Ohio History Journal

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For the relief of the families of volunteers in the State or United States service.

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of            Tax levied,

Ohio, That for the relief of the necessities of the families of volun-        three-fifths of a

teers who now are, or hereafter may be, in the service of this state                                                                                                                                                                                                     mill on the

or the United States, there be and hereby is levied and assessed, for                                                                                                                                                                                                     dollar valua-

the year 1862, three-fifths of one mill on the dollar valuation on the         tion.

grand list of the taxable property of the State; and the amount so                                                                                                                                                                                                    Collected as

levied land assessed shall be collected in the same manner as other                                                                                                                                                                                                     taxes.

state taxes are collected.                                                LAWS OF OHIO, 1862

Title and first section of an act passed by the Ohio

General Assembly, February 13, 1862






One of the aspects of the Civil War on the home front which has received

scant attention by historians is that of aid for the families of men in the

armed services. The work of the United States Sanitary Commission and

the United States Christian Commission has been recognized, but the ex-

tensive work of these commissions was chiefly for the welfare of the soldiers

themselves. The impact of the war on those who were left behind when the

breadwinner was called to serve at the front has received little attention.

Yet to the communities both North and South in which these families lived,

common justice, humanity, and the level of morale demanded that the

soldiers' dependents be reasonably secured against real privation.

A number of methods for the relief of soldiers' families were used in

the state of Ohio. During the Civil War it was the third most populous state

in the Union, with a population in 1860 of 2,339,511. The complete story of

this relief can never be told, inasmuch as a great deal of it was given

through local and private sources and data are either lacking or are too

difficult to trace. However, some information regarding this phase of it is

available for the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. At that time

Cincinnati was the largest city in the state--indeed, it was the largest city

west of the Alleghenies, with a population in 1860 of 161,044. The various

methods of aiding the families of soldiers in that city can serve as some

indication of those used in other cities in the state and in the West.

Communities in Ohio were little prepared in 1861 to take care of the

unforeseen needs of soldiers' families, except by the existing system of