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 57th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Governor William Dennison authorized the creation of this regiment on September 14, 1861. Recruitment began two days later at Camp Vance at Findlay, Ohio. Recruitment proceeded slowly, with the organization moving to Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio on January 22, 1862. The 57th mustered into service on February 10, 1862 at Camp Chase. The regiments 956 enlisted men and thirty-eight officers came from Putnam, Hancock, Seneca, Wood, Auglaize, Mercer, Sandusky, Hamilton, Allen, Van Wert, Hancock, Shelby, Crawford, and Logan Counties.
On February 18, 1862, the 57th departed Camp Chase for Fort Donelson, Tennessee, but when the regiment arrived at Smithland, Kentucky, officials ordered the command to Paducah, Kentucky. At Paducah, the 57th joined the Third Brigade, Fifth Division of the Army of the Tennessee. On March 8, 1862, the regiment departed Paducah for Fort Henry, Tennessee, arriving at this location the following day. Two days later, the organization arrived at Savannah, Tennessee. On March 14, 1862, the 57th accompanied six gunboats and sixty-five transports up the Tennessee River to the mouth of Yellow Creek, where the Union force disembarked. The Northerners hoped to destroy portions of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad near Iuka, Mississippi, but high water impeded the men's progress, prompting the soldiers to enter camp at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee on March 16. On the next day, the Fifth Division, including the 57th, conducted a reconnaissance towards Corinth, Mississippi, before returning to camp. the regiment made two additional excursions to Corinth, one on March 22 and the second on March 24. On April 1, 1862, sailed with additional Union troops to Eastport, Mississippi. Finding no Confederate forces, the expedition sailed to Chickasaw, Alabama, where Northern gunboats shelled the town. The 57th then went ashore and scouted the surrounding countryside, capturing a few enemy soldiers. The Union troops then returned to Pittsburg Landing.
On April 6, 1862, Confederate forces attacked the Union's Army of the Tennessee at Pittsburg landing. In the Battle of Shiloh, the 57th Ohio originally was positioned south of the Shiloh Church near the Corinth Road. When the engagement erupted, the regiment repulsed an assault by three enemy regiments. At 10:00 AM, the 57th withdrew to the Hamburg and Purdy Road. Repeated Confederate assaults against this new position forced the Ohio regiment to withdraw three-quarters of a mile further towards the south bank of the Tennessee River. In this new line, the 57th successfully repulsed multiple Confederate attacks. On the next morning, the battle's final day, the Union troops, including reinforcements from the Army of the Ohio, advanced, driving the Southerners from the battlefield. The 57th entered the battle with 450 men available for duty. In the engagement, the command had forty-three men killed, 134 wounded, and ten soldiers captured.
On April 8, 1862, the 57th advanced towards Corinth as far as Pea Ridge. At this location, General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Confederate cavalry attacked the organization. The Southerners initially captured four of the 57th's companies. The regiment's remaining six companies launched a bayonet charge, freeing the four other units and prompting the Confederates to withdraw. Later that evening the Ohioans returned to their camp at Pittsburg Landing.
On April 29, 1862, the 57th departed Pittsburg Landing for Corinth, where the Union's Army of the Tennessee besieged the city's Confederate garrison until May 30, 1862. The regiment served in the siege lines and engaged the enemy especially at Camp Six, at Camp Seven, and at the Russell House. During the siege, officials assigned the 57th to the First Brigade, Fifth Division. Following the Confederates' evacuation of Corinth at the end of May 1862, authorities assigned the regiment to repairing the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. The organization also took part in several expeditions, including one to Holly Springs, Mississippi. The 57th eventually encamped at Moscow, Tennessee. While at this location officials ordered 220 men from the regiment to accompany a train to Memphis, Tennessee. The force proceeded through Macon, Tennessee, arriving at Morning Sun, Tennessee on the Memphis and Nashville, Railroad. Here, six hundred Confederate cavalrymen attacked, with the Union soldiers repulsing three assaults. In this victory, the 57th had four men wounded, while the Confederates had eleven men killed and twenty-six soldiers wounded.
On July 18, 1862, the entire 57th Ohio moved to Memphis. On August 29, 1862, the regiment advanced to Raleigh, Tennessee, driving a detachment of Rebel cavalry away. On September 8, 1862, the 57th marched into northern Mississippi. This excursion lasted four days, with the Northerners skirmishing with enemy soldiers on six different occasions, before the Northern command returned to Memphis and entered camp at a bridge over Wolf Creek. Confederate cavalry attacked the camp on September 23, 1862, but the Ohioans repulsed the assault, suffering no casualties. On November 12, 1862, while the 57th was still encamped at Memphis, officials assigned the regiment to the First Brigade, First Division, Fifteenth Army Corps.
On November 26, 1862, the 57th departed Memphis with a sizable Union force. The goal of this expedition was the Tallahatchie River, near Wyatt, Mississippi, where a Confederate force was located. The Southerners fled as the Northerners advanced, and the Union command returned to Memphis on December 13, 1862. At Memphis, 323 men, including some volunteers and some draftees, joined the 57th Ohio, giving the regiment 650 men available for duty.
In late December 1862, Union General William T. Sherman led a force, including the 57th, down the Mississippi River to Young's Point, Louisiana, arriving on December 26. The Union army advanced up the Yazoo River and fought Rebel forces at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou (December 26-29, 1862). The 57th engaged the enemy for the duration of the battle and served as the rearguard as the Union withdrew. The regiment had thirty-seven men killed or wounded in this engagement. Sherman's army returned to the Mississippi River and sailed up the White River to the Arkansas River, disembarking near Arkansas Post, Arkansas on January 9, 1863. The Northerners engaged a Confederate force at the battle of Arkansas Post (January 9-11, 1863). On January 10, the 57th Ohio and the Sixth Regiment Missouri Infantry drove in the enemy's pickets and seized some enemy barracks outside of Fort Hindman. On the next day, the 57th led the assault on the Confederate fort. After three hours of fighting, the Northerners captured the fort. In this engagement, the 57th again had thirty-seven men killed or wounded.
Following the Battle of Arkansas Post, on January 13, 1863, the 57th conducted an expedition to Clay Plantation in Arkansas. On this march, the regiment burned nearly forty thousand bushels of corn, a large amount of fodder, and a plantation home. The organization returned to Arkansas Post, boarded ships, and sailed to Young's Point, reaching this location on January 21, 1863. The 57th spent the next two weeks helping to dig a canal around Vicksburg, Mississippi, a Confederate stronghold. Union officials hoped that the canal would allow Union warships to sail by Vicksburg, avoiding the Confederate artillery pieces in the city. Northern gunboats could then shell the city from the south. On February 12, 1863, the 57th marched to Chancellor, Louisiana, before returning to Young's Point three days later. The regiment brought with it 175 cattle, twelve thousand bushels of corn, and a large quantity chickens. On March 17, 1863, the 57th advanced towards Haines's Bluff, Mississippi. On this expedition, the regiment skirmished severely with some Confederate sharpshooters, before returning to camp.
In late April, 1863, the 57th participated in General Ulysses S. Grant's advance on Vicksburg. On April 30, 1863, the regiment engaged Confederate forces at Snyder's Bluff, serving as a diversion, while the remainder of Grant's command attacked Grand Gulf, Mississippi. On the advance to Vicksburg, the regiment also fought in the Battles of Raymond, Champion Hill, Big Black River Bridge, and Vicksburg, before entering the Union's siege lines of the Confederate stronghold. and, on May 23, 1863, in an assault on Confederate forces in the rear of Vicksburg. On May 29, 1863, the 57th and its division participated in an expedition between the Big Black and the Yazoo Rivers, driving some Confederate soldiers from Mechanicsburg, Mississippi. After this successful excursion, the regiment returned to the siege lines at Vicksburg. After approximately a six-week siege, Vicksburg's Confederate defenders surrendered to the Union on July 4, 1863. During the Vicksburg Campaign, the 57th's commanding officer issued the following report:
HDQRS. FIFTY-SEVENTH REGIMENT OHIO VOL. INFANTRY, In bivouac before the Vicksburg Work, May 24, 1863.
CAPT.: In obedience to Col. T. K. Smith's circular of to-day, calling for a report of the movements of the Fifty-seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry since it left Milliken's Bend, La., I have the honor, in the absence of Lieut. Col. A. V. Rice, then commanding the regiment (since wounded in an assault upon the enemy's works before Vicksburg on the 22d instant), to submit the following report:
On the morning of the 4th instant, while in camp at Milliken's Bend, the colonel received an order from Col. T. K. Smith, commanding Second Brigade, Second. Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, to move to Richmond, La., a distance of 12 miles, with two days' cooked rations in haversacks and three days' rations in wagons, there to await orders.
On the afternoon of the 7th, at 3 o'clock, the brigade coming up, we were ordered to move forward to New Carthage, and on the road we received orders to leave New Carthage to our left and proceed to Hard Times Landing, on the Mississippi River, at which place we arrived on the evening of the 10th, having marched a distance of 51 miles in three days and a half.
On the evening of the 11th, we crossed the Mississippi River to Grand Gulf on the steamer Forest Queen. Laid in bivouac that night.
The next morning we were again on the march to Auburn; from thence we marched to Raymond, Miss., arriving at the latter place on the afternoon of the 15th instant, having marched 53 miles in three days and a half.
On the morning of the 16th, we were ordered to follow Capt. Barrett's battery on the road leading to Bolton. Between 8 and 9 a.m. we heard heavy skirmishing in front, and soon after the discharge of artillery.
About 12 m. We were ordered to form line of battle, with the right resting on the Eighty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry.
At 1 p.m. The regiment was ordered to march by the left flank, file right, and move perpendicular from the line of battle. Having moved half a mile, we came in contact with a masked battery of the enemy's.
We were then ordered to fall back to where our line of battle had previously been, and support Capt. Barrett's battery, in which position we remained until sundown, when we were ordered to rejoin the brigade, which we did, our left resting on the One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, where we bivouacked for the night, the men lying on their arms, the enemy retiring from our front during the night.
On the morning of the 17th, we resumed our march for Big Black River. About 10 a.m. we crossed the Jackson Railroad at Edwards Station, and took the road to Bridgeport, where we arrived at 12 m.
At 8 p.m. We crossed Big Black River on the pontoon bridge, marched 2 miles on the Vicksburg road, and bivouacked for the night.
