Ohio History Journal

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One Man's Experience in a One Hundred

Day Regiment: Barzilla R. Shaw and the

143d Ohio Volunteer Infantry




Like many other young Union soldiers, Barzilla R. Shaw of the 143d

Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry (O.V.I.) kept a diary of his experiences

during the Civil War. Although his unit was a late entry, it saw action in the

crucial Petersburg Campaign in the summer of 1864 which led to the end of

the Confederacy. In April Governor John Brough had called Shaw's home

guard unit to the field; seven hundred volunteers assembled at the Coshocton

fairgrounds (Camp Burt) and proceeded to Columbus. There, at Camp Chase,

the 143d O.V.I. was formed from the 80th Battalion Ohio National Guard

(O.N.G.) of Columbiana County and part of the 69th Battalion O.N.G. from

Coshocton County.l Barzilla Shaw was appointed regimental quartermaster

sergeant. In the transcript which follows, Shaw recounts his unit's 100 days

of service.

In 1864 the 143d was initially assigned to General Joseph Haskin's divi-

sion of the Twenty-second Corps and sent to Washington to defend the capital

(May 22 to June 8). On June 8, they were ordered to White House, Virginia;

once there, they were reassigned to General Orris Ferry's division of the Tenth

Corps, part of General Benjamin Butler's Army of the James. Ferry's newly

formed division-made up of regiments of 100-day men and black troops-em-

barked immediately for Bermuda Hundred, where they arrived on June 13.2

That May and early June, fifty miles southwest of Washington, had seen

some of the bloodiest fighting of the war as Ulysses S. Grant engaged Robert

E. Lee's forces in battles at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania and Cold Harbor.

In spite of massive losses-40,000 men in five weeks-Grant obtained a

strategic advantage over Lee and intended to press on, stating in his famous

dispatch "[I] propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer."

Grant was determined to strike the Confederate capital at Richmond. The fi-



Harry G. Enoch is Director of Environmental Health and Safety and Adjunct Professor of

Toxicology at the University of Kentucky.


1. Samuel H. Nicholas, Coshocton County Centennial History (Coshocton, 1911), 51.

2. William J. Bahmer, Centennial History of Coshocton County, Ohio, 1 (Chicago, 1909);

War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate

Armies, XL, Part II, 224-26.