THE is proud to announce that, in partnership with the Potomac Independent Guard, we are hosting "Die Neuner" - a 160th Anniversary immersive living history.
The Ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, also known as the First German Regiment, or simply “die Neuner”, was an infantry regiment raised in Cincinnati, Ohio as part of the answer to Lincoln’s initial call for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion. An all-German regiment, the Ninth Ohio was mainly recruited from Cincinnati’s heavily German “Over-the-Rhein” district, but also pulled men from German communities throughout northern Kentucky and the Miami Valley, as well as localities down the Ohio River, including as far away as Louisville.
The Cincinnati Turnverein, a German fitness and gymnastics club with paramilitary leanings, was a driving force in the formation of the regiment, with the lists opening immediately after a meeting at the Turner Hall, the hub of German-American social activity at the time, which was held on April 17, 1861. Multiple reports claim that the lists filled up overnight, and hundreds had to be turned away during the physical examinations. After voting for officers and a short stay at a smaller staging area, the regiment proceeded to Camp Dennison to begin preparations to leave for the front. Realizing 3-month enlistments would not do the trick, the US government requested 3 year enlistments from the troops - the Ninth Ohio jumped at the chance, and was the first Ohio regiment to enlist for 3 years.
The Ninth Ohio was a unique regiment among unique regiments. Though composed mostly of Germans, the Niners elected a native, Robert Latimer McCook of the highly connected “Fighting McCooks” family, to lead their regiment as colonel. They were drilled in the Prussian style by a longtime veteran of the Prussian Army and hero of the 1848/49 Revolutions, August Willich. Throughout their service, they took great pains to maintain their “Germanness”, and were not afraid to flex their muscles in order to keep the status quo.
After their departure, the Niners served with distinction during the West Virginia campaign, regularly serving as the vanguard or as General McClellan’s personal escort. While being slightly engaged at both Rich Mountain and Carnifex Ferry, the regiment’s first opportunity to earn laurels for itself came at the Battle of Mill Springs, January 19, 1862, where they broke the enemy’s line with a bayonet charge on the left flank. This charge would live on forever in the memories of those who participated, and the bayonet would from that point on play a prominent part in the rest of their service.
After the death of Robert McCook at the hands of bushwhackers in the summer of 1862, the Ninth Ohio would go on to make great sacrifices at the Battle of Chickamauga, and help deliver a decisive Union victory at Missionary Ridge. Their term would expire in June, 1864, at which point the majority of the regiment would decline to reenlist. Their duty done, the majority of the regiment returned home.
“Die Neuner” is an event which seeks to recreate the movements of the Niners as they advanced toward and took part in the battle of Carnifex Ferry, WV, September 10, 1861. While we seek to honor the men for their service and sacrifice in this engagement, this impression also provides an opportunity for living historians to explore the lesser-known aspects of German-American heritage which could be found in the ranks of the Ninth Ohio, as well as to celebrate the contributions of that culture to American Civil War as a whole.
For the most recent updates regarding the event please visit this website, join our Facebook group, or view our event folder available on: