Friday, September 13, 2013

Ohio in the Civil War

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), the State of Ohio played a key role in providing troops, military officers, and supplies to the Union army. Due to its central location in the Northern United States and burgeoning population, Ohio was both politically and logistically important to the war effort. Despite the state's boasting a number of very powerful Republican politicians, it was divided politically. Portions of southern Ohio followed the Peace Democrats and openly opposed President Abraham Lincoln's policies. Ohio played an important part in the Underground Railroad prior to the war, and remained a haven for escaped and runaway slaves during the war years.
The third most populous state in the Union at the time, Ohio raised nearly 320,000 soldiers for the Union army, third behind only New York and Pennsylvania in total manpower contributed to the military. Several leading generals hailed from Ohio, including Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and Philip H. Sheridan. Five Ohio-born Civil War officers would later serve as the President of the United States. The Fighting McCooks gained fame as the largest immediate family group ever to become officers in the U.S. Army. The state was spared many of the horrors of war as only two minor battles were fought within its borders. Morgan's Raid in the summer of 1863 spread terror among the populace. Ohio troops fought in nearly every major campaign during the war. More than 35,000 Ohioans died in the conflict and more than 30,000 wounded soldiers returned home.
Northwest Territory and Slavery
The United States created the Northwest Territory under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Slavery was not permitted in the new territory. Settlement began with the founding of Marietta by the Ohio Company of Associates, which had been formed by a group of American Revolutionary War veterans. Following the Ohio Company, the Miami Company (also referred to as the "Symmes Purchase") claimed the southwestern section, and the Connecticut Land Company surveyed and settled the Connecticut Western Reserve in present-day Northeast Ohio.
The Northwest Territory originally included areas previously known as Ohio Country and Illinois Country. As Ohio prepared for statehood, the Indiana Territory was created, reducing the Northwest Territory to approximately the size of present-day Ohio plus the eastern half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and the eastern tip of the Upper Peninsula.
American settlement of the Northwest Territory was resisted by Native Americans in the Northwest Indian War. The natives were eventually conquered by the newly formed United States in 1794.
Under the Northwest Ordinance, areas of the territory could be defined and admitted as states once their population reached 60,000. Although Ohio's population numbered only 45,000 in December 1801, Congress determined that the population was growing rapidly and Ohio could begin the path to statehood. The assumption was that it would exceed 60,000 residents by the time it was admitted as a state. Furthermore, in regards to the Leni Lenape Native Americans living in the region, Congress decided that 10,000 acres on the Muskingum River in the present state of Ohio would "be set apart and the property thereof be vested in the Moravian Brethren . . . or a society of the said Brethren for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity."
The US Congress, furthermore, prohibited slavery in the territory. (Once the population grew and the territory achieved statehood, the citizens could have legalized slavery, but chose not to do so.) The states of the Midwest would be known as Free States, in contrast to those states south of the Ohio River. Migrants to the latter came chiefly from Virginia and other slaveholding states, and brought their culture and slaves with them.
As Northeastern states abolished slavery in the coming two generations, the Free States would be known as Northern states. The Northwest Territory originally included areas previously called Ohio Country and Illinois Country. As Ohio prepared for statehood, Indiana Territory was carved out, reducing the Northwest Territory to approximately the size of present-day Ohio plus the eastern half of Michigan's lower peninsula.
Ohio's roots as an anti-slavery and abolitionist state go back to its territorial days in the Northwest Territory, which forbade the practice. When it became a state, the constitution expressly outlawed slavery. Many Ohioans were members of anti-slavery organizations, including the American Anti-Slavery Society and American Colonization Society. Ohioan Charles Osborn published the first abolitionist newspaper in the country, "The Philanthropist," and in 1821, the father of abolition Benjamin Lundy began publishing his newspaper the Genius of Universal Emancipation.

