The Infantry Soldier. In the infantry is the main strength of an army. Cavalry and artillery are the auxiliaries. The final results of a war or campaign are achieved by this arm of the service; and the foot-soldier should bear in mind the importance of his position, and seek to achieve the highest perfection of his arm. No cavalry or artillery can stand against perfect infantry properly handled.
(From August V Kautz, The 1865 Customs of Service for Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers--A Handbook for the Rank and file of the Army)
Notes Concerning Roster: The Regimental Roster which can be accessed at the left is the result of a detailed comparison of the every name and every variation of names lists derived from the records of the National Archives. One such list, posted by the United States Park Service, is based on the index to the Compiled Military Service Record index cards located at the National Archives and can be accessed at http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.htm . The other list comes from the Ancestry.com CD set entitled "Military Records: Civil War Service Records" which are based on Record Group 94 in the National Archives. These list are far from identical since they are based on two different record sets.
It should be noted that the military during the Civil War did not have serial numbers, social security numbers, dog tags and did not have the immense amount of data on each participant that it has on soldiers serving today. On top of this, many of the soldiers were either illiterate or semi-literate. Each time a soldier reenlisted or regimental returns were prepared, there was the potential for mistakes in spelling names and it is often difficult to read the hand writing of the recorders. Now we have to determine, for example, how many men are represented by the six "James B. Mustains" in Company I.
The simplest solution is to present all of the names and variations of the spellings and let the user decide what to do with them based on his or her purpose. This is the course taken by rosters already available for the Ninety Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry on the Internet ( http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.htm and http://www.gendex.com/users/wr8aop/cw1/96ove.htm ) and we did not try to duplicate these efforts. It is to everyone's advantage to develop a list that closely reflects the real membership of the unit, eliminating the duplicates and the misspelled names. This is what we have tried to do through a comparison of the Park Service Roster and the Ancestry.com roster. The result is not perfect but we feel it is closer to the real list of members.
The total roster presented here has 1303 men listed who were divided into 10 companies of between 112 to 189 men. This is about 250 more men than a normal regiment in the Union Army. One reason for the greater numbers is that members of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry joined the 96th when the 42nd mustered out in late 1864. The companies of the 96th were reorganized as enlistments ended and casualties reduced the number of men in the regiment and men from the 42nd came into the unit. The "regiment" consolidated into 4 companies on November 18, 1864. Companies A, B, C and D. That means that the 96th had about 500 men on their roster when they reorganized and ended up mustering out about 430 in June and July 1865. Some of the men of the 96th subsequently joined the 77th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and served another year with this unit in Texas. The Regimental Roster is available at the left and each company roster is available under the Organization page.
The regiment lost during service included 2 Officers and 46 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded. At the same time 5 Officers and 286 Enlisted men in the regiment died from disease. The total deaths suffered by the 96th Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiment was 339. If we assume that the regiment consisted of 1300 men (at least as a sum total at the very end) the unit lost 25% of its men through casualties. Add this to those who were unfit and who left early for other reasons the "regiment" was always far less than a regulation 1000 strong Union Army Regiment. In its first real engagement at Arkansas Post the regiment could muster only 244 effectives being reduced by what the commanding officer said was "sickness and detail".
The original roster quoted by Union County Ohio History "THE MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS OF OHIO IN THE FIELD DURING THE WAR, WITH THE LEADING FACTS IN THEIR HISTORY" http://www.heritagepursuit.com/Union/UnRostb.htm . shows 1014 men when it was organized and 427 when they mustered out. The same source has the 96th O. V. I. casualties from Union County alone as : Enlisted, 138; killed, 2; died, 43; wound. ed, 12; prisoner, 7. Total loss, 64.