81st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1861-1865)

Also Known As: Eighty-first Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Updated: January 17, 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.

At 11 o'clock a. m. I was ordered back to make an immediate junction with our lines on the right, as we were in danger of being cut off. Having taken this position, I encountered, engaged, and after two or three volleys dispersed a small portion of the enemy, were attempting to again a position on our right.

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 81st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Colonel Thomas Morton organized the regiment, which was originally known as "Morton's Independent Rifle Regiment," for service under General John C. Fremont in Missouri. As Morton recruited the organization's various companies, he dispatched them to Benton Barracks, Missouri to join Fremont's command. Before Morton could complete the regiment, authorities in Missouri assigned one of his companies to a different regiment and dispatched one or two other companies to different locations. Officials soon feared that Morton would not be able to recruit fully his regiment and assumed command of the organization, mustering the men into service as the 81st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

On September 24, 1861, the 81st departed Benton Barracks for Herman, Missouri, traveling via Franklin, Missouri. At Herman, the regiment endured constant drill. In November 1861, officials dispatched the 81st to Calloway County, Missouri in pursuit of a Confederate force. Upon reaching the Southerners' camp, the Northerners found the location deserted of enemy forces and returned to Herman. In December 1861, the 81st pursued Confederate guerrillas who were destroying portions of the Northern Missouri Railroad. At Danville, Missouri, the regiment came upon the Southerners, but the Confederates escaped. The 81st remained in northern Missouri, with portions of the command stationed at the Missouri towns of Wellsville, Florence, and Danville, guarding the railroad and pursuing the Confederate guerrillas until March 1, 1862, when the organization returned to St. Louis.

After a brief stay at St. Louis, the 81st boarded the steamer Meteor and sailed to Pittsburg, Landing, Tennessee, disembarking on March 17, 1862. At this new location, the regiment joined the Second Brigade, Second Division of the Army of the Tennessee. On April 6, 1862, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnson's army launched a surprise attack against the Union force at Pittsburg Landing. At this engagement, the Battle of Shiloh, the 81st first encountered enemy forces, a small detachment of cavalry, at approximately 1:00 PM on April 6. The Ohioans quickly dispersed these Rebels. General Ulysses S. Grant next ordered the 81st to reinforce the center of the Union line and to engage the Confederates. The 81st marched beyond the Union line and took up an untenable position in a ravine. Grant quickly ordered the regiment to return to the main Northern line. On April 7, the battle resumed. The 81st stormed a Confederate position, but the Southerners forced the Ohioans to withdraw. The regiment launched a second attack, driving the Confederates from the field. On this day, the Union achieved a complete victory, with the 81st capturing an entire battery of Confederate artillery and a number of Rebel soldiers.

At the Battle of Shiloh's conclusion, the 81st's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. EIGHTY-FIRST REGT. OHIO VOLS., U. S. ARMY, Pittsburg, Tenn., April 13, 1862.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit the report of the regiment under my command during the action of the 6th and 7th of April.

In accordance with orders received from Brig.-Gen. McArthur at 7.30 o'clock a. m. on the 6th instant, I dispatched one company to the extreme right of our lines to guard the bridge over Snake Creek and the road leading to Crump's Landing, and soon after supported it with my whole command.

At 3 o'clock p. m. I was ordered by Gen. Grant in person to leave this position and move to a point several hundred yards in front of our center. Having passed through our lines I discovered near the point designated a rebel line, displaying Federal colors, in front of and near Gen. Hurlbut's headquarters. Here the enemy opened u'on me a heavy fire of shot, grape, and musketry. I returned several volleys, maintaining the position until I discovered a body of cavalry on my left flanking me, when I fell back on our front lines in good order, where, by the order of Gen. Grant, my command lay on their arms till morning.

Early on Monday morning I was ordered by a brigadier-general ( whom I took to be Gen. Hurlbut) to take command of three fractional regiments which were in line on my right and very poorly officered. The men being inclined to fall back, I soon found it impossible to keep them up in line, so by 3 o'clock p. m. my command did not number 200 men over my own regiment. We advanced steadily on the enemy until 3 o'clock p. m. After taking one of his batteries we were compelled to abandon it, the horses all being killed. My men having exhausted their ammunition, we fell back, as did the whole line, as far as I could see, the line on our right giving way first. At this point, while rallying the men, I received orders to retire, fresh troops having arrived and the enemy falling back.

To the officers and men of my command I have to say that they conducted themselves in a true soldierly manner, and too much praise cannot be bestowed upon them for the cheerfulness in which they endured the fatigue of two successive day's hard fighting.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

THOS. MORTON, Col., Comdg. Eighty-first Regt. Ohio Vols., U. S. Army.

Col. August MERSY, Cmdg. Second Brigade, Second Division.

Following the Battle of Shiloh, the 81st entered encampment at Pittsburg Landing for approximately seven weeks, before advancing, on May 29, 1862, with the Second Division against Corinth, Mississippi. The regiment participated in a brief skirmish with Confederate forces on May 31, 1862 and then joined the Union's siege of Southern forces in Corinth. Upon the Southerners' withdrawal, the 81st engaged in the Northerners' pursuit as far as Boonville, Mississippi before returning to Corinth. At this time, officials dispatched a recruiting party to Ohio to help muster three additional companies to bring the 81st up to a full complement of ten companies. Before the mission raised the adequate number of men, authorities proceeded to consolidate Companies G and H with other companies in the regiment, giving the 81st just five companies.

In mid-August 1862, the 81st moved to Hamburg, Tennessee, where the organization performed guard duty until mid-September 1862, when the regiment marched back to Corinth. Officials dispatched a force, including the 81st, from Corinth against Iuka, Mississippi. In this campaign, the 81st saw no combat and returned to Corinth, taking up quarters at its old encampment along the Mobile Railroad, two miles south of the city.

 On October 3, 1862, Confederate forces attacked Corinth at the Battle of Corinth II. The 81st raced to the city, taking up a position near Battery Robinett. The Southerners drove the regiment from the field, but the Ohioans reformed their line at the White House, repulsing all other Confederate attacks that day. The next day, the battle resumed, with the 81st positioned between Battery Powell and Battery Richardson. A Confederate assault, drove the Union troops back, but the Union artillery at Batteries Robinett and Williams allowed the Northerners to regroup and to launch a counterassault. The Federals drove the Confederates from the field and captured many of the attacking Southerners. In the Battle of Corinth II, the 81st had eleven men killed, forty-four wounded, and three captured. Among those killed was Sergeant David McCall, the regiment's color bearer.

The 81st joined the Union's pursuit of the retreating Southerners as far as Chewalla, Mississippi on the Tuscumbia River. The regiment stayed at Chewalla for one week before returning to Corinth, where the organization primarily performed guard duty during the remainder of 1862 and the first several months of 1863. On October 19, 1862, the recruiting mission to Ohio returned with five new companies for the 81st. In mid-December, the regiment conducted an expedition through the Mississippi communities of Rienzi, Blackland, Guntown, Saltillo, and Tripoli. The Ohioans found no Confederate soldiers but seized a number of horses, mules, and contraband African Americans, along with a sizable amount of cotton. Following the Battle of Parker's Crossroads (December 31, 1862), the 81st Ohio joined the pursuit of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry. Upon reaching Clifton, Tennessee, the regiment returned to Corinth. On January 26, 1863, the 81st, along with the 27th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, two Illinois regiments, and an artillery battery, marched to Hamburg, Tennessee for supplies. Officials contemplated sending these troops from Hamburg to Florence, Alabama to attack a Confederate detachment, but in the end, the 81st returned to Corinth.

On April 15, 1863, the 81st joined an expedition to Tuscumbia, Alabama, with an ultimate goal of destroying the Southern Railroad. After remaining at Tuscumbia for several days, on April 28 and 29, the 81st participated in a skirmish at Town Creek, Alabama, having several men wounded. The Northern force returned to Corinth, where the 81st remained until June 3, 1863, when the regiment marched to Pocahontas, Mississippi. At this new location, the Ohioans performed guard duty until late October 1863, when officials ordered the regiment to Chattanooga, Tennessee to assist the Union military in lifting a Confederate siege of this city.

