A HISTORY OF THE 80TH OHIO VOL. INF.
On January 7th, 1865, General Sherman issued preliminary orders to General Logan, directing the 15th Corps should be held in readiness to move from Savannah to Beaufort, South Carolina by transport ships, and that the First Division should be moved to Fort Thunderbolt preparatory to embarkation. On the 9th of January, General Woods moved his Division to Fort Thunderbolt and commenced embarking on the morning of the 10th. After the First Division had embarked, the Second Division moved to the wharves on the 14th of January.
Union forces had by this time moved from Beaufort To Pocataligo and reconnaissance of the road south to Savannah from there showed the road was in fair condition and could be used for moving the rest of the troops to Pocataligo. When the movement by land first started, the First Division and nearly all of the Second Division of the 15th Army Corps had already shipped out on the transport ships. The Third Division (that of the 80th Ohio), and the Fourth Division would move by land.
On the 19th of January, 1865, the 80th Ohio broke camp and at 6 a.m. moved with the 80th's Second Brigade in advance, across the Savannah River on pontoons to Hutchinson's Island. Here they found the roads almost impassable, and the movements of the Division were slow. Then they crossed on pontoons to Pennyworth's Island. Arriving at the last pontoon, they found it unsafe to cross due to the high water. Several of the Pontoon boats were loose and the officer in charge seemed to be making no effort to repair it. General Smith detailed 50 men to report to him, and by a little urging succeeded in getting it into position and made fast, having been delayed one hour. Having crossed over to Cheves' rice plantation, the Division moved over one of the causeways running through the plantation, which for some distance was high but quite narrow, barely admitting the passage of wagons. About this time (9.30 a.m.) it commenced raining slightly, and it was evident that unless they could cross before it rained much it would be impossible to get through, as the heavy wagons would soon cut down the slight embankment. General Smith therefore made very effort to reach the Union Causeway as soon as possible. Upon reaching the latter point, finding that the train was moving without difficulty, and as he thought it had not rained sufficiently to soften the roads, General Smith pushed forward as rapidly as possible to New River bridge, to clear the road for the Fourth Division, following him, and at the same time, if necessary, cover the working party (from the Fourth Division) constructing a bridge across New River. The Second Brigade arrived at 1 p.m. being the head of the column, and about 2 p.m. Battery B, First Michigan Artillery, the wagon train of the Second Brigade, ammunition, and nearly all of the supply train came into camp well closed up, having marched a distance of twelve miles. At about 11 a.m. it commenced raining very hard, and continued to do so during the day.
At about 3 p.m. it was reported that the water about the plantation had risen high enough for the corduroy on the low portions of the causeway, or dike, to float off. In consequence, a few wagons of the supply train were stalled, and the First Brigade, in the rear, could not come forward. General Smith at once sent one of his staff officers to direct Colonel McCown, commanding the First Brigade, to have the contents of the wagons carried by the men of his command, and to have the wagons dragged through to the other side. He also sent word to General Corse, reporting to him the condition of the roads as he might find them. It appeared that all the country over which the Second Brigade had passed was now submerged.
The full extent of the flood was not realized until the next morning, the 20th of January, when General Smith rode down intending to report their condition in person, thinking he could make his way to Savannah via Scribner's Ferry, but found it impossible to do so. General Smith ordered Colonel McCown and the First Brigade to return to Savannah with his command and all wagons, abandoning such wagons as he could not get off. This was done with a loss of nine wagons of the supply train, together with their contents. The rain had not ceased since noon of the 19th. The Brigade's camp was on the site of one formerly occupied by the cavalry, who had dug, in a dry season, a number of wells from twelve to fifteen feet deep. These being now full could not be seen due to the water being at least 6 inches deep all over the ground,. and a number of men contributed to the merriment of their comrades by suddenly disappearing from view. General Smith, being tired and hungry when he returned to the camp, called upon the cook of his mess for something to eat. The cook presented himself with a pig's foot in one hand and some hard-tack in the other. When General Smith, asked what this was about, the cook informed him that "dere was no plate, knife and fork, dey was all clean done gone." Upon inquiry, General Smith learned that the cook had taken a plunge in one of the wells and lost the whole of their scanty mess kit in it.
On January 21st, the Brigade broke camp at 8:30 a.m. and crossed New River and marched seven miles, going into camp at 3:30 p.m., three miles south of Hazzard's Bridge. Seven small bridges were built and 380 yards of road corduroyed. It rained all day and three miles of the road was covered with water to the depth of from one to two feet. On the 22nd, they broke camp near Hazzard's Bridge at 7 a.m. and marched twelve miles, encamping on J. J. Huguenin's plantation near Bee's Creek at 4 p.m. It again rained all day. The Brigade built five small bridges, totaling about 70 feet. Nearly four miles of the road was through swamps, covered with water. On the 23rd, they again broke camp near Bee's Creek at 8:30 a.m. and marched ten miles, encamping near Pocotaligo at 3 p.m. It rained again all day. From January 24th to the 29th, inclusive, the Brigade remained in camp, getting supplies for the next movement. The weather cleared, but the winds were cold.
