Insert Title

Illinois and the Civil War

Illinois State Historian
Puhlished by the Civil War Centennial Commission of Illinois Centennial Building.
Springfield, Illinois, 1961 from Illinois Blue Book. 1959-60). edited by
Charles F. Carpentier, Secretary of State
Printed by authority of the State of Illinois
Otto Kerner Governor
page2 image page3 image
General John A. Logan in the "Battle of Atlanta" (part of image missing in centerfold)

CIVIL WAR CENTENNIAL 1961-1965 -     

No state in the Union has greater reason to observe the centennial of its proud record in the 
Civil War than does Illinois. Perhaps our first occasion for pride is the recollection that 
our statesmen were among the most active in their efforts to avoid the outbreak of hostilities. 
None felt the tragedy of civil conflict more deeply than did the heartbroken Stephen Douglas, 
whose last words were an admonition to defend the Constitution and preserve the Union, or 
Abraham Lincoln, on whose shoulders fell the heaviest burden of them all. But when the news of 
the firing on Fort Sumter was heard, Illinois responded with a determination that inspires our 
admiration even today. The first call for troops came in April, 1861, and by October of that 
year, we had forty-three regiments already in service—more than the most populous state 
in the North. When victory had been won, the final count showed that some 35,000 Illinois 
men died fighting to preserve the Union. Altogether Illinois furnished about 256,000 soldiers 
to the Union army. If we furnished quantity, we also furnished quality. The two brightest 
names on the Union side were Lincoln and Grant. And there were others—Logan, Palmer, 
Ellsworth, Grierson, Baker and many more. Illinois, as well as the entire nation, 
commemorates the Centennial of the Civil War with observances appropriate to the ideals and 
memories of this greatest common experience in the history of the American people.

Illinois State Historian     

'Now therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power
in me vested by the Constitution, and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do 
call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of seventy-
five thousand . . . the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably 
be to re-possess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union...   

President Lincoln's April 15, 1861 call for 75,000 militia, immediately the capture of Fort 
Sumter, put a definite end to the "cold war" and to all speculation about whether there would be 
civil war. In the evening of tlse same day Lincoln called out the militia, Richard Yates, the 
governor of Illinois, received a telegram:   

"Call made on you by to-night's mail, for six regiments of militia, for iminediate service." The 
Illinois quota amounted to 125 officers and 4,458 men from the militia forces of the state. But 
Illinois had no "available, efficient armed and organized militia companies in the State," and 
those companies which did exist were, as the Adjutant General of Illinois commented, "composed 
of active and


enterprising young men, whose occasional meetings for drill were held more for exercise and ansusement 
than from any sense of tluty to the State." In time state arsenal there were only 862 United States 
altered muskets, 105 Harper’s Ferry and Deniger’s r ifles, 133 muskatoons and 297 Isorse 
pistols. Illinois was not at all prepared for war.   

One of the reasons the state was so unprepared was that the preceding decade had seen good times (except 
for the nationwide panic of 1857) money was to be made; expansion and exuberance were the order of the 
day. Between 1850 and 1860 time popu lation of Illinois more than doubled to reach 1,711,951; real and 
personal property totaled $871,860,282. an increase of more than 450 per cent. More than 13.25 million 
acres of improved land, valued at more than 432.5 million dollars, were producing 24 million bushels of 
wheatand 115 million bushels of corn a year. In 1850 Illinois had only 110 miles of railroad, which had 
cost $1,440,507; in 1860 there were 2,867 miles, built at a cost of $104,944,361. The growth that had 
occurred in population and tangible wealth was accompanied by general progress in the arts and sciences, 
in education and in other cultural developments. All energies had been devoted to peaceftil pursuits; 
the 1860 state was populous, wealthy and by a rather small margin, Republican.  

There were four candidates for President in 1860: Abrahans Lincoln, Republican; Stephen A. Douglas. 
Democrat; John Bell, Constittitional Union; and John C. Breckinridge, l)ensocrat All four Parties placed 
candidates on the ballot for state offices, and when the returns were counted on November 6, Illinois 
was in the Republican column. 

Five Republicans and four Democrats were sent to Congress, and for the first time in Illinois h istory a 
party other than the Democratic had a majority in both houses of the General Assembly. TIie Republicams 
majority marIe possible the re-election of Senator L yman Trumbull over Samuel S. Marshall by a 
substantial margin.

pg 5
                Republican        Democrat         Constitutional       Democrat
President       Lincoln           Douglas          Bell                 Breckinridge
                172,171           160,205          4,947                2,331
Governor        Richard Yates     James C. Allen   John T. Stuart       T. M. Hope
                172,196           159253           1,626                2,049
Governor        F.A. Hoffman      Lewis W. Ross    H.C. Blackburn       Thomas Snell
                171,757           158,883          3,569                1,909
of State        O.M. Hatch        G.H. Campbell    James Monroe         B.T. Burke
                172,836           160,298          3,459                2,022
Auditor         J.K. Bubois       B. Arntzen       J.D. Smith           H.S.Smith
                173,101           159,841          3,400                2,127
Treasurer       Wm. Butler        Hugh Maher       J. Stamper           W.H. Cather
                172,622           160,923          3,417                1,967
of Public       N. Bateman        E.R. Roe         D.J. Snow            J. H.Dennis
Instruction     173,064           160,143          3,314                1,998


Immediately on receiving the President’s militia call, Governor Yates, on April 15, 1861, called a 
special session of the legislature; tbe session began on April 28 and ended on May 8. With Republican 
working majorities (House. 41 Republicansand 84 Democrats; Senate, 18 Republicans and 12 Democrats) 
Governor Yates secured legislation that organized six regiments of infantry and authorized ten 
additional infantry regiments as well as one of cavalry and one battalion of light artillery; 
$8,500,000 was appropriated, $1,000,000 to equip ten regiments of infantry, $500,000 for arms and an 
arsenal, $2,000,000 for general war purposes. By a unanimous vote, the legislature resolved: "That the 
faith, credit and resources of the State of Illinois, both in men and money, are pledged, to any 
amount, and 


House Bill

to every extent, which the Federal Government may demand." The state was ita of peace to preparation 
for war.   

From the beginning, however, and throughottt the Civil War Illinois was divided: upstate was primarily 
Republican and downstate generally Detnocratic. The patterns of immigration were responsible for this 
division, for southern Illinois had been settled principally by people from Virginia, the Carolinas, 
Kentucky and Tennessee, while the northern part of the state hatl received settlers from New England, 
the Northeast in general, and from abroad, particularly Ireland and Germany. With certain exceptions, 
this north-south division emphasized "freestate" attitudes on the one hand and strong sympathy for the 
South and the Confederacy Ott the other. For example, the use of slaves—or indentttred Negro 
servants, who were for all practical purposes the same—at the salt wells in Saline County reminded 
one of the interior of Alabama or Mississippi.   