Ohio was a key stop on the Underground Railroad where prominent abolitionists played a role, including John Rankin. Ohio resident Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the famous book "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which was largely influential in shaping the opinion of the North against slavery.
Much of southern Ohio's economy depended upon trade with the South across the Ohio River, which had served for years as passage and a link with the slave states of Virginia and Kentucky. The culture of southern Ohio was closer to those states than it was to northern parts of the state, owing to many settlers coming from the South and being formerly territory of the state of Virginia as part of the Virginia Military District. Most of the state's population was solidly against secession and in favor of a strong central government. During the 1860 Presidential Election, Ohio voted in favor of Abraham Lincoln (231,709 votes or 52.3% of the ballots cast) over Stephen Douglas (187,421; 42.3%), John C. Breckinridge (11,406; 2.6%), and John Bell (12,194; 2.8%).
A number of men with Ohio ties would serve important roles in Lincoln's Cabinet and administration, including Steubenville's Edwin M. Stanton as Attorney General and then Secretary of War, and former Ohio U.S. Senator and Governor Salmon P. Chase as Secretary of the Treasury. Prominent Ohio politicians in Congress included Senators John Sherman and Benjamin F. Wade.
During the war, three men would serve as Governor of Ohio– William Dennison, David Tod and John Brough. Without requests by the War Department, Dennison sent Ohio troops into western Virginia, where they guarded the Wheeling Convention. The convention led to the admission of West Virginia as a free state. Tod became known as "the soldier's friend," for his determined efforts to help equip and sustain Ohio's troops. He was noted for his quick response in calling out the state militia to battle Confederate raiders. Brough strongly supported the Lincoln Administration's war efforts and was key to persuading other Midwestern governors to raise 100-day regiments, such as the 131st Ohio Infantry in early 1864, to release more seasoned troops for duty in Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's spring campaign.
In January 1863, public sentiment within the state was strained by Abraham Lincoln’s issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. For some, this merely confirmed their fears that the war was truly about freedom for the slaves and not a war about restoring the Union. However, the greatest single strain on public sentiment arrived later in 1863 when Congress passed the conscription act, which authorized the Federal government to draft or force citizens into military service.
Through the middle of the war, the Copperhead movement had appeal in Ohio, driven in part by noted states’ rights advocate, Congressman Clement Vallandigham, a leading Peace Democrat. After General Ambrose E. Burnside issued General Order Number 38 in early 1863, warning that the "habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy" would not be tolerated in the Military District of Ohio, Vallandigham gave a major speech charging the war was being fought not to save the Union, but to free blacks and enslave whites.
Burnside ordered his arrest and took Vallandigham to Cincinnati for trial. At the trial, Vallandigham was found guilty. The court sentenced him to prison for the duration of the war. President Lincoln attempted to quiet the situation by writing the Birchard Letter, which offered to release Vallandigham if several Ohio congressmen agreed to support certain policies of the Administration. To try to prevent political backlash and preserve authority of Gen. Burnside, Abraham Lincoln changed Vallandigham's sentence to banishment to the South. The threat was imprisonment if Vallandigham returned to Northern soil. The South allowed Vallandigham to migrate to Canada, from where he ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor against Brough in 1863. Vallandigham's campaign bitterly divided much of southern Ohio.
Newspapers, nevertheless, remained engaged in very lively discussion of war issues, from the Republican, War Democrat and Copperhead perspectives. Public sentiment, however, shifted more in favor of the Lincoln Administration, particularly as Ohio generals rose in prominence, with military successes in the Atlanta Campaign, the Siege of Petersburg, and Sheridan's Valley Campaigns. In the 1864 Presidential Election, Ohio strongly supported Lincoln's reelection. The state gave the president 265,674 votes (56.4% of the total) versus 205,609 votes (43.6%) for General George McClellan.
En route to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration, President Lincoln passed through Ohio by train, with brief stops in numerous cities. His first formal speech given after his election was in Hudson, Ohio, a stop he made en route to Cleveland. Although Lincoln had visited the state several times before the war, he would not return during the Civil War. In 1865 his funeral train carried his body through the state, bound for Springfield, Illinois.
Civil War
According to the 1860 U.S. census, Ohio had a population of 2,339,511.
Nearly 320,000 Ohioans served in the Union army, more than any other Northern state except New York and Pennsylvania. Of these, 5,092 were free blacks. Ohio had the highest percentage of population enlisted in the military of any state. Sixty percent of all the men between the ages of 18 and 45 were in the service. Ohio mustered 230 regiments of infantry and cavalry, as well as 26 light artillery batteries and 5 independent companies of sharpshooters. According to Dyer (1908), the total fatalities among these units numbered 35,475 men, including hundreds of officers, which is more than 10% of all the Buckeyes in uniform during the war, and more than 30,000 wounded Ohioans returned home. Dead and wounded totaled more than 65,000.
In response to the call to arms by President Lincoln to suppress the rebellion in 1861, Ohio raised 23 volunteer infantry regiments for three months' service, 10 more regiments than the state's quota. When it became evident that the war would not end quickly, Ohio began raising regiments for three-year terms of enlistment. At first the majority were stocked with eager volunteers and recruits. Before the war's end, they would be joined by 8,750 draftees. Ohio troops fought in nearly every major battle and campaign during the war.
Numerous leading generals and army commanders hailed from Ohio. The General-in-Chief of the Union armies, Ulysses S. Grant, was born in Clermont County in 1822. Among the 19 major generals from Ohio were William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan, Don Carlos Buell, Jacob D. Cox, George Crook, George Armstrong Custer, James A. Garfield, Irvin McDowell, James B. McPherson, William S. Rosecrans, and Alexander M. McCook (of the "Fighting McCook" family, which sent a number of generals into the service). The state would contribute 53 brigadier generals.
A handful of Confederate generals were Ohio-born, including Bushrod Johnson of Belmont County and Robert H. Hatton of Steubenville. Charles Clark of Cincinnati led a division in the Army of Mississippi during the Battle of Shiloh in 1862 and he became the Governor of Mississippi in 1863. Noted Confederate guerrilla Capt. William Quantrill was also born and raised in Ohio. In addition to Grant and Garfield, three other Ohio Civil War veterans would become President of the United States in the decades following the war: William McKinley of Canton, Rutherford B. Hayes of Fremont, and Benjamin Harrison of the greater Cincinnati area.
Dozens of small camps were established across the state to train and drill the new regiments. Two large military posts were created: Camp Chase in Columbus and Camp Dennison near Cincinnati. The 1st Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) would eventually be joined on the muster rolls by more than 100 additional infantry regiments. Ohioans first engaged in military action at the Battle of Philippi Races in June 1861, where the 14th and 16th Ohio Infantry participated in the Union victory. Ohioans comprised one-fifth of the Union army at the April 1862 Battle of Shiloh, where 1,676 Buckeyes suffered casualties. Ohio would suffer its highest casualty count at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, with 3,591 killed or wounded. Another 1,351 men were taken prisoner of war by the Confederates. Among these prisoners, 36 men from the 2nd Ohio Infantry would perish in the infamous Andersonville prison, as did hundreds more Buckeye soldiers there.
Several Buckeye regiments played critical roles in other important battles. The 8th OVI was instrumental in helping repulse Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. At the same battle, the 66th OVI flanked repeated Confederate assaults and helped secure the crest of Culp's Hill. George Nixon, great-grandfather of President Richard Nixon, died at Gettysburg in the 73rd OVI.
John Clem, celebrated as "Johnny Shiloh" and "The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga," became the youngest person to become a noncommissioned officer in United States Army history. More than 100 soldiers from Ohio units earned the Medal of Honor during the conflict. Several were awarded the medal for the ill-fated Great Locomotive Chase.
