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. On October 31, 1861, the 54th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years and principally came from Allen, Auglaize, Butler, Cuyahoga, Fayette, Greene, Hamilton, Logan, and Preble, Counties, Ohio.
Upon organizing, the 54th remained at Camp Dennison until February 17, 1862, when the regiment departed for Paducah, Kentucky, arriving here on February 22. At Paducah, the 54th joined William T. Sherman's command. The 54th spent several days resting at Paducah before boarding steamers on March 6, 1862 and sailing to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. On the morning of April 6, Confederate forces under Albert Sidney Johnston attacked the Union army at Pittsburg Landing, beginning the Battle of Shiloh. On the first day of the battle, the 54th was located on the Union right. On the engagement's second day, the regiment relocated to the center of the Northern line, helping the Union forces to drive the Southerners from the battlefield. At the Battle of Shiloh, the 54th lost 198 men killed, wounded, missing, or captured. The regiment entered the battle with approximately eight hundred soldiers.
Following Shiloh, the 54th participated in the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi and was one of the first Northern regiments to enter this city. The 54th left Pittsburg Landing for Corinth on April 29, 1862 and engaged Confederate forces at Russell House on May 17, 1862 and at Corinth on May 31. Upon Corinth's capture, the 54th performed provost-guard duty in the city.
The 54th accompanied the Union army to La Grange, Tennessee and then to Holly Springs, Mississippi. Shortly after arriving at Holly Springs, the 54th returned to Corinth and then departed for Moscow, Tennessee and eventually Memphis, Tennessee, arriving at this final location on July 21, 1862. The regiment spent the remaining summer months conducting several minor reconnaissances, until departing for Jackson, Mississippi on November 26, 1862, traveling via Holly Springs. The 54th soon returned to Memphis, where it departed with General William T. Sherman's force down the Mississippi River to Chickasaw Bayou. On December 29, 1862, the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou occurred, with Union troops failing to drive the Confederates from the battlefield. In this engagement, the 54th had twenty men killed or wounded. On January 1, 1863, the 54th withdrew from Chickasaw Bayou, traveling via the Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers, eventually landing at Arkansas Post. The regiment participated in the Battle of Arkansas Post, which occurred from January 8 to 11, 1863 and resulted in a Union victory. The 54th then traveled to Young's Point, Louisiana, where the regiment engaged in digging a canal around the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
On May 6, 1863, the 54th participated in the Union's advance on Vicksburg. The 54th fought in the Battles of Champion Hill and Big Black River Bridge. On June 19 and 22, the regiment engaged in two assaults on Confederate forces in the rear of Vicksburg, with the 54th losing a combined forty-seven men killed or wounded. Except for a six-day reconnaissance mission to Jackson, Mississippi, the regiment remained engaged at Vicksburg until the city's capitulation to Union forces on July 4, 1863. During the Vicksburg Campaign, the commanding officer of the 54th issued the following report:
HDQRS. FIFTY-FOURTH REGT. OHIO VOL. INFANTRY, In Bivouac before Vicksburg Works: Miss., May 24, 1863.
CAPT.: In obedience to Col. Smith's circular of to-day, calling for a report of the movements of the Fifty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry since it left Milliken's Bend, La., I have the honor to submit the following report:
On the evening of the 6th instant, while in camp at Milliken's Bend, La., I received an order from Col. T. K. Smith, commanding Second Brigade, Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, to break up camp, and with two days' cooked rations in haversacks and eight days' rations in wagons, to march on the 7th on the road to New Carthage. Accordingly, at 7 a.m. On the morning of the 7th, the regiment was on the road.
On the evening of the 10th, we arrived at Hard Times Landing, on the Mississippi River, having marched 63 miles in four days. On the afternoon of the 11th, we crossed the Mississippi River to Grand Gulf on the gunboat Louisville. Laid in bivouac that night.
The next morning we were again on the march on the road to Auburn, Miss., arriving at the latter place on the afternoon of the 15th instant, having marched 53 miles in three days and a half.
