171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Also Known As: One Hundred Seventy-first Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Updated: January 17, 2011

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.

Infantry regiments formed in Ohio became known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. In 1864, the governors of several Northern states convinced federal authorities to call up state militia forces for regular military duty. The governors believed that these militiamen would free regular soldiers currently serving in forts or guarding other important sites in Northern states for duty with the Union's invading armies in the Confederacy. Hopefully this surge of men, known as Hundred Days' Men, would allow the North to defeat the South in one hundred days or less while keeping Northern states safe from Confederate attack and anti-war unrest.

On May 7, 1864, the 171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Sandusky, Ohio. Most enlistees came from the following militia units: the 51st Battalion Ohio National Guard from Trumbull County, the 14th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Portage County, the 85th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Lake County, and the 86th Battalion Ohio National Guard from Geauga County. The men in the regiment were to serve one hundred days.

Upon the 171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's formation, authorities dispatched the regiment to Johnson's Island, where the men served on guard duty. The 171st remained at Johnson's Island until June 9, 1864, when officials sent the regiment to Covington, Kentucky. Upon reaching Covington the regiment quickly departed via train for Cynthiana, Kentucky. Confederates had burned a railroad bridge known as Keller's (also spelled Kellar's) Bridge. The 171st went on picket duty, waiting for the bridge's repair. A portion of General John Hunt Morgan's Confederate cavalry attacked the Northern regiment on June 11, 1864. The 171st repulsed several Confederate assaults, despite the Southerners outnumbering the Northerners approximately two to one. Unfortunately, the soldiers of the 171st Regiment were eventually forced to surrender to Morgan's command. Thirteen members of the 171st died in the engagement, and another fifty-four men were wounded. Morgan attempted to negotiate an exchange of nearly 740 prisoners with Northern officials, but they refused. Advancing Union soldiers forced Morgan to parole the 171st Regiment. The regiment then marched to Augusta, Kentucky, where it boarded boats for Covington, Kentucky. The 171st Regiment eventually reached Camp Dennison outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. Officials soon dispatched the regiment to Johnson's Island, where it again served on guard duty once the United States War Department declared the soldiers' paroles invalid. Authorities mustered the 171st out of service on August 20, 1864.

During its time of service, the 171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry lost seventeen men on the battlefield. The regiment lost an additional fifteen soldiers to disease or accidents.

The following reports detail the 171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's exploits, including the Battle of Keller's Bridge, in Kentucky.

Report of Col. Joel F. Asper, One hundred and seventy-first

Ohio Infantry.

COLUMBUS, OHIO, June 20, 1864.

CAPT.: I have the honor to report to headquarters Northern

Department a full account of the march of my regiment from Johnson's

Island into Kentucky (Gen. Burbridge's district), with an account of

the disaster which occurred to it there, together with the condition and

situation of the field officers, as well as the situation and condition of

the line officers and men since their capture by Gen. Morgan.

About 8 a.m. June 9 instant I received an order for the march of my

regiment to Covington, Ky., to report to Brig. Gen. E. H.

Hobson, eight companies being on Johnson's Island on duty. A copy of

the order is annexed, marked Exhibit A. My orders issued at once, and

preparations were commenced by cooking rations, &c. At 10.30 o'clock

I received a copy of a dispatch from Gen. Heintzelman, and was

ordered to march at once. A copy of the dispatch is annexed as Exhibit

B. The cooking of the rations ceased, and in one hour and a half the

regiment was on the march. It was taken across the bay, loaded, and at

4 p.m. the train started for Cincinnati. At Springfield it was delayed two

hours waiting for our baggage and horses, which had been stopped at

Urbana with the train containing Twenty-fourth Ohio Battery. I arrived

at Cincinnati at 1 p.m. on the 10th. Here I was ordered to report at

Col. Marker's headquarters, which I did. I made requisition for two

days' rations and 30,000 rounds of ammunition, crossed the Ohio River,

and reported to Gen. Hobson about 4 o'clock of the 10th. In

pursuance of orders I placed my command in light marching order;

loaded it on the train; also assisted to load over 300 horses. A copy of

the written order received by me is annexed and marked Exhibit C.

When ready to move I reported in person to Gen. Hobson, and was

ordered to move my train at once, proceed to Cynthiana, and await

orders. The train moved about 10 p.m. Having heard that a small body

of rebels or guerrillas had been seen near the railroad about twenty-five

miles up the track, I gave the strictest orders to guard against any

surprise, ordering sentinels posted in each car, the men to be ready with

guns and accouterments, and all line officers to remain with their

commands. We proceeded without interruption to Keller's Bridge, over

the Licking River, which is about one mile over the railroad track and

two miles by the dirt road from Cynthiana. The bridge had been burned

by Morgan's men two or three days before. On Thursday the One hundred

and sixty-eight Regt. Ohio National Guard, Col. Garis, had been

sent up this railroad, dropped in detachments along its line, with five

companies under Col. Garis in Cynthiana. This I had been advised

of. The train arrived at Keller's Bridge at 4 o'clock in the morning. I

immediately ordered my men out of the cars, had them stack arms on

the left of the track, the ground offering a good position for defense. I

had details made, and the rations and ammunition unloaded and

distributed, and our private horses taken from the train. On getting out

I placed a picket, consisting of one company, on duty, on the top of the

hill which overlooked the valley and much of the country about. Having

taken off our regimental stores, and while the men were putting rations

and ammunition into haversacks and cartridge-boxes, I then went to

inquire about getting off the Government horses, four car-loads of which

were on my train. I went back to the second train, which had followed

us closely, and in a short time found Capt. Butler, assistant

adjutant-general on Gen. Hobson's staff, who directed me to make

a detail of 230 men and 10 officers to mount a portion of the horses,

and this detail was to get the horses out of the train. I ordered the detail

made, and the adjutant set about it. About this time picket-firing had

been commenced at the town in our advance. I was also notified by a

man from my advance company that a large cavalry force was moving

on our right. I saddled my horse, rode to the point of observation, saw a considerable

force which I knew was rebel cavalry. At this time the sergeant-major

of Col. Garis' regiment came to me and reported that colonel Garis

had been attacked by 1,500 of Morgan's cavalry; that he would hold the

town as long as he could, and wished me to come to his assistance as

speedily as possible. I ordered the lieutenant-colonel to form the line,

and rode back and reported to Capt. Butler. He directed me to wait

until Gen. Hobson should come forward. He soon came forward. My

line was forming in good style, faced toward the rebel approach. By the

time Gen. Hobson came up, a large column of cavalry was coming

down the road toward us, either for the purpose of getting between us

and Col. Garis or to get to colonel Garis' rear; and by direction of

Gen. Hobson, I placed two companies, under command of Maj.

Fowler, on a point of the hill across the railroad. These companies

opened fire upon the column immediately and drove it back, several

saddles being emptied at the first fire. I had in my command 690

officers and men. This included musicians, hospital attendants, and all

supernumeraries. There were about 100 men of different detachments

on Gen. Hobson's train, mostly from Kentucky regiments. These men

and one company from my regiment were thrown forward as

skirmishers, Gen. Hobson assuming command of the whole force,

and Capt. Butler, of the staff, having charge of the skirmish line. The

battle opened about 5 o'clock in the morning. It was hotly contested on

both sides. The force directly opposing us from the start was Col.

Giltner's brigade, of Morgan's command, 1,500 strong, armed with the

Enfield rifle. This brigade dismounted and advanced as infantry. We

held them in check and drove them back twice, and had there been no

other force, we should have been the victors on the field. Between 11

and 12 o'clock another brigade came into our rear and took position in

a wheat-field; besides, another had flanked around and took position on

our right flank and rear. This was commanded by Col. Martin, and

the other by Gen. Morgan in person. I made disposition of my

exhausted and scattered command to meet it. I placed all I could spare

from my front line against a high fence to our rear where they would be

partially protected by the two fences of a lane. By the time the

dispositions could be made a flag of truce was seen approaching our

lines. I was directed by Gen. Hobson to receive it. I went out and

met Capt. Morgan, of Gen. Morgan's staff. He carried a demand

from Gen. Morgan for our surrender as prisoners of war. I started

to report to Gen. Hobson, and on my way was summoned to meet

another flag carried by the rebel Col. Martin. I replied to him that

I was considering then a demand from Gen. Morgan. I reported to

Gen. Hobson. He asked my opinion about it. I told him that I could

hold out an hour longer, but that the end was plainly to be seen unless

relief was at hand, and we knew of none. Gen. Hobson thought I

could not hold out more than twenty minutes, or thirty at most. We

were unanimous in the conclusion that from the exhausted condition of

the men, having been fighting six hours without rest or water, that we

could not hold out much longer if attacked vigorously from front, rear,

and flanks, and to save the slaughter that must ensue from such an

attack policy and duty alike required a surrender. Col. Garis had

surrendered as we believed more than four hours before. No firing had

been heard from that quarter since early in the morning, and a scout we

had sent to ascertain the result had been driven back by rebel pickets.

I was then deputed to arrange the terms of surrender, which

I did with Capt. Morgan. The terms were: Gen. Hobson's forces

to surrender unconditionally as prisoners of war; the officers to retain

their side-arms; all private property to belong to the captors. After

Gen. Morgan rode up he said we had made so gallant a fight that we

should all have our horses. Lieut.-Col. Harmon had a valuable

horse which Col. Martin insisted upon keeping, and he was permitted

by Gen. Morgan to do so, but with this exception the terms as

modified by Gen. Morgan were strictly observed. I was ordered to

form my command, stack arms, and march them off, and then make a

list of names, companies, and regiments. Before this could be done they

were ordered away under a guard, the field officers being detained with

Gen. Hobson and staff.

Our loss was 14 killed and 45 wounded. My surgeon stated to me on his

way down Covington that he thought our loss in killed and wounded

would reach 75 or 80. I have no means of stating accurately, having

been separated from the command since the surrender. Our loss in

prisoners is about 500, some men having escaped.

I fought my command as well as I could and to the best possible

advantage, Gen. Hobson giving no general directions during the battle

besides his personal assistance to keep the men up to the work. Gen.

Hobson surrendered only when to have held out longer would have been

mere idle bravado, and would have induced reckless and wholesale

slaughter.

I cannot speak too highly of the conduct of most of my officers and

men. Two or three officers failed to do their duty, and some men

skulked away; but no more than is usual in most regiments. Most of

these men had never been under fire, but they fought splendidly, coolly,

and behaved like veterans.

Gen. Hobson was cool, brave, and judicious; was exposed all the

time to the rebel fire, and deserves well of the Government.

My own horse was shot under me and disabled, and I had several other

evidences of the close firing of rebel sharpshooters, but escaped unhurt.

The foregoing account the battle of Keller's Bridge is preliminary, and

quite necessary to a full understanding of the anomalous condition of

Gen. Hobson and staff and the field officers of my regiment.

After the surrender Gen. Morgan proposed to send Gen. Hobson

and staff, together with the field officers of my regiment, out under a

flag of truce to get into communication with the military authorities for

the purpose of securing a special exchange of ourselves, and to secure

an exchange of our men for some of his own then held as prisoners in

Kentucky; or if this could not be effected, that our Government might

be induced to accept his parole of them, so that they would be accounted

for by the Richmond Government; and if we failed to secure an

exchange, then we must return and report to Gen. Morgan as

prisoners. Gen. Hobson refused at first to go into the arrangement.

