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.
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. They served for varying lengths of time, averaging one hundred days to three years. On February 17, 1862, the 48th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years.
Upon organizing, the 48th departed for Paducah, Kentucky, where the regiment joined William T. Sherman's command. The 48th spent several days resting at Paducah before boarding the steamer Expressand sailing to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, arriving on March 19. On the morning of April 6, Confederate forces under Albert Sidney Johnston attacked the Union army at Pittsburg Landing, beginning the Battle of Shiloh. The 48th repulsed several Confederate attacks, and it is believed that one of its members was responsible for killing General Johnston. Confederate forces eventually drove the 48th from its position, but late in the day, the 48th as well as the 24th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry and the 36th Regiment Illinois Infantry launched a vital counterattack, stalling the Southerners' advance. On April 7, the 48th again engaged the Confederates, helping the Union forces to drive the Southerners from the battlefield. At the Battle of Shiloh, the 48th lost approximately one-third of its active soldiers.
Following Shiloh, the 48th participated in the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi and was one of the first Northern regiments to enter this city. The 48th then participated in General Sherman's initial assault on Vicksburg, Mississippi, followed by his advance up the Arkansas River, where the regiment performed bravely at the Battle of Arkansas Post. During early 1863, the regiment participated in the Union's advance on Vicksburg. The 48th fought in the Battles of Magnolia Hills, Champion Hill, and, on May 23, 1863, in an assault on Confederate forces in the rear of Vicksburg. On June 25, the regiment launched another assault on a portion of the Southern lines. While the 48th did not drive the Confederates from their positions, the assault placed the regiment in the very front of the Union lines. Following Vicksburg's capitulation to Union forces, the 48th's commanding officer issued the following report:
HDQRS. FORTY-EIGHTH REGT. OHIO VOL. INFANTRY, Vicksburg, Miss., August 4, 1863.
SIR: Pursuant to circular dated July 19, 1863, from Maj.-Gen. Ord, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part borne by the Forty-eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the ever-memorable and eventful campaign just closed with the fall of Vicksburg and Jackson:
This regiment, formerly in the command of Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman, was attached to Brig. Gen. A. J. Smith's division by Special Orders, No. 21, from Maj. Gen. S. A. Hurlbut, dated Fort Pickering, Tenn., December 19, 1862, and by him assigned to said Second Brigade, commanded by Col. W. J. Landram.
About this time, consequent on wounds received in the battle of Shiloh, and a severe fall from my horse near Memphis, fracturing my right arm and wrist, while I was in command of Fort Pickering, Tenn., I was placed on detached service by order of Maj. Gen W.T. Sherman, and was continued on said service by a subsequent order (No. 25) from Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant, dated January 25, 1863; consequently the command devolved on Lieut. Col. Job R. Parker.
On the 20th of December, 1862, in pursuance of orders, this regiment, numbering 379 enlisted men and 23 commissioned officers for duty, under command of said Lieut. Col. Parker, embarked on board a transport at Fort Pickering, Tenn., and accompanied the expedition down the Mississippi River, under command of. Maj. Gen. W. T. Sherman.
On December 27, 1862, we landed at the mouth of the Yazoo River, and were immediately advanced with the rest of the troops some 6 miles toward Vicksburg, where we had a successful skirmish with the enemy, without loss to this regiment. For several days succeeding, our brigade was placed in reserve, and on January 2, 1863, received orders to re-embark at 2 a.m., which was duly effected and without loss to the regiment. From the Yazoo River we were conveyed in transports to White River, thence into the Arkansas, and on January 10 were landed at Arkansas Post (Fort Hindman), which was by our forces immediately closely invested by land, and water.
January 11,1863.--The forenoon was occupied in making dispositions of the United States, troops preparatory to an attack on the enemy. This regiment was placed in reserve, and we were informed by the brigade commander that he did not much expect to need it. Half an hour after the commencement of the action it became evident that the whole force would be required.
The Forty-eighth Ohio was then ordered to the right of this brigade, to support Brig.-Gen. Burbridge's line, which it did with promptness and in good order. On reaching the point designated, Brig. Gert. A.J. Smith, our division commander, in bold and commanding language, ordered us forward, saying, "Forty-eighth Ohio, go right in I" The regiment then marched forward under a galling fire, through tangled brush and fallen tree-tops, to the top of a ridge; thence over a fence to an open field; thence by the right flank about 200 yards; thence by the left flank in line of battle, until we came within 150 yards of the main fort and directly in front of it. Here we were ordered to halt and lie down, and immediately afterward to rise up and "forward" which we did until we came within a very short distance of the fort, keeping up all the time a most severe and destructive fire on the enemy until about 5 p.m., when he hauled down his colors and hoisted the white flag in token of surrender. We then rushed in, took possession of the fort, and ours was the second flag planted on the main fort.
Col. Landram, our brigade commander, who had fought gallantly by our side, complimented us on the spot, saying the Forty-eighth Ohio was the best old regiment out. Lieut. Col. J. H. Hammond, chief of Maj. Gen. W. T. Shaman's staff, also complimented the regiment for its usual dashing bravery.
