63rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1862 - 1865)

Also Known As: Sixty-third 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 January 18, 1862, officials formed the 63rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry by consolidating the 63rd Battalion Ohio Volunteer Infantry with the 22nd Battalion Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The men in the regiment were to serve three years. The 63rd Battalion formed in Marietta, Ohio, while the 22nd originated at Camp Worthington at Chillicothe, Ohio. The consolidation of the regiment occurred at Marietta.

On February 18, 1862, the 63rd left Marietta for Paducah, Kentucky, where officials ordered the regiment to Commerce, Missouri to join the Army of the Mississippi under the command of General John Pope. The 63rd reached Commerce on February 23, 1862 and departed with the army for New Madrid on February 28, arriving on March 3. At New Madrid, officials brigaded the 63rd with the 27th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 39th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and 43rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The 63rd participated in the Union's capture of Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River. On April 12, the regiment boarded the steamer Silver Wave and sailed to the vicinity of Fort Pillow, Tennessee. The 63rd next advanced to Corinth, Mississippi, arriving on April 23. The regiment participated in the Siege of Corinth, assuming a position on the Union left. During the siege, the organization engaged Confederate forces at the Battle of Farmington, Mississippi (May 28, 1863), sustaining heavy loss. Upon the Union's capture of Corinth on May 30, the 63rd pursued the withdrawing Confederates to Boonville Station, Mississippi, before returning to Corinth on June 11.

On August 20, the regiment left Corinth for Bear Creek, Mississippi, traveling through Iuka, Mississippi. As Confederate forces advanced towards Iuka in September, the 63rd returned to Corinth on September 12, before advancing to Jacinto, Mississippi. On September 19, the 63rd marched to Iuka, where the Battle of Iuka occurred on this same day. The regiment pursued the retreating Southerners on September 20, before returning to Jacinto the following day.

From September 28 to October 3, 1862, the 63rd participated in several reconnaissances with its division. On October 3, the regiment moved back to Corinth, where the Battle of Corinth II occurred the following day. In this Union victory, the 63rd had forty-eight percent of its active members killed or wounded, including all but three line officers. On October 5, the regiment pursued the withdrawing Confederates as far as Ripley, Mississippi, before returning to Corinth, where the organization encamped.

On November 2, the 63rd advanced to Grand Junction, Mississippi, where it joined Ulysses S. Grant's command. The regiment went into camp at Oxford, Mississippi on December 11. On December 17, the regiment and its brigade moved to Jackson, Tennessee to defend Grant's communication lines from Confederate forces. Grant eventually detached the 63rd, leaving the regiment at Bolivar, Tennessee. With other Union forces the organization engaged General Nathan Bedford Forrest's Confederate cavalry at Parker's Cross Roads, Tennessee. The Northerners drove the Southerners from the battlefield and pursued them to the Tennessee River, before returning to Corinth on January 9, 1863. At Corinth, the regiment entered into winter quarters.

On April 20, 1863, the 63rd participated in an expedition to Tuscumbia, Alabama, returning to Corinth on May 2. On May 16, the regiment moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where the organization performed garrison duty. In October 1863, the regiment marched eastward with General William T. Sherman's command towards Chattanooga, Tennessee to provide aid to a besieged Union army in that city. Rather than marching all of the way to Chattanooga with the rest of Sherman's force, the 63rd remained at Prospect in eastern Tennessee.

On January 2, 1864, many of the members of the 63rd reenlisted and received a thirty-day furlough to return to their homes in Ohio. The regiment marched from Prospect to Columbia, Tennessee, where its members boarded trains for Cincinnati, Ohio. On February 18, the organization re-formed in Columbus, Ohio and departed for Pulaski, Tennessee. Officials quickly ordered the regiment to Decatur Junction, Alabama, with the 63rd arriving here on February 28, helping Union forces capture this city. On March 10, officials assigned the regiment to the 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 16th Corps. On May 10, the 63rd began a movement to Chattanooga, Tennessee. Upon reaching this location, the 63rd moved to Snake Creek's Gap in Georgia, where it embarked upon General William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. The regiment fought in almost every major engagement of the campaign, including the Battles of Resaca, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and Jonesborough. With the Union's capture of Atlanta, Georgia in the autumn of 1864, the 63rd spent several weeks resting from the arduous campaign. During the Atlanta Campaign, the 63rd had 158 men killed, wounded, captured, or missing. The 63rd's commanding officer issued the following reports during the campaign:

HDQRS. SIXTY-THIRD REGT. OHIO INFANTRY VOLS., In the Field, before Atlanta, Ga., July 26, 1864.