On the morning of the 18th, at 4 a.m., we resumed our march, following the Eighty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and arrived in front of the enemy's works about 3 p.m.; formed line of battle to the left of the road, and were ordered to send out one company as skirmishers, to ascertain the position of the enemy. The skirmishers advanced within easy musket range of the enemy's works, driving in the enemy's skirmishers.
On the morning of the 19th, we received orders to assault the enemy's works, which was promptly executed at 2 p.m., Fifty-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry leading, followed by Fifty-fourth and Fifty-seventh Ohio Volunteers. The charge was made over steep hills and deep ravines, which are difficult to pass under the most auspicious circumstances. The line halted under the brow of a hill 100 or 150 yards from the enemy's works. The Fifty-fourth Ohio Volunteers having expended their ammunition, we were ordered to relieve them, which was immediately done, and kept up a brisk fire upon the enemy's parapets for some time, when the firing subsided into mere skirmishing.
At 2 a.m. Of the morning of the 20th, we received an order to retire to the position we had advanced from to make the assault. This order was obeyed by sending out one company at a time. The regiment lost, in the engagement of the 19th, 5 killed and 12 wounded.
After retaking our position of the previous morning, we again formed line, our right resting on the Eighty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, where we remained until the morning of the 22d instant, receiving an order that there was to be a second attack on the enemy's works, and with the order a call for 9 men, volunteers, to go with a storming party in advance of the attacking force. Fourteen men at once responded to the call. As but 9 men could be taken, the first that reported were accepted until the number was completed. I believe it to be prudent in me to give the names of these men, and but an act of justice to them that it should be done., Their names are as follows:
Company A, Sergt. David Ayers and Private Marion D. Tate; Company D, Privates Joseph Mitchell and David Day; Company I, Sergt. Peter N. Gabriel; Company K, Sergt. William Notestine and Corpl. Joseph I. Smith; Company G, Sergt. Ezra Hipsher and Corpl. John H. McKinley. Of the number which accompanied the storming party, 2 were killed and 2 wounded. Sergt. Peter N. Gabriel and Private Marion D. Tate were killed. Sergt. Ezra Hipsher and Corpl. John H. McKinley were wounded. The other five, by the aid of Divine Providence, returned to their comrades and regiment.
At 10 a.m. We were ordered to fall in and follow the Eighty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, marching by the flank left in front, which was done promptly. When we had advanced 50 yards we were compelled to halt for a moment, the ravine through which we had to pass being blocked up by the troops in our front. While here, the gallant Col. Rice received a severe wound from one of the enemy's sharpshooters. He was in a half sitting position at the time he was struck, the ball entering below the knee and passing through the leg, entering a second time above the knee, ranging upward, lodging near the abdomen, thereby rendering it impossible for him longer to command his regiment; consequently I assumed the command of the same. We were again ordered forward, moving as before, the enemy pouring into us a most terrific fire of shot and shell. When within easy range of the works, we were halted and ordered to return the fire of the enemy, which we did; remaining there in line until the following morning, when we were ordered into the position we now hold.
The regiment lost in this assault 15 in killed and wounded--3 killed and 12 wounded.
Of the conduct of officers and men I can but say they did all that officers and soldiers could do--their whole duty.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. R. MOTT, Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Fifty-seventh Regt. Ohio Vol. Infantry.
Capt. O. MOODIE WHITE, A. A. A. G., Second Brig., Second Div., Fifteenth Army Corps.
On July 5, 1863, the 57th joined General William T. Sherman's advance upon Jackson, Mississippi. On July 17, the city's Confederate defenders withdrew, giving control of Mississippi's capital to the North. After a brief pursuit of the withdrawing Confederates, the 57th entered camp at Camp Sherman, four miles west of the Big Black River. The regiment remained at Camp Sherman until September 27, 1863, when the command moved to Vicksburg, boarded the steamer Commercial, and sailed to Memphis, Tennessee.
On October 8, 1863, the 57th departed Memphis for Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee had besieged the Union's Army of the Cumberland. The regiment arrived in the vicinity of Chattanooga on November 22, 1863. Two days later, the 57th entered the city and, on the following day, participated in the Battle of Missionary Ridge. The regiment attacked the Confederate right, helping Union forces to drive the Confederates from the ridge and to bring the Siege of Chattanooga to a victorious conclusion for the Union. The 57th participated in the Northern pursuit of the retreating Confederates as far as Ringgold, Georgia, before returning to Chattanooga.
On November 29, 1863, the 57th marched towards Knoxville, Tennessee, where a Confederate force had besieged the city's Union garrison.. Before the regiment arrived at Knoxville, other Union forces lifted the siege, prompting the 57th to march for Chattanooga on December 7, 1863, arriving eleven days later. The regiment then proceeded to Bellefonte, Alabama, where the organization entered camp. On January 1, 1864, many of the 57th's members reenlisted. The re-enlistees received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. The regiment departed Bellefonte for Cincinnati, Ohio on February 4, 1864. Upon returning to the front in mid-April 1864, the 57th entered camp at Larkinsville, Alabama.
