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 15th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Organization occurred at Camp Mordecai Bartley, at Mansfield, Ohio, and the regiment mustered into service on September 26, 1861. The 15th Regiment had previously organized for three months service, but officials requested that the regiment's members reenlist for three years service. The soldiers who did reenlist became the nucleus of the new 15th Regiment.
On September 26, 1861, the 15th arrived at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. On October 4, 1861, the regiment proceeded to Lexington, Kentucky. Eight days later, the organization traveled via train to Louisville, Kentucky and then marched to Camp Nevin, near Nolin’s Station, Kentucky. At this location, officials assigned the 15th to the Sixth Brigade, Second Division of the Army of the Ohio. On December 9, 1861, the Sixth Brigade departed Camp Nevin, reaching Mumfordsville, Kentucky on the following day. Four days later, officials ordered the Second Division to Fort Donelson, Tennessee but, upon hearing word that Union troops had captured this installation, countermanded the order, sending the division to Bowling Green, Kentucky instead. The division next moved upon Nashville, Tennessee, arriving at this location on March 2, 1862.
On March 16, 1862, the 15th departed Nashville for Savannah, Tennessee. On the evening of April 6, 1862, the 15th arrived at Savannah and immediately rushed to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, approximately eleven miles away, where the Battle of Shiloh raged. The regiment reached the battlefield at noon on April 7, and the Ohioans immediately engaged the enemy, helping the Union to attain a victory. After the battle, the 15th's commanding officer issued the following report:
SIR: I have the honor to submit the report of the part the Fifteenth Ohio Regt., under my command, took in the action of the 7th of April, 1862, near Pittsburg Landing, Tenn.:
Being the only field officer present, I detailed Capt. I. M. Kirby, of Company D, and Capt. A. R. Z. Dawson, of Company G, as acting field officers. Under your directions the Fifteenth occupied by the right of the Sixth Brigade, and about 12 m. engaged the enemy, and until near 4 o'clock p. m. we were under a most galling fire of the rebel forces. During the entire time no inch of ground was yielded, but twice we advanced our lines until we were in close proximity to the rebel forces. No language can do justice to the brave officers and men under my command. They poured a most deadly fire into the enemy's ranks amid a raking charge of musketry and artillery which was fast thinning my ranks, but nothing could move the gallant Fifteenth. Forty rounds of ammunition were discharged by my brave men with such precision that the enemy at last gave way and our artillery occupied the ground, the Fifteenth scattering the flying rebels in wild confusion. To Capt.'s Kirby and Dawson I am largely indebted for their invaluable assistance in maneuvering the regiment. To Adjutant Taft am I also indebted for his assistance for the same. Comparisons would be invidious, when all, both officers and men, under my command, conducted themselves with distinguished bravery and coolness. We are proud of the regiment, the Sixth Brigade, and the Second Division; of Gen. McCook, its brave commander, and yourself, who led us to victory and honor.
WM. WALLACE, Maj., Comdg. Fifteenth Regt. Ohio Vols., U. S. Army.
Col. W. H. GIBSON, Cmdg. Sixth Brigade.
The 15th encamped at Pittsburg Landing until late April 1862, when the command joined the Union advance against Corinth, Mississippi. The regiment remained in the Union reserve until May 27, 1862, when the organization participated in the Siege of Corinth (April 29-May 30, 1862). Upon the North's occupation of the city, the 15th pursued the retreating Confederate garrison as far as Brownsboro, Mississippi, before entering camp at Corinth. The regiment next joined the Army of the Ohio's advance into northern Alabama, passing through Iuka, Mississippi and Florence, Alabama, before entering camp at Battle Creek, Tennessee. On August 20, 1862, the 15th departed Battle Creek for Nashville, marching through the Tennessee communities of Altemonte, Manchester, and Murfreesboro.
In early September 1862, the 15th joined the Army of the Ohio's pursuit of Confederate General Braxton Bragg's army, which had launched an invasion of Kentucky and was threatening Ohio's southern border. The Union army beat the Confederates to Louisville and, after several weeks of rest, advanced against the Southerners. On October 8, 1862, the Army of the Ohio engaged Bragg's Confederates at the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, but the 15th did not arrive on the battlefield until after the engagement had ended. As a result of this battle, the Confederates withdrew from Kentucky. The Army of the Ohio briefly pursued the enemy, with the 15th advancing as far as Crab Orchard, Kentucky. The Army of the Ohio next marched to Nashville.
In late December 1862, the 15th joined the Army of the Ohio's advance upon Bragg's Army of Tennessee, which was situated at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. At the Battle of Stones River, the two armies clashed from December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863. The regiment eighteen men killed and eighty-nine wounded in this engagement. After this Union victory, the 15th's commanding officer issued the following reports:
HDQRS. FIFTEENTH OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, January 7, 1863.
SIR: In accordance with orders from Col. Gibson, commanding brigade, I have the honor to report to you the part taken by the Fifteenth Ohio in the march from Nashville to Murfreesborough, and the engagements in which the Fifteenth participated.
We were first engaged with the enemy on the morning of December 31, 1862, about 7 o'clock, when I found the enemy approaching in our rear, and received the order from Col. Gibson to move out and form line of battle. To do this I countermarched the regiment and took up a position about 10 rods in front of my camp. By the time this was accomplished the brigade in rear of the First Brigade had given way, and, with the balance of our brigade, was in full retreat. We held this position only long enough to cover the retreat of our forces, when I gave the order to fall back.
It was at this point that the brave and gallant Lieut.-Col. Askew fell, severely wounded in the thigh, and was taken prisoner, and the no less brave Capt. Douglass and Lieut. Hilles also fell- Capt. Douglass wounded in the breast, and Lieut. Hilles in the thigh; both fell into the enemy's hands. None of the above have been paroled, and are now within our lines. Maj. McClenahan was slightly wounded in the shoulder, but made his escape on foot with the regiment. Five men of the regiment were killed at this point. The retreat was through an open field, with a high fence to cross before we could get under cover of the wood. Most of my killed and wounded occurred at or near this fence.
