A Brief Look at Ohioans in the Civil War
The state of Ohio played a key role for the United States of America during the Civil War. In fact, there were more than 310,000 Ohioans that served in the war — the third largest number of any state in the Union. Despite Ohio’s role in the war, there were Ohioans that served in the Confederate Army. Regardless of who they fought for, there were many Ohioans who rose to the rank of General during the war, which lasted from 1861 to 1865.
The Rise of Sherman and Grant
Over the course of the war, many Ohio natives rose to prominence. The most notable being Ulysses S. Grant, who went on to be elected as the 18th President of the United States, and William T. Sherman, who waged a scorched-earth campaign across the south known as “Sherman’s March to the Sea.”
Lee and Johnston Surrender
Grant and Sherman also received the formal surrenders of the Confederate commanders. On April 9, 1765, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. A little more than a week later, General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Sherman at Bennett Place, near Durham, North Carolina.
Ohio Generals in the Union Army During the Civil War
Joseph Bailey was born on May 6, 1825, near the town of Pennsville in southeastern Ohio. Bailey served in the Union Army throughout the American Civil War. He is most remembered for planning and supervising the construction of Bailey’s Bridge during the Red River Campaign in 1864.
Don Carlos Buell
Don Carlos Buell was born in Lowell, Ohio, on March 23, 1818. Buell was a Union general during the American Civil War who directed the Department of the Ohio and commanded the Army of the Ohio in the Western Theater. Buell’s army helped turn the tide to a Union victory at the Battle of Shiloh (April 6–7, 1862).
Jacob D. Cox
Jacob Cox was born in Montreal, Canada, on January 8, 1866. Before the war, he moved to Ohio and enrolled at Oberlin. Cox served as a brigadier general in the U.S. volunteer army during the American Civil War and went on to be elected as the 28th Governor of Ohio.
George Crook was born on September 8, 1828, on a farm near Taylorsville, Ohio. Crook was a noted officer in the United States Army during the American Civil War and the Indian Wars in the American West during the last half of the nineteenth century.
George Armstrong Custer
George Armstrong Custer was born on December 5, 1839, in New Rumley, Ohio. Forever linked with Custer’s Last Stand, Custer was a flamboyant and widely renowned American army officer during and after the American Civil War.
Hugh B. Ewing
Hugh Boyle Ewing was born in Lancaster, Ohio on October 31, 1826. Ewing was a lawyer, writer, ambassador, and soldier, who served the Union army as a general officer in the Eastern and Western theaters during the American Civil War. His brothers, Thomas and Charles, also rose to the rank of General in the Union Army.
Thomas Ewing, Jr. was born in Lancaster, Ohio on August 7, 1829. Ewing, Jr., was a prominent lawyer and politician who served as a Union general in the West during the American Civil War. His brothers, Hugh and Charles, also rose to the rank of General in the Union Army.
Charles Ewing was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on March 6, 1835. Ewing was a lawyer, Catholic Church representative, and soldier, who served the Union army as a general officer in the Eastern and Western theaters during the American Civil War. His brothers, Hugh and Thomas, also rose to the rank of General in the Union Army.
James A. Garfield
James Abram Garfield was born on November 19, 1831, in a log cabin in Orange Township, Ohio, near Cleveland. Garfield was a political and military leader who rose to the rank of major general in the Union army during the American Civil War, and who served as a U.S. congressman and senator before being elected as the 20th President of the United States in 1880.
Quincy A. Gillmore
Quincy Adams Gillmore was born on February 28, 1825, in Lorain County, Ohio. Gillmore won military acclaim for his use of rifled artillery during the reduction of Fort Pulaski in 1862.
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses Simpson Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant on April 27, 1822, in Point Pleasant, Ohio. Grant was a military and political leader who rose from humble beginnings to become general-in-chief of Union forces during the Civil War and, afterward, the eighteenth President of the United States.
Benjamin Harrison was born near North Bend, Ohio, on August 20, 1833. He was the grandson of the 9th U.S. President William Henry Harrison. After the war, Harrison was the elected as nation’s 23rd president and served from March 4, 1889, to March 4, 1893.
Rutherford B. Hayes
Rutherford Birchard Hayes was born on October 4, 1822, in Delaware, Ohio. Civil War general, U.S. Congressman, and Governor of Ohio, Hayes served as the 19th President of the United States from March 3, 1877, to March 4, 1881.
William B. Hazen
William Babcock Hazen was born on September 27, 1830, in West Hartford, Vermont. In 1833, Hazen’s parents moved to a homestead near Hiram, Ohio. A prominent Union officer, Hazen served in nearly all of the major campaigns in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.