After consultation I advised that it be done for the benefit of our officers

and soldiers, who are only 100-days' men, as it would be peculiarly

hard to take these men south to languish in Southern prisons for several

months, and I believed the Government would not permit it. It was then

agreed to accept the proposition of Gen. Morgan. Gen. Morgan

and Gen. Hobson agreed upon the terms of a paper to be signed. It

was drawn up in pencil and signed by us all. Inspector-Gen. Allen,

of Gen. Morgan's staff, then drew one in ink, and in doing so added

to it a general parole. This we refused to sign; first,

because it was not according to agreement; and second, because we

absolutely refused to accept a general parole. It was then changed as

agreed upon first, and signed. Annexed is a true copy of this paper,

marked Exhibit D.*

The paper being signed horses obtained (Gen. Morgan had ordered

a horse given me to replace my disabled one), with an ambulance for

those who had no horses, Gen. Hobson's and staff's horses being on

the train, which had been run back, thrown from the track, and

destroyed, we started for some point where communication could be had

with the military authorities by telegraph. We expected to find such

communication at Boyd's Station, on the Kentucky Central Railroad, but

the operator had abandoned the station, and we proceeded to Falmouth,

where we arrived Sunday evening. Our escort was Capt. C. C.

Morgan, aide-de-camp, and Surgeon Goode, of Gen. Morgan's staff,

Maj. Chenoweth, of the line, a Mr. Voorhies, said to be a soldier,

lately joined them at Lexington, and an ambulance driver, who was also

a soldier. These men were all armed. Voorhies carried a flag of truce

in advance. We were received into our lines at Falmouth; the rebel

officers were assigned quarters and kept close. Gen. Hobson

immediately placed himself in communication with Gen. Burbridge,

his superior officer, commanding the District of Kentucky, and the

result is, two telegrams, copies of which are annexed as Exhibit E.

On Friday morning Gen. Hobson and staff, in pursuance of said

telegrams, started overland for Lexington (having first obtained

permission to go that way), to report to Gen. Burbridge, taking with

them the rebel officers and men, and myself and the other field officers

of my regiment came to Cincinnati, as directed by Gen. Burbridge,

and from thence I came on here to report, leaving the lieutenant-colonel

and major at Cincinnati. The regiment, with the line officers, was

paroled on Sunday after the battle between Gen. Morgan and Gen.

Burbridge.

Capt. Morris, one of my captains, who was present and participated

in the whole matter, reports as follows: On Saturday evening, after our

surrender, the prisoners, comprising all they had taken at Mount

Sterling, Lexington, and Cynthiana, and those from our regiment, about

1,300, were started off on the Claysville pike, and marched about six

miles. In the morning they were started up and marched about ten miles

on the double-quick. At length they were halted, the officers called to

the front and center, and they were then offered horses to ride, provided

they would give their parole of honor that they would not attempt to

escape. While discussing the matter, Capt. Morris asked permission

for an interview with Gen. Morgan, which was granted. Capt.

Morris stepped to Gen. Morgan and told him that this treatment was

not according to the terms of the surrender. Gen. Morgan replied that

he was aware of that, but that circumstances altered cases, and said to

Capt. Morris if the officers would agree to respect their parole he

would parole them and let them go. Capt. Morris told him he would

report to the other officers and let them decide, which he did, and they

all agreed to accept a parole and respect it. They were then paroled. A

copy of this parole is annexed and marked Exhibit F. The

inspector-general then mounted Capt. Morris and compelled him to

ride along the lines with him, and he then told the men they were

paroled, administering to them some oath, or some sort of obligation.

They were started to August, thence to Cincinnati,

and by your orders have been transferred to Camp Dennison.

They are there now in a very uncomfortable condition; some have gone

home (the officers and men of the One hundred and sixty-eighth Ohio

National Guard have all gone home), and they say, as reported to me,

as I came along, that they insist upon being exchanged before being sent

to duty again, as they gave a solemn oath not to take up arms until

exchanged, because if they are expect to be murdered if captured again.

I make this statement in their behalf and ask action upon it.

The question submitted, upon which a decision of the Government is

asked, is whether these line officers and men, not having been reduced

within the permanent lines of the rebel armies, are prisoners of war at

all; and whether Gen. Morgan in letting them go with a parole,

however formal, did not in fact abandon them, and they are thereby

liberated. There may be some doubt upon the subject, but whatever the

strict legal right may be under the cartel, still I believe it would be

policy on the part of the Government to accept this parole and exchange

them at once, in order that they be again put into the field. It will place

them in a condition to go to duty more willingly and heartily, and not

with the fear that if again captured they would be murdered. They have

yet about two months and a half to serve. Gen. Hobson and staff and

the field officers are under a different obligation. Their parole binds

them to return if a special exchange cannot be effected. They were

treated with kindness and courtesy and do not desire or wish to violate

their pledge. Although the proposition came from Gen. Morgan, yet

it was for our benefit, for if not accepted we would have been mounted

on fresh horses and run into Gen. Branch's [Vance's?] lines as soon

as possible. This they told us after it had been arranged. If the principle

of the cartel that we were not reduced to possession within the

permanent lines of the army liberates us, we desire that the Government

assume the responsibility of so deciding and then to protect us. I would

beg the authorities to consider thoroughly, first, the point whether the

agreement partly executed is not equivalent to being reduced to

possession; whether in fact it was not such reduction of possession as to

bring us within the provisions of the cartel. But in either case we are not

to decide, and it will be for us to act as the authorities shall order. The

arrangement was made in good faith and we desire it carried out. I

would beg to ask the Government to be liberal in their action upon this

matter, as well as in the construction of the rules of war under which it

must be decided. We have fought hard and bravely, and to some

purpose, too, as a short statement will show.

Gen. Morgan had planned to sweep down the Licking River Valley,

plunder as he went, ride into Covington, plunder and burn it, then turn

the guns of the fortifications upon the city of Cincinnati, shell it until he

was satisfied, then turn up the Ohio and ride out of the State via

Maysville and Pound Gap. He had burned the bridges at Paris and

Cynthiana to prevent troops following him on the railroad; he had made

a feint upon Frankfort, to draw off Gen. Burbridge, which he

partially succeeded in doing. He had fresh horses, was twenty-four

hours the start, with no force at Covington, and none on the line of

march except ours. Our fight was so obstinate and protracted that the

fighting, taking care of his killed and wounded and the prisoners,

detained him until Gen. Burbridge could come up. The rebel officers

admitted that this was Gen. Morgan's plan, and that they had been

checked in the execution by our fight. Gen.

Burbridge was able in a short and decisive fight to completely rout

Gen. Morgan's forces so that they were compelled to fly the State in

a scattered condition. We beg to be allowed to believe that we have, by

our sacrifice, rendered the Government and our own State some service,

and ask to have these questions considered fairly, and to be liberally and

fairly dealt with by our Government.

I have the honor, captain, to be, your most obedient servant,

J. F. ASPER,

Col. 171st Regt. Ohio National Guard.

Capt. C. H. POTTER,

Asst. Adjt. Gen., Northern Department, Columbus, Ohio.

[Inclosures.]

SPECIAL ORDERS, No. 124. HDQRS. U. S. FORCES,

JOHNSON'S ISLAND AND SANDUSKY,

Johnson's Island, Ohio, June 9, 1864.

* * * * * * *

5. Pursuant to orders from Maj.-Gen. Heintzelman, commanding

Northern Department, Col. J. F. Asper will immediately prepare so

much of his regiment (the One hundred and seventy-first Ohio National

Guard) as remains at this post, to move by rail from Sandusky to

Covington, Ky., via Cincinnati, and will, at Covington, report to

Brig. Gen. E. H. Hobson for duty. The regiment will take

camp and garrison equipage and four days' cooked rations, and be in

every way prepared for field services. It will take tents of a new issue

from Capt. L. M. Brooks, assistant quartermaster. The regiment will

be ready to leave this post at 3 o'clock this afternoon, and will turn over

to Capt. Brooks, assistant quartermaster, and leave it tents and

quarters now in use standing, and in as perfect condition as they are

now in. Capt. L. M. Brooks, assistant quartermaster, will furnish

transportation, to be ready at the earliest moment possible.

By command of Col. Charles W. Hill:

A. N. MEAD,

Capt. and Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

EXHIBIT B.

COLUMBUS, June 8, 1864.

(Received Sandusky, Ohio, 8.30 a.m. 9th.)

Col. CHARLES W. HILL,

Cmdg. Johnson's Island:

Have the One hundred and seventy-first Ohio, Col. Asper, ready for

field service at a moment's notice. The service will be temporary.