Having placed this fence between us and the enemy, we fell back in good order, keeping up a brisk and deadly fire on the advancing foe. I rallied the regiment about one-half mile from my camp, being greatly assisted by Capt. Dawson and Adjutant Dubois, both of whom showed themselves to be brave and gallant officers.
At this time I found myself in command of the brigade, and my report of the 15th for the balance of the day will be included in that of the brigade, which was rallied here, and, with one piece of artillery, under Lieut. Belding, we checked the advance of the rebel column.
Lieut. Belding is deserving of great praise for the admirable manner of handling his piece. From the effects of three shots not less than 100 of the enemy fell.
When in command of the brigade, Adjutant Norton, of the Forty-ninth Ohio, Capt. Schmitt, Lieut.'s Miles, Green, and McGrath, of Gen. Willich's staff, rendered invaluable assistance in rallying the men, in charging the enemy, and conducting the retreat.
Capt. Dawson took command of the Fifteenth Ohio, Maj. McClenahan not feeling able to do so, and once, when there was danger of the men breaking in wild confusion, he seized the colors of the Fifteenth, and by a united cheer, the brigade was again formed, and checked again the enemy's advance; the brigade fell back at last in rear of Gen. Rousseau's lines, and formed again, and held the rebel advance in check, but were again compelled to fall back, by the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, in rear of Gen. Van Cleve's division, who put a stop to the further advance of the enemy. On the evening of this day I learned with pleasure of the safety of Col. Gibson, who took command of the brigade. Under his direction the Fifteenth took part in the maneuvering on the right the following day, and on the succeeding day was present in the charge made by the First Brigade upon the right of the enemy, and in which but one man of the Fifteenth was injured, Sergeant Malin, who was struck by a piece of shell in the thigh.
Maj. McClenahan rejoined the regiment on the 3d, having been ordered to do so by the brigade commander. I am pleased to mention with pride the gallant bearing of all the company officers of the Fifteenth who took part in the action of the 31st and the following days of the conflict. They did their whole duty under the trying circumstances under which they were placed.
Lieut. Fowler was wounded slightly in the right leg and taken prisoner on the 31st, but he is now within our lines.
From December 31 to the evening of January 4 the loss of the Fifteenth was: Killed, 17; wounded, 68; missing, 127.
Your obedient servant,
WM. WALLACE, Col., Cmdg. Fifteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Capt. CARL SCHMITT, A. A. G., First Brig., Second Div., Right Wing, Fourteenth, A. C.
[P. S.--I cannot close my report without speaking in terms of the highest commendation of Dr. Kelly, of this regiment, who remained with our wounded, and by his untiring efforts succeeded in having our unlucky braves made as comfortable as the nature of the circumstances would permit.
GENERAL ORDERS, No. 55. HDQRS. DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND, Murfreesborough, Tenn., March 21, 1863.
I. At a court of inquiry, convened at Murfreesborough, Tenn., pursuant to Special Field Orders, No. 59, Hdqrs. Department of the Cumberland, on the request of Maj. John McClenahan, to report on the charges against him during the battle of Stone's River, of which court Col. Stanley Matthews, Fifty-first Ohio Volunteers, was president, and Capt. D. G. Swaim, assistant adjutant-general, was recorder, the following facts, were found upon the testimony:
1st. That on the 31st of December, 1862, at the battle of Stone's River, the Fifteenth Regt. Ohio Volunteers was part of the First Brigade, Second Division, Right Wing; that early in the day Gen. Willich, the brigade commander, was taken prisoner by the enemy, and Col. W. H. Gibson, the next ranking officer, with a portion of the command, was cut off from the main body of the brigade, whereby the command devolved upon Col. Wallace, Fifteenth Ohio Volunteers; that thereby the command of said regiment devolved upon Maj. McClenahan, the senior officer present; that previously thereto Maj. Clenahan had been wounded by a bullet passing through the muscles over the scapula, and through the spine of the scapula of the right shoulder; that said wound was sufficient to prevent the ordinary use of the right shoulder and arm, but was not severe enough to disable Maj. McClenahan from remaining in the field on horseback, or to unfit him, under the circumstances, for the discharge of his field duties; that it was an occasion of great urgency, requiring extraordinary exertion and endurance on the part of every officer and soldier, the whole line of the corps being driven by the enemy from its position, and this brigade, including the Fifteenth Regt. Ohio Volunteers, having been thrown into confusion; that when Maj. McClenahan was notified that the command of the regiment devolved upon him, he declined, formally, to assume it, on account of his wound, and thereupon Col. Wallace ordered Capt. Dawson, of the same regiment, to assume command thereof, which he did; that Maj. McClenahan nevertheless remained with the regiment until it had fallen back to a position on the Murfreesborough turnpike, at about 3 p.m., after which it was not again engaged with the enemy, exerting himself, to the best of his ability, to form, rally, and cheer his men, and that, when the regiment reached the position last named, he left, for the first time, to have his wound examined and dressed.
2d. That on the several succeeding days of that week the said regiment was not actually engaged with the enemy, except slightly on the Friday afternoon; that during that period Col. Wallace, having been relieved by Col. Gibson from the command of the brigade, had taken command of the regiment, and the necessity for Maj. McClenahan's presence and services was not so great; that, accordingly, he was not continually present with the regiment after the 31st of December, 1862, until January 3, 1863, nor on duty with it, but went on duty on the date last mentioned, on the order of his brigade commander; and subsequently, upon a medical certificate and by order of the medical director, went to Nashville for treatment, and obtained leave of absence for twenty days on account of his wound.
