5th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry (1861-1865)

Also Known As: Fifth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry

Updated: July 14, 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 August 1861, the 5th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry formed. Originally detailed the 2nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry, Governor William Dennison renamed the organization as the 5th due to another regiment already having the earlier numerical designation. The 5th began organization at Camp Dick Corwin, at Cincinnati, Ohio, before completing formation at Camp Dennison, also near Cincinnati. Most of the enlistees came from Hamilton and Clermont Counties, with a number of recruits also coming from Brown, Clark, Greene, and Preble Counties.

On February 28, 1862, the regiment departed Camp Dennison for Paducah, Kentucky, where Brigadier-General William T. Sherman dispatched the organization to Fort Henry, Tennessee. On March 10, 1862, the 5th boarded steamers and sailed to Savannah, Tennessee. Four days later, the organization sailed to Eastport, Mississippi, where six squadrons of men disembarked and attempted to destroy a railroad bridge. The command failed in its mission, having to return to the steamboats due to high water. The 5th next sailed to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, where, on the evening of March 15, six squadrons of the Ohio regiment and one battalion of the 4th Illinois proceeded towards Corinth, Mississippi. The Northern force met a sizable group of Confederates, and after a brief skirmish, the Union cavalrymen returned to Pittsburg Landing.

The 5th spent the next two weeks establishing camp at Pittsburg Landing and conducting occasional forays against nearby Confederate forces. During this time, two battalions of the Ohio regiment joined General Sherman’s division at this location, while the third battalion moved to Crump’s Landing with General Lew Wallace. In mid-March, Wallace’s command moved against the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, destroying two bridges at Henderson Station. The command also drove off a force of Confederate cavalrymen, seizing two prisoners. General Charles F. Smith issued a congratulatory order, declaring that, “The Major-General commanding tenders his thanks to Major Hayes, Fifth Regiment Ohio Cavalry Volunteers, and the officers and men of the battalion of that regiment under his command, for the activity, skill, and courage with which the recent movement in the direction of Purdy was so successfully accomplished by them.”

On April 4, the 5th’s second battalion joined an advance from Pittsburg Landing against Confederate troops operating in front of the Northern command. The Southerners repulsed the Union soldiers, with the Ohioans having two men wounded. On April 6, 1862, the Confederates launched a surprise attack against the Northerners at Pittsburg Landing. On the ensuing battle’s first day—the Battle of Shiloh—the bulk of the 5th served on the left of General Stephen A. Hurlbutt’s infantry. The Ohioans took heavy fire from Confederate artillery but still launched an afternoon assault to stem the Southern onslaught. The regiment slowed the Confederate advance briefly, before withdrawing with the bulk of the Northern force. On the battle’s second day, the 5th remained in reserve until approximately 4:00 PM, when officials dispatched the unit to attack the Confederate rear near the Shiloh Church, helping to drive the Southerners from the battlefield for a Union victory.

On April 8, the 5th joined General Sherman’s advance against the withdrawing Confederates. The regiment engaged a Southern cavalry force, driving the enemy some six miles, capturing a number of soldiers, six caissons, a sizable quantity of ammunition, and an enemy field hospital. The Ohioans returned to camp near Pittsburg Landing for several weeks, before embarking upon the Northern advance against Corinth. In the resulting siege, which lasted from April 29 to May 30, 1862, the 5th served on the frontlines and also was one of the first Union organizations to enter the city. The regiment joined the Northern pursuit of the retreating Confederates, following the Southerners to the Tuscumbia River, before returning to Corinth.

The 5th remained at Corinth until June 10, 1862, when the organization proceeded to Memphis, Tennessee, traveling via Grand Junction, Holly Springs, and La Grange. The command arrived at Memphis on July 27, where the men received Burnside carbines and carried out a few expeditions especially to the south of the city. In early October 1862, the 5th joined an Union advance against Confederate General Sterling Price’s Army of the West. On October 5, at the Battle of Hatchie’s Bridge, the Northerners drove the Southerners from the field. The 5th repeatedly assaulted the withdrawing Confederates, capturing dozens of prisoners. Two days earlier, the 5th’s third battalion also participated in the Battle of Corinth II, helping Union forces to repulse a Confederate assault of this important railroad juncture.

The 5th next divided, with the organization primarily performing garrison duty in various communities in Mississippi. Squadrons B and M helped the 25th Regiment Indiana Infantry to defend Davis’s Mills along the Wolf River and the Mississippi Central Railroad on the border with Tennessee. On December 21, 1862, Confederate cavalrymen attacked the isolated garrison. Using an Indian burial mound as a makeshift fortification, the Union force repulsed nearly ten thousand Confederates, while being outnumbered nearly ten-to-one. General Ulysses Grant personally thanked the 5th’s two squadrons for their bravery at the Battle of Davis’s Mill.

The 5th spent the remainder of the winter of 1862-1863 and much of the spring and summer of 1863 guarding the Memphis and Charleston Railroad in the vicinity of Memphis. Portions of the regiment made routine expeditions against nearby Confederate forces. Members of the 5th engaged enemy soldiers near Hernando, Mississippi on March 19 and at Coldwater on the following day near a few expeditions in the surrounding countryside. On June 20, a detachment of one hundred members of the 5th along with two hundred cavalrymen from other Northern units engaged a Confederate force twelve miles south of Hernando. The Southerners outnumbered the Union soldiers nearly seven to one and quickly surrounded the Northerners. The Union cavalrymen managed to ride through the Confederate line, but the 5th lost eighty of its one hundred members engaged in this conflict either killed or captured.

In late July 1863, officials ordered the 5th to depart Memphis for Camp Davis in Mississippi. The bulk of the regiment reached this location on August 5. At Camp Davis, the regiment’s third battalion also rejoined the command after having served apart for nearly the past year. This portion of the regiment had spent the autumn of 1862 patrolling in western Tennessee and northern Mississippi, primarily operating in the vicinity of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. In early December, this battalion joined an expedition up the Tennessee Valley. The Northern force departed Corinth on December 9, and the command engaged Confederate soldiers following crossing Big Bear Creek near Cherokee Station. A running engagement erupted, with the Southerners withdrawing and the Northerners in hot pursuit. After a three-hour artillery engagement at Little Bear Creek near Tuscumbia, the Confederates fled, and the 5th returned to Big Bear Creek with the remainder of the Union force.

The third battalion spent most of the winter of 1862-1863 encamped at Rienzi. The organization routinely participated in expeditions principally against Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry. On April 17, 1863, the battalion joined an expedition from Corinth into the Tennessee Valley. Once again, after crossing Big Bear Creek, the command participated in several engagements with enemy forces. On April 23, the battalion returned to Corinth.

The battalion spent the next several weeks engaging in several scouts, routinely engaging enemy forces. On May 18, 1863, the organization joined the 9th Illinois Regiment Mounted Infantry on an expedition to Pontotoc, Mississippi. The Northerners participated in several engagements and captured the lieutenant colonel of the 23rd Regiment Mississippi Infantry in one skirmish. Following this expedition, the battalion’s ranking officer issued the following report:

IN HOSPITAL, CAMP DAVIS, MISS., June 24, 1863.

COL.: In obedience to orders from headquarters of the district, through Col. P. E. Burke, commanding the post, I left my camp at 8 p.m. Of the 17th instant, with 125 men and six days' rations, under instructions to report to you in Ripley at daylight 18th instant. Owing to the darkness of the night, and a severe storm raging, together with the difficulties of crossing the Hatchie River, I was unable to reach Ripley until 12.30 p.m. 18th instant.

Having formed a junction with your command, and reported that a body of the enemy, estimated by the people to be 300 strong, had passed down the Hatchie River the evening before, I acted under your command, camping on the Troy road, near the Tippah County poor-house.

At daylight, 19th instant, with Squadron K of my battalion as advanced guard, we moved through Ripley and south on the main Pontotoc road. At New Albany, on the Tallahatchee River, we encountered a small body of rebels, about 200 strong; a short skirmish ensued, when they fled. I learned that Gen. Ruggles had left that point on the 17th instant, with about 2,000 men and four pieces of artillery.

We again marched south on the Pontotoc road to within 12 miles of Pontotoc. Reaching that point at dark, turned thence to the right, to reach the Pontotoc and Rocky Ford road, encountering a very difficult swamp, which detained me until near morning. Halting two hours to rest and feed, we again started, with my battalion as rear guard, Squadron H, Lieut. J. E. Overturf commanding, in the extreme rear. We reached the Pontotoc road, and proceeded on that a short distance, and struck the extensive bottoms of Mud Creek.

Before the train had gotten over the first bayou of the bottom, we were impetuously attacked by a large force of rebel cavalry, who drove in the rear vedettes, but were gallantly checked by Lieut. Overturf, who formed his squadron and was returning the charge, but was compelled to retire by overwhelming numbers. I immediately formed the battalion. The rebels had dismounted, and, owing to the dense undergrowth and the black-jack forests, I could not charge them, and was compelled to fight them under the disadvantage of being mounted and they dismounted, the train being so close that I had not time to dismount after discovering the large force of the enemy, which I estimated at 600 men and four pieces of artillery engaged.

By pushing them gallantly, my men drove them back upon their main line. When learning that the train was well over the first stream, and the infantry dismounted, I brought my men back over the stream and dismounted them, forming a line on the right flank of the infantry. The enemy pressed forward to within 15 paces of the new line, being concealed by the bushes, when a severe fight ensued, and he was re. pulsed from the whole line.

He again advanced, and was repulsed with severe loss each time, when our men being ordered to fall back to the second creek, did so, closely pressed by overwhelming numbers. The enemy were again repulsed from the whole line. He in the mean time opened with his artillery, but did no execution.

The bridge being destroyed over the main creek, and the pintle-hook and trail of the rear caisson being broken in the only ford, it had to be abandoned. The wagons and one ambulance being in the rear of it, they also had to be abandoned. They, together with their most valuable contents, were pretty effectually destroyed.

The enemy failed to press any farther than the main creek, and the column being reformed, we proceeded in the direction of Rocky Ford, which place we reached, and crossed the Tallahatchee River without molestation.

During the skirmish at Mud Creek, which lasted about two hours, the casualties to my command were as follows: Maj. J. C. Smith wounded through calf of left leg. Company E--Sergt. A. E. Haseltine wounded through left thigh; Private Elihu Paxson wounded in left shoulder, and Private Patrick Hinchey wounded in arm. Company H--Sergt. J. Clark wounded in leg and Private Jacob Fox wounded in right shoulder. Company I--Private Jacob Wiltman wounded with buckshot in side. Company K--Private Charles A. Hedges buck-shot wound in head, and Private Patrick Dunican wounded in side. Five horses were killed, besides several wounded.

My officers and men behaved with gallantry and coolness, and to my entire satisfaction.

I desire especially to mention Second Lieut. Joseph E. Overturf, of Squadron H, commanding rear guard, and Corporal [Edward D ] Denny, of his squadron, who commanded the rear vedettes, and had his horse shot dead under him. By their coolness and bravery I was enabled to form in line of battle. I also desire to mention Sergt. E.G. Little, of Squadron K, whose coolness and great bravery gave invaluable assistance to the few commissioned officers I had, in inspiring my men with courage, and enabling them to repulse the enemy.

To Capt. Murray, who commanded the men after they were dismounted. I also return my thanks. I respectfully refer you to his report of the remainder of the march, as to the part taken by my command in it.

In conclusion, I congratulate you that, in view of the disparity of numbers with that of the enemy, the great disadvantages of the position in which he attacked you, and the difficult roads over which you had to travel in your retreat, you succeeded in relieving your command with comparatively small loss, and so punishing the enemy that he was afraid to follow you.

I am, very respectfully, yours, ever,

J. C. SMITH, Maj. Fifth Ohio Cavalry.

Lieut. Col. J. J. PHILLIPS, Commanding Expedition.

