97th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (1862 - 1865)

Also Known As: Ninety-seventh Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Updated: October 02, 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.

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 September 1 and 2, 1862, the 97th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Camp Zanesville, at Zanesville, Ohio. The men in the regiment were to serve three years and consisted primarily of enlistees from Muskingum, Coshocton, Morgan, and Guernsey Counties, Ohio.

On September 7, 1862, officials dispatched the 97th via railroad to Covington, Kentucky, where, the following day, the regiment took up a position near Fort Mitchel. Confederate General Kirby Smith was currently leading a raid in northern Kentucky, and authorities believed his goal was to capture Cincinnati, Ohio, which was located just north of Covington and across the Ohio River. The attack never materialized, and on September 20, 1862, the 97th boarded the steamer Emma Duncan and sailed for Louisville, Kentucky, arriving two days later. The regiment immediately joined the Army of the Ohio, which was preparing to pursue Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s army.¬† The Army of the Ohio departed Louisville on October 2, 1862 and engaged a portion of Bragg’s command on October 4, 1862 in a small skirmish at Bardstown, Kentucky. On October 8, 1862, the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky occurred. The 97th fought well in this engagement, repulsing a Confederate assault. Bragg’s army withdrew from the battlefield the following day, and the 97th joined in the Union’s pursuit as far as Wild Cat, Kentucky. On October 22, 1862, the Army of the Ohio began a march to Nashville, Tennessee, arriving at this location on November 21, 1862.

Upon reaching Nashville, the 97th encamped three miles from the city on the Murfreesboro Railroad. The regiment also joined the Army of the Cumberland and participated in several skirmishes with Confederate forces in the vicinity of Nashville. On December 26, 1862, the Army of the Cumberland began an advance towards Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where Confederate General Bragg’s army was located. During the advance, the 97th skirmished with Southern forces at Lavergne, Tennessee. At the Battle of Stones River (December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863), the regiment first engaged the Confederates on December 31, helping to reestablish the Union right after Confederate soldiers drove the Northerners from the position. The unit saw no combat the second day of the engagement but helped repulse a Confederate assault on the final day of the battle. At the Battle of Stones River, the 97th had twenty-five men killed or wounded. After this battle, the 97th’s commanding officer issued the following report:

JANUARY --, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to report to you the part taken by the Ninety-seventh Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the late engagement in front of Murfreesborough, commencing December 31, 1862, and ending January 3, 1863.

On the night of December 30, we were, by your order, placed in the front, our advance pickets being deployed on the left bank of Stone's River.

On the morning of the 31st, at the commencement of the engagement, our position was on the north side of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, one-fourth of a mile from the river.

At 9 a.m. the enemy commenced feeling for our position with shot and shell, and by your order I moved my regiment by the left flank to a position in an open field, one-fourth of a mile from the railroad, and deployed one company to the river as skirmishers. We remained in this position under a fire from the enemy's artillery and infantry until 11 a.m.

Our casualties up to this time were: Wounded, Jacob G. Brill, private Company A; Matthias Tapier and Samuel Browning, privates Company I, the latter having since died from the effects of his wound.

By your order I now moved to the south side of the railroad to re-enforce Gen. Hascall. We found the enemy vigorously assaulting his lines with artillery and infantry. Our place here was assigned us by Gen. Rosecrans in person, who ordered us to take the position and hold it. We advanced to the place designated, which was on the south side of the Nashville and Murfreesborough turnpike, returning the fire of the enemy until near sundown, when he withdrew to the cover of the woods, leaving us in possession of the ground.

At nightfall I threw out one company as pickets 100 paces to the front, instructing the officer in command to avail himself of the opportunity to carefully note any movement of the enemy. Near midnight he informed me that he could distinctly hear the tramp of horses and rumbling of artillery moving from our right to our left. Upon investigation I was satisfied that the enemy was massing his forces on our left, and forthwith informed you of the fact.