SIR: In pursuance of orders from headquarters Second Brigade Fourth Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the Sixty-third Regiment Ohio Infantry Volunteers in the engagement at Decatur, Ga., on the 22d day of July, 1864:

At about 1 p. m. four companies, viz, A, Capt. Frank T. Gilmore commanding; F, First Lieut. Louis Schmidt commanding; D, Capt. William Cornell commanding, and G, Capt. George Wightman commanding, were ordered to report to Col. Montgomery, of the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers, at Hoyle's house, where they joined a detachment of Twenty-fifth Wisconsin, moved half a mile out on the Fayetteville road, and formed line facing west, left resting on road, Company G deployed as skirmishers. Enemy opened fire from wood about 460 yards in front, and at 2 p. m. opened with one piece of artillery upon the picket-line on the McDonongh road, when, under orders from Col. Sprague, the command was moved by the left flank to take position in support of the line. During this movement, while passing a deep ravine in single file, the enemy opened upon the command with two batteries, one in front and the other on the left flank. At the same time charged from same points, when they reformed, faced to the rear, and, after a sharp fight, fell back to join main line on ridge south and west of town, near Hoyle's house. Company E, Lieut. Thomas J. McCord commanding, and Company K, Capt. Daniel T. Thorne commanding, were on the grand guard line. At 1.30 p. m. their outposts were attacked, Company E's by cavalry and Company K's by artillery. The attack made by cavalry was repulsed. The enemy then advanced with two lines of skirmishers and a line of battle, when, under orders from Lieut.-Col. Henry, Thirty-fifth New Jersey Infantry, commanding guard line, it fell back fighting until it reached the railroad, when the enemy pressed upon it with very superior force and with such vigor as to cause the companies and men to separate in squads. Company B, Lieut. L. G. Matheny commanding, and Company C, Capt. Winslow L. Bay commanding, were ordered to support section of Company C. First Regt. [Michigan] Light Artillery. They had been in position but a few moments when the enemy opened upon them with artillery and charged with so much superior force in front and upon their right flank as to cause them to fall back. Company I, Lieut. James A. Gilmore commanding, was on provost duty in Decatur, formed in the public square, and met the enemy, fell back fighting and in good order to the ridge north of town, where, deploying as skirmishers in front and on the left flank, protected the disarranged parts of the brigade, which were being rallied on the ridge. Company H, Lieut. Charles M. Harrison commanding, was the only company left in camp. This company and the camp guard took position to the right of section of Chicago Board of Trade Battery. The enemy advanced in greatly superior force and it became necessary for the battery to retire. While retiring the battery became entangled in a heap of old iron and was in danger of being captured. In order to save the battery Company G, which had formed on the left of battery, and Company H fixed bayonets and made a determined charge on the advancing line of the enemy, causing it to fall back to the railroad and giving the battery time to get off, and giving a large wagon train of the Fifteenth Army Corps time to leave the field, which, but for this charge, would have fallen into the hands of the enemy. These companies, under command of Lieut. Col. Charles E. Brown, then fell back in good order to court square. Adjt. Howard Forrer was killed during this movement. The other companies of the regiment coming in at this time were rallied and formed on south side of court square with part of the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin Infantry, and held the ground until completely flanked on right and left, when we were ordered to fall back to ridge north of the town. In rallying the regiment at this point Lieut. Col. Charles E. Brown was severely wounded and carried from the field. The enemy continuing the attack with a much superior force in front and on both flanks obliged us to fall back to the cover of the woods, and we took position with the balance of the brigade.

The casualties in the regiment were as follows, viz: Commissioned officers-killed, l; wounded, 4; missing, l; total, 6. Enlisted men-killed, 10; wounded, 44; missing, 33; total, 87. Aggregate, 93.