The command broke camp on the 30th of January, the First Brigade being reported near Pocotaligo, and marched six miles, encamping one mile west of McPhersonville, South Carolina. The weather now had turned pleasant. The command remained in camp on the 31st. The next morning they left camp at 7 a.m. with orders to follow the First Division. They marched 15 miles that day and encamped at Hickory Hill that night. At 9 a.m. the next morning the 80th Ohio and its Division followed the Second Division to Anderson's Crossroads where they encamped for the night. The weather was clear and pleasant, but the roads were bad.
On February 3rd, the 80th Ohio broke camp and with their Division marched to Duck Creek, a distance of 5 miles. It was now raining. At Duck Creek the foragers had a sharp skirmish with the enemy's pickets for possession of a mill which they captured, together with a quantity of corn meal. The Division encamped at 2 p.m. On the next morning they left camp at 6 a.m. with the rain still falling. Marching 10 miles they encamped at Harrison's Cross Roads, near Wills Creek. On the 5th of February, they broke camp at 7 a.m. The Rain had stopped, but the sky was still cloudy. They crossed the Big Salkahatchie River at Buford's Bridge, passing through one mile of swamp on causeways bridged at 26 places. They then marched four miles and encamped at Moye's plantation at 10 a.m.
At 6. a.m. the next morning, February 6th, the 80th Ohio broke camp and continued their march. About two miles from Lane's Bridge over the Little Salkahatchie, the enemy was discovered. Two companies of the 10th Iowa were deployed and thrown forward in advance of the column. The enemy retiring rapidly, the Division advanced in this manner to the river, and upon reconnoitering found that there was a narrow causeway leading to the bridge which had been obstructed by felled trees. The enemy had built works on the other side. General Smith directed Colonel Wever commanding the Second Brigade, and in the advance, to send the 10th Iowa about three-quarters of a mile to their left, at a mill, and the 80th Ohio about the same distance to the right to protect their flanks, and also, if possible, to effect a crossing and attack the enemy in its flank. The 56th Illinois was ordered to make a direct attack from both sides of the road. These movements having been made, the skirmishers from the center plunged into the swamp, the water up to their knees, and the thickets so dense that it required great energy to penetrate them. A lively skirmish fire was then opened up. A section of artillery was brought up and a few shots fired at the enemy. Receiving no return of artillery fire, the order was given to the center to force their way through, which they did, wading across the waist deep main stream. The enemy fell back, and halted on a ridge a half mile away. It appeared that there were about 1,200 to 1,500 of them, all cavalry. The advance regiment hastily threw up a slight works of rails, until support came up. With support, the skirmishers were again deployed and advanced upon the enemy. The confederates retreated faster then the Brigade could follow. Union casualties were five men slightly wounded. The command then encamped on Doctor Fishburn's plantation on the road to Bamberg, having marched a distance of ten miles.
On the 7th of February at 8 a.m. the Division broke camp. It had rained all night and continued during the day. The Division was now in charge of the wagon trains of the First and Second Division. The roads were bad, requiring a great deal of work. They marched five miles and encamped near Bamberg Station, on the South Carolina Railroad. The next day they remained in camp. The weather was now clear and cool. The First Brigade was detailed to destroy three miles of the South Carolina Railroad, which was thoroughly done. On February 9th they broke camp at 6.30 a.m. The weather was still clear and cool. The Division marched seven miles and encamped two miles northwest of Graham's Turnout.
On February 10th they remained in camp during the morning. The First Brigade destroyed two and a half miles of the South Carolina Railroad. The 80th Ohio and the Second Brigade completed the destruction of about one and a half miles of the same railroad. In the afternoon they broke camp at 3 p.m. and marched three and a half miles, encamping at the cross-roads near Holman's Bridge. The next day they broke camp at 6.30 a.m., crossed the South Edisto River on pontoons, and passed through Willow Swamp, the water for one mile about two feet deep. They then marched sixteen miles, encamping at Poplar Springs at 4.30 p.m..
Breaking camp at 8.30 a.m. on the 12th, The Second Division, in advance, had a skirmish with the enemy at Shilling's Bridge, over North Edisto River. General Smith was ordered to hold his Third Division in readiness to support the Second Division, but it was not required. The Division commenced crossing the North Edisto River on pontoons at dark and encamped near the Orangeburg road. The rear guard did not arrive in camp until 1 a.m. on the 13th. The weather was now warm and humid.
