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The Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry: A Story of Citizen Soldiers, Civil War Politics and Southwest Ohio

The Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry: A Story of Citizen Soldiers, Civil War Politics and Southwest Ohio

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Published by Tim Burke
While "The Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry" is primarily a narrative regimental history, it also explores how the Fifth Ohio reflected the attitudes and beliefs of the Southwestern Ohio communities from which it was created, attitudes that shifted with the fortunes of war and the changing goals of the conflict. It also is a valuable genealogical resource containing the names and service information of more than 2,500 men who passed through its ranks.


My 275 page manuscript is arranged into seven chapters beginning with the organization and training of the regiment in Cincinnati. The succeeding chapters follow the Fifth Ohio as it was sent to the Tennessee River Valley in February of 1862 where it fought in the Battles of Shiloh and Corinth, and numerous small scale engagements typical of cavalry regiments early in the war. In addition to following events on the battlefield during this period, "The Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry" also analyzes a power struggle among the regiment’s leadership that seriously compromised its effectiveness in part reflecting the political tensions in the North. The final chapters follow the Fifth Ohio as it moved eastward to Chattanooga, Atlanta, and as part of Sherman’s March to the sea concluding with occupation duty in North Carolina.

This history was assembled from dozens of personal letters, newspaper accounts, personnel records and company logs from the National Archives as well as diaries, and reports from the "Official Records". The narrative of the regiment’s history is supplemented with an alphabetized regimental roster of 2,500 names. This appendix contains genealogical information including dates of service, rank, company served in, promotions, and status at separation. This single alphabetized roster created from 13 separate rosters would be of interest to those doing genealogical research in a five county region surrounding Cincinnati with a population exceeding 1.5 million people.

I am a high school history teacher with 23 years of experience teaching Advanced Placement American history, world history, and geography. I hold a bachelor and masters degree from the University of Cincinnati and have done extensive reading and study on both the Civil War and the history of the Greater Cincinnati area. My interest in these areas led to this five year project.
While "The Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry" is primarily a narrative regimental history, it also explores how the Fifth Ohio reflected the attitudes and beliefs of the Southwestern Ohio communities from which it was created, attitudes that shifted with the fortunes of war and the changing goals of the conflict. It also is a valuable genealogical resource containing the names and service information of more than 2,500 men who passed through its ranks.


My 275 page manuscript is arranged into seven chapters beginning with the organization and training of the regiment in Cincinnati. The succeeding chapters follow the Fifth Ohio as it was sent to the Tennessee River Valley in February of 1862 where it fought in the Battles of Shiloh and Corinth, and numerous small scale engagements typical of cavalry regiments early in the war. In addition to following events on the battlefield during this period, "The Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry" also analyzes a power struggle among the regiment’s leadership that seriously compromised its effectiveness in part reflecting the political tensions in the North. The final chapters follow the Fifth Ohio as it moved eastward to Chattanooga, Atlanta, and as part of Sherman’s March to the sea concluding with occupation duty in North Carolina.

This history was assembled from dozens of personal letters, newspaper accounts, personnel records and company logs from the National Archives as well as diaries, and reports from the "Official Records". The narrative of the regiment’s history is supplemented with an alphabetized regimental roster of 2,500 names. This appendix contains genealogical information including dates of service, rank, company served in, promotions, and status at separation. This single alphabetized roster created from 13 separate rosters would be of interest to those doing genealogical research in a five county region surrounding Cincinnati with a population exceeding 1.5 million people.

I am a high school history teacher with 23 years of experience teaching Advanced Placement American history, world history, and geography. I hold a bachelor and masters degree from the University of Cincinnati and have done extensive reading and study on both the Civil War and the history of the Greater Cincinnati area. My interest in these areas led to this five year project.

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Published by: Tim Burke on Jul 29, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/05/2013

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 1
 The Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
A Story of Citizen Soldiers, Civil War Politics andSouthwest Ohio
Timothy M. Burke
 
 2
Contents
Chapter page
Preface 3 I Beginnings 8 II Camp Dennison 32 III Goin’ South 44 IV April
th
54V The Warriors 66 VI The Bane of Politics 85VII The Long March East 103 Afterward 130 End Notes 137  Bibliography 148 Appendix: 151
 
 3
Preface
On February 6, 1862, 22-year-old John Sebastian Fries mustered into the ranks of theFifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. The illiterate son of German immigrants, he followed hisbrother into the rapidly expanding Union army. Tall by the standards of the day at 5’10”with sandy colored hair, gray eyes and a light complexion, he came from a family thatfarmed the hills and valleys of a small rural community on the outskirts of Cincinnaticalled Petersburg. A few weeks later his regiment steamed down the Ohio and would beamong the first to arrive at an isolated spot on the Tennessee River known as PittsburghLanding. It was the beginning of a journey for young Fries and the other members hisregiment that would last three long years. John Fries, my great-great grandfather was thestarting point in the creation of this book. Fries like many other enlisted men wasilliterate, meaning the only evidence of his service were sketchy military recordsproviding his physical description and monthly roll call reports. Nothing else about hispersonal war experiences exists. But an overpowering desire to know more about hisexperiences propelled me on an academic odyssey of sorts that sent me deep into thestacks of several libraries, into the archives of the Ohio Historical Society, and to hike theShiloh battlefield where he fought more than 140 years ago. While I found out virtuallynothing about him I discovered the fascinating story of the men whom he accompanied towar, the Fifth Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. Largely recruited from the counties surroundingCincinnati, his regiment was assembled by two Hamilton County residents, ColonelWilliam Henry Harrison Taylor and Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Tinsley Heath. Taylor,the son-in-law and nephew of former President William Henry Harrison was born andraised in the old South. His executive officer, Heath, was a young attorney who went onto a stellar career in law. The history of the regiment they recruited in the summer of 1861 has been assembled here for the first time from letters, records, newspaper accountsand other primary sources. But, my telling of the Fifth Ohio’s story goes beyond thetypical regimental history. It also attempts to demonstrate my belief that the Fifth Ohiowas a reflection of the attitudes and beliefs of the communities from which it was created.

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Mr. Burke: Wonderful reading. Erastus B. Hayes, is my great great grandfather. I was recently given his double barrel 12 gauge shotgun that family lore has him carrying in the war. Based on scarcity of arms you write about, I am starting to think that just maybe, he did carry the gun that is in my possession for safekeeping. Bryan H. Hayes bhh@bellsouth.net
jungclas added this note
Tim, Look foward to reading this... My Great Great Grandfather, Henry Jungclas, served in this unit during the Civil War. You don't have him listed in your index of names because he used an alias (Philip Snyder) when he enlisted. But you do ave Philip Snyder! Found this all in his Civil War pension documents! If you have any q's contact me at dan@jungclas.com Thanks pal!
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