With very few exceptions both officers and men displayed unusual gallantry and courage in their behavior. Of the enlisted men I would make special mention of of the following for unusual bravery, perseverance, and success in rallying disorganized portions of the regiment, viz: Madison Hoon, sergeant-major; Andrew Smith, first sergeant Company B; Alexander C. Harper, sergeant, Company A; George W. Rike, sergeant, Company C; Chester M. Wilson, sergeant, Company D; Stewart Martindale, sergeant, Company E; Franklin Worthen, color-sergeant Company C, and Alonzo J. Shuman, private, Company D, who, when the banner bearer (Corpl. William J. Harris, Company C) was shot dead, picked up the banner, waved it above his head, and called upon the men to stand by him for he would die before our banner should fall into rebel hands.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. FOUTS,

Maj., Cmdg. Regt.

Lieut. A. C. FENNER,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

HDQRS. SIXTY-THIRD REGT. OHIO VET. INFANTRY, In the Field, September 5, 1864.

SIR: In accordance with circular from headquarters Second Brigade, Fourth Division, Sixteenth Army Corps, I have the honor to submit the following report of proceedings of the Sixty-third Regiment Ohio Veteran Infantry from May 1, 1864, to September 2, 1864:

May 1, the regiment started from Decatur, Ala., crossed to the north side of the river, marched twelve miles east, and bivouacked. May 2, marched sixteen miles and bivouacked at Huntsville, Ala. May 3, marched twenty miles and bivouacked near Chattanooga railroad. May 4, marched seven miles and rested at Woodville; at 3 p. m. took the cars for Chattanooga. May 5, arrived at Chattanooga in the morning; moved at 4 p. m. and marched seven miles and bivouacked near Rossville. May 6, marched eight miles to Gordon's Mills; had 1 man killed by a falling limb of a tree. May 7, marched seventeen miles and bivouacked near Mattox Gap, in Taylor's Ridge. May 8, marched twelve miles, passed through Villanow. May 9, took part in the reconnaissance in force made by Maj.Gen. McPherson near Rosaca, Ga.; moved eight miles toward Resaca and moved back four miles in the evening and encamped, and occupied Snake [Creek] Gap. May 10, moved forward two miles and returned in the p. m. to former camp. May 11, remained in camp. May 12, moved one mile and a half to the front and encamped May 13, moved two miles to the front and formed line of battle; took part in the fight near Resaca; had 2 men wounded. May 14, remained in position, being unable to advance on account of an impassable stream in our front; skirmishing all day; had 9 men wounded; in p. m. the regiment was detached to support a section of a battery. May 15, remained supporting the battery, and were not in action during the day. May 16, the enemy having evacuated Rosaca, the regiment moved with the brigade seven miles and a half to the right, crossed the Oostonaula River at Tanner's Ferry on a pontoon bridge, formed line of battle, and lay under arms all night.

May 17, in bivouac during the day; moved at 7 p. m.; marched nine miles; halted at midnight. May 18, marched fifteen miles; passed through Adairsville and bivouacked at 4 a. m. May 19, marched seven miles and bivouacked one mile west of Kingston, Ga. May 20, 21, and 22, remained in camp near Kingston, Ga. May 23, moved at midnight; marched eight miles, crossed the Etowah River, and encamped at 3.30 a. m. May 24, started at 6 a. m., marched fourteen miles, and bivouacked at Van Wert. May 25, marched eight miles toward Villa Rica, and bivouacked at midnight. May 26, moved at 3 a. m. one mile southeast and seven miles northeast toward Dallas; formed line of battle and moved one mile through the town and bivouacked. May 27, formed line of battle and commenced skirmishing; lost 4 men killed and 4 men wounded. May 28, skirmishing; lost 2 men killed and 2 wounded. May 29, skirmishing; lost 1 man wounded. May 36, skirmishing; lost 4 men wounded. May 31, skirmishing; lost 1 man wounded.

June 1, the regiment was in position in face of the enemy ; moved five miles in a northeast direction, in the rear and toward the left of the army; encamped on Pumpkin Vine Creek; worked all night fortifying our position. June 2, remained in camp; slight skirmishing in our front. June 3, moved east two miles and encamped.

