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Hundred Days’ Men

In February 1864, Ohio Governor John Brough proposed providing several Ohio Militia units to the federal government for active duty. These units would primarily protect Ohio's southern border from Confederate invasion.

In February 1864, Ohio Governor John Brough proposed providing several Ohio Militia units to the federal government for active duty. These units would primarily protect Ohio's southern border from Confederate invasion. Brough's proposal resulted from Confederate General John Hunt Morgan's raid into southern and eastern Ohio in the summer of 1863 and anti-war protests, including the failed gubernatorial campaign of Clement Vallandigham, that same year. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton rejected Brough's plan. On March 15, Brough again lobbied Stanton. In a lengthy letter, Brough wrote, "Passing events in Ohio and in Canada point to a pressing danger of raids upon us from that quarter; while our southern frontier, including that of Indiana, is undoubtedly to be the object of an assault by Morgan and his forces, as soon as their preparations are completed." Stanton, again, rejected the plan.

In April 1864, Brough and the governors of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin met together and lobbied the federal government jointly to accept militia forces from each state for active duty. On April 21, they sent their formal proposal to President Abraham Lincoln:



I. The Governors of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin offer to the President

infantry troops for the approaching campaign, as follows :

Ohio………………………………………………………………………… 30,000

Indiana…………………………………………………………………….. 20,000




II. The term of service to be one hundred days, reckoning from the date of muster into

the service of the United States, unless sooner discharged.

III. The troops to be mustered into the service of the United States by regiments, when the regiments are filled up, according to regulations, to the minimum strength the regiments to

be organized according to the regulations of the War Department the whole number to be furnished within twenty days from date of notice of the acceptance of this proposition.

IV. The troops to be clothed, armed, equipped, subsisted, transported, and paid as other

United States infantry volunteers, and to serve in fortifications, or wherever their services may

be required, within or without their respective States.

V. No bounty to be paid the troops, nor the services charged or credited on any draft.

VI. The draft for three years service to go on in any State or district where the quota is

not filled up; but if any officer or soldier in this special service should be drafted, he shall be

credited for the service rendered.

JOHN BROUGH, Governor of Ohio.

O. P. MORTON, Governor of Indiana.

RICHARD YATES, Governor of Illinois.

W. M. STONE, Governor of Iowa.

The governors believed that these militiamen would free 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 April 23, 1864, Governor Brough received news that the federal government had accepted the governors' proposal. He immediately ordered the Ohio adjutant general, B.R. Cowen, to prepare Ohio's militia units for active duty.

WASHINGTON, April 23, 1864.

B. R. COWEN, Adjutant- General:

Thirty thousand volunteer militia are called from Ohio, the larger portion to service out of the State. Troops to be mustered into service of United States for one hundred days, unless sooner discharged; to be mustered in by regiments, of riot less than the minimum strength, and organized according to laws of War Department.

They will be clothed, armed, equipped, transported, and paid by the Government, and to serve on fortifications, or wherever services may be required. Not over five thousand to be detailed for home service; no bounty to be paid or credit on any draft. The draft to go on in deficient localities, but if any officer or soldier in the special service is drafted, he will be credited for the service rendered. Time is of the utmost importance. It is thought here, that if substitutes are allowed, the list of exemptions may be largely reduced; say, confining it to telegraph operators, railroad engineers, officers and foremen in shops, and mechanics actually employed on Government or State work for military service. This is left to your discretion. Set the machinery at work immediately. Please acknowledge receipt by telegraph.


On April 25, Adjutant General Cowen issued General Order No. 12, ordering Ohio's militia units to prepare for active duty:


ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, Columbus, April 25, 1864.


The regiments, battalions, and independent companies of infantry of the National Guard

of Ohio are hereby called into active service for the term of one hundred days, unless sooner

discharged. They will be clothed, armed, equipped, transported, and paid by the United States


These organizations will rendezvous at the most eligible places in their respective counties

(the place to be fixed by the commanding officer, and to be on a line of railroad if practicable),

on Monday, May 2, 1864, and report by telegraph, at four o clock P. M. of the same day, the

number present for duty.