A mass meeting held in Marion on April 15, 1861 adopted resoltttions which indicate how strongly many 
southern Illinoisans felt their ties with tlte South: "Resolved. . . the interests of the citizens of 
Southern Illinois imperatively demand . . a division of the state [and] we hereby pledge ourselves to 
use all means in our power to effect the satne, and attach ourselves to the Southern Confederacy."  

SA Douglas

Resolved, That, in our opinion, it is the duty of the present administration Federal Government that 
may be stationed in the Southern forts, and acknowledge the independence of the Southern Confederacy   

Another example of the depth of feeling in "Egypt" for the South occurred when some thirty men were 
recruited by one Thorndyke Brooks in Williamson County for service in the Confederate Army. In 
Jefferson County a former sheriff, John Bagwell, also raised a company for the South. Douhtless 
others from southern Illinois joined the Confederate forces, but no reliable figures exist as to the 
exact number. 

Three prominent Democrats had a lot to do with keeping secession sentiment from becoming more active 
than it was in southern Illinois - Stephen A. Douglas, John A. McClernand and John A. Logan. 
Senator Douglas, "the Little Giant," had been Lincoln's political adversary for many years - a 
rivalry that culminated in the great debates of 1858 and the presidential election of 1860. Although 
the war years would see the northern Democratic Party divided, at least in the public mind, into 
"war" Democrats, who supported a vigorous prosecution of the war, and "peace" Democrats, who favored 
a negotiated peace and independence for the South, Douglas immediately and emphatically announced his 
adherence to the Union. Tradition has it that when Abraham Lincoln appeared on the east portico of the 
Capitol to take the presidential oath and deliver his inaugural address, he had difficulty adjusting 
his manuscript hecause his stovepipe hat, which he was holding, was in the way. Douglas stepped 
forward, took the hat, and held it all through Lincoln's speech. Douglas' act seemed to say, "This man 
is the properly elected President and we owe him our respect and obedience."   

The great Democrat, worn and tired because of a wearying series of speeches between Washington and 
Illinois, returned to Springfield and addressed a joint session of the General Assembly on April 25, 
1861. His remarks were cheered wildly, especially when he said 

"So long as there was a hope of peaceful solution, I prayed and implored 
for compromise. When all propositions of peace failed ... there is 
but one course left for the patriot, and that is to rally under the 
flag which has saved over the Capitol from the days of . . . Washington, 
Madison, Hamilton, and their compeers... do not allow the mortification, 
growing out of defeat in a partisan struggle, and the elevation of a 
party to power that we firmly believed to he dangerous  to the country 
— do not let that convert you from patriots into traitors to your   
native land. . . . The shortest way to peace is the most stupendous 
and unanimouis preparation for war."   

Douglas went on to Chicago, where he spoke in the Wigwam, the building in which the Reptiblicans had 
nominated Lincoln for the presidency. In this, his last speech, Douglas was even more specific:       


"Armies have been raised, war is levied to accomplish it. There are 
only two sides to the question. Every man most be for the United 
States or against it.   There can he no neutrals in this war: only 
patriots—or traitors It is a sad   task to discuss questions so 
fearful as civil war, but sad as it is. bloody and disastrous as 
I expect it will be, I express it as my conviction before God, 
that it is   the duty of every American citizen to rally round 
the flag of his country."   

The great Illinois Senator died on June 3; had he lived. Lincoln's difficult task of unifying the North 
would have been immeasurably easier and it is likely that southern Illinois would not have been the 
cause of any prolonged apprehension. John A. McClernand, prominent congressman from southern Illinois, 
quickly declared himself a war Democrat, supported lincoln and Governor Yates, and soon was an officer 
in the Union Army.     


Congressman John A. Logan, however, was popularly believed to favor and although there is no evidence 
to support this belief, he did vacillate, not entirely committing himself until late in June, when he 
addressed a regiment of infantry commanded by U. S. Grant. The 21st Illinois Infantry had been mustered
into state service at Mattoon on May 15. 1861. On June 15 the regiment refused to accept the orders of 
its first colonel, and, having become generally demoralized, was placed under a new officer - Colonel 
U. S. Grant. A few days before the regiment was to be mustered into Federal service for three years, 
Logan and McClernand asked permission to address the troops. Grant relates: 

"The Republican papers had been (lemanding that he (Logan) should announce where he stood on the ques-
tions which at that time engrossed the whole of public thought. Some were very bitter in their 
denunciations of his silence... my impressions were those formed from reading denunciations of him... 
It was but a few days before the time set for mustering into the United States service such of the men 
as were willing to volunteer for three years or the war. I had some doubt as to the effect a speech 
from Logan might have . . . McClernand spoke first; and Logan followed in a speech which he has hardly 
equaled since for force and eloquence. It breathed a loyalty and devotion to the Union which inspired 
my men to such a point that they would have volunteered to remain in the army as long as an enemy of 
the country continued to bear arms against it. They entered the United States service almost to a man."   

It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of Douglas, McClernand and Logan in keeping 
southern Illinois relatively quiet during the first year of the Civil War. Both Logan and McClernand 
served the Union faithfully and with honor as general officers; their greatest contribution to the war, 
however, was their influence upon the Democratic Party, an influence which emphasized unity rather 
than partisan politics.   

In 1859 the General Assembly had provided that in the election of 1860 the people should vote for or 
against calling a constitutional convention. If the vote favored a convention (as it did), a special 
election of delegates would he held in November, 1861, and the convention would assemble on January 7, 
1862, in, Springfield. Probably because of Republican apathy and Democratic energy, and because of some 
disillusion with the progress of the war, the delegates chosen by the voters numbered 45 Democrats, 21 
Republicans, and 9 listed as either fusionists or "doubtful." 

This constitutional convention, controlled as it was by the Democrats, far exceeded its authority. It 
maintained that since the voters had authorized a convention, the mere organization of that body 
nullified the existing constitution and the authority of all state officers acting thereunder. Conse-
quently, the convention examined war expenditures, gave orders to elected state officials, considered

electing a senator to replace Lyman Trumbull and even appropriated funds to aid sick and wounded 

The new constitution drawn up by the convention was relatively simple, and in some ways an improvement
over the Constitution of 1848. When it was submitted to the public for ratification, articles 
prohibiting banking and setting up new congressional districts were disapproved by small majorities, 
and the constitution as a whole was rejected by 151,254 to 126,739 votes. 

But Sections 1-3 of Article 18, submitted separately, were approved by an overwhelming vote:   

"Section 1. No negro or mulatto shall migrate to or settle in this state, 
after   the adoption of this constitution." (Approved by a majority of 

"Section 2. No negro or mulatto shall have the right of suffrage, or hold 
office   sn this State." (Approved by a majority of 176,271.)   

"Section 3. The general assembly shall pass all laws necessary to carry 
into effect the provisions of this article." (Approved by a majority 
of 154,524.)   

