Side A: The 53rd Ohio Volunteer Regiment was mustered into service at Camp Diamond, north of Jackson, during the first year of the Civil War. Men recruited from the counties of Athens, Gallia, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Washington, and Hamilton, and Preble began arriving in camp for training in September 1861. On February 16, 1862, the army ordered the regiment to Paducah, Kentucky and there assigned it to General William Tecumseh Sherman’s command. From April 1862 to February 1865, the 53rd fought in 69 engagements, including the Battle of Shiloh (the unit’s first) and the Atlanta Campaign. After hostilities ended, the 53rd marched in the Grand Review in Washington D.C. on May 24, 1865 and was mustered out of service in Little Rock, Arkansas on August 11. The unit suffered 80 battlefield casualties; 196 men died of disease or accidents.
Side B: The old Camp Diamond iron furnace was located about one mile north of Jackson and became the site of Camp Diamond, where the 53rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment trained for service. One brick building, formerly the furnace’s store and warehouse, became the unit’s headquarters and the quartermaster’s storage facility. Smaller buildings became companies’ headquarters. Each of ten companies, designated A-K, has a hundred or more men and 53rd’s strength totaled 1,100 soldiers. At Camp Diamond, the unit’s officers, some Methodist ministers, prohibited drinking and card playing, and prayer meetings or religious services were held nightly. After the 53rd’s departure in February 1862, the camp was not used again as a training facility. In 1885 and 1887, however, the unit’s surviving members used the old camp grounds for regimental reunions.