Upon these facts the court is of the following opinion:
That there was nothing in the conduct of Maj. McClenahan, on the occasions referred to, that can be construed to support any charge of cowardice, disobedience of orders, or other misbehavior in the face of the enemy, but that he is censurable for not assuming the formal command of the regiment during the actual engagement on the 31st of December 1862.
II. The finding of the court is approved.
By command of Maj.-Gen. Rosecrans:
C. GODDARD, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
Following the Battle of Stones River, the 15th Ohio remained encamped in the vicinity of Murfreesboro, participating in a few excursions to drive Confederate forces from the region and also to collect forage. In late June 1863, the Army of the Cumberland, including the 15th, embarked upon the Tullahoma Campaign (June 24-July 3, 1863), a Union advance into southern Tennessee and northern Alabama. The regiment played a major role in driving enemy forces from Liberty Gap. Upon the campaign's conclusion, the regiment encamped at Tullahoma, Tennessee, where the organization performed garrison duty.
In early September 1863, the 15th departed Tullahoma and embarked upon the Army of the Cumberland's advance into northern Georgia. The regiment skirmished repeatedly with Confederate forces belonging to General Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. On September 19 and 20, 1863, the two armies fought the Battle of Chickamauga. The 19th remained engaged both days, losing ten men killed, seventy-one soldiers wounded, and forty more missing or captured. On the evening of September 20, the entire Army of the Cumberland withdrew to Chattanooga, Tennessee. After this battle, the 15th's commanding officer issued the following report:
HDQRS. FIFTEENTH REGT. OHIO INFANTRY VOLS., Chattanooga, Tenn., September 26, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report the part taken by this regiment in the battles of the 19th and 20th instant:
On Saturday, the 19th, the regiment, having been on picket duty, was not able to march with the rest of the brigade, but under orders marched as soon as the men got their breakfasts and as soon as the pickets could be drawn in, and after a very rapid march came up with the brigade several miles south of Crawfish Spring; thence we moved in the rear of the brigade, the battery being before us until we reached the place where the brigade went into action. We formed the second line, in rear of the Forty-ninth Ohio, which was on the left. We followed the front line closely in their brilliant and rapid advance, ready to support them if necessary, until the brigade was halted, when we were formed in double column on the center. We were lying in this position when the enemy made the attack about dark on Saturday evening. The stragglers from the first line, of which there was a considerable number, threw the regiment into some confusion, but they were soon rallied, and the regiment deployed into line on the left of the Forty-ninth Ohio, when the enemy was checked and the firing ceased. We then moved into camp with the brigade.
On Sunday, the 20th instant, the brigade being in reserve in rendezvous position, we were formed in double column on the center, in rear of the Eighty-ninth Illinois Volunteers, and to the left of the Forty-ninth Ohio, fronting the line occupied by the Second and Third Brigades of this division. We remained in this position for some time, when the brigade, advanced to the first line of barricades, deployed into line. Here I received and order from the general to go to the support of Capt. Goodspeed's battery and to form on its left. The battery at that time was near the house on the road, and a little to the right and considerably to the rear of our line. I immediately moved by the right flank. When the head of my column had nearly reached the battery, though we were still on the right of it, we received a sharp volley from a body of the enemy who were advancing down the road, and on the left flank of our general line of battle, and who had driven our troops that were protecting that flank before them. I immediately halted and faced by the rear rank, and gave the enemy a volley. By this time the Ninth Ohio, which had been formed parallel to the road and fronting our general line of battle, changed front forward on their tenth company, which threw their line in front of ours, and this attack of the enemy was repulsed with the assistance of two other regiments of the brigade, which were in line along the barricades, and which faced, I supposed, by the rear rank, and gave the enemy a fire in his flank. As soon as possible I proceeded to form on the left of the battery, as before ordered, my right resting on the road and fronting up the road or in a northerly direction, and in the direction from which the last attack was made. While here Gen. John Beatty came to me and informed me that the enemy were again directly on our front, and requested me to advance the regiment with some other troops which were formed on our right and left. I told him I would do so if I got permission of the general. He obtained the permission, and we advanced through the weights, driving the enemy before us until we reached the point where the field on the right of the road terminated and the woods began. The regiments on our right and left line without support, I did not deem it prudent to advance farther, and the regiment was halted here. I then sent Maj. McClenahan to inform the general where we were and to ask for orders. The major returned with the order to rejoin the brigade. Before this order was begun to be executed the enemy again advanced to the attack. Our flanks being exposed we fell back slowly and gradually, firing in retreat; we fell back perhaps 100 yards in this way, when the enemy appeared to have been satisfied, as he did not follow us up. I formed the regiment here and moved back over the ground which we had retreated over, the enemy falling back rapidly before us. We gathered up our wounded, and then joined the brigade near the house, forming on the left of the Thirty-second Indiana Volunteers and fronting to the west. The movements of the regiment during the remainder of the day having been with the brigade and directly under the eve of the general, I do not think it necessary to go into an extensive account of it. I cannot speak in terms of too high praise of the conduct of the officers and men of the regiment; under the hottest fire they were cool, collected and determined. The men fired deliberately, never firing unless they saw something to fire at, and then with good aim. Lieut. Fowler, commanding Company F, a gallant officer, was killed. Capt. Byrd and Lieut. Updegrove, both commanding companies, were wounded. Maj. McClenahan, although quite unwell, remained on the field to the last, and rendered gallant and efficient service in the management of the regiment. Out of 325 with which we went into action we lost as follows:
Officers and men. K W M T
Officers........ 1 2 .. 3
Enlisted men.... 9 75 33 117
Total........ 10 77 33 120
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANK ASKEW, Lieut.-Col., Comdg. Regt.
Capt. CARL SCHMITT, Assistant Adjutant-Gen., First Brigade.