These sections of Article 18 repeated the "Black Laws" of 1853. Their passage by such a top-heavy vote 
demonstrated vividly that Illinoisans did not consider the war an abolitionist crusade and that they 
were not ready to give equal rights to Negroes. Satisfying such varying shades of Northern political 
opinion was one of the all but impossible responsibilities faced by President Lincoln. When he 
rescinded General Fremont's premature emancipation proclamation of August 30, 1861, he offended many 
foreign-horn citizens and all radical Republicans. Further adding to the President's troubles was 
Simon Cameron, the Secretary of War, whose conduct of his office promoted inefficiency and corruption; 
Lincoln finally had to remove him in January, 1862. The war was not going well, and disillusion was 

Anti-administration and anti-Republican sentiment was manifest in the elections held in November, 1862. 
In the Twenty-third General Assembly, which went into session on January 5, 1863, there were 13 
Democrats and 12 Republicans in the Senate, and 54 Democrats and only 32 Republicans in the House. 
Nine of Illinois' fourteen congressmen were Democrats, and a Democratic Superintendent of Public 
Instruction (John P. Brooks) and Treasurer (Alexander Starne) had been elected. After the death of 
Stephen A. Douglas, Orville Hickman Browning had been appointed by Governor Yates to take his vacant 
United States Senate seat; the Democratic legislature of 1863 replaced Browning with William A. 
Richardson, a bitterly outspoken "peace" Democrat.   

The members of the Twenty-third General Assembly spent most of their time in drawing up, debating and 
trying to pass a series of resolutions which proposed   an armistice. The resolutions said, in part:

"...we believe the further prosecution of the present war can not result   
in the restoration of the Union and the preservation of the Constitution, 
as our fathers made it, unless the President’s Emancipation Proclamation 
be withdrawn."  

"...we are in favor of the assembling of a National Convention of all the   
States, to so adjust our National difficulties that the States may hereafter 
live together in harmony, ...and which Convention we recommend shall convene   
at Louisville, Kentucky..."   

"...we hereby memorialize the Congress of the United States, the 
Administration at Washington, and the Executive and Legislatures of the 
several States, to take such action as shall secure an armistice... 

Long and acrimonious debate followed the introduction of these resolutions, and every known parliam-
entary device to retard their passage was employed by the Republicans. The resolutions finally passed 
the House, 52 to 28; in the Senate, a deadlock developed when the sudden death of Senator J. M. Rogers 
of Clinton left that ‘body with 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats. The General Assembly

planned to adjourn from February 14 until June 2, and the day before adjournment considerable excit-
ement resulted when Senator Isaac Funk, of McLean County, a man known for his dignity, honor and 
thrift, spoke before a packed gallery about the armistice resolutions: 

"Mr. Speaker: -I can sit in my seat no longer and see such boys' play going on. 
These men are trifling with the best interest of the country. They should have 
asses' ears to set off their heads, or they are secessionists and traitors at 

"I say that there are traitors and secessionists at heart in this Senate. Their 
actions prove it. Their speeches prove it. Their gibes and laughter and cheers 
here nightly, when their speakers get up in this hall and denounce the war and   
administration. Prove it. 

I can sit here no longer and not tell these traitors what I think of them. And 
while so telling them, I am responsible myself for what I say. I stand upon my 
own bottom. I am ready to meet any man on this floor, in any manner, from a 
pins point to the mouth of a cannon, upon this charge against these traitors. 
I am an old man of sixty-five. I came to Illinois a poor boy. I have made a 
little something for myself and family. I pay $3,000 a year in taxes. I am 
willing to pay $6,000, aye, $12,000, aye, I am willing to pay my whole 
fortune, and then give my life to save my country from these traitors that 
are seeking to destroy it. 

"...I denounce these men and their aiders and abetrors as rank traitors 
all secessinnists. Hell itself could not spew out a more traitorous crew than   
some of the men who disgrace this Legislature, this State and this country. 
For myself, I protest against and denounce their treasonable acts I will 
denounce them as long as God gives me breath. And I am ready to meet the 
traitors themselves here or anywhere and fight them to the death."   

The speech created a sensation; it was widely printed in newspapers and then distribtited in pamphlet 
form throughout the Northern states.   

The legislature went into session again on june 2, and again began debating resolutions, many designed 
to embarrass the administration. With no business being transacted. and with the House and Senate un-
able to concur on an adjournment (late, Governor Yates. acting under constitutional authority 
prorogued (or dismissed) the General Assembly until the Saturday preceding the first Monday   
in January, 1865. This was the first time an Illinois governor had exercised this power. (It has been 
used three times since.) In the elections of November, 1864 the Republicans actually had little choice 
but to support Lincoln and his administration, although many would have preferred General Fremont or 
Salmon P. Chase. Northern Democrats, too, were divided, but they eventually supported General George 
B. McClellan, even though he refused to run on an antiwar ticket and repudiated parts of the Democratic 
national platform. But military successes favored the Republicans - Gettysburg and Vicksburg in 1863 
and the battles of Admiral Farragut at Mobile. General Sherman at Atlanta and General Sheridan in 
the Shenandoah Valley - and the firm hand of General U. S. Grant in the East convinced many that the 
end was not far away. General John A. Logan came back from the war to urge the election of Republican 
state and national tickets. When the votes were counted, the Republicans came out on top.   


Lincoln and Johnson 189,496   
McClellan and Pendleton 158,780   
                    Republican                  Democrat   
Governor            Gen. Richard J. Oglesby     James C. Robinson   
                    189,518                     158,724   
Lieutenant          William Bross S.            Corning Judd   
Governor            188,842                     158,244  
Secretary of        Sharon Tyndale              William A. Turney   
State               190,154                     158,833   
Auditor             O. H. Minor                 John Hise   
                    190,231                     158,727   
Treasuer            James H. Beveridge          Alexander Starne   
                    190,199                     158,792   
Superintendent of   Newton Bateman              John P. Brooks   
Public Instruction  190,280                     158,777  
Eleven Republican congressmen, out of a total of fourteen, were elected, including A. J. Kuykendall, 
who defeated the anti-administration William J. Allen in General Logan’s old district. The 
General Assembly was Republican, in the Senate 14 to 11 and in the House 51 to 34; retiring 
Governor Richard Yates was elected to the United States Senate, replacing the Democrat Richardson. 

Perhaps the two most important measures enacted by the Twenty-fourth General Assembly were the repeal 
of the notorious "Black Laws and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, 
abolishing slavery. Illinois was the first of the states to do so. 

Politically Illinois had started the war comfortably Republican, lost control to the Democrats in the 
period 1862-1864 and returned to the Republican ranks in late 1864. In the long fight over slavery 
the state had furnished the leaders, Douglas and Lincoln, and then stood firmly behind thens when 
called upon to defend the Union.   