Upon returning to the vicinity of Corinth, the third battalion continued to have several fights with enemy forces, before rejoining the rest of the 5th at Memphis in late July 1863. While the third battalion had served as a separate command, this organization had participated in forty-seven skirmishes, rode more than 1,500 miles, and captured three hundred prisoners. The battalion had fewer than twenty-five men killed, wounded, or captured.

Upon reuniting as a single regiment, the 5th advanced to Corinth, primarily protecting the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and conducting numerous scouts south of the town. On October 17, 1863, the regiment departed Corinth with General William T. Sherman’s command for Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Confederate forces had besieged a Union army. Upon reaching Tuscumbia, Alabama on October 20, an engagement erupted with Confederate forces. The 5th drove the enemy from Cherokee Station and pursued the fleeing Southerners seven miles beyond Barton’s Station. The regiment guarded the Union force’s flanks during a Confederate assault on the following day.

During the next two weeks, Sherman’s force continued to move towards Chattanooga, with the 5th remaining in the advance and constantly skirmishing with enemy forces. On November 3, 1863, the Northerners crossed the Tennessee River, with the Ohio regiment now serving as the rearguard. After fording the river, the 5th again moved to the front of the column and led the Union command through Gravelly Springs, Cypress Mills, Florence, Pulaski, Mount Zion, Fayetteville, Elk River, Branchville, Rock Spring, New Markey, Maysville, Paint Rock, Larkinsville, Bellefonte, Stevenson, Bridgeport, Whitesides, and finally to Chattanooga. During the Battle of Missionary Ridge, a portion of the regiment guarded supply trains, while the rest of the command carried messages and protected couriers. With the Union victory at the Battle of Missionary Ridge, a segment of the 5th pursued the retreating Confederates as far as Ringgold, Georgia, before returning to Chattanooga.

On November 28, 1863, General Ulysses S. Grant ordered the 5th to advance with General Sherman’s command towards Knoxville, Tennessee, where a Confederate force had besieged the city’s Union garrison. With Sherman’s approach, the Southerners withdrew, but the Union general dispatched the Ohio regiment to intercept the enemy supply train near Tellico Plains on December 7. Due to the poor condition of the roads, the 5th failed in this assignment. Sherman next ordered the regiment to Athens, Tennessee, where the command established a communication line between Chattanooga and Knoxville along the Hiawassee River.

In early January 1864, the 5th moved to Larkinsville, Alabama, where many soldiers entered the hospital due to hunger and the brutal cold that these men experienced during the previous month. After one week of rest, the regiment advanced to Rome, Georgia, before retiring to Huntsville, Alabama. At this last location, many of the 5th’s members reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to their homes in Ohio. Upon returning to Huntsville, the regiment’s members principally constructed defenses for the city and also manned several outposts in nearby communities. They also routinely engaged enemy guerrillas. One officer in the 5th issued the following reports about one incident that occurred in April 1864:

APRIL 11, 1864.--Affair near Kelly's Plantation, Sulphur Springs Road, Ala.

SLEDGE'S PLANTATION, ALA., April 12. 1864. COL.: I have the following report to make:

As my wagon, containing ten days' rations, a quantity of ammunition, and some clothing, camp and garrison equipage, was returning from Huntsville, Ala., it was attacked near Kelly's plantation, on the Sulphur Springs road, by a band of robbers, captured, and burned with all it contained. Three of the escort were also taken prisoners, and 6 mules and harness.

As soon as I learned of the affair I immediately went in pursuit, and was not half an hour behind them. They went west about 14 miles, and then bore to the north. At dark I was but ten minutes behind them. At this point roads led in every direction, and it was impossible for me to trail them farther.

I started this morning with all of the available force of this detachment, and will find their hiding place, if such a thing be possible. The men have no rations, and I send by bearer a provision return for same rations as before.

Col., I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. JESSUP, Capt., Cmdg. Detachment.

Col. C. R. WEVER, Comdg; Post, Huntsville.

SLEDGE'S PLANTATION, ALA., April 13, 1864.