Our loss in this engagement was but 2 killed and 14 wounded; there were no casualties among the commissioned officers, except a slight flesh-wound which Lieut. Col. Job R. Parker, of said regiment, received at long range in his left forearm, just as the regiment was marching up to its position and before it was engaged in the action. He immediately retired from the field, and Capt. Peterson, of Company K, then took command and led the regiment into the action. A few days after he was so wounded, Lieut.-Col. Parker went home on a twenty days' leave of absence, and did not again rejoin his regiment until the 27th of April, 1863. Soon after this engagement, Capt. Peterson resigned, and Capt. Lindsey, of Company B, took command of the regiment.
We remained at Arkansas Post until January 17, when we again embarked on board our transports, and the expedition steamed down into the Mississippi River, landing at Young's Point, La., January 23. Here the regiment was engaged for some time in digging the canal. The weather became so wet that our camps were in many places overflowed, and the privations and sickness of our troops in many regiments [became] so serious that the Thirteenth Army Corps was ordered to Milliken's Bend, La., a more healthy and drier locality, where we landed March 9.
Here the troops rapidly recovered their health. That of this regiment, I am happy to say, however, had been invariably good since we left Fort Pickering, but one or two deaths from disease having occurred during this time, and the regimental hospital, under the charge of Dr. Willis, never having more than three or four patients in it at a time, notwithstanding the extremely severe privations undergone by the men. This is owing in a great degree to the care which was paid to the cleanliness of the men and the fine sanitary condition of the camp. The credit of this is mainly due to Capt. Lindsey, who was then in command of the regiment; to Adjutant McGill and to Dr. Willis, who were indefatigable in their efforts to maintain a proper police and sanitary condition. The company commandants, too, cheerfully aided in this good work.
April 15, in pursuance of orders, we moved from Milliken's Bend to the lower landing below Hard Times, where we arrived April 29, encamping on the way at Richmond, Roundaway Bayou, Holmes', Smith's, and Rossel's plantations, Reddel's Bayou, Perkins' and Elliot's plantations, and Hard Times, a distance of 62 miles.
April 30, we crossed the Mississippi River, landing at Bruinsburg, Miss., and next morning, after a march of 15 miles, we met and engaged the enemy at Magnolia Hills, and kept driving him back all day. Next day (May 2) we marched into Port Gibson, a distance of about 2 miles, without meeting the enemy, he having retreated during the night.
From Port Gibson we marched, via Bayou Pierre, Willow Springs, Rocky Springs, Big Sandy, Cayuga., Old Auburn, New Auburn, and Raymond, to Champion's Hill, near Edwards Station, Miss.
Here there was a severe and bloody engagement with the enemy. During this engagement our regiment was detailed to act in reserve and guard the trains, and, after the enemy was defeated, we moved on the 17th to Black River; crossed it the next day, and marched to within 5 miles of Vicksburg, a distance of 65 miles from Port Gibson and from Milliken's Bend 123 miles.
On the 19th, we advanced and drove the enemy's pickets out of their rifle-pits into their fortifications.
May 22, we engaged in the charge on the enemy's fortifications in rear of Vicksburg, and, after a most sanguinary and bloody engagement, succeeded in planting our bullet-riddled flag on the enemy's fort nearly in front of us, where it remained till evening, when the enemy massed his forces in vastly superior numbers to ours, and regained possession of the fort. Perceiving his intention, we saved our flag before the charge was made.
At 10 p.m. We were ordered to fall back. The Forty-eighth was never driven back from its position near this fort until ordered to fall back, as above stated. There were none with our flag while planted on this fort save the color-guard, the regiment being a little to the left of the fort during the time.
Our casualties in this engagement were, so far as I have been able to ascertain, 32 enlisted men killed, wounded, and missing; also Maj. Moats, one of the bravest and truest of men, was mortally wounded, and has since died. Capt. Gunsaullus, of Company F, a gallant and deserving officer, was severely wounded, but is, I am happy to say, fast recovering. Lieut. Col. Job R. Parker, by some means or other, received a very slight flesh wound on the cheek-bone, merely breaking the skin.
He shortly after retired from the field, and on May 31 went home on a twenty days' leave of absence. He has never since returned to his regiment nor reported to these headquarters.
Fired with the determination of aiding in the reduction and capture of Vicksburg, at my own special request I was released from detached service at Memphis, and on the evening of June 22 last, I rejoined my regiment, then in rear of Vicksburg, and on the next day resumed command.
Our troops in the mean time were digging their zigzag way up to the enemy's breastworks. Gradually we closed in upon him till July 3, when Gen. Pemberton opened negotiations with Maj.-Gen. Grant, which ended in the surrender of this great stronghold to the United States forces on July 4. This, indeed, was a glorious triumph for liberty and humanity.