On February 13th, they again broke camp and marched seventeen miles, encamping near Big Crotchpen Creek. The weather had cooled off somewhat and the roads were in good shape. Breaking camp at 9 a.m. the next morning, the Division marched 12 more miles and encamped at 3 p.m. near Sandy Run Post Office.
At 7 a.m. on the 15th, the Division broke camp and marched to Bate's Ferry on the Congaree River where, in compliance with orders, a demonstration to cross the river was made. On the opposite side was an enemy picket guard of from twenty five to thirty men. The Division's skirmishers opened fire on them, which the enemy returned. In the meantime, General Smith ordered up one section of Battery B, 1st Michigan Artillery. A few well directed shots dispersed the enemy's pickets, and they did not make any more appearances. At dark, complying with orders, The Division withdrew, leaving one regiment on picket with instructions to keep fires burning for a distance of one and a half miles along the river, giving the appearance of a large camp. The rest of the command encamped near Tom's Creek.
The Division broke camp at 7 a.m. on February 16th and marched on, crossing the Saluda River, near the Saluda Factory, on pontoons at 11:30 p.m. and halted for the night 1:30 a.m. on the 17th, on the Columbia road near Broad River Bridge. They remained in camp until 3 p.m. and then following the Second and Fourth Division, crossed the Broad River on pontoons and marched through Columbia to camp one mile east of the city. They were now in the hated capital of South Carolina, the state which fired the first shots of the war at United States forces. It is said that on their approach, some of the men sang "Hail Columbia, Happy Land, If we don't burn you, I'll be damned." By the morning of the 18th, Columbia lay in ashes. The burning of cotton and warehouses had been ordered, and the flames soon spread in front of fierce winds although some other buildings were probably torched on purpose by soldiers or citizens bent on revenge.
Observing that soldiers were obtaining liquor freely, General Smith gave orders that no one should leave camp. A detail of 500 men each, from the First and Second Brigades, properly officered for fatigue duty, together with the pioneer corps and fifty wagons, reported to Captain Buel, chief ordnance officer, to destroy public works, machinery, ordnance, ordnance stores, and ammunition, of which there were large quantities. On February 19th, the work of demolishing stores of all kinds continued. During the day an explosion took place near the river, where a detail of the 63rd Illinois was unloading ammunition and throwing it into the river when the explosion occurred. Several men were killed, and many more were hurt from the explosion. All the men were of General Smith's Division. None of the men from the 80th Ohio were injured.
On the 20th of February, the Division broke camp at 7 a.m., and with the skies still black from the burning city, marched out on the Camden road for twenty two miles, encamping at 4 p.m near Rice Creek. The weather cleared and the roads were good. The next day, they broke camp at noon and marched seventeen miles to Harrison's Cross Roads, going into camp at 11 p.m., with the rear guard arriving at 12:30 a.m. that morning. Again breaking camp the next day, February 22nd, they marched to Peay's Ferry on the Waterree River, arriving at noon. At this point all surplus animals were turned over to Colonel G. L. Fort, chief quartermaster. The command commenced crossing on pontoons at dark and encamped near the river between the hours of 8:30 and 11:30 p.m. February 23rd found the Division at J. R. Dye's plantation near Flat Rock.
On the 24th of February, the 80th Ohio and its Division broke camp at 6:30 a.m. and marched sixteen miles, encamping at West's Cross Roads at 5 p.m. Quite a large force of enemy cavalry was seen during the day upon their left flank, but they kept a respectful distance. The weather was rainy and the roads were in bad condition. At about 10 a.m. on the 25th, the enemy cavalry captured 7 wagons, 7 enlisted men and 4 contrabands while gathering corn at a plantation two miles in the rear of camp. Some of the enemy came up to within fifty yards of the Divisions picket posts and one of the enemy's horses was shot. General Smith ordered one regiment to move out to drive them off and if possible recover the wagons. The 48th Indiana was selected, and deploying skirmishers, moved out, driving the enemy back off the Camden road. The wagons, however, had been driven rapidly over the bridge across Little Lynch's Creek, and without some mounted forces, the Regiment could not pursue them. The 48th Indiana lost 2 men killed and 1 man wounded. The two men, according to General Smith in his report, had been brutally murdered, in plain view of the Union skirmishers, after having surrendered. In retaliation, General Smith ordered two of the enemy's men, who had been captured wearing Union uniforms, to be shot, which was done on the spot. The Division was not molested any further that night.
The 80th Ohio and its Division broke camp at 9 a.m on the 26th of February, and marched twelve miles, encamping at 4:30 p.m. at Kelly's Bridge, on Lynch's Creek. The 80th Ohio remained in camp here waiting for a bridge to be built across the Creek, the water being too deep to ford. On the 28th of February, the wagon train was inspected, and about 3,000 pounds of tobacco and other sundries, which had been gathered by the men since the last inspection at West's Cross Roads, were thrown out.