On the morning of the 16th, I was ordered by Col. Smith to follow the One hundred and twenty-seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteers on the road leading to Bolton, bringing up the rear of the brigade. Between 8 and 9 a.m. We heard heavy skirmishing in front and soon afterward the discharge of artillery. About 12 m. I received an order from Col. Smith to deploy the regiment on the right side of the road we were then marching on, my left resting on the road, in which position we remained an hour, when I received an order to march on the road as before, except that I should keep to the right of the road, marching by the left flank, and holding the regiment in readiness to change front forward on the left company and at a moment's notice. In this order I marched the regiment perhaps three-fourths of a mile, passing on the road a brigade belonging to Gen. A. J. Smith's division, when one of the enemy's batteries fired upon us at a range of 800 to 1,000 yards to the right of the road. Col. Smith ordered me to halt, march back, and assume the position I had left on the road before the order to move by the left flank.
When I had reached the point where my left should rest, by order, I crossed the road and formed the line perpendicular to, and the right resting on, the road. We lay in this position until about 4 p.m., when, by order of Col. Smith, I again moved down the road, by the left flank, about 1 1/2 miles, when we came upon the division of Gen. A. J. Smith deployed in line of battle and under a heavy fire from the enemy's artillery. I immediately formed in line of battle, my left resting on the road, and ordered the men to lie down until I should receive further orders from Col. Smith. A short time afterward Col. Smith ordered. Me to move by the right flank, and then forward until the left of the regiment should join with Gen. Smith's right, which was accordingly executed, a strong line of skirmishers having been in the mean time deployed to cover the front of the regiment. At dark I ordered the regiment to lie down in line of battle on their arms. Here we remained during the night.
In the morning the enemy had disappeared from the front. At an early hour on the 17th, we were again on the march, bringing up the rear of the brigade. About 10 a.m. we crossed the Jackson Railroad at Edwards Station, and took the road to Bridgeport, where we arrived at 12 m. At 8 p.m. we crossed Big Black River upon a pontoon bridge, marched 2 miles on the Vicksburg road, and filed into an open field, stacked arms, and lay down for the night, no fires being allowed until daydawn.
At an early hour on the morning of the 18th, the regiment was on the march, bringing up the rear of the brigade, on the main road to Vicksburg. Arrived near the works before which we are now lying late in the afternoon. The regiment was ordered to form line of battle on the left of the road and on the left of the brigade. Soon after the regiment was in line, I received an order to send out one company of skirmishers, and at dusk Col. Smith sent an order that the regiment be deployed as skirmishers, and extend the left until the right of Gen. McPherson's line should be found.
The regiment was deployed, but I could not find the line sought for until early in the morning of the 19th; they were then joined. I was then ordered to advance the line as far as possible, which was accordingly done, the whole line resting within easy musket range of the enemy's works, when I received an order to assemble on the right of the regiment, which, being accomplished, I was ordered to form in line of battle on the left of the Fifty-fifth Illinois Volunteers, supporting Battery B, First Illinois Artillery. The ammunition having been nearly expended in skirmishing, cartridges were furnished, but found too large, though the boxes were marked .69 caliber.
About 2 p.m. You came to me yourself and said an order was to "forward," and be governed by the movements of the Fifty-fifth Illinois Regiment. I so instructed the color-bearer, and when the Fifty-fifth commenced moving, the Fifty-fourth promptly moved with them, and kept with them during the engagement. I had no previous notice of the forward movement, or an idea that the. Regiment was the front of an assaulting column, which was to charge through fallen timber, over at least four ravines, very steep and difficult to pass over under the most auspicious circumstances. The line halted under the brow of a hill 150 or 200 yards from the enemy's works, breathless, but kept up a brisk fire on the parapet for a short time, when the company commanders reported to me that the cartridges were nearly expended. I ordered them to reserve one round in the piece, fix bayonet, and lie down until ammunition could be sent, or we should be relieved. I sent Adjutant Saxton to Col. Smith to make the proper statement. Soon afterward the Fifty-seventh Ohio Regiment came forward and relieved the Fifty-fourth. I withdrew the regiment 10 or 15 paces, and ordered them to lie down until ammunition could be furnished. Lieut. Bell, of the Fifty-fourth Regiment, in charge of the ammunition train, upon notice, promptly supplied us. The firing soon subsided into mere skirmishing, and we lay down upon our arms.
A 2 a.m., Lieut.-Col. Rice, Fifty-seventh Ohio, came to me and said Col. Smith had ordered him to order the regiment out of there, and that the Fifty-fifth Illinois had already gone, the Fifty-seventh would move out immediately, and the Fifty-fourth would follow, and regain our position before the charge. The order was obeyed by sending out one company at a time.
The regiment lost in the engagement of the 19th I killed and 13 wounded.
On the morning of the 20th, I received au order to move to the left, and form line with the One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois Volunteers, supporting two guns of Hart's battery.
Placing the men under cover, we lay here until the morning of the 22d, when notice was given that the enemy's works were again to be assaulted. The regiment was called upon for seven volunteers to go with the storming party leading the head of the column. Eleven men offered their services. I think it fit that the names of such daring, gallant fellows should be named in the official report. Their names were: First Sergt. James Jardine, Company F; Corpl. William Kinsley, Company H; and Privates William Radtke, Company A; David Jones, Company C; Edward Welsh, Company D; Samuel Crooks, Company E; Edward McGinn, Company F; John Gardner, Company F; Henry Buhrman, Company H; Martin Ford, Company H, and Jacob Sweiheimer, Company I. Every volunteer who accompanied the storming party from the Fifty-fourth Regiment, except Buhrman, whose gun was broken in two by a grape-shot, reached the top of the enemy's works. William Radtke was killed, Edward McGinn severely wounded, as many as three bullets striking him in the head, and four others passing through his hat. I received a circular from Col. Smith, instructing the Fifty-fourth Regiment to march by the right flank, and follow the One hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois Volunteers. Some time after 11 o'clock
I put the regiment in motion, keeping close upon the One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois. Filing through a ravine, we neared the crest of the hill immediately in front of the enemy's works, and over which a perfect storm of lead and iron was passing.
I halted the regiment, and ran to the top of the bill to see where we were going. In the ravine, 50 yards below, I saw the other regiments of the brigade lying down, and, as I thought, in confusion, to increase which I did not desire to rush my regiment among them. I so reported to Col. Smith, who was standing under the brow of the hill. He replied that I was mistaken; that there was not a man in the ravine below. I returned to the brow and again saw the regiments as before, and again reported to Col. Smith, who gave no answer, but gave the order to rush over the hill, which the regiment did in good order. As soon as we were over, I discovered that the enemy had a battery opposite the mouth of the ravine, completely enfilading the position in which we were lying.
I sent such word to Col. Smith by Lieut. Fisk, aide-de-camp on Gen. Ewing's staff, but I think he did not get it.' Fortunately for the regiment and brigade, the enemy's (ire was inaccurate, and passed over us, doing no damage. In a few minutes the regiments filed down the ravine by the left flank, in the same order as indicated in Col. Smith's circular of that morning, i.e., Fifty-fourth Ohio Volunteers following the One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois Volunteers, until we were within a very short distance of the enemy's works, when Col. Smith ordered me to form the regiment in line of battle immediately behind the One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois Volunteers, on the side of a very steep hill.
In this position we lay until about 2 o'clock in the morning of the 23d, when I received an order to withdraw by the left flank down the ravine, filing up another about 100 yards to our left, and to continue up that ravine until we should pass the rear of the First Brigade, which had been withdrawn during the night. The order was obeyed. I moved the regiment to the ground now occupied by the regiment.
While taking the position in the rear of the One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois Volunteers, Private William R. McKibbin, Company D, was killed, and Corporal [Thomas] Coddington wounded, which were the only casualties the regiment met with during the day.
I desire here to mention the names of Assistant Surgeon Baggs, who accompanied all our movements, and was most assiduous in the care of the wounded and in having them cared for at the earliest moment possible, never leaving his post for a moment, and Adjutant Saxton, who was constantly at his post in the discharge of his duty.
Of the company officers I will only say that they did all brave men are expected to do, i.e., obeying all orders promptly and energetically.
In detailing the events of the engagement of the 19th instant, I omitted to mention the fact that Sergt. Alexander Kuhl, color-bearer of the regiment, was the first man on the brow of the hill, where the regiment was halted. In every engagement he has been eagerly anxious to do all he was called on to do. I hope .Col. Smith will mention him in his official report, and recommend his promotion; he is worthy and competent.
Col. T. Kilby Smith was on the field in both engagements, and displayed the same reckless personal bravery for which he has long since distinguished.
Accompanying this report you will please find a list of the killed and wounded since the morning of the 19th instant.*
I am, sir, respectfully, &c.,
C. W. FISHER,
Lieut.-Col., Commanding Fifty-fourth Ohio Volunteers.
Capt. G. MOODIE WHITE,
Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig, 2d Div., 15th Army Corps.
Following Vicksburg's surrender, the 54th joined the Union advance on Jackson, Mississippi and was engaged with Confederate forces from July 9 to 14. The regiment then returned to Vicksburg, where it remained until October 1863, when officials ordered the 54th to Memphis, Tennessee and then to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Confederates were laying siege to the city and the Union army inside. The regiment participated in the Union assault on Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga on November 26, 1863. This Northern victory resulted in the end of the Confederate siege of Chattanooga. The day following the Battle of Missionary Ridge, the 54th departed for Knoxville, Tennessee to assist this city's beleaguered Union garrison. The regiment participated in the Union's pursuit of the fleeing Confederates, following the Southerners through eastern Tennessee into western North Carolina, before returning to Chattanooga. The 54th then entered winter quarters on January 12, 1864. ON January 22, 1864, many of the regiment's members reenlisted and received a furlough to return briefly to their homes in Ohio.
In April 1864, the 54th returned from furlough with two hundred new recruits. On May 1, the regiment embarked upon General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The 54th fought in the Battles of Resaca and Dallas, and on June 6 and 7, had a skirmish with Confederate forces at New Hope Church. On June 27, the regiment participated in the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, having twenty-eight men killed and wounded. The 54th had an additional thirteen men killed or wounded at a skirmish at Nicojack Creek. At the Battle of Atlanta (July 21 and 22, 1864), the regiment sustained a loss of ninety-four men killed, wounded, captured, or missing. The 54th lost eight more men killed or wounded at the Battle of Ezra Chapel (July 28, 1864) and was engaged in nearly daily skirmishes with Confederate forces until August 27. From August 30 to September 1, the regiment participated in skirmishes at and in the Battle of Jonesborough. During the Atlanta Campaign, the commanding officer of the 54th issued the following reports:
HDQRS. FIFTY-FOURTH OHIO INFANTRY VOLUNTEERS, Before Atlanta, Ga., July 23, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to instructions from headquarters Second Brigade, Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, of date July 23, 1864, I have the honor to submit to you the following report of the part taken by this regiment in action with the enemy on the 22d instant:
At 8 a. m., in obedience to orders from brigade headquarters, we left our works and moved to the front one mile, taking possession of the enemy's works, forming line of battle facing west. Procuring implements we at once went to work reversing and strengthening his works, and by 2 p. m. we had good works completed. Immediately a heavy fatigue party was set to work completing the works from our left to the dirt road. About 2 p. m., and when the works were nearly finished, this party was relieved by the Forty-seventh Ohio Volunteers moving up and taking position on our left at nearly right angles with us. About 2.30 p. m. heavy columns of the enemy were seen approaching our works. We reserved our fire until they were within 150 to 200 yards of us, when we fired by rank, keeping up a continuous fire for about thirty minutes. The enemy in our front broke and ran in much confusion. About this time the regiments on our left broke to the rear, and when discovered, the enemy, with banners flying, were marching in through the works by the dirt road, which was open. Receiving a fire in rear and left our regiment "changed front to rear on right company," taking shelter in woods and rear of large brick house on our right. A column of the enemy coming rapidly through a deep cut of the railroad enfiladed and compelled us to abandon this position. We fell slowly back through thick woods toward the works we left in the morning. Meeting a portion of the regiment that had been formed in rear advancing we formed line of battle, moved forward, retook our works, and pursued the foe, taking about 40 prisoners. Our casualties, a list of which is hereto appended, is 3 killed, 23 wounded, 3 officers and 65 enlisted men missing. The officers and men behaved with great gallantry, not one leaving his post until the regiments on our left had retired and the enemy were firing in our rear not three rods distant from us. Capts. John Bell and Edward B. Moore, with many enlisted men, remained in the ditch and were either killed or captured. It is but justice to the men to say that they were all at their posts doing their duty and that there was no skulking.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I. T. MOORE,
Maj., Comdg. Fifty-fourth Ohio Infty. Vols.
Capt. A. C. FISK,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig., 2d Div., 15th Army Corps.
HDQRs. FIFTY-FOURTH REGT. OHIO VET. VOL. INFTY., Near East Point, Ga., September 12, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit the following report as the part taken by Fifty-fourth Ohio in the campaign from May 1 until the occupation of Atlanta:
Leaving Larkinsville, Ala.. May 1, 1864, we marched via Bridge port and arrived near Chattanooga on evening of 5th May. After turning all surplus transportation and baggage over, in charge of Lieut. J. W. Shockey, to be stored in Chattanooga, we moved forward May 6, and arrived at Lee and Gordon's Mills at 8 p. m. and bivouacked for the night. Early on the morning of the 8th we moved forward and passed through village of Villanow, and halted near it at 11 p. m., where we supplied ourselves with three days' rations, and rested until 4 a. m. of 9th, when we moved on, passing through Gordon's Gap, halting for the night within three miles of Resaca. Made temporary works, and skirmished with the enemy on 10th. Took position on hills in rear on 12th. Moved forward again on 13th and formed line of battle. Advanced rapidly, driving the enemy's pickets before us, till within musket range of his principal works. Charged over open field on evening of 14th, under heavy fire of enemy's artillery. We lost killed 2, wounded 4. Skirmished with rear guard of retreating enemy on 16th, lost 2 men wounded. Moving to our right, crossed Oostenaula River on pontoon bridge, and bivouacked at dark. Moved forward on 17th at 7 a. m., skirmishing with the enemy all day. 18th, moved forward at 7 a. m., passed through Adairsville at 10 p. m., and bivouacked at 2 on morning of 19th; moved at 7 a. m., arriving at a point near Kingston at 1 p. m., where we rested 20th, 21st, and 22d. Moved forward at 7 a. m. on morning of 23d, and arrived at and passed through Dallas on evening of 26th, and formed line of battle, facing east. Skirmished with enemy on 27th, losing 3 men wounded. 28th, moved by left flank two rods in rear and in support of Thirtieth Ohio, which occupied the trenches. 4 p. m. the enemy charged us in large numbers, but are everywhere defeated and driven back, with great loss. Our loss, 1 commissioned officer and 13 enlisted men wounded. Kept up skirmish fire during the 29th, 30th, and 31st.
June 1, evacuated our works and moved back through Dallas and to our left, taking position evacuated by Gen. Hooker's corps near New Hope Church, holding these works and skirmishing with the enemy 2d, 3d, and 4th. He evacuated his strong works in our front. On the morning of the 5th we marched about seven miles farther to our left. Continued the march on 6th, passed through Acworth about 12 m. and camped one mile south of it. 7th, 8th, and 9th, resting in camp. 10th, moved forward at 6 a. m., passing through Big Shanty at 12 m.; one mile south of this place came up and skirmished with enemy during the afternoon. At dark formed line [of] battle facing south and dug rifle-pits, finishing them at midnight. Remained in this position 11th and 12th. At daybreak on morning of 13th moved one mile to our left, forming line of battle facing northeast. Remained here until 2 p. m. of the 15th, when we moved half a mile farther to our left; moved back same evening. At 10 a. m. of 16th moved to our right one mile, and halted in woods until 9 p. m., when we relieved an Iowa regiment of Seventeenth Army Corps, we supporting Battery H, First Illinois Artillery. Remained in this position until morning of 19th. The enemy left his works during the night and retreated to Kenesaw Mountain; at 9 a. m. we moved forward and occupied his works; as we advanced he shelled us from top of Kenesaw Mountain. During afternoon we moved forward within a few hundred yards of foot of Kenesaw Mountain and made substantial works. Held our works and skirmished with the enemy till Sunday, June 26, 1864, when we were relieved and moved at dark to our right, around on right of Kenesaw Mountain, and bivouacked at midnight. June 27, in obedience to orders, we left our knapsacks and marched one mile to our right, forming line of battle in rear of our works. At sound of bugle we scaled our works and moved forward over open field under destructive fire of shell, entering thick underbrush; the left of regiment was cut off and moved to left, while the right moved forward within fifty yards of his main works, a few going much closer. Finding it impossible to storm his works, after remaining two hours, were ordered back, forming line 300 yards in rear, where we remained till 11 p.m., when, being relieved, we marched back to place we left in morning. Our loss to-day: Commissioned officers wounded, 3; enlisted men wounded, 15; enlisted men killed, 3; enlisted men missing, 2.
Rested here until July 2, when moved at 6 a. m. ten miles to our right, taking position on right of Twenty-third Army Corps and south of Kenesaw Mountain.
At 12 m., July 3, moved forward within 1,000 yards of rebel works, which are across Nickajack Creek, when they opened on us with shell. Forming line in edge of woods, we charged through open field under terrific fire of shell and musketry, driving him from his works, and occupying them ourselves. Lost to-day commissioned officers wounded, 2; enlisted men killed, 2; enlisted men wounded, 9.
