71st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1861 - 1865)

Also Known As: Seventy-first Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Updated: July 08, 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. Beginning in the autumn of 1861, officials began to recruit the 71st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Tod, at Troy, Ohio. By February 1862, the organization had attained regimental strength and mustered into service on February 1, 1862. Men in the regiment were to serve three years, and most members came from Miami, Auglaize, and Mercer Counties, Ohio.

On February 10, 1862, the 71st left Troy for Paducah, Kentucky, arriving on February 14. At Paducah, the regiment joined General William T. Sherman's command. On February 25, Sherman took a portion of the 71st and part of the 55th Regiment Illinois Infantry by ship to Columbus, Kentucky, where the Union force observed Confederate forces withdrawing. The Northerners remained at Columbus for three days, before returning to Paducah. The 71st soon boarded the steamersOcean and Hazei Dell, sailing up the Tennessee River to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. At Pittsburg Landing, officials brigaded the 71st with the 54th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 55th Regiment Illinois Infantry.

On the morning of April 6, 1862, Confederate forces launched a surprise attack against the Union army at Pittsburg Landing, beginning the Battle of Shiloh. The 71st was positioned on the extreme left of the Union line. Fighting occurred throughout the day, with the regiment slowly falling back. On April 7, the engagement continued, but during the evening of April 6, Northern reinforcements from the Army of the Ohio arrived on the battlefield. The Northern military now had the advantage and, after much fighting, forced the Confederates to withdraw. At the Battle of Shiloh, the 71st had 130 men killed or wounded. Following this engagement, the 71st's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. SEVENTY-FIRST REGT. OHIO VOLS. April 10, 1862

When we formed in line on Sunday morning we had an aggregate of 510 commissioned, non-commissioned officers, and privates in line. You were yourself witness to the conduct and disposition of the regiment during the battle on Sunday. When the artillery opened upon our front from the north bank of the creek the regiment fell back, but were promptly rallied and reformed on another ridge of ground about 150 yards in rear-a strong position for infantry, and the only defensible one near. While there awaiting the attack the Fifty-fifth Illinois and Fifty-fourth Ohio formed in the ravine on our left. I had seen two or three regiments form in line on the ground lately abandoned by us, and thence at right angles towards our new position, threatening the right of the line formed by the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth. I was deterred from opening fire upon them by a message, communicated by a mounted orderly from Col. McArthur, that they had been visited by officers of his regiments, and that they were our own men, displaying a secession flag captured from the enemy, intended as a decoy. When they opened on you, however, I gave the order to fire, and my men delivered a well-directed and well-sustained fire, which must have been destructive, for the enemy were thrown into confusion and fell back; but they soon rallied-almost immediately. It was here that the gallant Lieut.-Col. Kyle fell, mortally wounded. His fall had a most disheartening effect upon the entire regiment, by whom he was greatly esteemed, the regiment having been recruited and organized by him. We continued to fire from our line until I saw the left of the brigade falling back and was informed that our left flank had been turned, when I gave the order to fall back. I was on the right. Maj. Andrews was on the left. The country in our rear, as you are aware, is much broken by short, deep ravines, leading into the main channel running into Lick Creek. In this retreat the regiment was separated. I  led part of it towards our right and rear, as Maj. Andrews led part to the bank of the Tennessee River, where he spoke one of the gunboats, which, shelling the roads, covered their retreat. Part of the regiment went back under your personal command. At the Landing we rallied as many of our men as could be collected, about 250, and took part in the last combat, in which the enemy were checked.

In the battle on Monday we started with about 200 men. These were scattered through the woods shortly after our entering into the action, a few remaining in line. The others I disposed, of as far as I was able to collect them, in other regiments or in such way as I could make them available.

I desire to make special mention of Maj. Andrews for the steadiness, discretion, and gallantry with which he conducted that portion of the regiment under his command after we were broken, and to Adjutant Hart and Sergeant Maj. McConnell for their untiring efforts and constant gallantry throughout the day.

I am required to state especial cases of misconduct. None came under my observation, nor have I been informed of any deserving especial notice. I regret that the regiment did not bear themselves with greater steadiness; but it must be remarked; in extenuation, that the regiment was new; that it had been rapidly organized, and that we were ordered unarmed into the field, and that up to the time of our arrival at this post the regiment had never spent ten hours in the battalion drill Soldiers thus situated are never reliable, and when exposed to the fire of artillery, to which they have no means of replying, are almost always disheartened, if not demoralized. The fact that our loss amounts to one-fifth of the entire force engaged-the actual killed and wounded, certainly known and reported, of over one-eighth-shows that there was no want of personal courage or exposure. The severest loss fell on Company K, Capt. Bown, who held the log house formerly occupied by the Fifty-fifth Illinois as a hospital until they were cut off by the enemy, losing, killed, wounded and prisoners, more than one-half of their officers and men.

