3rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Three Years Service) (1861-1864)

Also Known As: Third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Three Years Service)

Updated: February 19, 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.

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 3rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The regiment mustered into service at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, in late June 1861. The 3rd Regiment had previously organized for three months service, but officials requested that the regiment's members reenlist for three years service. Those soldiers that did reenlist became the nucleus of the new 3rd Ohio.

On June 20, 1861, the 3rd Ohio departed Camp Dennison for western Virginia, arriving at Grafton in modern-day West Virginia on June 23, 1861. The regiment was the first three-year organization from Ohio to leave the state during the Civil War. The organization next proceeded to Clarksburg, in present-day West Virginia. At Clarksburg, officials brigaded the 3rd with the 4th and 9th Regiments Ohio Volunteer Infantry and also with Loomis’s Michigan Battery. By July 5, 1861, the brigade had encamped at Buckhannon, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia). Officials ordered fifty men from the 3rd’s Company A to conduct a scout towards the Confederate line at Rich Mountain. Upon approaching Middle Fork Bridge, the Northerners encountered an enemy force. The Union soldiers attacked but were unable to dislodge the Confederates from the bridge. In this engagement, the 3rd had one man killed and five more wounded. The detachment quickly returned to Buckhannon.

On July 11, 1861, the Union forces at Buckhannon attacked the Southerners at Rich Mountain. The 3rd was on the field but did not actually engage enemy forces, which fled from the engagement. The regiment joined the pursuit of the retreating Southerners through the present-day West Virginia communities of Beverly, Huttonsville, and Cheat Mountain. The 3rd spent the last weeks of July 1861 erecting telegraph lines from Huttonsville to Cheat Mountain. On August 4, 1861, the organization moved to Elkwater Creek, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), where the regiment constructed fortifications with the 15th Regiment Indiana Infantry and with Loomis’s Battery. Confederate forces attacked the Union soldiers at Elkwater on September 11, 1861. The Northerners repulsed the Southerners in several sharp skirmishes.

In November 1861, officials ordered the 3rd to Parkersburg, Virginia (modern-day West Virginia), where the regiment boarded steamers for Louisville, Kentucky. At Louisville, the organization entered camp at Camp Jenkins, four miles from the city, and joined the Third Division of the Army of the Ohio. On December 7, 1861, the 3rd advanced to Elizabethtown, Kentucky and entered camp at Camp Jefferson along Bacon Creek. On February 22, 1862, the regiment departed Camp Jefferson for Bowling Green, Kentucky. The organization next moved to Nashville, Tennessee and, after reaching this location, helped Union forces seize the Tennessee communities of Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, and Fayetteville. The 3rd also advanced into northern Alabama, seizing Huntsville, Decatur, and Tuscumbia, before advancing to Iuka, Mississippi. The regiment returned to Huntsville in the early summer of 1862.

In mid-August 1862, the 3rd 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. The 3rd engaged the enemy soldiers but had to withdraw from its position after one-third of the regiment had been killed or wounded. After this battle, the 3rd's commanding officer issued the following report:

SIR: I herewith present a report of the operations of the regiment which I have the honor to command during the engagement of the 8th instant:

At 11 o clock a.m. my regiment was ordered to take the advance of the brigade to which it belongs, and proceeded to the crest of the hill overlooking a branch of Chaplin Creek, when the enemy in front opened upon us from a battery and we were ordered to retire to the foot of the hill, some hundreds of yards in the rear. There we formed in line of battle and remained for more than an hour while the batteries were replying to those of the enemy.

About 2 p.m. The enemy were seen advancing toward our position, and my regiment was ordered to the crest of the hill. A battery, known as the Washington Battery, at once opened upon us, and I ordered my men to lie down and wait the approach of the enemy's infantry. The latter advanced under cover of a house upon the other side of the hill, and reaching a point 150 yards distant, deployed behind a stone fence, which was hidden from us by standing corn.

At this time my left wing rested upon a lane known as the _____ road, my line of battle extending along the crest of the hill and passing near to and somewhat beyond a large barn filled with hay. In this position, with a well-handled battery playing upon us, our first fire was delivered, the enemy replying with destructive effect. Capt. H. E. Canard, Company I, was one of the first to fall, shot through the head, while gallantly performing his duty. A little later Capt. Leonidas Dougal, Company H, while waving his sword and cheering his men, fell pierced by a ball through the breast. Later still First Lieutenant Starr, Company K, died like a soldier in the midst of his men. About 175 of my regiment were killed and wounded upon the crest of the hill. Our line was steadfastly maintained until the barn on our right was fired by a shell from the enemy's batteries, and in a few minutes the heat became so intense that my right was compelled to fall back. After rallying we were relieved by the Fifteenth Kentucky, Col. Curran Pope, and our ammunition being nearly exhausted, we retired to the bottom of the hill. Soon after I sent Companies A, D, and F to act in conjunction with two companies of the Fifteenth Kentucky in endeavoring to hold a fence which ran along the side of a field in which we had been fighting and perpendicular to our former line, but the fire of the enemy's battery, combined with that of his infantry, was so deadly that these men were again ordered to retire. The Fifteenth Kentucky having by this time left the crest of the hill and the enemy opening from a new battery on our right a fire which completely enfiladed our line, I concluded, after consultation with Colonel Pope, to leave the ravine, filed off into the_______ road and was marching toward the rear, when I perceived the enemy emerging from the woods upon our right and coming in great force toward the ground we had just been holding. I immediately ordered my regiment to face about and advanced to meet the enemy, intending, in the absence of ammunition, to charge him with the bayonet. I was met here, however, by Lieutenant Grover, of Colonel Lytle's staff, with an order from him to retire. Accordingly we turned into a ravine on the right of the road and were supplying ourselves with ammunition when, hearing that Colonel Lytle, my brigade commander, was killed, and being separated from the other regiments of the brigade, I reported to Colonel Harris, commanding the Ninth Brigade, for further duty. Night soon came on, however, and the engagement ceased.

