From C.E. Dickinson, D.D. A History of Belpre, Ohio Globe Printing and Binding Company, Parkersburg, WV 1920

    At the beginning of the War of the Rebellion, President Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand men as it was thought at the time, April, 1861, that this would be a sufficient number to put down the rebellion. At the earnest solicitation of Governor Dennison of Ohio, General Geo. B. McClellan was sent with his army into West Virginia, then Old Virginia, and ordered to push towards the mountains and drive the rebel army back beyond that barrier, for Governor Dennison saw if this was not done early in the war that the Ohio River was likely to become the border line between contending forces.
     Under these conditions McClellan began his campaign into Virginia early in the Spring of 1861. It was the first military movement of the war. He had not more than got started on his campaign before the urgent need of more troops was upon him. His line of communications was poorly guarded, and beyond the Ohio River in Ohio the railroads were at the mercy of raiding parties from Virginia.
     Governor Dennison thereupon called for Ohio troops to volunteer their services for this important duty and many companies volunteered. Accordingly on June 23rd, 1861, the Adjutant General of Ohio issued the order for the movement of Ohio militia and ten companies were placed along the B. & O. which was at the time known as the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad. Four of these companies were from Washington County as follows: Co. D First Regt. Ohio Volunteer Militia, Capt. Wm. B. Mason, The Fireman Zouaves, Capt. S.F. Shaw, both companies from Marietta, The Harmar Company, Capt. Joseph P. Daniels, and the Belpre Guards, Capt. Frank H. Loring of Belpre, this county. They served on this guard duty for about three months as above stated and deserve to be honored and remembered, because they did faithful and important service and their names are not included in the Ohio Roster of troops for the reason that none but those who were sworn into U.S. service are included in that publication and we take pleasure in giving the names of Captain Loring’s Company here, as included in History of Washington County, from which this list is copied.

From the History of Washington County, Ohio, 1788-1881 H.Z. Williams, Cleveland, Ohio

   At the start of the Civil War, militia companies were distributed along the railroad between the city of Marietta and Athens to guard the Marietta & Cincinnati railroad, known as the “old line.” General McClellan feared that his communications would be interrupted and that his supplies might be cut off by the destruction of bridges and trestle works on this railroad, which was an important matter at the time. One of these companies was the Belpre Guards commanded by Captain F. H. Loring, from Belpre. They were distributed along the railroad in squads, and were armed, clothed and subsisted the same as other volunteers. This service although not especially dangerous, was important.

Belpre Guards

Commissioned Officers

Captain F. H. Loring; Lieutenant James King

Non-Commissioned Officers

Orderly Sergeant A. P. Sherman, Sergeant J. L. O’Neal1, John Mitchell, C. W. Stone, John Drain


A. H. Browning, P. W. Simpson, E. M. O’Neal2, A. D. Stone


H. G. Allen, D. C. Allen, James R. Barrows, George Ballard, Daniel Breckenridge, William Baker, W. W. Botkin, William Berry, Samuel Barkley, Jacob Clark, A. F. Downer, Moses Dugan, George Dunlevy, J. G. Ellenwood, Council Flowers, George Flowers, L. R. Forbes, George Gage, Alexander Galbraith, George Hutchinson, John Haddow, George A. Howe, John Hutchinson, D. B. Horton, C. B. Kirkpatrick, Fremont Kirkpatrick, Henry Kirkpatrick, Corwin H. Loring, George Lysle, George M. Conaughey, Joseph Marsh, Joseph Miller, James Mendenhall, James McGaffey, F. F. Newport, J. R. Newport, M. Noland, Joseph Noland, F. Odenahan, E. R. O’Neal3, William Powell, James Powell, Josiah Rutherford, Jacob Rutherford, B. B. Stone, Frank Stone, George G. Stone, William F. Shee, Joseph Sterlin, Willaim F. Sayre, Henry Schram, Harrison Smith, John A. Shipe, S. C. H. Smith, Milton Stone, F. B. Simpson, Martin Thrap, John Thompson, William White, Noah Welch.


  1. Joseph Leroy O’Neal, my generations great grandfather.
  2. I have found no other reference to an E.M. O’Neal during my research. I suspect that this is a typo and should be E.H. O’Neal.

    The Belpre Guard would have completed their assignment around September of 1861.

    This notation is from A History of Belpre, Ohio: “O’Neil, Ezra H., age 21, Volunteer, November 18, 1861, three years, Seventy-third Regiment, Company F, private, attained the rank of Orderly Sergeant, served two years and three months, honorably discharged February, 1864. Severly wounded at Gettysburg.”

    So it appears Ezra H. was sworn into the service after his Belpre Guard duty.

    Ezra H. O’Neal was the youngest brother of Joseph Leroy O’Neal (See note 1).

  3. Edwin Russell O’Neal was the son of Colbert O’Neal. Colbert was Joseph Leroy O’Neal’s uncle (See note 1).


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