On the march to Chattanooga, officials countermanded their earlier orders and assigned the 81st to perform garrison duty in the Tennessee communities of Pulaski, Wales, Sam's Mills, and Nance's Mills. The regiment spent the next six months pursuing Confederate guerrillas operating in the region. In January 1864, many soldiers in the 81st's original five regiments reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. On April 26, 1864, with the furloughs completed, the reunited 81st concentrated at Pulaski and proceeded to Chattanooga, traveling via Huntsville, Alabama and Larkinsville, Alabama. At Chattanooga, the regiment camped at the base of Lookout Mountain, before, on May 5, 1864, embarking upon General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The goal of this campaign was for Northern forces to capture the important city of Atlanta, Georgia.

During the Atlanta Campaign, the 81st fought in the Battle of Resaca, the Battle of Rome Crossroads, the Battle of Dallas, the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, the Battle of Atlanta, the Battle of Jonesborough, and the Battle of Lovejoy's Station. Following the Union's occupation of Atlanta on September 2, 1864, the original enlistees of the 81st who did not reenlist in January 1864 left the regiment. Due to the loss of approximately 150 men, officials consolidated Companies B and C with other companies in the organization in December 1864.

Regarding the Atlanta Campaign, the 81st's commanding officers issued the following reports of the regiment's activities:

HDQRS. EIGHTY-FIRST OHIO INFANTRY, In the field, Ga.. September 5. 1864.

LIEUT.: In obedience to Special Field Orders, No. 69, paragraph II, issued from headquarters Second Brigade September 5, 1864, I would respectfully submit the following report of the operations of this command during the present campaign up to this date:

April 29, the regiment, under command of Lieut. Col. R. N. Adams, left Pulaski, Tenn., with 27 commissioned officers and 655 enlisted men, and marched to Larkinsville, Ala., where it arrived on the 4th of May, from which point it was transported by rail to Chattanooga, Tenn., arriving there the same evening. On the 5th marched to Lee's and Gordon's Mills, twelve miles south of Chattanooga, where it remained until the morning of the 7th, obtaining clothing, &c., when it again resumed the march, and arrived at Snake Creek Gap, Ga., on the evening of the 8th. The following morning left the gap and advanced toward Rosaca, Ga. moving in rear of the Sixty-sixth Regt. Illinois Volunteers as a support, they being deployed as skirmishers. Arrived in front of Resaca about 12 m., having driven the enemy steadily before us for a distance of seven miles, when the regiment was ordered to the right of the sixty-sixth Illinois and four companies deployed as skirmishers, at which point the regiment remained until dark, when, with its brigade, it returned to the gap. Loss, 1 killed. Remained at Snake Creek Gap until the 13th, when the regiment again advanced to Resaca and was held in reserve, with the exception of Company H, which was deployed as skirmishers on the banks of the Oostenaula River, on the right of our lines, and drove the enemy from the opposite side. 14th, the regiment, with its division, ordered to Lay's Ferry, when the regiment, receiving orders to cross the Oostenaula River in pontoon boats, made a charge to the banks of the stream, under a heavy fire from the enemy, they holding a strong position on the opposite shore. The command immediately commenced crossing, Companies B and C being the first over, when, under command of Capt. William H. Chamberlin, a charge was made, driving the enemy from their position. Companies A, E, F, and H soon followed. Soon as they landed Capt. W. H. Hill, being the senior officer, assumed command of the six companies and ordered another charge, driving the enemy from his front and flanks. At dark orders were received to withdraw the command, which was quietly done, without the knowledge of the enemy. Total loss during the action, 18-3 killed, 14 wounded, and 1 missing. Number of prisoners captured, 24-3 of whom were commissioned officers. To the officers and men of these six companies who crossed in pontoon boats too much praise cannot be bestowed upon them for the heroic manner in which they defended themselves against superior numbers, and succeeded in crossing the Oostenaula River under a murderous fire from the enemy. On the 15th again advanced and recrossed the Oostenaula River, and took up a position in rear of the Twelfth Illinois. On the 16th, the enemy having evacuated Resaca, the regiment, with its brigade, ordered in pursuit, and, after proceeding three miles, and when near Rome Cross-Roads, became engaged with the enemy. In this action the regiment was divided into three different detachments, acting as a support to the Sixty-sixth Illinois, which was deployed as skirmishers, the respective detachments being under the command of Lieut.-Col. Adams, Maj. Evans, and Capt. William H. Hill. The enemy pressing forward in superior numbers, each detachment soon became engaged, and, after making several charges, checked the enemy's advance for some time, when he began flanking the regiment on the right and left, when orders were received from Brig.-Gen. Sweeny, commanding division, to fall back, which was done in good order. Loss, 16 wounded and 2 missing. 17th, resumed march, the enemy having fallen back during the night. 19th, arrived at Kingston, Ga., and remained there until the 23d, when the regiment again resumed march, and arrived at Dallas, Ga., on the 26th. On the night of the 29th, while the regiment was in the front line, the enemy charged upon the works several times, but were repulsed on each occasion. On the night of the 31st the regiment, with its brigade, marched three miles to the left, and relieved Col. Mitchell's brigade, Gen. Davis' division, Fourteenth Army Corps.