At 2 o'clock on the morning of January 1, I informed Gen. Rosecrans of this movement of the enemy, when he immediately arranged to relieve us from this position, which we had held since noon of the preceding day.

Our casualties during our absence from your brigade were: Wounded, Isaac McDonald, private Company B; Israel Garrett and J. C. Huffman, privates Company C; Austin Harvey and Evan Foulke, privates Company D; Lewellyn Echelberry, sergeant Company E; George Robinson, private Company G, and John Moore, private Company H. Killed: A. M. Hasom, color sergeant; August Reinsch, private Company B, and John Rodecker, private Company G.

At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 1st, I reported my regiment to you, and was assigned a place in the front line, about a half mile to the rear of the position occupied by me at the beginning of the engagement. We remained here during the day, with no other annoyance than an occasional shot or shell from the enemy's guns. At night we bivouacked on the spot.

On the morning of the 2d, our skirmishers were advanced a half mile to the front, where they remained undisturbed until 2.45 p.m., when the enemy attacked our forces across the river and our skirmishers were driven back. We were here subjected to a cross-fire from the enemy's guns for more than an hour, wounding Charles H. Claspbell, corporal Company K; Purley Dickson, sergeant, and Benjamin Kinsey, private Company D.

At 5 p.m. we crossed Stone's River and remained on its right bank until the morning of the 4th without further event.

Our loss during the whole engagement was 3 killed, 15 wounded, and 6 missing.

The officers and men in my command everywhere acquitted themselves nobly, and we never lost a position after once taking it.

I have the honor to be, colonel, your obedient servant,

JOHN Q. LANE,

Col. Ninety-seventh Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

Col. G. D. WAGNER,

Cmdg. Twenty-first Brigade.

Following the Battle of Stones River, the 97th encamped along the Las Casas Turnpike until June 25, 1863, when the regiment embarked upon the Tullahoma Campaign. The organization saw no combat during this expedition and, on August 20, 1863, occupied a position on Waldron’s Ridge within five miles of Chattanooga, Tennessee. On September 9, 1863, the 97th with its brigade attacked Confederate forces occupying Chattanooga, driving the Southerners from the city. Officials placed the 97th on guard duty at Chattanooga, preventing the regiment from fighting in the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia (September 19 and 20, 1863). Following this Union defeat, the entire Army of the Cumberland regrouped at Chattanooga, and Confederate soldiers besieged the beleaguered Northerners. On November 25, 1863, the Battle of Missionary Ridge occurred. The 97th helped the Union military drive Southerners from Missionary Ridge, which overlooked Chattanooga, effectively ending the Siege of Chattanooga. In this engagement, the regiment had 156 men killed or wounded. After the Battle of Missionary Ridge, the 97th’s commanding officer issued the following report:

HDQRS. NINETY-SEVENTH OHIO VOLUNTEERS INFANTRY, Loudon, Tennessee, February 1, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following of the part taken by this regiment in the engagement with the enemy in front of Chattanooga, November 23, 24, and 25, 1863:

According to previous orders, at 1 p.m. of the 23d, I had my command in readiness for action, with three days' rations in haversacks and 80 rounds of ammunition to the man, the effective strength being 23 officers and 411 enlisted men. I moved with the rest of the brigade to the front and formed line of battle on the right in the first line, my right resting on the top of the hill across the railroad in front of Fort Palmer. I rested in this position until about 3 o'clock, until the troops on our left (Wood's division) began to move upon the enemy's pickets. Then receiving the order to advance, I moved forward to the first ravine, where I detached Companies A and F (Capt. Rosemond and Lieut. Ogle), deployed as skirmishers. They immediately became engaged with the enemy's skirmishers, driving them rapidly over the next hill into the woods, where they made a stand and attempted to turn our right, but moving quickly by the right flank, and our skirmishers pressing hotly in front, they were soon checked and driven rapidly beyond their first line of works. My line having now reached the crest of the hill, I halted it and held the position while the troops in rear came forward and commenced building a line of breastworks. After dark I moved the regiment forward about 250 yards, and picketed the front of our brigade during the night. I lost none in killed or wounded in the first day's engagement.