Illinois Soldiers   

When President Lincoln called for 75,000 militia in April, 1861, Illinois had neither an effective 
militia force nor any arms. It was therefore necessary for the Governor to recruit, or "raise," enough 
troops to fill the quota for Illinois set by the War Department. Basically, recruiting was a state 
rather than a federal responsibility, although federal authority became stronger in the federal 
authority became stronger in the last years of war.  

The special session of the General Assembly called by Governor Yates regiments which were the Illinois 
quota under the President’s call for 75,000 men. Within five days, more than sixty-two com-     

Comp E 47th Il.

raising the regiment would encourage other influential citizens to raise companies. Of course, the man 
raising the regiment would expect to be elected colonel. Early enlistments were for three months or 
one hundred days; later on, the term of enlistment would be from one to three years. The troops 
elected their own company officers, so that on occasion the most popular man rather than the best 
soldier was elected; but when elected officers did not measure up they were dismissed. Furthermore, 
there is no evidence that, after some experience, these volunteer colonels and majors and captains were 
not as good as their professional counterparts.   

So many patriotic Illinoisans offered their services that the six regiments were quickly filled. The 
"Springfield Grays" commanded by John Cook immediately tendered their services to Governor Yates and 
had the honor of being the first company accepted for service. The Adjutant General of Illinois 
reported that "strong men, who had left their homes at an hour's notice to enter the service of their 
country, wept at the disappointment of being refused admission to their companies on muster day." The 
popular enthusiasm for the war caused many more to volunteer than could be accepted under the quota 
assigned by the War Department. But in anticipation of more calls for troops, the General Assembly 
provided for ten regiments of infantry, one regiment of cavalry aiid one battalion of light artillery 
for state service. One regiment was to be formed from companies already in Springfield, and one each 
was to be raised in time nine congressional districts. 

Meanwhile, on April 19, Governor Yates had been ordered by Secretary of War Simon Cameron to send a 
brigadier general and four regiments to Cairo.

Yates ordered Brigadier General Richard Kellogg Swift to prepare "as strong a force as you can raise" 
to be ready to move immediately. The General left Chicago with 595 men and four small artillery 
pieces on April 21 and arrived at the Big Muddy Bridge (an Illinois Central Railroad bridge five miles 
north of Carbondale) at 5 P.M. on the twenty-second. A company was left on guard there, and the risk 
of the troops proceeded to Cairo, which they reached about eleven that night. Cairo, the southernmost 
point in Illinois, located at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, was of great strategic 
importance, and the city wa to become the principal supply depot and staging area for the troops that 
fought in the Mississippi Valley.

Farther north, the state's arms shortage was being relieved through the daring of Captain James H. 
Stokes of Chicago. With and order for 10,000 muskets, secured months earlier, from the Secretary of War,
Stokes was able to get through the mob which surrounded the St. Louis Arsenal. He had previously 
arranged for a steamer, the "City of Alton" to dock at the arsenal just before midnight, April 25; the 
ship arrived as planned, and by 2 A.M. the next day, 10,000 muskets, 500 new carbines, 500 relovers, 
110,000 musket cartridges and some artillery had been loaded aboard. When the captain asked for 
sailing orders, Stokes said "Straight to Alton in the regular channel." "What if we are attacked?"
asked the captain. "Then we will fight," replied Stokes. "But what if we are overpowered?" "Then run 
the boat to the deepest water and sink her," Stokes answered. The boat steamed safely to Alton, arriving
there at 5 A.M. It was

Old Comfort
Camp McAllister
Fort Prentiss
quickly unloaded with the help of the men, women and children of the town, and the arms were shipped 
to Springfield. 

There, the first six Illinois regiments were heing organized. The nnits were numbered from seven to 
twelve omitting one to six as a token of respect for the six Illinois regiments which had serverd in 
the Mexican War.   

The 7th, Colonel John Cook. mustered at Springfield Aptil 25, was ordered to Alton on the 27th.   
The 8th. Colonel Richard J. Oglesby, mustered at Springfield April 25, was ordered to Cairo the 27th   
The 9th, Colonel Eleazer A. Paine, mustered at Springfield April 26, was ordered to Cairo May 1   
The 10th Colonel Benjamin M. Prentiss, ordered to Cairo April 22, was mustered there the 29th.   
The 11 th, Colonel Willians H. I.. Wallace. mustered at Springfield April 30, was ordered to Villa 
Ridge (near Cairo) May 5.   
The 12th, Colonel John McArthur was mustered at Springlield May 2 and orded to Cairo May 10.   

These six regiments called the First Brigade of Illinois Volunteers,” were placed under the command 
of Colonel Pretstiss.   

A reginment in the Civil War was was not at all like the regiment we know today: The maximum size of 
an infantry regiment was 1,025; the minimum that would be accepted was 845 A regiment had 10 companies, 
each with 82 privates, 1 wagoner, 2 musicians. 5 corporals. 4 sergeants, 1 first sergeant, 1 second 
lieutenant, 1 first lieutenant, and 1 captain. The regiment stalf was 2 principal musicians, 1 
hospital steward, 1 commissary sergeant, 1 quartermaster sergeant, 1 sergeant major, 1 chaplain, 2 
assistant surgeons, 1 surgeon (ranked as a major) , 1 quartermaster 1 adjutant, I major, 1 lieutenant 
colonel and 1 colonel. The 10 companies had 101 men each and the stalf consisted of 15 men. When a 
regiment’s strength was at the minimum acceptable for service (845) , the numher of privates in each 
companies was reduced ftom 82 to 64.     

Cavalry regiments generally totaled 1,200 men, or 12 companies of 100 men each. Light artillery was 
composed of batteries with a maximum strength of 150 men and 6 guns, altltough usually there were only 
4 guns to a battery. Twelve batteries, or a minimun of 48 gun, generally formed a regiment; batteries   
ordinarily acted as independent commands. These were the basic military organizations of the Civil War, 
the 1,000-man infantry regiment, the 1,200-man cavalry regiment, and the 150-man artillery battery. 
Actually, these organizations were hardly ever at full strength, and regiments at less than half 
strength were found as the war progressed. The higher military units were these: two or more regiments 
made a brigade, two or more brigades a division, two or more divisions a corps, and two or more corps 
an army.   Union armies were named after rivers — the Army of the Potontac, the Army of the Tennessee — 
while Confederate units were called after states — the Army of Tennessee, the Army of Northern Virginia. 
All in all, the army was a loose and informal organization; the politicians, the generals and the 
privates all learned as the war progressed.   

It must he remembered that no one in Washington, or anywhere else in the country for that matter, had 
any real conception of the problems involved in raising, training, equipping and leading an arm of 
75,000 men. No officer in the regular army had ever commanded an army in in the field anywhere near 
that size, only a few had ever commanded a unit as large as a regiment. Moreover, the War Department 
did not have the equipment avilable to put the army in the field — uniforms, tents, arms and 
ammunition, food. Another serious handicap was that many in authority in Washington believed the war 
would end within ninety days. All this added up to confusion and bad management in raising the


army. After the states’ first quotas were met, the rush to the colors in the North was stopped. It was 
unfortunate that all who wished to enlist in 1861 were not accepted on the spot, because as the war 
went on, recruiting became more and more difficult. 

