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 August 18, 1862, the 102nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry organized at Camp Mansfield, at Mansfield, Ohio. The men in the 102nd were to serve for three years, and the recruits came primarily from Wayne, Ashland, Richland, and Holmes Counties, Ohio.
On September 4, 1862, the 102nd moved to Covington, Kentucky to help defend Cincinnati, Ohio from an expected attack by General Kirby Smith's Confederate force. The regiment mustered into service on September 6, 1862 at Covington. The attack did not occur, and on September 22, the regiment traveled by ship to Louisville, Kentucky, arriving on September 24. The organization remained at Louisville until October 5, when the regiment marched to Shelbyville, Kentucky, escorting a supply train. The 102nd then advanced to Perryville, Kentucky, via Frankfort, Kentucky, but the regiment remained as part of the Union reserve during the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky (October 8, 1862). After this engagement, the Union's Army of the Ohio, including the 102nd, pursued the retreating Confederates through the Kentucky communities of Crab Orchard and Bowling Green.
Arriving on October 30, 1862, the 102nd remained at Bowling Green until December 19, 1862, when the organization marched to Russellville and then to Clarksville, Tennessee, arriving at the second location on December 25, 1862. Assigned to the Reserve Corps of the Union's Army of the Cumberland, the regiment stayed at Clarksville for nine months, conducting periodic foraging expeditions and performing repairs on and constructing new railroad bridges.
On September 23, 1863, the 102nd moved to Nashville, Tennessee. The regiment quickly advanced to the Elk River to assist other Union forces in repelling an attack by Confederate cavalry under the command of General Joseph Wheeler. A portion of the 102nd had a skirmish with Wheeler's cavalry at Shelbyville, Tennessee. On October 30, 1863, the regiment entered winter quarters at Nashville. The organization stayed at this location for approximately six months, performing garrison duty.
On April 26, 1864, officials ordered the 102nd to Tullahoma, Tennessee, where the regiment guarded a railroad line between Normandy, Tennessee and Decherd, Tennessee until June 6, 1864. In early June 1864, authorities ordered a portion of the 102nd to Bellefonte, Alabama and another segment of the command to Dodsonville, Alabama. The regiment patrolled a fifty-mile distance along the Tennessee River, guarding the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, which roughly paralleled the river's north bank. During this period, the 102nd built twelve blockhouses and one fort and helped suppress Confederate guerrillas operating in the area.
On September 1, 1864, the 102nd boarded railroad cars at Bellefonte, spending fourteen days traveling back and forth between Decatur, Alabama and Columbia, Tennessee, guarding the trains. On September 15, 1864, the regiment encamped at Decatur. On October 24, 1864, a Confederate army under the command of John Bell Hood attacked Union forces, including the 102nd, at Decatur. In the resulting four-day siege of Decatur, the Northern soldiers, though outnumbered nearly thirty to one, successfully defended the city and withstood the siege. Following the siege of Decatur, the 102nd participated in several skirmishes with Hood's rearguard. While at Decatur, the 102nd's commanding officer filed the following report:
HDQRS. 102d OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, Decatur, Ala., November 4, 1864.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report:
In obedience to orders from post headquarters, I moved out on the Courtland road, with my command, at 4 o'clock this morning, and at two miles and a half was informed by a negro that the rebels had been moving on the road during the night, and that he had heard there we came upon the enemy's pickets, and our cavalry, under Lieut. Prosser, Second Tennessee Cavalry, drove them one miles and a half, when they joined an outpost (making their force in sight about forty mounted men) and made a stand. I deployed skirmishers, opened fire, and the enemy fled. I send Lieut. Prosser to ascertain what facts concerning the enemy could be learned from Bowling, who stated to the lieutenant that on last evening he was in the enemy's camp at Fox Creek, on the Courtland road, two miles from where we then were; that the force consisted of the Texas Legion and the Third and Ninth Texas Cavalry. Having gone farther than indicated in my order, and being unable to overtake the enemy with infantry, I returned. A few of the enemy followed us a short distance, and shots were exchanged with our rear guard, when the pursuit ceased. There were no casualties.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Col. 102d Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Cmdg. Scout.
Lieut. CHARLES T. HEWITT,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Post.
On November 25, 1864, the regiment began a march to Stevenson, Alabama, where the organization spent the next month building fortifications intended to trap Hood's army if Union forces compelled it to retreat. On May 23, 1865, the 102nd boarded transports and sailed back to Decatur, arriving on June 1, 1865. At both Stevenson and Decatur, the regiment engaged in several skirmishes with Confederate cavalry forces. In late June, the 102nd moved to Nashville, Tennessee, where officials mustered the regiment out of service on June 30, 1865. The organization then traveled to Columbus, Ohio, where authorities discharged the regiment's members from military duty on July 8, 1865.
During the 102nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry's term of service, thirteen men, including two officers, died on the battlefield. An additional 249 men, including two officers, succumbed to disease or accidents.
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"102nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2021, Ohio Civil War Central. 13 Apr 2021 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=673>
"102nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2021) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved April 13, 2021, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=673