S. P. HEINTZELMAN,

Maj.-Gen., Cmdg.

EXHIBIT C.

COVINGTON, KY., June 10, 1864.

Col. ASPER,

One hundred and seventy-first Ohio:

Move at once with your regiment on to Cynthiana, on the train. Report

in person, or by an officer, when you are about to start.

By order of Brig.-Gen. Hobson:

J. S. BUTLER,

Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

PAGE 62-77 KY., SW. VA., TENN., MISS., ALA., AND N. GA. [CHAP. LI.

[Series I. Vol. 39. Part I, Reports. Serial No. 77.]

EXHIBIT E.

LEXINGTON, June 14, 1864.

(Received 15th.)

Brig. Gen. E. H. HOBSON:

The general commanding considers no officers and men prisoners of war

except such as Morgan retained and took off with him, and directs that

you and your staff report here for duty as soon as practicable, and that

the three rebel officers be held as prisoners.

J. BATES DICKSON.

LEXINGTON, June 15, 1864.

(Received 16th.)

Gen. E. H. HOBSON:

The general commanding directs that yourself and staff and Lieut.

J. W. Arnett, Fifty-second Kentucky, come here via Louisville, and

bring with you the rebel officers and private as prisoners of war. The

Ohio 100-days' officers had better go to Cincinnati.

J. BATES DICKSON,

Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

EXHIBIT F.

NEAR CLAYSVILLE, KY., June 12, 1864.

We, the undersigned officers of the Army of the United States, having

been captured by Brig. Gen. John H. Morgan, of the C. S.

Army, do hereby give our parole of honor not to engage in military

service against the Confederate States until duly exchanged for officers

of equal rank.

Witness:

B. H. ALLEN,

Inspector-Gen., Morgan's Cavalry.

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Report of Capt. Richard O. Swindler, One hundred

and seventy-first Ohio Infantry.

HDQRS. 171ST REGT. OHIO NATIONAL GUARD,

Cincinnati, June 14, 1864.

GEN.: I have the honor to report that the detachment of the One

hundred and seventy-first Regt. Ohio National Guard, consisting of

all the companies except Companies E and K, and containing about 500

men, left Covington, pursuant to order from department headquarters,

on the evening of the 10th instant, under command of Col. J. F.

Asper, for Cynthiana, at which place the detachment arrived on the

morning of the 11th at 3 o'clock, or rather at Keller's Bridge, which

had been burned, and is some mile and a half north of Cynthiana.

Between 4 and 5 o'clock sharp firing was heard from the direction of

Cynthiana, which continuing for some time, the command at Keller's

Bridge was formed, under direction of Col. Asper, and very soon

after the enemy was seen approaching in some force mounted, and were

fired upon, and they fell back. About this time Gen. Hobson took command and

further disposition of the forces was made. Not far from 7 o'clock the

enemy appeared in large force west of the position occupied by us; they

dismounted and advanced upon us with loud yells, opening a fierce and

well sustained fire, and were resolutely met by our troops and held at

bay. After a contest of considerable duration, the enemy having partially

flanked our right wing, Companies A and G, which composed it, were

ordered to fall back a few rods, which they did under a galling fire,

suffering some loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners. The fight

continued without lull through the whole length of our front, until

between 11 and 12 o'clock, the combatants on both sides taking cover

as much as the ground would allow. Several attempts were made to turn

our left flank, every one of which failed, and after the last attempt the

enemy retired rapidly and in disorder. Large forces of cavalry had been

seen passing over the hills in different directions, and fearing an attempt

to get in our rear Gen. [Hobson] had ordered small parties to protect

the two fords, one to the left and one to the right of our rear, but soon

after the firing ceased it was observed that Morgan had thrown large

forces across the river, and was approaching in line of battle on two

sides, east and south, while Gilter's (or Giltner's) forces had reformed

in front. A flag of truce was then sent in, and terms of surrender were

offered and accepted; the officers to retain their side-arms, and private

property of the soldiers to be respected. Gen. Hobson and staff,

Col. Asper, Lieut.-Col. Harmon, and Maj. Fowler started

with a flag of truce, under escort, to communicate with general

commanding department touching exchange of officers and parole of

men, since which nothing has been heard of the party by the

undersigned, excepting newspaper reports. After the surrender many of

the arms were burned on the field by order of Morgan as worthless, and

the others put into the hands of his unarmed recruits. The line officers

and men were marched to town, where the afternoon was spent in

preparations for paroling the prisoners, name, and descriptive lists being

prepared, &c. In the evening we were marched out of town, together

with those of other commands previously taken, and turned into an open

field without food and but few blankets. The night was very chilly, and

on Sunday morning we were marched out on the Augusta road, taking

our line of march by 4 o'clock. We were made to double-quick, miles

in succession, fording Licking River, at Claysville, waist deep, and

smaller streams many times. Blankets, shoes, and all impediments were

thrown away, and with bleeding feet many of the prisoners continued to

march only because threatened with death if they fell out. Having

reached a distance of perhaps twenty-odd miles, by the route taken, and

still without a morsel of food, the officers were told by Morgan if they

would accept a parole for themselves and men he would grant it; if not,

he would parole the men and take the officers with [him] to Richmond

or other point in the Confederacy-mounted, if they would give the

parole of honor not to escape; on foot, and at double-quick, if they

would not give such parole. The line officers present, consisting of all

who had been in the fight, except Lieut. Earl, of Company I,

accepted the parole for themselves and men. The men were also sworn

not to bear arms against the Southern Confederacy, or do other military

service, till exchanged or released from parole, under the penalty of

death. They did not sign any paper. A copy of the parole taken by the

officers is herewith transmitted.* The

whole number of paroled men and officers belonging to the One hundred

and seventy-first Regt. is about 400, but the undersigned can not

state accurately now for want of reports. A descriptive list was not

furnished Gen. Morgan, but the names of the men were given him.

After being paroled the men were some twenty-two miles from Augusta

on the pike, on which for a considerable part of the way stone had been

newly broken and was so sharp as to cut shoes. The country had been

entirely stripped of food, the men had eaten little, many nothing since

Friday evening, their clothing insufficient, and the undersigned being

senior captain, put in command by Col. Asper immediately after

surrender, thought best to reach Augusta by the night of the 12th. This

was done by dark, the men having marched on that day over forty

miles, though unused to marching, being composed of farmers,

merchants, clerks, lawyers, &c. A few horses were procured on which

were carried those unable to walk. A few horses were Augusta had no

notice of our coming, but supplied our wants to their utmost ability, and

on the morning of the 13th instant, by my order, captain of the

steam-boat----with two barges brought us to this place, where we

arrived in the afternoon, the men exhausted and fainting.

The loss of the regiment in the fight at Keller's Bridge was 13 men

killed and 50 wounded, many of them very seriously, some of whom

have since died. Not over 400 were in the battle, and if portions of

other commands were engaged with us it escaped the notice of the

undersigned.

It would not become me perhaps to say much as to the conduct of the

troops or the manner in which they were handled, but I saw no reason

to complain of either. The regiment was armed badly, many of the

pieces failing to reach the enemy at all; very many became useless

early; while they had many very fine guns-short Enfield rifles, Spencer

rifles, &c.

The number actually engaged with us was not less than 1,200 to 1,500

supported by as many more. Morgan acknowledged a loss of 74 killed

and wounded at Keller's Bridge, but from the number of wounded

carried from the field, seen by me and many of our men after the battle,

I do not hesitate to say his loss exceeded the number given.

I have received no written orders since I took command, except one to

report to Camp Dennison immediately. What orders Col. Asper

received while in command I do not know, as I have no information

upon the subject.

Respectfully submitted.

R. O. SWINDLER,

Capt., Cmdg. 171st Regt. Ohio National Guard.

Maj. Gen. S. P. HEINTZELMAN,

Cmdg. Department.

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 23 Apr 2019 <http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=297&>

APA Style

"171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved April 23, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=297&

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