evinces what Yankee cavalry soldiers can accomplish when determined to win. We remained in line of battle and slept on our arms that night and at daybreak June 1 skirmishers were thrown out and found the enemy about a mile on the Ashland road. The Fifth New York Cavalry dismounted and drove them about 9 miles to Ashland Station, where we arrived about 12 m. I was ordered to form my regiment in open column, dismount, and tear up the railroad track, but had hardly time to dismount two companies before heavy firing was heard in our rear. I was then ordered to send two squadrons down the road toward Hanover Court-House to clear it. Squadron D, under command of Lieut. Cowdery, advanced, but had hardly entered the timber before he met the enemy and received a terrible volley, which checked and caused him to fall back. Being supported by troops from other regiments they again advanced and cleared the woods. I immediately formed the whole of my regiment in line, the right resting on the right of the road and the left extending round to the road known as the Telegraph road. We had hardly established this line and erected some temporary barricades when the enemy with a yell came charging on us. The men fought nobly, but with a line so extended, which was necessary to prevent being flanked, we could not long maintain our position, but had to fall back slowly, disputing every inch of the ground till we came to the buildings near the railroad, which I ordered the meant to occupy. At this stage of the fight our artillery opened, and the enemy's fire slacking we again advanced and occupied the timber. This we held until I received orders to take 200 men and escort the artillery off the field. After seeing the artillery well under way I took Squadron F and formed a line on the edge of the town for the purpose of protecting our dismounted men, where I remained until the enemy entered on the opposite side, when we were driven off by their shell and infantry fire. We then fell back with the rest of the troops to Price's house, near Hanover Court-House, where we arrived at midnight, tired and worn out, having had nothing to eat in twenty-four hours. Our loss this day was 45 men; and here allow me to call your attention to the necessity of having some organized system of ordnance sergeants or men detailed, whose duty it shall be to keep cavalry commands well supplied with ammunition during engagements. Men armed with the breech-loading weapon will necessarily fire a greater number of rounds than those armed with a muzzle-loading piece, and it is utterly impossible for a cavalry man to carry more than from 60 to 80 rounds upon his person, and when dismounted and away from his horse this supply can be easily exhausted in a few hours' firing. In this case my regiment expended its ammunition in the battle of May 31. At daylight details were sent to train, but no ammunition of that caliber (No. . 54) could be obtained. Capt. Weeks, in command of detail, with great promptness immediately started for our own train, some 9 miles distant, to obtain a supply, making trip back to Hanover Court-House, thence to Ashland, 27 miles, each man loaded with 85 pounds ammunition, in less than one half day, and even then hardly arrived in time, as three boxes were captured by the enemy before we could issue it to the men. And I feel warranted in saying that had this ammunition not arrived, and with our already too small force weakened by the withdrawal of my regiment, the consummate bravery of the brigade could not have prevented serious disaster.

June 2, we marched at dark, and arrived at Old Tavern June 3, at 3 a. m., where we halted till daylight, when we marched to Haw's Shop, where we remained all day supporting the cavalry batteries.

June 4, in the morning we relieved the Second New York Cavalry on picket, but hardly had our line established when a regiment of the enemy's cavalry charged that portion of our line held by Company A, commanded by Capt. A. N. Bernard, but were handsomely repulsed. One man captured. Here we remained till June 6, when we were relieved by the Sixth Ohio Cavalry.

June 6, marched to camp on Ruffin's farm, near Old Salem Church, where we remained till June 11, when we went on reconnaissance toward Shady Grove Church, under command of Lieut.-Col. Brinton, Eighteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, and his regiment met the enemy's pickets and drove them about 4 miles, when we encountered their infantry behind breast-works. Fell back and went into old camp, where we remained till June 12, when we were ordered to bring up the rear of the army, then crossing the Chickahominy.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

GEO. A. PURINGTON, Lieut. Col. Second Ohio Vet. Vol. Cav., Cmdg. Regt.

Capt. CHARLES H. MILLER, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

HDQRS. SECOND OHIO VETERAN VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Light-House Point, Va., July 24, 1864.

SIR: June 13, while halting near Cold Harbor, we captured a few prisoners who had advanced to ascertain our position. Crossed the Chickahominy at Long Bridge June 14, and marched to Charles City Court-House; countermarched in eve to Saint Mary's Church.

