Map of Mobile Bay and its Defenses
"On April 12, 1865, three months after the fall of Wilmington, Mobile, Alabama, the last major port east of the Mississippi, surrendered to Union forces. Yet nine months earlier the port had ceased to have importance. In August 1864 Admiral Farragut had lead a fleet of four monitors and fourteen wooden vessels into Mobile Bay. The fleet had successfully passed the forts defending the bay and then had defeated the small confederate squadron therein. Farragut's victory effectively sealed the port. If adequate troops had accompanied this naval force, the Union could have taken Mobile after the surrender of the forts guarding the bay's entrance." (Beringer, Hattaway, Jones and Still 1986: 198). The Red River campaign delayed the capture of Mobile which did not get under way until 1865. In the end, the capture of the defenses of Mobile constituted the last major engagement of the war. The Ninety Sixth Ohio participated in the capture of Mobile's defenses during Admiral Farraguts 1864 expedition and again in 1865 at Spanish Fort and the regiment just reached Fort Blakely as the confederates surrendered.
Organization of the Ninety Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry Reports or Correspondence Related to the Ninety Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry 1865
Special Orders No. 1. Hdqrs. Department of Arkansas, Little Rock Ark., January 2, 1865.
I. The Fourth Brigade of the Reserve Corps (except the ninety sixth Ohio and Thirty fifth Wisconsin Infantry) will proceed without delay to new Orleans, La., and report to the headquarters Military Division of West Mississippi. The commanding officer of each transport will, on arrival at Morganza, report by telegraph to headquarters military division the probable hour of his arrival at new Orleans; also the strength of his command. The quartermaster's department will furnish the necessary transportation. By command of Maj. Gen. J. J. Reynolds: John Levering, Assistant Adjutant-General.
(WR LX: 395)
Headquarters Department of Arkansas January 3, 1865.
Lieut. Col. C. T. Christensen. Asst. Adjt. Gen., Mil. Div. of West Mississippi, new Orleans, La.: communication of 26th ultimo received. The Fourth Brigade of reserve Corps will be sent down immediately, excepting the ninety sixth Ohio volunteers at mouth of White river, and Thirty fifth Wisconsin Volunteers, at Devil's Bluff. It is proposed to retain the latter regiments in this department by substituting another to take its place in the brigade, which will be determined soon as possible. J. J. Reynolds, Major General
(WR LX: 403)
Hdqrs. Military division of West Mississippi, New Orleans, La., January 9, 1865--4p.m.
Maj. General J. J. Reynolds, commanding department of Arkansas, Little rock, Ark.:
General: I had the honor to address you this morning in relation to the transfer of certain cavalry from your department to the Department of Mississippi, and other matters. Since then your cipher dispatch of the 3d has been received. I am directed to say that the Thirty fifth Wisconsin can only be retained if replaced at once by another regiment equal in strength and efficiency, and that the Ninety sixth Ohio should be relieved as soon as possible and sent with the rest of the forces of the Reserve Corps to Kernersville. I am further directed to request that as soon as the troops from the District of the Frontier have come in and the necessary permanent forces assigned tot he respective posts, the surplus force may be put in condition and held in readiness for service elsewhere whenever they may be called for. The commanding general will be pleased to receive from you, as early as possible, an estimate of the force that you will thus be able to spare. I have the honor to be, very respectfully your obedient servant, C. T. Christensen, Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Adjutant General.
(WR LX: 465)
Hdqrs. Military Division of West Mississippi, New Orleans, la., January 21, 1865.
Maj. Gen. J. J. Reynolds, commanding Department of Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark.,:
Sir: the major general commanding directs that an infantry force of 3,000 men be detached from the Department of Arkansas for service in the field. The necessary orders will accordingly be given with the least possible delay, and the force sent to this place to report to the major general commanding the division. This force is not intended to include the Twenty third Wisconsin and the ninety sixth Ohio Regiments, both of which (or their equivalents) should also be sent to this place as early as possible. Very respectfully, your obedient servant, C. T. Christensen, lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Adjutant General.
(WR LX: 603)
Special Orders, No. 27. Hdqrs. Department of Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark., January 30, 1865.
3. The following regiments of the Fourth Brigade, Reserve Corps, Military Division of West Mississippi, are hereby relieved from duty in this department and will be reported without delay to the commanding officer of that brigade at new Orleans, La.: Thirty fifth Regiment [Wisconsin] Infantry Volunteers, battalion Ninety sixth Ohio Infantry Volunteers. The quartermaster's department will furnish the necessary transportation. By command of Maj. Gen. J. J. Reynolds: John Levering, Assistant Adjutant General.
