61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1862 - 1865)

Also Known As: Sixty-first Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Updated: July 06, 2011

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 April 23, 1862, the 61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry was mustered into service at Camp Chase, at Columbus, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years.

On May 27, 1862, the 61st left Camp Chase for western Virginia, On June 23, the regiment arrived at Strasburg, Virginia, where the organization joined General John C. Fremont's command. The regiment next advanced to Sperryville, Virginia, before moving to Cedar Mountain, Virginia. The 61st soon withdrew to Freeman's Ford on the Rappahannock River, where the regiment engaged a portion of Confederate General James Longstreet's command. On August 23 and 24, 1862, the 61st battled Longstreet's Confederates at Sulphur Springs, Virginia and also fought these Southerners at Waterloo Bridge, Virginia the following day. On the evening of August 25, the regiment withdrew from Waterloo Bridge to Warrenton, Virginia, where the 61st remained until August 27. On this date, the regiment moved to Manassas Junction, Virginia, where it participated in the Battle of Bull Run II (August 28 to 30, 1862). In this engagement, the 61st had twenty-five men killed or wounded.

Following the Union defeat at the Battle of Bull Run II, the 61st retreated towards Washington, DC. Instead of having the regiment pursue the advancing Confederates, officials ordered the 61st to remain in the vicinity of Washington to protect the nation's capital. On September 2, the regiment engaged a Confederate force at Fairfax Court House. The Southerners forced the 61st back to Chain Bridge between Centreville, Virginia and Washington. The regiment camped at this location until October 2, 1862, when the 61st moved into the Shenandoah Valley. On November 1, 1862, the regiment returned to Centreville, traveling via Warrenton. The 61st left for Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 10, 1862 but did not arrive in time to participate in the Battle of Fredericksburg. After spending some brief time at Falmouth, Virginia, the regiment entered winter encampment at Aquia Creek, Virginia. On January 20, 1863, unfortunately for the 61st, after the organization had constructed winter quarters, officials ordered the regiment to Hartwood Church, Virginia. At this new location, the regiment again constructed winter quarters, slept in them one night, and was ordered to Stafford Court House, Virginia. The 61st remained at this location until April 27, 1863.

In late April 1863, the 61st advanced with the bulk of the Union's Army of the Potomac to Chancellorsville, Virginia, where the Battle of Chancellorsville occurred from May 2 to May 6, 1863. The regiment engaged Confederate forces each day of the battle and had five men killed and numerous soldiers, including four officers, wounded. On May 6, the 61st returned to Stafford Court House, where the organization remained until June 12, 1863, when it embarked upon the Army of the Potomac's pursuit of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, which was launching an invasion of the North. The 61st participated in the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 to 3, 1863). The regiment held a position on Cemetery Hill and engaged the Confederates each day of the battle. Following this engagement, the 61st joined the pursuit of the Rebels, having a skirmish with Southern forces near Hagerstown, Maryland on July 12, 1863. After the Battle of Gettysburg, the 61st's commanding officer issued the following report:

Near Warrenton Junction, Va., August 21, 1863.

Gen.: I have the honor to submit to you, in accordance with orders this day received, a detailed report of the operations of the Sixty-first Regt. Ohio Volunteers, from June 28 to July 25 ultimo, the time of the arrival of the regiment at Warrenton Junction, Va., viz:

June 28.--Remained in camp, near Middletown, Md., until about 4 p. m., when we marched to Frederick City, Md.; weather rainy during the night.

June 29.--Marched from Frederick City to Emmitsburg; weather rainy.

June 30.--Remained in camp at Emmitsburg all day; weather rainy.

