The Thirty-Fourth Infantry was organized at Camp Butler, Illinois, September 7, 1861, by Colonel E. N. Kirk. Moved, October 2, to Lexington, Kentucky, and from thence to Louisville, and then to Camp Nevin, Kentucky, where it remained until February 14, 1862. Marched to Bowling Green, and thence, via Nashville, Franklin and Columbia, to Savannah, on the Tennessee River. Arrived at Pittsburg Landing, April 7, 1862, and was hotly engaged in that battle, losing Major Levanway and 15 men killed, and 112 wounded. From thence moved to Corinth, and was engaged on the 29th May, losing one man killed and five wounded. From Corinth, moved to Iuka and Florence, Alabama. Was encamped over a month at Battle Creek. From thence marched, via Pelham, Murfreesboro and Nashville, to Louisville, Kentucky, arriving September 27, 1862. Brigade commanded by Colonel F. M. Stambaugh, Seventy-seventh Pennsylvania Volunteers, General McCook commanding the Division. October 1, 1862, left Louisville for Frankfort. Regiment commanded by Lieutenant Colonel H. W. Bristol, Brigade by Colonel E. N. Kirk, and Division by Brigadier General Sill. October 4, was engaged in a skirmish at Clayville, Kentucky. From Frankfort, moved, via Lauensburg, Perryville, Danville, Crab Orchard, Lebanon and Bowling Green, to Nashville. November 27, had a skirmish at Lavergne. Regiment remained in camp five miles southeast of Nashville until December 26, 1862. Second Brigade, Brigadier General E. N. Kirk commanding; Second Division, Brigadier General R. W. Johnson, commanding. Right Wing of Fourteenth Army Corps, Major General Alexander D. McCook, commanding.
December 27, Right Wing moved toward Triune, the Thirty-fourth, in advance, encountered the enemy commanding the approaches to Triune; drove him till noon, when he formed in the town. The nature of the ground preventing the use of artillery, the infantry was advanced, and after a sharp fight, drove the enemy form town - the enemy taking his artillery with him. 29th, moved via Independence Hill, toward Murfreesboro. 20th, took position as extreme right of Union lines. 31st, the enemy attacked the Regiment in overwhelming force, driving it back on the main line. Following the advantage gained by his infantry, the enemy’s cavalry charged the line, and captured many of the Regiment. Loss - killed 21, wounded 93, missing 66. General Kirk was mortally wounded. During the three following days, the Thirty-fourth did guard duty. While at Murfreesboro, the Right Wing, Fourteenth Army Corps, was organized in the Twentieth Army Corps, and Major General McCook assigned to command.
June 24, 1863, the Twentieth Corps moved by the Shelbyville pike, toward Liberty Gap. On the 25th, the Second Brigade was ordered forward, and advanced across an open cornfield, eighty rods in width, lately plowed and softened by the rains which fell the day and night before, until the men sunk half way to the knee in mud at every step. Without help, and in the face of a rebel Brigade advantageously posted, they drove the enemy from his position - the Second Arkansas Infantry leaving their battle flag on the hill, where they fought in front of the Thirty-fourth. The Regiment losing 3 killed and 26 wounded.
Moved, on 26th, via Beech Grove, to Manchester, entering Tullahoma on the morning of July 1.
August 7, Colonel A. P. Dysart resigned, leaving the Regiment under command of Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Van Tassell.
August 16, moved via Larkin’s Valley, to Bellefonte, Alabama. The Thirty-fourth was here detailed as Provost Guard. 30th, moved to Caperton’s Ferry, on Tennessee River. Here the Regiment was left to guard the pontoon bridge.
September 18, moved the boats to Battle Creek.
October 20, 1863, moved, under command of Brigadier General J. D. Morgan, to Anderson’s Cross Roads, in Sequatchie Valley.
November 8, moved to Harrison’s Landing, on Tennessee River. November 14, ordered to report to Brigadier General John Beatty, commanding Second Brigade, Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, Jeff C. Davis commanding Division. Arrived at Chattanooga 15th, and camped on Moccasin Point.
