Side A: Fairfield County quickly mobilized after the attack on Ft. Sumter, South Carolina on April 12, 1861 and the beginning of the Civil War. Parts of the county fairgrounds became Camp Anderson, in honor of Major Robert Anderson who commanded Fort Sumter during the attack. Enlisted men were trained there before being sent to war. Meanwhile the existing militia company- the Lancaster Guards plus new volunteers reported for duty at the Ohio Statehouse. They had the honor of being designated Company A of the 1st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The 1st OVI became the Capital Guard in Washington D.C.
Side B: Another 185 local men enlisted at Camp Anderson as the 2nd and 3rd Lancaster Guards in 1861. These Fairfield County units made up much of the 17th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Few units besides the 17th, if any, had more local men in the field during the war. They saw action in Chickamauga and Chattanooga, Tennessee and joined Lancaster’s own General William Tecumseh Sherman in his March to the Sea in 1864. The 17th OVI was mustered out of the Army on August 15, 1864 with 27 men, one-fourth of the approximately 100 who enlisted.