The 128TH OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY REGIMENT served as the guard unit at the prison for captured Confederate soldiers at Johnson's Island during the CIVIL WAR. The first 4 units of the regiment—companies A, B, C, and D—were organized in Dec. 1861 and early 1862 and were known as Hoffman's Battalion in honor of Lt. Col. William Hoffman, commissary general of prisoners, who established the island prison. These units guarded about 3,000 prisoners in the winter of 1863-64 and foiled a plot to free the prisoners in Nov. 1863. Hoffman's Battalion was transferred to the 128th on 5 Jan. 1864, joining 6 new companies (E, F, G, H, I, and K), recruited and mustered into service at Camp Cleveland (See CIVIL WAR CAMPS IN CLEVELAND) in Dec. 1863 and Jan. 1864.
In all, 291 Cleveland men served in the 128th, including Lt. Col. Edward A. Scovill, Lt. Col. Thomas H. Linnell, and Maj. JUNIUS R. SANFORD. The unit was commanded by Col. Charles W. Hill. Although its main duty was guarding the prison, the 128th frequently provided detachments to serve elsewhere, such as for a short campaign against Rebel troops in West Virginia. The regiment was mustered out on 13 July 1865. The regiment lost 1 officer and 68 enlisted men to disease. In 1866 veterans of the unit joined with other veterans to form the 7th and 128th Regiments OVI to preserve monuments and memories of Civil War service and to hold annual reunions. The association had about 200 members in 1921.
Updated by Meghan Schill