The Fourteenth Illinois Infantry was one of the regiments raised under the "Ten Regiment Bill", which anticipated the requirements of the General Government by organizing, equipping and drilling a regiment in each Congressional District in the State for thirty days, unless sooner required for services by the United States.
The companies were enlisted as follows: "A" by Captain Thompson, Cass county; "B" by Captain Hall, Shelby county; "C" by Captain Corman, Macoupin county; "D" by Captain Bryant, Greene county; "E" by Captain Johnson, Menard county; "F" by Captain Littlefield, Jersey county; "G" by Captain Reiner, Sangamon county; "H" by Captain Simpson, Christian county; "I" by Captain Morris, Morgan county; "K" by Captain Cam, Scott county. This gave one company from each county in what was then the Sixth Congressional District. Captains Johnson and Morris were chosen as field officers and relinquished the command of their companies to Captains Meade of "E" and Meacham of "I".
The companies met at Camp Duncan, Jacksonville, on the 11th day of May 1861, and were mustered into State service by Adjutant General Mather. On the 25th of the same month the Regiment was mustered into the United States service, for three years, by Captain Pitcher, U.S.A The field officers were elected by ballot, officers and soldiers all voting. John M. Palmer, of Carlinville, was chosen Colonel; Amory K. Johnson, of Petersburg, Lieutenant Colonel; Jonathan Morris, of Waverly, Major. First Lieutenant Scott, of Company F, was appointed Adjutant; First Lieutenant Noble, of Company A, Quartermaster; Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson, Surgeon and Doctor, Head Assistant Surgeon.
As the commissions of the officers were expected to be of the same date, the rank of Captains was settled by lot, the only change made after the drawing, being the voluntary exchange on the part of Captain Cam of his rank, five, with Captain Hall, who had drawn eight. The companies were then lettered and assigned places in line, without any reference to the rank of the Captains. Instead of the regulation order from right to left of A, F, D, I, C, H, E, K, G, B the consecutive letters were placed on the right and left respectively, thus giving an arrangement from right to left of A, C, E, G, I, K, H, F, D, B. This order was not changed after the Regiment entered the United States service; so in this respect the Regiment always remained an exception to other Regiments.
The Regiment remained at Camp Duncan until the latter part of June, for instruction; then proceeded to Quincy, Illinois, and from thence to Missouri, July 5, where, in connection with the Sixteenth Illinois Infantry, it did good service in keeping down the spirit of rebellion. The rebel force under Martin E. Green was dispersed, and James Green, U.S. Senator, a fomenter of secession, was captured and paroled. Regiment left Rolla, Mo., for Jefferson City, accompanying General Fremont on his memorable campaign to Springfield, Mo., after General Price; then returned and went into winter quarters at Otterville.
In the month of February 1862, the Regiment was ordered to Fort Donelson, where it arrived the day subsequent to its surrender; was brigaded with the Fifteenth and Forty-sixth Illinois and Twenty-fifth Indiana, and assigned to the Second Brigade, Fourth Division, under Brigadier General Stephen A. Hurlbut. In the meantime Colonel Palmer had been promoted, and Major Hall, Seventh Illinois Cavalry, originally Captain of one of the companies, had been promoted Colonel. Captain Cam was promoted Lieutenant Colonel.
From Fort Donelson the Regiment proceeded to Fort Henry, where it embarked on transports and proceeded up the Tennessee river to Pittsburg Landing.
In the sanguinary engagements of the 6th and 7th of April, when the Regiment first smelt powder from the enemy, the loss in killed and wounded was fully one-half the command engaged. The colors, which came out of this bloody conflict with forty-two bullet holes through them, fully attest the gallantry of the command in that memorable struggle. In the grand charge, on the evening of April 7, which was the consummation of that splendid victory over the hosts of rebellion, the Fourteenth Illinois was in the advance and was led by Colonel Hall. In the official report of General Veatch, commander of the Brigade to which the Fourteenth was attached, the following language is employed: "Colonel Hall, of the Fourteenth Illinois, led, with his Regiment, that gallant charge on Monday evening which drove the enemy beyond our lines and closed the struggle of that memorable day".
The Regiment took an active part in the siege of Corinth. After the evacuation it proceeded to Memphis, and thence to Bolivar, Tenn.
October 4, 1862, the Fourth Division, under General Hurlbut, was ordered to proceed to Corinth, as a forlorn hope, to relieve the beleagured garrison of that place; but the gallant Rosecrans, before Corinth was reached, had already severely punished the enemy, and "the forlorn hope" met the retreating rebels at the village of Metamora, on Hatchie river. In the glorious victory that followed eight hourís hard fighting, the Fourteenth Illinois well sustained its reputation earned at Shiloh.
The Regiment constituted a part of the right wing of Grantís army in the march into Northern Mississippi, through Holly Springs to Yacona Patalfa, under the immediate command of the lamented McPherson. Van Dorn having captured Holly Springs, and General Sherman being unable to effect a dislodgment of the rebels from Vicksburg, Grantís army was obligated to retreat, and on January 18, 1863, the Fourteenth Illinois went into winter quarters at LaFayette, Tennessee.
Early in the spring the command was ordered to Vicksburg, where it took part in the siege of that stronghold until its fall, July 4, 1863. Also, accompanied the expedition to Jackson, Mississippi, taking part in the siege until its evacuation. In August, proceeded to Natchez and formed part of the force which marched across the swamps of northeastern Louisiana to Harrisonburg, on Wachita river, and captured Fort Beauregard, where, the spring before, the ram "Queen of the West" had been sunk; it accompanied General Sherman on his Meridian raid. After the return of the Regiment a large portion re-enlisted as veterans, though its time would have expired in a few months. Returning from the north, where it had been on veteran furlough, it formed a part of the army in the advance on Atlanta. Here the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Illinois, ever together since the fall of 1862, sharers of each othersí sorrows and joys, weary marches and honorably earned laurels, were consolidated into the "Fourteenth and Fifteenth Illinois Veteran Battalion". The Battalion was detailed to guard railroad communications at and near Ackworth, Georgia, a most important and dangerous duty, as it was the only route by which General Sherman could supply his immense army with subsistence, etc.
In the month of October 1864, when the rebel General Hood made his demonstration against Shermanís rear, a large number of the battalion were killed and the major part of the balance were taken prisoner and sent to Andersonville prison. Those who escaped capture were mounted, and, on the Grand March to the Sea, acted as scouts, and were continually in the advance, being the first to drive the rebel pickets into Savannah, Georgia. During the long and weary march through North and South Carolina, the battalion was on duty day and night, being constantly in the presence of the enemy, gaining notoriety as skirmishers. The battalion was the first to enter Cheraw, South Carolina, Fayetteville, North Carolina, and also took part in the battle of Bentonville.
At Goldsboro, North Carolina, in the spring of 1865, the battalion organization was discontinued, a sufficient number of organized companies of recruits having arrived by way of New York and Morehead City, North Carolina, to fill up the two regiments, Colonel Hall again being assigned to the command of the Fourteenth. After the capitulation of Johnson, the Regiment marched to Washington, D.C., where, on the 24th of May, it took part in the grand review of Shermanís army. It afterwards proceeded by rail and river to Louisville, Kentucky; thence, by river, to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; thence marched to Fort Kearney, N.T., and back.
Mustered out at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, September 16, 1865; arriving at Springfield, Illinois, September 22, 1865, where the Regiment received final payment and discharge.
The aggregate number of men who belonged to this organization was 1,980, and the aggregate mustered out at Fort Leavenworth was 480.
During its four years and four months of arduous service, the Regiment marched 4,490 miles, traveled by rail 2,330 miles, and by river 4,490 miles-making the aggregate of 11,670 miles.
ORDER OF CONSOLIDATION
----------------------------HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE.Near Kenesaw Mountain, GA., July 1, 1864
Special Field Orders. No 56
IV. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Illinois Infantry Volunteers not being veteran regiment, having re-enlisted less than three-fourths of their number, the veterans and all recruits of each, who have joined the regiment since the date of it original muster-in, will, in accordance with provisions of Circular No. 36, War Department, A.G.O., May 2, 1864, be consolidated and organized into as many companies of the legal maximum standard as the number of men will allow.
The proper number of officers for these companies will be selected from the veterans, and reported to these headquarters for assignment; and all officers in excess of such organization will be reported for muster-out of the service.
The companies thus organized and remaining men of each regiment will then be consolidated, and will be known and reported as the Veteran Battalion of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Illinois Infantry.
The requisite number of field and staff officers will be retained in accordance with existing orders.
By order of Major General James B. McPherson.William T. Clark, A.A.G.
----------------------------HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEENear Decatur, Ga., July 20, 1864
Special Field Orders, No 73.
The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Regiment Illinois Infantry Volunteers, having in accordance with special field orders No. 56, from these headquarters, been organized each into one or more companies of the legal maximum standard and consolidated together, making six (6) companies, designated and reported as the Veteran Battalion of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Illinois Infantry Volunteers, the following named officers, according to provisions of Circular, No. 36, War Department, current series, are assigned to the new organization, and will be mustered under their present commissions:
First Lieutenant Alonzo Gillespie, Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company A.
Second Lieutenant David S. Finney, Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company A.
Captain Lemuel O. Gilman, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company B.
First Lieutenant Joseph Develin, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company B.
Captain Phineas D. Kenyon, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company C.
First Lieutenant George A. Austin, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company C.
Captain Carlos C. Cox, Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company D.
Second Lieutenant John H. Henderson, Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company D.
Captain John W. Luke, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company E.
First Lieutenant Allen T. Barnes, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company E.
First Lieutenant Thomas A. Weisner, Fourteenth Illinois Infantry, to Company F.
Chaplain B.F. Rogers, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry.
Assistant Surgeon N.F. Chafer, Fourteenth Illinois Infantry.
Assistant Surgeon Moses C. Drake, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry.
The remaining officers of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, not herein assigned, will be mustered out of the service.
By order of Major General James B. McPherson.William T. Clark, A.A.G.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE TENNESSEERALEIGH, N.C., April 28, 1865
Special Field Orders No. 103.
1. The organization heretofore existing as the Veteran Battalion 14th and 15th Regiments Illinois Infantry Volunteers is hereby discontinued, and Companies A, F and D, with their officers, will be transferred to the 14th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Co.. Cyrus Hall, commanding. Companies E, C and B, with their officers, Lieut. Col. L. O. Gilman and First Lieut. Andrew H. Hershey, Adjutant, will be transferred to the 15th Regiment Illinois Volunteers, Co.. George C. Rogers commanding.
By order of Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard,(Signed) A.M. VANDYKE. Assistant Adjutant General