The alacrity with which all calls for the military forces of the State have been heretofore

met, furnishes the surest guaranty that the National Guard will be prompt to assemble at the

appointed time. Our armies in the field are marshaling for a decisive blow, and the citizen-soldiery will share the glory of the crowning victories of the campaign, by relieving our veteran

regiments from post and garrison-duty, to allow them to engage in the more arduous labors of

the field. By order of the Governor:

B. R. COWEN, Adjutant-General, Ohio.

Between April 25, and May 2, rumors circulated across Ohio of a general unhappiness with General Order No. 12 and potential unrest, but on May 2, 1864, no protests occurred and 38,000 militiamen reported for active duty–eight thousand more men than Governor Brough had proposed sending for federal government use. On May 3, Brough issued the following proclamation, thanking the militiamen for their patriotism:

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Columbus, May 3, 1864.


The Commander-in-Chief [Governor Brough] cordially and earnestly thanks you for your noble response on yesterday to the call made for the relief of our army, and the salvation of the country. This manifestation of loyalty and patriotism is alike honorable to yourselves and your noble State. In the history of this great struggle it will constitute a page that you and your descendants may hereafter contemplate with perfect satisfaction.

The duty to which you will be assigned, though comparatively a minor one, will be none

the less beneficial to the cause of the country. While you hold fortifications, and lines of army

communications, you will release veteran soldiers, and allow them to strengthen the great army

that is marshaling for the mightiest contest of the war. In this you will contribute your full

measure to the final result we all so confidently anticipate, and so much desire the end of the

rebellion, and the restoration of peace and unity in the land.

There is no present imminent danger that calls you from your peaceful avocations. But, it

is necessary that we enter upon the spring campaign with a force that will enable us to strike

rapid and effective blows when the conflict opens. Though we have met with a few reverses this

spring, the general military situation is everywhere hopeful, and those in command of your

armies were never more confident, But we can not permit this war, in its present proportions,

to linger through another year. It is laying a burden upon us which, by vigorous and united

exertion, we must arrest. It is true economy, as well as the dictate of humanity, to call to the

termination of this contest a force that will be sufficient for the purpose. Time, treasure, and

blood will alike be saved in augmenting our forces, and making the contest short and decisive.

The hope of the Rebel leaders is in the procrastination of the war. In this a political party in

the North sympathizes with them, and is laboring, by the same means to secure a political triumph at the expense of the unity and future prosperity of the Nation. The first we must subdue with our arms within the hundred days, and then we can turn upon the other and win over it a more peaceful, but not less glorious victory.

I am not ignorant of the sacrifices this call imposes upon you, nor of the unequal manner

in which it imposes the burdens of the war. You must reflect, however, that hitherto we

have experienced comparatively little of the inconveniences and depression consequent upon a

state of war. If a part of these come home to us now, we can well afford to meet, for so short a

time, the tax imposed upon us, especially when the sacrifice gives promise of materially hastening the close of the contest. The burden must necessarily be unequal, for the Union men of this country must work out its salvation. The disloyal element is not to be relied upon either to

encourage our armies, or to aid in the crushing of the rebellion. You are, in this particular, not

unlike your ancestors who achieved the independence of your country against a foreign enemy

on the one hand, and the tories of the revolution on the other.

Remember then, that like unto those who wrought out your nationality, through adversity

that you have not yet experienced, the greater the sacrifice the higher the honor of those who are

called to preserve it.

Fully comprehending the effects of this call upon the industrial interests of the State, I

would not have made it, had I not been fully impressed with the necessity of an increase of our

forces, as the most effective means of hastening the close of the contest and the advent of peace.

I have done what I conscientiously believed to be my duty in the present position of affairs, and

you have responded in a manner that challenges my admiration, and will command the gratitude

of the country.

Go forth, then, soldiers of the National Guard, to the fulfillment of the duty assigned to

you. I have entire confidence that you will meet all its requirements with fidelity and honor.