President Lincoln called for 42,084 volunteers for three years’ service on May 8; the ten regiments of 
infantry, one of cavalry and the artillery battalion already organized for state service were offered 
immediately; but the Illinois quota was only six infantry regiments, and this was all the government 
would accept. On May 28, after furious negotiations with the War Department, the other four infantry 
regiments were accepted for Federal service; the cavalry was not accepted until June 21, and the 
artillery went into Federal service by companies in July.   

The first sixteen infantry regiments (termed “independent regiments”) were all on duty early in June. 
In May, June and July, seventeen additional infantry regiments and five cavalry regiments were 
authorized by the Secretary of War; this quota was filled, and still more men wanterl to enlist. 
Governor Yates asked permission from Washington, but he was told on July I6 that no more troops would 
be accepted.   

After the Union defeat in the Battle of Bull Run on July 21, Governor Yates offered to enlist thirteen 
more infantry regiments, three additional cavalry regiments and one more battalion of artillery; this 
time his offer was accepted. On August 14 all restrictions on recruiting infantry were removed, and on 
the twenty.seventh, another cavalry regiment was authorized. And so it went through the fall of 1861—
Illinois offered troops and the government accepted until, once again, recruiting was stopped on 
December 3, except for regiments then organizing and for old regiments that were filling vacancies. By 
the close of 1861, besides the six regiments of three months’ men, Illinois had sent into the field 
more than 43,000 men and had in training camps another 17,000.   

By April, 1862 there were only two infantry and one cavalry regiments and one battery of artillery in 
the state; the only recruiting that went on was for replacing losses in the older regiments, and 
recruiting for this purpose was not particularly successful. 

On May 17 one infantry regiment was called for, and on May 80, 1862, enlistments for three years were 
declared open; volunteers for three months who could be organized by June 10 were also allowed to 
report. Then, on July 1, President Lincoln called for 300,000 three-year troops; Illinois was asked 
for nine infantry regiments as part of the state’s quota under the latest call. On August 5, there was 
another call for 300,000 troops for nine months’ service. It was expected that Illinois might have to 
resort to a draft to fill its quotas of 52,296 men under these two calls, and provision was made for a 
general enrollment so that a state draft could begin on August 18.   

By this time recruiting in the North had begun to lag. Some of the earliest enlistments had come from 
the “floating” population of the state, and some from the unemployed. When the war began, Illinois was 
still recovering from the panic of 1857, but by the summer of 1862 the economy of the state was geared 
to war conditions. Entering the army frequently entailed severe financial sacrifice, for a private 
received less than 50 cents a day while a common laborer might earn $8.00 a day. Prices had steadily 
risen and were to continue to rise throughout the war; agricultural and manufacturing production had 
advanced so that prosperity prevailed. This table indicates how prices increased in the first four 
years of the war:   

YEAR    WHEAT      CORN        CATTLE       HOGS   
1861    $ .85-90   $ .25 .30   $2.25-4.00   $4.00- 4.50   
1862      .90-1.20   .35- .40   2.00-4.50    4.00. 4.50   
1863     1.10-1.15   .80- .90   4.25-5.25    5.00- 6.50   
1864     1.80-1.75  1.00-1.05   6.00-8.00   10.00-12.00       

Civil War Recruiting Poster
Many prospective volunteers worried about how their families would get along while they were in the 
army, and consequently did not enlist. Even so, the Illinois Adjutant General reported that "over 
50,000... left their harvests ungathered, their tools on their benches, the ploughs in the furrows 
and turned their backs upon home and loved ones, and before eleven days expired [he meant August 5-16 
1862], the demands of the country were met, and both quotas were filled.” 

On August 14 Illinois still needed 34,719 men to fill the old state regiments, and since it seemed 
impossible to get volunteers, the entire state was ordered enrolled for draft purposes. (A partial 
enrollment of men liable for service had been made in 1861 but had not since been corrected.) The War
Department soon decided, however, that there did not have to be a draft in the state since more than 
6,000 men in excess of the last two calls had already enlisted and since the over-all excess above 
quotas since the war began was more than 23,000. In 1862 it was considered something of a disgrace to 
be drafted, and there is reason to believe that some men enlisted because of the threat of conscription.

The next call for troops came on October 17, 1863, and was for 300 000 men; the Illinois quota was 
27,930 but very few answered the call in November and December. The tide seemingly had turned at Gettys-
burg and Vicksburg, but Illinoisans could read the fearful casualty lists. The war had ceased to be a   
matter of handsome young men in fine, new uniforms, marching away to fifes and drums, pelted by flowers 
from admiring ladies. General Sherman had not yet said that war was hell, but many Illinoisans knew that 
it was. Already the sick, the crippled, the one-legged, were coming back into the state, where they would 
be familiar figures around courthouse squares for many years. The romanticism and chivalry of Sir Walter 
Scott had been quickly routed by the bitter realism of Stephen Crane. 

The Emancipation Proclamation, too, had hurt recruiting, for many Illinoisans could accept the war as 
a noble crusade to preserve a mystical concept of the Union but could not accept it as a conflict 
whose chief aim had apparently become an effort to free the Negro slaves. 

100-Day Troops     

In the years 1863-1864, to hold the territory captured from the Confederacy, the governors of Illinois, 
Iowa, Indiana and Ohio offered the government 85,000 100-day men for guard duty and for service within 
fortifications. Illinois sent 11,328 men — organized into thirteen regiments and two companies — for 
this duty, the regiments being the 132d-143d and the 145th Infantry. 

On February 5, 1864 Governor Yates issued a proclamation pointing out that Illinois had up to then been 
requested to furnish 145,100 troops and that so far 140,641 had enlisted. He called for renewed effort 
to make up the 4,459-man deficit and pointed out that Illinois “of all the loyal States of the Union,   
furnishes the proud record of not only having escaped the draft . . . but of starting under the new call 
with her quota largely diminished. 

Illinois again exceeded her quota just in time to meet President Lincoln’s next call — 500,000 men, with 
a quota for Illinois of 46,309 — on February 1, 1864. On March 14, another call came for 200,000, 
Illinois’ quota being 18,524. On July 18 still another request was made, this time for 500,000, with the 
state liable for 52,057 additional men. In July and August, enlistments lagged, and the Adjutant General 
reported that on September 1 the state “owed” some 13,000 men. Between July 1 and December 1, 1864, a 
total of 3,062 men were drafted and 13,020 volunteered, so that, from the time of first calls, Illinois 
was short only 100 men. (State authorities did not always agree with the federal quotas and with federal 
statements of the number of men enlisted, and considerable juggling of figures resulted.) 