(WR LX: 683)
Headquarters Department of Arkansas, Little Rock, Ark., January 31, 1865. Lieutenant Colonel Christensen, Assistant Adjutant General:
Colonel: Your communication of 21st instant, per Captain Melville, also two of 17th by mail received yesterday. 'The instructions in reference to Fort Smith will be carried out without delay. The order for troops to proceed to Department of the Gulf and report to military division headquarters will be executed as promptly as possible. The troops now in the field toward Camden will, by their absence, cause some little delay, but troops to fill the call will be placed en route by regiments as fast as they can be disengaged, anticipating, where ever it can be done, the arrival of others to relieve those ordered out of the department. Orders issued yesterday for the immediate movement of the Thirty fifth Wisconsin and ninety sixth Ohio. The following regiments will compose the detachment from Seventh Army corps, viz: twenty ninth Iowa, present for duty, 600; Thirty third Iowa, present for duty 590; Twenty seventh Wisconsin, present for duty, 600; Twenty eighth Wisconsin, present for duty, 565; Fiftieth Indiana, present for duty, 400; Seventy seventh Ohio, present for duty, 270; total, 3025. Very respectfully, yours, &c., J. J. Reynolds, Major General.
(WR LX: 691)
31 Congress Approves Thirteenth Amendment Abolishing Slavery February 4-12 Attached to U.S. forces, mouth of White River, Reserve Corps, Military Division West Mississippi.
Attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, Reserve Corps.
Headquarters U. S. Forces, Mouth of the White River, Ark., February 3, 1865
Maj. John Levering, Assistant Adjutant General Department of Arkansas: Major: The Resolute arrived last night with two barges in tow from Little Rock all right. She was fired upon at four different points. No damage done. The officer in charge reports that the largest party of rebels he saw would not number over twelve or fifteen. After relieving all permanent details of ninety sixth Ohio with dismounted men of First Indiana Cavalry, cutting those details down as much as possible, we have twenty three dismounted men left, upon which we will have to depend for provost guard, which is absolutely necessary, and as guards for boats going up the Arkansas river. i do not think it would be safe to send boats up the Arkansas without a guard of at least twenty five men. Two boats are now expected from Memphis for Little Rock. i will furnish the largest guard possible for them. Of the mounted men I have here it is necessary to keep them on duty as an island patrol, as a party of four jayhawkers came on the island a few nights since and robbed two citizens of clothing, money, &c. As there are a large number of dismounted cavalry in the department i hope you will excuse me for suggesting that about 100 of them be sent here to be used as guards on Arkansas River boats. With their carbines and pistols they would be as effective as infantry. The Ninety sixth Ohio are ready to go as soon as transportation can be obtained for them. The only New Orleans boat that has passed down since the order in regard to Ninety sixth was received was crowed with troops and horses. Very respectfully your obedient servant. G. F. McGinnis, Brigadier General, Commanding.
(WR LX: 732)
Moved to Kennersville, La., February 4, 1865, Thence to Mobile Point February 16.
Kennerville, February 8, 1865.
Maj. Gen. F. Steele: (Care of Lieut. Col. C. T. Christensen, Assistant Adjutant General.) The Ninety sixth Ohio, of Colonel Black's brigade, has just arrived from mouth of White River. Jno. F. Lacey, Assistant Adjutant General.
(WR LX: 775)
Kennerville, February 10, 1865. (Received 6.40 p.m.) Lieut. col. C. T. Christensen, Assistant Adjutant General:
Colonel: the following regiments and batteries have left, viz: One hundred and fourteenth Ohio, Twenty fourth Indiana, and Thirty fourth Iowa, of General Andrews brigade; Forty seventh Indiana, Twenty first Iowa, Twenty ninth Wisconsin, and Ninety ninth Illinois, of General Lawler's brigade; Eighth Illinois, eleventh Illinois and Forty sixth Illinois of General Dennis brigade, and the fourth and Seventh Massachusetts Batteries. Transportation is required for the following named regiments: Thirty seventh Illinois, Twentieth Iowa, and Ninety sixth Ohio of colonel Black's brigade; Twenty ninth Illinois Thirtieth Missouri and One hundred and sixty first New York, of the Third Brigade, first division, Col L. Kent commanding and Twenty third Iowa, Twenty eighth Illinois and Seventeenth Ohio batteries are awaiting orders in the city. The Second Connecticut and part of the Second Massachusetts are at Greenville. The Twenty first New York and one section of the Second Massachusetts are at Morganza, under orders for Greenville. The Twenty sixth New York and Fifteenth Massachusetts are here. Very respectfully, John F, Lacey, Captain and Assistant Adjutant General.
