The Civil War in Ohio: A Road Trip Through History
Story & Photos by Matt Bayman
A display of pictures of soldiers who were from Ohio and served in the Civil War at the American Civil War Museum of Ohio in Tiffin.
During the Civil War, Ohio was spared much of the bloodshed and destruction that many other states in the Union and Confederacy endured. With the exception of a skirmish with a small band of Confederate soldiers that wreaked havoc on supply lines in parts of southern Ohio—known as Morgan’s Raid—no major battles took place in the Buckeye State.
However, this is not to say that Ohio didn’t play a major role in the war, nor pay a heavy cost in lives and labor. In fact, many historians agree that Ohio, and, more so, the hundreds of thousands of soldiers that fought and often died for the Union, and the leadership and influence that came from the state, played a key role in winning the war. Some even argue that without Ohio, the Union might not have won at all.
For instance, Ulysses S. Grant, who would be 200-years-old this year, was born near the Ohio River in Point Pleasant. Without his leadership as Commanding General of the Union Army, the outcome of many battles, and the war itself, might have been very different. His leadership after the war as President during Reconstruction also kept the country moving forward during very challenging times.
There’s also Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, born in Lancaster. He led “crushing campaigns” through the South, marching through Georgia (where he captured Atlanta) and then through the Carolinas. Today, he is considered a major architect of modern warfare and still loathed in the South for his destructive methods. Would a different, not-so-bold general have fared as well?
The same goes with Gen. Philip Sheridan, who was raised in Somerset. He led the successful Shenandoah Valley Campaign, which decimated the Confederate cavalry and, according to history.com, “was instrumental in General Robert E. Lee’s withdrawal from Petersburg, Virginia, after which Lee would soon surrender to Grant, ending the war.”
A map of the route that “Morgan’s Raiders” took in 1863. Today, a driving tour follows the route and is marked by special signage and numerous historical markers. TOP MIDDLE: An artist’s rendition of Morgan’s Raiders. TOP RIGHT: Some of the captured members of the “Raiders” passing the time while incarcerated. Images in the public domain.
The heroes were not just generals, but also common men.
For example, Ohio holds the distinction of having the largest population of free black men (5,092) enlisted in the Union Army. This included the Black Brigade of Cincinnati.
According to Peter Clark’s book, Black Brigade of Cincinnati, when Cincinnati was in danger of being attacked by the Confederate Army, members of the “brigade” were among the first African-Americans to be employed in the military defense of the Union. The fortifications they helped to build thwarted a major attack on the city. One member of this group was First Sergeant Powhatan Beaty, a former Virginia slave. He would go on to fight in several major battles and became one of the first African-American soldiers in history to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He grew up in Hamilton after his family escaped slavery in Virginia.
The Fighting McCooks, a white family from Carrollton, were made up of two brothers, Daniel and John McCook, and thirteen of their sons. All were involved in the army, making them one of the most prolific in American military history. Major Daniel McCook was one of six Union soldiers killed by Morgan’s Raiders at the Battle of Buffington Island in Ohio, not far from his home. These were the only Union soldiers to be killed in battle on Ohio soil.
Then there’s the story of John Clem, a 9-year-old drummer boy from Newark who ran away from home to join the army and fought bravely in battle. He became the youngest noncommissioned officer in U.S. Army history and eventually reached the rank of brigadier general before retiring from the Army at a ripe old age. He had a popular book written about him called Johnny Shiloh.
At a more fundamental level is John Brown, an Ohioan who became the leader of a group of anti-slavery militia, most notably attacking a federal armory in what is today Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. According to Britannica.com, the attack was intended to be the first stage in an elaborate plan to establish an independent stronghold of freed slaves in the mountains of Maryland and Virginia, something that worried many Southerners. His plan was backed and funded by wealthy New England abolitionists. After two days of fighting, Brown was captured and, along with six other raiders, hanged. This event is seen as one of the main incidents that led to the Civil War, with Brown ominously proclaiming before his death, “…the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away, but with Blood.” The Civil War—the bloodiest war in U.S. history—started less than two years later.
There’s also Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and a native of Cincinnati. Her book brought widespread attention to the horrors of slavery and took the abolitionist movement from the fringes of society (and the likes of John Brown) to the masses, which began to demand an end to slavery. Stowe based the characters in her book on stories she was told by runaway slaves in Cincinnati (as part of the Underground Railroad) and scenes she witnessed while living on the Ohio River.
TOP LEFT CLOCKWISE: Major General George Armstrong Custer in field uniform. o General William Tecumseh Sherman. o Commanding General Grant at the Battle of Cold Harbor, June 1864. o First Sergeant Powhatan Beaty. o Brevet Major Daniel McCook Sr., Union Army o Rutherford B. Hayes in Civil War uniform in 1861. o Harriet Beecher-Stowe, American abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
All images in the public domain.
The list of Ohioans who made an impact during (and after) the Civil War goes on; some are more famous and notorious than others.
Along with Grant, the famous include four U.S. Presidents from Ohio who fought in the Civil War—James Garfield, Rutherford B. Hayes (the only one wounded), Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley.
The notorious include George Custer (of Custer’s Last Stand fame), who was born in New Rumley, Jay Cooke, a prominent banker from Sandusky known as the “Financier of the Civil War,” and Everton Conger, the Fremont, Ohio man who found John Wilkes Booth hiding in a barn after he shot President Lincoln.
There’s also Edwin Stanton, a Steubenville native, who was Secretary of War under Lincoln. His management helped organize the massive military resources that the Union needed to win the war.
Lesser known is Gen. William Harvey Gibson of Tiffin. He was called “Ohio’s Silver Tongued Orator” and was seen as an exceptional and brave leader by his men.
Also, a majority of the Andrew’s Raiders were from Ohio. They were a group of 21 men (20 Union soldiers and one civilian) who took part in the “Great Locomotive Chase,” which was a plan to capture Confederate railroad lines deep in the South. A movie was made about it in the 1950s. The “raiders” were not successful and eight of the men were hanged, including Marion R. Ross, who was from Christiansburg. These men were among the first soldiers in history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Ohio also played a key role in housing Confederate prisoners during the war, namely at Johnson’s Island in Lake Erie (where guards told the 10,000 or so inmates that sharks infested the waters, so they best not make a swim of it) and Camp Chase, near Columbus, where more than 26,000 prisoners were kept throughout the war, of which eight-percent died while incarcerated.
After the war, special cemeteries, markers, monuments and museums were built throughout Ohio to commemorate these people and places, and the state’s role in the Civil War. Statues were erected to honor generals and heroes. They were often placed in the center of towns and cities and at major intersections. A great example is our very own Civil War statue in Pleasant Hill.
Today, these places can be visited during one long, amazing road trip, or over several trips that explore Ohio’s role in the Civil War.
Often located in bucolic small towns and rural landscapes, but also passing through major metropolitan areas, the following road trip and tour will take travelers through some of the most interesting and fun places in Ohio, while also garnering an appreciation for just how important the Buckeye State was in winning the Civil War and ending slavery in the United States. Go Bucks!
Enjoy and drive safely!
1. American Civil War
Museum of Ohio in Tiffin
The American Civil War Museum of Ohio is probably the best place to start when exploring the Civil War in Ohio. Plus, Tiffin is a very interesting town with a lot of great restaurants, shops and fun nightlife to enjoy.
Located in a 105-year-old former post office that was chosen partly because it looks like the Lincoln Memorial, the museum provides the perfect overview of Ohio’s role in the war. In fact, after visiting the museum, travelers will be able to move forward to each new destination on this tour with a greater understanding and appreciation.
Displays and exhibits at the museum (located in more than 10,000 square feet of space) cover Andrew’s Raiders, John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Grant and the other U.S. presidents from Ohio, Ohio’s prison camps and everything and everyone else in between. Special exhibits include: “The Road to War,” “Life of a Soldier,” “Women in the War,” “Medicine” and others. A 20-minute film, detailed dioramas, a massive Civil War library and a very fun gift shop round things out.
The museum is located at 217 S. Washington St. and open noon to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday or by special appointment. Admission is $6 for adults; $5 for seniors; and $3 for students. Those 6 and under are free. Learn more at acwmo.org.
Not far from the museum at the courthouse is a statue of Civil War Gen. William Harvey Gibson, a native of Tiffin. A Civil War soldier statue is located down the street at the Seneca County Veterans Memorial.
This is Tiffin’s 200th anniversary, with special events planned throughout the year, so it’s the perfect time to visit.