But even more was requested of the loyal citizens of Illinois, for Lincoln called once more for 300,000 
troops on December 19, and Governor Oglesby pointed out on January 17, 1865, that if the Illinois quota 
(later set at 32,892) was not met, the draft would begin on February 15. This time, companies were 
desired, rather than individual enlistments or the raising of regiments. Recruiting continued slowly 
until it was ordered stopped by the Secretary of War on April 13, 1865. Illinois was then 4,896 men 
short but no doubt would have filled her quota had recruiting not ended.   

Perhaps a word about the draft is necessary. A national conscription act was passed by the Congress in 
March, 1863. It was bitterly condemned not only by “Copperheads” but also by many Democrats and some 
Republicans. Under the act a federal assistant provost marshal was to be located in Springfield, and 
by April 25, 1863, Lieutenant Colonel James Oakes was on duty. Soon provost marshals were assigned to 
each congressional district, and eventually the districts were divided on a county and city, and 
sometimes ward, basis. This is the way that the draft worked: first the enrollment lists were made as 
current as possible, and those men entitled to exemption were stricken from       

the lists. Then quotas were assigned districts and sub-districts. the names on the enrollment lists 
were placed on individual pieces of paper or cards and either placed in a ballot box or in a wheel. A 
blindfolded person then drew names equal to the quota assigned the district or sub-district. The 
drafted men were examined by a surgeon and, if fit, usually, sent to Camp Butler at Springfield, where 
they were sworn into the service. 

There was serious resistance to making the enrollment lists in Cairo, Olney, Mt. Sterling, Joliet and 
Peoria, as well as in Chicago. In Hancock Couttty, Fulton County (near Lewistown) and Shelby County 
(near Oconee) there was violence; and at Marion martial law was declared, and sizable troop Units were 
required to keep the peace. At Olney, troops were necessary to protect the enrolling officer. 

Also operating in the state were draft insurance organizations that for a small fee provided a man 
subject to the draft with funds sufficient to purchase a substitute in the event his name should be 

Altogether, from April 17, 1861 to April 30, 1865, Illinois furnished 256,297 men for periods of 
service which varied from three months to three years; there were 152 regiments and three companies of 
infantry, 17 regiments of cavalry and two regiments and nine battertes of artillery. It is impossible 
to know exactly how many men from Illinois served in the war; records are inadequate and conflicting (a 
commonly used source says 259,092 men; the figure given above is the federal total), and there is no 
complete record of those who enlisted outside the state. New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio furnished 
more troops, but these states had larger populations. Fifty-five Illinoisans paid a $300 commutation 
fee and were not held to service; only Kansas had a smaller number.   

By and large Illinois soldiers fought in the West rather than the East, along the Mississippi rather 
than the Potomac, before Atlanta rather than Richmond, and at Shiloh rather than Gettysburg. But even 
in the East, a few Illinois Units were actively engaged. At Chancellorsville the 82d Illinois lost 155 
men, one of the heaviest regimental losses in that battle; the 39th Illinois fought at Drewry’s Bluff, 
Virginia, and again at Deep Bottom and Darbytown Road; the 34th and 78th were at Bentonville, North 
Carolina. The 39th was at the fall of Petersburg, and in action at the very end of the war in the East.  
Artist's conception of the Battle of Shiloh TN.
But in the West, Illinois played a major part: the 22d at Belmont; the 8th, 9th, 11th, 18th and 31st 
at Fort Donelson, where almost 1,200 Illinois men were lost; at Pea Ridge, Arkansas; and at bloody 
Shiloh, where of the fourteen regiments with the heaviest losses, seven were from Illinois, with the 
9th Illinois leading all the rest, as it also did at Corinth. At Hatchie Bridge and Hartsville, 
Tennessee, Chickasaw Bayou, Mississippi, and at Stone’s River, Tennessee, at Raymond and at Champion’s 
Hill; at Vicksburg, Jackson, Chickamauga, Knoxville, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold, Kenesaw Mountain, 
Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Ezra Church, Allatoona Pass, Franklin, Nashville, Fort Blakeley — Illinois 
was there; not only there but consistently there. High on the regimental casualty lists, Illinois men 
left a blood trail all the way from Cairo to New Orleans; Sherman’s March to the Sea was made with 
more than seventy Illinois regiments participating.   

An examination of a few of the most famous Illinois regiments gives evidence of their records of 
achievement. The 8th Illinois, first commanded by Colonel Richard Oglesby, fought at Fort Henry, Fort 
Donelson, Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, Raymond, Champion’s Hill, New Orleans, and Fort Blakely, with 
casualties totaling 30 per cent of its almost 2,000 men.   

The 9th Illinois, first commanded by Colonel Eleazer Paine was perhaps the most famous of all Illinois 
units; it fought at Fort Donelson and then at Shiloh, where it lost 366 out of 578 men present, the 
second greatest loss in killed and wounded of any infantry regiment in the Civil War. When the 9th was 
mustered out in 1864, it had lost more than half of its men, 792 out of 1,493. Other famous Illinois 
regiments were the 11th Infantry, with 19 per cent dead in battles, losing, for example, 339 out of 
500 at Fort Donelson; the 12th, with 12 per cent dead in battle and 40 per cent casualties; the 20th, 
with 50 per cent casualties; the 21st, Grant’s first field command, with 20 per cent casualties; the 
22d, with 50 per cent lost; the 30th, 30 per cent; the 31st, John A. Logan’s                                                                                            21  
Sherman's March to the Sea
first command, with 30 per cent; the 34th, 30 per cent; the 36th, with 50 pet cent; the 39th, “Yates 
Phalanx,” 30 per cent; the 40th, 40 per cent. The 42d, 44th, 55th (which had 91 pairs of brothers 
enlisted, of whom 58 were killed) , 73d, 82d, 84th, 89th, 93d, 104th, all had casualties as high as 
35 per cent. Nor should the 6th and 7th cavalry, who rode to fame iu Grierson’s raid, be omitted.   

The over-all figures were these: Illinois lost 34,834 dead (including 1,700 who died in Confederate 
prisons), or 16.5 per cent of its total force. Illinois sent 56.6 per cent of its military population 
to war, being exceeded only by Indiana and Kansas. If you enlisted from Illinois, one out of every 20 
of your comrades would die in battle or from battle wounds, and one out of 11.2 would die of disease; 
actually, one out of every 7.3 Illinoisans died while in the service. 