The Division broke camp at 2 p.m. on March 2nd, and following the Second Division crossed Lynch's Creek over a bridge 580 yards long, which had been constructed by the pioneer corps. They then marched seven miles, encamping at 8 p.m. at Kellytown. The next day, they left camp at 6 a.m. and crossed Black Creek on the Camden and Cheraw road. Just before arriving at this point General Smith rode about half a mile in advance of the column to examine the crossing at the creek, which he found in bad condition, and requiring considerable work to make it passable. While waiting the arrival of his command, he heard five distinct and successive reports of a pistol, and ten minutes after, five more were fired but not as rapidly. General Smith believed some thoughtless solider at the head of the column was discharging his pistols, which would be in violation of his orders. He soon learned, however, that Lt. Colonel James Isaminger of the 63rd Illinois had been captured by a squad of twenty rebels clothed in the uniform of Union soldiers. Colonel Isaminger had been detached from his regiment for a few days, and was in charge of the pioneer corps. He had ridden 200 or 300 yards ahead of the column, and discovering the road obstructed by a tree that had fallen, he sent back to the pioneer corps for a few axmen to come forward and clear the road. He was working with these men, when some men dressed in Union uniforms, and whom he supposed to be of his command, approached him. This occurred within 200 yards of the advancing column, but due to a hill between them the column could not be seen. The pioneers returning to the head of the column gave the alarm and the advance guard immediately deployed. It seems that after capturing Colonel Isaminger, the enemy rode off a short distance and halted. They so completely deceived the Union soldiers that two mounted men from the wagon train rode up to them and seeing Colonel Isaminger with them, inquired "Where are the rebs?" One of the men was taken prisoner and the other, refusing to surrender, was killed. As soon as General Smith found out what happened, he sent some mounted men to pursue them, but the enemy escaped with their prisoners.
The Division marched 29 miles that day, two of which was cut through the woods on the side of the main road, and encamped at 6:30 p.m. on the Widow Campbell's plantation on Juniper Creek. The weather during the morning was cloudy and rainy.
On March 4th, they broke camp at 7 a.m. and following the remainder of the Corps marched eight miles, passing over Thompson's creek, through Cheraw, and encamped one mile northwest of the town on the Chesterfield road. Another terrible accident occurred at Cheraw similar to that at Columbia. It was a premature explosion at the place where a large quantity of powder and shells had been collected for the purpose of being destroyed. General Woods' infantry was resting near by at the time and a number of teams were waiting to cross the river. The explosion was very loud and shook the ground for miles. One officer and three men were killed, and several men wounded, many quite seriously. The teams were stampeded, and several teamsters were badly injured.
The next day, March 5th, they continued the march and crossed the Big Pedee River. About two miles from the river the Division's foragers ran into what was supposed to be a picket post, but proved to be a portion of the rear guard of the enemy moving out on the Rockingham road. The advance guards were deployed and were soon engaged in a skirmish with them. The enemy retired rapidly, leaving 2 caissons, 2 forage wagons and 1 battery wagon at the edge of Harrington's farm. Two miles farther on the road they had cut three horse from, and abandoned, two more caissons. All the ammunition chests were filled with light 12 pounder ammunition. They were all destroyed. The command marched four miles, encamping on Grant's plantation near Phill's Creek.
The Division remained in camp the next day, running four grist mills. The weather was clear and cool. On the 7th they broke camp at 9 a.m. and marched twelve miles, encamping at 2:30 p.m. one mile from the South Carolina and North Carolina State line on Oldham's plantation. The next day, breaking camp at 9 a.m., they marched thirteen miles to Laurel Hill, North Carolina, where they encamped. It had rained hard all day and the roads were bad. Breaking camp again on the 9th of March, they continued the northward march. The rain commenced falling hard and as soon as the roads got wet, they seemed to melt away. For four miles, before reaching Gilchrist's Bridge, it was impossible to find enough solid ground for a mule to stand on. With help from the First Brigade the wagon train succeeded in reaching the Division's camp at Colonel McCann's residence near Randallsville at 6:30 the next morning. The Second Brigade (that of the 80th Ohio) had been sent forward from Gilchrist's Bridge and encamped near Randallsville.
On March 10th, they broke camp at 9 a.m. and crossed Raft Swamp, encamping at 6 p.m. having gone a distance of five miles. Next day, having broke camp at 10:30 a.m., the Division moved only a short distance from the former camp when a small party of rebel cavalry, dressed again in Union uniforms, dashed up, cut out two horses from an ambulance and succeeded in getting away with them. The men marched six miles that day and encamped at 11 p.m. at Nelson's Post Office. It was nearly a continuous swamp from Gilchrist's Bridge to Rockfish Creek. On the 12th of March, the 80th Ohio and its Third Division broke camp at 9 a.m. and marched seven miles, encamping at 6 p.m. two miles from Fayetteville, North Carolina, on the left of the plank road. The Division remained in camp on the 13th.
The command broke camp at 11 a.m. on the 14th and crossed the Cape Fear River on pontoons at 4 p.m., encamping one mile from the crossing. The weather was warm, but cloudy. During the morning of March 15th, the non-veterans of the Division, mainly from the 59th Indiana and 56th Illinois, were ordered to proceed as guard to the refugees, white and black, to Wilmington, North Carolina, and upon their arrival there to be mustered out of service. That afternoon the Division broke camp and marched twelve miles, camping two miles from South River at 6:30 p.m. The weather was rainy and again the roads were bad.
Leaving their camp a 9 a.m. on the 16th, the Division moved to the crossing at South River. Since the crossing at the river was in very bad condition, the command was delayed here by the crossing of the Fourth and Second Divisions until 3 p.m. They had great difficulty in getting the Division's wagons across. They then marched seven miles over very bad roads and went into camp at the forks of the road near the head of Jones' Swamp. The next day they marched eight miles and encamped at 3 p.m. at Jackson's Cross Roads. The weather had cleared, but the roads were still bad.
On March 18th, the Division broke camp at 7 a.m. and marched twelve miles, encamping at Newton's Cross Roads at 4 p.m. A rebel cavalry picket had been reported to be one mile out on the Division's front and the 63rd Illinois was sent forward to reconnoiter. The regiment went out three miles without meeting the enemy, but saw quite a large force of bummers (foragers) from the Union Army's 14th and 20th Corps.
Marching north again the next day at 6 a.m. the Division moved toward Goldsborough. The crossing at Falling Creek was very bad, the water being deep and the corduroy on the bottom full of holes. From this point the Division moved on with the advance of the Division being the Second Brigade (that of the 80th Ohio). They moved to Falling Creek School House where the Division was ordered to halt. The 80th Ohio was sent to cover the Goldsborough road and the 10th Iowa was sent out in charge of Lt. Colonel William Strong, of General Howard's staff, to reconnoiter toward Cox's Bridge. The 56th Illinois was left as guard with the trains. At 4 p.m. the First Brigade, with the remainder of the wagon trains, arrived. At 5 p.m. that portion of the Second Brigade in camp and on the Goldsborough road, being the 56th Illinois and the 80th Ohio, respectively, were ordered forward to Cox's Cross Roads to the support of the 10th Iowa, it being reported that the enemy was moving toward them in considerable force. The First Brigade encamped at 6 p.m. on the left of Cox's Bridge road, one mile from the school house, where a line of works was thrown up. Heavy firing on the left was heard during the day, reportedly by an attack upon the 14th Corps.
On March 20th, in compliance with orders, the Second Brigade (80th Ohio's), Colonel C. R. Wever commanding, with one section of Battery B, 1st Michigan Artillery, moved down toward Cox's Bridge at 5 a.m.. They were to make a demonstration upon the enemy near the Bridge, under orders to drive them across the river and if possible compel them to destroy the bridge. The only road to the bridge ran between a swamp and the river for nearly a mile and was covered by the enemy's artillery. It was not until a path around the swamp could be found that the Regiment's skirmishers succeeded in dislodging them. This was accomplished at 7:45 a.m. the rebels retreated across and from the river, taking off their guns and firing the bridge as they went. The remainder of the command broke camp near Falling Creek Post Office at 5 a.m., and moved forward to Cox's Cross Roads. At 8:15 a.m. the First Brigade and artillery moved out, following the Fourth Division on the Bentonville road to near Mill Creek, at which point the enemy had made a stand, and formed in line of battle about 300 yards in the rear of the First and Fourth Divisions as a reserve. About 4 p.m., the First and Fourth Divisions advanced their line to near that of the enemy, going into position on a ridge opposite their works. At the sound of the bugle, both lines advanced and the enemy was driven back to their works. The Second Brigade was left at Cox's Cross Roads as guard for the trains of the Corps with instructions to skirmish with the enemy until further orders. At 6 p.m. it moved forward with the trains. At 6:30 p.m. the Brigade moved forward on the main road and formed in line of battle about 300 yards on the left and rear of the First Division. The Second Brigade remained in line at the point vacated by the First Brigade. The artillery was parked on the east side of the main road and 200 yards in the rear of the First Brigade. Headquarters were on the road and right flank of the artillery. The Division's loss in the skirmish at Cox's Bridge was 3 wounded, one of them to die the next day. On the 21st, the Division remained in their position and the next day found the enemy had retreated during the night. This concluded the Battle of Bentonville.
Confederate General Joseph Johnston, once again commanding, the Army of Tennessee moved north.