June 4, changed our position by moving half a mile to the right. June 5, marched five miles in the direction of Acworth and bivouacked. June 6, marched ten miles and bivouacked at Acworth. June 7, 8, and 9, remained in camp. June 10 marched five miles to Big Shanty Station, on the Atlanta railroad, and bivouacked in line of battle. June 11, took part in reconnaissance in force; moved two miles to the front, skirmishing. June 12 and 13, remained in position, skirmishing. June 14, advanced our line half a mile, skirmishing. June 15, advanced, driving the enemy's skirmishers half a mile; had 3 men wounded in camp. June 16, engaged in skirmishing; had 1 man killed and 1 wounded. June 17, skirmishing; had 1 man killed and 2 wounded. June 18, skirmishing; had 2 men wounded. June 19, moved forward about one mile, the enemy having fallen back; commenced skirmishing; had 1 man wounded. Jun 20, skirmishing; had 2 men wounded. June 21 and 22, remained in camp. June 23, skirmishing at Kenesaw Mountain; lost 3 men wounded. June 24, remained in camp. June 25, moved half a mile to the front and occupied the front line of breast-works. June 26 and 27, remained in camp; had 1 man killed whilst in camp. June 28, regiment went on the skirmish line on Kenesaw Mountain; had 1 man killed. June 29, skirmishing; lost 3 men wounded; relieved and went to camp 8 p. m. June 30, remained in camp.

July 1, remained in camp at foot of Kenesaw Mountain. July 2, remained in camp; received orders to march at a moment's notice. July 3, after the evacuation of Kenesaw Mountain by the enemy the regiment marched west and south to near Nickajack Creek, 12 miles. July 4, moved two and a half miles to the front, formed line of battle, fortified our position, and supported the First Brigade in a charge, in which they were successful. July 5, marched southwest five miles and bivouacked on the Sandtown road. July 6, moved four miles toward Chattahoochee River and bivouacked. July 7, moved two miles toward Howell's Ferry and bivouacked. July 8, skirmished with the enemy across Chattahoochee River. July 9, evacuated position on the Chattahoochee River, marched 17 miles, passed through Marietta, and bivouacked on the road to Roswell. July 10, marched thirteen miles and forded the Chattahoochee River and encamped on the south bank. July 11 to 16, remained in camp on south bank of Chattahoochee River. July 17, marched seven miles and bivouacked near Nancy's Creek. July 18, marched six miles and bivouacked near Peach Tree Creek. July 19, marched five miles, formed line of battle, and bivouacked at Decatur, Ga. July 20, marched three miles toward Atlanta and took position in reserve for the Fifteenth Army Corps. July 21, moved back to Decatur, Ga., to relieve cavalry and guard the trains of the Army of the Tennessee. July 22, took part with the brigade in the engagement at Decatur, Ga. Two companies of this regiment by a charge upon a superior force of the enemy saved from capture a section of the Board of Trade Battery and a large wagon train of the Fifteenth Army Corps. The enemy attacked on all sides with a very superior force, and, after two hours' hard fighting, we were finally driven out of the town with the loss of 1 commissioned officer (Adjt. Howard Ferrer) killed, 4 wounded, and 1 wounded and taken prisoner; enlisted men, 10 killed, 44 wounded, and 31 missing; aggregate, 91. Lieut. Col. Charles E. Brown severely wounded in leg, rendering amputation necessary. (For fuller details of this day's fight see appended copy of report of July 26, 1864.) July 23, reoccupied Decatur and moved west of the town and fortified our position near Conscript camp. July 24, regiment assisted in destroying the Atlanta and Augusta Railroad. July 25, rejoined our corps and went into position in reserve. July 26, moved during the night to the rear and toward the extreme right of the army. July 27, continued our march and arrived at the extreme right at 4 p. m.; moved in line of battle one mile; darkness coming on we halted and fortified our position. July 28, moved to the front 150 yards, fortified our position, and encamped. July 29, remained in camp. July 30, moved to the right and relieved a division of the Seventeenth Army Corps. July 31, moved back to our old position of the 30th.

August 1, occupying our old position of July 31; the enemy threw 64-pound shell into camp. August 2, regiment went on the skirmish line. August 3, relieved from skirmish line and occupied our old camp. August 4 to 7, remained in camp. August 8, regiment went on the skirmish line. August 9, relieved from skirmish line and occupied second line of works. August 10, remained in camp. August 11, moved to front line of works and relieved Forty-third Regt. Ohio Veteran Infantry. August 12, spent the day in strengthening our position; lost 1 man wounded whilst in camp. August 13 to 15, remained in camp. August 16, regiment on skirmish line; lost 1 man wounded whilst in camp. August 17, relieved from skirmish line and occupied our old position; lost 1 man wounded. August 18,19, remained in camp. August 20, remained in camp; lost 1 man killed whilst in camp. August 21 to 25, remained in camp. August 26, evacuated our position at 1 a. m. successfully and took position on the relieved line and strengthened our works; moved again at 9 p. m. and marched all night. August 27, marched all day and bivouacked near Camp Creek, having marched eleven miles.

August 28, moved south and east seven miles and bivouacked near West Point railroad. August 29, marched three miles south of Fairburn, on West Point railroad, and destroyed the railroad from there back six miles, and returned at dark to our camp of the previous day. August 30, marched all day and at midnight bivouacked near Macon railroad. August 31, moved half a mile to the front and fortified our position on the right flank of the army.

September 1, regiment on picket. September 2, relieved from picket; marched south through Jonesborough, the enemy having evacuated; bivouacked four miles south of Jonesborough; received official dispatch of the occupation of Atlanta.

Recapitulation: This regiment has marched during the campaign upward of 355 miles; participated in the battles of Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mountain, Decatur, Atlanta, and Jonesborough, and lost in killed, wounded, and missing as follows, viz: Commissioned officers--killed, 1; wounded, 4; wounded and taken prisoner, 1. Enlisted men-killed, 22; wounded, 88; missing, 31. Aggregate, 147.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. W. FOUTS,

Maj., Cmdg. Regt.

Lieut. A. C. FENNER

Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Upon the Union's capture of Atlanta, the 63rd entered into camp on September 10, 1864 at Eastpoint, Georgia. At Eastpoint, the regiment joined the 1st Division, 17th Corps. On October 4, the 63rd joined the Union's pursuit of Confederate John Bell Hood's army, which was currently moving into Tennessee. The regiment crossed the Chattahoochie River and engaged a portion of Hood's force at Snake Creek Gap. The 63rd continued the pursuit as far as Gaylesville, Alabama, where the organization rested for several days. Officials also mustered out of service twenty-three men who had not reenlisted. In November, the 63rd returned to Atlanta, where it embarked upon William T. Sherman's March to the Sea. The McDonough, Gordon's Junction, and Millen and had a brief skirmish with Confederate soldiers at Olive Station. On December 10, members of the regiment waded the Ogeechee Canal and assumed a position near the Confederate forts guarding Savannah, Georgia. After several engagements to seize the forts, the 63rd entered Savannah on December 21, 1864, bringing the March to the Sea to an end.

On January 5, 1865, the 63rd advanced to Beaufort, South Carolina and then moved to Pocotaligo, South Carolina, where the regiment prepared for Sherman's Carolinas Campaign. On February 1, 1865, the regiment began to move northward along the Salkahatchie River, fighting the Battle of River's Bridge on February 3. In this engagement, the 63rd had twelve men killed or wounded. The 63rd next destroyed portions of the Savannah and Charleston Railroad at Midway, South Carolina, before occupying Columbia, South Carolina on February 17. The regiment advanced into North Carolina, occupying Fayetteville on March 11. The 63rd also fought its last major engagement at the Battle of Bentonville (March 19 to 21, 1865), before moving to Goldsboro, North Carolina. On April 14, the regiment moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and, on April 20, returned to Goldsboro as the escort for a supply train. The organization returned to Raleigh and was present at Confederate General Joseph Johnston's surrender. The 63rd then marched via Richmond, Virginia to Washington, DC, where the regiment participated in the Grand Review on May 24, 1865.

Following the Grand Review, the 63rd went into camp at Crystal Springs. Officials mustered out of service seventeen men whose term of service expired before October 1, 1865. Authorities sent another 196 men who had been drafted or paid as substitutes but never officially joined the regiment to New York, New York. On June 5, 1865, the remainder of the 163rd boarded trains on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and traveled to Parkersburg, West Virginia, where the organization next sailed to Louisville, Kentucky. The 63rd mustered out of service at Louisville on July 10, 1865. The regiment then moved to Camp Dennison near Cincinnati, Ohio, where the organization arrived on July 17 and 18, 1865. Officials then discharged the remaining members of the 63rd, allowing them to return home.

During the 63rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, ninety-three men, including two officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 264 men, including five officers, succumbed to disease or accidents.

 

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"63rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 19 Oct 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=658>

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"63rd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved October 19, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=658

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