6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (1861-1865)

Also Known As: Sixth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

Updated: January 22, 2014

In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.

In the American Civil War, Ohio provided the federal government with 260 regiments of men, including infantry, artillery, and cavalry units. Ohioans also served in several other regiments from other states, most notably from Kentucky, West Virginia, and Massachusetts, as well as in federal units. Almost 330,000 Ohio men, including 5,092 African Americans, served in the Union military during the conflict.

Cavalry regiments established in Ohio were known as regiments of Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Regiments formed in Ohio served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. In October 1861, the 6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry mustered into service at Camp Hutchins at Warren, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve for three years.

In January 1862, the 6th moved to Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, where the men engaged in drill. In March 1862, the organization proceeded to Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio to guard prisoners of war. On May 13, 1862, the regiment departed Camp Chase for Wheeling in modern-day West Virginia, where the command received their horses, carbines, and pistols. Officials quickly dispatched the equipped 6th to Strasburg, Virginia, where the organization joined General John C. Fremont's army, which was engaged in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862.

The 6th engaged a Confederate force at Strasburg, before joining the Union's pursuit of Confederate General Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall' Jackson's army down the Shenandoah Valley. The regiment skirmished heavily with Jackson's rearguard, the 2nd Regiment Virginia Cavalry and the 6th Regiment Virginia Cavalry. On June 8, 1862, Fremont's command engaged Confederates at the Battle of Cross Keys. The 6th lost several men killed and wounded in this engagement, before the Union force retreated to Strasburg. The regiment remained in the vicinity of Strasburg, conducting periodic excursions, including one to Luray Court House and another to Cedar Mountain. At both locations, the 6th skirmished with Confederate forces.

During the summer of 1862, the 6th joined the newly created Army of Virginia, which officials established to protect northern Virginia from Confederate attack, while the Union's primary army in the Eastern Theater, the Army of the Potomac, engaged enemy forces in the Peninsula Campaign. Following the Army of the Potomac's defeat in this campaign, the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia advanced into northern Virginia. The 6th contested the Confederates' crossing of the Rappahannock River and also engaged the Southerners at the Battle of Bull Run II on August 29, 1862 at Manassas Station, Virginia. Following this Union defeat, the regiment retreated to Alexandria, Virginia, before entering camp at Hall's Farm. The organization spent the remainder of the Antietam Campaign and the several months afterwards operating in northern Virginia, including engaging an enemy force at Warrenton, Virginia. In December 1862, the 6th advanced with the Army of the Potomac against Fredericksburg, Virginia. Sixty men from the regiment rode quickly into the town, seizing some enemy mail and a few prisoners, but the organization saw no real combat in the Battle of Fredericksburg (December 11-15, 1862).

Following the engagement at Fredericksburg, the 6th entered winter encampment at Potomac Creek Station and spent several months guarding various ford's along the Rappahannock River. In March 1863, the regiment engaged enemy cavalry in the Battle of Kelly's Ford. In this Union victory, the Northerners suffered fifteen men killed or wounded. In early May 1863, the 6th participated in General George Stoneman's raid, missing the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia (April 30-May 6, 1863). Following the Union defeat at Chancellorsville, the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia launched an invasion of northern Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. As the Confederates moved northwards, the 6th joined in the Union's pursuit. The regiment engaged Confederate forces at the Virginia communities of Stevensburg (June 9), Aldie (June 17), Middleburg (June 27), and Upperville (June 27). After these engagements, the 6th Ohio's commanding officer issued the following report:

Warrenton, Va., September 5, 1863.

Sir: I have the honor to report, in reply to your order of August 30, requiring a report of the battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville, that on June 17, when near Aldie, I received an order from Gen. Kilpatrick to take my regiment beyond the town, and support the Second New York Cavalry, who were then skirmishing with the enemy on the road to Middleburg.

 I placed my regiment in line of battle on the right of the road, with the left resting on the road. On the hill ahead was a strawstack, behind which the enemy were hid. I ordered a charge in line, and, passing the stack, captured all the enemy there, and I found in the next ravine a ditch varying from 3 to 7 feet in depth and from 6 to 8 feet in width, and in which I found nearly 40 of the enemy, all of whom I captured, making in all over 50 prisoners, who were turned over to the provost-marshal, with their horses, arms, and equipments.

In the engagement we lost 3 men killed and 11 wounded, including Maj. Stanhope, who has since died of his wounds. We also lost 10 horses.

The enemy opened on us from the hill beyond with grape and canister; but we held the position until dark, when we were ordered to retire.

At Middleburg, on June 19, we were ordered to support the battery, and took position on the hill to the right of it, one squadron being thrown out to a high hill on the right, to guard against a flank movement. We were then thrown out as skirmishers on the extreme right of Kilpatrick's line. We cleared the woods, losing 2 men wounded, 1 of whom has since died of his wound; 1 horse was also killed.

We were then ordered back again to support the battery, and at night went on picket in the woods where the principal fighting had been done, where we remained until the morning of the 21st.

From Middleburg to Upperville, on the 21st, we were on the right of the pike and the extreme right of Gen. Kilpatrick's line, on the east side of Goose Creek, losing here 1 man killed and 2 wounded. From Goose Creek to Upperville, our left rested on the pike. When near Upperville, one squadron, under Capt. Cryer, charged upon the enemy on the pike, breaking their columns, but losing 7 men wounded, 4 of whom the enemy captured; 4 horses were also lost. The remaining squadrons of the regiment charged upon the left flank of the enemy, who had dismounted and ranged themselves behind a stone fence. We drove them from this position, with a loss on our part of 1 man killed and 2 officers and 4 men wounded.

Beyond Upperville, one squadron, led by Capt. Northway, charged along the pike, routing the enemy. In this charge we lost 7 men wounded, 5 of whom were captured. Capt. Northway was himself wounded, but escaped. We pressed on until the enemy were driven into the Gap, when we fell back near Upperville, and encamped for the night in support of a battery on the right of the road.

The behavior of both officers and men was brave in the extreme, and where all did so nobly it is hard to signalize single deeds of daring and bravery.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. STEDMAN, Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Sixth Ohio Cavalry.

Capt. H. C. Weir, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

At the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), Pennsylvania, the 6th engaged the enemy, including on the engagement's final day, when the regiment destroyed three hundred enemy wagons.

Following the Union victory at Gettysburg, the 6th joined the Northern pursuit of the retreating Confederates. At Falling Waters, Maryland, the regiment helped capture 1,500 enemy soldiers, practically the entire rearguard of the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia. Upon crossing the Potomac River at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, the 6th entered camp at Thoroughfare Gap, Virginia. On September 1, 1863, two hundred dismounted Confederate cavalrymen ambushed fifty soldiers from the regiment. Only seven of these Ohioans returned to Thoroughfare Gap unharmed. After this engagement, an officer in the 6th Ohio issued the following report:

ORLEANS, VA., September 1, 1863.

CAPTAIN: I have the honor to report that the force under Major Cryer, Sixth Ohio Cavalry, which was attacked this p. m., consisted of about 50 men. They were attacked by about 150 men when within about 14 miles of Barbee's Cross-Roads. The enemy were in ambush, and were deployed out the whole length of the column.

The attack was made simultaneously from both sides of the road. On falling back they were attacked by another party of about 100, who came through the field and attempted to cut off their retreat. They cut their way through, however, losing in all 15 or 20 men. The major reports that previous to the attack his attention was attracted by another force of about 100 men, which he saw drawn up in line about 1 1/2 miles this side of Chester Gap. Major Chamberlain who pursued the enemy toward Manassas Gap, reports that the inhabitants deny having had any knowledge of the approach of the enemy.

The following is a statement of their loss which I received this a. m., and it is greater, it will be seen, than was supposed by Major Cryer last evening: Killed, 1 enlisted man; wounded, 1 commissioned officer and 4 enlisted men; missing, 1 commissioned officer and 24 enlisted men; total, commissioned officers, 2; enlisted, 29; aggregate, 31. Horses missing, 30.

The above is the statement that was given to me by Major Cryer last evening. He is suffering from a pistol-shot wound in the knee.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. W. WARDELL, Lieutenant, and Acting Adjutant.

Capt. A. WRIGHT, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

The 6th also participated in the Army of the Potomac's advance to the Rapidan River in Virginia, engaging enemy forces at Culpeper Court House, at Rapidan Station (October 13), and at Sulphur Springs, Auburn Mills, and Bristoe Station (all on October 14, 1863). In late November 1863, the 6th participated in the Battle of Mine Run, Virginia (November 27-December 2, 1863).

Following the Union defeat at Mine Run, the 6th Ohio entered winter encampment at Warrenton, Virginia. While headquartered at this town, the regiment spent the winter of 1863 and the spring of 1864 pursuing Confederate partisan rangers under the command of Colonel John Singleton Mosby. In January 1864, two hundred men of the 6th reenlisted in the Union military. The re-enlistees received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. Upon the furlough's completion, these men rejoined their regiment at Warrenton.

On May 3, 1864, the 6th Ohio joined the Army of the Potomac's advance against the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia. The regiment participated in the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5-7, 1864) and then embarked upon general Philip Sheridan's cavalry raid against the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. The 6th also fought in the Battles of Yellow Tavern (May 11, 1864), Owen Church (May 28, 1864), Cold Harbor (May 31, 1864), Bottom Bridge (June 6, 1864), and Trevilian Station (June 11-12, 1864). On June 24, 1864, Confederate cavalry attacked the 6th's division, driving the Northerners from the field. The 6th served as the rearguard during the retreat and repulsed several Confederate assaults.

Upon crossing the James River, the 6th entered camp for a few days at Prince George Court House. The regiment next engaged Confederate cavalry at Malvern Hill and enemy infantry soldiers along the Weldon Railroad. Following these engagements, officials assigned the 6th Ohio to the rear of the Union lines at Petersburg, Virginia, where the organization performed picket duty for several weeks. As Union forces kept extending their lines around Petersburg, the 6th Ohio moved to the front, engaging the enemy near Hutchins's Run on October 27, 1864. Following this engagement, the regiment entered winter encampment but continued to participate in various expeditions, which commonly resulted in skirmishes with the enemy.

On February 3, 1865, the 6th embarked upon the spring campaign against Petersburg. The regiment participated in the Battles of Hatcher's Run, Dinwiddie Court House, and Five Forks. After the Confederacy's Army of Northern Virginia evacuated Petersburg and Richmond, the 6th joined the Union's pursuit of the retreating Southerners. The regiment participated in the Battles of sailor's Creek, Farmville, and Appomattox Court House. The final battle resulted in the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Officials ordered the 6th into camp at Petersburg, before sending the organization into North Carolina to assist Union general William T. Sherman's army in conquering Confederate General Joseph Johnston's army. Johnston surrendered in late April 1865, resulting in the 6th Ohio returning to Petersburg. Authorities next dispatched portions of the regiment to various communities along the Appomattox River in Virginia, where the organization performed garrison duty. In August 1865, officials ordered the 6th Ohio to Cleveland, Ohio, where the regiment mustered out of service on August 7.

During the 6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry's term of service, fifty-seven men, including five officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 181 men, including four officers, died from disease or accidents.

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 13 Oct 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1220>

APA Style

"6th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved October 13, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1220

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