COL.: I have not been able to learn anything from the 3 men who were captured on the 11th instant. I found the trail of the robbers at Whitter's, on the Fayetteville road, 8 miles southeast of that place, at 10.30 a. m., April 12. I learned from a citizen that they had with them but 4 mules and 2 horses, and no prisoners. What has become of the 3 men and 2 mules I was unable to learn. I sent a detachment to the place where we left them the night of the 11th, but owing to the rain they were unable to find any trace of them. The citizens around there declared they had not seen a rebel since Wheeler passed.

I followed the trail that I found about 20 miles through the most barren and desolate country that could be imagined. The robbers used every precaution to prevent being followed, and in many instances I was compelled to dismount and follow a single track until they all joined again. Notwithstanding all the trouble we had to make out their trail we gained on them. When we first struck their trail they were three hours ahead of us, and when we were compelled to give up the pursuit they were not an hour ahead of us. From all appearances where we were bewildered there must be a large force in that vicinity. The ground was marked in all directions with innumerable tracks, quite fresh. It was impossible to tell from whence they came or where they went.

After spending the day in a fruitless search I returned to camp. I believe that a certain citizen named Benjamin Griffith knows more about the destruction of my wagon than he is disposed to tell. I sent a wagon to his house some time since for some bed clothing belonging to some negroes who had left him, and he was heard soon afterward to make the remark that he "would have that wagon captured and burned," and the deed has been performed. The nearest house is this same Griffith's. I have sent a detachment to-day to take the back trail from where I found it, and try and learn something of my men.

I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

WM. JESSUP, Capt. Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

Col. C. R. WEVER, Cmdg. Post, Huntsville.

On June 22, 1864, the 5th Ohio and its division embarked upon General Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign. The regiment advanced through Brownsboro, Paint Rock, Bellefonte, Stevenson, Bridgeport, Chattanooga, Ringgold, Tunnel Hill, Dalton, Calhoun, Resaca, Adairsville, Kingston, and Cassville, arriving at Cartersville on July 13. Officials ordered the 5th to protect the railroad near Cartersville for the duration of the summer of 1864, although a small number of men did participate in the Battle of Allatoona, Georgia. During this time, the regiment faced constant attack from enemy guerrilla forces. On October 31, 1864, General John E. Smith ordered the 5th to destroy the towns of Canton and Cassville, the headquarters for the guerrilla bands. The regiment burned the communities to the ground except for the churches.

On November 7, 1864, the 5th departed Cartersville for Marietta, Georgia, where officials organized the regiment’s dismounted members into an infantry brigade. At this community, the Ohioans destroyed miles of railroad track, before embarking upon General Sherman’s “March to the Sea” on November 14. The 5th principally served on the Union right with the Army of the Tennessee, constantly skirmishing with enemy forces, especially General Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry. The regiment traveled through the Georgia communities of Jonesboro, Lovejoy’s Station, Bear Creek Station, Giffin, Planters’ Factory, Clinton, Griswold Station, Milledgville, Millen, Lewisville, and Waynesboro. At this last location, the Ohioans flanked Wheeler’s Confederates, driving the Southerners from the battlefield.

The “March to the Sea” culminated in the Union’s seizure of Savannah, Georgia on December 21, 1864. The 5th’s commanding officer issued the following report regarding the campaign:

HDQRS. FIFTH OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY, Near King's Bridge, Ga., December 23, 1864.

CAPT.: I have the honor to report that the Fifth Ohio Cavalry (with the First Squadron Ohio Cavalry temporarily attached), with an aggregate of 563 men, marched with the Second Bridge, Col. S. D. Atkins commanding, from Marietta, Ga., on the 14th of November, 1864, on the expedition ending with the occupation of Savannah by our forces.