The prayers of the people of the State will follow you; and may your return be as glorious as

your going forth is noble and patriotic.


Despite the quick arrival of these militia units, several organizations refused to serve under federal government control. To assuage these men's fears, Governor Brough offered other service opportunities. For example, Brough offered one regiment that had no desire to serve under federal authority the choice of working as prison guards at Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio. Brough telegraphed the commanding officer:

The Guard will be promptly mustered out at the end of the hundred days. The faith of the Government and the State are both pledged to this. The regiment can serve in the State if

it wants to do so. We want a regiment at Camp Chase to guard Rebel prisoners and patrol Columbus. No other regiment wants to do it. Men who refuse to muster will be held to this service. The muster into the United States service is a mere form to make the payment from the Government instead of the State.

The regiment immediately agreed to serve under federal control and completed its military duty outside of Ohio's borders.

Of all of the militia organizations called for duty, only one unit refused to serve. Governor Brough immediately made an example of this organization, removing it from Ohio's militia rolls.



ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, Columbus, May 26, 1864.

Company B, Captain Wendell Mischler, Fortieth Battalion, National Guard, is hereby

dishonorably dismissed from the service of the State of Ohio, with forfeiture of all pay and allowances, or having refused to come to the relief of the Government, under the recent call of the President for one hundred days troops.

The National Guard of Ohio, by its promptness in responding to said call, has won an

immortality of honor, and justice to it demands that all recusants should be promptly punished,

and the Guard relieved from the odium of so disgraceful a course of action.

To the honor of the Guard, it is announced that the above company was the only one

among the forty-two regiments sent to the field that lacked faith in the honor of their State and

adopted country, and refused to fly to the relief when the fate of the country was trembling in

the balance.

They can return to their homes and say to their friends and neighbors that they have

regarded their country and its safety as secondary to their own personal ease and security; and

that in the hour of most imminent peril to that Government which had received and protected

them when aliens, they basely betrayed their trust, and refused to follow their gallant comrades

to the field of honor and of danger.

No member of said company will be allowed to enlist in any other company of the National

Guard, under any circumstances whatever, as men who wish to be soldiers in peace and citizens

in war, will not be allowed to disgrace the Guard, or peril the State and Nation by their presence and example.

By order of the Governor: B. R. COWEN, Adjutant-General of Ohio.

While he first objected to the use of these men, Secretary of War Stanton quickly welcomed the additional soldiers. Stanton repeatedly telegraphed Brough, requesting the men's presence:

WASHINGTON, D. C., May 5, 1864.


;General Sigel's advance has exposed the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and a guerrilla force of about a hundred have seriously injured the shops and several engines at Piedmont. Mr. Garrett says that a regiment of your men will, if promptly forwarded, prevent any further injury.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

WASHINGTON, D. C., May 5, 1864.


;If you have any regiments organized, please forward them immediately to Wheeling and Cumberland. The Rebels, in small squads, are already on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and unless driven off may do considerable damage. Sigel has moved his force down the Valley, and is too far off to do any good.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

WASHINGTON, D. C., May 13, 1864.


;Official dispatches have been received from the Army of the Potomac. A general attack was made by General Grant at four and a half o clock A. M. yesterday, followed by the most brilliant results. At eight o clock Hancock had taken four thousand prisoners, including Major-General Edward Johnson and several Brigadiers, and between thirty and forty cannon. Now is the time to put in your men.

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

On May 18, 1864, Brough notified Stanton that Ohio had provided the federal government with 34,000 men:

COLUMBUS, May 18, 1864.

E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:

;Ohio has sent regiments as follows: Four to Baltimore, Maryland, two to Cumberland,

thirteen to Washington, and the fourteenth will leave to-night; three to Parkersburg, four to

Charleston, three to New Creek, three to Harper s Ferry. Has stationed one at Gallipolis, two

at Camp Dennison, two at Camp Chase, two regiments and a battalion of seven companies at

Johnson' s Island; being forty regiments and one battalion, comprising an aggregate of thirty-four thousand men. This work has been completed in sixteen days.