President Lincoln had a habit on the eve of a battle of asking how many Ohio men would participate. When someone inquired why, Lincoln remarked, "Because I know that if there are many Ohio soldiers to be engaged, it is probable we will win the battle, for they can be relied upon in such an emergency."
Small-scale riots commenced in ethnic German and Irish districts, and in areas along the Ohio River with many Copperheads. Holmes County, Ohio, was an isolated area dominated by Pennsylvania Dutch and some recent German immigrants. It was a Democratic stronghold and few men dared speak publicly in favor of conscription. Local politicians denounced Lincoln and Congress as despotic, seeing the draft law as a violation of their local autonomy. In June 1863, small scale disturbances commenced, but they ceased when U.S. army units arrived.
Unlike its neighbors West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, Ohio was spared from serious military encounters. In September 1862, Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. Henry Heth marched through northern Kentucky and threatened Cincinnati. They turned away after encountering strong Union fortifications south of the Ohio River. Not long afterwards, Brig. Gen. Albert G. Jenkins briefly passed through the extreme southern tip of Ohio during a raid. It was not until the summer of 1863 that Confederates arrived in force, when John Hunt Morgan's cavalry division traversed southern and eastern Ohio during Morgan's Raid. Although Morgan's Raid lacked tactical or strategic military significance, it terrorized the local populace and it culminated in Morgan's capture in Columbiana County. The Battle of Buffington Island was the largest fought in Ohio during the Civil War.
By the end of the war, the Union's top three generals–Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Philip Sheridan–were Ohioans.
Prisoner-of-War Camps
Camp Chase
Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, was a military staging, training and prison camp during the Civil War. Camp Chase, also known as Camp Chase Prison, was one of the five largest prisons in the North for Confederate prisoners-of-war. Camp Chase's prison population peaked at 9,423 on January 31, 1865. The Army ensured that the graves of those who died were marked with thin headboards and "only the number of the grave and name of its individual occupant;" thus the "graves of the Confederate soldiers were not marked as soldiers, and remained thus inadequately," until the 20th century when Congress approved efforts to recognize the sacrifice of CSA soldiers.
Camp Chase was officially dedicated June 20, 1861. It is named in honor of Salmon Portland Chase (1808-1873), former governor of Ohio, the Secretary of the Treasury under President Abraham Lincoln, and later Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Initially designated as a training camp for new recruits in the Union Army, Camp Chase was converted to a military prison as the first prisoners of war arrived from western Virginia. In the early months of the Civil War, Camp Chase primarily held political prisoners--judges, legislators and mayors from Kentucky and Virginia accused of loyalty to the Confederacy. In early 1862, Camp Chase served briefly as a prison for Confederate officers. But after a military prison for Confederate officers opened at Johnson's Island, Ohio, Camp Chase housed only non-commissioned officers, enlisted men, and political prisoners.
In February 1862, 800 prisoners of war (officers and enlisted men) arrived at Camp Chase. Included among the 800 Confederate soldiers were approximately 75 African Americans; about half of whom were slaves, the other half being servants to the confederate officers. Much to the horror and dismay of the citizens of Columbus, these men continued to serve their master's in the prison camp. An Ohio Legislative committee was formed and protests over the continued enslavement of these men were sent to Washington D.C. The African Americans were finally released in April and May of 1862; some then enlisted in the Union army.
According to an exchange agreement reached between North and South on July 22, 1862, Camp Chase was to operate as a way station for the immediate repatriation (return to country of birth or citizenship) of Confederate soldiers. After this agreement was mutually abandoned July 13, 1863, the facility swelled with new prisoners, and military inmates quickly outnumbered political prisoners. By the end of the war, Camp Chase held 26,000 of all 36,000 Confederate POWs retained in Ohio military prisons. Crowded and unhealthy living conditions at Camp Chase took a heavy toll among prisoners. Despite newly constructed barracks in 1864, which raised the prison capacity to 8,000 men, the facility was soon operating well over capacity. Rations for prisoners were reduced in retaliation against alleged mistreatment at Southern POW camps. Many prisoners suffered from malnutrition and died from smallpox, typhoid fever or pneumonia. Others, even those who received meager clothing provisions, suffered from severe exposure during the especially cold winter of 1865. In all, 2,229 soldiers died at Camp Chase by July 5, 1865, when it officially closed.