Just previous to marching 440 men of my regiment, and 9 officers, whose terms of service had expired, were ordered to Ohio to be mustered out of service. Myself and 11 other officers were retained on the order of Maj.-Gen. Howard, commanding Army and Department of the Tennessee, though entitled to be ordered to Ohio for muster out of service on the 14th of November, 1864. During this most arduous campaign both officers and men have done their whole duty, never discontented at nor flagging in the routine of day and night marches, building breast-works, destroying railroads, picket, skirmish, and battle, through thirty-eight days and nights in an enemy's country. I am proud to say, that for intelligent and ready execution of all orders received, as well as for valorous action on the battle-field, my officers and men deserve the highest commendation, have my thanks, and promptly received acknowledgment in general orders from brigade and division commanders. Dogged by a president and relentless enemy from East Point to the walls of Savannah, through woods and swamps hitherto considered impracticable, the Fifth Ohio Cavalry has done its full share of every work, participated in every engagement, and never faltered. At Macon it supported the gallant Tenth Ohio in its charge, while one battalion tore up the railroad. On the 28th of November the First Brigade was hardly pressed in the swamp at Buck Head Creek. This regiment was ordered by Col. Atkins to go to the rear and cover the crossing of the brigade. Moving rapidly to the rear, it took position, dismounted, threw up barricades of rails, planted its section of howitzers to cover the bridge, enabled the whole brigade to cross in safety, and checked the advance of Wheeler's whole force, which was exultingly pressing the rear. When the smoke of our discharge of canister had cleared away the rebels who were crowded on the causeways to the bridge were not seen, and Capt. William Jessup, Company D, with twenty of his men, under the fire of their riflemen daringly burned and completely destroyed the bridge, while shells from the howitzers compelled the enemy to ploy and seek crossing above and below. After two hours, finding the enemy was crossing at other points and gaining our flanks and rear, we steadily retired on the brigade, which had taken position two miles and a half to our front. We had not marched far before the enemy closed them either flank on the road we were marching and began skirmishing. Capt. Alexander C. Rossman, Company E, commanding Third Battalion, Fifth Ohio, as rear guard, skillfully and gallantry kept them in check until the advance battalion had been assigned position with the brigade at Reynold's plantation. At this moment the enemy charged in two columns with vigor. Capt. Rossman, with his battalion re-enforced by Company C and a line of dismounted skirmished, fought in front of the barricade; the remainder of the regiment, with the howitzers, from behind the work. The enemy were quickly and easily repulsed with loss.

On the 2d of December, at Rocky Creek Church, the regiment reported to Gen. Kilpatrick, and I was ordered to clear the left flank of rebels. Deploying the First Battalion, Capt. John Pummill commanding, I charged, and with a single battalion drove a force of full 1,000 rebels from behind rail barricades a distance of nearly two miles. After this charge was made six companies of the Third Kentucky came up and rendered valuable assistance. On the 4th of December, at the battle of Waynesborough, the regiment was not so heavily engaged as some others, though it charged twice and would have made a good list of prisoners, had not our own artillery, through mistake, fired on us, which caused a defection of my columns to prevent unnecessary slaughter. Later we opened effective fire with carbines. In the afternoon of this day we were ordered five miles beyond Waynesborough to burn the railroad bridge over Brier Creek, which accomplished in a through manner, firing seventy-nine bents of heavy trestle bridging. On the 8th of December the regiment was under arms and on picket for fifteen hours, covering the army in crossing a difficult swamp near Ebenezer Chapel. At midnight the enemy shelled furiously and the infantry picket fell back in confusion, while the Fifth Ohio and Ninety-second Illinois Mounted Infantry held their line firmly, and when ordered retired in perfect order. On December 11 I was ordered by Col. Atkins to cover the rear to Maj.-Gen. Howard's army. I took up position near Silk Hope and received orders from Gen. Kilpatrick to accompany him on expedition to open communications with the fleet. Crossing the Ogeechee and Cannouchee Rivers on pontoons, we camped on the 12th near Fort McAllister, and on the 13th at 10 o'clock struck the coast on Saint Catherine's Sound. Capt. Estes, assistant adjutant-general, a staff of Maj.-Gen. Howard, in a small canoe; myself, Capt. Day, provost-marshal, and Lieut. Messenger, aide-de-camp, Third Division, Cavalry Corps, were ordered, in a second gum-tree canoe, to putt out to a vessel whose masthead was discerned in the offing. After a row of twelve or fifteen miles we spoke the bark Fernandina, U. S. Navy, Capt. West commanding; were courteously received, and furnished a boat's crew and cutter, and with an officer of the vessel reported to Gen. Kilpatrick, who immediately forwarded dispatches to the flag-ship. Having reported again to my brigade the regiment moved on the 17th of December with the expedition which destroyed Morgan Lake and river swamp trestle, near the Altamaha River, on the Gulf railroad.

