The Forty-Ninth Ohio was organized at Tiffin, Seneca County, under special authority from the Secretary of War. Colonel William H. Gibson recruited and drilled the regiment. It started from Camp Noble, near Tiffin, to Camp Dennison on the 10th of September, 1861, received its equipment on the 21st of September, and moved for Louisville, Kentucky, where it arrived the next day, and reported to Brigadier General Robert Anderson, who had just assumed command of that place. It was the first organized regiment to enter Kentucky. The reception of this regiment in Louisville was cordial to the extreme. It was not known outside of military headquarters that the regiment was on its way from Ohio. As the two boats, lashed together, neared the wharf the regimental band performed National airs, and as the regiment landed the people of the city received it with enthusiasm, formed in its rear and marched with it through the principal streets to the headquarters of General Anderson. The General appeared on the balcony of the hotel and welcomed the regiment in a short address, to which Colonel Gibson responded. These ceremonies over the people of Louisville turned out en masse, improvised a magnificent dinner at the Louisville Hotel, and the members of the regiment had a hilarious time. In the evening the regiment took the cars for Lebanon Junction, with orders to report to General W.T. Sherman, who was at that point in command of Rosseau's Louisville Legion and some Home Guards. The next morning it crossed Rolling Fork, wading the river, and marched to Elizabethtown, and went into camp on Muldraugh's Hill. Lying at this place until the 10th of October it then moved to Nolin Creek and went into Camp Nevin.
In the subsequent organization of the Second Division of the Army of Ohio, the Forty-Ninth was assigned to the Sixth Brigade, General R.W. Johnson commanding. On the 10th of December this division moved to Munfordsville, on the Green River, and drove the Rebels to the opposite side of the river, and established Camp Wood, so named in honor of Hon. George Wood, member of the Kentucky Military Board, who lived in Munfordsville. On the 17th of December the National pickets, from the 32nd Indiana Infantry, on the south side of the Green River, were attacked by Hinman's Arkansas Brigade and Terry's Texas Rangers. In sending troops to the relief of the pickets, the 49th Ohio was the first to cross the river, followed by the 39th Indiana. The enemy was met and repulsed, Colonel Terry, one of the Rebel commanders, being killed.
From the 17th of December to to the 14th of February the regiment lay in camp perfecting itself in drill and dicipline.
On the 14th of February, 1862, under orders, it left camp and moved on Bowling Green. After some delay in getting across the river it marched toward Nashville, reaching there on the 3d of March, and established Camp Andrew Johnson. On the 16th of March it moved with Buell's army to join Grant's forces at Pittsburg Landing, arriving there on the 6th. On the 7th the 49th went into battle at eleven o'clock with its brigade, which was commanded by Colonel Gibson, who left his regiment in charge of Lieutenant Colonel A.M. Blackman. The position of the regiment was on the left of the brigade, connecting on the right with Crittenden's division. Maintaining this position under a hot fire until four o'clock in the afternoon the regiment, with the enemy in full retreat, stacked its arms and lay down to rest. During the battle the regiment twice performed the hazardous movement of changing front under fire.
The 49th participated in the succeeding movement on and siege of Corinth, having a sharp fight at Bridge's Creek, and at other points along the way, and entered Corinth with the army on the 30th of May, 1862. It was sent in pursuit of the enemy, passing through Jericho, Iuka, and other points, to Tuscumbia and Florence, Alabama, crossing the river at the latter point. From there it marched to Battle Creek, Tennessee. Here commenced the movement after Bragg's Rebel army, which was then entering Kentucky, threatening Louisville and Cincinnati. This march was made under terrible sufferings from intense heat, want of water and short rations.
Reaching Louisville on the 29th of September, and resting for a few days, the army resumed its march in pursuit of the enemy. Moving out on the Frankfort Turnpike, through Shelbyville, driving the enemy before them, Frankfort was reached on the 5th of October, in time to disperse the Rebel troops gathered there to guard the inauguration of Captain Dick Hawes as Rebel Governor of Kentucky. On the morning of the 7th the march was resumed, under orders to join the main army, the junction being made the day following the battle of Perryville. During the whole of the march from Louisville to Perryville there was daily skirmishing. At Lawrenceburg and Dog Walk brisk engagements were fought, in each of which the 49th Ohio was conspicuously engaged, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Levi Drake.
Pursuing the enemy to Crab Orchard the 49th, with its brigade and division, marched to Bowling Green. From there it marched toward Nashville and on the 5th of October was with the advance that raised the siege of that city. It then went into camp at Mill Creek and remained there until the 29th of December.