Early the next morning we marched, among 50,000 chosen troops, under command of Maj. Gert. W. T. Sherman, in hot pursuit of Gen. Joe Johnston and his forces, and after four days' march, hungry, thirsty, and sunburned, we came up to him at Jackson, Miss., where we found him strongly intrenched, with formidable breastworks and forts in his front and flanks, and the Pearl River and an impassable swamp in his rear.
During the siege, which lasted eight days, we were almost continually on the alert, and gradually and steadily advancing upon the enemy until the night of July 16, when, after severe fighting, he stole away and fled from the veteran Sherman and his gallant and well-disciplined troops, who love him as a child would a fond father. Our casualties here were but 2 men wounded.
In the memorable campaign just closed with the fall of Vicksburg and Jackson, the Forty. Eighth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry has had but 11 men killed, 38 wounded, and 1 missing; in all, 50, including officers and men.
By the circular above alluded to, I am ordered to mention the weak-kneed and chicken-hearted as well as the brave and true officers and men of the regiment. This regiment, with but a very few exceptions, has been celebrated for its good order and discipline, as well as for its dashing and gallant bravery on the field of battle.
The accompanying paper, marked A,# contains the names of those gallant officers and men who deserve to be kindly remembered and rewarded by their country.
Adjt. R. C. McGill, who has just resigned, on account of bad health; Drs. Willis and Wiles, surgeons of the regiment, and Capt. Lindsey, deserve special mention for their untiring efforts to preserve the good health of the men, and to enforce good order and discipline on all occasions. Those are tried and true men. Lieut. Lynch, acting quartermaster of the regiment, is also entitled to credit for the execution of his duties.
Those brave fellows, the color-guard, who were in the charge on the enemy in rear of Vicksburg on May 22, ought to be remembered and held up as true heroes by the brave and the true. Their names are David L. Vore, Company E, color sergeant; Isaac H. Carmin, corporal Company A; Isaac Scott, corporal Company B; Metcalf Bell, corporal Company F; Jesse Ellis, private Company D; Allen Pierce, corporal Company D; Albert N. Shumard, corporal Company G; James D. Wolf, private Company K.
The health of the regiment, with but a few exceptions, is good. The strength of the regiment is, present and absent, 362 enlisted men and 27 commissioned officers. Of this number there are present for duty 269 enlisted men and 17 commissioned officers.
Should time, health, and circumstances permit, I will make a more extended and minute report of the part which my regiment has taken in this struggle between liberty and anarchy since its action in the battle of Shiloh up to the fall of Vicksburg and Jackson. My feeble health compels me to abridge this report, yet I trust I have fulfilled all the requirements of the said circular.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
PETER J. SULLIVAN,
First Lieut. C. C. TRACY,
A. A. A. G., Second Brig, Tenth Div., Thirteenth A.C.
Following Vicksburg's capture by Northern forces on July 4, 1863, the 48th then fought in the Battle of Jackson, Mississippi and the Battle of Bayou Teche. In April 1864, at the Battle of Sabine Cross Roads, Confederate forces captured practically the entire 48th Regiment. The regiment's commanding officer issued the following report after the battle:
HDQRS. FORTY-EIGHTH OHIO INFANTRY VOLUNTEERS, Grand Ecore, La., April 12, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to report that the regiment, under the command of Lieut. Col. J. W. Lindsey, left Natchitoches, by order of Col. Vance, commanding Second Brigade, on the morning of the 6th instant, at 7.15 o'clock, marched 18 miles, and went into camp at 4.30 p.m. in pine woods. Moved forward, April 7, at 6 a.m.; reached Pleasant Hill at 2 p.m., having marched 17 miles. Left camp at Pleasant Hill at 5.30 a.m. of the 8th instant, and marched about 8 miles, when we moved to the left of the road with orders to stack arms and camp until further orders from Col. Vance, commanding brigade. About an half hour after we were ordered forward to report to Col. Landram, who was in the advance with the First Brigade. The regiment reported to Col. Landram at 1.30 p.m., and was assigned to position on the left of the One hundred and thirtieth Illinois Volunteers Infantry, which was in line at right angles with the road, and to right of the road about 250 yards; the Nineteenth Kentucky Regt. Infantry Volunteers was moved into line on the right of the regiment a few minutes, afterward.
The regiment lay in the woods about two and a quarter hours, when it was ordered forward to meet the enemy, who were advancing. The regiment advanced to a fence about 250 yards in front, where it remained until ordered to fall back by Col. J. W. Vance, commanding Second Brigade.
JAMES R. LYNCH,
Capt., Cmdg. Regt.
Lieut. WILLIAM A. BEASLEY,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.
The regiment's members remained in Confederate prisons until exchanged in October 1864.
Upon the 48th's members' release, most of these soldiers chose to reenlist in a reorganized 48th. The regiment helped Union forces capture Mobile, Alabama in 1865, and officials then sent the 48th to Texas, where it remained until May 9, 1866, when the regiment mustered out of service.
During the 48th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, fifty-seven men, including three officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 123 men, including three officers, succumbed to disease or accidents.
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"48th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2021, Ohio Civil War Central. 20 Sep 2021 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=605>
"48th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2021) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved September 20, 2021, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=605