June 1, the army having fallen back to a new position, the regiment left the works about 12 m., and moved back to the new line, where it remained until the 5th, when it marched to Acworth, Ga.. arriving there on the 6th. 10th, moved forward to Big Shanty. On the 16th regiment temporarily assigned to the Fourth Division Sixteenth Army Corps, and remained with it until the 21st, the enemy in the mean time having evacuated their works and taken up a new position on Kenesaw Mountain.

Remained in front of Kenesaw Mountain until the night of the 2d of July, when the regiment, with its brigade, moved to the right, arriving at Nickajack Creek on the night of the 3d, where it relieved the Fifty-fourth Ohio, Fifteenth Army Corps, on picket duty. July 4, moved forward and took position near rebel lines, the enemy having evacuated their works during the night. The regiment again moved forward on the 5th, and encamped on Widow Mitchell's plantation, on Sandtown road, where it remained until the 5th, when it moved to the Chattahoochee River and was posted near Baker's Ferry. 9th, left camp and arrived at Roswell, Ga., on the 10th, at which point the regiment crossed the Chattahoochee and commenced fortifying. Remained here until 17th, when the regiment moved forward toward Atlanta, and arrived at Decatur on the 19th. On the 20th again advanced and took up a position in rear of the First Brigade, Second Division, Sixteenth Army Corps. On the 22d, the rebels having evacuated their works, the regiment, with its brigade and corps, ordered to the extreme left of our lines. Arriving within a few hundred yards of the position occupied by the Seventeenth Corps it was halted, with its brigade, and rested for one hour and a half, when it was ordered forward into an open field and formed line of battle, faced in a southeast direction. The line had been formed but a few minutes when the enemy advanced in heavy force and a severe engagement ensued. The enemy steadily advanced, under a withering fire, to within a few yards, when he began to waver, when, by direction of Gen. Dodge, the regiment, with its brigade, moved forward, charged the enemy, and drove him from the field, with heavy loss. The regiment in this charge captured 2 stand of colors and 226 prisoners. At 2 p. m. the regiment, with its brigade, was ordered to a position on the right of the Augusta and Atlanta Railroad, moving a distance of one mile and a half in double-quick time, when the brigade was formed in line of battle, Eighty-first Ohio being in the center. A charge was then ordered and made, which resulted in the retaking of a line of works from which the Second Brigade, Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, had been previously driven, and the recapture of four 20-pounder Parrott guns and a large number of small-arms. In this charge the Eighty-first Ohio captured 29 prisoners, making the total number of prisoners captured by the regiment during the day, 255. The loss of the regiment on both fields was 11 killed, 52 wounded. and 3 missing, including 2 commissioned officers killed and 1 wounded; total, 66. On the 23d, at 2 a. m., the regiment, with Twelfth Illinois, was ordered to a position to the left of the Fifteenth Army Corps and as support to Gen. Leggett's division. Seventeenth Army Corps, which was considered the most critical point on the line. The regiment remained in this position until the 26th, when it was ordered to rejoin its corps. 28th, the regiment, with brigade, moved to the right of the Fifteenth Corps, relieving Fifty-fourth Ohio in front line.