July 4, moved several miles to our right, and on the 5th to within three miles of Chattahoochee River, where we remained till 8th, when at 4 p. m. took new position within one mile of river and nine of Atlanta, made strong works, working most of the night.
Remained here till 11th. Enemy left his strong works in our front on the morning of 10th; moved four miles to our rear, and camped on Widow Mitchell's farm. July 12, moved 5 p. m., passing through Marietta at daybreak, and Roswell on 14th; crossing the Chattahoochee, went into camp same evening and made strong works. July 17, moved toward Stone Mountain where we arrived on evening of 18th, completely destroying Atlanta and Charleston Railroad for many miles; moved in direction of Decatur; halted at 10 p. m., and rested till morning. At 6 a. m. on 19th again on move, striking railroad few miles east of Decatur; destroyed it and moved forward to Decatur. July 20, deployed my regiment in line of battle on left of railroad; deployed four companies as skirmishers, under command of Capt. Kili, in my front and left flank; moved forward, driving the enemy rapidly before us, till within three miles of Atlanta, when we halted and made works, working all night. July 22, 8 a. m., advanced about one mile, taking possession of works evacuated by enemy last night. Reversed and strengthened works in our front. Also made heavy detail, and nearly completed works from our left to dirt road, when [about] 2.30 p. m. this detail was relieved by Forty-seventh Ohio, taking position on our left, and at nearly right-angles to us. At 3 p. m. our pickets were driven in and heavy columns of the enemy seen approaching us. When within 150 yards we fired by rank, keeping up a very heavy fire for thirty minutes; the enemy broke and ran in confusion in our front. Just at this time we saw the regiments on our left had given way and were falling back, closely pursued by the enemy, who were rapidly coming through dirt road, which was left open, and had already gained our rear. The left of my regiment fell back, changing front to rear on first Company, taking shelter behind large brick house and in woods; we tried to check the advance of the enemy, but were enfiladed by a rebel column which had moved through deep cut in railroad, which was also open and undefended. Falling slowly back several hundred yards, met portions of regiment which had formed at old works; we joined them and moved forward, retook our works, taking 40 prisoners; 74 dead rebels were found in our front. Our loss: Commissioned officers missing, 3; enlisted men killed, 3; enlisted men wounded, 24; enlisted men missing, 64. Strengthened our works and remained here till 4 a. m. of 27th, when we moved to extreme right of army. 28th, advanced to gain a position, which we did at 12 m. facing south, having driven the enemy several miles. He opened on us with shells, with but little effect; 10 a. m. moved my regiment by right flank 500 yards, and formed line of battle facing west, open field in front; 11 a. m. moved to front to re-enforce Col. Jones, who had his regiment deployed as skirmishers. Deployed my regiment in heavy line of skirmishers, advanced, and took position On right of Col. Jones, being extreme right of army. Four hundred yards in front the enemy were forming their lines in edge of woods, we keeping up an effective fire for thirty minutes. He began to advance with two heavy lines; when within good range, we fired and fell back to house and some temporary works of rails, which we held half an hour, when we were flanked on our right, and fell 150 yards farther back in ravine, which we held till re-enforced, when we advanced, taking possession of house and temporary works, which we strengthened and held, although the enemy frequently charged, but was as often repulsed and driven back with great loss.
Our loss: Enlisted men wounded, 4; enlisted men missing, 2; worked all night making strong works. 30th, advanced 1,600 yards, and completed works in open field in less than two hours. 31st, 2 men severely wounded, 10 more or less injured by lightning.
August 2, advanced one mile and built very strong works. Remained here, skirmishing with the enemy, till August 8. Our loss from August 2 till 8, enlisted men 6. At 3 a. m. of the 8th advanced 500 yards and made works in open field. Enemy's sharpshooters have good range and cross-fire on us; we dig caves for protection. We remained here, fighting and skirmishing with the enemy, till Friday, August 26. Our loss in this position is: Enlisted men killed, 1; wounded, 8. At 10 p. m. of 26th moved back, evacuating our works, traveling all night and part of next day, we arrived at a point within a few miles of Montgomery railroad; formed line facing south, and made works. Moved forward at 7 a. m. of 28th, and took position on Montgomery railroad; made temporary works of rails and logs. We remained here, effectually destroying railroad, till 30th, when we moved at 7 a. m. for Atlanta and Macon Railroad, my regiment being in advance. About 10 a. m. came up with enemy. Deployed my regiment in line of battle, left resting on dirt road leading to Jonesborough. Being well protected by skirmishers in front and on flank, moved forward some distance, when I deployed the regiment as skirmishers, left resting on same road, advancing to edge of woods, where halted. The enemy were behind works of rails and houses, about 300 yards in our front and over open field. At command, we moved forward with a yell, driving him rapidly from his works, and rapidly pursued him. A few miles farther on he had stronger works in open field, from which he kept a continual fire on us as we advanced. Forming line under cover of woods and cotton gin, we moved forward at double-quick, driving him from his works and occupying them ourselves. The enemy opened with shell from a battery on our right, with not much damage to us. Waiting till skirmishers on our left came up, we again advanced and rapidly drove them before us till 3 p. m., when we were relieved and took our place in brigade, very much exhausted. At dark arrived at point three-quarters of a mile from railroad; formed line and made works during the night. Our loss to-day is 1 mortally wounded, since died, and 8 severely wounded. August 31, about 3 p. m. our pickets were driven in, and soon we saw the enemy approaching with three heavy lines of infantry, over open fields, on our left and front. When within good musket range we opened on them, firing left oblique. They continued to advance under our destructive fire till within 150 to 260 yards of our works, when the first line broke and fell back. Its place was supplied by a line in reserve, but soon all the lines began to waver and fall back in great confusion. Our loss to-day is 1 killed and 4 wounded. We remained here till September 2, the enemy retiring during the night, pursuing him to near Lovejoy's Station.
Gen. Sherman announced, September 3, our present task was done and the campaign ended.
I cannot speak in terms of too much praise of the conduct of both officers and men of this command. Heroically did they endure the rapid and fatiguing marches of the entire campaign. In action, when every one behaved so well, I would be doing injustice should I particularize any one, yet I cannot close this report without expressing my thanks to George F. Kili, the senior captain, for his untiring zeal in all the operations of the campaign, and his conspicuous bravery in battle.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I. T. MOORE,
Capt. A. C. FISK,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig., 2d Div., 15th Army Corps.
Following the Union's capture of Atlanta, Georgia in early September 1864, the 54th rested several weeks, before pursuing Confederate General John Bell Hood's army that was currently invading Tennessee. The regiment marched to within sixty miles of Chattanooga before moving to Gadsden, Alabama and then returning to Atlanta. From November 15 to December 15, 1864, the 54th participated in Sherman's March to the Sea. The regiment assisted Union forces in capturing Fort McAllister near Savannah, Georgia. Officials then assigned the regiment to destroy portions of the Gulf Railroad. The 54th finally marched into Savannah on January 4, 1865, several weeks after Union forces captured this city. The 54th's commanding officer issued the following report upon reaching Savannah:
HDQRS. FIFTY-FOURTH Regt. OHIO VET. VOL. INFANTRY, Savannah, Ga., January 4, 1865.
SIR: In obedience to orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Fifty-fourth Ohio in the late campaign through Georgia:
The Fifty-fourth Ohio joined the brigade from detached service at White Hall, near Atlanta, on the night of November 14. Received orders same evening to prepared to move next morning (15th) at daylight. Left White Hall about 8 a.m.; marched steadily forward, unmolested by the enemy. On the 16th passed through McDonough; crossed Ocmulgee River at Ocmulgee Mills December 19; 20th, marched through Hillsborough; passed Clinton 21st, and struck the Macon and Augusta Railroad on 22d. 23d, continued march south. 24th, camped near Irwinton. 25th, passed through Irwinton; enemy in our front. 26th, crossed Oconee River at ---Ferry.
December 4, arrived at Statesborough. December 5, leave Statesborough and march south. December 9, crossed Cannouche River and struck the Gulf railroad, which we destroyed for a distance of four miles. 10th, recrossed Cannouchee River and marched to Ogeechee River, which we crossed and camped eleven miles from Savannah. 13th, crossed Ogeechee River at Kings' Bridge, and marched on Fort McAllister, which was in the possession of the rebels and mounting twenty-two heavy guns. Attack was made at 4 p.m., and after a short but stubborn resistance the fort was carried by storm. In this action the Fifty-fourth Ohio lost 5 men wounded, 2 of whom have since died of their wounds. Capt. Neff, Company H, received a severe wound in right leg.
The subjoined is a list of the casualties of the Fifty-fourth in the late campaign.*
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
GEO. F. KILI,
Capt. F. M. LEWIS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Second Brigade.
