• 57°

Rifles active in Civil War

Four Parrott Rifles stand a silent watch at Ironton’s Woodland Cemetery. Two of these veterans of America’s Civil War overlook U.S. 52 while the other two stand guard at the Grand Army of the Republic plot.

The Parrott Rifle was one the most formidable field weapons of the Civil War. Each cannon carries the initials of the creator Robert Parker Parrott and the date of manufacture at the West Point Foundry in the state of New York.

Armory records show that iron produced in Lawrence County furnaces was used at the foundry for weapon production. Unfortunately Army ordnance records on these rifles have been destroyed and we have been unable to verify where they served. But serve they did.

One of the most famous Lawrence County-related Parrott rifles was the Swamp Angel. But that’s another story.

In addition to iron, Lawrence County provided troops. One of the more recognized local units is the 91st Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI). Their service record and unit citations are impeccable.

As a Cavalry trooper my mission was to seek out any role that Lawrence County’s horse soldiers may have played. My research led me to Company H 6th Ohio Cavalry.

In the fall of 1861 Company H 6th Ohio Cavalry was organized in Ironton under the command under Col. William R. Lloyd. It went to the field in May, 1862 and operated in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, and in June participated in the battle of Cross Keys, and again at Cedar Mountain and second Bull Run. It joined Burnside’s advance on Fredericksburg and went into winter quarters, guarding the Rappahannock.

In the spring of 1863 it fought under Hooker at Kelly’s Ford, joined Stoneman’s raid, and followed Lee’s movement into Maryland, having several severe actions. The Regiment took an active part at Gettysburg (Co H may have been detached from the regiment and not at Gettysburg) and followed Lee’s retreat, capturing many men and wagons.

It participated in many engagements in Meade’s advance on the Rapidan and spent the winter fighting Mosby’s guerillas. In the spring of 1864 it joined Grant’s movement on Richmond, participating in many hard fought battles under Sheridan.

Operating south of the James on the Weldon Railroad in October, it hardly rested during the winter, and in the spring of 1865 joined the last grand movement to Five Forks and Appomattox until the collapse of the Rebellion. In August, 1865, it returned to Ohio and was mustered out. This Regiment sustained heavy loss in officers and men during its eventful career.

The monument to the Sixth Ohio Cavalry is south of Gettysburg on Taneytown Road at the Hummelbaugh Farm.

The Civil War lasted four long years and Ohio played a pivotal role with 310,654 men enrolled in 230 regiments. Nearly all were volunteers as only 8,750 were drafted.

There were 5,092 Black soldiers from Ohio. More than 200 Ohioans reached the rank of general. Lawrence County, Ohio can be proud of its monuments, memorials and, most importantly, its men.

Save the dates of Friday, March 6-7, and Saturday, May 9, for historic Lawrence County history activities.

On March 6 there will be a dinner presentation about our iron furnaces and how they shaped the regions. Furnace authorities and local historians will talk about ironmasters and their industries. Saturday morning we’ll board a motor coach for a “Living History” tour of some remaining furnaces. Ironton’s founder John Campbell, female ironmaster, Nannie Kelly Wright, and other interpreters will be on location talking about the early history of Lawrence County.

May 9 will be the debut of a new Greater Lawrence County driving tour. This journey has over a dozen local stops including costumed first-person character presentations at many of the sites.

Topics will range from Native American inhabitants, the Waterloo Wonders up to modern times. There’s much to learn and great stories to hear.

Stay tuned as more information on these and other countywide events will be coming soon.

 

Submitted by Steve Call, professor at Ohio University Southern and member of the Lawrence County Bicentennial Committee. The committee will publish articles relating to the early pioneer settlements, interesting characters in history and the industrial revolution pertaining to the area once famously known as the “Hanging Rock Iron Region,” as they lead up to the 200th birthday of the founding of the county. Follow the committee’s activities on Facebook by searching “Lawrence County Bicentennial Committee” or by visiting the committee website at www.lawrenceregister2.com.