On May 1, 1864, the 57th Ohio embarked upon Union General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The goal of this expedition was for Northern forces to capture the important manufacturing center of Atlanta, Georgia. The regiment fought in many of the largest engagements of the campaign, including the Battles of Resaca, Dallas, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Atlanta, and Jonesborough. At Resaca, the regiment had fifty-seven men killed and wounded. At Kennesaw Mountain, the command suffered the same number of casualties as at Resaca. With the Union's seizure of Atlanta on September 2, 1864, the 57th marched from Jonesborough to Eastport, Georgia, where the organization entered camp on September 8, 1864. After the Atlanta Campaign, the 57th's commanding officer issued the following report:
HDQRS. FIFTY-SEVENTH OHIO VETERAN VOL. INFANTRY, Camp near East Point, Ga., September 9, 1864.
SIR: In compliance with Special Field Orders, No. 117, September 4, 1864, headquarters Department and Army of the Tennessee, I have the honor to submit the following detailed report of the Fifty-seventh Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, from May 3, 1864, to the fall of Atlanta, Ga., including the operations at Jonesborough:
May 3, 1864, marched from four miles west of Stevenson, Ala., to Bridgeport, Ala.; distance, fourteen miles. May 4, marched to Whiteside's Station, Tenn. ; distance, ten miles. May 5, marched to Lookout Valley; distance, twelve miles. May 6, marched to Lee and Gordon's Mills; distance, fifteen miles. May 7, marched to Gordon's Gap; distance, sixteen miles. May 8, marched fourteen miles, passing through Gordon's Gap. May 9, marched ten miles, passing through Snake Creek Gap lying on our arms all night, the enemy's pickets having been driven through the day. May 10, moved into position and fortified. Remained in this position during 11th and 12th. May 13.--I can do no better, nor could a more accurate description of our movements be given, than I find in the official report of Col. A. V. Rice, who was their in command of the regiment, whose language and report I adopt without alteration:
Under orders from Brig. Gen. Giles A. Smith, commanding First Brigade. Second Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, we moved from Sugar Valley toward Resaca. Arriving at a point where the road forks to Calhoun Ferry, we took position in line of battle on the Calhoun road, on the left of our brigade and division. Gen. Woods brigade, of the First Division joining us on the left. A line of skirmishers, under command of Capt. George D. McClure, Company A, were immediately thrown forward. At 1 p. m. an advance was ordered. The skirmishers moved forward in good order over the open field, followed by the line of battle. We gained the crest of the wooded hill and halted for a moment, then moved forward and by the left flank for three-quarters of a mile, being ordered to dress to the brigade on our left, the skirmishers engaging all driving the enemy the while. Again we halted for an hour, when, the skirmishers having driven the enemy off the hills in front, we moved forward over a most rough an rugged country to the edge of the woods fronting the enemy's works, across a partially cleared bottom field, through which ran Camp Creek, our left resting near the main road to Resaca. At this time my adjutant, First Lieut. W. M. Newell. received a painful wound in his left eye while conveying an order to the skirmishers, which deprived me of his valuable services for twenty-four bouts. Here I must mention the gallant action of our skirmishers, and those of the First Brigade. First Division, all under command of Capt. George D. McClure, Company A. Fifty-seventh Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, supported by Company G, Fifty-seventh Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Lieut. John Doncyson. On taking the hills last mentioned the skirmishers pushed rapidly forward, driving the enemy closely, taking a section of artillery just to our left, which fell into the hands of Gen. Woods. Company A being out of ammunition, Capt. John A. Smith, with Company K, relieved Company A, and in a gallant manner kept the enemy in check until dark. A picket was now sent out, under command of First Lieut. H. Stone, of Company H, and twelve men of Company C.
We lay on our arms during the night, and were in line of battle at daylight of May 14, when picket-firing commenced briskly. Nothing more of importance transpired in our front until 1 p. m. Mean time, from 9.30 a.m., a furious battle raged on our left, with seeming doubtful results. At this time I received an order from Brig. Gen. Giles A. Smith to advance our skirmishes, with the rest of the brigade, across Camp Creek, 150 or 200 yards in front, and to advance out line of battle accordingly. This was promptly obeyed, charging across the open field with arms right shoulder shift, and at double-quick. The Fifty-seventh Ohio starting first, and the movement being so sudden, the enemy was somewhat surprised. Resting here for a few moments, we again pushed forward out pickets through an almost impassable growth of wild roses, thorn, underbrush, and fallen timber to beyond a second creek or bayou. Our line of battle was immediately moved up through these heavy obstacles to easy supporting distance of the skirmish line, all the while under a sharp fire. The efficient manner that Lieut. Stone conducted his skirmishers in these advances, and during the day, deserves mention. Thus matters remained until 5.3O p. m., when we received orders to charge over the open field and to take and hold the hills 500 yards to our front, the First Brigade, First Division, and First Brigade, Second Division, to take part in the charge. Soon preparations were completed, and the bugle notes sounded "forward." With yells and shouts the enthusiastic troops went wildly over the field, under a terrible shower of lead, shot, and shell. I was instructed to hold my command at the foot of the hill to await further orders, but the war spirit so filled every breast that nothing was thought of but the occupation of the enemy's works on the crest of the hill and up the line of battle moved