At Chattanooga, Bragg's Confederate army besieged the Union garrison from late September to late November 1863. On November 25, the 15th fought in the Battle of Missionary Ridge, driving Bragg's remaining soldiers from the ridge, attaining a Union victory, and ending the Chattanooga Campaign. After the siege, the regiment's commanding officer issued the following report:
HDQRS. FIFTEENTH REGT. OHIO INFANTRY Volunteers, Camp near Knoxville, Tennessee, December 20, 1863.
SIR: I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by this command in the operations in front of Chattanooga, from the 23d to the 25th days of November, inclusive:
About noon on the 23d, we received the order to prepare to move out immediately, with two days' rations in haversacks and 60 rounds of ammunition. Our preparations were soon made, and about 1 p.m. we moved out of the works, following the Forty-ninth Ohio, and formed directly in front of Fort Wood, being on the right of the first line of the brigade, and connecting with the left of the first line of Gen. Hazen's brigade. We remained here a short time waiting for the other troops to form. When all was ready, at the signal we moved forward with the whole line, the pickets moving forward as skirmishers and driving the enemy's pickets before them, under a sharp fire. When we had gained the summit of Orchard Knob, we rested, the object of the movement-which was understood to be a reconnaissance-having, I suppose, been accomplished. After resting here a few minutes, in pursuance of the orders of the general, we began to erect a barricade or breastwork of logs and stones, and whatever loose material we could find, on the knob. As soon as we began to work the enemy opened on us with his batteries from the top of Mission Ridge, and also from batteries at the foot, and although their firing was rapid, and continued until nearly dark, it did not materially interfere with the progress of our work, so that by the morning of the 24th we had erected a very good protection against the fire of infantry.
During the forenoon of the 24th, we were relieved by the Thirty-second Indiana Regiment, and took their place in the second line, where we remained until the forenoon of the 25th, when we relieved the Thirty-second Indiana, taking again the right of the first line of the brigade, covering our own front with Company A (Capt. J. C. Cummins) and Company B (Lieut. Smith) deployed as skirmishers, supported by Company F (Capt. Glover) and Company G (Capt. Dawson) in reserve, all under the command of Maj. McClenahan. We were disposed in this manner on the afternoon of the 25th, when the signal for the general advance was given, at which we moved forward with the whole line, taking the double-quick step as soon as we reached the open ground in front of the first line of the enemy's works at the foot of Mission Ridge.
The skirmishers, with the supporting companies deployed with them went into the works at the foot of the ridge, meeting with very little resistance from the few infantry of the enemy, who occupied these works. Their artillery had all been removed during the nights of the 23d or 24th. Our skirmishers were soon followed by the regiment in line, which, as we neared the foot of the ridge, was exposed to a very heavy fire from artillery and infantry, posted behind the works on the top of the ridge, the artillery fire doing us but little damage, however, as they shot over us. Here, every one being considerably exhausted by the rapid pace at which we had reached the foot of the ridge, and under the protection of the log huts which had been the camp of the enemy, most of the command halted, and rested for a moment before undertaking the difficult ask of climbing the steep face of the ridge, "crowned with batteries, and encircled with rifle-pits;" however, the stouter ones soon pushed out, followed by the whole command, and slowly and stubbornly began to climb the hill, exposed all the while to a deluge of grape and canister from the batteries and musket-balls from the rifle-pits. Still on they went a stage at a time, picking of any of the enemy who dared show his head above their works; finally the works were reached, and, with a yell, the men went over them and in among the terror-stricken and confused enemy; many of whom threw down their arms and yielded themselves prisoners, and were sent to the rear. Those who attempted to escape were pursued down the eastern slope of the ridge and many of them captured, and pieces of artillery and caissons, which the enemy were attempting to get off down the road-which leaves the summit of the ridge where this command gained it and runs down the eastern slope of the ridge to the valley-were pursued, some of the horses shot, and the artillerists driven off or captured. The command being by this time very much scattered and disorganized, and fearing that there might be an attempt on the part of the enemy to regain the ridge, I caused the rally to be sounded, and in as short time as possible we were reorganized and ready for any movement, offensive or defensive, and awaited orders.
While resting here, Capt.'s Dawson, Carroll, and Pettit were sent with details from the regiment to bring up the artillery and caissons, which we had compelled the enemy to abandon. They returned with five pieces of artillery and several caissons.
Shortly after this I received the order to join the brigade on the top of the ridge, which we did, and our operations for this day were ended. I desire to call the attention of the general to the gallant conduct of Sergeant Ward, our color bearer, who, while climbing up the ridge with the colors in advance of the regiment, received a severe wound. The colors were taken up by Corporal Norton, one of the color guard, and borne on up, and we have the gratification of knowing were among the first which were planted on the enemy's works.
Robert B. Brown, a private of Company A, also deserves special mention for having captured a flag of the enemy. Maj. McClenahan and Adjutant Dubois were present during the operations of the three days, and fully sustained their reputation as brave men and good officers, which they had gained on other battle-fields.
Capt. J. C. Cummins (who has his left arm shot away after he had gained the top of the ridge), Capt. Glover, Capt. Dawson, Capt. Carroll, Capt. G. W. Cummins, Capt. Pettit, and Capt. Byrd (who was again wounded, having just rejoined the regiment from an absence on account of wound received at Chickamauga) were conspicuous for their gallantry, and were with their men cheering them on. The subalterns of the regiment bore themselves well, and rendered valuable service. Lieut. Sanders, who was killed, although but lately promoted, gave promise of being as good an officer as he was an excellent soldier.
