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Eagle and Shield Battery H, 1st OLA

Members of Battery H, 1st Ohio Light Artillery

War Time Photograph of a detachment "C" from Huntington's Battery,
Known officially as Co. H, 1st Ohio Light Artillery.
Taken at Stoneman's Switch, Virginia, near Fredericksburg in March, 1863.

From left to right, Edwin I. "Ned" Hopkins, Albert Merrill, Cecil Hall, William A. Ewing, Lemuel H. Hooker, George F. Spencer, William H. Perigo, James Coder, William Henry Dodd, William E. Parmelee, Benjamin F. McCord, William H. Styer, Francis Tuell, and Clarence Morris. All are identified as Toledo men except Styer and Tuell.

The Men of Battery H is unique among Civil War regimental histories. It focuses on the individuals who made up the Battery and is a compilation of biographical and genealogical information for each of the men who served this unit. The book is illustrated with over 250 photographs of gravesites, as well as wartime and post-war portraits. With the sesquicentennial of the Civil War upon us, what better way to remember these men than by making this information available to genealogists, descendants and researchers alike. This book is 396 pages and can be purchased from Lulu(R) in three different formats - Paperback ($20.00), Hardcover ($30.00), and as a downloadable Ebook ($4.99). Follow the links to preview the book and to order your copy today!

In the fall of 1861, largely through the efforts and influence of Harvey Kellogg, George W. Norton and others, the young men of Adams and adjoining Townships undertook the organization of a Company for service in the Union Army. For such purpose, Mr. Norton visited Columbus, where he was authorized to raise an Artillery Company. This work was so well performed, that on the 18th September nearly a Company went into Camp Dennison, near Cincinnati, where they were re-enforced by a squad from Marietta, thus completing a Battery, which came to be Battery H, First Regiment Light Artillery, Colonel James Barnett. Recruits entering the command later were mostly from Toledo and vicinity, so that it eventually came to be substantially a Lucas County Battery.

Leaving Camp Dennison January 20, 1862, armed with six bronze smooth-bore guns, it proceeded by River to Parkersburg, West Virginia, and thence by Baltimore & Ohio Railway, to Patterson's Greek. In a few days it joined General F. W. Lander's Division at Paw Paw Tunnel, Shenandoah Valley. The Battery opened, on the Union side, the first battle of Winchester, March 22, 1862. General James Shields, who succeeded to the command of the Division upon the death of General Lander, was wounded while on his horse, near the Battery's guns. Before leaving the field, he ordered Captain Huntington to begin firing. It was the Battery's first fight, and the men had good reason to be proud of it, that being the first time "Stonewall" Jackson had been whipped. The Battery now marched up and down the Valley, with Banks's Corps, taking part in skirmishes at Edinburg, Reed's Hill, New Market and Mt. Jackson.

In May, Shields's Division crossed the Blue Ridge at New Market, moving rapidly to join McDowell at Falmouth. Without rest or a chance to "brush up," the Division was reviewed by President Lincoln, who said he wanted to "see the Boys who had whipped 'Stonewall' Jackson." The Division was hastened back to the Valley, being at Front Royal June 1st. Marching South on the east side of the Shenandoah River, it was near the battle ground at Cross Keys June 8, 1862, but could not join Fremont, owing to high water in the River. June 9th it was in the ugly little battle of Port Republic, where the Third and Fourth Brigades of Shields's Division (all Western troops), of about 2,400 Infantry, with 18 pieces of Artillery, undertook the task of stopping Jackson's Corps of about 20,000. The Division made so gallant a stand, that Jackson had to use about one-half his force to dislodge it; and with such overwhelming numbers against them, General Imboden (with Jackson in the battle) in print has admitted that at one time during the day, Jackson was really whipped, but made another effort, winning the day and the field. Battery H was complimented by General Shields for its efficient service on the field at Port Republic, in spite of the fact that it lost three of its guns.

The Battery now went to Alexandria to refit-getting recruits, horses, and new three-inch rifled Rodman guns. It took part at the close of Second Bull Run, at Chantilly, September 1, 1862. For about a month, it helped in the disagreeable service of defending Washington.

In October, 1862, the Battery joined the Army of the Potomac at Harper's Ferry, and with that command marched to Fredericksburg; getting into a lively skirmish at Manassas Gap, about November 1st. Taking part in the battle of Fredericksburg under Burnside, December 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th, it there used nearly 1,000 shells.

In January, 1863, the Battery was with advance in Burnside's "mud-march" up the Rapid Ann River, being one of the few Batteries to reach the River bank, and be placed in position to cover the crossing. In the Chancellorsville campaign it was part of the force sent below Fredericksburg to cover the crossing of the Sixth Corps; and then with the Third Corps making a forced night march to Chancellorsville Saturday afternoon, May 2d, when Jackson flanked and crushed the right of the Army. The Battery, with Tenth and Eleventh New York Batteries, was near Hazle Grove, without support; but bravely stood by its guns in the terribly desperate situation, checking the extreme right of Jackson's advance, and holding open a road for the return of Sickles's Third Corps. For such timely service, the three Batteries were warmly, and with much feeling, thanked by General Sickles on the spot, before the smoke of battle had cleared. With daylight Sunday morning, the Infantry went to the rear, with the two New York Batteries, leaving Battery H to hold the advance or exposed position at Hazle Grove, while the lines were being re-formed near the Chancellorsville House. It was a hot and lively place, but the Battery did not leave until ordered, and after losing three guns. When near the Chancellorsville House, General Hooker rode up to the Battery, saying:

"You have done splendidly. I saw you fight, and did not expect you could get out. You have done your share."

The Division (Whipples' of the Third Corps), to which the Battery belonged, being badly cut up at Chancellorsville, was now broken up, and II was placed in the Reserve Artillery. Staying there but a few days, it was sent up the River on picket at Banks's Ford, with Ayres's Brigade, Fifth Corps. General Ayres had just been promoted from command of a Regular Battery, and he had the frankness to compliment the Ohio boys on their discipline, drill, etc., as he did not expect as much in a Volunteer Battery. Good authority and high praise.

With Sikes's Division, Fifth Corps, as rear guard to the Army, was made the memorable and fatiguing march to Manassas Junction via Catlett's, across Bull Run battlefield, joining the Reserve Artillery at Fairfax C. H., June 17, 1863. It marched with the Reserve to Gettysburg, taking part in that battle, July 2d and 3d, in position on Cemetery Ridge, near where now stands the monument in the National Cemetery. It went into action under fire, taking the place of a crippled Battery, and staying until the fighting was over. Left Gettysburg with the Reserve Artillery July 5th, crossed the Potomac at Berlin July 18th, strolled along with the Army in Virginia heat and dust until August 8th, when it was sent to Rappahannock Station, to the First Corps; going into position on the picket line for more than a month, when it advanced with the Army, to the Rapid Ann River, and was put on picket at Robinson's Ford, near to Cedar Mountain, for over two weeks, under continual fire, where it learned the full meaning of being "in reserve." In October, 1863, the Battery moved with the Army back to Centerville, and as the advance to Brandy Station.

On Ohio election-day (October 13th), the Battery was on the march; but the boys organized an Election Board, and voted for John Brough to be Governor of Ohio. It was unanimous. The "polls were opened" at different hours, as the exigencies of the march allowed, the ballot-box being carried on the pommel of an officer's saddle. The result was, that the balloting took place in three different Counties of Virginia.

In the advance about November 4, 1863, the Battery was on duty at Kelley's Ford with the Third Corps. As a portion of the Reserve Artillery, it took part in the severe Mine Run campaign. It spent the Winter at Brandy Station, where it was refitted with a liberal supply of recruits. During this time, Captains Huntington and Norton left the Battery.

Battery H at Cold Harbor

Gilbert Gaul's painting of Battery H at Cold Harbor.
The original painting is currently in the collection of the Oregon-Jerusalem Township Historical Society in Lucas County, Ohio, and had suffered much damage over the years. Fortunately, the painting is being restored so that it will once again appear similar to this copy that was scanned from a book published in the late 1890s.

May 4, 1864, the Battery, in excellent trim, entered the Wilderness campaign under Grant. Captain Dorsey took command May 16th. The Reserve Artillery was then broken up, and Battery H became part of the Sixth Corps, and was with it at Spottsylvania, Phillips' Store and Jericho Mills. It was part of the troops making the rapid night march of 30 miles to get to the Pamunky River and HanoverTown. Reaching Cold Harbor, June 1st, in time to be the first Battery of the Sixth Corps in position, it opened the fight for them, and had very hard and exposed work for 12 days, when the Army moved across the James River, June 15th, near Wind Mill Point. With Getty's Second Division, Sixth Corps, the Battery made a forced march for a night and day in the heat and sand for Petersburg. Immediately on reaching there, it was put in position on the front line, and for three days and nights had a hot time, fighting and digging, until all were fairly exhausted. It took part in the siege-work at Petersburg for some 10 months; was in Fort Sedgwick (otherwise known as "Fort Hell"), at the time and just to the left of where the mine was exploded July 30th. It spent some two months in that "Summer Resort," being close to the Rebel lines, and so hot a place naturally, that all agreed that it was rightly named. During the siege-work the Battery occupied Redoubts 13, 14 and 23; also, Forts Wilcox. Hayes, Keene and Connelly, taking an active part in the breaking of the hues near Fort Tracy, April 2d; and then was among the surplus Batteries sent back to City Point, while the Army made the race for Appomattox, the surrender of' Lee's Army, and - the end.