fearlessly and bravely. The enemy fled before us, and the gunners forsook their posts the work was accomplished, and the position ours. Just at this juncture I received an order from Brig. Gen. Giles A. Smith to withdraw my regiment, for now the left of our brigade lapped over and in front of Gen. Woods' brigade, and to report with it to him 200 yards to the right, and at the base of the bald hill, which faced to the southeast. This was immediately done at double-quick and in good order. although the men suddenly left the rich prize of cannon they had captured to fall into other hands. At this moment the fighting was severe, and the whole heavens seemed to be split with bursting shells. Under the immediate direction of Gen. Giles A. Smith and staff, we advanced and occupied the brow of the bald hill. Company C, under command of Capt. John W. Underwood, was now sent forward as skirmishers. Mean time the pioneer corps of the Second Division, which had promptly followed us with picks and spades, strengthening the line of rifle-pits facing the east just abandoned by the enemy. In a few moments, under the direction of Gen. Giles A. Smith, I half wheeled the right wing of the regiment and advanced it to the line of works being constructed by the pioneers. Lieut.-Col. Mott brought up the left wing and formed a continuation of the line to the left. Scarcely had the regiment got into position, when our skirmishers were driven back by overwhelming numbers. Immediately the right wing occupied the slight works constructed, the pioneers retiring, and now commences to us the most critical and eventful portion of the fight. The sun was just setting: onward, and with a determination unequaled, came the enemy, charging us in three lines of battle, of Loring's division, with shouts and yells. Six or seven stand of colors were seen, and as many regiments were confronting us. We had just experienced the wild feeling of the assailing party; now breathless we stood awaiting the coming storm. Capt. John W. Underwood skillfully conducted his skirmishers to the rear and placed them in their proper position, until which time the fire of the regiment was held, when, by command, the rear rank raised and delivered a most effective volley: this was followed by a volley from the front rank, and soon alternately, until the attacking force was hurled back. The enemy approached to within thirty or forty yards of our position. It was now growing dark, but nothing daunted by his failure, the enemy formed and charged again, and also a third time, only, however, to meet the fate of his first approach. A portion of the One hundred and sixteenth Illinois, fifty or sixty in number, was formed to the rear of our rear rank and did good execution. The One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois on the hill to our right delivered a left oblique with telling effect. My entire command was cool and collected and seemed determined to repel the foe or die at their posts. During the action Gen. Smith sent five companies [of the] Thirty-fifth New Jersey Volunteers to our support, but there being no break in the line their services were not needed and were not used. The fighting closed about 5.30 p. m., when a beautiful moon shone brightly on the terrible scene of death, and the deep groans of the wounded and dying made us realize the horrors of war.
Immediately after the battle the pioneer corps, whose services I now wish to mention, and whose work no doubt saved many casualties in the regiment, with the assistance of heavy details from my regiment, under command of First Lieut. R. W. Smith, went to intrenching, and before morning strong works were constructed, behind which we could have defied the enemy. The loss of the enemy must have been heavy. During the night most of his dead and wounded were taken away. In the morning blood, clothing, &c., told how terrible had been the slaughter. Companies E and K were advanced cautiously a short distance, under the command of Capt. A. J. Sennett and Lieut. S. H. Carey.
On Sunday. May 15, 1864, we were in line of battle at 3 a. m. At daylight, by order of Brig. Gen. G. A. Smith, [the skirmishers] were advanced, but the whiz of bullets showed that the enemy was near. We remained in position behind our works, and all day long we lay in the trenches, with a heavy picket-firing in front, with nothing to break the monotony save the rumor that a charge was expected from the rebels. After dark Companies B and G, under command of Lieut. Doncyson relieved Companies E and K on the picket-line. At 11 p. m. a heavy attack was made on the left, which brought us in line of battle, but which proved only a cover for the retreat of the enemy.
At 3 a. m. of the 16th of May. 1864, a bright light toward the town attracted our attention, and soon a crash told us that the railroad bridge was burned. At daylight our skirmishers advanced to the Oostenaula River, but found no force this side. Our brigade and regiment now advanced, under direction of Brig. Gen. G. A. Smith, to the rebel works at the town of Resaca, and the colors of the Fifty-seventh Ohio were the first to be placed upon the strong works, just abandoned by the enemy. A few prisoners fell into our hands, who were sent to the rear.
And thus ends our part of the telling and important battle of Resaca, planned and fought with that skill and ability so eminently characteristic of our commanding general and his subordinate generals over us, but we have to grieve the loss of many of our best officers and men, which always seems to be the case.
The action of officers and men was all that could be desired, and I hereby openly and gratefully give them the praise their noble bearing and conduct deserves. For the individual services of Lieut.-Col. Mott, for his sound judgment under fire, and for his brave and intrepid action, I must acknowledge myself largely indebted. Also to my adjutant. William M. Newell, who is ever prompt and efficient, and to Lieuts. E. A. Gordon and John D. Marshall, for carrying orders and for valuable assistance on the afternoon and night of the 14th, am largely indebted. The line officers did their whole duty, and the non-combatants in ministering to the wounded discharged their duties well.