During the campaign the regiment lost 1 man killed in action, 12 men wounded, 11 men captured by the enemy (7 of whom were captured near Shoals of Ogeechee while foraging for horses), and 9 horses killed.

My report would be incomplete did I not mention Maj. D. V. Rannels, surgeon, who, with remarkable assiduity and great skill, made the condition of our sick and wounded more than ordinarily comfortable on a wearisome march. No labor wearied him; no tax exhausted his patience.

Lieut. Heath, regimental quartermaster, had charge of the train, which marched mostly with infantry columns, and borough it through without loss of a mule, wagon, or a cent's worth of Government property.

Lieut. Lee S. Haldeman, acting adjutant, on all occasions rendered me valuable assistance, exhibiting coolness and judgment which marked him as a young officer of superior talent and worthy of promotion.

Capt. William Jessup and Capt. Alexander C. Rosseman were both entitled to muster-out on the 14th of November last, yet displayed the most admirable gallantry during the campaign, but more especially at Buck Head and Reynolds' plantation. The service is not ornamented by more worthy captains.

Capt. Dalzell and Lieut. Coates, of the First Ohio Independent Squadron, have a soldierly body of men, and have proven faithful and efficient during the whole campaign. Lieut. Joseph E. Overturf, commanding Company H, displayed great personal gallantry at Reynold's plantation, and commanded his company in such splendid manner that I am to recommend his promotion to captain in acknowledgment of his services.

The regiment is now in camp near King's Bridge, Ga.

The various reports in detail required by the department will be forwarded as early as the exigencies of the service will allow.

I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,

THOMAS T. HEATH, Col. Fifth Regt. Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

Capt. H. J. SMITH, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Second Brig. Third Div., Cav. Corps.

The 5th next enjoyed approximately three weeks of rest before embarking upon Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign on January 28, 1865.  On February 3, 1865, the regiment entered South Carolina. During the ride through South Carolina, the organization traveled through Robertsville, Lawtonville, Allendale, Barnwell, Blackville, Williston, Windsor, Johnson’s Station, Aiken, Lexington Court House, Monticello, Wateree, and Lancaster Court House. Located in the front of the Union advance, the regiment commonly skirmished with enemy forces. On February 8, at Williston, the 5th Ohio helped to rout six Confederate regiments, capturing five battle flags and a sizable number of prisoners.

In early March 1865, the 5th entered North Carolina, occupying Rockingham Court House on March 6. The regiment continued to skirmish with the Confederate cavalry forces of Joseph Wheeler and of Wade Hampton. The organization fought in the Battles of Averysboro (March 16, 1865) and of Bentonville (March 19 to 21, 1865). Following these Union victories, the 5th encamped for approximately two weeks at Mount Olive, before being the first Northern regiment to enter Raleigh, North Carolina in mid-April 1865.

The Carolinas Campaign officially ended with the surrender of General Joseph Johnston’s Confederate army and the conclusion of the Civil War in late April 1865. The 5th’s commanding officer issued the following report regarding the campaign:

HDQRS. FIFTH OHIO CAVALRY VOLUNTEERS, THIRD BRIGADE, THIRD CAVALRY DIVISION, Faison's Station, N. C., March 31, 1865

LIEUT.: I have the honor to submit the following report of my command since breaking camp near Savannah, Ga., on the 28th day of January, 1865:

In compliance with orders received from brigade headquarters my command broke camp at 9 a.m. on the morning of the 28th of January and marched fifteen miles, when we encamped for the night. Nothing of interest transpired with my command until we arrived at Williston, S. C., where my command was ordered out to support the Fifth Kentucky and First Alabama Cavalry Regiments, who were pursuing the fleeing enemies, but before arriving at the scene of action we were ordered to return, as our services were not needed. We returned to camp for the night. This was on the 8th day of February. On the evening of 9th of February my command destroyed about one mile of the Charleston and Augusta Railroad. On the 10th day of February my command assisted in tearing up and destroying a considerable portion of the above-named railroad at Johnson's Turnout. On the 11th my command held the extreme right, while the Second Brigade went out to reconnoiter, and subsequently assisted in covering their retreat. Nothing of interest occurred during our march until the evening of the 3d of March, when we were attacked by a small force of the enemy immediately after going into camp. This was easily repulsed without loss. The next place, my command was at Monroe's Cross-roads, N. C. On the evening of the 9th of March we encamped for the night near the above-mentioned place. No signs of the enemy were visible at the time we encamped. Simultaneous with the call of reveille on the morning of the 10th, and before my command had arisen from bed, my camp was overrun by a large force of the enemy. My command was taken completely by surprise, the enemy being in force in every part of my camp. The officers and men were completely bewildered for a short time, but through the almost superhuman efforts of some of the officers the men soon rallied and contested the ground inch by inch with the enemy, and finally, assisted by the men and officers of the First Alabama and Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, the enemy was forced to retire after one of the most terrific hand-to-hand encounters I ever witnessed, leaving his dead and wounded on the field.

I will here remark that the heroic bravery of Capt. Joseph E. Overturf of my command deserves more than a passing notice at my hands. It was through his exertion and heroic conduct, aided by those gallant soldiers, Capt. Hinds, of the First Alabama, and Capt. Glore, of the Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, that the whole of my command was saved from total annihilation. I would recommend him to the favorable notice of the brigade commander.

During the fight Corpl. M. Hayes shot a rebel color bearer, tore the colors from the standard, and presented them to me. The officers and men of my command fought bravely and with the determination to conquer or die.

The loss in my command on that morning was 4 men killed, 11 wounded (none mortally), and 5 commissioned officers and 76 men missing. The loss of horses was 68.

On the evening of the 15th we encountered the enemy in force near Kyle's Landing, N. C.; built breast-works, threw out skirmishers, and remained in line of battle all night. On the morning of the 16th moved out in line of battle, supported by Fifth Kentucky and First Alabama Cavalry Regiments, Capt. J. E. Overturf, with the Third Battalion of my command, was sent in advance as skirmishers. He soon encountered the enemy's line of skirmishers, which he engaged and drove into his breast-works.

Lieut. John Wilkin got his horse shot under him, and had one man slightly wounded.

We then moved forward in line of battle until we were ordered to halt, where we remained until relieved by a detachment of infantry.

I would make honorable mention of Maj. John Pummill, commanding First Battalion of my command, Capt. John S. Bowles, and Lieut.'s Fritts, Jarvis, Miller, and Wilkin for gallantry on this occasion.

The officers of my command have my sincere thanks for the manner in which they have at all times executed my orders.

The total loss of my command during the campaign was 4 killed, 12 wounded, and 81 missing. There were captured at various times during the campaign, by my command, 40 prisoners, 82 horses, and 40 mules, and lost in action and captured by the enemy, 86 horses.

This report is not as comprehensive as I would wish, owing to the fact that my adjutant was captured by the enemy, having on his person the data from which to make a report.

Hoping, however, that this may meet your approbation, I have the honor to be, lieutenant, your most obedient servant,

GEO. H. RADER, Maj., Cmdg. Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

Lieut. J. N. LUKINS, Actg. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Third Brig., Cavalry Command.

The 5th remained in North Carolina, in the vicinity of Morganton, in the western part of the state. Here, the regiment performed garrison duty in sixteen different counties. On October 30, 1865, officials mustered the 5th’s members out of service, allowing the men to return to their homes in Ohio.

During the 5th Ohio's term of service, twenty-seven men, including one officer, died from wounds received on the battlefield. An additional 143 men, including three officers, died from disease or accidents.

 

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MLA Style

"5th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 18 Nov 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1348>

APA Style

"5th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Cavalry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved November 18, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=1348

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Ohio Civil War Central: An Encyclopedia of the American Civil War