From July 22 to August 26 the regiment remained in front of Atlanta continually engaged in skirmishing with the enemy, resulting in a loss of 6 killed and 34 wounded. August 29, regiment, with brigade, engaged in destroying Montgomery and Atlanta Railroad. August 31, regiment arrived near Jonesborough, Ga., and took position on the right of our lines. During the day the enemy charged upon the works three different times and were repulsed with heavy loss.

September 2, the enemy having retreated, the regiment, with its brigade and division, started in pursuit on the following morning, and, after proceeding four miles and a half south of Jonesborough, formed line of battle and advanced against the enemy, taking one line of rifle-pits. September 4, the regiment, with its brigade and corps, moved to the right of the Seventeenth Army Corps, which position it now occupies.

In the various battles and skirmishes which have taken place since the 9th of May the officers and enlisted men of this command have conducted themselves in the most gallant manner, and are worthy of great praise for the cheerful manner in which they have obeyed all orders and endured the hardships of this campaign.

Loss during the campaign: Commissioned officers-killed, 2: wounded, 5. Enlisted men-killed, 20; wounded, 133; missing in action, 5. Total, 165.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. CLAY HENRY, Capt., Cmdg. Regt.

Lieut. P. P. ELLIS, A. A. A. G., 2d Brig., 2d Div., 16th Army Corps.

HDQRS. EIGHTY-FIRST REGT. OHIO INFANTRY VOLS., In the Field, near Atlanta, Ga., August 7, 1864.

MAJ.: In obedience to Special Field Orders, No. 45, Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, I respectfully submit the following report of the part taken by this command in the action of the 22d ultimo:

At 9 a. m. on the 22d the regiment was ordered, with the brigade to the extreme left of the position occupied by the Seventeenth Army Corps. Arriving within a few hundred yards of that position, it was halted, with the brigade, and there rested an hour and a half, when it was ordered forward 100 yards into an open field, and, with the brigade, formed into line of battle, facing in a southeasterly direction, in the following order: Twelfth Illinois on the right, Sixty-sixth Illinois on the left, and the Eighty-first Ohio in the center and in rear of the Fourteenth Ohio Battery, the line forming almost a right angle with works occupied by the troops on the extreme left of the Seventeenth Army Corps. These dispositions were accomplished just in the nick of time, for the enemy immediately advanced upon us in heavy force, and a severe engagement ensued. The enemy steadily advanced, under a withering fire, until within a few yards of our lines, when he began to waver, whereupon, by direction of General Dodge, the regiment, with the brigade, moved forward, charged the enemy, and drove him from the field, with heavy loss. The Eighty-first Ohio in this charge captured 2 stand of colors and 226 prisoners. At 2 p. m. the regiment was ordered, with the brigade, to a position on the right of the Augusta and Atlanta Railroad. Moving in double-quick time a distance of one mile and a quarter, the brigade was then formed in line of battle. Sixty-sixth Illinois on the right, Eighty-first Ohio in the center, and the Twelfth Illinois on the left, resting on the railroad. A charge was then ordered and made by the entire brigade, resulting in the retaking of a line of works from which the Second Brigade, Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, had been previously driven, and the recapture of four 20-pounder Parrott guns, of Capt. De Gress' battery, and a large number of small-arms. In this charge the Eighty-first Ohio captured 29 prisoners, making the total number of prisoners captured by the regiment during the day 255. The loss of the regiment on both fields was 11 killed. 52 wounded, and 3 missing, including 2 commissioned officers killed and 1 wounded. At 2 a. m. [23d] the regiment, with the Twelfth Illinois, was ordered to a position to the left of the Fifteenth Army Corps, and as support to Gen. Leggett's division, of the Seventeenth Army Corps, which was then considered the most critical point in the line. The regiment remained in this position until the 26th, when it was ordered to rejoin its corps.

