Portrait of Emerson Opdycke

The 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry’s spirited stand against Confederate General James Longstreet’s onslaught along Horseshoe Ridge and Snodgrass Hill during the Battle of Chickamauga bought valuable time for the retreating Union army and earned them the nickname “Opdycke’s Tigers.” [Wikimedia Commons]

Samuel Emerson Opdycke - Facts

January 7, 1830 - April 25, 1884

Key facts about Emerson Opdycke, a prominent Union general officer who played significant roles at the Battle of Chattanooga and the Battle of Franklin.

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Full Name:

  • Samuel Emerson Opdycke

Birth Date:

  • January 7, 1830

Birth Location:

  • Hubbard Township, Trumbull County, Ohio

Parents:

  • Albert and Betsey (Harmon) Opdycke

Occupation:

  • Military office

Career Summary:

  • Brigadier General (USVA)

Spouse:

  • Lucy Wells Stevens (1857)

Place of Death:

  • New York, New York

Date of Death:

  • April 25, 1884

Place of Burial:

  • Oakwood Cemetery, Warren, Ohio

Significance:

  • Emerson Opdycke was the youngest of seven children of Albert and Betsey (Harmon) Opdycke.
  • Emerson Opdycke’s father was a veteran of the War of 1812.
  • Emerson Opdycke’s grandfather fought in the American Revolution.
  • On March 3, 1857, Emerson Opdycke married Lucy Wells Stevens, daughter of Benjamin and Mary Stevens of Warren.
  • In July 1861, Emerson Opdycke and Seth Bushnell began raising recruits for an infantry company in Northeast Ohio.
  • On August 26, 1861, Company A of the 41st Ohio Volunteer Infantry was mustered into service. The men elected Seth Bushnell as their captain and Emerson Opdycke as first lieutenant.
  • Emerson Opdycke distinguished himself during the Battle of Shiloh (April 6-7, 1862) despite being wounded while rallying his troops.
  • Emerson Opdycke resigned his commission with the 41st OVI in September to accept a new appointment as commander of the 125th OVI, at the rank of lieutenant colonel, effective October 1, 1862.
  • Emerson Opdycke was promoted to colonel on January 14, 1863.
  • Emerson Opdycke took part in the First Battle of Franklin (April 10, 1863).
  • Emerson Opdycke took part in the Battle of Chickamauga (September 19–20, 1863).
  • The 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry’s spirited stand against Confederate General James Longstreet’s onslaught along Horseshoe Ridge and Snodgrass Hill during the Battle of Chickamauga bought valuable time for the retreating Union army and earned them the nickname “Opdycke’s Tigers.”
  • During October and November 1863, Emerson Opdycke and the 125th OVI endured the Siege of Chattanooga.
  • During the Battle of Chattanooga (November 23–25, 1863), Emerson Opdycke’s regiment took part in the capture of Missionary Ridge.
  • Emerson Opdycke helped end Confederate General James Longstreet’s Siege of Knoxville in December 1863.
  • Emerson Opdycke took part in the Battle of Dandridge (January 17, 1864).
  • Emerson Opdycke took part in Major General William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign (May 7-September 2, 1864).
  • Emerson Opdycke was wounded during the Battle of Resaca (May 13–15, 1863).
  • Emerson Opdycke was advanced to brigade commander on August 6, 1864.
  • Emerson Opdycke earned the praise of his superiors for his heroics at the Second Battle of Franklin (November 30, 1864).
  • On February 7, 1865, Emerson Opdycke was brevetted to the rank of brigadier general of volunteers. Later, in an unusual move, he was brevetted to major general, dating from November 4, 1864, preceding his promotion to brigadier general.
  • In June 1865, Emerson Opdycke was ordered to Camp Irwin, Texas, for garrison duty.
  • On June 24, 1865, Emerson Opdycke was placed in command of the 2nd Division of the 4th Army Corps and subsequently promoted to brigadier general.
  • After mustering out of the army on September 25, 1865, Emerson Opdycke moved to New York where he operated a dry goods business for nearly 20 years.
  • On April 25, 1884, Emerson Opdycke died from acute peritonitis that resulted from a gunshot wound to the stomach that he sustained three days earlier while cleaning a revolver at his residence in New York.
  • Emerson Opdycke was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Warren, Ohio.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Samuel Emerson Opdycke - Facts
  • Coverage January 7, 1830 - April 25, 1884
  • Author
  • Keywords Samuel Emerson Opdycke
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 30, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 29, 2021
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