Johnson's Island
Johnson's Island was a 300-acre island in Sandusky Bay, located on the coast of Lake Erie, 3 miles from the city of Sandusky, Ohio. It was the site of a prisoner-of-war camp for Confederate officers captured during the Civil War. Although Johnson's Island, also known as Johnson’s Island Prison Camp, was the only Union prison exclusively for Southern officers, it also detained some Confederate enlisted soldiers. The first prisoners arrived in April 1862. During the period of 40 months the prison was operational, at least 12,000 Confederate officers were imprisoned at Johnson's Island. Among the prominent Confederate generals imprisoned on Johnson's Island, both captured during the Battle of Gettysburg, were Isaac R. Trimble and James J. Archer.
More than 12,000 men passed through Johnson’s Island until it was closed in September 1865. Approximately 200 prisoners died as a result of the harsh winters, food and fuel shortages, and disease. Johnson's Island had one of the lowest mortality rates of any Civil War prison. Although Confederates made many escape attempts, including efforts by some to walk across the frozen Lake Erie to freedom in Canada, few escapes were successful.
Ohio Penitentiary 
The Ohio Penitentiary, also known as the Ohio State Penitentiary, was a prison Columbus, Ohio. The Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus was a three-story stone structure with heavy iron bars on the windows and doors of cell blocks. It was used to house hardened convicts until July 30, 1863, when David Todd, governor of Ohio, informed Warden Nathaniel Merion that the prison would also detain Confederate prisoners-of-war. During the war, the penitentiary detained less than 400 men.
Four days prior, Confederate cavalry General John Hunt Morgan and 364 of his men had been captured at the end of the longest cavalry raid of the war. They had terrorized the populations of Indiana and Ohio as they traveled and traversed more than 700 miles through said states in 25 days. Because Camp Chase, the prisoner-of-war camp outside Columbus, was not considered secure enough for Morgan’s Raiders, they were confined at the Ohio Penitentiary.
Morgan and 30 of his officers were thrown into the general prison population of felons in the penitentiary. They were also denied all visitors, and had to endure the humiliation of having their heads shaved and wearing convict clothes. These soldiers were occasionally punished by being put on a bread and water diet and placed in solitary confinement in “dank, pitch-black prison cells.” Said treatment of Morgan and fellow Confederates was contrary to the rules governing the confinement of prisoners-of-war. However, on the night of November 27, 1863, Morgan and six of his officers escaped. They had toiled for 20 days with two small knives to gouge out a tunnel to freedom. Morgan returned to his cavalry activities in Tennessee after his escape, but, at Greeneville, Tennessee, in 1864, he was killed by Union cavalry.
Ohio's farm values were second highest in the nation both before and after the Civil War. Ohio developed large industrial and mining industries supporting the railroad industry.
After the Civil War, Ohio became one of the major industrial states in the northern tier, connected to the Great Lakes area, from where it received raw commodities, and able to transport its products of manufacturing and farming to New York and the East Coast via railroads. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, its growing industries attracted thousands of new people for the expanding number of jobs, both blacks from the South, in the Great Migration, and immigrants from Europe. As a result, the cultures of its major cities and later suburbs became much more diverse with the traditions, cultures, foods and music of the new arrivals. Its industries were integral to US power during and after World War II. Economic restructuring in steel and other manufacturing cost the state many jobs in the later 20th century as heavy industry declined. New economic models have led to different kinds of development in the late 20th and 21st centuries.

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