I regret that on account of the already voluminous extent of this report I cannot furnish you the names of every non-commissioned officer and private of this regiment who participated in the assault on Mission Ridge, but I hope that measures may be taken to have their names preserved and recorded, so that in after days, when their labors shall have been rewarded with the blessings of peace, they may be able to point with pride to the fact that they were among the heroes of Mission Ridge. Our loss was as follows:
Officers and men. K W M T
Commissioned officers... 1 2 .. 3
Enlisted men............ 3 18 .. 21
Total................. 4 20 .. 24
K=Killed. W=Wounded. M=Missing. T=Total.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANK ASKEW, Lieut.-Col., Cmdg. Regt.
Capt. CARL SCHMITT, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
Following the Chattanooga Campaign, the 15th immediately marched for Knoxville, Tennessee, where a Confederate force had besieged the city's Union garrison. Other Northern forces ended the siege before the regiment arrived, and the 15th entered camp at Knoxville on December 8, 1864, before moving to Strawberry Plains, Tennessee. At this location, a majority of the regiment’s members reenlisted, with the re-enlistees receiving a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. Upon returning to the front, the 15th entered camp at McDonald's Station, Tennessee.
On May 3, 1864, the 19th 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 Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and Lovejoy's Station. The Union military occupied Atlanta on September 2, 1864, bringing the campaign to a victorious conclusion for the North. The 15th's commanding officer issued the following report regarding the campaign:
HDQRS. FIFTEENTH REGT. OHIO VET. VOL. INFANTRY. Camp near Atlanta, Ga., September 12, 1864.
SIR: In obedience to orders, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the campaign just terminated by the capture of Atlanta:
From the time we broke up camp near McDonald's Station, Tenn., on the 3d day of May until the 9th da, y of June, the regiment was under the command of Col. Wallace, with the exception of a short time late in the evening of the 27th of May, and part of the next day, when Col. Wallace was disabled by a fall, I took command. During the time we had marched from McDonald's Station to near Acworth, Ga., participating with the brigade in the skirmishing at Rocky Face Ridge, in front of Dalton; in the battle of Resaca, and in the march to and battle of Pickett's Mills, near Dallas, Ga., on the 27th of May. Of the part we took in the skirmishing at Rocky Face Ridge. and in the battle of Resaca, I deem it unnecessary to mention further than that we relieved troops already in position, our losses being, at Rocky Face, 1 enlisted man killed and 2 wounded, and at Resaca, 8 enlisted men killed and 15 wounded. In the battle of Pickett's Mills, on the 27th of May, we occupied, as I understand it, the right of the second line of the brigade in rear of the Eighty-ninth Illinois. Upon moving to the position to attack, about 5 p. m., the right wing of the regiment emerged from the woods into an open field directly in front of the position of the enemy, who immediately opened on us from a battery to our front and right. I immediately threw out Company A, Lieut. Hanson, as skirmishers to cover that part of our front and right flank, and sent word to Col. Wallace, who was near the left of the regiment, that our right was thrown out into an open field, with none of our troops in front, and nothing connecting with our right to protect us from an attack in that direction, and that the enemy were strongly posted in a line of works on the farther edge of the open field, on rising ground, from us, and apparently enveloping our right flank. We soon received orders from Col. Gibson, commanding the brigade, to refuse our regiment to protect the right Hank. This disposition was partly made when the line was ordered forward. In the advance the regiment was thrown into some confusion, as we were moving by the left flank at the time the order to advance came, and by some means or other, to me unknown, the line was broken near the center, and in moving forward the right wing, with the exception of Company A, moved in such a direction that it came to the attack to the left of the left wing of the regiment. Upon receiving the order, however, the men moved forward with spirit and determination, under a terrible fire from the artillery and small-arms of the enemy posted behind their works. The fire was so hot and well directed, and decimated our ranks so rapidly, that the advance was checked within a short distance of the enemy's works, where we were compelled to seek such shelter from the storm of shot as the nature of the ground afforded. It soon became evident that the attack had failed, and the recall was sounded by the brigade bugle about 6 p. m. As I could not find Col. Wallace on the field (I learned afterward that he had been injured by a fall, and had gone or been taken oft) I did not think it prudent to withdraw then, as it was still daylight, and an attempt to withdraw then would have exposed us to great risks; besides, we would have been compelled to leave nearly all our wounded in the hands of the enemy. I waited until dark, then sent out parties to gather up the wounded and carry them to the rear. After we had carried off all we could find we quietly withdrew and joined the brigade. Our loss in this battle was Capt. Updegrove, Company H, severely wounded; Lieut. Davis, Company C, wounded in foot; Lieut. Leiter, Company I, lost right hand. Color Sergt. Ambrose Norton, Company D, was killed, and 5 of the color guard successively killed or wounded with the colors. They were finally brought off by Sergt. David D. Hart, of Company I, then one of the color guard. Our loss of enlisted men, including these, was 19 killed, 61 wounded, and 19 missing. The missing were mostly wounded, whom we were unable to find in the darkness. On the 28th and 29th of May we remained in about the same position that we took when withdrawn on the night of the 27th in the immediate vicinity of the battle-field. On the night of the 30th we moved forward a short distance, our position being on the left of the first line of the brigade connecting with the right of Gen. Hazen's brigade, and fortified. The next morning the enemy made a demonstration on our front with what I supposed to have been a strong skirmish line. They advanced, cheering. Our skirmishers came in, in obedience to orders, and we gave the enemy a few volleys from our lines, which apparently satisfied him, as he immediately retired. We had 8 men wounded. We remained in this position without further incident of any importance until the 4th of June, when, in extending our lines, we were moved to the right a short distance, and occupied works across the ravine from our former position. We were in this position on the morning of the 5th of June, when it was discovered that the enemy had gone during the night. On the morning of the 6th we march.ed to, and went into camp near, Acworth, Ga. We remained here quietly in camp on the 7th, 8th, and 9th. On the latter day Col. Wallace left the command, on a leave of absence, and turned it over to me. The 10th, 11th, 12th, and 18th we spent in camp, and in moving into position, confronted the position of the enemy at Kenesaw and Pine Mountains. On the 14th we were on the left of the first line of the brigade, our left connecting with the right of Gen. Baird's division, of the Fourteenth Corps. We advanced during the day a, bout half a mile from the position we occupied in the morning, and in the afternoon were ordered to relieve the skirmishers of the Thirty-second Indiana, covering the front of the brigade, which I did with Company A, Lieut. Hanson. Our skirmishers drove the skirmishers of the enemy into a line of rail barricades directly in front of their main line of works, with a loss to us of Lieut. Hadden, Company A, killed, and 1 enlisted man killed and 5 wounded, of same company. During the night we fortified our position, and in the morning discovered that the enemy had evacuated their works in our, front and on Pine Mountain.