R. MASON,

Col. Seventy-first Ohio Volunteers.

Col. DAVID STUART,

Cmdg. Second Brigade, Fifth Division.

Following the Battle of Shiloh, officials ordered the 71st to Fort Donelson and Clarksville, Tennessee, where the regiment performed garrison duty. The 71st spent the remainder of the spring and most of the summer stemming Confederate recruitment efforts in northwestern Tennessee and southern Kentucky. On August 17, 1862, a Southern force demanded the surrender of the 71st's troops at Clarksville. After a council of war, the Union officers agreed to the surrender, realizing that their command was outnumbered four to one. The Southerners quickly exchanged the captured soldiers, Northern authorities dismissed all of the captured officers. Upon a review of the incident, officials upheld the dismissals but granted the officers honorable discharges. On August 25, 1862, the detachment at Fort Donelson successfully repelled an attack by the same Confederate force.

The 71st encamped for the winter of 1862-1863 at Fort Henry. On February 3, 1863, the regiment participated in an expedition to Fort Donelson, where Confederate cavalrymen, under the command of Joseph Wheeler and Nathan Bedford Forrest, were operating. In the ensuing battle, officials held the 71st in reserve, and the regiment saw no action. The 71st remained in this vicinity for much of 1863, moving to the vicinity of Gallatin, Tennessee in the latter part of the year. At Gallatin, the organization guarded portions of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and also dealt with Confederate guerrillas. While stationed in Tennessee, the 71st's commanding officer issued the following reports:

HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Fort Thomas, Tenn., February 10, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to respectfully submit the following report of the part taken by the troops under my command in the expedition from January 28 to February 7, 1864, to the Cumberland Mountains:

As the forces were under command of yourself in person until we passed Carthage, it is not necessary for me to say anything until from that point.

In obedience to your orders, I crossed the Cumberland River at the mouth of Caney Fork River, on the morning of the 30th January, with the detachment of the Seventy-first Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the battalion of Tennessee troops, under command of Maj. Garrett, and pushed directly to Flynn's Lick, the Seventy-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry going directly up the Cumberland and the Tennessee troops by the way of Chestnut Mound, with orders to concentrate at Flynn's Lick at 10 a. m. of the 31st.

In our advance on this place we had numerous running skirmishes with detached squads of Hamilton's marauders, killing and capturing about 20. We found Flynn's Lick occupied by Hamilton with about 40 men, who ran upon sight of our advance. Learning from citizens that Hamilton had said he would fight us at that place, I selected 30 men, and leaving the balance of the command 2 miles out, I went into Flynn's Lick in some hope that with this small force he might risk an engagement, but he dashed wavy as soon as we came in full view. At this point we awaited orders from you.

On the morning of the 2d instant, as per your orders, I started in pursuit of Hamilton and Hughs, who were in the direction of Livingston, Tenn. I followed until the 5th instant, which found us at Old Miner's. There I separated the detachments, and gave orders to sweep the country between the road on which we had come and the Cumberland River back to Flynn's Lick. While at Livingston I received a communication from Col. Stokes, Fifth Tennessee Cavalry, in which he informed me that he would move from Cookville up the Calfkiller River to Sparta, and cover that country. The net results, so far as I have received valid information, are 102 prisoners, 33 killed, 8 wounded, making a total loss of 143 to the horde of robbers that infest that country.

Finding Old Columbus, 3 miles above Gainesborough and between the Cumberland and Roaring Rivers, to be the veriest den of thieves and murderers, I removed the women and children and burned it. I have no means of knowing the number of mules and horses taken. It was considerable, but the quality and condition of the stock was so inferior that its only importance to us was to get them out of the hands of the enemy.