May 17, marched to the extreme right of the army, the advance of the army driving the enemy to Adairsville and occupied the place. May 18, marched to near Kingston and encamped for the night. May 19, crossed the Etowah River and remained in camp until May 23; moved southwest from camp to within twenty miles of Kingston. May 24, marched through Van Wert, distance six miles. May 25, marched five miles, to a point near Dallas, Ga. May 26.--In relation to this action I use the report of Col. A. V. Rice, who then commanded the regiment:
At 11 a.m. of the 20th under orders from Brig. Gen. Giles A. Smith, we left our camp near Pumpkin Vine Creek, and moved toward Dallas about one mile (the Fifty-seventh Ohio being in the rear of the brigade), when the brigade formed line of battle, my command, by orders, remaining 200 yards to the rear, with Batteries A and B, First Illinois Light Artillery. As the line of battle advanced we followed, supporting the batteries. At 3 p.m. our forces occupied Dallas, Ga., and at 3.30 p.m. we marched into town. At 4.30 we moved in a southwesterly direction on the Villa Rica road one mile and a half, to where the road forks to Marietta, Ga. The First Brigade, Second Division, having the advance, met the rebel pickets and engaged them. We remained with Battery A during the night at the forks of the road, supplying the picket-line with ammunition from the ordnance train.
At 7 a. m. of May 27, by orders from Brig. Gen. Giles A. Smith, I moved my command up to the brigade, and was placed in reserve to the rear of Battery B, having orders through the day to he ready to move at a moment's notice. May 28, remained in same position occupied yesterday until 4.30 p. m. when the rebels fiercely attacked Fifteenth and Sixteenth Army Corps (the Fifty-seventh Ohio being still in reserve). I was first ordered to move to the right to the support of Gen. Harrow, of the Fourth Division, Fifteenth Army Corps. We had moved in this direction but a short distance when the Second Division was furiously assaulted, and I then received orders to assume the position I had left. In a short time I received orders from Gen. Giles A. Smith to move to a hollow or ravine in our front, to the rear of the One hundred and twenty-seventh Illinois, our right to rest on our own brigade and on the main Marietta road. This was immediately done, all the movements being done under a sharp fire. An attack being anticipated at midnight, by orders, we were in line of battle at 11.30 p. m., and we so remained for two hours. May 29, remained in position behind our works; heavy picket-firing all day. Nothing further of importance transpiring until 9 p. m., when there seemed to be a general attack by the enemy on our entire line; this firing continued until daylight. May 30, remained in same position as yesterday. Nothing transpiring of importance. May 31, our position remained unchanged until 1 p.m. An attack being anticipated on the right, the Fifty-seventh Ohio, Thirtieth Ohio, arid Eighty-third Indiana the remaining reserve regiments of the division, were ordered to the right and rear of the Fourth Division, all under command of Col. Spooner, of Eighty-third Indiana. In the evening three companies (E, K, and B) of Fifty-seventh Ohio and three companies from Thirtieth and three from Eighty-third Indiana, under command of Lieut. Col. S. R. Mott, Fifty-seventh Ohio, were sent out as pickets. Lay on our arms during the night.
June 1, at daybreak, by order of Col. Spooner, we withdrew half a mile to temporary works constructed the night before. At 7 a.m., by orders from Gen. Giles A. Smith, we moved by the left through Dallas to near New Hope Church, to the position occupied by the Twentieth Army Corps, where we remained until June 4. June 5, started for Acworth, where we arrived on the 6th, where we remained until June 10, 1864, when we started for Big Shanty. June 11, moved forward one mile, continued advancing slowly until June 27, when Second Division of Fifteenth Army Corps was selected to storm Kenesaw Mountain, and, at 7 a. m., moved a short distance to the right and forward to within 600 yards of the rebel line of works, under cover of timber, where the line was formed (the Fifty-seventh Ohio occupying the right of the advance of the First Brigade); skirmishers were thrown forward, and the line moved in close supporting distance. Through the first 150 yards the ground was thickly covered with underbrush, rendering it very difficult to keep the alignments perfect. This distance being passed we came to an almost impassable Swamp, thickly covered with wild shrubbery and vines, rendering the advance in line a very difficult matter. Passing on for a distance of 150 to 200 yards through this swamp we came to the foot of the mountain proper, the enemy 's pickets being driven before us, and many of them captured. Here a short halt was made and the line reformed, and then [moved] forward through a rough, broken country, covered with thick undergrowth and heavy timber, for a distance of 250 or 300 yards, when we found ourselves within 75 to 80 yards from the enemy's works. The natural growth of timber was, from this point to the enemy's works, felled, forming a species of abatis, the difficulties of which to move troops over can never be known, save to those who were there and participated in that hard-fought action. The men were eager for the fray, and pressed onward through a terrible storm of shot and shell, grape and canister, to within about fifteen or twenty yards of the main line of works. At this juncture Col. A. V. Rice, who was commanding the regiment, was severely wounded in the right leg, the left foot, and forehead. I was at this moment at the left of the regiment, and the regiment joining us on the left commenced falling back. I ordered my men to lie down but to hold their places, which they did (that is, Companies G, B, E. K, and H). Companies C, F, D, and I, owing to the severe fire on their front, the little protection afforded them, and the absence of the cheering of our beloved colonel in this trying moment, slowly fell back to the woods and there reformed. Not understanding why these companies had taken this position, I went down to inquire why a portion of the regiment was left under this terrible fire and the other withdrawn. When I learned that they had done so under orders brought by an orderly of Brig. Gen. Giles A. Smith, who has repeatedly told to deliver his order to me, as Col. Rice was wounded, I then brought Companies G, B, E, K, and H back to the position occupied by Companies C, F, D, and I; Company A, being within ten or fifteen steps of the enemy's works, could not at this moment be withdrawn. except at too fearful a sacrifice. They remained until night-fall, and crept out singly and alone as best they could, joining the balance of the regiment. Under orders from Gen. Giles A. Smith we intrenched ourselves and remained until about 10 p. m., when we left and assumed the position we occupied in the morning. I cannot complete my duty without making special mention of Capt. George D. McClure and Lieut. John D. Marshall. Sergeant Heaton, of Company D, Sergeant Francis, Company A, and Sergeant Winegardner, of Company C, deserve, for their action, some substantial acknowledgment from the Government. June 28, 29,30, all quiet.
July 1, still occupying same position. July 2, moved nine miles to the right of the Twenty-third Corps. July 3, the enemy evacuate Kenesaw Mountain; pursue the enemy; moving on the Green's Ferry road, across Nickajack Creek, in support of Sixteenth Army Corps, and remain there during July 4. July 5, move on same road. July 6, take position on the right of the Twentieth Army Corps. July 11, moved to the right, on the Sandtown road, in support of Gen. Stoneman, remaining there during the 11th. July 12, march to Marietta, and arrive at Roswell July 13. July 14, cross Chattahoochee River and fortify within two miles of Roswell, and remain there until July 16, when we start for Decatur, via Stone Mountain, arriving at Decatur July 18, having assisted in destroying the Augusta railroad, and remain here during the 19th. July 20, move toward Atlanta, three miles, skirmishing with enemy, where we built works, and remained during 21st. July 22, about 1 p. m. fighting could be heard on left, continuing for some time, with seeming doubtful result, when three regiments, Sixth Missouri, One hundred and twenty-seventh and one hundred and sixteenth Illinois, of First Brigade, Second Division, were ordered to support of Sixteenth Army Corps, leaving but two regiments (Fifty-fifth Illinois and Fifty-seventh Ohio) in line of battle, the One hundred and eleventh Illinois being in front, supporting skirmish line. About 3 p. m. the enemy attacked the picket-line, driving it back on the support (One hundred and eleventh Illinois), and finally forcing all back upon the line formed by Fifty-seventh Ohio and Fifty-fifth Illinois. On came the enemy, moving oil us in column by regiment, four or five regiments deep, extending as far to the right and left as I could see. The picket-line being well in, and the enemy within easy range, I ordered my regiment to commence firing, and continued with such effect as to compel the enemy to withdraw from our front, with the exception of a small number, who had succeeded in gaining the outside of the works, when I ordered the firing to cease. I now observed that the firing was not so heavy on the right, and started in that direction to ascertain the cause. From the position I occupied, I could see that the enemy had succeeded in gaining the works to the right of the railroad, having compelled the Second Brigade to leave the works, and were now forming, to the number of, say, 500, a line of battle partially facing my right, when they opened upon my right and rear, and at a distance of not more than twenty-five paces. Thus placed, I deemed it expedient to change front, which fact I communicated to the commanding officer of Fifty-fifth Illinois, both regiments being under my command. Between my right and the left of the Second Brigade ran the Augusta railroad, and at this point was a cut of from five to fifteen feet deep. When I commenced the movement of change of front I found a large number of the enemy had passed through this cut in the railroad, and were now on my rear. Believing the movement impracticable, under this state of facts, I ordered both regiments to fall back. Reaching a ravine, I attempted to reform the line. The command being in some confusion, and the density of the underbrush being so great, I could not determine with any degree of certainty to what extent I was surrounded. I continued to fall back to the line of rifle-pits occupied before the advance, where I reformed my line. Here I found Generals Smith and Lightburn urging some men forward. At this juncture Col. Martin came up with the regiments that had been detached and sent to the support of the Sixteenth Army Corps. The whole line being reformed, we advanced, and after some sharp work, retook our works. I desire here to state that the action of men and officers of both regiments, under my command, was all that could be desired, as every man remained at his post until ordered to fall back. I am of opinion that we could have held our line, if the brigade on my left had held their position. I shall now mention the manning of the section of artillery of Battery A, First Illinois Artillery, that was on the left of the railroad. I would that I knew the name of every man, that future generations might know to whom they are indebted for their liberties. July 23, 24, and 25, spent in burying dead, &c. July 26, started for the right of the enemy, and got there on the 27th. July 28, taking position on the extreme right of the army, at 10 a. m. we commenced advancing. Soon the skirmishers were engaged, and the enemy driven slowly until 11.36 a. m. Having succeeded in getting possession of a hill, we here found the enemy in force, advancing to meet us. Making hasty preparations to receive him, with a few rails and loose stones, we soon had what protection could be received from a line of works of this kind, only eighteen to twenty inches high. Assault followed repulse for seven long hours. The carnage was fearful, and the dead and wounded on the field told a tale that must clothe many hearthstones in mourning and sorrow. Officers and men behaved more nobly, if such a thing could be, than usual. To attempt to name specific acts of particular persons would enlarge this report to an unwieldy extent. I must, however, be permitted to mention the action of Corpl. Marion Beemer, of Company C, in supplying the regiment with cartridges, under the circumstances and dangers attendant, as being deserving of special mention. July 29, reformed lines and buried the dead. July 30 and 31, continual skirmishing all the time.