July 1.--Still in camp at Emmitsburg.  At about 8 a. m. Lieut.-Col. Bown was sent to Mechanicstown with 4 commissioned officers and 100 enlisted men.  At 9 a. m. the regiment marched from Emmitsburg, and arrived at Gettysburg, Pa., at about 1.30 p. m.  The First Corps was already engaging the enemy when we arrived at the town.  Having the honor to be the advance regiment of the Third Division, we were ordered on the double-quick through the town and into the open fields.  As soon as we arrived on the field, were ordered to deploy as skirmishers.  We were no sooner deployed than we engaged the enemy.  After a severe skirmish of about half an hour, we drove them from the open field into the woods.  We remained in this position nearly all the afternoon, covering a section of Capt. Dilger's battery, which he had posted near the line of our skirmishers.  Late in the afternoon, the enemy's massed column could be seen emerging from the woods in overwhelming numbers, and being so inferior in numbers compared to the enemy, we were ordered to fall back to the cemetery, upon the south of Gettysburg.

July 2.--Still in position behind the breastworks; very heavy skirmishing in our front.  The expedition sent to Mechanicstown returned this morning at 8 o'clock; very heavy cannonading and skirmishing in our front all day.

At 1 p. m. 3 commissioned officers and 50 enlisted men were sent on picket, and 3 commissioned officers and 50 enlisted men were sent to support Capt. Dilger's battery, leaving for duty about 90 enlisted men in the line of the regiment.  In the evening, the Sixty-first Ohio and One hundred and fifty-seventh New York Volunteers, under command of Col. McGroarty, were sent to support the Twelfth Corps.  Owing to some mistake, we were ordered to our old position behind the breastworks, after having been severely repulsed by the enemy.

July 3.--Still in our old position.

July 4.--Still in our old position, with rain.

July 5.--Still in our old position behind the breastworks; marched at 6 p. m., and halted in the woods at 12 midnight.

July 6.--Marched to Emmitsburg, and encamped for the night.

July 7.--Marched from Emmitsburg to Middletown, Md.

July 8.--Marched to Boonsborough, Md.

July 9.--In camp at Boonsborough, Md.

July 10.--Marched to Funkstown, Md.

July 11.--In camp at Funkstown, Md.

July 12.--Marched to Hagerstown, Md.

July 13.--Still at Hagerstown, Md.

July 14.--Marched to Williamsport, Md.

July 15.--Marched to Middletown, Md.

July 16.--Marched to Berlin, Md.

July 17 and 18.--In camp at Berlin, Md.

July 19.--Marched this morning, crossing the Potomac River, to near Leesburg, Va.

July 20.--Marched to near Middleburg, Va.

July 21 and 22.--Still in camp near Middleburg, Va.

July 23.--Marched to New Baltimore, Va.

July 24.--Still in camp at New Baltimore, Va.

July 25.--Marched to Warrenton Junction, and encamped.

Yours, respectfully,

W. H. H. BOWN,

Lieut. Col., Comdg. Sixty-first Ohio Vol. Infantry.

Brig. Gen. Hector Tyndale,

Comdg. First Brigade, Third Division.

The 61st remained in northern Virginia from July 26 to September 25, 1863, guarding portions of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad from Confederate cavalry raids. On September 26, officials ordered the regiment with the rest of its corps, the 12th Corps, to join the Army of the Cumberland at Bridgeport, Alabama. The 12th Corps arrived at this new location on October 1, 1863. On October 27, the Army of the Cumberland began an advance to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where a Union army was currently besieged by Confederate forces. The 61st participated in the Battle of Wauhatchie (October 28 and 29, 1863), having three men killed. On November 22, 1863, the regiment crossed the Tennessee River and entered Chattanooga. On November 25, 1863, the 61st fought in the Battle of Missionary Ridge, breaking the Confederate siege. On November 29, the 61st and the rest of the 12th Corps marched towards Knoxville, Tennessee to assist another beleaguered Union force, but upon the men arriving within ten miles of the city, officials ordered them to return to Chattanooga. The 61st began to construct winter quarters in the Wauhatchie Valley, but within two weeks, officials ordered the regiment to Bridgeport, Tennessee, where they went into winter encampment.

