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 July 2, 1862, the 26th Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery organized at Winchester, Virginia. The battery had previously served as Company F of the 32nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. This organization had mustered into service at Augusta, in Carroll County, Ohio, in August 1861. The men in the battery were to serve three years from their original enlistment date with the 32nd Regiment. The organization was also known as Potts' Battery, named after Captain B.F. Potts, the eventual commanding officer of the 32nd and as Yost's Captured Battery, which was named after Company F's and the 26th Battery's commanding officer, Captain Theobold D. Yost.
The 26th remained at Winchester until September 11, 1862, when Union forces in the city retreated to Harper's Ferry, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). Officials immediately ordered a portion of the battery to Sandy Hook, five miles below Harper's Ferry. This section of the battery skirmished for two days with Confederate forces, finally retiring to Harper's Ferry on September 13, 1862. On the next day, the entire 26th Battery engaged in an artillery duel with Confederate forces on Loudon Heights and Maryland Heights, which overlooked Harper's Ferry. On September 15, 1864, the Union garrison, including the 26th, surrendered to the Confederate forces besieging Harper's Ferry. The prisoners were exchanged and sent to Chicago, Illinois for processing.
On January 21, 1863, the 26th departed Chicago with the 32nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. At this time, the battery had once again become Company F of the 32nd. The 32nd next embarked upon General Ulysses S. Grant's Vicksburg Campaign. Company F fought in the Battle of Champion Hill, where the regiment captured six Confederate artillery pieces. Officials ordered Company F to assume control of the guns and to prepare to utilize them in the Battle of Big Black River Bridge and in the Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, which ended with the Union's capture of this city on July 4, 1863. Upon assuming control of the Confederate artillery pieces, Company F became known as Yost's Captured Battery.
On August 3, 1863, officials returned the 26th Battery to the 32nd Regiment as Company F. Within a few weeks, authorities divided the company among Company D, 1st Regiment Illinois Light Artillery and with the 3rd Ohio Independent Battery of the Ohio Volunteer Artillery. The former 26th remained with these batteries during an expedition from Vicksburg to Canton, Mississippi in October 1863. On December 22, 1863, United States Secretary of War Edwin Stanton authorized Ohio Governor David Tod to form permanently the 26th Battery.
On January 1, 1864, many soldiers in the 26th reenlisted in the Union military and received a thirty-day furlough to return to their homes in Ohio. On February 3, 1864, the battery returned to Vicksburg. During the remainder of 1864, the organization participated in two expeditions–one from Vicksburg in July 1864 and the other from Vicksburg to Natchez, Mississippi in October 1864. On November 8, 1864, officials assigned the 26th to garrison duty at Natchez. Upon the war's conclusion in April 1865, the battery traveled to Texas, where it protected portions of the Rio Grande.
In August 1865, officials ordered the 26th Battery to Tod Barracks in Columbus, Ohio, where the organization mustered out of service on September 2, 1865. During the 26th Battery's term of service, the organization had no men killed on the battlefield and twenty-two soldiers die from disease or accidents.