WARREN - Beneath an oak tree at the Oak Grove Fairgrounds in Trumbull in 1861, hundreds of men from counties across Ohio trained to be part of the newly formed 6th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry at Camp Hutchins.
On Monday, descendants of those men and history buffs gathered under that same tree, which stands near the corner of Elm Road and Panther Drive, honoring those who fought during the Civil War and came home, as well as those who died in the conflict.
Trumbull County historian Wendell Lauth and members of the Civil War 150 Committee unveiled a new marker commemorating the regiment.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Members of the 15th Ohio Light Artillery fire two cannons as a salute during the Camp Hutchins marker dedication held near Warren G. Harding High School.
Kenneth Lawrence, a dentist from Orwell, said his family had nine members that served as part of the 6th Ohio Cavalry.
"We had 11 members of the family who served in the war," Lawrence said. "Nine served in the 6th Ohio Volunteer. Of those, six returned home from the war."
From his research, Lawrence learned that the volunteers in the 6th Ohio Cavalry were men of varying professions - blacksmiths, stable workers, laborers, farmers and other - who often were staunch abolitionists. Others simply were young men who all their lives heard stories of their grandfathers' exploits in the Revolutionary War.
The 6th Ohio Cavalry was commissioned as a three-years regiment. It was organized on Oct. 7, 1861, and first served under Col. William R. Lloyd.
During their three months of training, the volunteers sometimes slept in barracks, but often in tents at what became known as Camp Hutchins. The camp was named after Congressman John Hutchins, who was born in Vienna and practiced law in Warren in the mid-19th century. Approximately 800 soldiers trained at the camp between October and December 1861.
"At the end of their training, area churches invited members of the unit into their building to eat Thanksgiving meals," Lawrence said. "You can imagine more than 100 men in their uniforms going into these churches for meals."
From Warren, the men went to Camp Dennison near Cincinnati to further refine their skills and learn to ride horses and fight.
"They had members as young as 16 years old," Lawrence said.
It was while they were at Camp Dennison they learned that the Army's leadership was not interested in cavalry units. The Army offered to send members of the unit to other kinds of units.
"The members of the 6th Cavalry were very close and did not want to be broken up," he said.
So members of the unit were sent to Camp Chase, near Columbus, to guard prisoners. Eventually, they were sent to Wheeling, where they were given more time to practice their riding.
The unit clashed with Confederate forces for the first time at Woodstock, Va., in June 1862. During the next 34 months, they would engage the enemy more than 50 times.
The regiment was involved in the Second Battle of Manassas, Fredericksburg, Kelly's Ford, Gettysburg, Yellow Tavern, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Five Forks and Sayler's Creek.
It also was active during the retreat of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in July 1863.
"They fought with distinction," Lawrence said.
Six of the nine members of Lawrence's family returned to Ohio.
The marker is the 25th installed in Trumbull County by the Ohio Historical Society.
Lauth said the marker is the 25th historical marker in Trumbull County. The group organizing the effort received $750 from the state to offset the cost of the $2,500 marker.
The effort to dedicate the site took more than a year to complete, but it will honor the Civil War veterans for generations in the future, Lauth said.