Governor Brough believed that hardships would occur for the militiamen's families left behind. Earlier in the conflict, the Ohio government had implemented the Relief Law to provide financial assistance to the families of soldiers serving in the regular military. Brough, however, believed that the families of the Hundred Days' Men did not qualify for aid under the Relief Law. In a proclamation on May 9, 1864, Brough called on local citizens to assist the families of the militiamen.


Columbus, May 9, 1864.


The departure of the National Guard from the State, in the service of the country, will

necessarily work much individual hardship. In many cases in each county, families of laboring

men, dependent on the daily labor of the head, will be left almost wholly unprovided for. The

compensation of the soldier will not enable him to provide for the daily wants of his family. We

who remain at home, protected by the patriotism and sacrifices of these noble men, must not permit their families to suffer. The prompt response of the Guard to the call has reflected

honor upon the State. We must not sully it by neglecting the wants of those our gallant troops

leave behind. No such stain must rest upon the fair character of our people.

As organized, is ever better than individual action, I suggest to the people of the several

counties that they promptly raise, by voluntary contribution, a sufficient sum to meet the probable wants of the families of the Guards, who may require aid, and place the same in the hands of the military committee of the county, for appropriation and distribution. The committee can designate one or two good men in each township who will cheerfully incur the trouble and labor of passing upon all cases in their townships, and of drawing and paying such appropriation as may be made to them. Citizens, let this fund be ample. Let those whom God has blessed with abundance contribute to it freely. It is not a charity to which you may give grudgingly. It is payment of only part of the debt we all owe the brave men who have responded to the call of the country, and whose action is warding off from us deadly perils, and saving us from much more serious sacrifices. What is all your wealth to you if your Government be subverted? What the value of your stores if your public credit or finances be ruined, or Rebel armies invade and traverse your State? Be liberal and generous then in this emergency. Let no mother, wife, or child of the noble Guard want the comforts of life during the hundred days; and let these noble men feel on their return that the people of the State appreciated, and have, to some extent, relieved the sacrifices they so promptly made in the hour of the country's need.

As these families do not come within the means provided by the Relief Law, we must look

to voluntary contributions to provide for them. In aid of these, I feel authorized to appropriate

the sum of five thousand dollars from the Military Contingent Fund. This sum will be apportioned among the several counties in proportion to the number of the Guard drawn from each, and the chairman of the military committee early notified of the amount subject to his order.

In many oases men have left crops partly planted, and fields sown, that in due time must

be harvested or lost. In each township and county there should be at once associations of men

at home who will resolve, that, to the extent of their ability, they will look to these things. It is

not only the dictate of patriotism, but of good citizenship, that we make an extra exertion to

save the crops to the country, and the accruing value to the owners, who, instead of looking to

seed-time and harvest, are defending us from invasion and destruction. Men of the cities and

towns when the harvest is ready for the reaper, give a few days of your time, and go forth by

the dozens and fifties to the work. The labor may be severe, but the sacrifice will be small, and

the reflection of the good you have done will more than compensate you for it all.

In this contest for the supremacy of our Government, and the salvation of our country,

Ohio occupies a proud position. Her standard must not be lowered; rather let us advance it to

the front. No brighter glory can be reflected on it than will result from a prompt and generous

support to the families of the Guard. Let us all to the work.

Very respectfully, JOHN BROUGH.

One week later, Brough changed his views regarding the Relief Law. He concluded that the militiamen and their families qualified for assistance under the Relief Law's provisions. On May 16, 1864, he notified the Military Committees, the organizations mandated by the Relief Law to assist soldiers and their families, to prepare to meet the needs of the militiamen.


Columbus, May 16, 1864.


Upon more careful examination of the provisions of the Relief Law, I feel constrained to

change my former position as to the right of families of the National Guard to its benefits. They

have the same rights as families of other soldiers in the service. Still, our people should bear in

mind that with the large addition thus made to the dependent families of soldiers, this fund will

now be severely burdened. The taxation was made on the basis of our quotas under the calls.

