The Thirty-second Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry was organized at Camp Butler, Illinois and was mustered into service of the United States December 31, 1861. The command was recruited under the "Ten Regiment Call," and by special authority from the War Department comprised ten companies of infantry, once of cavalry, and a battery of artillery. Precious to taking the field the latter detachments were assigned to regiments of their distinctive arms of service, Rogers' Battery as Company K, 2d Illinois Regiment of Artillery.
January 20, 1862, arrived at Cairo and drew arms, smooth-bore muskets altered from flint-lock. February 2, relieved Eighth Illinois at Bird's Point Mo. February 8, ordered up Tennessee River, and on the 9th reached Fort Henry, Colonel Davidson, escorted the battery to Fort Donelson and participated in the action, with slight casualties. February 15, the same company was detached as sharpshooters on gunboat, proceeding up Tennessee River to Eastport, burning a railroad bridge, and capturing a vessel in course of equipment as a rebel gunboat. Later in the month Companies C and K, Captains Phillips and Rider, were embarked on the wooden gunboats "Tyler" and "Lexington," and on March 1, encountered a rebel battery at Pittsburg Landing. After a sharp action the rebel battery was silenced, and portions of both companies made a landing and were fiercely attacked by infantry and cavalry, and obliged to return to the boats, having lost one killed and several wounded, among the latter Captain Phillips. The gunboats lay in the stream for some days shelling the position and preventing fortification until the arrival of a portion of General Grant's army.
March 15, the Regiment debarked at Pittsburg Landing and was assigned to the First Brigade, Fourth Division (Hurlbut) Army of the Tennessee.
April 6m at 8:30 A.M. the Regiment went into action in the battle of Shiloh, and successfully withstood three severe charges with slight loss. The regiment was then shifted to the extreme left of Hurlbut's Division, the flank of which was hard pressed by Breckinridge. Upon this position the enemy made a repeated and most desperate assaults, and here fell General Albert Sidney Johnson, the rebel commander in-chief. The Regiment held its position until about 3 o'clock, most of the time at short pistol range; when having exhausted all its ammunition, down to the cartridges in the boxes of the dead and wounded, it retired with fixed bayonets under a terrible enfilading and reverse fire upon the left flank, which was wholly unsupported. In this action the Regiment lost 44 killed and 212 wounded and prisoners, more than fifty per cent of the force which went into action. Here Colonel Logan was in confusion, but reformed in the line of battle that evening, and advanced with its division the next morning.
The Regiment was engaged in the siege of Corinth, and was so reduced by the casualties of battle and sickness incident to exposure and severe labor, that it numbered less than 300 effectives. After the occupation of Corinth, it was engaged in Price and Van Dorn at LaGrange and Grand Junction, Tenn., making many wearisome marches and participating in several skirmishes.
October 5, 1862, as a part of the Forth Division (Hurlbut) Army of the Tennessee, the Regiment marched from Bolivar and at Hatchie River, or "Matamora," engaged Price and Van Dorn after their repulse at Corinth. Here the Regiment made a gallant charge across the bridge, under a severe artillery fire, losing 7 killed and 29 wounded. The enemy lost several hundred in action, 800 prisoners and their artillery.
October 8, returned to camp Bolivar. November 3, moved to LaGrange. November 8, made a rapid march to Lamar, Miss., dispersing a body of rebels and capturing 100 prisoners. November 28, marched southward as a part of the left wing (McPherson) of the Army of the Tennessee, in General Grant's attempt to reach the rear of Vicksburg. December 13, reached Yocona Creek, from which point the army turned back in consequence of the surrender of their supply depot at Holly Springs. During the retrograde march the troops suffered great hardships on account of heavy roads, rain and want of food, being obliged to subsist entirely upon an impoverished country.
The Regiment reached the line of the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, January 11, 1863, and until March 11, was distributed along that road, doing arduous picket and scout duty. On the latter date it because a part of the garrison at Memphis, remaining there until May 11, when it moved to Youngs Point, La., and on the 16th to Grand Gulf, Miss. Here the Regiment made frequent incursions into that country, liberating large numbers of slaves, many of whom were organized as colored troops by Colonel Logan, Post Commander.
June 12, the Regiment rejoined its Division (Lauman) in front of Vicksburg; and took its full share in siege operations. June 27, marched to Warrenton, on the extreme left of the line of investment. July 4, on surrender of Vicksburg, marched to Jackson, Miss., and participated in the operations against General Johnston, returning afterwards to Vicksburg.
August 15, moved to Natchez, Miss., as a part of Gresham's Brigade, Crockers Fourth Division, Seventeenth Army Corps. September 1, operated against Harrisonburg, La., where a large rebel force was dispersed and nine pieces of artillery captured, after which the command returned to Natchez.
November 24, removed to Vicksburg. December 4, the Thirty-second Illinois and Twelfth Wisconsin Regiments, with 500 cavalry, embarked for Natchez, from which place it made a fatiguing march and skirmished with the enemy. December 21 and 22, skirmished near Fayette, afterward returning to Natchez.
