General Grant ordered General Sherman to attack the Vicksburg defenses at Chickasaw Bayou while Grant approached Vicksburg from the rear. The Confederates captured Grant's supply depot at Holly Springs, forcing Grant to retreat and leaving Sherman to face the whole confederate force at Chickasaw Bayou. The Confederates used thousands of slaves to fortify the position and Sherman's task was an impossible one as Grant latter recognized when he viewed the rebel works from the inside. After several bloody assaults the army withdrew. The Ninety Sixth Ohio, part of A. L. Smith's Division, formed part of the right wing of Sherman's army.
Organization of the Ninety Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry Reports or Correspondence Related to the Ninety Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry 1861
Confederate States of America is formed with Jefferson Davis as president March 4 Lincoln Inaugurated April 17 Confederates fire on Fort Sumter May J C Swan Steamboat [later becomes important in transporting troops including the 96th]
Report of Cap. Nathaniel Lyon, Second U, S, Infantry.
Sir: In compliance with instructions from your office of the 30th ultimo, I accepted, sore in, and armed 3,436 men and 70 officers of the loyal citizens of Saint Louis, as a "reserve corps," for the protection of Government property and enforcement of its laws, on the 7th and 8th instant, and should probably have still further proceeded in receiving further offers but for events to which I will now advert. The steamer J. C. Swan arrived at Saint Louis on the night of the 8th, with a large supply of military stores including as I was informed, muskets, ammunition, and cannon taken on board at Baton Rouge, and there obtained from the arsenal. The boat arriving in the night, great industry was used to transport these stores during the night (and before being likely to be exposed to the morning) to the camp of what is called the State militia, and which is made up for the most part of what has for a long time been known as a body of rabid and violent opposes of the General Government, and who have, during this time, been a terror to all loyal and peaceful citizens. (WR X: 4)
June J C Swan Steamboat
Hon. Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, Washington: Sir: In reply to your communication of the 20th instant, asking for information in regard to the steamer Swan, I have the honor to state as follows the circumstances which led to her seizure:
The Swan contracted with one Colton Green, an agent from Governor Jackson to Jefferson Davis, for the shipment of arms from new Orleans to Saint Louis, and took them on board at Baton Rouge in boxes marked :Marble." The boat's register contains a record of these boxes as shipped from Baton Rouge, the words Baton Rouge being stricken out, and new Orleans written instead. The captain and clerk of the boat were part owners, and another of the shareholders (Pegram) was on board, and knew the contents of the boxes before the boat reached Cairo, if not at the time of their shipment. Pegram took command of the boat while passing Cairo, the captain secreting himself on the boat, for the purpose of avoiding a vigorous search by the United states officers at that post--the captain being a well-known secessionist, while Pegram passed as a Union man. The arms were delivered at Saint Louis, and the day after captured in Cap Jackson. They consisted of two 24-pounder howitzers, an 8-inch siege-mortar, six Cohorn mortars, and 500 muskets, with a considerable supply of ammunition. A part only of the muskets were taken, the rest having been sent to the interior. These were all evidently United States arms, brought from the Baton Rouge arsenal. The owners of the boat and its agents I considered as deliberately supplying the means of warfare to the troops of Camp Jackson, who as a body were evidently hostile to the United States. The boat is, in my opinion, properly a forfeit to the General Government, and should be held subject to some suitable adjustment before the courts of the country or at the close of the existing difficulties. The well-known proclivities in favor of secession of the district judge of Saint Louis make him an improper person to adjudicate the matter. The boat is now employed in transporting troops and supplies on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, N. Lyon, Brigadier-General, U. S Volunteers, Commanding. (WR X: 386-7).
J. C. Swan: Capacity, 1000 Men, 250 Animals and 30 wagons (XLII: 864).
June 29, 1861. Scientific American. Page 404.
Clairborne F. Jackson, the Governor of Missouri through professing allegiance to the United States government, is said to be at heart a zealous secessionist, and this report is abundantly proved by his acts . . .On the same day on which the proclamation of Governor Jackson was issued, [declaring war on the United States] General Lyon put a body of his troops, with a section of artillery, on board of four steamboats--the Jatan, the [D. A.] January, the Louisiana and the J. C. Swan, ands started up the Missouri River for Jefferson city. At the same time a detachment was sent out on the Pacific Railroad to cooperate in the expedition.
July 21 Union Army defeated at Bull Run November Lincoln appoints McClellan as general-in-chief 1862
U S Grant captures Fort Henry and Fort Donaldson Feb 6 and 16
Battle of Shiloh April 6/7
New Orleans occupied by Union April 25
June 25-July 1 Seven Days Battles August 29 Organized at Camp Delaware, Ohio
Mustered Into the Union Army
"A camp was established for this regiment on the Fuller farm, one and a half miles south of the city, known as Camp Delaware, the ground occupied lying between the Columbus road and the river. On the 1st day of September, 1862, the Ninety-Sixth left camp 1,014 strong for Cincinnati, and on the evening of the same day of its arrival there, crossed over the river and went into camp at Covington, Ky. From that time until the close of the war, it was continuously active, and most of the time m hard service." (History of Logan County, Ohio 1881: 318).