August 1, 2, 3, and 4, continue skirmishing and advancing slowly. On the 4th the regiment took part in a charge, carrying rebel riflepits, and fortify the position, where we remain until August 26. Moved to the right in the evening, marching all night and until 12 m. of 27th, reaching the Montgomery and Atlanta Railroad ten miles southwest of East Point. Remained here until morning of August 30. Moved on Macon railroad, where we arrived at 8 p. m., after continual skirmishing all day. August 31, met the enemy in force near Jonesborough, Ga., on the Macon railroad. Taking position on a fine range of hills, threw up slight works. The enemy, massing in front of our division and regiment, attacked us in four lines of battle. Owing to the conformation of the ground, the rebels could approach to within sixty to eighty yards of our line under cover. Here they formed their lines and came into full sight, when we opened upon them. Many fell, but with a stubbornness and determination that showed no value was attached to human life, the gaps were soon closed, as if by magic. Onward they came, with firm steps and compressed lip, until they reached, in many places, five paces of our lines. Believing they were determined to come over, I ordered my command to fix bayonets. This command, together with its execution, they saw, and this, more than our shot, seemed to bring them to a realizing sense of their situation. To turn and retreat now to them was certain death. So I, twice during the engagement, ceased firing to enable them to come in as prisoners.
Having already exhausted my limited knowledge of descriptive words of praise in the many engagements in which the officers and men of this regiment have won for themselves imperishable names, I can now only say, in commendation, that they are heroes, patriots, and war-worn veterans that a nation in her most beneficent gratitude can never repay. This closes the action that resulted in the fall of Atlanta, in which it has been the honor of the Fifty-seventh Ohio to participate. I feel that I have not done the regiment justice in this hurried and much lengthened report. As they have borne with my frailties on former occasions for my remissness of duty, I can but hope they will do so again. The short space of time allowed would not permit that the half should be told.
Casualties: Commissioned officers-killed, 1; wounded, 5; missing, 3. Enlisted men-killed, 22; wounded, 101; missing, 74. Total, 206.
I have the honor, sir, to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. R. MOTT, Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Fifty-seventh Ohio Volunteers.
A. A. A. G., 1ST BRIG., 2D Div., 15TH ARMY CORPS.
The 57th stayed at Eastport for nearly one month, when the regiment joined the Union’s pursuit of General John Bell Hood’s Confederate army, which was advancing through northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and southern Tennessee, headed for Nashville. The Ohioans marched through the Georgia communities of Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Kingston, Centerville, and Resaca, before engaging a Rebel force at Snake Creek Gap on October 15, 1864. The Northerners drove the Confederates from the field and pursued the Southerners to Taylor's Ridge, where another engagement erupted. The Union soldiers emerged from this engagement victorious. The 57th next marched to Atlanta, arriving on November 13, 1864.
On November 15, 1864, the 57th Ohio joined General Sherman's "March to the Sea." The ultimate goal of this campaign was for the Union military to seize Savannah, Georgia. The regiment engaged Confederate forces at Clinton, Georgia on November 21, at the Oconee River on November 25, and at Statesboro, Georgia on December 4. In all of these engagements, the Northerners emerged victorious. Upon reaching Savannah, the 57th joined the Union assault on Fort McAllister on December 13, 1864, driving the Southern defenders from the fortification at bayonet point. The regiment had ten men killed and eighty wounded in this engagement. Four days later, the 57th marched to the Gulf Railroad and destroyed nearly fifty miles of track, before returning to Savannah. The Union military occupied Savannah on December 21, 1864, with the 57th entering camp in the city.
In January 1865, the 57th Ohio embarked upon General Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign. In South Carolina, the regiment participated in several skirmishes with Confederate forces, including at Duall's Creek, at the South Edisto River, at the North Edisto River, and at Columbia. In early March 1865, the 57th entered North Carolina, arriving at Fayetteville on March 12. The regiment participated in the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina from March 19 to 21, 1865. Following this Union victory, the 57th moved to Goldsboro, North Carolina, before advancing to and entering camp at Raleigh, North Carolina.
Following the surrender of General Joseph Johnston's Confederate army in late April 1865, the 57th marched to Washington, DC, where the organization participated in the Grand Review on May 24, 1865. The regiment proceeded to Louisville, Kentucky, arriving at this location on June 7, 1865. On June 25, the organization proceeded to Little Rock, Arkansas, reaching this city on August 6, 1865. Officials mustered the command mustered out of service at Little Rock on August 14, 1865. The 57th's members traveled to Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio, where officials discharged the men from service on August 25, 1865.
During the 57th Ohio's term of service, eighty-one men, including four officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 238 men, including four officers, died from disease or accidents.
Cite this Entry
"57th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2021, Ohio Civil War Central. 21 Jun 2021 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1212>
"57th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2021) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved June 21, 2021, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1212
- Army of the Tennessee
- Atlanta Campaign
- Battle of Arkansas Post
- Battle of Bentonville
- Battle of Chickasaw Bayou
- Battle of Missionary Ridge
- Battle of Resaca
- Battle of Shiloh
- Camp Chase
- Camp Sherman
- Camp Vance
- Carolinas Campaign
- John Bell Hood
- Nathan Bedford Forrest
- Ohio Volunteer Infantry
- Ulysses S. Grant
- Vicksburg Campaign
- William Dennison
- William T. Sherman