2. Hayes Presidential Library & Mustering Memory Civil War Exhibit in Fremont
Rutherford B. Hayes was the only U.S. president to be wounded in the Civil War. And, he was such a hoarder that visitors to his home (Spiegel Grove) and presidential library and museum in Fremont can see the jacket he was wearing when he received the wound (bullet hole and all), and so much more from his and his wife, Lucy’s, life.
Year-round, the museum features a special wing dedicated to Hayes, Lucy and the Civil War. It includes his personal letters and diaries, weapons and belongings, and explores Lucy’s efforts to help wounded soldiers during the war. This is something she was very passionate about. It is said that she once chose to stay and take care of wounded soldiers rather than be with her newborn child at home!
Special this year (2022) is an exhibit called “Mustering Memory: 160 Years of Saluting the Civil War,” which will be on display through September and is part of regular admission to the museum.
According to the museum’s description of the event: “For 160 years, the United States has been uncertain with how best to remember the Civil War. Each generation has handled the war’s legacy in its own way, often reflecting its own values and experiences in doing so. While the debate will continue on how this difficult subject should be remembered, this special exhibit provides often-overlooked history of how people have chosen and still choose to remember the Civil War. From the aged veterans who walked on the fields of Gettysburg for its 50th anniversary to modern enthusiasts who use their vacation time reliving famous battles or scouring Civil War antique shows, this exhibit offers context on where Civil War memory has been and insights for those interested in engaging with it today.”
Admission to the museum, library and the mansion is $20 ($13 for museum only) for adults; $18 for seniors and military; $10 for teens; and $5 for children. Children 5 and under are free. Plan your visit at rbhayes.org.
NOTE: Celebrate what would be Hayes’ 200th birthday on Oct. 4 at Speigel Grove at the library and museum.
3. Johnson’s Island Confederate Prison & Cemetery in Marblehead and the J.I.P.S. Museum in Sandusky
Less than three miles (as the crow flies) from the Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie is the Johnson’s Island Confederate Cemetery, which is located where the Johnson’s Island Confederate Prisoner of War Depot (prison camp) once stood.
The first Confederate POWs to arrive on the island (now connected with the mainland by a narrow road) in April of 1862 were captured mostly on the battlefields of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in Tennessee. Most prisoners were Confederate officers and were treated much better than those at other prison camps, including Camp Chase in Columbus. Regardless, more than 200 Confederate soldiers died while in captivity. Today, they are buried next to the lake at the Federal cemetery and remembered at the J.I.P.S. Museum.
Self-guided tours of the cemetery are highlighted with informative signs and a tall statue that overlooks the lake. The rest of the island is now filled with private homes.
The J.I.P.S. Museum at the Ohio Veterans Home Museum at 3416 Columbus Ave. in nearby Sandusky is “dedicated to preserving the camp’s history and the heritage of Johnson’s Island.” Exhibits include Civil War artifacts, camp models, prisoner photographs, letters and the latest on archaeological work and finds.
Learn more about both attractions at johnsonsisland.org.
4. Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument & Tunnel Tour in Cleveland
The Soldiers’ & Sailors’ Monument in downtown Cleveland is one of the greatest of its kind. A tribute to the Civil War, it consists of a 125-foot-high column surrounded at its base by a Memorial Room and esplanade.
The column, topped with a statue of the Goddess of Freedom, defended by the Shield of Liberty, is meant to signify “the essence of the Nation for which Cuyahoga County veterans were willing to and did give their lives.” Four bronze groupings on the esplanade depict, in battle scenes, the Navy, Artillery, Infantry and Cavalry.
Inside the Memorial Room are four bronze relief sculptures: Women’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Aid Society, Beginning of the War in Ohio, Emancipation of the Slaves and End of the War at City Point, Va., as well as busts of Gen. James Barnett and Architect/ Sculptor Levi T. Scofield, together with 6 officers, who were either killed in action, or died of disease or their wounds.
Although sold out for 2022, tunnel tours are available for $3 per person. The Memorial Room, however, is open year-round and can be accessed without scheduling a tour.
The monument on the ground-level is always open. The Memorial Room is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Learn more at soldiersandsailors.com.
There are three other notable Civil War sites in the Cleveland area—the Western Reserve Historical Society, 103rd OVI Civil War Museum at Sheffield Lake, and Lawnfield, home of President James Garfield.
The Western Reserve Historical Society is part of the Cleveland History Center at 10825 East Blvd. Along with exhibits about local history, it contains the most comprehensive collection documenting the history of the American Civil War in the United States. It was largely donated to the historical society by Civil War history collector William Palmer and contains more than 7,000 books, over 300 newspapers and more than 475 manuscript collections, plus tens of thousands of photographs. It is open noon to 8 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday through Sunday. For more information, call (216) 721-5722.
The 103rd O.V.I. of Sheffield Lake museum celebrates the lives and service of Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Medina County soldiers serving the 103rd regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. They are the oldest Civil War organization composed of direct descendants that continues to meet on an annual basis. A museum at 5501 E. Lake Rd. in Sheffield houses, preserves, and displays the Civil War materials and artifacts that have been collected and donated by the descendants of the men of the 103rd Regiment. It is open by appointment only by calling (440) 949-2790.
The James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor (a suburb of Cleveland) honors the life of our 20th president and contains exhibits about his time as an officer during the Civil War, among other facets of his life. The historic site is located at 8095 Mentor Ave. and open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday.
5. McKinley Presidential Library & Museum in Canton
William McKinley was the last U.S. president to have served in the American Civil War, as well as the only one to begin his service as an enlisted man and end as a brevet major. After the war, he settled in Canton.
Today, the William McKinely Presidential Library and Museum hosts a number of Civil War-related events and contains exhibits about McKinley’s life in the Union Army, among many others. The extensive museum includes an interactive science center, a presidential museum dedicated to McKinley, a historical library, a planetarium with daily shows and more. Just outside of the museum is the McKinley Memorial, which is one of the most impressive monuments of its kind in the United States.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
6. Salineville - Furthest Point North of Confederate Engagement & the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail
Located just outside of the small village of Salineville on Ohio Route 39 is a monument that marks the northernmost place that Confederate forces engaged in warfare during the Civil War. This was also the last engagement of Morgan’s Raiders, which, as mentioned, was a group of hundreds of Confederate soldiers (led by Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan) that traveled more than 1,000 miles through Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and across Ohio destroying property and diverting the attention of Union soldiers from the front lines in Vicksburg and Gettysburg, although it didn’t work. The “Raiders” destroyed bridges, railroads and, government stores in Ohio and, according to Harper’s Weekly, July 25, 1863, “spread alarm across southern and central Ohio.”
At this location in Salineville, Morgan’s men were split up and eventually surrendered.
The monument is part of the Morgan’s Raiders Driving Tour, which visits dozens of related sites. Those who are interested in experiencing the full scope of the trail should purchase Morgan’s Raid Across Ohio: The Civil War Guidebook of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail by Lora Cahill and David Mowery.
7. McCook House S.H.S. Civil War Museum - The Fighting McCooks in Carrollton
Carrollton is a picturesque town in eastern Ohio that is famous for being the home of The Fighting McCooks, which, as mentioned, is one of the most prolific military families in United States history, consisting of 13 members of the same family who served during and after the Civil War.
Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Memorial Day through the second weekend of October, The McCook House Civil War Museum is located in the home of Major Daniel McCook and highlights the family’s lives and wartime efforts. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children 6-12.
8. Custer Monument S.H.S. & Museum in New Rumley
New Rumley is located far from everything, which makes it fun to visit. In the center of this small Amish village—surrounded by quiet, rolling farmland—is the Custer Monument, as well as a museum that is only open a few times each year or by appointment.
George Armstrong Custer was a Union cavalry commander of note during the Civil War. He was born in New Rumley in 1839. He became world-famous when he and all of his men were slaughtered by Lakota Sioux and Northern Cheyenne warriors at the Battle of Little Bighorn in what is today Montana, sometimes known as “Custer’s Last Stand.”
Today, a roadside park and picnic area on Ohio Route 646 in New Rumley contains a statue of Custer, an exhibit pavilion where visitors can read about his life, and the foundation of the home he was born in.
A church next to the property acts as The Custer Museum and Center. It is open on the first Saturday of June, the second Saturday of December, and the last Sunday of the month April through September and by appointment. There is no admission. Call (740) 945-3744 to set up a visit or for more information.
If you have time, take a drive around the hills and farmland that surrounds New Rumley. It is very serene.
9. Union Cemetery in Steubenville
The Union Cemetery in Steubenville is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and noted as one of the most beautiful in the country. This makes it an interesting place to visit, regardless of its Civil War history.