No special mention can be made of any officers and enlisted men of this command, all having conducted themselves on every part of the field they were called upon to act in the most gallant manner.

I have the honor to be, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. N. ADAMS, Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Regt.

Maj. J. W. BARNES, Asst. Adjt. Gen., Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps.

During September 1864, authorities ordered the 81st to Rome, Georgia, where the regiment joined the Fourth Division, Fifteenth Corps, of the Army of the Tennessee. On November 11, 1864, the 81st marched for Atlanta, arriving on November 15, and embarked upon General William T. Sherman's "March to the Sea" on November 16, 1864. The command engaged in no noteworthy battles or skirmishes on this march to Savannah, Georgia, but upon reaching this city on December 13, 1864, joined the Union's siege. The siege ended in a Union victory on December 21, 1864, and the 81st Regiment entered Savannah that day. The Ohioans remained in Savannah or its vicinity until January 28, 1865, when the 81st joined General Sherman's Carolinas Campaign.

At the conclusion of the "March to the Sea," the 81st's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. EIGHTY-FIRST OHIO INFANTRY VOLUNTEERS, Savannah, Ga., January 2, 1865.

LIEUT.: In compliance with circular from headquarters Second Brigade, Fourth Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, I would respectfully submit the following report:

From the 5th of October until the 11th of November, 1864, the regiment was stationed at Rome, Ga., doing garrison duty. During this time the regiment, with its brigade, made several reconnaissance, which were accomplished without loss. On the 29th of October the regiment received orders to prepare for a "long, arduous, and successful campaign," and the necessary preparations were made to place the command in the very best possible condition for active service.

On the morning of the 11th of November the regiment broke up camp at Rome and proceeded, with its brigade and division, to Atlanta, Ga., where it joined Sherman's grand army. The regiment entered Atlanta on the 15th; remained long enough to draw rations and clothing for the command, and the same evening headed southward. The regiment was continually with its brigade throughout the march from Atlanta to the Little Ogeechee River, not participating in any action until the 9th of December, when the regiment, with its brigade, crossed the Ogeechee Canal near the Ogeechee River, and proceeded in the direction of Savannah. The advance of the brigade soon encountered the enemy. The Twelfth and Sixty-sixth Illinois were formed on the right and left of the road, the Eighty-first being held in reserve. One company, F, Lieut. Pittman commanding, was sent forward as skirmishers. At times the musketry and cannonading was quite brisk, and the enemy were driven for a considerable distance by our skirmish line. The brigade being very much annoyed by a rebel battery, Col. Adams ordered the regiment forward with instructions to advance through a wood on the left of the road, and, if possible, get in rear of the battery and capture it. After marching for nearly two miles through a wood, almost impassable on account of the thick underbrush, it was discovered that the enemy had taken the alarm and fled. During the operations of this day the regiment was under fire several times, but did not sustain any loss. Several prisoners were captured by the company on the skirmish line.

From the 10th of December until the capture of Savannah, the regiment was in camp on the Anderson place, near the Little Ogeechee River, doing its share of picket duty, with the loss of one man mortally wounded. Special mention should be made of First Lieut. William Pittman and Sergeant Mason, who, assisted by seven volunteers from the Eighty-first Ohio and three from the Sixty-sixth Illinois, were the first to cross the Little Ogeechee River. Several attempts were made by the division to effect a crossing, but owing to the marshy ground on both sides of the river all the attempts failed, until the night of the 19th of November, when Lieut. Pittman and party effected a crossing. After day had explored the ground on the opposite side of the river, and had ascertained that troops could be easily thrown across, they were ordered to recross. The enemy evacuated on the night of the 20th, before the necessary preparations could be made to cross a large force, so that no advantage resulted from the crossing effected by Lieut. Pittman and party; yet they are not deserving of less praise on that account. The undertaking was a hazardous one, and had the enemy remained in our front the information gained by Lieut. Pittman would have been of great importance to the army. Capt. McCain and Lieut. Harbaugh are also deserving of praise for valuable assistance rendered Lieut. Pittman.

