93rd IL Co. D
The major battles the 93rd Regiment participated in include:
Siege and Battle of Vicksburg
March to the Sea
After the peace at Appomattox Court House was signed , the 93rd Regiment participated in the Grand Review of the Union Army in Washington DC on May 24h 1865 and was discharged July 7th 1865.
The 93rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment started the Civil War with a total enrollment of: 1011 men. During the war, 151 of the regiment’s soldiers were killed in action or died of their wounds. This gave the 93rd a regimental a loss rate for those killed or dead of wounds of 14.9%, the highest of all Illinois regiments.
Something of the scale of fighting experienced by the 93rd, can be glimpsed in this brief and remarkable letter from the 93rd‘s Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Nicholas Buswell, to Illinois Governor Richard Yates. The letter dated December 20th 1863, was written to accompany the return of the regiments colors. Col. Buswell writes:
“In consideration of the fact that the national colors of this regiment have been so much torn and mutilated in so many engagements in which they were borne that they are no longer fit for service, we deem it proper to return it to the state , to be preserved among the archives of that Commonwealth made glorious by the deeds of her sons on so many hard fought fields In returning the “Old Flag” to you, it may be of interest to know a few of the leading incidents connected with it since it has been in our keep.
During our first campaign, and through the battle of Jackson, Cpl. James Hickey was color bearer. At Champion Hill, after he had planted the proud standard the brave Hickey fell. Ere the folds of the flag had touched the ground it was caught by Cpl. A.G. Spellman who bore it from that time. Its folds were pierced by 27 bullets, the staff being hit by one nearly cutting it off. In the charge on Tunnel Hill, Nov. 25th, Cpl. Spellman was made Lance Sergeant after planting the flag within 20 paces of the enemy works and was severely wounded. Sgt. William P. Erwin now caught it and gallantly planted it again, and was instantly killed” Our braved lamented Col. Putman now said “give me the Flag.” It was handed to him, but alas while waving it with one hand with other he waved his sword he fell....With this brief memorandum, we return to you the flag which but little more then a year ago we brought to the field. In parting with it our feelings are those mingled with pride and sadness...so many of our noble companions have fallen in its defense. In sacred memory let it be preserved, stained with blood though it be, tis the blood of patriots, shed in a glorious cause—the cause of Civil Liberty”
After the war the State of Illinois commissioned noted architect William Le Baron Jenney, to design the Illinois monument to those of its sons who fought (and to the many who died) at Vicksburg. The Illinois monument was dedicated in 1906, the monuments 47 steps, are to commemorate each day of the siege of Vicksburg, which lasted from May 19 to July 4, 1863. Inside on bronze tablets are the names of all the 36,325 Union soldiers from Illinois who fought in the various Vicksburg campaigns as well as the names of two other eminent people with ties to Illinois their battle commander, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, and their commander-in-chief, President Abraham Lincoln. Companies D & G were raised in Stephenson and Carroll Counties.
What was life like for the 93rd? The following are some extracts from the monthly muster roll of the 93rd Regiment Illinois Infantry.
For the month of April 1863 shows the Regiment, in the field near New Carthage LA except as follows:
Record of Events
April 1, 1863 the 93 Illinois on board the Jesse R. Bell some 75 miles from the Yazoo. Owning to obstruction in navigation it was difficult to ascertain the distance sailed each day. April 2nd was fired into by guerillas from the left bank of the river wounding Chester Tracy Company K through the right breast severely. The house near by together with the out houses burned by order of the Col. Commanding and the proprietor taken prisoner , it having been ascertained from his wife and from his own admission he had sheltered the guerillas , who fired the shots and for more then a week previously . The prisoner was afterward delivered to the Provost Marshall at Lake Providence, LA
April 3 rd reached the camp above Grimond Miss. April 4, the Regiment went out on reconnaissance. April 6, 7,8, & 9 steamed back toward Helena Ark. Where we arrived at 10 am without incident, distance from Greenwood to Helena 177 miles. April 10, 11, & 12 lay off Arkansas shore 4 miles from Helena, 13th steamed down the Miss to Lake Providence to where the Regiment arrived at 8 am of the 14th, Distance 200 miles. The 15th Steamed down to Milliken’s Bend and remained in camp till the 25th
September / October 1864:
During the month of September and October 1864 the Ninety Third Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry have been in camp at Allatoona Ga ., doing light duty. On the 5th of October the enemy attacked the place and the Regiment was hotly engaged from day light till 3: 45 o’clock pm at which time the enemy retreated leaving his dead and wounded on the field. The conduct of the Regiment was good throughout the battle. Losses were as follows: Twenty one (21) killed, three officers and forty-nine (49) wounded and ten (10) men missing of them, four men have deserted.
