28th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1861-1864)

Also Known As: Twenty-eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Updated: January 22, 2014

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.

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.

Infantry regiments formed in Ohio became known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Soldiers of Ohio infantry regiments served the Union for varying lengths of time, ranging from one hundred days to three years. One of the three-year regiments was the 28th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  This regiment began organization in early June 1861, however, because there was not a properly trained officer available to lead the organization, the 28th did not muster into service until July 17, 1861, at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. Most of the regiment's members came from Hamilton County, Ohio.

The 28th departed Camp Dennison for Parkersburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), arriving at this location on August 10, 1861. Officials ordered the regiment to perform scouting duties in Jackson and Roane Counties in present-day West Virginia. In mid-August, the 28th joined General William Rosecrans's force at Buckhannon, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). This Union force advanced to Carnifex Ferry in present-day West Virginia and engaged some enemy soldiers at the Battle of Carnifex Ferry on September 10, 1861. Following this Union victory, the 28th remained in modern-day West Virginia, crossing the Gauley River and visiting Camp Lookout and Big Sewell Mountain, reaching this final location in late September. Facing the threat of Confederate attack, the Union force at Big Sewell Mountain withdrew to Camp Anderson on the New River on October 6, 1861.

After arriving at Camp Anderson, the 28th camped for ten days, before departing for Fayetteville, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The regiment returned to Camp Anderson that same day, as Confederate forces prevented the organization's march to Fayetteville. Two days later, Southern forces attacked the Union's pickets on the New River, and a fight ensued. Known as the Battle of Miller's Ferry, the 28th suffered slight losses. On December 6, 1861, the Northerners evacuated Camp Anderson, and the regiment entered camp at Gauley, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), where the soldiers remained for the winter.

On May 2, 1862, the 28th returned to Fayetteville, where the command joined the Kanawha Division, which included the 28th, the 34th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the 37th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and the 23rd Ohio Independent Battery of Ohio Volunteer Artillery. After joining the division, the 28th embarked upon an expedition along the Virginia-Tennessee Railroad. The regiment arrived at French Mill in modern-day West Virginia on May 14, 1862. Officials dispatched two of the 28th's companies across the East River Mountain to scout the enemy. A skirmish erupted, with the Northern companies returning to French Mill. On May 15, five companies from the 28th, four from the 37th Ohio, and two from the 34th marched to Rocky Gap, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia) to attack an enemy detachment. The Northern units did not reach Rocky Gap, as enemy soldiers attacked the command at Princeton, prompting the Union soldiers to return to French Mill. Union officials increased the number of units dispatched to Princeton, and the Northerners, including the 28th Regiment, engaged enemy forces at Princeton and at Piedmont, Virginia on May 17, 1862 and at Stone River in modern-day West Virginia two days later.

The 28th Ohio remained in modern-day West Virginia, skirmishing with enemy soldiers, for most of the summer of 1862. In mid-August, the regiment moved to Washington, DC, arriving at this location on August 25, 1862. The organization remained in the city's defenses, until skirmishing with enemy soldiers at Falls Church, Virginia on September 4, 1862. Following this engagement, the 28th joined the Union's pursuit of the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia, which had launched an invasion of Maryland. The regiment drove enemy soldiers from Frederick, Maryland on September 13, 1862 and participated in the Battle of South Mountain, Maryland on the following day. The 28th also fought in the Battle of Antietam, Maryland on September 17, 1862.

Following the Union victory at Antietam, the Confederate army withdrew back into Virginia, and the 28th returned to modern-day West Virginia. The regiment conducted several expeditions against enemy forces operating in the region and finally entered winter encampment at Buckhannon on January 8, 1863. During the spring, summer, and autumn of 1863, the 28th remained in West Virginia. In May, the organization traveled to Clarksburg and Weston and encamped at Beverly in July. On November 6, 1863, the 28th participated in the Battle of Droop Mountain, West Virginia. The Confederates withdrew from the field, but on the day after the engagement, the Ohio regiment marched to Lewisburg, West Virginia, where the organization captured several enemy soldiers, some cannons, and a quantity of supplies. On November 8, the 28th captured additional arms, some more prisoners and four hundred cattle. The 28th's commanding officer issued the following report regarding the Battle of Droop Mountain:

HEADQUARTERS INFANTRY FORCES, FIRST SEPARATE BRIGADE, DEPT. OF WEST VIRGINIA, Beverly, W. Va., November 18, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to forward to the general commanding the following report of the part that the infantry forces of the First Separate Brigade took in the battle of Droop Mountain on the 6th of November last:

In compliance with orders received during the night, I left camp near Mill Point at 6.30 a. m., in command of the Twenty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Tenth [West] Virginia Volunteer Infantry, and Keeper's battery, and halted the column near Hillsborough. About 8 o'clock I received orders to feel the enemy along the Lewisburg pike. Three companies of the Twenty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry were detached, who drove the enemy's pickets, skirmishing through the woods to the foot of Droop Mountain, their (by nature) sufficiently fortified position. Here the skirmishers were halted until further orders. At 9 o'clock I was ordered, with the infantry and Captain Jaehne's cavalry, to make a detour through the mountains, turn the enemy's left, attack them in the rear, and take their position. The most difficult task was to bring the column across the valley without being discovered by the enemy. Before the column emerged from the woods, I ordered every rider to dismount and arms to be carried at a trail. By marching 4 miles in a northwesterly direction, in a zigzag line along ditches and behind fences, I succeeded in reaching the mountains without being seen by the enemy, as I was told afterward by a wounded rebel officer, General Echols having no idea of the approach of infantry from this direction until I drove in his pickets.

It was now 2 o'clock, and for about one hour I had been marching due south, describing nearly a semi-circle of about 9 miles from the starting point, driving the enemy's skirmishers steadily. The firing grew stronger in my front, and I had just increased my line of skirmishers to three companies from the Twenty-eighth Regiment, when I arrived in front of the enemy's position, covered by a kind of hedge constructed of logs and brush. I had ordered the Twenty-eighth Regiment forward into line and Colonel Harris' Tenth [West] Virginia Regiment to move up in double-quick. Prevented by trees and thick undergrowth from seeing more than 25 or 30 yards ahead, they allowed my line to approach within that distance. Now rising and yelling like Indians, they poured a tremendous fire into the Twenty eighth, advancing rapidly at the same time. This was the critical moment of the day. I ordered the Twenty-eighth Regiment to lie down and fire by file. The sudden disappearance of the regiment and the increasing fire through the under-brush had an almost stunning effect upon the enemy. They hesitated. Colonel Harris, who had great difficulty to extricate his Tenth [West] Virginia Regiment through cavalry horses and other obstacles, now came up, just in the nick of time. I ordered the colonel to front the regiment by inversion and form on the right of the Twenty-eighth, which was promptly executed. Detailing one company of each regiment to march in the rear as a small reserve and to guard the flanks, I ordered the charge, and with cheers completely drowning the hideous yells of the enemy, my infantry pressed forward continuously until my left reached the cleared hill, where the rebel artillery was. They had just limbered up and started toward the pike. At this time the right of the dismounted men joined my left, coming up through a ravine. Now the wildest scene ensued right in front, our men pouring a deadly fire into the moving rebels, killing and wounding artillery horses; rebel officers urging to make another stand, others cutting loose fallen horses, driving and pushing on cannon and caissons through their infantry. In a few moments this fast-moving mass melted away by scattering through the woods south of the pike. When my right wing came up with the pike no enemy could be seen except the dead and wounded. Farther up the pike a portion of my command fired at two rapidly moving sprang wagons, killing two of the horses. They captured the wagons and found them filled with wounded rebels. The commanding general coming up, I was ordered to march the infantry forward as far as possible. I marched till after dark, 6 miles, and bivouacked on the roadside, the men being rather tired, but in high spirits.

On November 8, at Lewisburg, I was ordered to proceed to Beverly with the infantry, battery, dismounted men, horses, and prisoners, with instructions to capture all small-arms, cattles, horses, and to destroy the rebel camps, &c., all of which I did as far as practicable.

At Hillsborough I took 55 of our own and 1 rebel wounded, and comfortably placed them in ambulances and wagons filled with straw. I left what rations, hospital stores, and medicines could be spared, with 2 badly wounded of our men and 9 rebel wounded, in charge of Assistant Surgeon Blair, Tenth Regiment [West] Virginia Volunteer Infantry. Four Federal and 4 rebel wounded have died since the battle, and 14 wounded rebels were left at the Mountain House, of whom 3 died since. Our surgeons are of the opinion that only 2 out of the 11 left will possibly recover.

I left Hillsborough on the 10th, at 10 a. m. On Elk Mountain I encountered some 60 bushwhackers under a McCoy, wounding some of the cattle and firing on the pioneer party, causing a dead stop of nearly one hour. One company from each regiment climbing up in front and rear, drove them headlong down the other side, and without further molestation, accident, or even straggling, we arrived at Beverly at 4 p. m. on the 12th instant, colors flying and drums beating in the most perfect order, having marched 222 miles in a little over eleven days, besides fighting a battle, which deprived us of nine hours' marching time.