Along with a section and monument dedicated to soldiers from the Union Army, the cemetery is the final resting place of three of the Fighting McCooks, the grandparents of Woodrow Wilson, and the family of Edwin Stanton, who was Lincoln’s Secretary of War.
Some of the unique things to see at the cemetery include the Old Stone Chapel built in 1892, an old stone bridge built in 1880 and the “Dog Marker,” which marks the grave of John Boillin, a man who lost his vision and was adopted by a stray dog that became his seeing-eye dog.
10. General Sheridan in Somerset
A close friend of Ulysses S. Grant, Philip Henry Sheridan is remembered for his rapid rise to major general in the Union Army during the Civil War, largely due to his successes in battle.
Although it is debated whether he was born in Somerset, he did grow up there. To honor this, a statue of him stands in the middle of town, right next to the Corner Restaurant—a tasty ma and pa restaurant that fits in well in this quaint little community.
11. Sherman House Museum
& Statue in Lancaster
One of the most feared generals in world history, William Tecumseh Sherman was born in a modest home in Lancaster that now serves as his official museum. The Sherman House is on the National Register of Historic Places and a stop on the Civil War Preservation Trail. It contains Civil War artifacts, family memorabilia, period furniture and décor, various exhibits and more. The museum is located at 137 E. Main St. and offers tours at noon, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $6.
A statue of Sherman stands in the middle of the historic downtown.
12. Camp Wool Civil War Monument in Athens
Camp Wool was a training camp for Ohio volunteers during the Civil War. According to Ohio History Connection, at these camps, military authorities quickly trained soldiers who came here from throughout Ohio. Nothing remains of the camp today, except a small historical marker and an old school building at 41 Central Ave.
13. Buffington Island
Battlefield Memorial Park
This 4-acre park in the “little boot” of Ohio is the site of the only significant Civil War battle in the state. Rather than taking place on an actual island, the battle took place near the banks of the Ohio River, and, by chance, next to some Adena Indian mounds.
According to Ohio History Connection, the battle took place on July 19, 1863 when two Union cavalry columns and two Union gunboats cornered Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and his men (who became known as Morgan’s Raiders) as they tried to cross the Ohio River. Prior to this, they had destroyed property throughout Ohio and Indiana. The two-hour battle resulted in 6 killed and 20 wounded on the Union side and 57 killed, 63 wounded, and 71 captured on the Confederate side. Throughout the day following the battle, Union militia and regular troops captured 570 Confederates who had fled the field.
The Battle Island Battlefield Memorial Park is located at 56797 Ohio Route 124 in Portland and contains historical signage describing the battle and other facets of the Civil War, as well as information on the Indian mounds. (See the link below these pictures to listen to a song written by local songwriter and performer Kevin Serey that features Buffington Island).
14. Grant’s Homestead & Schoolhouse in Georgetown & Birthplace in Point Pleasant + Land of Grant Trail
This is an appropriate year to visit the many sites in Ohio related to Ulysses S. Grant, for he would be 200-years-old this year. Although many of the larger celebrations for this occasion took place earlier this year, one of the best ways to experience the history and intrigue that surrounds Grant is to take the Land of Grant Trail—a driving tour that connects 17 points of interest related to his life and legacy. This includes his boyhood home and schoolhouse, his birthplace (and museum), a memorial bridge, statues and more. Plan your tour at discoverclermont.com/grant. Also plan to enjoy the small towns that the trail connects, especially Georgetown, and the countryside found in between each stop on the tour.
15. Samarion Cemetery for Black Union Soldiers in New Richmond
Ohio has more military cemeteries and locations of military interment than any other state. This includes a special cemetery near Cincinnati called Samarion Cemetery.
Approximately 180,000 African Americans (free and former slaves) comprising of 163 units served in the Union Army and Navy during the Civil War. The African American community in New Richmond (located right on the Ohio River) contributed a significant number of these men, many of which helped support Grant in his siege of Vicksburg.
Today, 23 of these brave men are buried in this quiet cemetery, located on a hill near the Ohio River. The cemetery does not have an address. It is located on Ohio Route 132, less than one mile north of its intersection with U.S. 52.
16. Camp Denison Civil War Museum
The Christian Waldschmidt Homestead & Camp Dennison Civil War Museum is located at 7567 Glendale Milford Rd. in the town of Camp Dennison.