On the morning of the 21st the regiment, with its brigade, crossed the Little Ogeechee, and proceeded to Savannah, near which place it went into camp.

I am, lieutenant, very respectfully,

WM. CLAY HENRY, Maj. Eighty-first Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Lieut. WILLIAM PITTMAN, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig., 4th Div., 15th Army Corps.

During the Carolinas Campaign, two new companies joined the 81st. these organizations reconstituted Companies B and C, which officials had eliminated in December 1864. The 81st fought in the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina on March 21, 1865. At the conclusion of the battle, the 81st's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. EIGHTY-FIRST OHIO INFANTRY, Near Goldsborough, N. C., March 25, 1865.

LIEUT.: In compliance with instructions received from superior headquarters, I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of this regiment during the recent campaign:

The regiment broke up its camp at Savannah, Ga., on the 28th of January, 1865, and with its brigade and division took up the line of march northward, crossing the Savannah River at Sister's Ferry on the 4th of February. From this time until the occupation of Columbia, S. C., the regiment was with its brigade, nothing of interest taking place. After the occupation of Columbia the regiment was engaged two days (18th and 19th February) in tearing up the Columbia Branch of the South Carolina Railroad. On the 20th of February the regiment took up the line of march in the direction of Winnsborugh, S. C., crossing the Wateree River, and arrived at Cheraw, S. C., on the 4th proximo. Remained in camp the 5th, and on the 6th again took up the line of march, moving in the direction of Fayetteville, N. C., and from thence toward Goldsborough, N. C. On the 16th, the regiment being in advance, encountered the enemy posted behind a swamp, with his front covered by thickets and fallen timber. The regiment was formed in line of battle and charged, driving him from the ground.

The regiment was in no other engagement until the 21st of this month, when it was moved forward from a reserve line, and threw up a line of works under the fire of the enemy. Reconnaissance's next morning developed no enemy in our front, upon which we moved back, and by easy marches reached our present cap.

I estimate the number of miles to corduroy laid by this regiment during the campaign at four miles and a half.

The regiment lost during the campaign 12 enlisted men-2 died of disease, 1 killed by the explosion at Cheraw, S. C., and 9 wounded.

Before closing I must be permitted to say a word in regard to the manner in which both officers and men have cheerfully endured hard ships and privations unexampled in the history of this war.

I have the honor to be, lieutenant, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. CLAY HENRY, Maj., Cmdg. Regt.

Lieut. C. C. PLATTER, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., 2d Brig., 4th Div., 15th Army Corps.

Following this Union victory, the regiment advanced to Goldsboro, North Carolina followed by Raleigh, North Carolina and Morrisville, North Carolina. At this final location, the 81st was present during Sherman's negotiations with Confederate General Joseph Johnston, which resulted in the surrender of the South's last army in late April 1865. After the surrender, the regiment returned to Raleigh.

On April 29, 1865, the 81st departed Raleigh for Washington, DC, arriving at the nation's capital on May 20, 1865. The regiment participated in the Grand Review on May 24, 1865, before departing for Louisville, Kentucky in early June 1865. The organization traveled on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to Parkersburg, West Virginia and then boarded steamers to travel the rest of the way on the Ohio River. At Louisville, the 81st encamped at Woodlawn. The organization mustered out of service at this city on July 13, 1865, before traveling to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, where authorities discharged the 81st's members on July 21, 1865.

During the Civil War's course, sixty-two men, including four officers, from the 81st Ohio died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 160 enlisted men succumbed to illness or accidents.

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"81st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 15 Nov 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1150>

APA Style

"81st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved November 15, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1150

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