Of Hickory shirts and Tiny Pistols

Ambrotype/tintype described as follows: “May 1861. Five enlistees from Co. K, 11th Ohio Infantry Regiment, one in uniform and three in hickory shirts, at Camp Dennison [near Cincinnati], three with bayoneted rifles.”

Take note of the extensive collection of small pistols and large knives in the volunteers’ belts.

Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs (Library of Congress) https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2018648144/

“Summary: Photograph shows soldiers who enlisted [from] Greenville, Ohio, identified as (left to right) Lieutenant Wesley Gorsuch, Private Francis M. Eidson, unidentified soldier, Brigadier General [Brevet] Joseph Washington Frizell, and Doctor Squire Dickey, a surgeon candidate who did not muster.”

The photo comes from the time in which the 11th Ohio was a “three-month” regiment, formed from 90-day men meeting Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers. Mustered out 20 June 1861, the regiment was reformed the same day as a “three-year” regiment and was soon assigned to Cox’s Kanawha Brigade, seeing its first combat in a skirmish at Hawk’s Nest, Virginia on 20 August.

The 11th would go on to be in the thick of it at Second Bull Run and Antietam (where they have a monument noting their action and the loss of their commander, LTC Augustus H. Coleman), then transfer out West to fight at Chickamauga, the Siege of Chattanooga, and Missionary Ridge (where three of its enlisted earned the Medal of Honor).

Original Veterans of the regiment were mustered out in Cincinnatti in June 1864, then many went on to join new recruits as a battalion in the 92nd Ohio for Sherman’s March to the Sea, and the Carolinas Campaign.

The last of the 11th was mustered out on 11 June 1865, following the Grand Review in Washington, at which point several likely donned plaid shirts once more. 

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