But back in Illinois there were those who opposed the war effort. Southern sympathizers, “Copperheads” 
and members of secret organizations variously known as the “Circle of Honor,” “Knights of the Golden 
Circle,” “American Knights” and the “Order of the Sons of Liberty” sought an immediate armistice; they 
opposed the Lincoln administration, fought the draft and were a generally disturbing influence. The 
“Sons of Liberty,” the militant arm of the better known ‘Knights of the Golden Circle,” were 
particularly active. In 1864 in Galena one of their celebrations brought about a “general jail delivery 
of prisoners,” and in Coles County, at Charleston, on March 28, 1864, approximately one hundred men   
attacked a group of Union soldiers on furlough, killing three and wounding twenty, while two of the 
Copperheads were killed; only strong military forces ended this serious riot. In Manchester, Scott 
County, two draft officers were shot in 1864, and at Alton, Jacksonville, Olney and Cairo, troops were 
called out to enforce the draft. 

In the summer of 1864 an abortive attempt was made by these restless elements to free the Confederate 
prisoners at Camp Douglas in Chicago. Led by Captain T. H. Hines, one of General John Hunt Morgan's 
raiders, the conspirators evolved a grandiose plan that included freeing the prisoners at Rock Island 
and Alton and then marching on Springfield. Three different dates were set for the attack on Camp 
Douglas, but although Captain Hines and other Confederate soldiers maintained their resolution, the 
members of the secret societies who were to furnish the bulk of the attacking force did not. The 
secret service was aware of the plans that had been made and on the night of November 6-7, 1864, 
arrested most of the active participants. The ill-fated scheme of Hines and his erstwhile cohorts has 
often been elegantly titled the "Northwest Conspiracy." 

In certain localities, Southern synspathizers and members of the secret societies made the daily life 
of those who supported the administration very difficult. The following letters, written to author-
ities in Springfield, give some idea of the problems involved in keeping the state harmonious in war-

                                                                      Galesburg, Ill.   
                                                                      April 25. 1868   

     Gen. Ammen   
     Dear Sir   
         I understand from the papers that you have charge of military matters in 
     this state. Such being the fact I wish to hear Irons you how to proceed to 
     exterminate the rebels in this part of Illinois. In parts of this county negroes 
     are not allowed to work for respectable farmers: Meetings are openly held 
     denouncing the war and trespassing opposition to any draft. Cheers open and 
     loud for Jeff Davis. Is there any remedy? Please let me hear from you in regard 
     to this matter. 
                                                     Most Respectfully   
                                                     J. F. Dunn   

                                                                         Carbondale Ills May 22 1863

     Col. J. K. Dubois   
     Dear Sir   
         I beg leave to Submit a few facts to you as they do exist in this Section   
     of our State, altho it has not been my habit to Complain or make reports or   
     acusations against Citizens. I have no doubt you are well aware that a majority   
     of the Citizens of this and the adjoining Countys are Knights of the golden   
     Circle our Sheriff boasts of being high in the order Hence he manages to So Pack   
     Jurys to Suit his Case and the guilt or innocence of the Party indighted depends   
     much on the Slsade of his Poltiticle Sentiment.   
         I have reliable yes I mite Say Positive information that those Knights are   
     Sworn to Convict a Republican and Clear a Democrat and any man that Paid any   
     attention during the Sitting of the tirm of the Court this tirm which has just   
     adjoined would See it verified now Several of our vary best Citizens have been   
     indighted for defending them Selves against the insults of Some of these vile   
     traitors, one man for Striking with a Club on the head a vile wretch who had   
     been Purposely lsissed on him and was being agged on by a Crowd of Jeff Davis   
     Democrats, our friend after bing followed to the door of his office at length took   
     up a Club and Struck the Copperhead a Stunning blow on the head, for which his   
     is now indighted and Several others of our best Citizens are also indighted for   
     Similar offences and under very Similar Circumstances 

         Now Uncle Jessey the question is what are these men to do; if they are tried   
     by  those jurys they will be Convicted as Shure as thare is a God and whare Can   
     they Sware away to. These are questions of grave import which I hope you at   
     Springfield Can help us Solve. It may be Said or reported to you that all is quite   
     down this way. So it would Seem to the Superficial. But we that live here Know   
     mutch more than we report. a few nights ago two men went to the hotise of a   
     good Union man called him out and told him they were U,S Soldiers and had   
     been told to Call on him to go with them and Show them Some deserters he of   
     Course went and after getting in the woods they then told him he had thare to   
     take his Choice he tied to a tree and whipped or be Shot. That he was a d--m   
     abolitionist and voted for Lincoln the man refused to be tied but broke and ran   
     for life they fired on him but in the dark he escaped be can identify them.   
     I hope you will inform GenI Ammon of these facts and Show this letter to Phillips.   
     tho I Consider it Confidential.   
          I am not in the habbit of writing or making Complaints but forbearance has   
     Ceased to be a virtue and if Some Protection is not afforded the Loyal men then   
     they will be Compelled to See what next is best to he done. Thare has been quite   
     a number whipped on the bare back and Severel Killed rite osst and no effort has   
     been made for redress of this Kind of outrage   
          Thare are quite a number of union men whose live are now threatened and   
     will be taken first oppertunaty. I had rather take my Chances for Safety with the   
     army in the fild than here, vet I have always been vary bold and decided. Hoping   
     Some wise measures may be taken in this matter I Still have the honor to   
     Remain your Obedient Servent   
     J. M. Kelly   
     Anna. Union Co. 111. Apr 23/63 

    Gen. Ammen   
    Springfield Ill 
      Dear Sir

         As a loyal and law abiding citizen of Illinois I appeal to you for protection   
    from the depredations of secession traitors as malignant and vile as any in the rebel   
    army. I am a poor man a fruit grower and my rebel neighbors have destroyed   
    my fruit trees (400 very fine ones) they throw down my fences and annoy me in   
    various ways because as they say my politics dont Suit” I am “a d--d Lincolnite”   
    and they say they intend to drive me otit of the neighbodhood. Some 10 valuable   
    orchards have been destroyed, horses have been poisoned, fences thrown down   
    and various other depredations have been perpetrated within the past 3 months 
    in this county and good union men among our best and most intelligent Citizens   
    have in every instance been the stifferers. Now what are we to do? Must we   
    tamely submit to those vile miscreants and allow them to destroy our property,   
    to insult us daily as we meet them on the public roads? Union men like myself   
    who live remote from a village and entirely surrounded by these traitors are much   
    worse off than union men in towns.   
        Deserters are very plenty here, very bold and also very annoying.   
        I should he glad to give a list of the vilest rebels in this locality and also   
    give what testimony I can concerning their loyalty.   
        Such persecution as some of the loyal men of this county have suffered cannot   
    be endured much longer. If we (10 not get aid of some kind we must leave our   
    homes or attempt to retaliate.   
                                                   Yours Respectfully   
                                                          A. Babcock   
         P.S. I send a sample cut from the Jonesboro Gazette’ having a circulation   
     of some 600 mostly in this county   A. B.      

Despite these alarming letters it must be remembered that there also was honest opposition to the state
and federal administrations: in America we have found it difficult to locate the dividing line between l
oyal dissent and treason. In Illinois during the Civil War loyal Democrats frequently suffered 
persecution and abuse that should have been directed against the draft and tax evader, the deserter 
(two entire Illinois regiments, the 109th and 128th Infantry, were dismissed from service) and the 
rabid mob leader.   