November 25, ordered to join the Brigade on the battle field of Chattanooga. Arrived 11 o’clock P.M. Moved at 1 o’clock A.M. of 26th, via Chickamauga Station - met the retreating enemy near Graysville, and was engaged about half an hour.
November 28, moved back to Chattanooga, where those unable to march were put in camp. The remainder of the Regiment moved on the expedition into East Tennessee as far as Loudon, where the Thirty-fourth were detailed to run a grist mill, grinding corn and wheat for the Division. Returned to Chattanooga, arriving December 19, 1863.
December 22, the Thirty-fourth was mustered as a veteran organization, and January 8, 1864, started for Springfield, Illinois, for veteran furlough.
Received veteran furlough, and rendezvoused at Dixon, Illinois. February 28, moved via Chicago, Louisville and Nashville, arriving at Chattanooga March 7, 1864, and moved out to join the Second Brigade, Colonel John G. Mitchell, One Hundred and Thirteenth Ohio, commanding, in camp near Rossville, Georgia.
Went into camp at Rossville, Ga., March 7, 1864. Assigned to Second Brigade, Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps. Left Rossville May 5, for Ringgold, arriving same day. May 9, took a prominent part in the engagement at Rocky Face Ridge, in which the Regiment had one man killed and ten men wounded.
May 14, charged the enemy at Resaca, Ga., crossing an open field in the face of a furious fire of canister from a battery at close range; drove the enemy from the hill and held it until night. Loss fifty men killed and wounded. May 17, in engagement at Rome, Ga., had eight men wounded. Left Rome May 24, passed through Dallas, Ga., May 26. After skirmishing almost every day arrived at Big Shanty where on June 15, the Regiment charged the enemy who were behind barricades of railroad ties, capturing the works and taking more prisoners than the Thirty-fourth Infantry had men in the line. Loss one man killed and seven wounded.
On June 27, 1864, led the Brigade in the charge on Kenesaw Mountian. After reaching the top of the rebel works, overwhelming numbers compelled them to fall back leaving some of their dead on the enemy’s works. In this battle the Regiment had five killed and forty wounded. July 3, pursued the enemy through Marietta, Ga., and on to Atlanta; took a prominent part in the siege of Atlanta, being engaged almost every day in skirmishes of greater or less note, having men killed and wounded almost daily.
September 4, 1864, led the Brigade and Division in the charge on the enemy’s works at Jonesboro, Ga., being the first soldiers in the rebel fort, taking artillery captured from the Army of Tennessee on July 22, 1864, together with a number of prisoners. The Regiment had about sixty killed and wounded.
September 29, left Atlanta with Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, for the purpose of driving Forrest from Tennessee; pursed him to Florence, Alabama, driving him across the Tennessee River, after which the Regiment rejoined Sherman’s Army south of Chattanooga in Northen Alabama. Returned with army to Atlanta and went with Sherman to the Sea, and on the Campaign through the Carolinas. In a light engagement at Averysboro, N.C., on March 16, 1865, had three men killed and five wounded.
March 19, 1865 took part in the battle of Bentonville, N.C., in which the Regiment was attacked from both front and rear but stubbornly held its ground and repulsed the enemy. Loss eight killed and twenty-two wounded.
After lying at Goldsboro, N.C., until April 10, left for Raleigh, N.C., reaching there on the 13th, and on the 14th started with the Fourteenth Army Corps for Cape Fear River to intercept General Jose. E. Johnston’s retreat. On the 15th, had one man killed and one wounded by rebel cavalry. After the surrender of Johnston, the Regiment went with Sherman’s Army to Washington, D.C., and took part in the grand review May 24, 1865.
Left Washington June 12, and arrived at Louisville, Ky., June 18, where the Regiment was mustered out on July 12, and was discharged and paid at Chicago, Ill., on July 17, 1865.