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.
Artillery units in Ohio served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. By mid 1863, Union soldiers had captured numerous Confederate fortifications in the South. The United States government authorized the creation of heavy artillery units to garrison these forts. Ohio provided the government with the 2nd Regiment Ohio Heavy Artillery, which consisted of twelve different batteries. The 2nd's Battery E mustered into service on September 9, 1863, at Covington, Barracks, at Covington, Kentucky. The men in the battery were to serve three years.
On September 19, 1863, Battery E moved to Fort Boyle at Muldraugh's Hill, Kentucky. The battery transferred to Camp Sedgwick, at Cleveland, Tennessee, on May 26, 1864. On August 17, 1864, at Cleveland, the organization engaged Confederate forces under Joseph Wheeler, helping the Union soldiers to repulse the Southerners' attack. After this engagement, the commanding officer of the 2nd Ohio Heavy Artillery issued the following report:
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Fort McPherson, Cleveland, Tenn., August 22, 1864.
MAJ.: I have the honor to report that on the morning of the 17th instant I received warning of the approach of the enemy in force, and about noon my cavalry pickets were driven in from the Dalton road. At this time my command was posted as follows: The battalion (four companies) of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, under Maj. George F. Barnes, and a section of light artillery, under Second Lieut. E. R. Davidson, Second Ohio Heavy Artillery, at the building formerly occupied as my headquarters. The Second Battalion (seven companies) of my regiment, under Maj. D. W. Hoffman, at Camp Sedgwick, on the ridge midway between Fort McPherson and the town, and a detachment of my regiment (100 men), under First Lieut. A. J. Thompson, at Fort McPherson. As soon as the enemy made his appearance and commenced an attack upon the troops near the depot, Lieut. Davidson opened with effect upon him, followed up by Lieut. Thompson from the fort, when the advance of the enemy broke to the rear. A flag of truce soon after appeared in view, and I at once ordered a cessation of the firing until the purport of it could be ascertained. By this flag I received a note from Maj.-Gen. Wheeler, of which the following is a copy:
HDQRS. CAL CORPS, August 17, 1864.
OFFICER COMDG. U. S. FORCES, Cleveland, Tenn.
I desire to know if you intend compelling me to shell the town?
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Maj.-Gen., C. S. Army.
To which I replied as follows:
HDQRS. U. S. FORCES, Cleveland, Tenn. August 17, 1864.
Maj. Gen. JOSEPH WHEELER, C. S. Army:
GEN.: In reply to your note just received, I have to say that I have no objections to your shelling the town.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. GIBSON, Capt. Third U. S. Artillery and Col. Second Ohio Heavy Artillery.
After an interval of twenty minutes Lieut. Thompson opened fire again from the fort, but deeming Lieut. Davidson's position insecure unless supported by my whole command, I ordered Maj. Barnes to withdraw him and the cavalry to Camp Sedgwick, from which point Lieut. Davidson again opened upon the enemy, who could be seen in large force in the woods directly in our front. I at the same time ordered all patients in the hospital, citizens, and all public stores to be removed from the town, and whatever stores should remain after night-fall I gave orders to burn in case of necessity. During the afternoon Capt. Bachmann, of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, with his company, was sent to reconnoiter the woods in our front, and had a sharp skirmish with a body of the enemy posted there. The enemy appearing to make an effort to get in rear of my position, I sent out scouts from the cavalry on the Charleston and Harrison roads, who reported him as having crossed both roads in force. The position I occupied with my main force being totally indefensible, except from an attack directly in front, and moreover interfering to a serious extent with the fire from Fort McPherson, I removed my whole command, as soon as night set in, to the fort. This precaution, I am satisfied, saved my command from serious loss, as I have since learned from rebel deserters that it was the intention of the enemy to attack me after night-fall from my rear. The next morning, however, I found that the enemy had disappeared, having done no further damage than the cutting of the telegraph wires and the destruction of a few yards of railroad above and below the town.
Our casualties comprise, I regret to say, Capt. Philip Rothrock, Second Ohio Heavy Artillery, severely wounded by a shell, and 2 enlisted men of the Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry slightly wounded.
A wounded rebel soldier states that the enemy lost 8 killed by one shell and as many more wounded by our artillery fire.
I am much indebted to Maj. Barnes, Sixteenth Kentucky Cavalry, for the invaluable assistance rendered me by his cavalry, and I most cheerfully testify to the indefatigable exertions of his officers and men in watching and giving information of the movements of the enemy. I must also commend in the highest terms First Lieut. A. J. Thompson, acting engineer officer, for the admirable services of his pieces from Fort McPherson, and the skill, energy, and industry he has displayed in the construction of that work. Second Lieut. E. R. Davidson is also entitled to credit for the services rendered by his section of light artillery.
The officers and men of my regiment were zealous and indefatigable in their preparations to meet an attack from the enemy, and labored in the trenches near Camp Sedgwick and Fort McPherson night and day for the greater part of seventy-two hours.
In rendering this report, I deem it proper to say that this attack of the enemy has satisfied me that my true position for the defense of the railroad and the public buildings and stores at this place is near the building from the vicinity of which Maj.-Gen. Steedman ordered me to remove. With the fort now finished, and one just commenced midway between it and the town, and batteries and riflepits around the building referred to, I can hold the place against any odds, and completely protect the railroad and everything intrusted to my care. I respectfully, but earnestly, insist upon being allowed to make such dispositions for defense at this place as I have suggested, and if my suggestions are disapproved, I respectfully request that the matter be referred to Maj.-Gen. Sherman for his orders;
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. G. GIBSON,
Col. Second Ohio Heavy Arty., Comdg. U. S. Forces.
Maj. S. B. MOE,
Asst. Adjt. Gen., Hdqrs. District of the Etowah, Chattanooga, Tenn.
On October 9, 1864, the organization relocated to Loudon, Tennessee. The battery departed Loudon for Strawberry Plains, Tennessee on November 18, 1864, with the intention of assisting beleaguered Union forces at this new location. Two days later, Battery E marched to Knoxville, Tennessee. On December 7, 1864, the battery, along with other Union forces, participated in a brief campaign into western Virginia, returning to Knoxville on December 29, 1864. On January 11, 1865, Battery E began to garrison Loudon.
In August 1865, officials ordered Battery E to Nashville, Tennessee, where the organization mustered out of service on August 23, 1865. Authorities then sent Battery E to Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio, where officials discharged the battery's members from military duty on August 29, 1865.
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