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 batteries formed in Ohio became known as batteries of Ohio Volunteer Artillery. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. On March 17, 1862, the 12th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery formed. The organization had mustered into service as Company D of the 25th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry on June 8, 1861, at Camp Jackson, at Columbus, Ohio. In March 1862, officials detached the company from the 25th and created the 12th Battery. The battery was also known as Johnston's Battery, named after Aaron C. Johnston, a captain in the organization. The men in the battery were to serve three years from their original enlistment date in June 1861.
Upon becoming the 12th, the organization reported for duty at McDowell, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). As Company D, the unit had fought in the various engagements that occurred in western Virginia during the autumn of 1861 and the winter of 1861 and 1862. As the 12th, the battery engaged in its first battle at the Battle of McDowell (May 8, 1862), where officials commended the organization for its bravery. The 12th participated in every major engagement of the Shenandoah Valley during the spring and summer of 1862, including at the Battle of Cross Keys (June 8, 1862), where the battery was engaged for six straight hours and fired six hundred artillery shells from its five operable cannons during that time period. The 12th also engaged Confederate forces at the Battle of Bull Run II (August 28-30, 1862). The battery successfully covered the Union retreat from this battlefield. The organization had nine men killed or wounded in the engagement and abandoned its guns after the battle due to the weapons becoming unsafe from overuse.
Following the Battle of Bull Run II, the 12th Battery joined the 11th Army Corps and spent the winter of 1862-1863 in the vicinity of Fredericksburg, Virginia. In the early summer of 1863, the battery traveled with the Union's Army of the Potomac to Fairfax, Virginia. Officials assigned the 12th to the defenses of Washington, DC during the Gettysburg Campaign of June and July 1863. The battery remained at Washington until November 1863, when authorities ordered the unit to Nashville, Tennessee. The 12th remained at Nashville during the winter of 1863-1864, before moving to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the duration of 1864. The battery fought in the Battles of Franklin, Tennessee (November 30, 1864) and Nashville (December 15 and 16, 1864), successfully repulsing Confederate General John Bell Hood's invasion of Tennessee.
The 12th remained in the vicinity of Nashville for the remainder of the war. In early July, officials ordered the battery to Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio, where the organization mustered out of service on July 10, 1865. During the 12th Battery's term of service, the organization had three men killed on the battlefield and seventeen soldiers die from disease or accidents.