August V. Kautz
August Valentine Kautz was born on January 5, 1828, in Ispringen, Baden, Germany. In August 1828, the Kautz family left Europe for the United States and eventually settled in Georgetown, Ohio. Kautz served as a general in the Union cavalry during the American Civil War.
Alexander M. McCook
Alexander McDowell McCook was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, on April 22, 1831. McCook, who served as a divisional and a corps commander with the Army of the Ohio and the Army of the Cumberland, was a member of the “Fighting McCooks,” 15 family members who served the Union during the American Civil War.
Irvin McDowell was born in Columbus, Ohio on October 15, 1818. McDowell was a prominent Union general during the American Civil War and a career army officer. He commanded the Army of Northeastern Virginia during the First Battle of Bull Run.
James B. McPherson
James Birdseye McPherson was born on November 14, 1828, in Clyde, Ohio. Commander of the Army of the Tennessee, McPherson was killed during the Battle of Atlanta on July 22, 1864.
Samuel E. Opdycke
Samuel Emerson Opdycke was born on January 7, 1830, on his family’s farm in Hubbard Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. A prominent Union general officer, Opdycke played significant roles at the Battle of Chattanooga and the Battle of Franklin.
William S. Rosecrans
William Starke Rosecrans was born on September 6, 1819, at Little Taylor Run, Kingston Township, Delaware County, Ohio. Rosecrans was a prominent Union general who, perhaps unfairly, is best remembered for his role during the Union defeat at the Battle of Chickamauga.
Robert C. Schenk
Robert Cumming Schenck was born in Franklin, Ohio, in Warren County, on October 4, 1809. Schenck was an eight-time United States Congressman from Ohio and a major general in the Union army during the American Civil War.
William T. Sherman
William Tecumseh Sherman was born on February 8, 1820, in Lancaster, Ohio. Sherman was a prominent Union general during the American Civil War who is often celebrated in the North and reviled in the South, Sherman was an accomplished soldier and able leader, and is best remembered for his “scorched earth” tactics during the Atlanta, Savannah, and Carolina campaigns, which left a swath of destruction across the South during the latter part of the war.
William S. Smith
William Sooy Smith was born in Tarlton, Ohio, on July 22, 1830. Smith served in many of the Western Theater’s important campaigns during the Civil War.
David S. Stanley
David Slone Stanley was born on June 1, 1828, in Cedar Valley, an unincorporated area in southwestern Wayne County, Ohio. Stanley was a prominent Union officer and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, who served as commander of the 4th Army Corps in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.
Erastus Bernard Tyler was born in West Bloomfield, New York on April 24, 1822. In 1830, his family moved to Ravenna, Ohio. Tyler was a Union officer who participated in many of the major battles of the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.
Thomas John Wood was born in Munfordville, Kentucky, on September 25, 1823. Wood traveled to Dayton, Ohio, where he married Caroline E. Greer on November 29, 1861. Wood was a prominent Union general who participated in nearly every major campaign in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.
Ohio Generals in the Confederate Army During the Civil War
Charles Clark was born in Lebanon, Ohio, near Cincinnati, on May 24, 1811. After graduating from Augusta College, in Kentucky in 1831, Clark moved to Mississippi. Clark was a brigadier general in the Confederate Army and Governor of Mississippi during the American Civil War.
Robert Hatton was born in Steubenville, Ohio on November 2, 1826. His family moved to Nashville, Tennessee in 1835. Hatton was a U.S. Congressman from Tennessee and a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
Bushrod R. Johnson
Bushrod Rust Johnson was born in Belmont County, Ohio on October 7, 1817. Johnson received a teaching position at the Western Military Institute in Georgetown, Kentucky, in 1851. Johnson was a major general in the Confederate Army during the war. He commanded troops during many of the major battles in the eastern and western theaters of the war.
Daniel H. Reynolds
Daniel Harris Reynolds was born on December 14, 1832, in Centerburg, Ohio. He moved to Somerville, Tennessee to study law. Reynolds was a general, who served in the far western and western theaters of operations during the Civil War.
Roswell S. Ripley
Roswell Sabine Ripley was born in Worthington, Ohio, on March 14, 1823. Following the Mexican-American War, Ripley served in Florida. On December 22, 1852, he married Charleston resident Alicia Middleton. Ripley was a brigadier general, who served with the Department of South Carolina and the Army of Northern Virginia.
Editor’s Note — This is not a complete list of all Ohioans who achieved the rank of General. It only includes those who have entries on American History Central. As new biographies are added, this list will be updated.