September 1 Ordered to Cincinnati, Ohio
Maj. Gen. Horatio G. Wright, Louisville, Ky.: At Covington, Ninety-sixth Ohio, full regiment, armed and equipped, and about 800 men, armed, belonging to independent companies; also two companies Eighteenth United States Infantry; the One hundred and fourth Regiment expected to-night and the eighty-ninth in the morning. In Newport there are 400 armed men, independent companies. I have sent for report of strength at Newport Barracks.
There are about three independent armed companies in Cincinnati. The Quartermaster-General of Ohio telegraphs that all troops at Camp Dennison will be armed and supplied with ammunition to-day, and General Judah reports that at camp Dennison the Eighty third has seven companies; Seventy ninth, seven companies; One hundred and sixth, five companies; One hundred and eight, seven companies; all available when armed. N. H. McLean, Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff. (WR XXVIII: 473)
"September 1st the regiment left Camp Delaware and the same night went into quarters at Covington, Kentucky. On the eighth it went into camp three miles back of Newport, Kentucky, and occupied the advance on a part of the Federal lines during the threatened advance upon Cincinnati of General Kirby Smith." (History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 321-2)
3 Ordered to Covington and Newport, Ky., during threatened attack on Cincinnati by Kirby Smith. September 17 Battle of Antietam October Attached to 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of Kentucky, Dept. of Ohio
Second Brigade Organization (October 16, 1862)
Col. Joseph W. Vance
96th Ohio, Col. Joseph W. Vance. 118th Ohio, Col. Samuel R. Mott. 23d Wisconsin, Col. Joshua J Guppey. 1st Illinois Light Artillery, Battery F, Lieut. Josiah H. Burton. (WR XXVIII: 659)
First Brigade (Army of Kentucky) Organization October 31, 1862
Brig. Gen. Stephen G Burbridge 83d Ohio. 96th Ohio. 118th Ohio. 23d Wisconsin. (WR XXVIII: 993).
Moved to Falmouth, Ky., October 8, 1862, thence to Nicholasville October 23.
October 8th the regiment marched to Falmouth, Kentucky, where it remained until the twentieth, when it marched to Nicholasville, arriving there November 1st, and remaining about a week when it went to Louisville. (History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 321-2)
The unit suffered 5 deaths at Nicholasville probably from illness.
Hon, E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War: Wheeling, March 30, 1862. Dispatch received. I extract from the suggestions submitted by me to the Secretary on the 19th instant paragraph No. 4, as follows:
Assuming that it is the desire of the Government that the first object of the commanding general shall be to take possession of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, and either hold the same and employ it in transportation of our own troops and stores or prevent its use by the enemy, the corps d'armee should march through the open land of Kentucky and East Tennessee directly upon Cumberland Gap or Knoxville, and so turn the position which the enemy may have assumed or determined upon in the mountains or defiles of the Alleghenies. It will therefore become necessary to concentrate troops at Nicholasville, Ky. Nicholasville is a point having railroad connections direct with Louisville and Cincinnati, and in better communication with all parts of the North. The roads from there to Knoxville are good and the country abundant in forage.
Will the Secretary authorize me to receive from any Governor of the Western States any disposable troops they may have? I urge this to enable me to move. Being now in command of my department, I ask the Secretary to order, subject to my control, all the force operating within it. J. C. Fremont, Major-General.
November Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Army of Kentucky.
Moved to Louisville, Ky., thence to Memphis, Tenn., November 13-22.
Leaving the latter place [Louisville] on the nineteenth of November it reached Memphis and went into camp on the twenty-seventh (History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 321-2). December 13 Battle of Fredericksburg December 20 to January 3 Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, Sherman's Yazoo Expedition.
First Division, General A. J. Smith, Des Arc, Division Headquarters. Metropolitan, 60th Indian Volunteers. J. H. Dickey, 23d Wisconsin Volunteers. J. C. Snow, 16th Indiana Volunteers, First Brigade headquarters. Hiawatha. 96th Ohio Volunteers, section of battery.. . (NWR:23: 563)
Sherman's Yazoo Expedition
Special orders of Major-General Sherman, U. S. Army, for expedition up Yazoo River.
Special Orders No. 34. Headquarters Right Wing, Thirteenth Army corps, Forest Queen, December 25, 1862
The point of disembarkation is at the point marked "C" on chart, up Yazoo River, on the east bank about 13 miles. The fleet will start at 8 a. m. tomorrow, under convoy of the gunboats, keeping well closed up and prepared for any event. Two companies on each boat will be fully equipped with loaded muskets, ready to return the fire should our progress be arrested. The third division, General G. W. Morgan, will lead and make a landing at the upper end of Johnson's farm and promptly move one brigade out toward Mrs. Lake's plantation. The fourth division, General Steele, will follow and disembark at Johnson's farm, sending one brigade out on the Vicksburg road about 2 miles. The second division, General Steele, will follow and disembark at Johnson's farm, sending one brigade out on the Vicksburg road about 2 miles. The second division, General M. L. Smith, will follow and land just below General Steele. If General M. L. Smith has not returned by the hour of starting, General Stuart will move his brigade and leave these orders for General Smith to follow.
