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A Brief History of the Ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry

by Patrick McSherry

9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Alger, 1898
Some members of the 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Alger, near Dunn Loring, Virginia
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The Ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry Battalion was an African American regiment.  The regiment served its term of service within the continental U.S

Unit History:

On April 25, 1898 Companies A, B and C of the Ninth Ohio National Guard responded to the Governor’s call to assemble. The men immediately responded and the next day were enroute to Columbus, Ohio. The man of Companies A, B and C were mustered into the federal service on May 14. At the time of mustering in, the regiment consisted of 16 officers and 314 enlisted men. Company D was subsequently mustered in on July 8. The battalion is significant in that it was composed of African Americans serving under the command of African American officers.

The battalion was commanded by Maj. Charles Young, a native of Kentucky  who was appointed to the military academy at West Point from Ohio. After graduating from the Academy, he served as a 2nd Lt. with the 10th U.S. Cavalry. In 1889 he served in rapid succession in a variety of military units - as a 2nd Lt. with the 10th U.S. Cavalry and the 25th U.S. Infantry before being transferred to the 9th U.S. Cavalry, where he remained until 1896. On December 22, 1896, Young was promoted to 1st Lt., serving briefly with the 7th U.S. Cavalry before returning to service with the 9th U.S. Cavalry.

The companies came from the following locations:

Company A – Springfield
Company B – Columbus
Company C – Xenia
Company D - Cleveland

On May 19, the battalion departed Ohio for Camp Alger, at Dunn Loring Virginia, just outside of Washington DC, arriving the following day. At Camp Alger, the battalion was initially assigned to the Second Brigade, Second Division, of the Second Army Corps. On June 2, the battalion was relieved of duty with the Second Division, and on June 6 was assigned to the Second Brigade, First Division of the 2nd Army Corps. President McKinley conducted a review of the troops at Camp Alger on May 26, 1898, but the 9th Ohio was on advanced duty and did not participate.

While the regiment was at Camp Alger, armistice was reached between the U.S. and Spain ending the war’s fighting on August 12, 1898.

On August 16, the battalion was ordered north. The entire Second Corps was to be relocated to Camp Meade, located outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, near the town of Middletown.  The first units to make the move were the Second Army Corps Headquarters staff and the Ninth Ohio. The Ninth Ohio apparently was not brigaded with other regiments. At Camp Meade, it was brigaded  the 14th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and the 202nd New York Volunteer Infantry. However at the request of all three regiments, the order was revoked at and the 9th remained unbrigaded. On October 24, 1898, Governor Bushnell of Ohio visited Camp Meade to review the 9th and 10th Ohio Volunteer Infantry regiments.

The 9th Ohio Volunteer Infantry took part in the Peace Jubilee in Philadelphia, held in October, 1898. However, though the unit paraded before President McKinley, Maj. Gen. William Shafter and others, it was not a pleasant event. All of the regiments which took part were sent to the city, passing through heavy rains on the railroad. Once there, they were quartered in old factory buildings and provided with little to eat. On the return rail trip, while the train was awaiting to be switched to another track at Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, a freight train plowed into the rear car. Six men of  were injured - Sgt. Floyd Stewart of Co. D (whose leg had to be amputated), Ruga Travers, Pvt. Emanuel Mack of Co. C, Benjamin Bangs, Luther Whitter and Benjamin Wilson.

The battalion remained at Camp Meade until November 17 when it was ordered south to Summerville, South Carolina. The battalion was mustered out of service on January 28, 1899. While the unit was at Summerville, the war officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. At the time of mustering out, the regiment consisted of 16 officers and 395 enlisted men. The battalion arrived home in Ohio on January 31.

During the battalion term of service, it lost five men who died of disease, one enlisted man murdered and fifteen enlisted men who deserted. In addition, fourteen men were discharged on disability.


Please note: as a service to our readers, clicking on a title listed in red will take you to that book on

"Bushnell Reviews Ohio Troops," The Sandusky Star. (Sandusky, Ohio), October 24, 1898, p 3.

Clerk of Joint Committee on Printing, The Abridgement of Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899) Vol. 3, 473, 477.

Correspondence relating to the War with Spain And Conditions Growing Out of the Same Including the Insurrection in the Philippine Island and the China Relief Expedition. Vol. 1 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902) 611.

Johnson, Edward A., History of Negro Soldiers in the Spanish American War and Other Items of Interest. (1899). (Reprint by Wayne and Judy Dasher, Nashville, Georgia, 2005). 53.

"Negro Troops Not Wanted in Brigade," New York Times. (New York) October 19, 1898, p. 4.

"Ninth," The Marion Daily Star. (Marion, OH), January 31, 1899, p. 4.

Official Army Register for 1898. (Washington DC: War Department, 1897) 77.

The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers in the War with Spain, 1898-1899. (Columbus: Edward T. Miller Co., 1916) 665.

"Ohio Soldiers Injured" The Independent. (Massillon, OH) October 31, 1898, p 3.

"Ohio Troops to Take Part," The Sandusky Star. (Sandusky, Ohio), October 15, 1898, p 3.

"Order Revoked," The Sandusky Star. (Sandusky, Ohio), September 27, 1898, p 3.

"President Reviews Troops," The Nebraska State Journal. (Lincoln, Nebraska) May 29, 1989. p. 1.

Sauers, Richard A., Pennsylvania in the Spanish-American War. (Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee, 1998) 49-50.

Statistical Exhibit of Strength of Volunteer Forces Called into Service During the War with Spain; with Losses from All Causes. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1899).

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