The Buckeye Diaspora After Gettysburg

     How the Army of the Potomac Lost Its Ohio Units 

After Gettysburg

Two unknown Buckeye boys dressed for the campaign pose for the photographer while eating their dinner of hardtack atop their knapsacks with guns in tow. The corporal on the right sports a rare Ohio  breast plate which displays the state seal. 

    At the Battle of Gettysburg, the state of Ohio was represented by 20 units spread throughout the Army of the Potomac including the Artillery Reserve, the 2nd Corps, 5th Corps, 11th Corps, 12th Corps, and the Cavalry Corps. The Buckeye contingent encompassed 13 infantry regiments, one cavalry regiment, two cavalry companies, and four batteries. Within three months of the battle, only seven of those units remained with the Army of the Potomac and by January 1864, that number was reduced to only five.

          The first Ohioans to depart the army were the three battered regiments of Adelbert Ames’ brigade of Barlow’s Division of the 11th Army Corps. The 25th Ohio, 75th Ohio, and the primarily German 107th Ohio suffered devastating casualties in their fight for Barlow’s Knoll on the afternoon of July 1st, the 25th Ohio being reduced to only 80 men in the ranks by the end of the battle. It was decided to break up the brigade, and all three regiments departed for the Department of the South headquartered near Charleston, South Carolina on August 6, 1863. Interestingly, the three regiments were placed in different brigades upon their arrival on the South Carolina coast and focused on recuperation rather than active fighting for much of the rest of the year.

          The next large departure occurred at the end of September when it was decided to send the 11th and 12th Army Corps to the west as reinforcements for the Army of the Cumberland in the aftermath of the defeat at Chickamauga. This was the largest single movement of troops by rail during the war, and eight infantry regiments and two artillery batteries from Ohio went west to join their comrades in Rosecrans’ army. The first troops moved from Catlett’s Station, Virginia on September 24th and by October 3rd, the Ohioans were making themselves at home in their new camps around Bridgeport, Alabama. The units involved in this movement included the 5th, 7th, 29th, 55th, 61st, 66th, 73rd, and 82nd Ohio Infantry and Batteries I and K. By the end of October, these Ohioans would take part in their first battles against the Army of Tennessee at Wauhatchie and would serve as part of the newly formed 20th Army Corps  in Sherman’s army for the rest of the war.

Colors of one who stayed: the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

          The last group of Buckeye veterans of Gettysburg to leave the Army of the Potomac was the smallest: the two detached companies (A and C) of the 1st Ohio Cavalry which served as headquarters guards for the Cavalry Corps. The other ten companies of the regiment had served from the beginning of the war in the western theater with Generals Buell, Rosecrans, and Thomas, and when the regiment elected to veteranize in January 1864, it was decided to reunite these companies with their home regiment. Accordingly, when the two companies went home, they left the Army of the Potomac permanently.

          By January 1864, only five Ohio units remained with the Army of the Potomac: the 4th and 8th Ohio regiments in the Second Corps, Battery L of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery in the Fifth Corps, Battery H of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery in the Artillery Reserve, and the 6th Ohio Cavalry in the Cavalry Corps. The 8th Ohio  would muster out of service in late June 1864 after seeing action in Grant’s Overland Campaign and the opening days of the siege of Petersburg, leaving their longtime comrades in the 4th Ohio who would remain with the army through Appomattox. Battery H would also remain with the army and see its hardest service during the Battle of Cold Harbor in June 1864. Battery L would serve in the defenses of Washington through midsummer, helping in the repulse of Early’s attack on Washington in July. Thereafter, the battery was attached to Sheridan’s army and would see action in the Shenandoah Valley Campaign including Third Winchester, Fisher’s Hill, and Cedar Creek.  The 6th Ohio Cavalry likewise would have a very active service with the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Potomac, seeing action in the Overland Campaign, the siege of Petersburg, and the final pursuit of Lee’s army in April 1865.  

The gunners of Battery H of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery also stayed with the Army of the Potomac until the end of the war. 

          Other Ohio units that had not seen action at Gettysburg joined the Army of the Potomac by the spring of 1864, including the 60th Ohio (with the 9th and 10th companies of Ohio Sharpshooters attached), the 2nd Ohio Cavalry, and the 13th Ohio Cavalry which served in the Ninth Corps. The 110th, 122nd, and 126th Ohio regiments, veterans of the drubbing under Milroy’s command at Second Winchester at the outset of the Gettysburg campaign, also served in Ricketts’ division of the Sixth Corps.

         

Unknown Ohio cavalryman displaying Co. E O.V.C. on his hat.

Ohio Veterans of Gettysburg

 

First Brigade (Carroll), Third Division (Hays), Second Corps (Hancock)

4th Ohio- remained with the AoP

8th Ohio- remained with the AoP

 

Artillery Brigade (Martin), Fifth Corps (Sykes)

Battery L, 1st Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery- remained with AoP

 

Second Brigade (Ames), First Division (Barlow), Eleventh Corps (Howard)

25th Ohio- transferred to 3rd Separate Brigade, Dept of the South August 6-12, 1863

75th Ohio- transferred to 2nd Brigade, Gordon’s Div, Dept of the South, August 6-12, 1863

107th Ohio- transferred to 1st Brigade, Gordon’s Div, Dept of the South, August 6-12, 1863

 

Second Brigade (Smith), Second Division (von Steinwehr), Eleventh Corps (Howard)

55th Ohio- movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 24-October 3, 1863

73rd Ohio- movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 24-October 3, 1863

 

First Brigade (Schimmelfennig), Third Division (Schurz), Eleventh Corps (Howard)

61st Ohio- movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 26-October 3, 1863

 

Second Brigade (Krzyzanowski), Third Division (Schurz), Eleventh Corps (Howard)

82nd Ohio- movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 24-October 3, 1863

 

Artillery Brigade (Osborn), Eleventh Corps (Howard)

Battery I, 1st Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery- movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 26-October 3, 1863

Battery K, 1st Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery-- movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 26-October 3, 1863

 

First Brigade (Candy), Second Division (Geary), Twelfth Corps (Slocum)

5th Ohio- movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 26-October 3, 1863

7th Ohio-movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 26-October 3, 1863

29th Ohio- movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 26-October 3, 1863

66th Ohio- - movement to Bridgeport, Alabama, September 26-October 3, 1863

 

Headquarters Guards, Cavalry Corps (Pleasonton)

Cos. A & C, 1st Ohio Cavalry- rejoined regiment in west during veterans’ furlough in January 1864

 

Second Brigade (Huey), Second Division (Gregg), Cavalry Corps (Pleasonton)

6th Ohio Cavalry- remained with AoP

 

Third Volunteer Brigade (Huntingdon), Artillery Reserve (Tyler)

Battery H, 1st Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery- remained with AoP

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