The 15th and 10th we rested with the brigade and division massed in rear of the corps, and on the morning of the 17th moved forward, passing through the line of works in rear of Pine Mountain, which the enemy had abandoned the night before, and relieved a part of Gen. Stanley's division, our position being in the center of the first line of the brigade, a part of the Eighty-ninth Illinois covering our front as skirmishers. In this position we moved forward about half a mile, and were halted while the artillery was put in position along our front, and opened Ore on the enemy. We fortified our position here during the night. On the 18th it rained incessantly all day. In the evening we relieved the skirmishers, consisting of the Fifteenth Wisconsin and Thirty-fifth Illinois, and had 6 men wounded, 2 of them by shells from our own batteries. Before daylight on the morning of the 19th we discovered that the enemy had evacuated their works directly in our front. Capt. (now Maj.) Dawson, having gone out with three or four men, discovered that the works were unoccupied, and went into them and picked up 2 or 8 stragglers of the enemy, and sent them back under charge of Peter Cupp, a private of Company H. When Cupp was going back he discovered a company of men marching along in front of the enemy's works, and supposed them to be our men, but on a nearer approach discovered that they were of the enemy. Thereupon a conversation ensued, in which Cupp with great coolness and address explained to the ca tain commanding the company the condition of things; that his the captain's) friends had left, and that four companies of ours ha just entered their works, and were between him and his friends (which to say the least was something of an exaggeration), and that the best thing he could do was to surrender. Cupp's prisoners and his close proximity to the works corroborating his story, the captain concluded that "discretion was the better part of valor," and surrendered himself, Capt. S. Vates Levy, his lieutenant, and 17 men, Company D, First Georgia Regiment of Volunteers, prisoners of war, and Cupp placing himself at their head marched them into our lines. Company E, Lieut. DuBois, also picked up 35 prisoners, and Sergeant Scott, of Company G, and other men of the regiment, a number more, making in all about 80 prisoners that we got that morning. During the day we moved forward about a mile and bivouacked for the night, with the whole brigade massed in reserve just outside the abandoned rebel works. On the 20th we moved forward and to the right about one and a half miles, relieving a part of the Twentieth Corps, and completed works which they had just begun; had 2 or 8 men wounded during the day by the sharpshooters of the enemy. About noon on the 21st of June 1 was ordered by Col. Nodine, of the Twenty-fifth Illinois, then temporarily commanding the brigade to take four companies of my regiment, deploying two as skirmishers and holding two in reserve, and to take and hold, in conjunction with Col. Kirby's command, a bald knob in front of the left of our position and the right of Col. Kirby's brigade, of the First Division, and which the enemy then held with a strong line of skirmishers, protected by rifle-pits. The position had been taken the day before by a regiment of Col. Kirby's brigade, and they had been' compelled to relinquish it. Under instructions from Gen. Howard, delivered in person, I reconnoitered the position and satisfied myself that in order to hold it after it was taken it would be necessary to drive the enemy out of and hold the woods to the right of and front of the knob, which would afford him a good cover to rally under in case he was driven off the knob, or to mass any force with which he might attempt to retake the position. Accordingly, Company B, Lieut. Smith, and Company O, Capt. Dawson, were moved forward by the right Bank under cover of a skirt of woods to a place as near the knob as they could get without exposing themselves, with instructions that on the signal from the bugle they should make a right wheel and dash rapidly for the enemy's rife-pits on top of the knob without halting to fire. Company E, Lieut. Du Bois, and Company K, Capt. Carroll, were moved directly in rear of Companies B and G, with instructions that as soon as the movement was begun by Companies B and G, so that they would have room, to deploy as skirmishers, connecting the left to Company K with the right of Company G-, and dash forward into the woods to the right of the knob. The other six companies were moved in column of company, left in front, directly in rear of Companies Z and K. At the signal the front companies, B, G, K, and E, Bashed forward in splendid style and with such rapidity that the astonished enemy had hardly time to get oft, as we captured some 25 or 80 in their works, but in going to the rear some of them went into the lines of the First Division and we got no credit for them. As soon as the front companies had gained the top of the knob and driven the enemy back in the woods I deployed the other six companies by the right Rank on the left company and moved them rapidly forward, so that the left of the left company (H) struck the top of the knob and the right extended out into the woods near the open field, near where the left of Gen. Hazen's brigade afterwards rested. As it was Gen. Howard's instructions that we should fortify and hold the knob at all hazards, I immediately set to work with three companies on the left, viz, H, Lieut. Dorneck; C, Capt. Byrd, and I, Capt. George W. Cummins, together with the pioneers of the brigade, who had been ordered to report to me for that purpose, to fortify the knob. This we did under a most terrific fire from two or three batteries of the enemy posted in their main line of works from 600 to 700 yards distant. At the same time the other seven companies of the regiment were engaged in a hard fight in the woods to the right of the knob, as the enemy had (as we learned afterwards from their newspapers) determined to retake the position, and had sent two regiments, the Fifteenth and Thirty-seventh Tennessee, for that purpose. They' approached through the woods to our right and were gallantly met by these seven companies, their advance checked, and, with the assistance of the Forty-ninth Ohio, which about this time came to our support, driven back with a very heavy loss, as they admit, leaving a number of their dead and wounded in our hands. We were then relieved for a short time, until we had gathered up our dead and wounded, and were again put in the first line, covering our front with Company A, Sergeant Gardner commanding, and Company F, Lieut. Glover, deployed as skirmishers, and during the night built a line of works. Our losses in this day's operations were Lieut. Hanson, Company A, slightly wounded Lieut. Donner, Company E, severely wounded, and 9 enlisted men killed and 44 wounded. On the morning of the 22d we were relieved from the first line by the Eighty-ninth Illinois, taking their place in the second line. On the morning of the 28d we relieved the Eighty-ninth Illinois, in the first line, and in the afternoon were ordered to advance our skirmish line, which we did a short distance, with Company F, Lieut. Glover, and Company D, Lieut. Geiger, deployed as skirmishers, losing Lieut. Geiger, slightly wounded, and 8 enlisted men killed and 17 wounded, principally from these two companies.
