History of the 123rd
On the night of July 27, Garrard's Division of Cavalry, with which the regiment was serving, was completely surrounded by a large force of the enemy and the regiment was dismounted and forming as infantry, led the advance in cutting through the lines of the enemy on the Atlanta road, on the morning of July 28. Captain Hart, company B, was wounded here.
August 1, the regiment and the rest of the brigade returned to Atlanta front, and leaving horses at Peach Tree Creek, in charge of the "No. 4" men, moved into the line our words on extreme left, which the 23 Corps had vacated during the night and continued to hold that until the 13th, when moved to Decatur. 12th in campaign Head road. 19th and 20th at Decatur, patrolling, skirmishing and foraging in rear of Atlanta until night of 20th when the regiment traveled and picketed all night for the left wing of the army as it withdrew to the Chattahoochie River.
August 29, moved to right of the army with the brigade, and on 30th, covered movement of army trains and reached Montgomery railroad. On 30th, moved to right near to Macon railroad, which Scofield was destroying at Rough-and-Ready.
September 2: Reconnoitered in rear of Atlanta, which was taken possession of by Slocum and Atlanta campaign ended, the regiment marched as cavalry and fought as infantry all through it.
October 1st at Cross Keys. October 3rd, crossed the Chattahoochie on pontoons, going northward in pursuit of Hood. October 5, followed Hood to Lost Mountain, the 4th Corps being to the right and the 14th Corps to the left. October 7th, fought the enemy at New Hope Church, we occupying their old works and they occupying ours. October 11, reached Rome and on 12th engaged enemy, driving him 3 or 4 miles from Rome in direction of Summerville. 13th moved out on old Atlanta road and scattered enemy's cavalry over the country. 14th, moved on Kingston road. October 20th, came up with Hood at Little River and spent days in heavy skirmishing, being then in Alabama. 21st struck enemy again at Blue Pond.
October 23, moved over Lookout Mountain into Wills Valley, Hood's army having left Gadsden, ALA for the Tennessee River. October 28, struck the enemy at Terrapin Creek. General J.H. Wilson assumed command of the division to which the regiment was attached and which was commanded by General Garrad during all the Atlanta campaign and up to this date.
October 30, reached Cave Springs and next day reached Rome. November 1, turned over all serviceable horses and mules to General Kilpatrick and went to Louisville, KY to remount of the "Wilson Raid" of the next spring.
December 28, 1864, left Louisville, KY remounted and equipped.
January 1st, 1865: Camped at Elizabethtown, KY., with snow a foot deep and weather very cold. January 9th, 10th and 11th at Nashville, Tenn. Moved thence via Columbia and Mt. Pleasant to Gravell Springs, ALA near Eastport.
March 22,1865: Started from there with 1,2 and 4th divisions of cavalry, 12,000 men under General Wilson, for Selma, Ala. 23rd March, reached Frankfort and 24th crossed Bear Creek. March 26, reached Blackwater River and on 29th reached Black Warrior whose waters flow directly to the Gulf. March 30th, marched through Elton and camped 11 miles below, having marched 30 miles this day. March 31st, moved down the railroad toward Selma, destroying bridges, trestlework, depots and Confederate machine shops at Limestone Station. Montevallo was captured after sharp fighting and burned.
April 1: Rebels sent reinforcements up from Selma and made a determined stand at Ebenezer Church, but they were forced back with but little fighting. April 2, marched 21 miles, appearing before Selma's fortifications at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Immediately the horses were sent to the rear, lines formed and an assault commenced on the works by the mounted infantry brigade with the Spencer rifles.
The assaulting column was composed of the 98th and 123 Illinois and 17th and 72 Indiana, and when the command to charge was given, they rushed forward under a deadly fire without check or waiver until they climbed the fortifications and opened their deadly Spencer fire on the flying defenders of Selma. In this assault, First Lieutenant O.J. McManus, Sgts J.S. Mullen and Henry E. Cross, Corporal McMurry and Privates Daniel Cook, John Bowman, Marion White and Henry Woodruff were killed, and 50 wounded, including Lt. Colonel Biggs, Adjutant L.B. Bane, Capts. W.E. Adams and Owen Wiley, Lieutenants Alex. McNutt and J.R. Harding.Forrest was defending the place with 8000 men. He escaped, leaving 2000 prisoners in our hands.
April 8: March from Montgomery, 45 miles away, wading swamps and creeks and pontooning Black Swan River, reaching the original capital of the confederacy on April 13th, and there learning for the first time that Lee had surrendered to Grant in Virginia.
April 16: Reached Columbus, GA and on the 20th entered Macon, GA without opposition at the end of a 43 miles march. May 23, started for Chattanooga; from thence marched to Nashville and camped across the river at Edgefield, where the regiment was mustered for discharge by Captain L.M. Hosea on June 27, the recruits being transferred to the 61st Illinois. Discharged at Springfield, Ill. July 11, 1865. At the time of the death of Colonel Monroe at Farmington, Tenn., in October 1863, the regiment was reduced below the minimum and was never after filled up, so that the Lieutenant Colonel and Major came home with the same rank they went out with, except that the Lieutenant Colonel was brevetted Brigadier General and the Major was brevetted Lt. Colonel by the President.
Special Orders Nashville, Tenn. June 28, 1865 No. 5 Extract
XXVII. Those men of the 123rd Illinois Volunteers who are ineligible to be mustered out with that command, now at Edgefield, Tenn., will proceed without delay to Franklin, Tenn., under charge of Lt. L. Grundy, 61 Illinois. On arrival at Franklin, these men will be transferred to and permanently consolidated with the 61 Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Brevet Major A.L. Hough, Chief Commissary of Musters, M.D. T., is hereby charged with the execution of this order. The transfer to be made under publications of Circular no. 64, series 1864 War Department. By command of Major General Thomas
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