13th Illinois Infantry
Adjutant General's Report
The Thirteenth Regiment Illinois Infantry was one of the regiments organized
under the act known as the Ten Regiment Bill.
It was composed of companies as follows:
John B. Wyman of Amboy, was elected Colonel, B. F. Parks of Aurora, Lieutenant
Colonel, and A. B. Georges of Dixon, Major.
- "I" from Cook county,
- "H" from Kane county,
- "K" from DuPage county,
- "E" and "F" from DeKalb county,
- "A" and "C" from Lee county,
- "B" and "G" from Whiteside county, and
- "D" from Rock Island county.
The Regiment was mustered into the State service on the 21st day of
April and into the United States service on the 24th day of May, 1861,
for three years or during the war, by Captain John Pope, of the Regular
Army, at Camp Dement, Dixon, Illinois.
The Thirteenth was the first Regiment organized from the then Second
Congressional District of the State, and was composed of as good citizens
as Northern Illinois contained, many that enlisted as privates rising to
field officers in later regiments.
Its Colonel, John B. Wyman, organized and commanded the "Chicago Light
Guards" the first Crack Corps the Garden City ever had and he soon brought
the Thirteenth to a degree of proficiency in drill and soldierly deportment
that was never excelled by any regiment with which it was afterwards associated.
On the 16th of June it was ordered to Caseyville, Ill., 10 miles east
of St. Louis, and on the 5th day of July it passed through St. Louis to
Rolla, Mo. where it remained until the spring of 1862.
While stationed at Rolla it was engaged in guarding supply trains to
and from General Lyon's army, in suppressing guerrilla bands in that part
of the State, and was a part of General Fremont's force that went to Springfield
Missouri, in the fall of 1861 after General Price, when the Regiment was
well and favorably known as "Fremont's Grey Hounds," a name given to them
by General Fremont himself, on the evening the Regiment joined his army
at Bolivar, in splendid shape, after a day's march of 42 miles.
In 1862 it joined General Curtis' army at Pea Ridge, 250 miles southwest
of Rolla, and was with General Curtis in his memorable march from Pea Ridge
to Helena, Arkansas, on the Mississippi river.
It was a part of General Sherman's army in his attack upon Chickasaw
Bayou, and from that time on became a part of the noted Fifteenth Army
Corps commanded so long by General Sherman in person. In the first day's
assault at Chickasaw Bayou, Colonel Wyman was killed. The day following,
it was a part of General F. P. Blair's Brigade that distinguished itself
by approaching nearer to the rebel works than any other command in that
part of the field. The losses to the Regiment on that day were 183 killed
and wounded. It was present at the capture of Arkansas Post, after which
it returned to Young's Point, opposite Vicksburg. While there, General
Steele's Division of which the Thirteenth was a part, made a very successful
raid to Greenville, Miss. and up Deer Creek, driving the rebels out of
that region, and destroying an immense quantity of corn intended for the
rebel garrison at Vicksburg.It was a part of General Grant's army that
crossed the Mississippi at Grand Gulf below Vicksburg, and participated
in a part of the battles in the rear of Vicksburg and in the capture of
Jackson, and was with General Sherman's Corps on the right of the army
during the siege of Vicksburg.
It was with General Steele's Division in the fruitless assault on the
rebel works on the 2d day of May, where it suffered severely. Vicksburg
surrendered on the 4th day of July, 1863; and on that same night at 12
o'clock the Regiment started with General Sherman after Joe Johnston.
It was present the second time at the capture of Jackson, Miss., and
moved still further east to Brandon, where the pursuit of Joe Johnston
ended, and with the remainder of the command returned to Black river and
went into camp.
When General Sherman was ordered to join General Grant at Chattanooga
with his Corps, of which this Regiment was still a part, it went from Vicksburg
to Memphis by boat, and from there to Chattanooga by land. The march from
Memphis to Chattanooga was a continuous fight, as the rebels tried every
way in their power to prevent Sherman from joining Grant's army.
It was with General Osterhaus' Division, temporarily attached to General
Hooker's command at the battle of Missionary Ridge, where the Regiment
captured 2500 prisoners, and followed the retreating forces to Rossville,
where the enemy was overtaken and a severe skirmish ensued; from there
the enemy was driven to Ringgold Gap, where they massed their batteries
to protect their retreat.
Osterhaus' Division formed in line of battle, the 13th being directly
in front of the Gap and the massed batteries. It being impossible to take
the Gap by a charge, the Division was withdrawn and again advanced up the
side of the mountain to the left of the Gap, where it encountered the forces
of General Pat Claybourne, strongly entrenched at the top of the mountain.
Here the Regiment and Division held their ground till their ammunition
gave out, and they were finally relieved at the third attempt by the 14th
Army Corps. They held this trying position for about two hours, the greater
portion of the time being without ammunition, depending wholly for their
safety upon "fixed bayonets" and their determination never to retreat.
The losses in this battle were 67. Among the killed were Major Bushnell,
Captain Blanchard, and Color Bearer Riley, the latter, when shot through
the breast, fell in such manner as to be rolled up in the flag, staining
it with his heart's blood. For its conduct in the battles in and around
Missionary Ridge, the Regiment received the following complimentary notice
in Gen. Hooker's report, vol. 8, page 215, Rebellion Record:
"At the same time the enemy kept his artillery busily at work.
Their skirmishers were driven in, and, as we learned the position of the
battery, the Thirteenth Illinois Regiment, from the right of Wood's line,
was thrown forward to seize some houses from which their gunners could
be picked off by our men. These were heroically taken and held by that
brave Regiment. Apprehensive that he might lose his artillery, the enemy
advanced with superior force on our skirmishers, and they fell back behind
Wood's line, when that excellent officer opened on the rebels and drove
them into the gorge, they leaving, as they fled, their dead and wounded
on the ground. Our skirmishers at once reoccupied their line, the Thirteenth
Illinois all the time maintaining its position with resolution and obstinacy."
The time of this Regiment being so near out they were not taken on the
march to the sea, but left to guard the communications in the rear. On
the 18th of June, 1864, the Regiment was mustered out at Springfield, Ill.,
having served three years and two months.
ORDER OF CONSOLIDATION
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE
NEAR CHATTAHOOCHIE RIVER, GA., July 9, 1864
SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS NO. 63
II. The detechment of the Thirteenth Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers remaining after the muster-out of the Regiment whose term of service has expired, will be forthwith organized into one company, and will be transferred to the Fifty-sixth Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers, to be known and reported as Company I of that Regiment. The proper officers for this compnay will be selected from the veterans of the same, by the commanding officer of the Regiment, and application and recommendations for their commissions forwarded through these Headquarters to the Governor of their State,
By order of Major General McPherson,
WM. T. CLARK,
Assistant Adjutant General
Transcribed by Bob Graves
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