(WR LX: 801).
Special Orders No. 43. Hdqrs. Mil. Div. of West Mississippi, New Orleans, La., February 12, 1865.
3. . .
Third Division: First Brigade--Twenty eighth Illinois Infantry, Thirty fifth Wisconsin Infantry, ninety sixth Ohio Infantry, seventy seventh Illinois Infantry; Second Brigade--Seventh Vermont Infantry, Twenty ninth Iowa Infantry, Ninety first Illinois Infantry, fiftieth Indiana Infantry; Third Brigade--Thirty third Iowa Infantry, twenty eighth Wisconsin Infantry, Twenty seventh Wisconsin Infantry Seventy seventh Ohio Infantry; light artillery--Twenty first new York Battery, Twenty sixth new York Battery.
. . .
By order of Maj. Gen E. R. S. Canby: C. T. Christensen, Lieutenant Colonel and Assistant Adjutant General.
(WR LX: 823-4)
Department of the Gulf, Maj. Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut. U. S. Forces Mobile Point, Brig Gen. William P. Benton. Third Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, Brig. Gen. William P. Benton. First Brigade, Col. David P. Grier. 96th Ohio (five companies), Lieut. Col. Albert H. Brown. (WR LX: 1022) March 4 Lincoln inaugurated for second term March 17-April 12 Union Forces operating against Mobile, ala., Maj. Gen. Edward R. S. Canby, commanding. Thirteenth Army Corps, Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger, Third Division, Brig. Gen. William P. Benton. First Brigade, Col. David P. Grier. 96th Ohio (five companies) Lieut. Col. Albert H. Brown (WR XLIX: 106)
Campaign Against Mobile and its Defenses March 17-April 13.
Assault and Capture of Fort Blakely April 9, last major battle of the Civil War.
Siege of Fort Blakeley http://www.siteone.com/tourist/blakeley/index.html
Report of Col. David P. Grier, Seventy seventh Illinois Infantry, commanding First Brigade, of operations March 17--April 9.
Hdqrs. First Brig., Third Div., 13th Army Corps, Near Blakely, Ala., April 11, 1865.
Captain: In obedience to orders received from division headquarters I have the honor to submit the following report of the movements of the brigade under my command since leaving Fort Morgan to the present time:
On the 16th of March, 1865, I received orders to move with my command at daylight on the morning of the 17th. In obedience to this order I started at 4 a.m. and marched about eleven miles. On the 18th marched about fifteen miles. On the 19th succeeded in marching about six miles, having been engaged most of the day in building corduroy roads. On the 20th remained in camp awaiting the arrival of our train, which had been detained by the bad roads. On the 21st we broke camp and started forward during a terrible rain storm, which continued until about 12 o'clock. We did not succeed in moving over three miles, being compelled to move the artillery and trains with the men of my command. on the morning of the 22d I placed all my command at work building corduroy roads, and marched at 2 o'clock in the afternoon; went into camp late at night with the division train, having marched about three miles, and brought through the whole train over roads that might be considered impassable. On the 23d I moved at 6 a.m. still having the train of the division under my charge, and at 4 p.m., reached Fish river with the train. My command camped on the south bank of the river until the afternoon of the 25th, when we moved forward, still having the division train under my charge. On account of the bad roads the train was delayed, and I did not get it safely into camp until midnight, and was then compelled to corral it about two miles in rear of the balance of the division. On the morning of the 26th I moved at daylight and at 5 p.m. camped about one mile and a half from Spanish Fort. At 8 o'clock on the morning of the 27th I received orders to form my brigade and to move forward and take position on the right of the first Division, thirteenth Army corps. I immediately formed in column by regiments, the Twenty eighth Illinois in front, Seventy seventh Illinois, Ninety sixth Ohio, and Thirty fifth Wisconsin immediately in rear, and deployed four companies from the first three regiments as skirmishers. i advanced my line in this order about half a mile, when I deployed my column into line, withdrew the four companies, and deployed the Ninety sixth Ohio as skirmishers. My whole line then advanced, passed over troops of some division formed in rear of some works, and had proceeded but a short distance when my skirmishers discovered the skirmish line of the enemy advancing over the brow of the hill immediately in advance. We at once opened fire on them, and they hastily retreated to their works, firing but very few shots. The Ninety sixth Ohio then advanced about 100 yards in front of the hill on which the Seventh Massachusetts Battery was afterward placed. I then moved my brigade and placed it in camp under the brow of the same hill. My brigade remained in this position for two or three days, when I was directed by the division commander to form two lines. In obedience