At 8 a.m. of the following day (24th), I was relieved by the Fifteenth Indiana Volunteers, and, moving back, took their former position on the right in the second line, and rested during the day.

November 25, about 3 p.m., I advanced with the column across the breastworks thrown up the night and day previous. While crossing I had 1 man wounded. Reaching an open field, I rested until the batteries on our left fired the signal for a general attack, when I moved through the woods into the open plain in front of the enemy's second line of works at the foot of Mission Ridge, where we were exposed to a terrific fire of shot and shell. In a few minutes I received the order to advance to the works and occupy them, the front line having passed. In doing so my men moved in perfect line of battle at a double-quick, with the coolness and precision of an ordinary drill. In the meantime the enemy's batteries, supported by a heavy line of infantry, were pouring a continuous volley of shot, shell, shrapnel, grape and canister down the slope and across the plain. I now received an order from Gen. Wagner to leave rifle-pits and close up on the front line, which I proceeded to do. This order was countermanded, but before I could repeat in the men were under way and I could not stop them. Reaching the foot of the hill, I closed on the Fortieth Indian Volunteers. Regimental lines now became almost obliterated. I received no orders to ascent the hill but that previously stated. I urged my men forward. The enthusiasm soon became general, officers and men vying with each other in their eagerness to be foremost in storming the enemy's last line of works on the crest of the ridge. They rushed onward and upward from point to point over the difficult ground and up the steep ascent amidst the incessant hail-storm of iron and lead, displaying acts of personal bravery which was certainly almost without a parallel in the annals of war. Not one man went to the rear who did not carry a wound. The line of our ascent covered a shallow ravine, terminating on the top of the ridge at the apex of an obtuse angle in the enemy's line, subjecting us to a direct and cross fire. About forty minutes elapsed in scaling the hill, when, from the stead advances and determined spirit of our men, the enemy's lines wavered, broken, and finally fled in confusion to the rear. My regimental colors, crossed the ridge to the left of the house which a few minutes before was Gen. Bragg's headquarters. Over 150 prisoners were captured by my command, and many more were sent through my lines to the rear without a guard, owing to the excitement of the moment and the immediate order to reform the line and pursue the enemy. Receiving such orders from Gen. Wagner, I formed as quickly as possible on the left of the Fortieth Indiana Volunteers, and proceeded down the direction of the road leading toward Chickamauga Station. When we reached the foot of a hill about 1 mile distant, we again encountered the enemy and immediately became engaged. It now became dark, and it was apparent from the murderous fire to which we became exposed that the enemy had chosen a strong position and intended to maintain it. This and the Fortieth Indiana being the only regiments engaged in this last encounter, we could not advance without almost certain destruction. The fight continued over an hour, resulting in the loss of a large proportion of those counted in the aggregate of killed and wounded. Finally the--Regt. moved up on my left around the point of the hill, when the enemy immediately ceased firing, and we moved forward and occupied their position.

My loss in killed was 16 enlisted men; wounded, 9 officers and 124 enlisted men.

I cannot speak too highly of both officers and men on this occasion. Suffice it to say that all did their duty and did it nobly, and well deserve the gratitude of their country.

Effective strength engaged: Officers, 23; enlisted men, 411; total, 434.

Killed: Officers, none; enlisted, 16. Wounded: Officers, 9; enlisted, 124. Missing, none. Total, 149.

Officers wounded were Maj. Moore, Surgeon Gordon, Capt. Rosemond, Capt. Weisser, Capt. Linn, Lieut. Brady, Lieut. Echelberry, Lieut. McClure, and Capt. Gilley.

Very respectfully,

M. BARNES,

Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GEN.,

Second Brigade.

The 97th participated in the Union’s pursuit of the retreating Southerners, engaging the Confederate rearguard near Chickamauga Creek. The regiment returned to Chattanooga on November 26, 1863.

On November 28, 1863, officials dispatched the 97th to Knoxville, Tennessee, where Confederates were besieging another Union force. Upon reaching Knoxville, the regiment encamped on the campus of the East Tennessee University. On December 15, 1863, authorities ordered the unit to Strawberry Plains and Blain’s Cross Roads, where the 97th and other Union forces repulsed Confederate General James Longstreet’s attack. Following this engagement, the 97th encamped at Blain’s Cross Roads for approximately one month, when, on January 16, 1864, the regiment advanced to Dandridge, Tennessee. At Dandridge, a battle erupted on January 17 and 18, 1864, with the Union forces withdrawing to Strawberry Plains after the second day of the engagement.

On January 19, 1864, the 97th departed Strawberry Plains for Loudon, Tennessee, arriving at the new location on February 1, 1864. The organization remained at Loudon until March 4, 1864, when the unit moved to Charleston, Tennessee, where the regiment guarded a railroad bridge over the Hinwassee River until April 25, 1864. The 97th next moved to Cleveland, Tennessee, where the regiment embarked upon General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign on May 3, 1864.

During the Atlanta Campaign, the 97th fought in many of the major engagements of this campaign, including the Battles of Red Clay, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Adairsville, Dallas, Kennesaw Mountain, Smyrna Church, Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesborough, and Lovejoy’s Station. Upon the Union’s capture of Atlanta, Georgia in early September 1864, the 97th spent approximately one month recuperating from the long campaign in this city.

On September 25, 1864, the 97th departed Atlanta for Chattanooga, where the regiment took up a position on Lookout Mountain. In the autumn of 1864, Confederate John Bell Hood launched an invasion of northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and central Tennessee. Officials dispatched the 97th in pursuit of Hood’s Confederate army in mid October 1864. Traveling through Alpine, Georgia, Athens, Alabama, and Pulaski, Tennessee, the regiment arrived at Columbia, Tennessee in late November 1864. The organization participated in the Union defeat at the Battle of Columbia (November 24-29, 1864) and withdrew with Northern forces to Franklin, Tennessee. During this retreat, the 97th engaged Confederate forces at Spring Hill, Tennessee on November 29, 1864, helping the Union soldiers to escape. The regiment also fought at the Battle of Franklin (November 30, 1864) and the Battle of Nashville (December 15 and 16, 1864). At the Battle of Nashville, the organization assisted Northern soldiers in defeating the Confederates, essentially terminating Hood’s invasion. After this battle, the commanding officer of the 97th issued the following reports:

HDQRS. NINETY-SEVENTH REGT. OHIO VOL. INFTY, Near Nashville, Tenn., December 5, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor herewith to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the recent engagements with the enemy in the vicinity of Spring Hill and Franklin, Tenn., on the 29th and 30th, respectively, of November, 1864:

On the morning of the 29th, Col. John Q. Lane having been called to the command of the brigade, I found myself in command of the regiment, and marched from the vicinity of Columbia to Spring Hill. On nearing the latter place, and in obedience to orders, and learning that our advance was engaging the enemy, I double-quicked the regiment through and to the eastward of the town. The enemy's cavalry were posted in heavy lines of battle in full view on the hill opposite, and were already bearing down on our skirmishers, of whom Company F, of this regiment, formed a part. Forming my line of battle quickly, and receiving an order from Col. Lane to advance, we charged rapidly down upon them, through corn-fields, over fences, and across the ravine, when the enemy began a precipitate retreat, and, with the exception of a skirmish line, soon disappeared from our immediate front, passing to the right. Our portion of the battle-line did not again become engaged during the day, but we were thrown afterward to the right in the rear of the Second Brigade, in time to check further disaster there. During the remainder of the evening observed the utmost vigilance and were busily engaged strengthening our position with whatever of means were at our command. I have the honor to report no casualties in the affair. Early on the following morning (30th) we marched to the vicinity of Franklin, arriving there about noon, and immediately began to make dispositions to resist a contemplated attack by the enemy in force. Having to change our position several times, much valuable time was lost to us in this regard. Our line was finally formed to the south of the town in the midst of an extensive open plain, where there were natural   there were natural should read there were [no] natural means of protection of defense, and several hundred yards from our main line of works on the elevation at edge of town, our position being near the right center, and to the right of the Columbia pike, two companies having been left as skirmishers on the hill half a mile beyond.

We had but fairly begun to throw a temporary work, with the very limited means at our disposal, when about 4 p. m. the enemy was seen in several heavy concentric lines, extending in a semi-circular direction, completely covering our front and flanks, and suddenly driving in our skirmishers, came surging across the plain with terrible and irresistible force. They struck first the forces on the left, then the front and center of the line, which soon gave way and exposed us to a front and enfilading fire. Seeing our troops on the left giving way, and having held our position until every other regiment both to the right and left had given way, we were left with the only alternative of retreat or capture. We then fell back under the enemy's galling fire, with some confusion, to the main works, which we found difficult to enter in consequence of a heavy abatis of locust brush in their front. Most if not all our men succeeded, with great difficulty, in getting inside the works, and doubled on the line already there, which, together with the fact that the enemy, following closely in our rear, immediately commenced storming, and actually entering the works, created for a time an almost uncontrollable panic among both lines, and for a few moments all was in terrible confusion. At this juncture, critical in the extreme, our officers and men, with very few exceptions, exerted themselves to the utmost to turn the tide of battle. At this point it was impossible to recognize regimental or even company lines; but rallying and commingling with other regiments and companies, fought with great desperation, and nobly bore their part in the furious hand-to-hand encounter which soon resulted in hurling back the enemy and deciding the fortunes of the day. Thus they held their ground with the most stubborn heroism, repulsing the enemy at each subsequent assault, until about 10 p. m., when the firing gradually ceased. I received an order from Col. Lane in person to draw off the regiment and reorganize the line. In gathering them together they came from the front.

I have the honor to report the capture of one rebel battle-flag, taken by Sergt. Alfred Ransbottom, of Company K. I respectfully commenced him to the proper authorities for a proper acknowledgment of his personal bravery. I have the honor also to report the capture of seven prisoners.

Our casualties are as follow, viz: Officers--wounded, 5; missing,1; Enlisted men--wounded, 38; killed, 5; missing, 20. Total, 69.

The greater portion of those reported missing are supposed to be either killed or wounded and in the enemy's hands.

Respectfully,

M. BARNES,

Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.

Lieut. LOUIS L. COX,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen., Second Brigade, &c.

HDQRS. NINETY-SEVENTH REGT. OHIO VOL. INFTY, Near Huntsville, Ala., m January 14, 1864.

SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by this regiment in the late battles in front of Nashville, Tenn., on the 15th and 16th of December, A. D. 1864:

Having been notified of, and ordered to be in readiness for, the contemplated movement upon the enemy the evening previous, I had the regiment fully equipped and ready to move by daylight on the morning of the 15th. About 9 a. m. of that day we advanced, in connection with the rest of the brigade, beyond our previous line of works, and moving and cautiously forward we gained the brow of a hill in an open field, about half a mile distant, where we lay for several hours in support of the battery which was attached to our division, and which was engaging the enemy in his strongly fortified position on the hill beyond, and where we were exposed to his artillery fire. About 4 p. m. we advanced across the open ground intervening between our relative positions about half a mile, when we halted in line of battle at the foot of the hill which the enemy occupied. It was only a few minutes, however, when a general charge was ordered to take the works; we moved forward in line of battle in double-quick, and participated in the capture of this strong position. Lieut. John H. Carlisle, of Company A, with a detail of twenty men from the regiment, constituted a part of the skirmish line, and were among the first to center the enemy's works. This closed the active operations of the day, and after reforming our line we moved forward, bearing to the left until we crossed the Granny White pike, where we halted and went into camp for the night. At daylight on the morning of the 16th we moved in an easterly direction until we struck a ridge of woodland on the right of the Franklin pike, when we changed direction to the right, and halted until about 12 m. While in this position we were subjected to a vigorous artillery fire from the enemy's guns. About 1 p. m. we were ordered forward on a line nearly parallel with the puke; we moved in quick time, and for the last quarter of a mile in double-quick, driving the enemy's skirmishers until we reached a point on an elevated piece of ground within 200 yards of their main works, when the regiment, being within easy range, became actively engaged, and, although sorely pressed, receiving a raking fire of musketry and artillery, we held our position, and succeeded in throwing up a light breast-work. In this position most of our casualties occurred. A vigorous fire was kept up until dispositions were being made for the final charge, which resulted in the complete and final rout of the enemy from his well chosen and formidable position. A few minutes before this last movement was executed I received a wound in my right shoulder from a shell, which temporarily disabled me, and made it necessary for me to leave the field. I turned over the command of the regiment to Capt. C. C. Nichols, whose report* for the remainder of the campaign is herewith transmitted.

Up to this time the casualties were as follows: Officers, wounded, 6; enlisted men, wounded, 19; killed, 1. Total, 26.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. BARNES,

Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.

Capt. L. L. COX,

Acting Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

HDQRS. NINETY-SEVENTH Regt. OHIO VOL. INFANTRY, Near Huntsville, Ala., February 10, 1865.

SIR: I have the honor to report that the bearer, First Sergt. Alfred Ransbottom, Company K, Ninety-seventh Regt. Ohio Volunteer Infantry, captured the accompanying rebel battle-flag at the battle of Franklin, Tenn., on the 30th day of November, 1864. The incidents connected with its capture are as follows: Our troops occupied a temporary line of works south of Franklin, Tenn., which was frequently assaulted by the enemy. This regiment took a very important part in the conflict, repelling the attack in every instance. The enemy kept up an incessant fire, and charged our line frequently until after night-fall, when volunteers were called for to pass through a gap in our works on the Columbia pike that they might enfilade the enemy and capture a portion of their storming party. Sergeant Ransbottom was among the first to volunteer to execute this perilous task, and as the contest became hand-to-hand he wrested the flag from the hands of the rebel color-bearer and carried it from the field in triumph as a trophy of one of the most hotly contested battles of the war. Such acts of noble daring are seldom equaled and rarely surpassed. I therefore earnestly desire that the military authorities may properly appreciate his personal gallantry.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. BARNES,

Lieut.-Col., Cmdg.

Hon. E. M. STANTON.

Secretary of War.

Following the Battle of Nashville, the 97th joined the Union pursuit of the retreating Confederates. Upon reaching Huntsville, Alabama, the regiment ended its pursuit and encamped. On March 28, 1865, the organization moved to Bull’s Gap, Tennessee, where the unit repaired the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad. With the Civil War’s termination in April 1865, the 97th returned to Nashville, arriving on May 2, 1865. On June 12, 1865, officials mustered the 97th out of service at Nashville and ordered the regiment to Camp Chase at Columbus, Ohio, where authorities discharged the unit’s members.

During its term of service, the 97th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry lost ninety-three men, including one officer, to wounds. An additional 161 soldiers, including one officer, died from disease or accidents.

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"97th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry," Ohio Civil War Central, 2019, Ohio Civil War Central. 15 Sep 2019 <http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=888>

APA Style

"97th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry." (2019) In Ohio Civil War Central, Retrieved September 15, 2019, from Ohio Civil War Central: http://www.ohiocivilwarcentral.com/entry.php?rec=888

Comments powered by Disqus

Help support the ongoing development of Ohio Civil War Central by clicking the banner and then purchasing products from Amazon.com.

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