The First Division, General A. J. Smith, will then follow and disembark at a point above Bunch's sawmill. The channel is deep and boats will keep to the left-hand bank, leaving the gunboats the right-hand bank. The ammunition boat and two of the commissary boats will remain near the gunboat, which will stay where the gunboat fleet now lies. After the boats are made secure, well apart, working parties will be set to work to unload the regimental wagons, the artillery and cavalry horses, and all things necessary for five days' operations. All surplus articles which can not be transported in the regimental train will remain on board until further orders. By order of Major-General W. T. Sherman: J. H Hammond, Assistant Adjutant-General.
"[The Ninety-Sixth] then embarked for Memphis, Tenn., on the 19th of November, where they were encamped about a month. While there they were reviewed by Gen. Sherman, and ordered to embark on the steamer Hiawatha and proceed down the river with the forces under his command, the objective point being Vicksburg, Miss. The men were blissfully ignorant of the severe service awaiting them, but were soon brought to a realization of circumstances that every participant must look back to with horror. The whole regiment and its outfit of wagons, teams, etc., together with the Seventeenth Ohio Battery, with its guns, horses and mules were packed on this small craft. Nearly every member of the battery was sick with the measles. The horses and mules were placed on deck, their heads tied on either side, forming between them a narrow aisle. Only partial rations of hard bread and roasted coffee could be had, the only resort being flour and green coffee, which required cooking and roasting. It may have been a necessity, but certainly it was a bitter fatality. The only facility for cooking was a small stove on the after deck, to reach which it was necessary to run the gauntlet of two hundred pairs of treacherous heels and the filth of such a stable. First, the coffee and the meat were cooked and eaten. with hard bread, but the supply of the latter was soon exhausted, and the men were forced to mix flour with water and bake it on the same stove. With the best effort possible, it was often 2 o'clock before all had their breakfast with the half-cooked material. As if this were not all that flesh and blood could endure, cold rain continually drenched all who were not under cover, and for want of room many were forced to remain on the hurricane deck, famished with hunger and tortured with sleeplessness. All day and all night the little stove was occupied by men preparing the unhealthy rations, that, while they saved from immediate starvation, were not slow, in connection with other causes, in developing diseases that were equally fatal to those who were exposed and those who were packed close in the ill-ventilated and over-crowded apartments. Everywhere were sunken eyes, thin cheeks and tottering steps. Surgeon Henderson, with his assistants, labored incessantly to check disease and relieve the sufferings of the men, but typhoid, measles and erysipelas were masters, everything seemingly rendering them aid. Death did a frightful work.
Landed at Milliken's Bend, La., and Expedition to Dallas Station, on Vicksburg & Shreveport Railroad, and destruction of railroad and stores December 25-26, 1862.
"On its way, the regiment disembarked at Milliken's Bend on the 20th, and made a forced march to Dallas Station, La., on the Vicksburg, S. & T. Railroad, a distance of twenty-eight miles, over a narrow road cut through a dense cypress forest, over stretches of corduroy and thick intervening mud of the low marshes, burning depots and warehouses, destroying a large amount of railroad property, tearing up the track for miles, returning the following day in a pelting storm of cold rain, having marched fifty-six miles in less than forty hours. After privations on the boat, this work was terribly painful and disastrous. The regiment was taken on down the river to the Yazoo (the River of Death), and up that river to Johnson's Landing; there disembarked and marched to Chickasaw Bluffs and participated in the first attack on Vicksburg, where the Union forces were defeated. Then proceeding to Arkansas Post, they took an active part in the assault upon the works, capturing 7,000 prisoners, losing ten killed and twenty-six wounded" (History of Marion County, Ohio 188 :469-70).
December 21st it embarked at Memphis as part of the expedition under command of General W. T. Sherman, destined "down the river." On the twenty-fifth of December it landed at Millikin's Bend, Louisiana, and made a forced march with the brigade, under command of General Burbridge, to Dallas Station, on the Vicksburg, Shreveport & Tensas railroad; destroyed the bridge across the Tensas and about a mile of track and trestlework. It returned the next day to the transports, having marched fifty miles in two and a half days, destroying a large amount of railroad property, and burned several depots of rebel cotton. The next day it followed the army to Johnston's Landing, on the Yazoo river; landed the same night and marched out to Chickasaw Bayou. Getting into position at 10, A. M., the regiment took part in the first attack on Vicksburg. It returned with the army and embarked for "up the river" January 1, 1863." (History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 321-2)
Attached to 1st Brigade, Right Wing 13th Army Corps (Old), Dept. of the Tennessee.
Battle of Chickasaw Bayou December 26-28.
Chickasaw Bluff , December 29.
31 Battle of Murfreesboro
Return to Top of Page