to this order I moved the Ninety sixth Ohio and Thirty fifth Wisconsin about 500 yards to the rear, The next day after moving the Thirty fifth Wisconsin was temporarily detached, by order of the commanding general of the corps, for the purpose of doing some engineer work in front of the whole corps. The balance of my command retained their camps during the whole siege, although our skirmish line was changed twice. The approaches and parallels which were placed under my charge were worked at by the men day and night, and just before the evacuation of the fort we had approached to within a very few yards of the enemy's works. The officers and men of all the regiments in my command deserve great credit for the energy and zeal they displayed in pushing forward the work allotted to them. Most of them worked and skirmished four nights in succession without any sleep or rest, and it seemed to be the determination of all to take the works of the enemy at all hazards. Colonel Orff and Lieutenant Colonels Reid, Brown, and Ritter, of the Thirty fifth Wisconsin, Seventy seventh Illinois, Ninety sixth Ohio, and Twenty eighth Illinois, deserve special mention for their untiring energy, as they all personally superintended the works under the charge of their regiments, and could be found in the front works both day and night. On the night of the 8th of April the enemy evacuated his works, and the pickets belonging to my command were in the fort before all the troops of the enemy had vacated it. On the 9th, about 1 p.m., my command moved out on the Blakely road and arrived here at 5.30, just in time to form line and be in readiness to support the assaulting column on Blakely. Our services, however, were not needed, as the troops already here gallantly carried the enemy's works by assault. I am indebted to my staff officers--Lieut. H. P. Ayres, Seventy seventh Illinois, acting assistant adjutant general; Captain Durell, Twenty eighth Illinois, acting assistant quartermaster, and Lieutenant McClurg, Ninety Sixth Ohio, acting aide-de-camp--for valuable services during the march and siege. Enclosed you will fined a complete list of the casualties of the different regiments in my command from the 17th of March to the 9th of April. Very respectfully your obedient servant, D. P. Grier, Col. 77th Illinois Vols., Comdg. 1st Brig., 3d Div., 13th Army Corps.
(WR XLIX: 220-1)
Return for casualties in the Union forces operating against Mobile, Ala., [96th Ohio: 4 enlisted men wounded and 1 enlisted man missing or captured] (WR XLIX: 111).
"The regiment remained at the mouth of White River until the fourth of February, when it moved to Kennersville, Louisiana; thence on the sixteenth, to Mobile Point. It was engaged in the operations around Mobile, taking part in the siege of the Spanish fort until its evacuation on the eighth of April, 1865, and in the capture of Mobile April 12, 1865. Shortly after the capture of Mobile, the regiment was sent on expeditions to Namahubbel Bluffs on the Tombigbee, and to McIntosh Bluffs. " (History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 325).
April 1 Battle of Five Forks 9 Lee Surrenders at Appomattox April 12. Occupation of Mobile (Skirmish at Whistler Station or Whistlers Bridge)
"The last volley fired by the Ninety-sixth was on April 12, at Whistler Station, seven miles above Mobile, in a lively skirmish with Dick Taylor's retreating forces" (History of Marion County, Ohio 188 : 470).
Expedition to Tombigbee River and Mcintosh Bluffs April 13-May 9. 14-15 Lincoln Shot at Ford's Theater dies the next day 18 Joseph Johnston Surrenders to Sherman May 29 President Johnson issues pardon and amnesty for rebels July 7 Attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 13th Army Corps, Military Division West Mississippi. Duty at Mobile till July. Mustered out July 7, 1865.
"On the ninth of May the regiment returned to Mobile, where it was mustered out of the service July 7, 1865, and embarked from that city for Camp Chase, Ohio, via New Orleans, Cairo and Cincinnati, where the men were paid off and sent to their homes. At the date of muster-out the regiment numbered four hundred and twenty-seven, including the company transferred from the Forty-second.
The Ninety-sixth marched one thousand six hundred and eighty-three miles; was transported by boat seven thousand six hundred and eighty-six miles, and by railroad five hundred and seventeen miles, making a grand total of nine thousand eight hundred and eighty-six miles." (History of Knox County, Ohio 1881: 325).
"The regiment returned to Mobile on the 9th of May, where it remained until mustered out July 7, 1865, excepting forty men, whose term of service had not expired, and who were transferred to the Seventy-seventh Battalion, Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, and served as a detachment in that battalion until March, 1866" (History of Marion County, Ohio 188 : 470).
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