The Ninety-fifth infantry was organized at Camp Fuller, Rockford, by Colonel Lawrence S. Church, and was mustered into the United States' service September 4,1882. it was recruited from the counties of McHenry and Boone, three companies from the latter and seven from the former.
The Regiment moved from camp November 4, and proceeded via Cairo and Columbus to Jackson. Tenn.. and afterward to Grand Junction, where it was assigned to General McArthur's Division, Army of the Tennessee. Colonel Church being compelled by feeble health to return home from Columbus, Lieutenant Colonel Humphrey was in command of the Regiment. Took part in General Grant's campaign in Northern Mississippi in the winter of 1862.
After the capture of Holly Springs by General Van Dorn, General Grant's Army took up its line of march for Memphis, starting soon after Christmas. The Ninety-fifth arrived at Moscow, a small town between LaGrange and Memphis, December 30. On the 1st day of January, 1863, it resumed the march, and on the 2d arrived at Collierville. Colonel Deitzler's Brigade, to which the Ninety-fifth was assigned. was ordered to halt here a few days prior to advancing on Memphis, during which time the regiments were mainly occupied in repair ing and guarding the railroad. While remaining at this place the regiments were required to be up and in line of battle at 3 o'clock a. m. for several mornings in succession, watching for the enemy until daylight. The disaster which had occurred at Holly Springs made all commanders more watchful. On the 13th of January the Brigade moved forward to Memphis, arriving there in the afternoon, and went into camp three miles out from the city. The campaign thus closed in Northern Mississippi.
Simultaneously with the presence of General Grant's Army at Memphis a large fleet of transports was also collected at that point for the purpose of conveying the troops down the Mississippi river to operate against Vicksburg. These were ready by the 19th of Janu ary for the reception of General McArthur's Division, which was now designated as the Sixth Division of the Seventeenth Army Corps, commanded by Major General James B. McPherson. On that day the Ninety-fifth embarked upon the steamer Marie Denning. The Eleventh Iowa Infantry, Eightieth Wisconsin, and a company of the Second Illinois Artillery also embarked on this boat. Finally when the troops were loaded one long whistle sounded from General McArthur's flag boat, Platte Valley, as a signal for starting, the splendid fleet of 15 steamers swinging out Into the stream, and were soon steaming down the river toward the subsequent scene of busy military operations around the Hill City of the South. The fleet landed each day before dark, lying at nights, and arrived at Milliken's Bend, 15 miles above Vicksburg, on the 26th of January. The troops disembarked on the following day, going into camp near the levee. Participated in the march to Grand Gulf, and all the battles between that place and the rear of Vicksburg. Was in the charges of May 19, before Vicksburg, A charge was ordered along our whole lines upon the enemy's works to take place at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and at the appointed hour the furious onset commenced. General Sherman's Fifteenth Army Corps occupied the right of the federal line resting on the river above Vicksburg, General McPherson's Seventeenth Army Corp held the center and the Thirteenth Corps. under General McClernand, held the left, extending nearly to the river on the south side of the city. The ground in front of General Ransom's Brigade and over which it charged at the time was located near the Jackson road on the right of the celebrated "White House" and near Fort Hill. The Ninety-fifth held an important position in tbe Brigade during this charge. While maintaining this position Colonel Humphrey received a congratulatory dispatch from General Ransom. In this assault Colonel Humphrey received, early in the action, a wound in the foot, but remained with his command cheering on his men until he received orders to withdraw his Regiment, under the cover ot darkness, from this attack. The Ninety-fifth lost In this engagement 7 killed and 54 wounded.
General Grant ordered the assault to be renewed on the 22d of May, and at 10 o'clock A, M., a furious charge began. The Ninety-fifth gained an advance position on the crest of the ridge near the enemy's works encountering one of the most sweeping and destructive fires to which troops were ever exposed. Captain Manzer, of Company C, and Captain Cornwell, of Company K, were killed; Major William Avery, Captain Cook, of Company D, Lieutenant Smith, of Company C, Lieutenant Sponable, of Company A, and Lieutenant Pierce, of Company I, were severely wounded, The total killed, wounded and missing in these two charges was 25 killed, 124 wounded and 10 mIssing.
After the unsuccessful charges of the 19th and 22d of May, the great siege began and was prosecuted vigorously all through the sultry days of May and June, and on the 4th of July, the Ninety-fifth was among the first regiments to enter the city.
On the 12th of July, General Ransom's Brigade was ordered to proceed to Natchez for the purpose of occupying that point. It arrived there on the following day and affected a landing without opposition. The Brigade remained at Natchez until the middle of October. While the Ninety-fifth was in camp at this place General McArthur commanding the Division, paid the troops a visit and on invitation of Colonel Humphrey attended a dress parade of the Ninety-fifth. The General expressed himself greatly pleased with the appearance of the Regiment and he and his staff joined in the opinion that they had never witnessed a more perfect dress parade during the service.