Many government measures, on the other band, were unnecessarily restrictive. The Chicago Times was 
officially discontinued for a short time in June, 1863; other Illinois paper suppressed either of-
ficially or by mob action include the Mendota Times (1861); Bloomington Times (1862) Jonesboro Gazette 
(1863) The Loyalist (Effingham County); Chester Picket Guard (1863) and the Olney Weekly Press (1864)   

On August 8, 1862 a general order of the United States Secretary of War directed that persons who dis-
couraged enlistments or gave aid and comfort to the emeny or engaged in any other disloyal practices 
could be imprisoned by United States marshals and local magistrates. Illinois citizens were arbitrarily   
arrested under this order in Chicago, Quincy, Carbondale, Chatham, Benton, Chesterfield, Spring 
Garden, Galena, Tamaroa, and at places in Adams and Williamson counties. 

If Illinois furnished the most exciting music, it also furnished one of the war’s early symbols of 
heroism — Colonel Elmer Ephraim Ellsworth. Young Ellsworth, who had been reading law in Abraham 
Lincoln’s office, led his New 
Death of Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth
26 he was shot and killed on the stairs by the hotel proprietor. The proprietor in turn was 
killed by a Zouave corporal. 

Colonel Ellsworth was given a White House funeral; Lincoln burst into tears when he saw the body, 
supposedly saying: “My boy! my boy! Was it necessary this sacrifice should he made?” 

The brutal murder of the youthful colonel became a cause celebre, and the phrase “Remember Ellsworth” 
became a rallying cry all through the North.     


Illinois women stayed at home during the Civil War, frequently working long, cruel hours in factory 
and field, and still engaging in all forms of charitable work available to them. In Chicago a Sanitary 
Commission — much like our modern Red Cross — was organized on October 17, 1861, and although men 
usually held the offices, it was the women who did the work. Particularly active were Mrs. Daniel P. 
Livermore, Mrs. Ahraham H. Hoge, Mrs. Henry Sayrs, Mrs. Jeremiah Porter, Mrs. Oliver E. Hosmer, Mrs. 
Christopher C. Webster, Mrs. E. W. Blatchford, Mrs. A. M. Beaubien, Mrs. Myra Bradwell, Mrs. C. P. 
Dickinson, Miss Elizabeth Hawley, Miss Elizabeth Blakie and Miss Jennie McLaren. Soldiers’ homes, 
relief associations and hospitals were established, a female-nurse association was formed, and large 
sums of money were raised. Mrs. Mary (Mother) Bickerdyke, Mrs. Edgerton, Mrs. D. M. Brundage, Miss 
Jane A. Babcock, Miss Mary F. M. Foster, were particularly active in the female-nurse work.   

A Ladies’ Relief Society cared for the families of Chicago soldiers, beginning in 1863; the Christian 
Commission, with branches throughout the state distribtsted money, food and religious pamphlets. In 
nearly every county smaller units of the larger organizations raised money and carried on charitable 
work, generally for the relief of sick and wounded soldiers. 

There were Soldiers’ Homes and Soldiers’ Rests, where soldiers could eat and rest, at the principal 
centers of travel. Soldiers’ Aid Societies in the smaller towns and rural areas ministered to soldiers’ 

The Freedman’s Aid Commission supplied recently freed slaves with food, clothing, medicine and, on 
occasion, vocational education. 

Perhaps the most unusual and dramatic expression of the women of Illinois was in the various ‘Sanitary 
Fairs” held to raise fisuds for the relief of soldiers. The largest was held in Chicago, May 30-June 
17, 1865, and raised more than $250,000.     


Not the least of Illinois’ contributions to the Civil War were the songs of George F. Root and Henry 
Clay Work, both of Chicago. Root wrote the once very popular “Just Before the Battle, Mother,” as 
well as the stirring and powerful “Battle Cry of Freedom’ and “Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are 
Marching.” Perhaps best known of Work’s many songs is the rousing “Marching through Georgia.”   

One Confederate is quoted as saying: I shall never forger the first time I heard ‘Rally Round the Flag.’ 
T’was a nasty night during the ‘Seven-days Fight,’ I was on picket, when just before taps, some fellow 
on the other side struck up that song and others joined in the chorus. Tom B. sung out, ‘Good Heavens, 
Cap., what are those fellows made of? Here we’ve licked them six days running, and now on the eve of 
the seventh they’re singing ‘Rally Round the Flag.’ I tell you that song sounded to me like the ‘knell 
of doom' and my heart went down into my boots, and it has been an tip-hill fight with me ever since 
that night.”      


Civil War Music
28 - 29
Cairo & its vicinity
Cairo & its vicinity
General U. S. Grant
General U. S. Grant

General Ulysses S. Grant     

Ulysses S. Grant had been an army officer (four years at West Point and eleven years of active service)
but when the Civil War began he was a partner in his fatherís leather store in Galena. On April 18, 
1861, a mass meeting to raise a company of volunteers was held in Galena and Grant was selected 
chairman. A company was raised, trained and led to Springfield by Grant, although he was not elected 
captain since he felt his experience could be put to better use than commanding a company. The state 
capital was in confusion, and it was some time before Governor Yates could act upon Grantís offer to 
serve. Eventually he was appointed a mustering officer; after these duties were completed he wrote, on
May 24, to the Adjutant General in Washington tendering his services (the letter was lost by a clerk 
and never reached anyone in authority). When no answer was forthcoming, Grant tried to see George B. 
McClellan, newly appointed Commander of the Department of the Ohio, but after waiting for two days in 
the Generalís anteroom he gave up and went to Lafayette, Indiana, where he hoped to see an old class-
mate, Joseph J. Reynolds. By this time Governor Yates had decided to appoint Grant to command the 
discontented and factious 21st Illinois Infantry. The Governor telegraphed him to return to Illinois, 
and Grant assumed command of the regiment on June 16. 

He took the regiment to Missouri and there was appointed a brigadier general. After engaging in 
several skirmishes he was assigned command of the District of Southeastern Missouri, which included 
all of southern Illinois. On September 2 he went to Cairo, which was to be his headquarters, and there 
his career began the meteoric rise which would culminate in the presidency. All in all, Illinois had a 
proud record of patriotic participation in the Civil   War. She sent the President to Washington and 
the victorious general to Appomattox Court House. But perhaps, in the long run, it was the ingrained 
tradition of individual liberty and personal dignity under the Constitution that made so many 
volunteers fight to preserve the American Union. By so doing, Illinoisans were fighting to perpetuate 
a manner of living in the state which was their home, and which is now ours. In a large part, because 
of their tremendous sacrifices, our state of Illinois continues to be a fine place in which to live. 
Civil War Centennial Commission

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