123rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1862 - 1865)

Also Known As: One Hundred Twenty-third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Updated: October 02, 2011

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.

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. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. Between September 24, 1862 and October 16, 1862, the 123rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Camp Monroeville, in Huron County, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years.

On October 16, 1862, the 123rd began a trip to Clarksburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). Traveling via Zanesville, Ohio, Marietta, Ohio, Belpre, Ohio, and Parkersburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), the regiment arrived at Clarksburg on October 20, 1862. Seven days later, the organization advanced towards Buckhannon, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), reaching this location on October 30, 1862. On November 3, the 123rd departed Buckhannon for Beverly, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), arriving at this spot two days later. On November 8, 1862, the regiment left Beverly. Marching through Huttonsville, where the organization stayed for eight days, the unit arrived at Webster, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia) in mid November 1862.

On November 18, 1862, the 123rd departed Webster via railroad for New Creek, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). The regiment stayed at this location until December 12, 1862, when the organization began a movement to Petersburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). On January 3, 1863, the 123rd marched to Moorefield, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), where the unit helped drive off Confederate cavalrymen who had virtually surrounded the 116th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. One week later the 123rd departed Moorefield for Romney, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), arriving on January 12, 1863. At Romney, the organization principally guarded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and escorted supply trains. In early March 1863, the regiment moved to Winchester, Virginia, where the unit conducted periodic raids into the southern portions of the Shenandoah Valley.

In early June 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began to advance through the Shenandoah Valley. Lee was intent upon launching his second invasion of the North. At Winchester, on June 13 and 14, 1863, a portion of Lee’s army attacked the Union garrison, including the 123rd. The Northerners evacuated their lines in the early morning hours of June 15, 1863, but Confederate forces intercepted the movement. The Southerners captured practically all of the 123rd Regiment except for Company D, whose members eventually reached Martinsburg, Virginia. The Confederates sent the captured officers to Libby Prison at Richmond, Virginia and paroled the captive enlisted men, who eventually arrived at prisoner exchange camps at Annapolis, Maryland and at Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio. Upon being paroled, the 123rd’s enlisted members joined Company D at Martinsburg in early September 1863.

Due to a lack of officers, the 123rd primarily performed guard duty along the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from September 1863 to March 1864. The regiment was responsible for protecting the railroad between Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia and Monocacy Junction, Maryland. In early April 1864, the organization began a movement down the Shenandoah Valley, marching through Winchester and Cedar Creek. On May 15, 1864, the 123rd participated in the Battle of New Market, with the regiment having seventy-nine men killed or wounded. After the battle, the Union force withdrew to Cedar Creek.

In late May, the Northern soldiers at Cedar Creek again advanced, passing through Woodstock, Rood’s Hill, and New Market. On June 4, 1864, the soldiers arrived at Port Republic, where the men, including the 123rd, participated in the Battle of Port Republic the following day. The Northerners drove the Southerners from the battlefield, capturing approximately two thousand enemy soldiers. After the engagement, the Union force occupied Staunton, Virginia. After resting at this location for a few days, the Northerners advanced to Lexington, Virginia, arriving here on June 11, 1864. The men next moved towards Lynchburg, Virginia, destroying approximately twenty-five miles of the Lynchburg and East Tennessee Railroad during the advance. As the Northerners approached Lynchburg, constant skirmishing erupted with Southern forces. On June 14, 1864, the Battle of Lynchburg occurred, prompting the Union soldiers to retreat to Gauley Bridge in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia.

On July 2, 1864, the 123rd departed Gauley Bridge for Martinsburg, West Virginia. The regiment traveled through Camp Piatt, near Charleston, West Virginia, Parkersburg, West Virginia, and Cherry Run, West Virginia. From Martinsburg, the organization marched through Harper’s Ferry and Berlin to the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Officials assigned the regiment to the Army of West Virginia and hoped this force could intercept Confederate General Jubal Early’s retreat from Washington, DC. The Army of West Virginia engaged the Confederates at Snicker’s Ferry but failed to capture the withdrawing Southerners. The Northerners pursued the Confederates to Winchester, where Early’s Southerners prompted the Union soldiers to retreat after the Battle of Winchester on July 24, 1864 to Williamsport, Maryland. The 123rd remained in the vicinity of Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia for a few days before moving to Monocacy Junction, Maryland.

In early August, the Army of West Virginia, now commanded by Ohioan General Philip Sheridan again pursued Early’s Confederates in the Shenandoah Valley. A skirmish occurred at Berryville, with the Union soldiers, including the members of the 123rd, continuing to advance down the valley to Fisher’s Hill. Expecting a Confederate attack, the Northerners withdrew to Harper’s Ferry on August 16, 1864, remaining within the defensive works at this location for ten days before moving forward again. At Berryville, the Union soldiers engaged the Confederates, driving them from the community. The 123rd had twenty-five men killed, wounded, or captured in this engagement. On September 19, 1864, the Army of West Virginia advanced towards Winchester, where the Battle of Opequon erupted that same day. Initially held in reserve, the 123rd did not engage the Southerners until late in the afternoon, flanking the Confederate line on the Union right and helping win the battle for the Northerners. At the Battle of Opequon, the regiment had approximately fifty-five men, including five officers, killed, wounded, or captured. After this battle, the 123rd’s commanding officer issued the following reports:

HDQRS. 123RD OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, Cedar Creek, Va., October 21, 1864.