On March 23rd, the 80th Ohio and its Division broke camp at 7:30 a.m. and marched by way of Falling Creek School House and encamped at 3:30 p.m. near Falling Creek on the Everettsville road, a distance of twelve miles. They broke camp on the next day at 7 a.m. and crossed the Neuse River near the Railroad Bridge, on pontoons. They then marched through Goldsborough and encamped at 4 p.m. in line one mile east of town, with the left of the command resting on the New Berne railroad. The weather was clear and windy.
Sherman's entire army, which included the 15th, 17, 20th, 14th, 23rd and 10th Army Corps went into camp in and around Goldsborough, North Carolina. The 23rd and 10th Army Corps under General Schofield and General Terry respectively, were already in Goldsbourough at the time of Sherman's arrival. The 80th Ohio and its Division had marched well over 400 miles of rough terrain, in bad weather, crossing rivers and wading through swamps. "It was one of the longest and most important marches ever made by an organized army in a civilized country," wrote one of the participants.
The wagon trains were brought up and redistributed to the different divisions, the empty wagons being organized into trains under the supervision of the chief quartermaster, for the purpose of procuring subsistence stores and supplies for the army from the depot established at Kinston, N. C. The 15th Corps now occupied a defensive line, with works to the east of the city of Goldsborough. The troops were being refitted for a new campaign, and such supplies as could be procured from the depots of Goldsborough and Kinston were being received and issued by the Corps' chief quartermaster and commissary.
Shortly after this, John King, the Great-Grandfather of the author's wife, Donna, was promoted to the rank of Sergeant on April 1st, 1865.
After remaining in camp for about a week, news was received that General Grant had taken Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia and had General Lee and his army on the run. With this report, General Sherman started his army toward Raleigh, North Carolina on the morning of April 10th, where confederate General Johnston was encamped with his army near Smithfield on the Neuse River. The 15th Army Corps took the road parallel with the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad to Pikeville and the 17th Army Corps took the road on the left bank of the Little River. The road taken by the 15th Army Corps (that of the 80th Ohio) was of a quicksand nature and required a large effort of labor in corduroying. On the 11th of April, the 80th Ohio and its Corps moved to Lowell Factory on the Little River. The country over which the army marched was low and together with a heavy rain during the night, caused the column to move with difficulty. On the 12th, the 15th Corps moved from Lowell Factory and moved to Pineville. No resistance from the enemy was met except for minor skirmishing with small detachments of Wade Hampton's confederate cavalry.
The 15th Corps, on April 13th, moved to and across the Neuse River at Hinton's Bridge and encamped ten miles east of Raleigh. The bridge was saved from destruction by the enemy's cavalry by a charge of the 29th Mounted Missouri while the enemy was attempting to destroy it. On the 14th of April, the 80th Ohio and its Corps marched through Raleigh and encamped on the west side of the town where they were reviewed by Major General Sherman as they moved by the State Capitol. During an armistice agreed upon between General Sherman and confederate General Joseph E. Johnson, the army remained quietly in camp immediately west of the city of Raleigh. The time was spent in resting the troops, drilling, and procuring supplies for the present use and for any contingency that might arise. While here, the men received word that General Lee had surrendered his army to General Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. On the 17th of April, the troops learned of the assassination of President Lincoln, causing great anguish and sorrow among the soldiers. Extreme measures had to be taken to prevent any retaliation by the troops on the citizens of the country they would travel through.
On the 25th, in accordance with instructions, the 17th Corps, commanded by Major-General Blair, was moved forward about fifteen miles preparatory to an advance against the enemy on the following day. Later in the day General Sherman directed that all troops be halted, as Johnston proposed to surrender his army. The surrender took place on the 26th of April at Durham's Station, North Carolina. The war, for all purposes, was now over. The troops again encamped, being called upon for no labor until the army began its march homeward. At this time the 80th Ohio was transferred to the Second Division from the Third Division. Captain Thomas C. Morris now commanded the 80th Ohio. Colonel Theodore Jones commanded the 1st Brigade, of which the 80th Ohio was now a part of.
General Hazen commanded the Second Division, with General Logan still commanding the 15th Corps.
In accordance with orders from General Sherman on the 28th of April, 1865, orders were issued to the corps commanders to march their corps by easy marches to Petersburg. The 80th Ohio and its Corps would move by Roger's Bridge across the Neuse River, and then go by way of Louisburg, Warrenton, White Plains, and on the old stage road to Petersburg. Orders were given that no foraging be done in the country and that all supplies absolutely necessary be paid for, and that the country be left uninjured by the passage of the troops through it. The average distance from Raleigh to Petersburg taken by the columns enroute, was about 140 miles. The march was made in seven marching days, with the troops resting on the Sabbath. On May 6th, the lead columns reached Petersburg and went into camp until the morning of the 9th.
