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Sands’ Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery


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. Between August 20, 1861 and September 17, 1861, the 11th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery organized at Cincinnati, Ohio. In early October, the battery departed Cincinnati for St. Louis, Missouri, where the organization mustered into service on October 27, 1861. Officials recruited the battery in Athens, Butler, Vinton, Wyandot, and Hamilton Counties. The battery was also known as Sands’ Battery, named after one of the organization’s captains, Frank C. Sands. The men in the battery were to serve three years.

On October 28, 1861, officials ordered the 11th to Boonville, Missouri. The unit boarded transports but could not reach Boonville due to a severe drought making the Missouri River impassable. The battery disembarked at South Point, Missouri and then traveled via railroad to Tipton, Missouri, where the organization encamped. On November 27, 1861, the 11th marched to Syracuse, Missouri, returning to Tipton two days later. The battery advanced to Otterville, Missouri on December 15, 1861, where the unit entered winter encampment. On February 2, 1862, the 11th departed Otterville for Boonville, arriving two days later. The battery next advanced to St. Charles, Missouri, reaching this location on February 17, 1862. The organization then traveled by ship to Commerce, Missouri, where the unit joined General John Pope’s New Madrid expedition, reaching this location on March 3, 1862. The 11th participated in the Union’s capture of Island No. 10, resulting in the North’s seizure of approximately five thousand Confederate soldiers. The battery then encamped at New Madrid, remaining at this location until mid April 1862.

On April 12, 1862, the 11th advanced with an infantry division towards Fort Pillow, Tennessee, but before reaching this location, the entire force joined General Ulysses S. Grant’s army at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. The battery participated in the Union’s Siege of Corinth, Mississippi. Upon the Union’s capture of Corinth, the 11th pursued the retreating Confederates as far as Boonville, Mississippi, before returning to Corinth. The battery embarked upon General William Rosecrans’s Riley expedition in late June and early July 1862, following which the unit returned to Corinth until early August 1862.

On August 1, 1862, the 11th advanced to Jacinto, Mississippi. The battery departed Jacinto on September 18, 1862, when the unit advanced towards Iuka, Mississippi with General Rosecrans’ army. At the Battle of Iuka (September 19, 1862), the organization had fifty-seven men killed or wounded. The Confederate forces withdrew after this engagement. Following the Battle of Iuka, the 11th returned to Corinth, where the battery participated in the Battle of Corinth II on October 3 and 4, 1862. In this engagement, the unit had five men wounded. The organization pursued the retreating Confederates as far as Ripley.

The 11th next participated in General Ulysses S. Grant’s advance towards Vicksburg, Mississippi in the late autumn of 1862. Following the Confederates’ capture of Union supplies at Holly Springs, Mississippi, Grant terminated the campaign, and the 11th moved to Memphis, Tennessee and then encamped at nearby Germantown, Tennessee during December 1862 and January 1863, before returning to Memphis. In March 1863, the organization boarded transports and sailed to Lake Providence. The battery next moved to Helena, Arkansas and attempted to reach the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg by marching through the Yazoo Pass. Strong Confederate fortifications prompted the Northern soldiers to return to Helena. The battery next moved to Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana.

On May 1, 1863, the 11th embarked upon Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign, leaving Milliken’s Bend and advancing to Grand Gulf, Mississippi. During the remainder of the campaign, the battery fought in the Battles of Raymond, Clinton, Jackson, and Champion Hill and also briefly participated in the Siege of Vicksburg. The organization reached the outskirts of the city on May 19, 1863 and engaged in an artillery duel with Confederate forces. In this engagement, the battery had one man killed and two wounded. The 11th spent the remainder of the campaign as part of the Artillery Reserve. When the Union captured Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, the battery was encamped at Snyder’s Bluff on the Yazoo River.

In early August 1863, the 11th departed Snyder’s Bluff and moved to Helena, where the organization embarked upon the Arkansas Expedition with the Army of the Arkansas. On September 9, 1863, the battery and the rest of the Union army reached Little Rock, Arkansas and, after a small battle with Southern forces, drove the Confederates from the city. The 11th remained at Little Rock throughout the autumn of 1863, the winter of 1863-1864, and the spring of 1864.

On April 1, 1864, the 11th advanced to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, escorting a supply train. The battery remained as part of the garrison at Pine Bluff until October 1864, when officials ordered the organization to Columbus, Ohio. The battery arrived at Columbus on November 1, 1864 and mustered out of service on November 5, 1864, having fulfilled the unit’s term of service.

During the 11th Battery’s term of service, twenty men died on the battlefield, while thirty soldiers perished from disease or accidents.

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