In May, the Battery marched for Washington, passing through Richmond, Bowling Green, Fredericksburg, &c. Discipline was then slack, and the boys were gay and happy, as they "went marching home." June 3, 1865, they turned in guns and horses at Washington. June 4th, they took cars for Cleveland, Ohio, where they were given a dinner; and thence to Camp Taylor, where they were mustered out and paid off June 14, 1865.

The fortunate escape of the Battery, with a comparatively small list of dead and wounded, considering the exposed positions it was so often in, is a matter of surprise and gratitude. Some half dozen of the horses taken out in 1861, were turned in at the close of the War - "unnamed heroes" and veterans.

About 90 members of Battery H reached Toledo at 12:45 P. M. June 15th, with Captain Stephen W. Dorsey, and Lieutenants James Harris, William E. Perigo and William E. Parmelee, Jr. They were met at the Railroad Depot by the Union Silver Band and a large number of citizens, by whom they were escorted to the Dining Hall of the Island House, where a dinner had been prepared for them. The room was ornamented with flags, banners, evergreens and flowers, including the old flag of the Battery, bearing the inscriptions, "Winchester," "Chancellorsville," " Port Republic," "Fredericksburg" and "Gettysburg." Mayor C. M. Dorr, in behalf of the people of Toledo, welcomed the heroes home, and thanked them for their long and gallant service. Rev. William W. Williams, Pastor of the First Congregational Church, by request, invoked upon the occasion the Divine blessing, when the meal was partaken of with a zest. After dinner, the Soldiers were escorted by the Band for a distance up Summit street, when they returned to the Island House, and soon departed for their respective homes. At the time, the remarkable exemption of the Battery from sickness, throughout its service, was referred to, the same being accounted for by the almost uniformly excellent habits of its members, among whom there was very little of excess of any kind. Probably no other command was marked by greater care in that respect, the effect of which was so plainly noticed in the robust, vigorous condition of the men at the close of their long service.

The members of the Battery were given a reception and dinner June 21st, by the citizens of Adams Township and vicinity. There were present 1,200 to 1,500 persons. At 11 o'clock A M. the assembly was called to order, and Captain Norton asked to preside. Returning thanks for such compliment, he called upon a choir present to sing, when Elder Seeley offered prayer. James W. Clark, of Toledo, delivered an appropriate address, welcoming the soldiers to their homes and friends, and briefly recognizing the distinguished services of the Battery. Rev. Mr. Page, of Maumee City, addressed the assemblage on the duty of citizens. Following these exercises were a general interchange of social greetings between the Soldiers and citizens, and the disposal of the bountiful provision of food made for the occasion.

The following named members of Battery H were killed, as stated:

  • Private Jacob Jeager, Winchester, March 22, 1862.
  • Sergeant Edward Allen. Port Republic, June 9, 1862.
  • Private John McGill, Port Republic, June 9, 1862.
  • Private Phillip Oshnaugh, Port Republic, June 9, 1862.
  • Private Lycurgus Bishop, died of wounds received at Chancellorsville.
  • Private John Jones, died of wounds received at Chancellorsville.
  • Private John Edmunds, died of wounds received at Gettysburg.
  • Private Henry Schram, Gettysburg July 2, 1863.
  • Private Jacob Kirsh, Gettysburg, July 2,1863.
  • Corporal W. D. Perrin, Cold Harbor, June 1, 1864.
  • Private Luther Search, Petersburg, Jan. 18, 1865.
  • Private Charles M. Corser, died of wounds received at Petersburg.
  • Private Noah S. Lockwood, died of wounds received at Petersburg.

Following are statistics of the Battery:

  • Names on the roll -- 262
  • Killed and wounded in action -- 28
  • Died in hospital and camp -- 15
  • Discharged at expiration of term of enhistment -- 36
  • Discharged on Surgeon's certificates -- 40
  • Re-enlisted as veterans -- 40
  • Detailed for secret service at Army headquarters -- 3
  • Detailed for service in the Signal Corps -- 2
  • Transferred to Veteran Reserves -- 9
  • Promotions from the ranks to serve in Battery -- 7
  • Promotions to other organizations -- 9
  • Discharged at Cleveland, June 14, 1865 -- 128

Eagle and Shield

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