On the 9th of May, the 80th Ohio and the 15th Corps passed through Petersburg The roads were good and the weather fine for the marching army. General Sherman reviewed the Corps as it passed through the city. The army then moved to Manchester, near Richmond, where it encamped on the morning of the 10th of May. That evening, General Sherman received an order from General Grant directing him to report to the Secretary of War. General Sherman issued orders to his army, regulating the march, via Richmond to Alexandria, to commence the next day. Sherman then proceeded by water directly to Washington.
General Halleck had sent orders to General Sherman earlier, saying that Sherman's Army was prohibited from entering Richmond until they were prepared to pass through. Sherman was angry over this and felt that his army was under a cloud of some sort. Secretary of War Stanton did not like the treaty of peace Sherman had negotiated with Confederate Joseph Johnston at Durham Station. Since the assassination of President Lincoln Stanton seemed to be trying to convict the entire south of murder. In the surrender of Joseph Johnston Sherman signed a document that endorsed the legitimacy of southern state governments as soon as they took an oath of allegiance to the United States. It also guaranteed "rights of person and property." Sherman believed he was following Lincoln's policy of reconciliation. Stanton and radical republicans were outraged. Stanton publicly accused Sherman of insubordination, stupidity and treason. Grant rushed to Raleigh to help renegotiate the terms of Johnston's surrender.
Sherman's soldiers did not take kindly to someone who said bad things about their "Uncle Billy". In Raleigh they burned a collection of northern newspapers that had been brought into the town. They would just as cheerfully burn the newspaper offices if they could.
Some people in Washington could imagine that these western soldiers might decide to take charge of the country. They had torn apart the south and might do the same thing to the East. Finally someone came up with the idea of a Grand Review in Washington to placate the soldiers. The Army of the Potomac and the Armies of the West would march on parade on separate days.
When Sherman's men found out they would not be allowed to enter the city of Richmond, the soldier's tempers flared. Fistfights and small riots erupted and with great difficulty the western soldiers were restrained from shooting up the Army of the Potomac's units guarding the routes into Richmond.
Later, General Sherman wrote the following letter to General Howard.
"The manner of your welcome was a part of a grand game to insult us--us who had marched 1,000 miles through a hostile country in mid-winter to help them. We did help them, and what has been our reward? Your men were denied admission to the city, when Halleck had invited all citizens (rebels, of course) to come and go without passes. If the American people sanction this kind of courtesy to old and tried troops, where is the honor, satisfaction, and glory of serving them in constancy and faith? If such be the welcome the East gives to the West, we can but let them make war and fight it out themselves. I know where is a land and people that will not treat us thus--the West, the Valley of the Mississippi, the heart and soul and future strength of America, and I for one will go there. I am not much of a talker, but if ever my tongue is loosed and free I think I can and will say some things that will make an impression resembling a bombshell of the largest pattern. Chew the cud of "bitter fancy" as you ride along, and when events draw to a conclusion we can step in the ring. Men who are now fierce and who would have the Army of the Potomac violate my truce and attack our enemy, discomfited, disheartened, and surrounded, will sooner or later find foes, face to face, of different metal. Though my voice is still peace, I am not for such a peace as makes me subject to insult by former friends, now perfidious enemies."
With respect, your friend,
W. T. SHERMAN
Sherman complied and warned Halleck to stay out of sight lest he be insulted by the western soldiers. The soldiers of the Army of the Potomac sneered at "Sherman's Greasers" and said "they looked like Mexicans, dark from pitch pine campfire smoke." When Sherman's men marched into the city and past the headquarters of General Halleck, one of them broke ranks and sauntered up to the immaculate sentry at the door. He then shot a stream of tobacco juice all over the highly polished shoes of the startled sentry.
On May 13th, the 80th Ohio and the 15th Army Corps moved into and through Richmond. On the 19th of May, 1865, the 80th Ohio was at Alexandria, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D. C. The Regiment had marched in every Confederate State except Texas and Florida. They truly marched through Dixie.
On May 23rd they had moved their camp to near the Long Bridge across the Potomac River, and at daylight on the next day, May 24th, they commenced crossing the Potomac, moving to position to the north and east of the Capitol and prepared for the Grand Review. The troops marched without knapsacks and with two days cooked rations in haversacks.
The Army of the Potomac paraded on the first day in their immaculate uniforms and every man gripped his musket with a white gloved hand. The bands were the size of symphony orchestras, playing "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", "Tramp, Tramp, Tramp" and other pieces. The crowds cheered as the soldiers moved down the parade route for seven hours. Most people agreed that the Eastern Army was very impressive and predicted a much smaller crowd the next day to view the Western Armies.
The order of the march for the review of the 15th Army Corps, was: First, the Corps Headquarters and escort; Second, the First Division, Major General Woods Commanding; Third, the Second Division (that of the 80th Ohio), Major General Hazen commanding; Fourth, the Fourth Division, Major General Corse commanding; Fifth, Artillery Brigade, Lt. Colonel William Ross commanding. The troops were formed in column of companies closed in mass, right in front, with short intervals between regiments, brigades, and divisions.