June 15, marched at daybreak and met the enemy at Nancy's Mill, drove them some distance to the forks of the road near [Smith's] Store, where we formed line on the left-hand road with a chain of vedettes extending to the Fifth New York Cavalry on our right. About 1 a.m. heavy firing commenced on our right, and I was ordered up to support the Eighteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, who were hotly engaged. Arrived there just in time, as they were already being driven back. Dismounted two battalions and took position on right of road, with two companies to left of same. This position we maintained for some time, when I received orders to fall back. Maj. Nettleton's battalion (mounted) held them in check till we got to our horses. Fell back about two miles, leaving Squadron M, under command of Capt. Ulrey, at the cross-roads as picket. He had hardly established himself before he was attacked by an overwhelming force in front and rear. He fell back through the woods on left of road, and pursuing a circuitous route rejoined the command at Saint Mary's Church about dark, after having been given up as lost. Our loss, 2 killed and 27 wounded. The brigade took position at Saint Mary's Church and commenced throwing up breast-works of rails, which we held during the night. Here we remained June 16 until dark, the enemy's pickets in sight, when we withdrew, and after marching all night arrived at pontoon bridge on James River at 3 a.m. June 17. At 8 a.m. crossed to south side of James River and marched to Prince George Court-House, where we arrived June 18 and camped till June 22, when we left camp and marched to Reams' Station, on Petersburg and Weldon Railroad. At 2.30 p.m. passed Dinwiddie Court-House, and camped two miles and a half beyond there between Sutherland's and Ford's, on the South Side Railroad.

June 23, resumed march along South Side Railroad in westerly direction, destroying the track as we went. About 3 p.m. the Second Brigade, Third Division, under Col. Chapman, met the enemy in force near Nottoway Court-House. We were held in reserve, supporting the artillery of the First Brigade all that night, and next morning, June 24, at 8 a.m., marched as rear guard for Meherrin Station, on the Richmond and Danville Railroad. Proceeded down the railroad, assisting in tearing up the track and destroying the road generally to Roanoke bridge, on Staunton River, arriving there June 25. The work of these two last days, performed under a burning sun and over hot fire, was extremely exhausting and many of the men have not and never will recover from its effects. Not succeeding in burning the bridge the command commenced its return about 11 p.m. Sunday, June 26, striking to the eastward in the direction of Christianville, camping between Christiansville and Lewisburg. This was the hottest day of the raid, the thermometer standing at 105 Fahrenheit in the shade at 2.30 p.m.

June 27, marched about twenty miles in an easterly direction and camped.

June 28, left camp about 5 a.m., having advance of brigade and division. Met the enemy's pickets at cross-roads, six miles from Stony Creek; skirmished with them to the Double Bridges, across the Nottoway River. Here we charged and drove them across the bridges giving them no time to destroy them. At this point the Third Indiana took the advance, drove them across Stony Creek upon the main body, who in turn advanced upon the Third Indiana Cavalry and drove them back. Applying for assistance the Third Battalion of my regiment, under command of Capt. Easton, was ordered up at a gallop to their aid, dismounted and held the enemy in check until Maj. Seward with the First Battalion could dismount and form a line in the timber. This they held until the rest of the brigade arrived, when a line was formed and the enemy were driven back into their breast-works. Our lines were advanced to within fifty yards of their position and we succeeded in throwing up temporary breast-works, which we held against repeated assaults till we were relieved by the Second Brigade at about 2 a.m. June 29. Lost this day 31 killed or wounded. When we were relieved we marched to a point near Reams' Station. Here the enemy were met in strong force behind earth-works, and all attempts to dislodge him proved useless. I was then ordered on the left of the road in front of the station to support the Fifth New York Cavalry, deployed as skirmishers. This position I held until 2 p.m., when the enemy, having advanced on our left and rear to within fifty yards of my command, opened a most tremendous fire on our backs and, with a yell, charged us. They also had got in between us and the main body, leaving my right in front open only. We turned upon them, however, and not heeding their cries to surrender gave them a few well-directed volleys, and assisted by a few rounds of grape and canister from Fitzhugh's battery (C, Fourth U. S. Artillery), at very short range, succeeded in temporarily stopping their advance. But finding all retreat cut off and no way of rejoining the main body left open, we moved forward and with a part of the Fifth New York Cavalry, under Capt. Cary, reported to Gen. Kautz, finding him and him and his command under a terrible fire of shot and shell and falling back in disorder. He advised me to reply upon my own judgment and get out the best was I could. Collecting what men I could of my own command, the Fifth New York Cavalry, and in fact of all regiments engaged, amounting in all to about 400 men, I struck out in a southerly direction, passing within a few hundred yards of the enemy's line and receiving their fire. After marching about a mile we turned about southeast, and passing round another body of rebel infantry continued the direction till I crossed the Weldon railroad, three miles north from Stony Creek Station. Soon after crossing the railroad the enemy attacked my rear and followed me until I joined Gen. Kautz and his command at our Petersburg picket-lines. It is my opinion that had we remained fifteen minutes longer in line the enemy would so far have carried out their plans for our capture that few, if any, of us would have succeeded in escaping. Our loss in this engagement was 73 killed, wounded, and missing.

June 30, we arrived within our lines and reported to Col. Bryan.

July 2, marched to City Point and received orders to report to Gen. Wilson near Light-House Point, since which date we have remained in this camp recruiting men and horses, with the exception of July 18, 19, and 20, when we stood picket at Cocke's Mill.

