Print of Thomas H. Ford
Print of Thomas H. Ford

"A Centennial Biographical History of Richland County, Ohio" (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company)

Quick Facts

Significance:
Union Colonel
Place Of Birth:
Rockingham County, VA
Date Of Birth:
August 23, 1814
Place Of Death:
Washington, DC
Date Of Death:
February 29, 1868
Place Of Burial:
Mansfield, OH
Cemetery Name:
Mansfield Cemetery

From the Peninsula to Maryland: Ford's role in the summer of 1862

Thomas H. Ford organized a company of volunteers in 1847 and was the Captain of that company during the Mexican-American War. From 1856 to 1858, he was the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio under Salmon P. Chase. When the Civil War began, Ford was commissioned as Colonel of the 32nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

In September 1862, Ford was in command of the Federal position on Maryland Heights at Harpers Ferry. He and his troops faced Confederate forces under Major General Lafayette McLaws' command. After several hours of fighting, around 3:30pm on September 13, Ford called for the Union troops to retreat from the heights. Ford's decision to abandon Maryland Heights was a shock to the overall commander of the Union garrison at Harpers Ferry, Colonel Dixon S. Miles. Unable to hold Harpers Ferry, approximately 12,700 Union soldiers surrendered to the Confederates on September 15, 1862.

Ford was arrested by the War Commission and put on trial by the United States military because of his surrender. He was found to be negligent for abandoning his command and guilty of improper conduct. He was dismissed from service on November 8, 1862.

After his dismissal he stayed in Washington, D.C. and practiced law until his death in 1868.