Horace Lafayette Reed was born in Rootstown, Portage County, Ohio on November 13, 1840. He attended school in the area, became a teacher, and was to begin teaching in the fall of 1862 when he decided to answer President Lincoln’s second call for troops in June of 1862. Reed enlisted on August 1, 1862 as a private in company I of the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The regiment, comprised of soldiers from Stark, Columbia, Summit and Portage counties, was organized at Camp Massillon and was mustered into service on August 30, 1862.
On September 1st the regiment left for Cincinnati and assisted in defending the city when they crossed the Ohio River into Covington, KY. It was here they saw their first action resulting in one soldier being killed and five others wounded. These were the only casualties of the conflict. On September 12th the regiment marched in pursuit of the Confederate Army towards Lexington. They reached Lexington on October 15th shortly after the Confederates had evacuated. The regiment stayed there until December 6th when they marched to Richmond, KY, then to Danville, Harrodsburg and back to Danville where they expected to engage the enemy, but found little resistance.
The regiment stayed in this area of Kentucky, during which time Horace Reed was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, until they made their way to Knoxville, TN in early September of 1863. The regiment joined General Burnside’s army in East Tennessee and saw little action until the Siege of Knoxville in late November 1863, where a number of men were lost and wounded. They stayed in this portion of Tennessee until April of 1864 when they were ordered to Cleveland, TN to prepare for the Atlanta Campaign. The first major conflict of the Atlanta Campaign for the 104th was the Battle of Utoy Creek. Twenty-six men were either killed or wounded, in a desperate assault made on the 6th of August. It was shortly after this that Reed was made 1st Lieutenant on August 19, 1864.
The regiment marched through Georgia, Alabama and back to Tennessee tearing up railroads and guarding communication lines. The 104th made its way to Franklin, TN and participated in the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864, where the Union Army lost 2,326 men (189 Killed) and the Confederates lost 6,252 men (1,750 killed). Of these, 60 were killed or wounded from the 104th OVI, including Captain David D. Bard of Company I. After the battle, the regiment marched to Nashville, TN, reaching the city on December 1st. They participated in a small skirmish on the 15th and 16th of December pursuing the enemy to Clifton, TN where they remained until January 16th.
On February 16, 1865, the 104th crossed the Cape Fear River and landed in Smithville, NC. On February 18th, Reed led troops toward Fort Anderson and had a skirmish with the Confederate Army. Two men were killed and 20 other wounded. One of those 20 was 1st Lieutenant Horace L. Reed who was shot through both his legs below the knees. Reed was discharged May 15, 1865 for wounds received at Fort Anderson. The regiment participated in one more conflict at Town Creek, NC on February 20, 1865 before being mustered out on June 17, 1865.
Reed made his way to Mansfield shortly after the war and went into business with his brother J. H. Reed, eventually becoming one of the most successful and respected merchants in the city.
Baughman, A. J. (1908) History of Richland County, Vol. 2.
Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, Vol. 7.
Pinney, N. A. (1886). History of the 104th regiment Ohio volunteer infantry from 1862 to 1865.
Reid, Whitelaw. (1868) Ohio in the War, Vol. 2.