From this date, the 23d of June, until the 2d day of July, we were engaged in no important movement, merely holding our position, alternating with the Eighty-ninth Illinois in holding the front line. As we were so near the enemy, it required that the whole command should be kept on the alert and that the utmost vigilance should be exercised by officers and men when on the front line to prevent a surprise, and the command was very much harassed and fatigued. On the evening of the 2d of July we moved to the left and relieved a part of the Fifteenth Corps directly in front of Little Kenesaw Mountain, our position being in the works on the right of the front line of the brigade. During the night the enemy evacuated their works, and Company K, Capt. Carroll, and Company K, Lieut. Du Bois, which were on the skirmish line in our front, picked up some 25 or 30 of the enemy's stragglers. Sergt. Thomas Bethel, of Company K, was killed while reconnoitering the front early in the morning by the pickets of an adjoining command. Of the march to Marietta and Vining's Station and up the Chattahoochee, and the crossing of that river, it is unnecessary to go into details. On the 17th of July, in the movement of our division down the left bank of the Chattahoochee to a point opposite Vining's Station to cover the crossing of the Fourteenth Army Corps, this regiment occupied the extreme left of the erst line of the brigade and division, covering that Bank with skirmishers. On the 19th of July, in the crossing of Peach Tree Creek, we had 2 men slightly wounded by a stray ball. On the 20th of July we moved to the front and left and relieved a portion of Gen. Stanley's division, completing their unfinished works. During the morning had 2 men of Company K killed on the skirmish line, and in the evening Sergt. T. C. Gory, of Company I, wounded while advancing the skirmish line, making the third wound which the sergeant received during the campaign, the first two of which were not yet healed. He deserves special mention for his courage and fortitude. During the night of the 26th and morning of the 21st the enemy again evacuated their works in our front, and Company F, Lieut. Glover, which was on the skirmish line, picked up 5 or (i stragglers. During the day we moved forward and fortified a position on a high hill in support of Bridges' battery and in front of a line of works which was occupied by the enemy.
Early on the morning of the 22d it was discovered that the enemy had again evacuated, and Company C, Capt. Byrd, on the skirmish line, picked up a few stragglers. During the forenoon we moved forward toward Atlanta, and a, bout noon went into position near the city, on the left of the first line of the brigade, and completed a line of works which some regiments of Gen. Newton's division had begun. These works we occupied during the whole time of the siege of Atlanta, from the 22d day of July until the night of the 25th of August. While in this position, on the afternoon of the 28th of July, we were ordered to advance our skirmish line, and, if possible, take the enemy's ride-pits in our front. The line was strengthened so that it was composed of Company C, Capt. Byrd; Company H, Lieut. Dorneck; Company k, Lieut. Du Bois; Company K, Capt. Carroll, and Company G, Lieut. Doolittle. At the signal the whole line dashed forward without firing a gun, and captured in the pits 1 captain, 2 lieutenants, and 21 men, with a loss to us of but 1 man killed and l wounded. With the prompt assistance of the pioneers, under Lieut. J. A. Gleason, the pits were immediately converted to our use and occupied by our skirmish line, giving them a position commanding the main line of the enemy's works and the ground in the rear, and from which they were able to annoy the enemy very much during the remainder of the siege. I deem it unnecessary to describe at length the part we took in the late operations, beginning with our withdrawal on the night of the 25th of August from our position in front of Atlanta and ending with our return to Atlanta and encampment at this place on the 8th of September, as we were engaged in no important battles or skirmishes, either with or detached from the brigade, and the marches were made under the eye of the present brigade commander. Lieut.Col. McClenahan, and Adjt. Alexis Cope, have been present with the command during the whole campaign, and while I have been in command of the regiment have given me their valuable aid and assistance, and have sustained their reputation as good officers and brave men. Dr. William M. Clark, assistant surgeon, has also been present with the command during the campaign, and deserves great credit for his untiring devotion to his duties and care for the sick and wounded.
In conclusion, it affords me great gratification to bear testimony to the universal good conduct of the officers and men of this command; to the cheerfulness with which they endured the hardships and fatigue of this most extraordinary campaign, arid to the alacrity with which they obeyed orders, no matter with what risks their execution was attended.
Our losses during the whole campaign, which will be found in detail in the accompanying list of casualties, are as follows: Commissioned officers --killed, 1; wounded, 6; total, 7. Enlisted men --killed, 43; wounded, 171; missing, 19; total, 983. Total -killed, 44; wounded, 177; missing, 19. Aggregate, 240.
To counterbalance this we have the satisfaction of knowing that we have taken of the enemy at least 160 prisoners and stragglers, including 5 commissioned officers, and put hors de combat in other Ways quite a number.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANK ASKEW, Col., Cmdg. Regt.
Lieut. W. McGraith, A.A.A.G., First Brig., Third Div., Fourth Corps.