January 23, 1864, moved to Hebron's Plantation in the rear of Vicksburg, where the Regiment re-enlisted as Veteran Volunteers, and on February 4 began the Meridian expedition.
March 16, embarked for Illinois on 20 days' veteran furlough. April 28, re-assembled at Camp Butler, and moved to Bird's Point Mo. With remainder of Division, under General Crocker, left Bird's Point May 8, by boat, and arrived in Clifton Tenn., on the 15th. On the 17th marched via Huntsville and Decatur Ala., and Rome Ga., and joined General Sherman's army at Ackworth, Ga., June 11. This was a forced march, and the column was greatly annoyed by Roddy's rebel cavalry.
June 12, went under fire before Kenesaw Mountain occupying the extreme left. July 2, shifted to extreme right, and after three days' constant skirmishing assaulted the enemy's works near Nickajack Creek, the Thirty-second planting the first colors on the works. The Regiment was under fire daily until July 18, when it was transferred to the Second Brigade, Fourth Division, Seventeenth Army Corps, and ordered to Marietta to guard the supply depot. Colonel Logan commanded the Brigade and Lieutenant Colonel English the Regiment. September 8, Lieutenant Alex. Campbell, with a foraging party of 50 men, was sharply attacked, and all but 9 captured.
October 1, Regiment was posted near Big Shanty, and the water tank once mile south. On the 3d, Jackson's rebel cavalry attacked the force at the former place, capturing twelve men. This was the first assault of the enemy upon General Sherman's communications, and two days afterward the battle of Allatoona was fought.
During November, 1864, the men whose term of sevice had expired were discharged and sent home. Colonel Logan and Lieutenant Colonel English were ordered to Louisville on court-martial duty, and the command devolved upon Major Davidson. On the 13th, the Regiment fired their stockade and quarters at Big Shanty, and began the "March to the Sea," having been transferred to the Third Brigade (Belknap) Fourth Division (Giles A. Smith) Blair's Seventeenth Army Corps. Reached Monticello the 20th, and the Oconee River the 26th, where a sharp skirmish took place, with considerable artillery firing. November 30, reached Ogeechee River. Distance traveled from Big Shanty, 300 miles.
December 1, crossed Ogeechee River and destroyed the railroad. 10th, encountered enemy five miles from Savannah and drove him two miles. Here endured a sever fire from the heavy guns of the city defenses, by which Captain Lawson and four men were wounded. Shifted to the right and skirmished in face of severe artillery fire. December 16, moved to King's Bridge on Ogeechee River, and on the 18th received supplies from the fleet, having been on scant rations, and some days without food since the 8th. At 2 p.m., on the 19th, moved toward a rebel fort in front, and fortified within 300 yards under heavy fire. Ordered to assault on the 21stm when it was discovered that the enemy had evacuated. Entered Savannah at 11 a.m., having marched 100 miles during the month. Reviewed by General Sherman on the 29th. Major Davidson resigned and command devolved upon Captain Rider.
January 5, 1865, embarked at Thunderbolt Inlet on U.S. gunboat "Winona" and disembarked at Beaufort, S.C., the 7th.
February 1, began marching into South Carolina. On the 3d, forced the Salkahatchie, wading the stream and backwaters, two miles wide, in ice cold water, varying from two to five feet in depth, engaging in a sharp skirmish on reaching solid ground. 12th, reached the North Edisto River, and forced a passage as at the Salkehatchie, under a severe artillery fire, making a way for the direct column to enter Orangeburg. 16th, reached the Congaree River, and experienced slight loss by rebel sharpshooters in the outskirts of Colunbia on the opposite bank. 17th, a company of the Thirteenth Iowa, and Company C, Thirty-second Ill., crossed the river in scows. The flag of the former was displayed from the state house and that of the Thirty-second from the town hall by Adjutant Hedley. A pair of rebel colors were brought away by the latter command.
March 3, arrived at Cheraw; 13th at Fayettsville, N.C., where a portion of the Regiment skirmished with the enemy. Was engaged at Bentonville on the 21st, five companies in skirmish line losing severely. Captain Dunn, who led the skirmishers, was warmly complimented by General Belknap for gallantry in this affair.
March 22, reached Goldsboro, where Lieutenant Colonel English assumed command.
April 13, reached Releigh and remained in the vicinity until Johnson's surrender. 28th, transferred to Second Brigade, Brigadier General Stalbrand. 29th, marched north via Petersburg, Richmond and Alexandria to Washington and participated in the grand review May 24.
June 6, moved westward by rail to Parkersburg, Va., thence by boat to Louisville, Ky.
June 20, the Brigade consisting of the Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Thirty-second Illinois Regiments, was transferred to the Department of the Missouri, and moved by boat to St. Louis. Here orders were received dispatching the command to the far west via Fort Leavenworth. After equipping, marched from the latter place the 22d, and arrived August 13, at Ft. Kearney, Neb., were telegraphic orders for muster out were received. Reached Fort Leavenworth September 2, and mustered out September 16, and paid off at Camp Butler.