I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the battle of the 19th instant:

We were alarmed about 4.30 o'clock in the morning by picket-firing in our immediate front. The regiment was immediately formed behind the breast-works which had been constructed by us. After remaining a short time in line we were ordered to move by the right flank and occupy the works built by the Fifth New York Heavy Artillery. We had hardly got into position before the regiments on our right were heavily engaged and were being driven back. After firing a few rounds we were ordered to move by the left flank and reoccupy our own works. We were then ordered to move again by the left flank and join the One hundred and sixteenth Ohio Infantry, which was already moving out by the left. By this time the enemy were on our right flank. We formed line of battle and retreated in as good order as possible for a distance of nearly two miles. We then reformed in rear of the Second Division of this command, and remained in line of battle for about hours. We were then ordered to move by the left flank across the pike, a distance of about half a mile. We remained in line about one hour, and was then ordered to move in line of battle through a piece of woods in our front. Finding no enemy we went into camp for the night.

A list of casualties accompanies this report, showing a loss of 12 men wounded and 11 missing, who are supposed to be captured by the enemy.

My regiment was in line of battle full half an hour before the attack was made in the morning, and retreated in as good as could be expected.

Very respectfully,

HORACE KELLOGG,

Maj., Cmdg. 123d Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Lieut. I. C. DISOSWAY,

Aide-de-Camp.

  ADDENDA.

  HDQRS. 123RD OHIO INFANTRY,

  Cedar Creek, VA., October 23, 1864.

  Lieut. I. C. DISOSWAY,

  Aide-de-Camp:

  SIR: In compliance with circular of the 22d instant, I have the honor

  to make the following report:

  During the battle of the 19th instant the officers of this regiment, I am

  proud to say, behaved with bravery and did all in their power to assist

  in rallying the men after our lines were broken and we were compelled

  to fall back. Lieut. Elmer E. Husted, in command of Company B,

  went to the rear as far as Winchester, where his company was on duty

  guarding division supply train, and returned early the next morning.

  I am, respectfully, yours, &c.,

  HORACE KELLOGG,

  Maj., Cmdg. 123d Ohio Infantry

The Union army pursued the retreating Confederates to Strasburg, where another battle, the Battle of Fisher’s Hill, occurred on September 21 and 22, 1864. The Northerners, including the 123rd, drove the Southerners from the battlefield, with the regiment suffering just six casualties in another flanking maneuver. The Army of West Virginia next advanced to Harrisonburg, remaining at this location for several days before withdrawing to Cedar Creek. On October 19, 1864, Early’s Confederates attacked the Northerners at Cedar Creek. The Southerners initially drove the Union soldiers back, but in the afternoon, the Federals forced the Confederates from the battlefield.

After the Battle of Cedar Creek, the 123rd moved to Kernstown, where the regiment stayed for approximately ten days before advancing to Opequon Creek to guard the Harper’s Ferry and Winchester Railroad. The 123rd performed this duty for one month before moving to Bermuda Hundred, Virginia in eastern Virginia. On December 27, 1864, the regiment arrived at Deep Bottom, Virginia, remaining at this location until March 25, 1865, when the unit advanced to the Chickahominy River. The 123rd next moved to Hatcher’s Run near Petersburg, Virginia. Union forces were laying siege to Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia within the city. On March 30, 1865, the 123rd began to skirmish with the Confederates near Hatcher’s Run and, on April 2, 1865, participated in the Union’s full assault on the Confederate lines, essentially ending the Siege of Petersburg. The 123rd’s commanding officer issued the following report after this engagement:

HDQRS. 123d OHIO VOLUNTEERS INFANTRY, In the Field, April 2, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to make the following report as the part taken by my regiment in the action of to-day:

The command occupied the skirmish line, where it did good execution in silencing the enemy's guns. At 8.30 o'clock I saw that the rebels were leaving their works in great haste, and at the same time a white flag was seen close to their works. I immediately ordered my regiment forward on the double-quick, and had the satisfaction of seeing my regimental colors planted on the enemy's works in advance of all others.

The results of the movement was the capture of 200 prisoners, 2 brass 12-pounders, 3 caissons, about 500 stand of small-arms, and 2 of the enemy's battle-flags. My loss was one man slightly wounded.

I cannot speak in too high praise of the conduct of the officers and men of my command. It was everything that could be desired. After resting my command a short time and collecting the captured property I proceeded to rejoin the brigade.

Respectfully submitted.

HORACE KELLOGG,

Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. 123d Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Lieut. THOMAS W. RIPLEY,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

The regiment joined the Northern pursuit of the retreating Confederates the following day, advancing towards Danville, Virginia. Upon reaching Burke’s Station, Virginia on April 5, 1865, officials ordered the 123rd to High Bridge, Virginia to secure a vital railroad bridge. As the regiment, as well as other Union forces, neared the bridge, Confederate cavalry attacked. After a four-hour engagement, the Southerners captured the Union soldiers, including the 123rd. The Confederates took the captives to Appomattox Court House, Virginia, where Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia surrendered on April 9, 1865, and the 123rd’s members were freed.

Following Lee’s and the Army of Northern Virginia’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, the 123rd traveled to City Point, Virginia and then sailed to Annapolis, Maryland. Officials ordered the regiment to Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio, where the organization remained until June 12, 1865, when authorities mustered the unit out of service.

During its term of service, the 123rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry lost ninety-one men, including one officer, to wounds. An additional ninety-six soldiers, including four officers, died from disease or accidents.

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"123rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2017, Ohio Civil War Central. 20 Aug 2017 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=885>

APA Style

"123rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2017) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved August 20, 2017, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=885

Comments powered by Disqus

Help support the ongoing development of Ohio Civil War Central by clicking the banner and then purchasing products from Amazon.com.

Ohio Civil War Central: An Encyclopedia of the American Civil War