Before closing this report I desire to call your attention to the conduct of the officers and men of my command and by this means to acknowledge my high appreciation of their undaunted courage, uncomplaining endurance of fatigue, and cheerful alacrity with which they obeyed every order during a campaign unparalleled in the annals of warfare for its length and severity of its battles. Especial praise is due Maj. Nettleton, commanding Second Battalion, and Lieut.'s Buell, Houghton, Eggleston, and Drake for the manner in which they led their men during the engagement at Hanover Court-House, actually stoning and clubbing the enemy from their breast-works. It was here that Lieut.'s Buell, Drake, and Eggleston were wounded, and I regret to say that of Lieut. Buell has since proved fatal. And particular credit is due during the last raid to Maj. Seward, Capt.'s Ulrey, Easton, Case, and Watrous, and Lieut.'s Newton, Mason, and Tenney for the gallant manner in which they handled their men and maintained their position when death or capture seemed certain. The loss of Capt. Ulrey, who was mortally wounded by the premature explosion of a shell, is deeply to be regretted. The country can ill afford the loss of one whose consummate skill and gallantry has been conspicuous upon sixty battle-fields. I also regret that Capt. Case, while obeying an order of his brigade commander, should have been captured. Surg. J. T. Smith was also unremitting in his care for the wounded and remained with them until the enemy had advanced to within a few feet of the ambulances. Our aggregate loss in two months less five days has been 190 killed, wounded, or captured.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

GEO. A. PURINGTON, Lieut.-Col. Second Ohio Vet. Vol. Cavalry, Cmdg. Regt.

Capt. CHARLES H. MILLER, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

HDQRS. SECOND OHIO CAVALRY, In the Field, October 11, 1864

SIR: I have the honor to report following as the part taken by the Second Ohio Cavalry in the action of the 9th, near Fisher's Hill, Va.:

The regiment occupied the left of the First Brigade, Third Division, and advanced in conjunction with the rest of the line, the Second Battalion, under Maj. A. B. Nettleton, covering the front as skirmishers. After advancing a short distance the enemy in strong force was met in line of battle. The Third Battalion, under Capt. Frank E. Watrous, was thrown around their right and rear, pouring in volleys from their Spencers with telling effect, as the number of dead in their front abundantly testified. A charge being then ordered, the enemy was driven from his strong position at the point of the saber, not, however, without severe and close fighting. He was closely followed for several miles, losing some in killed and wounded and a number of prisoners. The regiment was then halted and formed and again advanced for some distance without meeting the enemy, and soon after in accordance with orders from brigade headquarters, was withdrawn.

The conduct of both officers and men was highly praiseworthy and where all did so well it is difficult to discriminate. Special mention is, however, made of Maj. A. B. Nettleton, Capt. F. E. Watrous, and Lieut. Warner Pearson, who commanded battalions, and who, by personal example, inspired their men with a courage and confidence unsurpassed. Sergeants Capron, Company A, Smith, Company C, Wilcox, Company D, Stratton, Company F, Chester, Company H, Liddy, Company I, and Adams, of Company M, commanded their respective companies and proved themselves worthy of higher positions than they now occupy. Honorable mention is also made of Sergeant Morgan and Privates Reed, Blackwell, and Hayness, of Company A; Sergeants Stearns, Brewster, and Polhamus, of Company B, Sergeant Hayden, and Davenport and Pfouts, privates of Company C; Sergeants Rand and Malin and Corporal Traver, of Company G; Sergeants Fisher and Gordon and Corporal Leavitt and Privates Hale, Herrick, and Keyes, of Company H, and Privates Hughey and Wibley; of Company L.

A number of prisoners were captured by the regiment just how many is not known.

Several men were struck by spent balls, and three--Sergeant Wolfer, of Company I, Corporal Leavitt, of Company H, and Private Zedaker, Company B--were severely wounded.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. A. PURINGTON Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Second Ohio Cavalry.

Lieut. E. M. NEVILLE, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

On March 27, 1865, the 2nd joined the Union’s Army of the Potomac, which was besieging the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia at Petersburg, Virginia. The Southern army surrendered approximately two weeks later. During this time, the Ohio regiment captured eighteen artillery pieces, 180 horses, seventy army wagons, nine hundred enemy soldiers, and a sizable number of small arms.

After the Army of Northern Virginia’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, officials first sent the 2nd back to Petersburg and then to North Carolina to assist Union forces there in subduing the last Confederate army. Before reaching North Carolina, this Southern force surrendered, prompting authorities to order the 2nd back to Petersburg. The regiment next moved to Washington, DC, where the organization participated in the Grand Review. Officials sent the 2nd to St. Louis, Missouri in late May 1865, with the command arriving at this location on June 7. The regiment encamped at Benton Barracks, before moving to Springfield, Missouri in early July 1865. On September 1, 1865, the 2nd mustered out of service and travelled to Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio, where authorities discharged the unit’s members on September 11, 1865, allowing the men to return to their homes.

During the 2nd Ohio's term of service, eighty-three men, including seven officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 184 men, including five officers, died from disease or accidents.

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MLA Style

"2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 13 Dec 2019 <http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1355>

APA Style

"2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved December 13, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1355

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