During the battle the flag presented by the people of Ohio to the Third Regiment was gallantly upheld. It never once touched the earth, although the color-sergeant, Macoubrie, was killed; and after him five others who successively bore it were shot down.

My regiment went into action with 500 men. Our loss was 45 killed, 144 wounded, and 15 missing, a list of whom is hereunto annexed. Fully appreciating the valor of my own officers and men, I desire to bear testimony to the gallant conduct of the Fifteenth Kentucky, whose members fought side by side with ourselves.

JOHN BEATTY, Colonel, Comdg. Third Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Col. CURRAN POPE, Commanding Seventeenth Brigade.

As a result of this engagement, the Confederates withdrew from Kentucky. The Army of the Ohio briefly pursued the enemy, before marching to Nashville, Tennessee and entering camp.

In late December 1862, the 3rd joined this Army of the Cumberland'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 3rd engaged the enemy each day of the battle. The regiment opened the engagement in the center of the Union line. On the second day, officials ordered the 3rd to the Union left, where the organization guarded a ford across Stones River. On the battle’s final day, the regiment returned to the Union center and attacked the Confederate line. The 3rd drove back the Southerners, but the Northerners had to withdraw as Confederate reinforcements arrived on the scene.

Following the Battle of Stones River, the 3rd 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 early April 1863, authorities sent the regiment with the 51st and 73rd Regiment Indiana Infantry, the 80th Regiment Illinois Infantry, and two companies of the 1st Regiment Alabama Cavalry on an expedition into northern Georgia. On April 8, the Union force departed Murfreesboro for Nashville, where the command boarded steamers for Palmyra, Tennessee. At this location, part of the force scoured the countryside to Fort Henry, Tennessee, seizing horses and mules. Eventually, the entire Union command converged upon Fort Henry, before advancing upon Eastport, Mississippi. The Union soldiers next marched to Tuscumbia, Alabama, and then, on April 27, 1863, to Russellville, Alabama, where the Northerners skirmished with a detachment of Confederate cavalry. Over the next two days, the Union force advanced to Moulton, Alabama and intercepted and destroyed several enemy supply trains loaded with bacon.

On April 30, 1863, the Northern command reached Sand Mountain, Alabama, where an engagement occurred with Confederate cavalrymen. The 3rd Ohio took up a position on the Union left, in support of the Howitzer Battery. The Northern soldiers advanced against the enemy position, with the 3rd capturing a battery of enemy cannons. The Southerners retreated, but additional Confederate cavalrymen, under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, arrived and pursued the moving Northerners. The Confederates attacked the 3rd, which was at the rear of the Union column. The remainder of the Northern force quickly joined the fight, driving Forrest's soldiers from the field. On that same evening, the Union soldiers advanced to Gadsden, Georgia, capturing a sizable quantity of flour and five thousand stands of rifles.

The Northern force next marched up the Coosa River, in the direction of Rome, Georgia. Eleven miles from Gadsden, enemy cavalry again attacked the Union soldiers. The battle resulted in a draw, but the Northerners continued their advance upon Rome, where they hoped to destroy a number of arsenals, foundries, and ironworks. By May 3, 1863, the command reached Cedar Bluff, Georgia, where Forrest's cavalry intercepted the Union force and demanded its surrender. On the previous evening, the Northerners had forded the Catoosa River. In the crossing, water had damaged the command's ammunition supply. Lacking sufficient ammunition to resist the enemy, the Union soldiers surrendered.

The Confederates first took the 3rd's members to Rome and then to Atlanta, Georgia. The regiment next proceeded to Richmond, Virginia, traveling via Knoxville, Tennessee. The Confederates imprisoned the Northerners at Belle Island at Richmond. On May 15, 1863, the Southerners paroled and released the 3rd's enlisted men but kept the officers in prison. The enlisted men next proceeded to City Point, Virginia and then sailed to Annapolis, Maryland. The regiment traveled by train to Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio, where the organization waited to be exchanged. While at Camp Chase, officials sent the 3rd in pursuit of General John Hunt Morgan's cavalrymen, who raided Ohio in early July 1863. Authorities also dispatched the regiment to Holmes County, Ohio, where anti-draft protestors staged an uprising in June 1863, culminating in the Battle of Fort Fizzle.

On August 1, 1863, officials ordered the 3rd to Nashville, Tennessee. The regiment then marched to Stevenson, Alabama, followed by Bridgeport, Alabama, where the organization guarded pontoon bridges. In late September, October, and November 1863, the 3rd marched through numerous Tennessee communities, including Battle Creek, Anderson's Gap, Sequatchie Valley, Looney Creek, and Kelly's Ford, principally in pursuit of Confederate Joseph Wheeler's cavalry. In late November 1863, the regiment advanced to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where the organization performed garrison duty.

On June 9, 1864, the 3rd departed Chattanooga for Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. At this location, on June 23, 1864, officials mustered the regiment out of service and discharged the unit's members, allowing the men to return to their homes.

During the 3rd Ohio's term of service, ninety-one men, including four officers, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional eighty-one men, including three officers, died from disease or accidents.

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MLA Style

"3rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Three Years Service)," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 19 Oct 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1285>

APA Style

"3rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (Three Years Service)." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved October 19, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1285

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