The Quintessential Army of the Cumberland Regiment

 Quintessential: representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.


    With that definition in mind, I was wondering: what was the quintessential regiment of the Army of the Cumberland? Which regiment most perfectly represented the normal, average regiment that served in the Army of the Cumberland? There are a number of ways to look at this, but immediately a regiment from one of three states comes to mind: Indiana, Illinois, or Ohio. These states (led by Ohio) provided the bulk of the manpower of the Army of the Cumberland.

Society of the Army of the Cumberland medal

The AofC had quite a mixture of regiments, regulars and volunteers, but the volunteers were in the vast majority, and infantry regiments represented the vast majority of the army. So we have a volunteer regiment of infantry from Ohio, Indiana, or Illinois, and one that likely mustered into service in 1861 or early 1862. That narrows down the list. 

The AofC also had its mixture of immigrant regiments such as the 15th Wisconsin (Scandanavians) or the 32nd Indiana (Germans), but a non-immigrant regiment was far more typical. So we are left with a four year regiment of volunteer infantry (non-immigrants) that had significant participation in all of the major battles of the Army of the Cumberland: Shiloh, Perryville, Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Peachtree Creek, Jonesboro, and Franklin. 

So which regiments of the Army of the Cumberland lead the list with this final factor in mind; these 15:

    1st Ohio

    6th Ohio

    13th Ohio

    15th Ohio

    19th Ohio

    24th Ohio

    41st Ohio

  49th Ohio

    59th Ohio

    6th Indiana

    9th Indiana

    29th Indiana

    30th Indiana

    36th Indiana

    34th Illinois


All of the above regiments fought at Shiloh, but several were not present on the field at Perryville which leaves us a smaller list of 9 regiments:

    6th Ohio

    13th Ohio

    19th Ohio

    24th Ohio

    41st Ohio

    59th Ohio

    6th Indiana

    9th Indiana

    36th Indiana

All nine regiments were engaged heavily at Stones River; likewise at Chickamauga; three of the regiments (6th and 41st Ohio and 6th Indiana) fought under Hazen on Missionary Ridge, the 13th, 19th and 59th Ohio fought under Sam Beatty, and the final three under William Grose: the 9th and 36th Indiana and 24th Ohio; but we're still at nine. 


So we move into 1864 and the 6th and 24th Ohio regiments drop off the list, mustering out of service in June. At Peachtree Creek: the 9th and 36th Indiana were there under Grose, the 41st Ohio and 6th Indiana under Hazen, and the 13th, 19th, and 59th Ohio under Knefler. So now we are at seven.

    13th Ohio

    19th Ohio

    41st Ohio

    59th Ohio

    6th Indiana

    9th Indiana

    36th Indiana

  That brings us to Jonesboro: the 41st Ohio was there under in Post's brigade of the 4th Corps; the 13th, 19th, and 59th Ohio under Knefler's brigade, and the 9th and 36th Indiana are there under Grose's command, but the 6th Indiana missed the battle and mustered out a few weeks later. That gets us to six: the 59th Ohio also drops off the list, mustering out in October 1864, so we have the final five, all of whom stuck it out for the duration:

    13th Ohio

    19th Ohio

    41st Ohio

    9th Indiana

    36th Indiana

So the 9th and 36th Indiana see service at Franklin under General Grose, the 41st Ohio under Colonel P. Sidney Post, and the 13th and 19th Ohio under Colonel Frederick Knefler. Likewise a few weeks later at Nashville. So we remain at five regiments. 

So it isn't possible to grant the singular title of the quintessential regiment of the Army of the Cumberland, it is possible to claim that it was one of the five regiments listed above that saw the most active and longest service with the army, and were with it from pillar to post, saw their share of hard service and triumphs, and made a significant contribution to winning the war, which meets the definition of "the most perfect or typical example example of a class."

From the standpoint of regimental histories, three of the five have superb period regimental histories available:

19th Ohio:

Extracts from the battles of the 19th Ohio. William S.S. Erb. Washington: Judd and Detwiler, 1893

41st Ohio: 

The Forty-First Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865. Robert L. Kimberly and Ephraim S. Holloway. 294 pgs. W.R. Smellie, Printer and Publisher. Cleveland. Ohio. 1897

9th Indiana:

While no specific regimental history exists, the 9th Indiana's most famous soldier was Ambrose Bierce whose Civil War writings are extensive, powerful, and haunting.

36th Indiana:

The Story of the marches, battles, and incidents of the 36th Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry. William Grose. New Castle: The Courier Company Press, 1891

13th Ohio:

This regiment represents an opportunity for some aspiring author; no regimental history of the 13th Ohio exists but given their lengthy and active service with the Army of the Cumberland, they are certainly worthy of a good regimental history. Who is willing to take up their pen to chronicle the story of the 13th? 





Comments

  1. This was an excellent article Dan, and it'll be a great help to me as I try to find a regiment for a novel I'm thinking of writing. Would you consider writing articles on the quintessential regiments for the Armies of the Potomac and the Tennessee?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the note- I'm not as familiar with the AofP or AofT, but would be willing to give it a try.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Most Popular Posts

Arming the Buckeyes: Longarms of the Ohio Infantry Regiments

Dressing the Rebels: How to Dye Butternut Jeans Cloth

Bullets for the Union: Manufacturing Small Arms Ammunition During the Civil War

The Cannons are Now Silent: The Field of Death of Tupelo

The Vaunted Enfield Rifle Musket

Straw Already Threshed: Sherman on Shiloh

Federal Arms in the Stones River Campaign

Federal Arms in the Chickamauga Campaign

The Legend of Leatherbreeches: Hubert Dilger in the Atlanta Campaign

In front of Atlanta with the 68th Ohio