About the middle of October the Brigade, now commanded by Brigadier General Thomas K. Smith, was ordered to Vicksburg. The Ninety-fifth remained at Vicksburg during the fall and winter, assisting in the construction of fortifications and performing garrison duty.
In the early party of February an expedition, consisting of the Sixteenth Army Corps, under Major General Hurlbut, and the Seventeenth, commanded by Major General McPherson, moved toward Jackson, taking different roads. The enemy were found in position 3 miles out from Jackson, but being routed the army moved as far as East Meridian, Miss., where important railroad communications, arsenals and confederate stores were detroyed. This expedition was absent about 20 days, and having accomplished its purpose returned to Vicksburg the latter part of February, 1864. The Ninety-fifth bore a conspicuous part in this march in the enemy's country.
The Ninety-fifth was temporarily detached from the Second Brigade, Seventeenth Army Corps and assigned to the Brigade made up for the Red River expedition, consisting of the Fourteenth Wisconsin, Eighty-first and Ninety-fifth Illinois, commanded by Colonel L. M. Ward. These troops left Vicksburg on the 9th of March to join the army under General Banks. The Ninety-fifth was engaged at the capture of Fort De Russey and in the battles of Old River, Cloutierville, Mansura, Yellow Bayou and all the movement of that advance and retreat.
In the battle of Bayou the rebels fought with desperation, losing 300 prisoners and many killed and wounded, The Sixteenth Corps was hotly engaged, aod the Ninety-fifth fought during a portion of time under one of the severest fires of artillery it ever experienced in a field fight.
On the 22d of April the Ninety-fifth embarked at the mouth of Red River on the steamer Golden Era for Vicksburg, arriving there on the 23d. The Brigade to which the Ninety-fifth properly belonged was still at Vicksburg, but notwithstanding this the Regiment was sent to Memphis and assigned to a Brigade in which the Eighty-first and One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois formed a part,
The Ninety-fifth was in the thickest of the fight at Guntown and fought with undaunted bravery, In the early part of the action Colonel Humphrey fell mortally wounded and the command devolved upon Captain William H. Stewart of Company F, but he, soon receiving a severe wound through both thighs, was carried helpless from the field. Next Captain E. N. Bush of Company G assumed command, but he was soon counted among the killed, when Captain Schellenger of Company K was called to the command of the gallant band, and though their brave Colonel and other commanders had fallen one after another, yet the fight was continued with indescribable desperation. Finally both flanks of the Regiment were turned by overpowering numbers of the enemy and it was obliged to fall back or suffer entire capture. Soon afterward a general and hasty retreat was ordered by General Sturgis, when his whole army fled precipitately in the direction of Memphis. The enemy, victorious at all points, lost no time in pursuit of the routed and demoralized troops. The remnant of the Ninety-fifth was led back to Memphis by Captain Schellenger, but amid the excitement each man looked out particularly for himself. In this engagement the Ninety-fifth was nearly annihilated, and on this account it was given a few weeks rest on its return to Memphis.
After recruiting the command, joined in August, General Mower. Moved up White River and marched from Brownsville through Arkansas to Missouri in pursuit of General Price. The Ninety-fifth arrived at Benton Barracks November 1.
November 30, moved to Nashville. Took part in the battle of Nashville December 15 and 16, and in pursuit of Hood's defeated army to the Tennessee River.
On December 18 the Ninety-fifth camped on the battle grounds of Franklin, moving thence to Columbia, thence to Pulaski and Lawrenceburg.
January 2. 1865. it moved up the river to Eastport.
General Grant's campaign in Northern Mississippi; Tallahatchie River.
Campaign against Vicksburg, Grand Gulf, Raymond, Champion Hills, charges on works at Vicksburg May 19 and 22, 1863; siege operations at and around Natchez, Miss. during summer and fall of 1863.
Red River expedition. Fort De Russey, Old River, Cioutierville, Mansura. Yellow Bayou, Guntowns. June 10,1864
During the summer of 1864 the Regiment had a detachment of 100 men, with Major Charles B. Loop, Captain James Nish and Captain A. S. Stewart in charge. They participated in the battles of Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahoochie River, Atlanta, Jonesboro and Lovejoy Station.
Campaign against Price in Arkansas and Missouri in the fall of 1864.
Campaign against Hood in Tennessee; Nashville, December 15 and 16,1864.
Campaign against Mobile, Ala; siege of Spanish Fort; charge on works April 8, 1865; Fort Blakely April 9,1865.
Battles in which the detachment of the Regiment participated during General Sherman's Georgia campaign: Kenesaw Mountain, Chattahoochie River, Atlanta, Ezra Church, Jonesboro and Lovejoy Station.
Distance traveled by the Regiment while in the service, 9,960 miles.
III. The enlisted men of the detachment of the Ninety-fifth Illinois Volunteer Infantry are transferred to the Forty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The transfers will be made in accordance with Circular No. 64, War Department, series of 1864. The Commissary of Musters. District of Montgomery. is charged with the execution of this order.
By command of Brevet Major General J. MCARTHUR.