General Rosecrans, in command of the Army of the Cumberland, commenced his movement on Murfreesboro' on the 26th of December. The regiment moved out of Nashville on the Nolinsville Turnpike with the right wing, under Major General McCook, and after constant skirmishing found itself in line of battle on the extreme right of the National army before Murfreesboro', on the evening of the 30th. At six o'clock the next morning Kirk's brigade, to the left and front, on the right, was furiously assaulted by the enemy, and giving way, was thrown back on the 49th, which at once became engaged, and was borne back by overwhelming numbers a mile and a half to the Nashville Turnpike, which was reached after an incessant conflict of nine hours.
On the following morning the regiment was sent to reconnoiter on the right and rear of the main army. Returning from this duty it rejoined its brigade, and that day was engaged, operating on the extreme right of the army in connection with Stanley's cavalry. On Friday, January 2d, it occupied a position in reserve, to the center, until late in the afternoon, when upon the repulse of Van Cleve's division on the left it was ordered, with its brigade, to retrieve the fortunes of the day on that part of the field. It joined in a magnificent bayonet charge, which resulted in recovering the lost ground and a severe defeat to the enemy. When the battle opened the entire field and staff of the 49th were present. At its close it was in the command of the junior Captain, S.F. Gray. By the capture of General Willich, Colonel Gibson, of the 49th, succeeded to the command of the brigade. Lieutenant Colonel Drake was killed while bravely cheering his men, Major Porter was wounded, and all the senior Captains present either killed or wounded. The regiment was now engaged in various foraging expeditions, and lost a number of men in encounters with the enemy.
On June 24th the regiment and army moved from Murfreesboro', and at Liberty Gap found the enemy strongly posted to contest an advance of the National forces. The First Brigade, to which the 49th was attached, was at once formed in order of battle, and after some maneuvers and hard fighting, the 49th assaulted the enemy's right, posted on a high hill. It scaled the heights in the face of a severe fire, drove the enemy from that position, and compelled him to fall back to another but equally strong position, about a mile to his rear. On the following day the advance was resumed, other troops taking the lead and engaging the enemy until three o'clock P.M., when the 49th was brought into action on the enemy's center, which covered the valley, his flanks resting upon the hills. A new and peculiar drill had been introduced into the regiment for formation in four ranks to advance firing. When within range, at the word of command, the regiment opened fire, advancing briskly, and soon the enemy's center was broken, and by the co-operation of other troops his position was occupied. Reaching Tullahoma without further engagement, July 1st, the regiment went into camp.
In August the National army commenced its movement on Chattanooga, and on the 31st the 49th crossed the Tennessee River near Bellefont. The regiment, under command of Major S.F. Gray, in the battle of Chickamuaga, held a position in the morning of the first day, on the extreme right of the Union forces, forming a part of General R.W. Johnson's division. Before being engaged the brigade and division were shifted to the extreme left of the army, and joined with Thomas' corps. At two o'clock P.M. the regiment became engaged with the enemy's right, posted in a dense woods. A charge was made and the enemy driven. In this charge the 49th captured two guns. Three guns in all were captured by the brigade. The charge occured between three and four o'clock P.M. At dusk the enemy, having been reinforced made a charge. Moving up silently in the darkness, the Rebels gained a point near to and in the front of the National forces, delivered a withering volley, uttered their demonic yell, an rushed forward with the bayonet. The National forces were on the alert, but the suddenness of the attack staggered and caused them to give ground. They quickly rallied, however, and opening fire the Rebels were repulsed. The 49th retired to the rear of other troops and lay down on their arms to rest.
On the second day of this battle the 49th Ohio was constantly engaged in various parts of the field, and accomplished a brilliant exploit, in connection with Goodspeed's battery, the 15th Ohio, and other troops, which, it is claimed, saved Thomas' corps from being swept from the field. The enemy had broken through the National left and were exultingly charging for the center, when the 49th faced to the rear and poured into the Rebels a withering fire. From the other side of the circle Goodspeed's battery and the 15th Ohio delivered a destructive fire, and the enemy was checked and sent back on his main body.
When the National forces withdrew that night, the 49th with its brigade was the last to retire. Reaching Rossville it threw up temporary field works, and awaited the approach of the enemy. On the following night it retired into Chattanooga.
On November 24th the 49th joined in the movement against Mission Ridge. Driving the enemy's advance line, it reached Orchard Knob, remaining until next day. On the 25th, Hooker having accomplished his brilliant movements on the right, while Sherman was pressing the enemy vigorously on the left, the entire center of the National force was rallied to the charge, and the 49th, with conspicuous gallantry, was among the first to plant its colors on the summit of Mission Ridge.