I beg leave to mention that during the action of Droop Mountain, I was most cheerfully and ably assisted by Colonel Harris, commanding Tenth Regiment [West] Virginia Volunteer Infantry, and Lieutenant-Colonel Becker, commanding Twenty-eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, in guiding and maneuvering the regiment in unbroken lines over the most difficult ground, through ravines, rocks, thick undergrowth, and fallen trees. Also Capt. Edwin Frey, Twenty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and Lieut. J. Mork, the former commanding the line of skirmishers in a most creditable manner, enabling me to find the exact position of the enemy; the latter, acting assistant adjutant-general, by carrying orders and even executing some in most exposed places with coolness and judgment. Regimental commanders assure me that all behaved well.

Accompanying please find reports of killed and wounded, of captured arms, prisoners, horses, cattle, &c.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. MOOR, Colonel 28th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Lieut. L. MARKBREIT, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

On December 8, 1863, the 28th returned to Lewisburg, before advancing across Elk Mountain on December 13, 1863 and arriving at Beverly four days later. After several small skirmishes over the next few days, the regiment entered winter encampment at Beverly. The 28th's commanding officer submitted one report regarding these engagements:

CUMBERLAND, MD., December 18, 1863. (Received 11.07 p. m.) Brigadier-General CULLUM, Chief of Staff:

The following telegram received from Colonel Moor, who was ordered from Beverly with two ferments to threaten Lewisburg from the north, while General Scammon approached from the west, and to bring in our wounded from the late battle-field of Droop Mountain:

BEVERLY, W. VA., December 17, 1863.

SIR: Arrived with my command this p. m. According to instructions I moved toward Frankford on the route to communicate with General Scammon, at Lewisburg. My first messenger was captured, by the organized home guards. I was unable to persuade another to go voluntarily, and was compelled to order Lieutenant Adams, with my available cavalry--20 men--to force his way to Lewisburg. He arrived there at midnight, and found the town nearly deserted. Found that General Scammon had gone west at 2 o'clock on the 18th, after the cannonading at the Greenbrier on the day before. The lieutenant returned safe at 4 a. m. on the 14th, receiving a running fire of the enemy on the outskirts of the town.

Having obtained news of a movement to cut me off, I started for Hillsborough at once, took away our wounded and some forage, and marched 26 miles to Elk Mountain, where I found a blockade of felled trees and rocks at the steepest ascent of 1 mile. I took possession of the mountain top, and had every ax employed before dawn next morning, and had my way open by 1 a. m., and moved steadily on. Had some skirmishing; captured 1 lieutenant and 7 men, sustaining no loss whatever.

Your obedient servant,

A. MOOR, Colonel.

Capt. T. MELVIN, Assistant Adjutant-General.

B. F. KELLEY, Brigadier-General.

On April 25, 1864, officials assigned the 28th Ohio to the Army of the Shenandoah under General Franz Siegel's command. The regiment arrived at Bunker Hill, Virginia four days later. On May 11, 1864, the Union army advanced towards New Market, Virginia, skirmishing with enemy soldiers at Rude's Hill. On May 15, 1864, the Battle of New Market occurred with the 28th Ohio participating in the engagement. After this Union defeat, General David Hunter replaced Sigel as commander of the Army of the Shenandoah and continued to press Confederate forces in the Shenandoah Valley. The Northern force marched through the Virginia communities of Harrisburg, Port Republic, and Woodstock, before engaging enemy forces at the Battle of Piedmont on June 5, 1864. In this Union victory, the 28th Ohio had twenty-eight men killed and seventy-eight more soldiers wounded. On the following day, Hunter's army, including the 28th, marched to Staunton and, then, to Lynchburg, Virginia, tearing up miles of railroad track and destroying bridges. At Lynchburg, officials ordered the 28th Ohio, along with parts of other regiments, to escort one thousand Confederate prisoners, 150 injured men, and hundreds of refugees over the mountains to Webster on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Upon reaching Webster, the 28th escorted the prisoners to Camp Morgan in Indiana, completing this duty on June 23, 1864.

In July 1864, 28th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry arrived at Cincinnati. Having completed their three-year term, the organization's members mustered out of service at Camp Dennison on July 23, 1864. During the 28th Ohio's term of service, sixty-eight men, including two officers, died from wounds. An additional sixty-six enlisted men died from disease or accidents.

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"28th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2017, Ohio Civil War Central. 24 Jun 2017 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1221>

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"28th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2017) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved June 24, 2017, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1221

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