Arming the Buckeyes: Longarms of the Ohio Infantry Regiments

    A common question that comes up in conversation about Civil War Buckeye regiments is "What were they armed with?" We are fortunate in that the state of Ohio kept good records of how the regiments were armed when they went into service, this being especially true for those regiments which went into service in 1861 and 1862. The state adjutant general's reports for 1861 and 1862 have been heavily drawn upon to construct this article, as well as consultation with Phil Spaugy who has done extensive research on how Ohio's troops were armed during the war.

    Buckeyes carried a fairly wide variety of weapons into the field, and the below article breaks this down into weapons of both domestic manufacture and imported arms. The early days of the war found the state of Ohio practically bereft of longarms; as an example, when the 1st and 2nd Ohio Volunteer Militia left the state in late April 1861, they left unarmed, being armed at Lancaster, Pennsylvania on their way to Washington by the Federal government. At the conclusion of their three-month term of service, those weapons were returned to the Federal government. The men went to war with what could be secured, and much of what was issued through the end of 1861 were older U.S. Model altered flintlocks, muskets, and rifle muskets along with a smattering of imported arms, primarily the much desired English Enfield rifle. An important source of Ohio's weapons supply in those early days was Miles Greenwood of Cincinnati whose shops cranked out nearly 27,000 altered muskets in the second half of 1861. Early 1862 saw the arrival of a large shipment of Austrian Lorenz rifle muskets which were distributed in February and March of 1862. 

    A common theme of arms issue to the Ohio regiments was the practice of issuing Enfield rifles to the flank companies of the regiment (usually A and B) who were then trained in skirmish duty; the balance of the regiment would be armed with larger caliber smoothbores or rifles. That said, it must be remembered that this article represents what each regiment was issued by state authority; as the war progressed, what an individual soldier carried at any given moment could change based on battlefield pickups and losses. In perusing a captured arms report from a brigade of McCook's Corps at Stones River, it was not unusual for a regiment to have upwards of five different weapons of various calibers and manufacture within a single regiment. 

    In 1863, the state of Ohio embarked on a program of ensuring that all of its regiments in the field were equipped with class A arms, replacing anything not considered a class 1 firearm (everything except late model Springfields and Enfields were class 2 or lower) with either an issue of Springfields or Enfields. The regiments in the field thus turned in their war-worn weapons back to the state who cleaned and repaired the guns, stamped them "Ohio," and deposited them in the state arsenal in Columbus for future contingencies. This latter phase is covered in depth in Arming the Buckeyes Part 2 which discusses how Ohio armed its regiments that went into service from 1863-1865. 

    As in any undertaking like this, please email me at columbianarsenal@gmail.com any corrections as I adhere to the philosophy that all of us are smarter than any one of us. I'll be glad to hear from you. 


Private W. Sidney Brewster of Co. C, 21st Ohio Infantry holding his Colt's Revolving Rifle. Brewster was the first man of his regiment killed at Chickamauga in September 1863. 

Domestic Weapons

.69 caliber U.S. Springfield Models 1816-1840 altered to percussion muskets

*A number of these weapons were altered by Miles Greenwood in Cincinnati, Ohio, the 12th Ohio being the one regiment in this group known to have been issued Greenwoods.

Model 1816 Springfield .69 percussion smoothbore musket with original flintlock (most of these weapons and the subsequent Models 1822, 1835, and 1840 had been converted to percussion cap prior to the war; many of them were also rifled)


Infantry regiments: 5th, 11th, 12th*, 23rd, 24th, 25th

Model 1816 Springfield musket that was converted to percussion


.69 caliber U.S. Springfield Model 1842 percussion muskets

*Many of these weapons were altered by Miles Greenwood in Cincinnati, Ohio from July-November 1861. Those regiments known to have been issued Greenwood weapons are marked with an asterisk.

Model 1842 Springfield .69 caliber musket and rifle


Infantry regiments: 3rd, 4th, 6th*, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 23rd*, 36th 

.69 caliber U.S. Springfield Model 1842 rifle muskets

*Many of these weapons were altered by Miles Greenwood in Cincinnati, Ohio from July-November 1861. Those regiments known to have been issued Greenwood weapons are marked with an asterisk.

Infantry regiments: 1st (subsequent issue)*, 2nd*, 8th*, 11th, 13th*, 14th*, 15th*, 17th*, 18th*, 20th*, 21st*, 26th*,  27th*, 30th*, 31st*, 32nd*, 33rd*, 34th*, 35th*, 37th*, 38th*, 39th*, 41st*, 44th*, 47th*, 49th*, 51st*

Private John R. Boozer of Co. D of the 111th Ohio Infantry proudly poses with his Model 1861 Springfield rifle. The 19-year-old Buckeye survived the war but his younger brother Eli was killed at Franklin. 

.58 caliber U.S. Springfield Model 1861 rifle musket

Model 1861 Springfield .58 caliber rifle

Infantry regiments: 1st (1863 replacements), 2nd (1863 replacements), 9th, 11th (1863 replacements), 14th (1863 replacements), 17th (1863 replacements), 32nd (1863 replacements), 33rd (1863 replacements), 37th, 39th (1863 replacements), 40th (1863 replacements, 41st (1863 replacements), 45th, 50th (1863 replacements), 52nd, 63rd (1863 replacements), 69th (1863 replacements), 76th (subsequent issue), 79th, 88th (1863 replacements), 91st (1863 replacements), 92nd (1863 replacements), 93rd, 94th (1863 replacements), 95th, 98th, 101st (subsequent issue), 102nd (subsequent issue), 105th, 110th (subsequent issue), 111th, 116th (1863 replacements), 123rd (1863 replacements), 124th, 125th

.56 caliber Spencer Model 1860 repeating rifles

Model 1860 Spencer .56 seven shot repeating rifle

Infantry regiment: 46th (1863 replacement)

A group of Federal soldiers on Morris Island in the summer of 1863; note the stern looking private from the 67th Ohio on the far right posing with his musket. If you zoom in on the forage cap, you will see the brass "67" denoting the regimental number. He is carrying a Model 1861 Springfield rifle. 

Imported Rifles

Private Augustus Tanner of Co. I of the 66th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Originally equipped with Belgian-made Pondir rifles and Enfields,Tanner's regiment received Model 1861 Springfield rifles in November 1862 which they carried for the rest of the war.


.71 caliber French M1859 Vincennes rifles

Model 1859 French .71 caliber rifle

Infantry regiments: 16th, 110th, 122nd 

.70 caliber French M1842/1853/1857 rifled muskets

This particular model was produced in 1819, was converted to percussion and sold to the U.S. in 1861 where it was issued to Federal troops. 

Infantry regiments: 71st 

.69 caliber French M1842/1853/1857 rifled muskets

Infantry regiments: 76th, 117th 

.69 caliber Prussian rifles

U.S. agents, desperate to get their hands of whatever arms could be found on the market, purchased thousands of European arms including from the German states such as Prussia.

Infantry regiments: 1st, 74th 

.69 caliber Prussian smoothbores

Infantry regiments: 46th, 67th 

.69 caliber Pondir rifle

Infantry regiments: 19th, 29th, 40th, 54th, 55th, 62nd, 66th 

.69 caliber Saxony rifle musket

Saxony .69 caliber rifle musket


Infantry regiments: 5th (subsequent issue), 6th (subsequent issue), 12th (subsequent issue), 56th, 67th (subsequent issue) 

.58 caliber Austrian Lorenz rifle musket

.58 and .54 caliber Austrian Lorenz rifle

Infantry regiments: 89th, 96th, 101st, 102nd, 104th, 106th, 108th

.57 caliber French M1842/1853/1857 rifle

Infantry regiments: 42nd

This image of an unidentified soldier of the 100th Ohio likely dates from shortly after the regiment's enlistment in August 1862. The regiment was issued a particularly bad lot of .54 caliber Lorenz rifles when they mustered into service at Camp Toledo and within a few months had them replaced with Enfield rifles. This was controversial as well as the state sent the regiment war-worn Enfields that had been carried by the three-months' 84th Ohio which had mustered out of service in September 1862. The regiment ultimately kept the Enfields, deeming them a marked improvement over their shoddy Lorenz rifles.  

.54 caliber Austrian Lorenz rifle musket

Infantry regiments: 25th (subsequent issue), 46th (subsequent issue), 48th, 53rd, 57th, 58th, 61st, 63rd, 69th, 70th, 80th, 91st, 92nd, 100th, 103rd, 107th, 108th (1863 replacements), 114th, 115th, 116th, 118th, 120th, 121st,  123rd, 126th

Original shipping box of .54 caliber bullets from the Ohio State Arsenal in Columbus, Ohio. Box is dated June 1862. 


This image has been identified as being Sergeant Freedom S. Gates of Co. A of the 72nd Ohio posing with his rifle in this early war photo likely made in Paducah, Kentucky in March 1862. The entire 72nd Ohio was issued Enfield rifles while at Paducah and carried them into their first action near Pittsburg Landing on April 4, 1862.  Sergeant Gates would die May 5, 1862 of wounds sustained at Shiloh on April 6, 1862. 