I have the honor to respectfully suggest that the country between Carthage and the Cumberland Mountains through which we passed is bordering upon famine. Families without regard to politics are eaten out and plundered by those common enemies of making (rangers) until even those formerly wealthy are utterly reduced, and many of the poorer are now actually starving. The people are sick of their folly and of the evil they have contracted and brought t upon themselves. They are asking for counsel. They are anxious to have such gentleman as Hon. Mr. Campbell and Mr. Stokes (I use these names because they used them), to whom they formerly listened, but whose counsels they learned to despise, to come and directly them, make speeches to them and form a nucleus around which they may gather. In Jackson, Fentress, and Overton Counties rebels go to Glasgow and other towns in Kentucky, where they purchase goods, contraband and otherwise, using but little restraint. We completely broke up for the time being the bands of Hughs, Hamilton, and Doherty.

I have the honor to be obedient servant,

H. K. McCONNELL,

Col., Cmdg.

Brig. Gen. E. A. PAINE,

Cmdg. Post.

HDQRS. SEVENTY-FIRST Regt. OHIO VET. VOL. INFTY., Elk River, Tenn., May 11, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the guerrillas at Winchester yesterday morning were those of Hays and Davis, and were from thirty to forty in number. Capt. McConnell drove them from ten to fifteen be moving in this direction his probable route will be by Lexington, Pulaski, and Fayetteville, a distance of more than 100 miles. We are keeping a vigilant lookout in that direction. We lack 20,000 rounds of ammunition of the quantity required to be kept on hand. I received intelligence yesterday of 300 bushels of corn being brought from below to be manufactured into whisky. I can secure the corn by going not more than ten miles. There can be nothing permanently in the way of mapping until we can secure instruments for that purpose. Mr. Gilham, who lives near this post, will be of great use to us employed in secret service. Can he be so employed? There is also a colored man at Winchester who is regularly reporting here, and will also be of service.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. K. McCONNELL,

Col., Cmdg.

Capt. PHELPS PAINE,

Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

In the summer of 1864, the 71st left Gallatin and embarked upon William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign, taking part in the Siege of Atlanta and the Battle of Jonesborough. At the campaign's conclusion, the 71st's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. SEVENTY-FIRST REGT. OHIO VET. VOL. INFTY., Atlanta, Ga. September 10, 1864.

I have the honor to submit the following report of the Seventy-first Regt. Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry in the expedition to the rear of Atlanta:

It seems necessary for me in the beginning to state that Special Field Orders, No. 218, dated headquarters Department of the Cumberland, August 9, 1864, transferring the regiment from the Fourth Division, Twentieth Army Corps, to the second Brigade, Third Division, Fourth Army Corps, were received on the 14th Day of August, 1864, at regimental headquarters at Decherd, Tenn. Owing to directions from Maj.-Gen. Rousseau, the regiment was not allowed to move until the 2;30. We were again detained by orders from Maj.-Gen. Steerman, at Dalton, Ga., from the 24th to the 28th. On the evening of the last-named day we arrived at Vining's Station (Chattahoochee), and finding that our corps had moved for the rear of Atlanta two days before, I immediately mobilized the regiment, and at 2 p. m. on the 29th we started, by the way of Sandtown, to join our command. After a careful and pleasant march we joined the Second Brigade, Third Division, Fourth Army corps, on the morning of the 31st of August, near Rough mid Ready, on the Macon railroad. We marched with the command, but had no part in any action until the 2d day of September. Finding the enemy in force on the Macon railroad near Lovejoy's, when our brigade took position, four companies (B, C, E, and K) of our regiment were ordered to the skirmish line, under my own command. These companies, constituting the skirmishers of our brigade, advanced near a mile and encountered a light line of the enemy's skirmishers, which we easily drove for half a mile, where we found the enemy's main skirmish line, with rifle-pits and other temporary defenses. We carried and permanently held a portion of this line, and pressed our line in close range of the balance. Night had now come on, and at 9 o'clock, being relieved by the Forty-first Ohio Volunteers, I rejoined the regiment, which had come up with the brigade, and during the night we constructed breast-works on the ground we had taken from the enemy. During the 3d and 4th and most of the 5th we lay in our works without event, except the slight wounding of 4 of our men by stray shots from the enemy's skirmish line on the 3d. At 5 p. m. of the 5th Maj. Carlin relieved the One hundred and twenty-fourth Ohio Volunteers from the skirmish line with Companies D, F, G, H, and I, of our regiment. The army being ordered to fall back under cover of the night, our brigade moved at, 8 p. m., leaving the skirmish line to keep up the deception, with orders to withdraw at, midnight and follow up. By direction of the brigade commander, I prepared the regiment for the march; at 8 placed it under command of Lieut.-Col. Hart, and remained to bring off the skirmishers, which I did without casualty or alarm at 5 minutes to 12 o'clock, and joined the brigade at Jonesborough at day dawn on the morning of the 6th. About the same time that one army moved I began to hear the movement of wagons to the rear in the encampment of the enemy. By careful observation I became quite satisfied that the enemy was also falling back. 

