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The Hundred Days Men was the nickname applied to a series of volunteer regiments raised in 1864 for 100-days service in the Union Army during the height of the American Civil War. These short-term, lightly trained troops were intended to free veteran units from routine duty to allow them to go to the front lines for combat purposes.
In the spring of 1864, the Governor of Ohio, John Brough, was concerned with preventing Confederate invasions of the North, as Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan's cavalry raid of Ohio had done during 1863. As the Civil War entered its third year, troops were increasingly difficult to raise both North and South. In the North, substantial bounties were offered to induce enlistment and the unpopular draft and substitute system was used to meet quotas.
Brough proposed to enlist the state militia into federal service for a period of 100 days to provide short-term troops that would serve as guards, laborers, and rear echelon soldiers to free more veteran units for combat duty. This would increase the number of men in the Northern armies campaigning in the South and allowing the Union to achieve victory more quickly—hopefully in one hundred or fewer days.
Brough expanded the idea and contacted the governors of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Jersey to do likewise to raise 100,000 men to offer the Lincoln Administration. The governors of these five states submitted their suggestion to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, who placed the proposal before President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln immediately approved the plan.
Formation and history
The War Department accepted all of Ohio's recruits, and the men were ready for duty within sixteen days of enlistment. Although other states brought in a total of around 25,000 men, only Ohio came close to its goal, federalizing close to 36,000 militiamen. Even when the system later spread to other Northern states, a total of only about 81,000 men was raised for a 100-day period.
These veterans became known as Hundred Days Men. Unfortunately for the North, these men failed to accomplish their primary objective—defeating the South within one hundred days.
- 131st Ohio Infantry
- 144th Ohio Infantry
- 155th Ohio Infantry
- 37th New Jersey Infantry
- 44th Iowa Infantry
- 132nd Illinois Infantry
- 39th Wisconsin Infantry
- 40th Wisconsin Infantry
- Ohio in the Civil War
- Leeke, Jim (1999). A hundred days to Richmond: Ohio's "hundred days" men in the Civil War. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-33537-X.