93rd Illinois Regimental Returns, September 1864
During the entire month of September the regiment has been in camp at Alltatoona, GA doing post duty. The men have been on duty every second day doing fatigue or guard duty.
On the 2nd of September a detail of fourteen (14) men with other details from post, went into the country for forage and were attacked by a large group of rebels and the men from the regiment together with the team which they were with were captured. The names of those captured
John Sharp, Co. K
On the morning of the 9th instant, Lorenzo D. Hopkins Co. K. made his escape from rebel guard when forty miles southeast of Atlanta Ga. He came into our lines at Atlanta joining the regiment September 11, 1864 after an absence of eight days. George B. McConnell , Co. A. who was captured by the enemy July 28, 1864 rejoined the regiment on the 12th September having escaped from the prison at Selma Ala. he paddled down the Alabama River in a canoe and joined ( Admiral ) Farragut’s fleet in Mobile Bay August 19th 1864 from hence via New Orleans he returned to the regiment.
The following is more detailed account of these two heroic escapes from the 93rd Regimental History : History of the Ninety - Third Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry: From Organization To Muster Out --Statistics Compiled by Aaron Dunbar Sergeant, Company " B", Revised and Edited by Harvey M. Trimble, Adjutant transcribed by Jeffrey MacAdam, Chapter 6, np
Escape of George B. McConnell
Near this building where he was confined, moored to the bank of the river, were a large number of small rowboats, good, bad and indifferent. There was a lightning-rod on the end of the building next to the river, extending from the top of the building to the ground, which passed near a window of the room occupied by McConnell and his companions. Under these conditions he and his companions planned to escape. The plan was, to take one of those boats and go down the Alabama River to a desirable point, and, from thence, across the country, to Pensacola, Florida, which was then in the possession of the Federal forces. When a sufficiently dark night came, and with it the opportune moment, McConnell and his companions went down the lightning-rod, hand under hand, (whereby the palms of their hands and the inside of their fingers were so thoroughly blistered that all the skin afterward came off), seized an old rowboat and a pair of discarded oars, so that the taking of them would not be discovered, and quietly pulled out down the Alabama River. The river was full of Confederate transports and steamers, and other crafts, coming and going, which subjected them to great danger of being discovered. Hence, when a transport or steamer, or any other craft, came in sight of them, they went ashore, or under the dense growth that in many places overhung the river bank, and remained quiet until the danger was passed. Of course, they could only move at night. Each morning, before daylight, they went into hiding for the day. They procured food from the Negroes on shore. Thus, they made their way down the river. One day, while on shore, they got hold of a southern newspaper, from which they learned that Admiral Farragut's fleet was in Mobile Bay. Thereupon, they abandoned the idea of going to Pensacola, and determined to reach the fleet if possible. Hence, they continued their course down the river until they reached the Confederate fortifications at Mobile. There were batteries and fortifications nine miles in extent, above and below the city. Farragut's fleet was three miles below out in the bay. The water, all along in front of these batteries and fortifications and in front of the city, was full of all kinds of crafts, some of which were moving at all times of the night.
Here was a condition of things, when they obtained full information of it, that tested their wits and genius and courage at the same time. But they solved it correctly. Timing their start as late at night as they thought was safe to enable them to make the distance before daylight, they boldly pushed off from the shore and pulled out, down stream, for the fleet, and for their freedom. When daylight came, and the curtain of night began to roll up, they were just outside of the range of the nearest guns of the enemy, wearily approaching Admiral Farragut's flagship. The face of the bay was as smooth as glass. Had it not been their frail old boat could not possible have survived. Although their physical strength was well nigh exhausted, their hearts must have rapidly grown lighter now. Imagine their exultation when a small boat was lowered from the davits of the flagship and they were lifted on board among the other heroes that walked that deck! Their eight days of cautious hiding and their nine nights of arduous toil ended! And all the lurking dangers of those days and nights behind them! And no more visions of horrible Confederate prisons before them! They were free! And they were standing there, on the deck of that good ship, among the grandest heroes of the world! It was a consummation only rarely to be realized, even in the most heroic of wars. It was great!
Escape of Lorenzo D. Hopkins
At night they withdrew and returned to their camp. When he was assured that they had abandoned the search for him, he came out of his hiding-place and started again for Atlanta. That night he ran into a camp of Confederate cavalry before he knew it. They were encamped on both sides of the road on which he was moving. They had pickets out; and thus, before he was discovered, he quietly retraced his steps and went around them. When daylight came he again went into hiding. The next night, continuing his journey, he met a company of Confederate cavalry on the road. Before they discovered him he hid in the brush by the roadside, and permitted them to pass unmolested. He didn't even say "Good evening" to them. That night, or early the next morning, he reached the Federal lines at Atlanta. He had made the distance of seventy miles in three nights. He could not move in the daytime, of course, without extreme danger of being recaptured, and he did not. He only procured food twice during the trip, of negroes both times, but he got quite a supply each time, although it was nothing but cornbread. But he was glad to even get that for such a trip as he was then taking. It was a good escape. It required quick decision and good courage to enter upon it, and quick wit and cool judgment to execute it. He had all those qualities, and used them, and gained his freedom from imprisonment. The regiment was proud of him when he returned and ever afterward. He reached the command, by rail from Atlanta, on the 11th day of September, the day before McConnell returned. When he came in, the next day, there were "two of a kind." A good kind, too.
They remained on the fleet until after Fort Morgan was taken, and were sent to New Orleans, Louisiana. They were there furnished with new clothing, and from thence rejoined their regiments. McConnell reached the Ninety-Third Illinois at Allatoona, Georgia, on the 12th day of September, 1864, on the forty-sixth day after he was captured. The old skin was not yet entirely removed from the palms of his hands and the inside of his fingers from the blistering received in going down the lightning-rod, but he immediately reported for duty. The regiment was justly proud of him.
The History of the 93rd Regiment Volunteer Infantry from Organization to Muster Out written Aaron Dunbar Sergeant, Company " B", Revised and Edited by Harvey M. Trimble, Adjutant
Another excellent primary source for what life in the 93rd was like can be found in The memoirs, diary, and life of Private Jefferson Moses, Company G, 93rd Illinois
Military historians and scholars typically consider Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the two key battles of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln told his civil and military leaders, "See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.... We can take all the northern ports of the Confederacy, and they can defy us from Vicksburg." The 93rd along with 59 other Illinois regiments were key to winning this important battle and ending southern dominance of the Mississippi River. The Union victories on July 3 1863 at both Vicksburg and Gettysburg did much restore Union morale and confidence.
Visit the State of Illinois Vicksburg Memorial which commemorates this important victory.
These regimental tablets identify the names of the 36,325 soldiers from Illinois that served in the Vicksburg Campaign. The 93rd tablet lists the names of all the 93rd soldiers who were carried as "present for duty" on the 93rd muster rolls for Vicksburg during the course of the 45 day campaign and battle. Companies: D & G ,on this tablet list mostly soldiers recruited from Stephenson and Carroll counties. This Illinois Memorial is almost unique and one of the few battle memorials that I am aware of that gives credit to each individual Illinois soldier who fought this crucial engagement . The only other such state memorial that I know of is the State of Pennsylvania Monument at Gettysburg PA.. The PA Monument too in a similar fashion lists the name of every PA soldier who was present on July 1, 2 & 3.