Surprisingly the next day saw even larger crowds to view the parade. Sherman rode at the head of the column with his old slouch hat in his hand, red hair glistening in the sunlight. Behind him the Western Soldiers marched with a rolling, springy stride, a few inches longer than their counterparts in the Eastern Army. Most of the men's hair was uncut and long. Some had new uniforms but most did not, and some were even without shoes.
The spectators went wild over these shaggy raw looking men. They not only looked like soldiers but they looked like soldiers who fought. Sobbing women held up their babies and thousands of white handkerchiefs waved from the sidelines. Roof tops, windows and trees were full of cheering civilians. Some of the Regiments responded themselves with cheers, against orders. The crowd loved it. As Sherman passed the Presidential Reviewing stand, he raised his sword in salute. The response of the spectators were without precedent. They shouted their lungs out. Sherman was the idol of the day. This was the same man branded a traitor by the newspapers only ten days before.
Behind Sherman his bands played "Marching Through Georgia". Flowers came down like rain from the roof tops and trees. Sherman swung his horse into the White House grounds and joined the dignitaries on the reviewing stand. He shook hands with the President and with General Grant. Secretary of War Stanton put out his hand to Sherman, but Sherman ignored him and sat down to watch his men parade by.
On the reviewing stand, as the First Division passed, the German Ambassador reportedly said "An Army like that could whip all of Europe". A half hour later he said "An Army like that could whip the world.". One hour later he said: "An Army like that could whip the devil".
For seven hours the Western troops strode on legs that had carried them farther than most armies had marched in the history of warfare, down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Treasury Department to 17th Street at shoulder arms, bayonets fixed, and then to their camps at right shoulder shift. Their colors were unfurled during the entire march and on passing the reviewing officer, made the customary salute. Drum Corps of the Brigades were massed at the head of each brigade, and wheeled out of column opposite the reviewing officer, playing while their brigades passed. The soldiers of the 80th Ohio encamped about 3 miles north of the city and were given permission to go into Washington whenever they pleased.
On June 8th, the 80th Ohio boarded trains of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and moved toward Parkersburg, West Virginia. arriving there on the 10th of June. Here, the 80th Ohio boarded river transports and proceeded down the Ohio River. They passed Cincinnati about noon, arriving in Louisville, Kentucky at 9 p.m. where they went into camp six miles southwest of the City. Some of the men were mustered out of service here. A few days later they once more boarded river transports and moved down river to Cairo, Illinois. Here, they changed river transports and continued down the Mississippi River to Helena, Arkansas. From Helena they marched overland to Little Rock, Arkansas.
Remaining in Little Rock on occupation duty until August 15th, 1865, the regiment was mustered out of service. The men returned to Helena and boarded river transports to Cincinnati. From here they boarded railway cars to Columbus, Ohio. They were discharged at Columbus on August 25th, 1865.
These veterans of the war returned home with stories to tell of the battles of Corinth, Iuka, Vicksburg, Raymond, Jackson, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, the March to the Sea and the Campaign of the Carolinas. They had marched hundreds of miles through the very heart of Dixie with Sherman and fought their battles bravely. They were very proud of their record and we should never forget their sacrifices and valiant deeds.
The regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 48 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded, and 2 Officers and 170 enlisted men by disease for at total of 224 men.
Sergeant John H. King returned home to Dundee, Ohio, where he married Rosanna Eash. They had a daughter, Nellie, who married John Hostetler. Nellie and John had a daughter, Dorothy Alyce, who married Francis Lewis Ohls. They had a daughter, Donna, the wife of the author of this book. John King died at Dundee, Ohio in 1897.
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Chapter 2 - 1863
Chapter 3 - 1864
Chapter 4 - 1865
Back To The 80th O.V.I.
Adjutant General's report on Ohio in the Civil War
Battles and Leaders, Vols. 3 & 4
Battles of Atlanta - Sherman moves East - Time Life Editors
Chattanooga - A Death Grip on the Confederacy - James Lee McDonough
Compendium of the War of the Rebellion - Frederick Dyer
Decision in the West - Albert Castel
Official Records of the Rebellion
Photographic History of the Civil War, Vol. X - Francis Miller, Ed.
Sherman's March - Atlanta to the Sea - Time Life Editors
Siege of Atlanta, 1864- Samuel Carter III
The Civil War Dictionary - Mark Mayo Boatner III
The Fight For Chattanooga - Chicamauga to Missionary Ridge - Time Life Editors
The March to the Sea and Beyond - Joseph T. Glaathaar
Vicksburg - The Final Fortress - Samuel Carter III
War on the Mississippi - Time Life Editors
Who Was Who in the Civil War - Stewart Sifakis