Immediately after this success the regiment moved with Granger's corps to the relief of Burnside's forces at Knoxville. This campaign was one of the most severe that the National forces were called on to endure during the war. The weather was intensely cold, with snow on the ground, the men almost naked, and without shoes, and rations exhausted. The march of the army was literally tracked by bloody foot marks. And yet these brave fellows did not grumble, but were eager to be led against the foe. Marching to Strawberry Plains, and hearing that Burnside had repulsed Longstreet, the National troops returned to Chattanooga. In the midst of this severe campaign the men of the 49th were called upon to re-inlist for the war, to which call a prompt response was given.
Returning to Ohio to enjoy its veteran furlough of thirty days, it was warmly received at Tiffin, its place of organization. Judge J.K. Hurd, of Tiffin, delivered a speech of welcome, to which responses were made by Colonel Gibson and other officers of the regiment.
At the expiration of its furlough the regiment reported at the headquarters of the Fourth Corps at Cleveland, Tennessee, where the National forces were then concentrating and reorganizing for the campaign against Atlanta. In this arduous campaign the history of the regiment was but that of the Fourth Army Corps. It participated in the engagements at Dalton, Resaca, Dallas, Pickett's Mill, Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahoochie River and Atlanta, exhibiting in every emergency its qualities of courage and dicipline, and suffering severely in the loss of men, killed and wounded. Joining in the movement that forced the enemy from Atlanta, it participated in the battle at Jonesboro' and Lovejoy Station, and, after abandoning the pursuit of the enemy, returned to camp at Atlanta.
When the grand army was divided, and General Sherman commenced his march to the sea, the Army of the Cumberland, under General George H. Thomas, was left to attend to the Rebel General Hood, in his mad movement toward Nashville. In the movement of Thomas' forces the 49th Ohio, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Strong, fully sustained its reputation, participating in the various skirmishes, and the battles of Franklin and Nashville. In the battle before Nashville, on the 15th and 16th of December, 1864, the regiment participated in several brilliant charges made by the Fourth Army Corps, and suffered severely in killed and wounded. After the battle it was in the column that pursued Hood's defeated an demoralized forces across the Tennessee River. When the pursuit ceased the regiment, with the corps, went into camp at Huntsville, Alabama, and remained there until about the middle of March, 1865. In that month a movement was made to East Tennessee by rail, going into camp at Greenville. On its return from this expedition to Nashville, it was placed on transports, on the 15th of June, and taken to Texas by way of New Orleans.
Reaching Texas in July, the regiment landed at Victoria and moved to the interior as far as San Antonio, by way of Green Lake and Gonzales. It suffered the harships of that service for four months, then returned to Victoria, where it was mustered out of service on the 30th of November, 1865.
Eight officers were killed in battle, and twenty wounded (six of these mortally). Of the privates, one hundred and twenty-seven were killed in battle, seventy-one were mortally wounded, one hundred and sixty-five died from the hardships of disease, an seven perished in Rebel prisons at Andersonville and Danville. Six hundred and sixteen were discharged on account of wounds or other disability.
Willich's Brigade - Wood's Division
Fourth Corps - Army of the Cumberland
Shiloh, Tenn., .......... April 6-7, 1862
Corinth, Miss., .......... October 3-4, 1862
Lawrenceburg, Ky., .......... October 9, 1862
Dog Walk, Ky., .......... October, 9, 1862
Stone River, Tenn., .......... Dec. 31, 1862, - Jan. 2, 1863
Liberty Gap, Tenn., .......... June 24, 1863
Christmas Creek, Tenn., .......... June 24, 1863
Chickamauga, Ga., .......... September 19-20, 1863
Mission Ridge, Tenn., .......... November 25, 1863
Rocky Face Ridge, Ga., .......... May 5-9, 1864
Resaca, Ga., .......... May 13-16, 1864
Cassville, Ga., .......... May 19-22, 1864
Pickett's Mill, Ga., .......... May 27, 1864
Kenesaw Mountain, Ga., .......... June 9-30, 1864
Atlanta, Ga., (Siege of) .......... July 28,-Sept. 2, 1864
Lovejoy Station, Ga., .......... September 2-6, 1864
Columbia, Tenn., ..........November 24-28, 1864
Franklin, Tenn., ..........November 30, 1864
Nashville, Tenn., ..........December 15-16, 1864
From: Ohio in the War
By Whitelaw Reid
Moore, Wilstach and Baldwin
Cincinnati Ohio 1868
Images From: Ohio's Silver Tongued Orator:
Life and Speeches of General William H. Gibson
By David Dwight Bigger
United Brethren Publishing House
Dayton Ohio 1901
For more info see the 49th Ohio Infantry page at Ohio in the Civil War.
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