During the Civil War, the Waldschmidt Homestead and surrounding grounds were part of Camp Dennison. This property was used primarily as a mustering center allowing for the recruiting and training of troops. It also served as a hospital after the Battle of Shiloh.
The camp was named in honor of Ohio Governor William Dennison. At one time the main house served as the headquarters for General Joshua Bates. A smaller stone structure served as the guard house, which now houses a Civil War Museum with numerous artifacts and exhibits.
The museum is open for public tours on Sunday afternoons from May through October. Tours begin at 1 p.m. and the last tour is at 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults.
Nearby Camp Dennison Memorial Park is a stop on the Morgan’s Raid Trail and contains Civil War-era cannons and signage that explains the area’s significance during the war. The Little Miami Scenic Trail (click HERE for more info) passes right by the park and museum.
17. National Underground Railroad
Freedom Center & Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati
Known as a “museum of conscience,” the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, located at 50 E. Freedom Way in downtown Cincinnati (and a stone’s throw from the Ohio River), offers insight into “the struggle for freedom in the past, in the present and for the future and challenges visitors to contemplate the meaning of freedom in their own lives.” Its location also recognizes the significant role of Cincinnati in the history of the Underground Railroad.
The elaborate museum includes a theater, interactive displays and films, a variety of exhibits and much more and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $15 for adults.
Nearby at 2950 Gilbert Ave. is the The Harriet Beecher Stowe House, which celebrates the life, family, and legacy of author and activist Harriet Beecher Stowe. Harriet is primarily known for her book Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The historic site also interprets the 20th century history of the house as a tavern listed in the Green Book. Located in the historic neighborhood of Walnut Hills in Cincinnati, the Harriet Beecher Stowe House hosts educational tours, lectures, and discussion groups and is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults.
Also nearby is the Jewish Civil War Memorial, located at 3400 Montgomery Rd. at the United Jewish Cemetery. The memorial is an obelisk built in 1868. It first honored one fallen Jewish Civil War soldier from Cincinnati, Lt. Louis Reitler, who was killed in battle in 1862. Later, the graves of five other Union veterans were interred. The memorial now includes the names of local Jewish soldiers from World War I and World War II as well.
(IMAGES IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN)
18. Ohio Statehouse Civil War Statues
& Museum in Columbus
The Ohio Statehouse sits on 10 acres in the middle of downtown Columbus and is surrounded by flower gardens and sculptures, including one titled “These Are My Jewels,” which contains life-size portraits of military and political leaders who contributed greatly to the Union cause during the Civil War. Portrayed are: Salmon Chase, James A. Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Philip Sheridan, William Tecumseh Sherman and Edwin Stanton. Nearby are Civil War cannons, a statue of William McKinley and other features.
Inside of the Statehouse, and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, is the Museum Education Center. It contains Civil War exhibits and artifacts, as well as videos, tours and more.
Plan your visit at ohiostatehouse.org.
19. Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery & “The Lady in Gray” in Columbus
Camp Chase served several purposes during the Civil War. It was established as a military staging and training camp for Union soldiers (the biggest one in Ohio) and later included a large prison camp for Confederate soldiers.
Sadly, at least 2,260 prisoners died while in captivity and today they are buried at the Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery.
According to Ohio History Connection, the living conditions at Camp Chase were inadequate and smallpox and other deadly diseases killed many. A large monument in the middle of the cemetery pays homage to the dead.
The cemetery is allegedly haunted by a Civil War-era ghost named The Lady in Gray. According to the book, The Mashburn Collection: The Grey Lady Ghost, the story goes that the ghost is looking for her lost love, and cannot find him in the cemetery. The woman is described as young, in her late teens or early twenties, dressed entirely in gray, and carrying a clean white handkerchief. The legend may date back to just after the Civil War when visitors to Camp Chase spotted the woman walking through the cemetery, trying to read the carved names on the marked grave markers. She was seen quite often for several years, before disappearing completely.
The cemetery is located at 2900 Sullivant Ave.
20. Motts Military Museum in Groveport
The Motts Military Museum contains an extensive Civil War collection with many one-of-a-kind items, plus many other military items from throughout the United States’ history. Educational displays include uniforms, weapons and more. The museum also exhibits one of the finest Civil War medical collections in the country and has 9/11 artifacts.
The museum is located at 5075 S. Hamilton Rd. in Groveport and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays. Admission is $10 for adults.