I've have now added over thirty thousand men; and to that extent have increased the number of

families that will require aid. Therefore, it is necessary that we should add to the fund, by voluntary contribution, to the extent, at least, of this increase of its liability. You should see that

your county commissioners levy the discretionary tax for this year; or, at least have a clear

record of a refusal to do so.

Some complaints in regard to the action of trustees in the distribution of this fund, are answered in this form:

1. It is asked, Where the absent soldier owns a house and lot, or a small tract of land on

which his family resides, is the family thereby debarred from relief? Certainly not; unless the

property, independent of furnishing a home for the family, is productive of the means of supporting it. Unproductive property may be an incumbrance, in the way of taxes and other expenses. Sensible and well-meaning men should not have any trouble in deciding questions of this kind. A helpless family may not be able to work ground, even to the partial extent of a livelihood. The simple question with practical men should be: Does the family, considering all its circumstances, its capability to produce, its ordinary industry and economy, need aid to live comfortably? If so, the aid should be extended. It is mortifying to add, that in a few cases trustees are represented as deciding that where the family held a small homestead, entirely unproductive, it was not entitled to relief until the property be sold, and its proceeds consumed. Such a position

is at variance alike with the provisions of the law, and the dictates of humanity.

2. It is asked whether the family of a deceased soldier in receipt of a Government pension

is entitled to relief? The answer depends upon the circumstances, sensibly viewed. Is the pension, considering the size and helplessness of the family, sufficient for its support? If not, relief

should be extended from the fund, and the amount of the pension is to be taken into the account

when equalizing the fund in the township.

Other questions that may arise should be settled, not by the strict rules of legal refinement,

but upon the principles of practical common sense. The trust should be liberally and honestly

construed. There is no requirement to practice a niggardly economy, but to fairly distribute the

funds in the spirit of justice and humanity, and accomplish with it the greatest amount of good.

In cases where the military committees feel warranted in doing so, they can relieve themselves of some labor and responsibility, and probably secure a more equitable distribution, by apportioning the voluntary contributions among the townships, upon the basis adopted by the

county commissioners, and handing the amounts to the township trustees, to be paid out in the.

same manner, and as a part of the relief fund.

Please have this circular published in your county.

Very respectfully, JOHN BROUGH.

Upon the end of these men's one hundred days of service, even President Abraham Lincoln acknowledged the militiamen's valuable service:


September 10, 1864.

The term of one hundred days, for which the National Guard of Ohio volunteered having

expired, the President directs an official acknowledgment of their patriotism and valuable service during the recent campaign. The term of service of their enlistment was short, but distinguished by memorable events in the Valley of the Shenandoah, on the Peninsula, in the operations of the James River, around Petersburg and Richmond, in the battle of Monocacy, in the intrenchments of Washington, and in other important service. The National Guard of Ohio performed with alacrity the duty of patriotic volunteers, for which they're entitled, and are hereby tendered, through the Governor of their State, the National thanks.

The Secretary of War is directed to transmit a copy of this order to the Governor of Ohio,

and to cause a certificate of their honorable service to be delivered to the officers and soldiers of

the Ohio National Guard, who recently served in the military force of the United States as volunteers for one hundred days.


While Brough had hoped this surplus of men would result in Confederate defeat in one hundred days or less, the South's downfall did not occur in this time limit. Nevertheless the surge in men did provide the federal government with additional soldiers who helped the Northern military win several important victories during the summer of 1864, bringing the Confederacy closer to collapse.

Ohio’s Hundred Days’ regiments included:

130th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

131st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

132nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

133rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

134th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

135th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

136th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

137th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

138th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

139th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

140th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

141st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

142nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

143rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

144th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

145th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

146th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

147th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

148th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

149th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

150th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

151st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

152nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

153rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

154th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

155th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

156th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

157th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

158th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

159th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

160th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

161st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

162nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

163rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

164th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

165th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

166th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

167th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

168th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

169th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

170th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

171st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry


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