.577 caliber P53 Enfield rifle musket

Model 1853 Enfield .577 caliber rifle

(Issued in groups of roughly 200 for flank companies A and B unless otherwise noted)

Infantry regiments: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 29th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 38th, 39th, 40th, 41st, 43rd (full regt),  44th, 46th, 47th, 49th, 50th (1863 replacements), 51st, 55th (half regt), 56th, 57th, 58th (half regt), 59th, 62nd, 66th, 67th (half regt), 68th (full regt), 71st (1863 replacements), 72nd (full regt), 73rd (full regt),  74th, 75th (full regt), 78th (full regt), 81st (full regt), 82nd (full regt), 83rd (full regt), 90th (full regt), 94th (full regt), 95th (subsequent issue), 97th (full regt), 99th (full regt), 100th (subsequent issue), 103rd (subsequent issue), 104th (subsequent issue), 106th (1863 replacements), 113th (full regt), 117th (1863 replacements), 118th (1863 replacements), 122nd (subsequent issue)

Unidentified Federal holding his Lorenz rifle and Colt revolver.



Comments

  1. Great post. One slight correction. The 46th Ohio was issued Spencer rifles, not the 48th. Col. Walcutt of the 46th persuaded the state of Ohio to issue the weapons to his regiment, and they were received in April, 1864, immediately prior to the Atlanta Campaign. Col. Walcutt wrote a Spencer training manual.

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  2. Hello - very interesting page. One of my ancestors was in the 139th which I believe was a NG/militia regiment enlisted for 100 days of service. He spent time at Point Lookout MD as a guard. Any idea what kind of weapons a regiment like this would have been issued? Thanks.

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    Replies
    1. The Ohio National Guard were armed with a mix of Enfields and Springfields upon taking the field in May 1864. The local companies were generally armed with cast-off rifles prior to entering Federal service.

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  3. Hello, thank you for compiling this information. My great^4 grandfather, Richard Bond, served in the 10th Ohio Independent Sharpshooter Regiment attached to the second formation of the 60th OVI (3 Year's Service). I have found evidence from another soldier's diary, Charles C. Carruthers, that they were originally given 1861 Springfields, but I had an amazing opportunity to see my relative's rifle in a museum up in Northeast Ohio and, to my surprise, it was a Spencer. Do you have records that indicate if the 60th or his sharpshooter company "traded up" to Spencers during the Overland Campaign?

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    Replies
    1. Interesting question. The state of Ohio's 1863 adjutant general's report indicates that the 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th independent companies of Ohio sharpshooters were all issued Spencers, so its stands to reason that the 9th and 10th companies would have received Spencers, too.

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    2. I think its also important to note that the adjutant general's report indicates the initial issue of arms, so those sharpshooter companies left the state armed with Spencers.

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    3. According to Carruther's diary, they did not receive arms until they arrive on location in Alexandria, VA. He continues and states that "We staid here two days and three nights, and on the morning of the third day, much to our dissatisfaction, we were armed with Springfield rifles, (a very good infantry gun but by no means a sharp shooters gun) and received marching orders." Seems like they were issued by War Department maybe? Either way, the mystery continues. With regards to the Spencer I held, the SN was 23238. Do you, or someone you know, have access to the SRS database to see if this serial number was ever traced to a regiment? Thanks!

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    4. Dan, my Great Grandfather x 2 was in the 113th OVI and would have been armed with the Model1853 Enfield .577 caliber rifle. Wold the unit have been likewise equipped with theP53 Socket bayonet or another model?

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    5. Robert- thanks for the note. Yes, the Enfield would have been equipped with the standard socket bayonet.

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  4. Hello - VERY interesting information. Studying ancestor in the 27th OVI (F Co.)...I see they would have been issued the 1842 which would have later been rifled. Would they have kept that same weapon throughout the war, or would they have been issued 1861 rifles after some time? Thanks for any clarification on this. (Going to jump into ACW reenactment, need to know which rifle I should get).

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    1. The regiment was re-armed in 1863 with either Springfields or Enfields; my notes are not clear on that. Let me check with some of my fellow Buckeye arms experts and advise what we find out.

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  5. Ok, thank you. Look forward to what you can find.

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    Replies
    1. I was rather surprised to find out that the 63rd Ohio was re-equipped with 718 Model 1841 Mississippi rifles in September 1863; rather unique among Buckeye regiments.

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