Genealogy Trails

Jackson County, Illinois

THE HISTORY OF THE 18TH ILLINOIS INFANTRY



This Regiment originally rendezvoused at Anna, Union county, Ill., May 16, 1861, for the Ninth Congressional District, under the "Ten Regiment Bill." May 19 was mustered into the State service for thirty days, by Ulysses S. Grant, then State Mustering Officer, and was on the 28th of the same month, by Captain Pitcher, U. S. A., mustered into the service of the United States for three years--Michael K. Lawler, Colonel; Thomas H. Burgess, Lieutenant Colonel, and Samuel Eaton, Major.

June 24, 1861, the Regiment was moved to Bird's Point, MO, where it remained, drilling, doing guard duty, working on fortifications, removing railroad buildings and track to keep same from falling into the river, making new road, etc., until August 5, when it was moved into the swamp eight miles west, on the line of the C. and Fulton Railroad, to guard it and protect workmen making repairs. August 14 returned to Bird's Point, half the command sick, poisoned by malaria. August 26, moved to Mound City, Ill., to guard gunboats there being built, and to recuperate health of the Regiment. October 5, went to Cairo. November 3, formed part of a force, under Colonel Oglesby, sent to Bloomfield, MO, to rout Jeff. Thompson and his band, which was accomplished. November 13, returned to Cairo, via Cape Girardeau. January 10, 1862, marched with force under General Grant, composed of Cavalry, Artillery and Infantry, General McClernand, Division Commander, on reconnaissance in the vicinity of Columbus, KY. Returned to Cairo and there remained until February 3; then took steamer and proceeded with expedition under General Grant up the Tennessee river. February 6, this Regiment was in the advance in General Oglesby's Brigade at the capture of Fort Henry, and one of the first to enter the same, but too late to meet the rebels--they had flown. February 11, started with the advance upon Fort Donelson; was there 600 strong for duty. In the battles of the 13th and 15th, occupied, the right of Oglesby's Brigade, which was on the right of the line of battle. On the 15th of February, the Regiment lost in killed and wounded, 200 men; 50 died upon the field and 10 soon afterwards. Colonel Lawler was in command of the Regiment, and the Lieutenant Colonel and Major being absent, D. H. Brush, as Senior Captain, acted as second in command. In the battle of the 15th, Colonel Lawler was wounded early in the day, and turned over the command to Captain Brush, who later received a rifle shot in his shoulder. The Regiment at the time occupied the extreme right of the line, and was separated from the other forces some two or three hundred yards to the east, having been ordered by Gen. Oglesby to take such position to intercept the rebels in their attempt to get away in that direction. The advancing enemy was confronted and held in check until the ammunition of the interposing force was exhausted, when it was withdrawn from that part of the field in good order, and unmolested by the rebels.

The Regiment during all the battle maintained the positions to which it was in the early morning assigned, bravely and persistently, and not until it's ammunition was spent was the order to retire given. It's place that eventful morning was one commanding the road from the Fort, by which the rebels essayed to escape. The daring attempt, however, was most signally frustrated by Oglesby's Brigade. March 11, the Regiment embarked for Pittsburg Landing, and went into camp there on the 23d, about two miles out from the river. The Brigade to which it was attached consisted of the 8th IL, 18th IL, 11th IA and the 13th IA regiments, under Colonel Hare, of the Thirteenth Iowa. Sunday morning, April 6, a little after 7 o'clock, the long roll was sounded, whereupon the Brigade was speedily formed, the Eighteenth under command of Major Eaton, acting Colonel, Colonel Lawler and Lieutenant Colonel Burgess being absent, Captain Brush being second in command; and about 8 o'clock the Brigade was ordered to the front. It marched out towards Corinth about one mile from camp before striking the rebels. Line of battle was formed, and the fight at once became fast and furious. Very soon Major Eaton fell, pierced by a ball, and was taken from the field. Captain Brush then assumed command. The battle raged incessantly; about 1 p.m. he received a shot, disabling his bridle hand, and an hour later a rifle ball struck his thigh, compelling his retirement. The command of the Regiment then devolved upon Captain Anderson, he being next in rank. He was in command during the remainder of the engagement.

At the commencement of the battle the Regiment had for duty 435 officers and men. The loss on the 6th was 10 killed, 63 wounded, and 2 missing. None were injured the second day of the battle. The three Color Bearers, who carried the flag in the fist day's conflict, were all killed while supporting the banner. Major Eaton died of the wound he received. He had resigned on the 1st of April, but notice of the acceptance of his resignation not having reached him, he went bravely into the battle in command of the Regiment and lost his life.

The Regiment was with the ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE during the advance upon Corinth, serving in a Brigade commanded by Colonel Lawler, in Brigadier General McClernand's Division. After the evacuation of Corinth, was stationed at Bethel, on M. and O. railroad, reaching there June 6, from whence on the 15th of June, it marched to Jackson, Tenn., and there went into camp, remaining mostly at rest, except reasonable performance of drill and camp duties, and keeping due watch out for rebel movements.

July 27, Major D. H. Brush, promoted to that office since the battle of Shiloh, joined the Regiment and resumed command, not yet fully recovered from the wounds he received in that battle, and the same day the Eighth, Eighteenth and Thirty-first Illinois Infantry, with a two gun battery and a squadron of cavalry, under Colonel Lawler, started on an expedition to Bolivar, Brownsville, and various other places were visited, no force of the enemy caught up with, and August 13 returned to camp at Jackson, where it remained during the residue of the year 1862, keeping up drill and tactic instruction, performing it's full share of guard duty, and sending out strong detachments to guard railroads and save bridges from Rebel raids, etc. September 26, the Regiment received an accession of two Companies, "H" and "C" aggregating 137 men, recruited by CAPTAIN CONNER, AT CARBONDALE, ILL., to take the place of the original Companies "H" and "C", which had been consolidated with other Companies of the Regiment after the battles of Donelson and Shiloh.

November 28, 1862, one-half the period for which the Regiment was mustered into service having expired, a statement was made showing the following facts:

Originally mustered, strength, officers and men 930
Has lost, killed in battle 65
Died of wounds received in battle 30
Died of disease 117
Discharged on account of wounds 34
Discharged for disability, etc. 129
Transferred to other service 36
Discharged by General Halleck for absence over two months 23
Deserted 22
Added by new recruits 236
Aggregate now on rolls 710

Lieutenant Colonel D. H. Brush in command; the Colonel, M. K. Lawler, commanding the Post of Jackson, Tenn. December 11 K Company left the Regiment for Memphis, orders having been received for that Company to report to the marine Brigade. December 20 the Regiment, with other forces, was marched out towards Lexington and Trenton, to intercept the rebels in a raid then being made against Union troops guarding the railroads, etc. December 23, marched towards Bolivar; reached Medon Station, on M. C. R R., and camped; next day marched to Denmark, and thence to Toon's Station, and there took cars for Jackson, arriving at midnight of the 26th. Heard frequently of rebels just ahead, and saw signs of their late presence, but could not catch up with them. December 31, E and H Companies of the Regiment were engaged in the fight with the rebels under Forrest, near Lexington. The Companies were commanded by Captain Davis, of this Regiment, General Sullivan leading the Union forces, and driving the rebels with considerable loss. The same day the rest of the Regiment was sent to join in pursuit of the retreating foe. Reached Lexington next day, one day too late, the rebels having passed. Pursuit was continued to the crossing of the Tennessee at Clifton, but the rebels had gotten over and were out of reach.

January 7th, 1863, the Regiment returned to it's camp at Jackson, having had the severest tramp yet experienced. More than one hundred and twenty five miles had been marched in snow, in rain, in mud, over hills and rocky roads, and through ice-cold streams, yet the men stood it well, few giving out or complaining. The Regiment was not again ordered away from Jackson until March 4, when the command moved out toward Huntingdon; reached that place same day, but found no rebels in arms; scoured the country until the 9th, then returned to old quarters.

March 15 the Regiment was again ordered to proceed to Huntingdon and Trenton to look after rebels; moved out some two hundred strong, mounted; was gone two days; found only citizens "who had taken the oath," in eighty miles travel.

April 1 the Regiment, two hundred and fifty mounted men, was again moved toward Bolivar, Whiteville, and beyond, on the hunt of guerrillas and other rebels said to be infesting the neighborhood. Had a brush with a party posted in the road; drove them towards Danceyville; captured some prisoners and horses. Proceeded to Covington, Tenn., where Colonel Lawler established a "Post," and, as Commander, required citizens to come in and take the oath. Captain Reed, of E Company, was sent towards Randolph, on the Mississippi river, with a squad, to find out the doings of the rebels, and was killed by a shot from a thicket as he was returning. A rebel prisoner he had in charge was also killed by the same volley.

The Regiment scoured the country from Covington to Porterville, and to "Big Creek Settlement," within twenty miles of Memphis, gathering in horses, mules, some "citizens" with arms handy, and also needed supplies for the men. April 10, returned to Bolivar, and turned over prisoners, some thirty, to Porvost Marshal, and captured property to General Brayman's A. A. Q. M. Next day was ordered to Summerville, Tenn.; investigated that place and the surrounding country, routing guerrillas and securing some prisoners. Returned to Bolivar on the 15th, and arrived at Jackson on the next day. One hundred and fifty-seven horses and four mules were turned over to Captain Clubb, Department Quartermaster at Jackson; also, one Colt's revolver, taken from a rebel Surgeon captured in a camp found hidden in a swamp, said property having been secured by the Regiment on said expedition.

April 25, Colonel Lawler having been commissioned a Brigadier General, received orders to report to General McClernand, near Vicksburg. The Regiment, on the 27th, escorted General Lawler to the train, with mutual regrets at parting and that all were not going. When General Grant was about to leave Jackson for Memphis and the south on the expedition against Vicksburg. The Commander of the Regiment applied to him for the Regiment to be included with the other forces taken, but as large Government stores were to be left at Jackson, well tried troops must be detailed to guard the property, and the "Old Eighteenth" was on of the Regiments selected for that duty.

May 30, ordered to take train at 5 A.M. with General Kimball's Division, which was done. The train moved towards Memphis, arrived there the same day; went on board a steamboat and down the Mississippi. Below Helena, received a volley from the Arkansas shore. Two men of the 22d Ohio on the hurricane deck were wounded. June 2, reached the point above Vicksburg and were ordered up the Yazoo to Haines' Bluff; landed there and the next day the brigade moved up the river some five miles and went into camp on the hills about 12 miles northeast of Vicksburg, yet within hearing of the incessant bombardment of that doomed city. June 4, the aggregate of the Regiment, rank and file, was 369 on hand for duty, not including the teamsters and men in hospital and those absent on other service. June 7, the brigade was moved out about four miles to the northeast, and on the 9th again moved farther up the bluff to support a battery. On the 11th the Regiment with the brigade was moved back towards Haines' Bluff and placed in position upon high ground near the Yazoo River

June 16th the Regiment was again moved some four miles west to a position near Division Headquarters, a point more central in the line fronting outward from the forces closely investing Vicksburg. Lieutenant Colonel Brush, promoted to the office of Colonel, was mustered in as such. June 25, the Regiment occupied still it's position in the line in rear of, and some twelve miles northeast of Vicksburg, established there to prevent the outside rebels from attacking the Union forces investing that city, doing little but listening to the continuous cannonading going on. July 1, the Regiment was moved about two miles to a position outside the breastworks. July 3, news came that the rebels had hoisted a "White Flag" on the ramparts, and on the ever glorious 4th the assurance that Vicksburg, the stronghold of the enemy, was again under the Union banner, cheered every loyal soldier's heart. July 24, the Regiment, with other troops, was placed on transports and started up the Mississippi, and on the 27th landed at Helena, Ark., and into camp. The aggregate strength of the Regiment then present and absent was 553, many of them being sick in the hospital. August 6, 1863, the Regiment was included in the forces being made ready for the "Arkansas Expedition" by Major General Steele, under authority from Headquarters of the 16th Army Corps, and was assigned to the second Division. August 13, started from Helena, and on the 17th reached Clarendon on White River; remained there until the 22d and then left for Duvall's Bluff, where the division went into camp on the 24th and remained until September 2, then moved to Brownsville 27 miles west.

August 31, the Regiment was mustered and found to be so much reduced by sickness that less than 200 remained for duty. Some 1,500 men sick were left at Duvall's Bluff, and about 700 more had been provided for at Brownsville. September 7, the Regiment was in camp with the other forces ten miles from Little Rock. September 11, the forces advanced towards the city driving the enemy on both sides of the river, and took possession of the intrenchments and the city the same day. Notice of the acceptance of the resignation of the Colonel of the Regiment, who had tendered the same because of the great reduction in the number of it's men, it's condition not entitling it at that tie to a Colonel in case of a vacancy, having come to the Regiment, he turned over the command to the next in rank present, the Major.

The Regiment remained in Arkansas, being stationed principally at Pine Bluff, Duvall's Bluff and Little Rock, and participated in numerous campaigns and expeditions. Soon after May 28, 1864, when the term of service of those originally mustered in expired, they were mustered out and proceeded to Springfield, Illinois, for pay and discharge. All re-enlisted men and recruits who had joined the Regiment since the date of it's original muster-in, were, in compliance with special orders No. 112, of Commander of the Department of Arkansas, dated May 24, 1864, formed into companies under supervision of Major Vincent, Commissary of Musters, and on the 14th of April, 1865, the Regiment was composed of two companies of veterans (B and C); one company of three years' recruits (A), and seven companies of one year's recruits assigned to the Regiment in March, 1865.

December 16, 1865, the Regiment was mustered out of Little Rock, Ark., and December 31, thereafter, arrived at Camp Butler, Illinois, for payment and discharge.

The aggregate of the Regiment since it's organization, rank and file, numbers 2, 043.

SPECIAL ORDER #112 HEADQUARTERS DEP'T OF AK
Little Rock, AK, May 24, 1864

Extract.-VI. The original term of service of the Eighteenth Regiment Illinois Volunteers being about the expire, all re-enlisted men and recruits who have joined the Regiment since the date of it's original muster-in, will, in compliance with the provisions of Circular No. 36, from the War Department, of May 2, 1864, be formed into Companies under the direction and supervision of Major Vincent, Commissary of Musters. The following officers are designated for the same: Captain, Jabez J. Anderson; Captain, Michael A. Killian, Captain, John Davis; First Lieutenant, George Miller; First Lieutenant, Charles A. Towle; First Lieutenant, Jonathan A. Mosher; Second Lieutenant, Thomas J. Watson; Second Lieutenant, Benj. Redfield.

Case the Companies so formed shall be organized as a Battalion, Major Henry S. Wilson is designated as it's commander.

The officers and men of this Regiment, not thus designated, will be furnished transportation to the State of Illinois, there to be paid off and mustered out in accordance with the mustering regulations of the Army.

BENJAMIN B. FOSTER, A. A. G.
By order of Major General F. Steele.
To Major A. O. Vincent, Commissary of Muster, Department of Arkansas

Military Index

Home Page

©copyright 2008-2013 by Genealogy Trails