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Federal (USV)


Thomas H Ford

(1814 - 1868)

Home State: Ohio

Command Billet: Brigade Commander

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 3rd Brigade, HF Garrison


see his Battle Report

Before Antietam

He raised a company of volunteers in 1847, and served with them as Captain in the Mexican War. He was wounded there during his one-year term of service. After returning, he was not happy as a farmer in Ashland County, Ohio, so he studied Law in Mansfield and began to practice there in about 1851. He was described by a peer as a "man of great natural powers" but "indolent and careless". He made a noteworthy speech in support of the new Republican Party in Philadelphia in 1855, and was elected Lieutenant Governor of Ohio - with Governor Salmon P Chase - serving one term from 1856-1858.

In mid-1861 he raised and was commissioned Colonel of the 32nd Ohio Infantry Regiment, mustering into Federal service at that rank on 31 August 1861. They first saw action at Cheat Mountain in Western Virginia that winter, but Colonel Ford was too ill to accompany them. Afterward they were in the Shenandoah Valley under Milroy, and at Winchester before being ordered to Harpers Ferry in early September.

On the Campaign

He was in command of the Federal position on the Maryland Heights above Harpers Ferry on 13 September, but was unable to control his troops, and abandoned his position, leading shortly to the surrender of the Ferry.

The rest of the War

Although he asserted that he'd been ordered to give up Maryland Heights by Colonel Miles, he was found negligent by the Army inquiry into the surrender and dismissed from the service on 8 November 1862.

After the War

He remained in Washington DC and had a law practice there until his death just over 5 years later.

References & notes

Service information from the History1 - which features a pre-War picture of him, with other biographical detail from Richland County2. The testimony and decisions of the Army investigation into the surrender are in the OR3.


08/23/1814; Rockingham County, VA


02/29/1868; Washington, DC; burial in Mansfield Cemetery, Mansfield, OH


1   Hays, Ebenezer Z., Editor, History of the Thirty-second Regiment Ohio Veteran Volunteer Infantry, Columbus: Cott & Evans Printers, 1896  [AotW citation 1196]

2   Graham, Albert Adams, History of Richland County, Ohio, Mansfield (OH): A.A. Graham & Co., 1880, pp. 323-, 377-, 704-705  [AotW citation 1197]

3   US War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), 128 vols., Washington DC: US Government Printing Office, 1880-1901, Series 1, Volume 19 (Part I), pp. 549 - 803  [AotW citation 1198]