Civil War Wiki
Defense of Cincinnati
Part of American Civil War
Operational scope Conflict
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
Planned by Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace
Target Cincinnati, Ohio
Date September 1862
Executed by Union Army
Outcome Victory

The Defense of Cincinnati refers to the period during the American Civil War before September 13, 1862, when Cincinnati, Ohio, was spared from invasion from the Confederate forces.

Confederate Brig. Gen. Henry Heth had been sent north to capture Cincinnati, then the sixth largest city in the United States. Mayor George Hatch of Cincinnati declared martial law, and Union Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace organized the citizens for defense, and organized the Black Brigade of Cincinnati.

Along eight miles of hilltops from Ludlow to Fort Thomas, Kentucky, volunteers and soldiers constructed 23 batteries and four forts, which were defended by 22,000 Union Army soldiers and 50,000 local militia volunteers, called "Squirrel Hunters." On September 5, the governor announced to the public that no more volunteers would be needed for the defense of Cincinnati, but he advised that all military organizations be kept up for future needs.[1]

General Heth and his men marched up the Lexington Road towards the Ohio River. He came upon the Federal defenses, and decided not to attack. He stayed one day, and then retreated on September 13, 1862. Wallace soon earned the nickname "Savior of Cincinnati" for his actions. The Squirrel Hunters returned to their homes.[2]

Among many units that served in the defense was the 104th Ohio Infantry, which was involved in the Skirmish at Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

Hooper Battery and Shaler Battery are two of 6 remaining artillery batteries and the only ones open to the public.

Union Batteries that defended Cincinnati[]

Most of the batteries emplaced for the defense of Cincinnati were in the Northern Kentucky counties of Boone, Kenton and Campbell. These batteries were configured in a southward sweeping arc. Two batteries protecting the city's flanks were located on hills at the west and east sides of Cincinnati. The names of the batteries were:

Northern Kentucky batteries

  • Fort Whittlesey battery (now called Fort Thomas)
  • Phil Kearney battery
  • Shaler battery
  • Harrison battery
  • Holt battery
  • John's hill battery
  • McLean battery
  • Batteries at the pontoon bridges (crossing the Ohio River at Greenup Street in Covington, and the Licking River at 26th Street
  • Larz Anderson battery
  • Fort Henry battery
  • Burnet battery
  • Hatcher battery
  • Burbank battery
  • Carlisle battery
  • Hooper battery
  • Rae battery
  • Kyle battery
  • Fort Wright
  • Fort Mitchell
  • Fort Perry
  • Fort Rich
  • Bates battery
  • Combs battery
  • J. L. Kirby Smith battery

Ohio batteries

  • Price's Hill battery (defending the western flank)
  • Mount adams battery (defending the eastern flank)

See also[]


  • Geaslen, Chester F., Our Moment of Glory in the Civil War, Newport, Kentucky: Otto Printing Co., 1972.

External links[]