In March 1864, many of the members of the 61st reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to return to their homes in Ohio. On April 28, 1864, the organization rendezvoused at Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, Ohio, and immediately left for Chattanooga, arriving at this location on May 5. On May 7, the regiment joined the rest of General William T. Sherman's command at Rocky Face Ridge and embarked upon the Atlanta Campaign. During the campaign, officials brigaded the 61st with the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 20th Corps. The regiment fought in every major engagement of the campaign, including the Battles of Resaca, Dallas, Kingston, Lost Mountain. Kennesaw Mountain, Culp's Farm, Peachtree Creek, and Atlanta. With the Union's capture of Atlanta, Georgia in the autumn of 1864, the 61st spent several weeks resting from the arduous campaign. Following the Atlanta Campaign, the 61st's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. SIXTY-FIRST OHIO VOLUNTEERS, Atlanta, Ga., September 10, 1864.

CAPT.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Sixty-first Ohio Veteran Volunteers during the campaign that ended in the capture of Atlanta:

Returned from veteran furlough and joined the brigade at Trickum Post-Office, Ga., May 7, May 10, marched to Snake Creek Gap. May 13, in engagement near Resaca. In reserve till near night, when the enemy made an attempt to flank our position, when we went into action with the remainder of the brigade, repulsed the enemy and drove him back in confusion to his works. May 15, occupied a position near the left of our line and not far from the railroad. In the afternoon assisted in repulsing a heavy attack made by the enemy on our left flank with the object of gaining the Dalton road. On the 16th, 17th, and 18th pursued the enemy toward the Allatoona Mountain. On the 19th slight skirmishing near Cassville. Lay at Cassville till the 23d, when we started with five days' rations, crossed the Allatoona Mountain, and fell in with the enemy near Dallas. On the 25th the regiment was thrown out as skirmishers and drove the enemy's skirmish line through the woods for some distance, and advanced close up to their line of rifle-pits, when we were relieved and fell back. Loss, 1 commissioned officer wounded and 1 missing and 6 enlisted men killed and 23 wounded. Several days were passed in desultory skirmishing till June 15, when we participated in a warm engagement near Lost Mountain, with a loss of 1 man killed and 3 wounded. On the night of the 17th of June the enemy fell back from our front and we pursued. On the 22d of June while we were in line of battle near Kenesaw Mountain the enemy made a vigorous attack upon our position. Col. McGroarty, who was in command of the regiment, was ordered to report temporarily with his command to Brig.-Gen. Knipe, commanding the First Brigade of our division. The regiment was pushed forward to a position in front of the general line of battle and suffered severely, but inflicted much heavier loss upon the enemy than we sustained ourselves. Maj. D. C. Beckett was killed, Lieut. William A. Smith and 6 enlisted men wounded. On the next day returned and took our position in the brigade; lay in front of the enemy's position near Kenesaw Mountain for several days with continual skirmishing in our front, in which we lost 2 men killed and 3 wounded. The enemy fell back from our front during the night of July 2 and on the morning of the 3d we pursued toward the Chattahoochee River and found him intrenched in a strong position about four miles south of Marietta. On the morning of July 4, the enemy having again disappeared from our front, we pursued toward the river, and that night encamped within sight of Atlanta. July 17, crossed the Chattahoochee and moved toward Atlanta, the enemy falling back before our advance. On July 20 the enemy made a desperate assault on the Twentieth Corps near Peach Tree Creek. My regiment was in the first line of battle, and the enemy advanced until some of his men fell within ten feet of our line. Having maintained our position against vastly superior numbers, until every field officer and more than half of the men were either killed or wounded, we were ordered to retire, which we did in good order, to the second line, where we remained for a short time, and then retook our former position and maintained it to the close of the fight, which resulted in the repulse of the enemy. Our loss was 5 commissioned officers wounded and 20 men killed and 52 wounded. Owing to the short range at which we fought the wounds were generally severe and many have since died. On the 22d of July we advanced close up to the outer defenses of Atlanta and threw up intrenchments within rifle-range of the enemy's forts, where we lay until August 24, and then fell back to the Chattahoochee River. September 4, advanced and entered Atlanta.

I inclose a statement of the losses of commissioned officers and enlisted men in each engagement in which we participated.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN GARRETT,

Capt., Cmdg. Regt.

Capt. A. E. LEE

A. A. A. G., 3d Brig., 1st Div., 20th Army Corps.

On November 15, 1864, the 61st embarked upon William T. Sherman's March to the Sea. During this march, the regiment had only one skirmish with enemy forces, which occurred at Sandersonville, Georgia. Upon the March to the Sea's conclusion, the 61st's commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. SIXTY-FIRST OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, Near Savannah, Ga., December 26, 1864.

CAPT.: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the Sixty-first Ohio Volunteers from the occupation of Atlanta to the capture of Savannah by the National forces:

Entered Atlanta September 4 and occupied the intrenchments of the enemy.

On October 6 was assigned to a position on Peach Tree Creek road. During our stay at this place accompanied two foraging expeditions, the first, under command of Col. Robinson, to Flat Rock, Ga., and the second, under command of Brig.-Gen. Geary, to Stone Mountain, the object being to procure subsistence for the men and animals of the corps.

Started on the recent campaign November 15, following the line of the Augusta railroad as far as Madison, where we turned southward and struck the Milledgeville railroad at Eatonton, and entered Milledgeville November 22. Resumed the march November 24, and on the 26th struck the Georgia Central Railroad and destroyed a portion of the track near Station No. 13. November 27, moved eastward along the line of the Georgia Central Railroad, and on the 28th assisted in destroying the track and bridges between Davisborough and Spiers Station. Resumed the march on the 29th, and on the 30th crossed the Ogeechee River. No incident of importance transpired till December 9, when I was ordered to assist Col. West, Thirty-first Wisconsin Volunteers, to capture two small forts of the enemy, erected to command the road at a point where it passed through a dense swamp fourteen miles from Savannah. We penetrated the swamp to the left of the road, and when within 100 yards of the enemy they opened upon us with musketry. A charge was ordered, and we pushed forward over a formidable abatis and entered one of the forts, and at the same moment the colors of the Thirty-first Wisconsin were planted upon the other; the enemy escaped with his artillery. I had one man severely wounded in the engagement. December 10, advanced and took position before Savannah. December 11, moved to the rear and took position near the railroad, seven miles from Savannah, for the protection of the wagon trains, where we remained until the capture of the city.

During the campaign my command captured 10 horses and 30 mules, and drew forage from the country equal to twenty days' subsistence. A large quantity of cotton was destroyed, but as much of it was not in bales it is impossible to state the exact amount.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN GARRETT,

Capt., Cmdg. Sixty-first Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry.

Capt. A. E. LEE,

Actg. Asst. Adjt. Ge., 3d Brig., 1st Div., 20th Army Corps.

Upon the 61st reaching Savannah, Georgia, officials temporarily assigned the organization to the Provisional Brigade, with the regiment performing various duties in the city. In mid January 1865, the regiment moved with the 2nd Brigade, 20th Corps to Sister's Ferry on the Savannah River. After approximately one week at this new location, the 61st joined its regular command, the 3rd Brigade, at Robertsville, South Carolina. During the Carolinas Campaign, the regiment only participated in a few minor skirmishes until the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina (March 19 to 21, 1865), where the 61st had some men wounded or captured.

Following the Battle of Bentonville, the 61st marched to Goldsboro, North Carolina. At Goldsboro, officials consolidated the 61st with the 82nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The consolidated regiment took the name of the 82nd, effectively ending the 61st's existence. During the 61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service as a separate organization, seventy-five men, including seven officers, died on the battlefield. An additional ninety enlisted men succumbed to disease or accidents.

As part of the 82nd, the members of the 61st marched to Washington, DC, via Richmond, Virginia. At Washington, the regiment participated in the Grand Review. After a short stay in the nation's capital, the 82nd returned to Columbus, Ohio, where its members, including those of the 61st, mustered out of service on September 1, 1865.

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"61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 21 Sep 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=656>

APA Style

"61st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved September 21, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=656

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