From joining the brigade at Jonesborough, on the morning of the 6th, to our arrival in Atlanta on the 8th, we simply marched with the command, nothing occurring worthy of note. We joined the brigade with 467 men and 16 officers. In the skirmish of the 2d September we lost 11 wounded. (See accompanying list of casualties. In camp on the 3d, 4 men were wounded (See list of casualties.)

I forgot to say that the evening of the 2d the ammunition of Company C being exhausted, I relieved it with Company A, which advanced under a brisk fire an drove the enemy back, thus securing an excellent position fur the works of the: Ninety-third Ohio Volunteers.

As far as I was able to observe, the conduct of men and officers was good.

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

H. K. McCONNELL,

Col. Seventy first Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry.

Capt. CROWELL,

Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Following the Union's capture of Atlanta, Georgia, the regiment participated in the North's pursuit of John Bell Hood's Confederate army, which launched an invasion of Tennessee during the autumn of 1864. The 71st fought in the Battle of Nashville, Tennessee, having approximately one-third of its available members killed or wounded. The 71st's commanding officer issued the following report after the battle:

HDQRS. SEVENTY-FIRST OHIO VETERAN VOL. INFANTRY, Near Huntsville, Ala., January 9, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor, in compliance to orders, to make the following report of the part taken by the Seventy-first Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, in the two days' fight before Nashville, Tenn., on the 15th and 16th of December, 1864:

We broke camp at 4 a.m. on the 15th, and at 7 o'clock was marching with the Second Brigade, Third Division, Fourth Army Corps, to Hillsborough pike, and there remained in reserve until 9 o'clock, when two companies, A and F, were deployed as skirmishers, they remaining on the line through the day. The regiment was formed in the front line, with the right resting on the First Brigade, the Fifty-ninth Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry on the left. We charged with the column on the skirmish line at the burnt house, taking some prisoners. The regiment was halted at the stone fence in rear of the house. We remained there under a heavy artillery fire until 3 p.m., at which time the charge was made on the main line of the enemy's works. The regiment moved forward through a field under a heavy fire of musketry, losing a number of men.

At within 100 yards of the works we charged on the double-quick, carrying the works, with a loss of 49 men killed and wounded. The abatis was very heavy, but was able to burst through and plant our colors first on the works, the color-bearer [Sergeant Bodwell] being wounded in the attempt. We captured a number of prisoners, and one piece of artillery with limber chest [which] was in our front. We marched to the Granny White pike and bivouacked for the night. On the 16th marched at daybreak, crossed the Franklin pike, then moved forward in line. Found the enemy in force on Overton Knob. In the assault the regiment was formed in the second line, with the Fifty-ninth Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry on the right, with orders to conform our movements with the Fifty-ninth Illinois, as they were to follow the pike. The enemy made a stubborn resistance, and after remaining under a fire of artillery and musketry for thirty minutes, was ordered to fall back, as the entire line on our left was falling back. Our line was pressed forward as far as any other, three color-bearers being wounded right at the abatis, and quite a number were found dead within twenty feet of the works.

The regiment was reformed in rear of the batteries, and ready for the second assault within fifteen minutes after the order to fall back. The officers and men acted nobly.

Col. Hart was wounded near the middle of the charge, at which time I took command of the regiment.

I herewith append a list of casualties: Killed and wounded, commissioned officers, 7; enlisted men, 117; total, 124.

W. H. McCLURE,

Capt. Seventy-first Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry.

Lieut. B. A. HAMILTON,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

The Union victory at the Battle of Nashville brought Hood's invasion to an end.

In 1865, officials ordered the 71st to Texas. The 71st mustered out of service at San Antonio, Texas on November 30, 1865. Officials then transported the organization to Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio, where authorities discharged the 71st's members from the military in January 1866.

During the 71st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, sixty-nine men, including three officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 137 men, including five officers, succumbed to disease or accidents.

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"71st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 23 Oct 2019 <http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=665>

APA Style

"71st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved October 23, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=665

Comments powered by Disqus

Help support the ongoing development of Ohio Civil War Central by clicking the banner and then purchasing products from Amazon.com.

Ohio Civil War Central: An Encyclopedia of the American Civil War