Following the Atlanta Campaign, the 15th encamped at Decatur, Georgia for a few weeks, before joining the Union’s pursuit of Confederate General John Bell Hood’s army, which was advancing through northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and southern Tennessee in the direction of Nashville. The regiment marched through northern Georgia and Alabama and confronted Hood's army with the rest of the Union's Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee (November 29, 1864). The 19th saw no combat in this engagement, as officers held the unit in the reserve. After this battle, the Northerners retreated to Nashville, with the 15th covering the withdrawal. On December 15 and 16, 1864, the Army of the Cumberland advanced against Hood's Confederates. At the Battle of Nashville, the Union army succeeded in defeating the enemy, driving the Confederates from Tennessee. The Army of the Cumberland, including the 15th, pursued the withdrawing Southerners. The regiment next entered camp at Bird Springs, near Huntsville, Alabama on January 4 or 5, 1865. The 15th's commanding officer issued the following report regarding the regiment's actions against Hood's army:
HDQRS. FIFTEENTH Regt. OHIO VET. VOL. INFANTRY, Camp Green, near Huntsville, Ala., January 7, 1865.
SIR: In compliance with an order just received I beg leave to submit the following as a brief report of the part taken by this command in the battles before Nashville on the 15th and 16th ultimo:
On the 15th we were in the second line of the brigade in double column closed in mass in rear of the right wing of the Fifty-first Indiana, and moved in that position and with that formation in the charge in the forenoon which resulted in the capture of the first line of the enemy's works. When we reached the works, by direction of general Beatty, we were deployed into line and moved to the extreme left of the brigade, and refused to protect that flank, with Company K, Capt. Carroll; Company B, Lieut. Smith, and Company G, Lieut. Doolittle, deployed as skirmishers. In the afternoon when the charge was made on the second line of the enemy's works, the remaining seven companies were moved forward to McCrary's house, on the Granny White pike, directly behind which were the enemy's works with a battery of four guns in them. The house and outhouses, together with the nature of the ground, concealed our strength and movement from the enemy occupying the works and supporting of the battery, and when the foremost men emerged from the cover of the houses the enemy's infantry gave us one volley, which was promptly returned. A rush was made for their works and guns, when they fled, leaving their battery of four fine 12-pounder Napoleons with limbers and a considerable amount of ammunition in our hands. At the same time Capt. Carroll, with the three companies which had been deployed as skirmishers, moved down the first line of the enemy's works, which to our left was still occupied by his skirmishers, driving them and capturing about thirty. Our loss in this day's operations was but nine enlisted men wounded.
On the 16th we were on the right of the first line of the brigade, with Companies E and K deployed as skirmishers. In the subsequent movements and changes of direction in finding the enemy these two companies were considerably to the left of the position occupied by the brigade, and covered partly the front of Maj.-Gen. Steedman's command, and were in effect detached from their own command during the day. In the charge made in the afternoon, I was instructed by the colonel commanding to take command of the first line of the brigade, composed of the Forty-ninth Ohio, Maj. Strong, on the left, and my own regiment on the right, and move it within supporting distance of the second line of Col. Post's brigade. When Col. Post's brigade started we moved forward and kept within a short distance of his second line, and in good order, but when we reached the depression directly in front of the enemy's works it was evident that Col. Post's attack had failed, and the fire of the enemy was so severe that the line was thrown into confusion, without, however, any evidence of panic or fear on the part of any one. While exerting myself to the best of my ability to restore order and urge the men forward I was struck in the breast with a musket-ball, which, though inflicting but a slight wound, from the nature of it, being a contusion, soon rendered any violent physical effort on my part impossible, so I went back, and with the assistance of the adjutant, Lieut. Cope, collected together Battery. In this charge we lost Capt. Thomas N. Hanson, Company A, and Lieut. Charles J. Rodig, of Company D, two valuable officers, killed, also Sergt. J. Ward, of Company G, killed, and 14 enlisted men wounded. As soon as the regiment was reformed I sent for Lieut.-Col. McClenahan, who was absent in command of the skirmishers of the brigade, to come and relieve me of command; as he had not yet returned when the second advance was ordered, I went with the regiment until we had passed the enemy's works, when Col. McClenahan arrived and took command. When the second advance was made a number of our men who had remained near the enemy's works, and had not returned after the first charge, took a number of prisoners, for whom they have receipts, to the amount of 100 enlisted men and 2 commissioned officers. I remained with the regiment until after dark on the night of the 16th, when the increasing pain of my wound compelled me to go to the rear to seek relief. I went to Nashville and staid two days, during which time the regiment was under the command of Lieut.-Col. McClenahan. I am informed nothing of special interest transpired during that time. I rejoined the command before it crossed Rutherford's Creek, and again took command of the regiment.
Nothing which I think it necessary to mention happened during our toilsome and laborious pursuit of the enemy.
In conclusion, allow me to say that the officers and men of this command without an exception, so far as I know, did their whole duty.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
FRANK ASKEW, Col., Cmdg. Regt.
Lieut. W. McGRATH, Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
On March 15, 1865, the 15th moved to eastern Tennessee, reaching Greenville on April 5, 1865. The regiment returned to Nashville on May 1, 1865. On June 16, 1865, officials ordered the 15th to Texas, where the organization arrived at Indianola on July 9, 1865. On the following day, the regiment entered camp at Green Lake. On August 10, 1865, the 15th marched to San Antonio, Texas. On November 21, 1865, the regiment mustered out of service at San Antonio. The 15th proceeded to Columbus, Ohio, where officials discharged the unit's members at Camp Chase on December 27, 1865.
During the 15th Ohio's term of service, 179 men, including seven officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 136 men, including one officer, died from disease or accidents.
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"15th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Three Years Service)." (2020) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved June 4, 2020, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1264