: Discharge of T.M. Welsh from the "Squirrel Hunters" ("Minute Men of Ohio"), called to defend Cincinnati from attack during the Civil War. In the second year of the American Civil War, Confederate troops were ordered to capture Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio. Major General Horatio Wright, commander of Union forces in Kentucky, ordered General Lewis (Lew) Wallace to prepare Covington's and Cincinnati's defenses. Upon arriving in Cincinnati, Wallace immediately declared martial law. He issued a call in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan for a volunteer militia. Men in the regular army would fight on the battlefield, while the civilians would prepare trenches and other defensive features to prepare the two communities for attack. Cincinnati residents reportedly "cheerfully obeyed" the order.
Ohio Governor David Tod left Columbus, the state capital, and came to Cincinnati to assist Wallace. Tod immediately ordered Ohio's adjutant-general to send any available troops other than those guarding Ohio's southern border to Cincinnati. A number of Ohio counties offered to dispatch men to Cincinnati as well, and civilians from sixty-five counties numbering 15,766 men reported for duty at Cincinnati. These volunteer men became known as the "Squirrel Hunters."
Many of the Squirrel Hunters had no military training and carried antiquated weapons. Despite these shortcomings, they still rallied together to help defend Ohio from Confederate invasion. A Confederate scout reported that, "They call them Squirrel Hunters; farm boys that never had to shoot at the same squirrel twice."
Thanks to the actions of Wallace and Tod, Covington and Cincinnati had adequate defenses to repel the Confederate advance within two days. By September 13, 1862, news reached Cincinnati that the Confederate forces were withdrawing from Kentucky and that Cincinnati was no longer in danger. Wallace earned the nickname "Savior of Cincinnati" for his actions in September 1862. The Squirrel Hunters returned to their homes.
To thank the Squirrel Hunters, the Ohio legislature, in 1863, authorized funds for Governor Tod to print discharges for these men from military duty. The discharges thanked the men for their patriotism and their willingness to sacrifice their lives in the defense of Ohio. View on Ohio Memory.
: VFM2637 Subjects
: Squirrel Hunters; Ohio History--Military Ohio, United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Cincinnati (Ohio)--History Places
: Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio);