30th Illinois Infantry
A Regimental History
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4th Illinois Cavalry Website http:/www.4thIllinoisCavalry.com
The Mississippi Central Railroad Campaign http://www.angelfire.com/ms2/grantshilohvicksburg/
Abraham Lincoln Online. http://www.netins.net/showcase/creative/lincoln.html
American Civil War Home Page. http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/
U. S. Civil War Center. http://www.cwc.lsu.edu/civlink.htm
Ulysses S. Grant Home Page http://www.mscomm.com/~ulysses/
Civil War Flags of Illinois http://www.civil-war.com/index.html
Troops in the Vicksburg Campaign http://www.nps.gov/vick/il/il30inf.htm
Illinois in the Civil War http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilcivilw/
The RailSplitter http://www.railsplitter.com/
Rootsweb 30th Illinois Inf. http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilcivilw/reg_html/030_reg.htm
The American Civil War http://www.homepages.dsu.edu/jankej/civilwar/regiment.htm
Compiled by A. E. Sample, Lyons, Kansas. 1907
The following history is partly taken from the Adjutant Generals Report, of Illinois, with some additional incidents that Company "A" was particularly interested in:
The company, originally, was entirely made up of citizens of Mercer county, Ill.
On the 4th of August, 1861, those who had volunteered, met, with friends, and a great crowd of people, at Henderson's Grove, Mercer county, and had a grand picnic dinner, after which we bade good bye to friends, some for the last time, then we were taken to Monmouth, Ill., where we remained all night. Next day took the train for Springfield, where we arrived the same day, and were taken to Camp Butler. Here the company was organized and assigned to the 30th Ill. Infantry, Col. P.B. Fouke commanding.
Sept. 1st., 1861, moved to Cairo, Ill., and was assigned to Brigadier Gen. John A. McClernand's Brigade, Brigadier Gen. U.S. Grant commanding District of Cairo
Oct. 22nd., went on scout into
Kentucky, near Columbus. This was a hard march through the mud. One feature
which was complained of, was the amount of countermarching.
OUR FIRST BATTLE
Our first battle was the battle of Belmont. "Gen. Grant made a spirited attack on the little steamboat landing known as Bellmont, on the Mississippi, opposite Columbus, Ky. On Nov. 6th, 2850 men, mainly Illinoisans, embarked on four steamboats, convoyed by the gun boats Tyler and Lexington, and dropped down the river to Island No. 1, eleven miles above Columbus, where they remained until 7 a.m. of the 7th, when they proceeded to Hunter's point, some two or three miles above the ferry, connecting Columbus and Bellmont, where the whole array was debarked on the Missouri shore, formed into line of battle and pushed forward as rapidly as possible, to overwhelm the somewhat inferior force of the rebels incamped at Bellmont. Though stoutly resisted by the rebels the Union force reached the camp, capturing the camp and driving the enemy completely over the bank of the river. But by this time Major Gen. Polk commanding at Columbus, had been thoroughly waked up and perceiving his camp in possession of our forces, sent over three regiments under Gen. Pillow, to the immediate relief of his sorely pressed fugitives, while three others, under Gen. Cheatham, had been landed between our soldiers and their boats, with the intent to cut off their retreat; and finally, as his fears of an attack on Columbus were dispelled, Polk himself crossed over with two additional regiments, making eight in all, or not less than 5000 men, who were sent as re-inforcements to the three regiments under Col. Tappan, who originally held the place. Of course our exhausted and largely outnumbered soldiers could do nothing better than cut their way through the fresh troops, obstructing their way to the boats, which they did with gallantry."
We have quoted this lengthy account of this battle from "Greely's American Conflict," so that we may be able to relate something that has never appeared in history.
Some twenty-five years ago, comrade, J.C. Clark, told the writer that while we were surronded by these re-inforcements, from Columbus, that Grant, McClernand, Logan and others held a council of war, and he heard Gen. Grant declare that he "would not risk his reputation on getting his men out," and that Gen. Logan said" I will," and immediately took the lead in cutting the way to the boats. We wrote to Gen. Logan and received the following reply:
"Your comrade is only partially correct . It was Gen. McClernand who had command of the expedition and it was he who made that declaration. It is well known by the comrades, who were engaged in that battle, as to the part I took.."
Notwithstanding Gen. Logan's statement, Comrade Clark claims that it was Grant. Had it not been for Logan, Grant's military career might have been quite different.
Feb. 4th, moved up Tennessee River and on the 6th was in he attack and taking of Ft. Henry, in Col. Oglesby's brigade. Was engaged in the seige and the taking of Ft. Donaldson, 13th, 14th and 15th of Feb., 1862. It is our recollection that company "A" went into this battle on the 15th, with 44men, and out with only 22 unhurt, 5 being killed, 15 wounded and 2 taken prisoners.
Arrived at Pittsburg Landing, April 25th. Took part in the seige of Corinth, in Col. Logan's brigade. June 4th and 5th, marched from Corinth to Bethel. 8th occupied Jackson, Tennesse. 13th and 14th of August, marched to Estanaula, and on 31st to Denmark.
Sept. 1st, 1862 marched toward Medan Station, on the Miss. Central R.R., and about four miles from that place, met the enemies cavalry, 6000 strong, under Gen. Armstrong, and after four hours fighting, drove the enemy from the field, gaining a brilliant victory. The 30th was commanded by Major Warren Shedd, Col. Dennis commanding brigade of 20th and 30th Ill. Infantry, one section Swartz's Ill. Battery, Capt. Foster's company of independent, Ohio cavalry, and 34 men of the 4th Ill. Cavalry.
The enemy left 200 dead on the field, while we had none killed but several were mortally wounded. Two members of the company, Wm. O. Dungan and Chauncy Smith were shot clear through the body, and are still living. This battle was known as the battle of Britton's Lane. On 2nd Sept., marched to Medan, 3rd to Jackson. Second Nov., marched to Lagrange. On 11th marched toward Water Valley, Mississippi, arriving Dec. 19th.
This was one of the hardest and most disheartening marches we had during the service. After Holly Springs was so disgracefully surrendered, with all our supplies, we were obliged to take the back track, and were short of rations, part of time lived on parched corn. In this way we celebrated the holidays, and when we thought of the fine turkey roasts they were having at home, we were, to say the least, blue if not homesick. Arrived in Memphis, Tenn., on Jan. 19th 1863. Some of the boys being entirely destitute of shoes and in that condition having to wade through snow.
Were stationed at Memphis, in Col. Leggett's Brigade, Maj. Gen. Logan's Division, Maj. Gen. McPherson's Corps.
Feb. 22nd, 1863, moved to Lake Providence. This was one of the most beautiful places to camp, we had during the service, and we had a fine time boat riding, but only enjoyed it a few days, when we moved to Vista's Plantation.
April 17th, moved to Miliken's Bend, Louisiana, joined Grant's army and moved to Bruinsburg, Miss. -- Crossed Mississippi river. May 1st moved to Thompson's Hill. Moved to Hankinson's Ferry, on Black River, skirmishing with the enemy en route. Moved to Raymond, Miss. Engaged in the battle of Raymond, May 12. Moved via. Clinton, to Jackson, pursued the retreating enemy, after their defeat of May 14. May 16 engaged in the battle of Champion's Hill. This was one of the hardest fought battles the company was engaged in during the war, but were fortunate in having none killed. The 30th Ill. And the 30th Alabama contended against each other. Crossed Black River with the army, and arrived in the rear of Vicksburg on the 19th of May, 1863.
May 25th, moved with expedition to Mechanicsburg, under Gen. Blair. Returning, actively participated in the seige of Vicksburg, until June 23rd, and then moved to Black River, under Gen. Sherman, to watch the rebel Gen. Johnson.
Moved with Gen. Sherman's army to Jackson, and assisted in the investment of that place, after which, moved to Vicksburg, arriving July 25th. Remained in camp until Aug. 20, then moved to Monroe, Louisiana, returning, 28th. This march was through a low, flat country, heavily timbered with pine trees, on which could be seen the marks of where the water had been fifteen feet high. Oct. 14th moved, under Gen. McPherson, towards Canton, Miss. Was in the engagement at Bogachitta Creek. Returned same month.
Jan. 1st. 1864 mustered in as veteran organization. On the 10th moved with expedition up the Mississippi River against guerrillas, and returned on the 15th. Feb. 3rd left Vicksburg, on Maridian campaign, under Gen. Sherman. Participated in the several skirmishes with the enemy, and arrived at Maridian, Feb. 15th. Returned, March 3rd., distance three hundred miles.
March 5th, left Vicksburg on veteran furlough to the state, arriving at camp Butler, March 12th.
Company "A" returned to Mercer county, and the writer finds it beyond his descriptive powers to tell of the enjoyments of that thirty days, and will leave it to the imagination of the reader.
After the thirty days furlough, returned to Camp Butler, and on the 18th left for Cairo. On the 28th, left Cairo with the "Tennessee River Expedition," under Gen. W. Q. Gresham. Arrived at Clinton, Tenn., 30th. March 5th marched via Pulaski Tenn. and Athens, Alabama to Huntsville, Alabama. May 25th, moved to Decatur, crossing the Tennessee river 27th. Thence via Warrentown, Ala., to Rome, Ga., thence via Kingston, joining Gen. Sherman's "Grand Army" at Ackworth, June 8th. On the 10th moved to Big Shanty, and commenced skirmishing with the enemy. On 27th moved out to make a demonstration in front, loosing from the regiment about 20 killed, none being from company A.
On the night of July 2nd, moved with 17th Army Corps, to the right of Gen. Sherman's army. On the 5th moved to Nickajack creek. On 9th the regiment was sent to guard Department Headquarters. On 12th moved to Sweet Water creek.
July 17th moved toward Decatur, via Merietta, crossing the Chattahoochie at Rosswell's and arriving at Decatur on 20th.
Was in the battle of July 21st, and 22nd near Atlanta, on the latter date the company lost 3 men killed. This battle was known as the battle of Peach Tree Creek, and lasted from about noon until night, when darkness put a stop to the conflict. Was actively engaged until the fall of Atlanta and Jonesborg. Camped at East Point, Sept. 6.
Oct. 4th., 1864, moved northward, in the pursuit of Gen. Hood, via Kenesaw Mountain, to Resaca, and returned to Smyrna Camp Ground, via Galesville, Alabama, arriving Nov., 5th.
Nov. 13, moved to Atlanta.
Here the company resented the compiler of this book a beautiful, pure silver fife costing $46, which he still possesses and on which he is still able to play the old familiar tunes that the company kept step to for so many miles.
On 15th, started with Gen. Sherman's Army in the "March to the Sea," and the company always got its full share of those "Sweet Potatoes which Sprouted from the Ground."
Participated in the capture of Savannah, Jan. 4th, 1865, and during the seige, which lasted some two weeks, subsisted almost entirely on rice and fresh beef. Some of the comrades becoming so turned against rice that they have never been able to eat it since.
Moved, by water, to Beaufort, South Carolina. On this trip many of us had our first experience with seasickness.
Left Beaufort Jan. 13th, and participated in the capture of Pocataligo, on the 15th. Remained at Pocataligo until the 30th.
Marched with Sherman's Army to Goldsboro, North Carolina, where we arrived March 25, 1865. Was engaged, during the march, in the capture of Orangeburg, Columbia and Cheraw, South Carolina and Fayettville, North Carolina, besides destroying railroad tracks etc.
On this march through South Carolina, there was not as much restraint enforced over the men as was exercised in other states, perhaps on account of the state being the first to secede and afterwards taking so prominent a part in the rebellion, consequently some things were done which were not a credit to the army. Foraging was indulged in to the limit. One incident that caused a good deal of merriment was the following:
Comrade Will Bitts came into camp at Orangeburg, in a grand carriage, drawn by a span of mules, himself dressed in a Confederate officers uniform, a silk hat and smoking cigar, the carriage being by a finely dressed darkey. The carriage was loaded down with chickens, hams, and other eatables. He afterwards drove through the streets of the city while houses were burning on each side.
One of the saddest incidents that it has ever been the misfortune of soldiers to be engaged in, took place while on this march, and would illustrate the truthfulness of the declaration of Gen. Sherman, that "War is Hell."
On this march the killing of our men by citizens or "bushwhackers," became so common that the general in command, issued an order, that if we found any more of our men killed, we should take a prisoner and shoot him in retaliation. In few days after this order was issued a man of Woodruff, of company H of our regiment, was found with his brains beat out. At that time we had, with us, about 300 prisoners. They were allowed to cast lots to decide who should be taken. The lot fell on a man of Small and about 45 years of age. He was brought to our regiment and given in charge of our chaplain. A squad of twelve men were detailed to do the shooting. They were furnished with guns, six of which were loaded with blank cartridge and six with ball. The squad was in charge of Major Rhodes. Campany A under command of Capt. Candor, was detailed as guards and to see that the execution was duly performed. The company formed a line, facing a swamp, a few rods distant. The chaplain brought the prisoner to the intervening space, then asked him if he had anything to say. He said, "I was forced into the army, never was in a battle, never wished the yankees any harm, have a large family, all girls who live about 40 miles from here, I have been a local Methodist minister." It was the general opinion that he told the truth. The chaplain then blindfolded him and led him to a tree, against which the prisoner leaned. The Major commanded his squad to make ready-take aim-FIRE. The man stood for a moment, his muscles contracted, then fell and died without a struggle. Five balls entered his breast and one his thigh. He was buried and a board put to the head of his grave on which was written a statement of the cause of his death. This was a desperate remedy, but it had the desired effect, as we did not have another man killed.
April 10th moved to Raleigh, arriving there on the 14th. Remained in camp until the surrender of the rebel army under Gen. Johnson.
April 29th, marched northward via Richmond, to Alexdria, Virginia, arriving May 19th.
On May 24th, 1865, marched to Washington and took part in the Grand Review, an account of which we quote from Headley's History of the Civil War of the United States:
As a fitting close to this long and terrible struggle which the country as passed through, a grand review of the two armies of Grant and Sherman tock place in the National Capital on the 23rd, and 24th of May, in the presence of the President and Cabinet, and foreign Ministers. As the bronzed and proud veterans marched up Pennsylvania Avenue, the heavens resounded with the acclamations of the multitude, and the air was filled with boquets of flowers that were rained on the noble leaders. The Duke of Wellington said, when 50,000 troops were reviewed in the Champs Elysees, after the occupation of Paris by the Allies, that it was "a sight of a life time;" but here nearly two hundred thousand marched in an apparently endless stream past the Presidential mansion, not conscrips forced into the ranks, but citizens, who had voluntarily taken up arms to defend, not a monarch's rights, but their own.
Yet, sublime as was this spectacle, it sunk into insignificance before the grandure of the one presented a few days after, when this army, strong enough to conquer a hemisphere, melted suddenly away into the mass of the people and was seen no more. Its deeds of renown had filled the civilized world, and European statesmen looked on and wondered what disposition could be made of it, and where it would go, or what it would do. It was one of the grandest armies that ever bore on its bayonet points the destinies of a king or a nation - a consolidation and embodiment of power seldom witnessed; and yet, while the gaze of the world was fixed upon it, it disappeared like a vision, and when one looked for it he saw only peaceful citizens engaged in their usual occupations.
The General whose martial achievements had been repeated in almost every language under the sun, was seen amid his papers in his old law office, which he had left at the call of his country - the brave Colonel, who had led many a gallant charge, was in him coming house, acting as though he had been absent only a few days on business, while the veterans of the rank and file, whose battle shout had rung over many bloody fields, could only be found by name as one bent over his saw and plane, and another swung his sythe in the harvest field, or plied his humble toil along the streets. It was a marvelous sight, the grandest the world ever saw. It had been the people's war -- the people had carried it on, and having finished their own work, quietly laid aside the instruments with which they had accomplished it, and again took up those of peaceful industry. Never on earth did a government exhibit such stability and assert its superiority over all other forms, as did this republican government of ours, in the way its armies disappeared when the struggles was over,"
A few days was spent in Washington during which we visited the Capital building, the White House, the Patent office, the Smithsonian Institute and other places of interest.
Left Washington June 7th via the Baltimore and Ohio R. R., arriving in Parkersburg, Va., on the 9th. One interesting feature of this trip was our passing through 29 tunnels between Washington and Parkersburg, one said to be a mile long. Continued our journey by steamboat to Louisville, Ky., where we remained in camp several days, during which time we were paid off, those of us who had veteraned receiving in addition to the regular monthly wages, the four hundred dollars bounty, and having plenty of money, circuses, theaters and other amusements, were well patronized.
Mustered out of the United States service, July 17th, 1865. By First Lieutenant Aug. P. Noyes, A. C. M., Third Division, Seventeenth Army Corps.
Arrived at Camp Butler, Illinois, July 20. Received final payment and discharge, July 27th, 1865, and next day was taken to Rock Island, where we were met by friends and taken home.
Of the 91 men who composed the company when first organized, six were killed, one died of wounds, were discharged on account of wound, twelve were discharged on account of disability, nine died of disease and nineteen veteraned.
Of the recruits, three were killed, two died of wounds, three died of disease, and five veteraned.
Of the drafted and substitutes, three died of
disease, three deserted and eight never reported to company.
(Mistakes appear as in the original text.)
A roster of the 30th Illinois and other Illinois regiments can be found at this Web site...