After resting for several weeks at Savannah, the 54th embarked upon the Carolinas Campaign. The regiment participated in most major engagements of this campaign, including skirmishes at the South Edisto and North Edisto Rivers in South Carolina, on February 10 and 12, 1865 respectively. The 54th also participated in the Union's assault on Columbia, South Carolina and fought at the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina (March 21, 1865). The commanding officer of the 54th issued the following report during the Carolinas Campaign:
HDQRS. FIFTY-FOURTH OHIO VOLUNTEERS INFANTRY, Goldsborough, N. C., March 29, 1865.
SIR: In compliance with circular from headquarters Second Brigade calling for a report of operations since leaving Savannah, Ga., I have the honor to transmit the following:
Leaving Savannah, Ga., January 14, arrived at Thunderbolt same day; took passage on steamer George Leary on the 16th, and arrived at Beaufort, S. C., on morning of the 17th; moved to near Port Royal Ferry on the 24th, where we remained making roads till 30th, when we moved via Pocotaligo Station and Hickory Hill, arriving at Owens' Cross-Roads February 2. February 4, detailed to guard supply train to Pocotaligo, but when near Pocotaligo Station on the 5th were ordered to rejoin command with train, which we did, taking supplies left at Owens' Cross-Roads. Overtook our brigade February 6 and moved across railroad at Bamberg on 7th. February 8, made reconnaissance to Cannon's Bridge, on South Edisto River, four companies deployed under command of Maj. Kili advanced, skirmishing through water two to three feet deep within few rods of enemy's works. After ascertaining the enemy's position returned to camp same night. 9th, moved up South Edisto River, crossed on pontoon on 10th, and arrived at Poplar Springs 11th. Crossed North Edisto river on 12th by felling trees and wading water three to five feet deep for more than a mile; engaged the enemy on opposite shore; drove him from his works, then proceeded down the river two miles to communicate with Gen. Hazen, who was crossing First and Third Brigades at this point; took a number of rebel pickets who were stationed along river-bank. Moved to left of Orangeburg on 13th, and arrived on Congaree River and Close to Columbia the 15th, where the enemy shelled us with a battery on the opposite shore most of the night. 16th and 17th, crossed Saluda and Broad Rivers, and passed through the city of Columbia. Destroying South Carolina Railroad 18th; and 19th moved via Muddy Springs. February 20 crossed Wateree River above Liberty Hill. 22d, leaving Camden to our right, arrived at and crossed Lynch's River on bridge and by wading. February 26, taking position and making works on opposite side.
March 1, moved toward and arrived at Cheraw on 4th and crossed Great Pedee on 5th. March 7, moved forward toward Fayetteville, N. C., via Laurel Hill Church. 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th, making road and assisting train in crossing swamps. Arrived at Fayetteville March 12, where we remained till 5th, when we again moved toward Goldsborough. At 9 p.m. of 19th moved to rear and left to support Fourteenth Corps, marching all night, arriving near Bentonville at sunrise of 20th, and took on right of Fourteenth Corps. Moved forward on 21st, driving enemy before us till within 200 yards of his works, where we made temporary works of logs. Loss to-day, 1 killed and 2 wounded. The enemy having evacuated during the night, at 1 p.m. of 22d moved to right and took Goldsborough road, arriving at Goldsborough on the 24th, and camped near it, where we still remain.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
I. T. MOORE,
Capt. F. M. LEWIS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
Following Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's surrender, the 54th marched from North Carolina to Washington, DC via Richmond, Virginia. At Washington, the regiment participated in the Grand Review. On June 2, 1865, the regiment departed the nation's capital for Louisville, Kentucky, traveling via steamboats and trains. The 54th remained at Louisville for two weeks before leaving for Little Rock, Arkansas, where the regiment performed garrison duty. The 54th Regiment mustered out of service at Little Rock, Arkansas on August 15, 1865. The men returned to Camp Dennison, where officials formally discharged them.
During the 54th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, eighty-seven men, including four officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 146 men, including three officers, succumbed to disease or accidents. During the regiment's four years of existence, its members marched a grand total of 3,682 miles, excluding the distances that they traveled via railroad trains or ships.
Cite this Entry
"54th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2020, Ohio Civil War Central. 26 Nov 2020 <http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=607>
"54th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2020) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved November 26, 2020, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=607
1st Lt. Judson McCoy was the commander of Company A, 54th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Zouaves. He fought at the Battle of Shiloh and the Siege of Corinth as a corporal.