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With Morgan’s arrival imminent, Lieutenant Colonel George W. Neff commandant of Camp Dennison, prepared to defend the camp. Of his 600 troops about 200 were unarmed and most were either new recruits or convalescents. By daybreak of July 14, 350 convalescent soldiers and militia men manned the newly constructed earthworks. By 06:00, they engaged the rebel forces with the understanding that their strategic position had to be held. 

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Tour Sign #8

Tour Sign #8

Tour Sign #8

Tour Sign #8

US General George B. McClellan

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William Dennison Jr., Governor of Ohio 1860 - 1862

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Depiction of Camp Dennison

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US Brigadier General George W. Neff. Held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the defense of Camp Dennison.

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US Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox, District of Ohio Commander

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Camp Dennison Civil War Museum

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On April 27, 1861, Camp Dennison was established under Major General George B. McClellan at the request of the Governor William Dennison. The camp was meant to serve as a place to muster, train, and discharge volunteers’ soldiers. It is estimated that between 75,000 and 100,000 union soldiers passed through Camp Dennison throughout the Civil War. With 2,300 beds, the hospital added to the camp in April 1862, was one of the largest military hospitals in the Union. In July 1863, Camp Dennison was located at a strategically important crossroads but was manned with fewer than 600 men, most of whom were convalescing after being wounded or were new recruits. 

After leaving the Schenck house, Morgan continued east, most of his force moving on Kugler Mill Road. Other companies moved south, visiting several homes in the present-day city of Madeira. It was early Tuesday, July 14, when Morgan and his men neared Camp Dennison. The day before, to defend the camp, Lieutenant Colonel Neff ordered Captain Joseph L. Proctor and fifty men to dig rifle pits at the crossroads of Kugler Mill, Loveland, and present-day Camargo roads. The men also cut trees to block the roads. Brigadier General Jacob D. Cox, the District of Ohio commander, had sent word to Neff and the orders were clear: “The camp must be held!” In the day prior to Morgan’s arrival, 1400 men arrived but most were unarmed. On the morning of the 14th, Proctor was put in command of 350 men, his force made up of US convalescents, Ohio militia, and civilians. It was about 06:00 when the Confederates advance guard reached the intersection, finding felled trees and other obstacles in their path, and entered a skirmish with the US forces. Morgan ordered his artillery, two 12-pounder howitzers, to begin shelling from about a quarter mile away in an attempt to disperse the union troops but without success. 

Morgan himself was never involved in the skirmish beyond ordering the artillery into action. With Hobson’s forces still on his trail, Morgan didn’t have time to get involved in a lengthy battle. After being forced to backtrack, Morgan’s main column retreated north to Montgomery, where he was met by Duke’s brigade after their own series skirmishes

In 1863, Camp Dennison encompassed more than 700 acres. It was dismantled between November 1865 and June 1866.Today, in the town of Camp Dennison houses the Camp Dennison Civil War Museum in the Stone house that served as the camp’s guard house. The eighth interpretive sign on the tour is located across the street from the museum on OH-126.

Caholl, Lora Schmidt. Mowery, David L.. The Civil War Guidebook of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail. Ohio Historical Society, 2014.

Morgan's Raid, Ohio History Central. Accessed October 20th 2021.

Morgan's Raid into Ohio, Carnegie Public Library. Accessed October 20th 2021.

Remembering Morgan's Raid, Ohio History Connection. July 13th 2013. Accessed Ocobter 20th 2021.

Hilton, Mark. Camp Dennison "The Camp Must Be Held!", The Historical Marker Database. September 12th 2017. Accessed October 22nd 2021.

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