127th Ohio Infantry
5th U.S. Colored Troops

compiled by Larry Stevens

References for this Unit

Captain George B. Cock Co. G
5th USCT - 127th OVI
Courtesy of and Copyright © Brad Pruden Collection


The 127th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, later designated as the 5th U.S. Colored Infantry, was Ohio's outstanding contribution to the many Negro regiments in the Union Army. Prior to the organization of the 127th, a number of colored Ohioans had been recruited for the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, organized in Boston, but were lost in the credits to their state. Then in the summer of 1863, Captain Lewis McCoy of the 115th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was detailed by Governor Tod to direct the recruiting of Negroes in Ohio and a camp was established in Delaware. Progress at first was slow, but the nucleus of a regiment was finally formed. There was no law regulating the organization of colored troops and the War Department had issued no call to them for service. The only law which gave even a semblance of authority to such an organization was known as "The Contraband Law," which gave a colored loborer in the service of the United States ten dollars per month, including three dollars for clothing and seven dollars for pay. Nevertheless, Captain McCoy took the initiative and mustered J.B.T. Marsh into the army as quartermaster of the 127th. Finally the long awaited order, calling colored men into the service and making the organization official, came from the War Department. With the appointment of G.W. Shurtleff of Oberlin, formerly of the 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, as Lieutenant Colonel, the name was changed and recruiting was completed. Non-commissioned officers were appointed from the ranks and the regiment fully equipped, left Ohio for Virginia on November 18. Colonel J.W. Conine, appointed by President Lincoln, met the regiment at Norfolk to assume command.
"The Military History of Ohio" (1866) gives this account of the regiments history:
"In December, 1863, moved to North Carolina; in January, 1864, back to Virginia, camping near Yorktown; took gallant part in Butler's campaign on the James; stormed the heights of Petersburg, June 15, 1864, and took part in the subsequent siege; transferred again to the Army of the James; in 1865 served in North Carolina; discharged at Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 5, 1865." While on the James River the regiment received 375 recruits. In the fighting at Chafin's Farm in Virginia, September 29, 1864, the regiment lost 85 killed and 248 wounded, in addition to 9 officers wounded, of the 550 men in the ranks that day. Sergeants Beatty, Holland, Pimm, and Brunson were awarded medals, both by Congress and by General Benjamin F. Butler, for gallantry in action.

From: Ohio Handbook of the Civil War. By: Robert S. Harper. Ohio Historical Society 1961

From Dyer's Compendium

5th U.S. Colored Infantry. Organized at Camp Delaware, Ohio, August to November, 1863. Moved to Norfolk, Va., November, 1863. Attached to United States Forces, Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, to January, 1864. 2nd Brigade, United States Forces, Yorktown, Va., 18th Corps, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, to April, 1864. 2nd Brigade, Hincks' Colored Division, 18th Corps, Army of the James, Dept. of Virginia and North Carolina, to June, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 18th Corps, to December, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 25th Corps, to December, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 25th Corps, to March, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 10th Corps, Dept. of North Carolina, to August, 1865. Dept. of North Carolina to September, 1865.
SERVICE.--Duty at Norfolk and Portsmouth, Va., till January, 1864. Wild's Expedition to South Mills and Camden Court House, N. C., December 5-24, 1863. Action at Sandy Swamp, N. C., December 8. Moved to Yorktown, Va., January, 1864, and duty there till May. Wistar'.s Expedition against Richmond February 6-8, 1864. Expedition to New Kent Court House in aid of Kilpatrick's Cavalry March 1-4. New Kent Court House March 2. Expedition into King and Queen County March 9-12. Expedition into Matthews and Middlesex Counties March 17-21. Butler's operations on south side of the James River and against Petersburg and Richmond May 4-June 15. Capture of City Point May 4. Fatigue duty at City Point and building Fort Converse on the Appomattox River till June 15, Attack on Fort Converse May 20. Before Petersburg June 15-18. Bailor's Farm June 15. Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond June 16 to December 6. In trenches before Petersburg till August 27. Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30. Moved to Deep Bottom August 28. Battle of Chaffin's Farm, New Market Heights, September 28-30. Fort Harrison September 29. Battle of Fair Oaks October 27-28. In trenches before Richmond till December. 1st Expedition to Fort Fisher, N. C., December 7-27. 2nd Expedition to Fort Fisher, N. C., January 7-15. Assault and capture of Fort Fisher, N. C., January 15. Sugar Loaf Hill January 19. Federal Point February 11. Fort Anderson February 18-20. Capture of Wilmington February 22. Northeast Ferry February 22. Campaign of the Carolinas March 1-April 26. Advance on Kinston and Goldsboro March 6-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 21. Cox's Bridge March 23-24. Advance on Raleigh April 9-14. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. Duty at Goldsboro, New Berne and Carolina City, N. C., till September. Mustered out September 20, 1865. Regiment lost during service 4 Officers and 77 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 166 Enlisted men by disease. Total 249.

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Copyright © 1995 Larry Stevens

Last updated July 15 2010