Camp Hamer

From Ohio History Central

Located in West Union, Ohio, Camp Hamer was a recruitment and training center for soldiers during the American Civil War.

Governor William Dennison ordered the establishment of Camp Hamer as a training camp for Ohio volunteers. In April 1861, following President Abraham Lincoln's call for seventy-five thousand volunteers to end the South's rebellion, Governor Dennison encouraged Ohio communities to form and send militia units to the state capital at Columbus. The governor ordered the formation of additional camps, including Camp Hamer, to speed the processing and training of Ohio's military forces. At these camps, military authorities also reorganized these individual companies into larger military units.

While the state militia system had deteriorated throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, numerous communities had maintained units. These units existed primarily to march in parades and to provide young men with something to do in their spare time. These militia units provided Ohioans with a basic force to provide Ohio with protection from a Confederate invasion.

When the Civil War began, Adams County, Ohio officials decided to convert the county fairgrounds, which were located in West Union, into a training camp for the numerous military volunteers. Known as Camp Hamer, officials named the site for Thomas Hamer, a general in the U.S.-Mexican War. Hamer was from Georgetown, Ohio. County officials also converted the county courthouse into a hospital for sick or injured soldiers, who were training at Camp Hamer. The soldiers at Camp Hamer usually remained at the camp for only a short time. After receiving some training, military officials would send the men to war. Among the units organized at the camp was the Seventieth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

By early 1862, Camp Hamer had been abandoned.