This Regiment was organized at Ottawa, in August 1862, and was composed almost entirely of La Salle county men.
Before being uniformed or armed, they received orders to report at Louisville, Ky., where they remained for some time, an d in the reorganization of General Buell's Army were assigned to General Dumont's Division, and when General Buell commenced his march in pursuit of General Bragg, were on the left of the army, going first to Frankfort, Ky., where they remained until October 26, then marching to Bowling Green, Glasgow, Thompkinsville, and on the 1st of December, reached Hartsville, Tenn., on the Cumberland River. The Brigade was commanded by Colonel Scott, of the Nineteenth Illinois, until they reached Hartsville, when Colonel A. B. Moore, of the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois, was assigned to the command. Lieutenant Colonel Hapeman commanding the Regiment.
The troops at Hartsville, consisted of the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois, the One Hundred and Sixth, and One Hundred and Eighth Ohio, two companies of cavalry, and two pieces of artillery, about 900 effective men. Three companies of the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois were detached, two being in Gallatin, and one on duty in the village of Hartsville.
On the 6th of December, the rebels sent an expedition from Murfreesboro to attack the forces at Hartsville. It consisted of a Brigade of Infantry, of three veteran regiments of Kentucky troops, commanded by General Hanson, all of Morgan's cavalry, commanded by General Basil W. Duke, and a battery of artillery, in all about 3,500 men, all under command of General Morgan. They crossed the Cumberland River between Hartsville and Gallatin, and approached the position held by the Brigade at daylight on the morning of the 7th of December. The Brigade was instantly brought into line, the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois (7 companies) on the left, the One Hundred and Sixth and One Hundred and Eighth Ohio on their right. There were no earthworks, and the troops were formed on the top of the hill, the best position they could take. The rebels at once charged our lines, when the One Hundred and Sixth and One Hundred and Eighth Ohio fell back, leaving the One Hundred and Fourth Illinois alone on the line. They repulsed the attack of the infantry, and were driving them from the field when Morgan's cavalry, dismounted, and commanded by General Duke, attacked them on the right flank and in rear, and they were completely surrounded, and were obliged to surrender. The battle lasted one hour and fifteen minutes, and the Regiment lost 44 men killed, and about 150 wounded. The Regiment fought bravely, in this, their first battle, and had they been properly supported, no doubt would have defeated the rebels. The Regiment was marched to Murfreesboro, and then paroled, with the exception of Lieutenant Colonel Hapeman and Major Widmer, who, with eleven other field officers, were held as hostages for General McNeill, who the rebels charged with having had 13 guerrillas shot at Palmyra, Mo. These officers were held, by order of General Bragg, in solitary confinement, until the 23d day of April 1863, when they were exchanged and joined the Regiment at Brentwood, Tenn.
After being paroled, the Regiment marched to Nashville, and were sent from thence to Camp Chase, at Columbus, O., and from there to Camp Douglas, at Chicago, and on being exchanged, in the spring of 1863, were ordered to rejoin the army of the Cumberland, at Brentwood, Tenn. From Brentwood the Regiment marched to Murfreesboro, and were assigned to the First Brigade, Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, the Brigade commanded by General John Beatty. They remained at Murfreesboro until the advance of the army on Tullahoma, when they advanced through Hoover's Gap, skirmishing with the enemy, with slight loss, passing through Manchester, again skirmishing at Elk River, and when General Bragg crossed the Tennessee River they went into camp at Decherd, Tenn., where they remained until August 15, when they marched to Stevenson, Ala., where they remained until the army made the advance which ended in the battle of Chickamauga and the occupation of Chattanooga.
On the 2d day of September 1863, the movement for the capture of Chattanooga began, the Regiment crossing the Tennessee River at Caperton's Ferry, and the following day crossed Sand Mountain, then entered Lookout Valley, near Trenton, Ga., and followed the valley until they reached Johnson's Crook, and on the 7th ascended Lookout Mountain, crossing the mountain to Stephen's Gap, descending into McLemore's Cove.
On the 10th the Regiment moved forward, with Negley's Division, to Davis Cross Road's, and on the following day developed the rebel army, at Dug Gap, in Pigeon Mountain, and after a severe skirmish, with some loss, fell back again to McLemore's Cove, where they remained until the 16th, when the movement towards Chattanooga was commenced. On the night of the 18th the Regiment marched all night, taking a position to the front of Crawfish Springs, where they were engaged during the 19th, exposed most of the time to a terrific artillery fire, and suffering a severe loss. On the evening of the 19th they moved to the extreme left of the army, and on the 20th were engaged, suffering a heavy loss, falling back in the evening to Rossville. On the 21st the Regiment remained at Rossville, skirmishing with the enemy, losing several men, and at night fell back to Chattanooga, being the rear guard in the movement, reaching the works at Chattanooga about daylight on the morning of the 22d of September. The loss of the Regiment in the battle of Chickamauga was severe, the Regiment being engaged, besides the two days of the battle, in several hard skirmishes. Remained in Chattanooga during its investment by the rebel army, under General Bragg.
In the reorganization of the Fourteenth Army Corps, after the battle of Chickamauga, the Regiment was assigned to the First Brigade, the Brigade commanded by General W. P. Carlin, and remained in this Brigade until the end of the war. Colonel Moore having resigned on the 9th of September 1863, Lieutenant Colonel Hapeman commanded the Regiment.
On the 24th of November 1863, the Regiment was engaged on Lookout Mountain, near the White House, when the First Brigade, First Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, repulsed an attack made by the rebels, about 9 o'clock P.M., to regain possession of the ground.
On the 25th of November 1863, was engaged in the capture of Missionary Ridge, and captured a number of prisoners. On the 26th, followed the retreating rebels to Grayville, and, on the 27th, to Ringgold, returning from thence to Chattanooga, on the 29th. The men behaved well in all the engagements during this campaign. Remained in and around Chattanooga until the 10th of February 1864, when it was ordered to Nashville, by General Johnson, to get transportation for the Fourteenth Corps. Returned to Chattanooga, with the same, on March 15th, 1864, joining the remainder of the Division at Grayville, on the 19th. Remained until the 3d of May when the Regiment went to Ringgold, to prepare for the campaign about to commence against Atlanta.
Commenced the march on the 7th of May, and, on the 9th, was in front of Buzzard's Roost Gap, where the Regiment remained, doing some skirmishing, until the 12th, when it marched to the right, passing Snake Creek Gap. On the 14th, was engaged in the battle of Resaca, losing 1 man killed and 9 wounded. Remained in front, skirmishing, until the 16th, when the Regiment marched to Resaca - the enemy having evacuated the night before. Followed the retreating rebels to Kingston, arriving there on the 19th. Remained there until the 23d, when the Regiment marched to Dallas, arriving there or in that vicinity on the 26th. Remained there, skirmishing, and losing some men, until the 5th of June, when the Regiment moved to the left, in front of Kenesaw Mountain, where it was engaged, skirmishing, nearly all the time, until the 3d of July, when the enemy left the mountain. The command followed them through Marietta, until they made a stand near the railroad bridge across the Chattahoochie River. The Regiment remained here, skirmishing, until July 10, when the rebels fell back across the Chattahoochie. Did not moved until the 17th, and, on the 20th, crossed Peach Tree Creek. About 4 o'clock, P.M., the enemy attacked the line (connecting with the Twentieth Corps on the left, and no works. They were repulsed, however, and re-enforcements soon coming up, the Regiment was enabled to hold its ground. The men fought nobly, and the loss was heavy, it being 50 - 2 officers and 14 men killed, 1 officer and 28 enlisted men wounded, and 5 missing.
On the 22d the command again moved forward, the enemy having left their works in front, and went into Atlanta; but were met by Loring's Division, strongly entrenched, and the command halted, and commenced throwing up works. Remained until August 3d, when the Regiment moved to the right 3 miles, and, on the 6th, were formed on Utoy Creek. On the 7th, was engaged at Utoy Creek, losing 1 officer and 4 enlisted men killed, and 18 enlisted men wounded.
On August 26, marched to the right, towards Jonesboro, and, on September 1, fought the battle of Jonesboro, which gave possession of Atlanta; and, on the 6th, started for Atlanta, arriving there on the 8th.
The campaign, from May 7, when the Regiment left Ringgold, to September 6, when it left Jonesboro, was very severe. The Regiment skirmished nearly all the time with the enemy, and never halted for the night without throwing up works and preparing for an attack. The Regiment was engaged in three battles: Reseca, Peach Tree Creek and Jonesboro. Losses in skirmishing were heavy, in killed and wounded.
The Regiment behaved nobly during the whole campaign, especially at Peach Tree Creek, where the right of the Regiment was nearly annihilated, and although the line grew shorter every day the men were in the best of spirits.
The Regiment remained in Atlanta until October 3, when the rebels having crossed the Chattahoochie, and were moving towards Allatoona, the command commenced moving north, and, crossing the Chattahoochie on the 3d, passed through Marietta, reaching Kenesaw Mountain on the 6th, and remaining in that vicinity until the 9th, when the Regiment marched along the railroad to Kingston, reaching there on the 11th. Marched to within 3 miles of Rome, on the 12th; to Calhoun, on the 13th; to Resaca, on the 14th; crossed the Chattagata Mountain, at Red Run Gap, on the 15th; passed through Villenow, LaFayette and Summerville, reaching Galesburg, Ala., on the 20th, where the Regiment remained until the 28th; then marched through Rome, to Kingston, to get ready for the campaign to be commenced in a short time.
The Regiment was not engaged with the enemy after it left Atlanta; but the marches were very hard - a great portion of the distance being traveled by night. The men were, also, short of rations, until they reached the Summerville Valley, when requisitions were made on the country for supplies.
Remained in Kingston until November 12, when the Regiment marched to Atlanta, arriving there on the 15th, when rations and clothing were issued. On the 16th, commenced the "march to the sea", taking possession of Savannah on the 21st of December. As this was but a succession of marches, and but little opposition was met with, until the army reached Savannah, it is deemed unnecessary to detail the march. The Regiment had its share of the hardships, marches, etc., as also the fine foraging which the country passed through afforded.
Remained in Savannah until January 15, when was commenced the march through the Carolinas. This, like the preceding campaign, was a succession of marches - the bad roads impeding more than the rebels. It required more troops with the trains, to build corduroy roads, than it did on the skirmish line. The Regiment was engaged in the battle of Bentonville, and had several skirmishes, with small loss.
The command remained at Goldsboro, N.C., fitting up for another campaign, until April 10; then marched to Raleigh, where the Regiment remained until the surrender of Johnston's Army.
The Regiment commenced with the march from Raleigh to Washington on April 30, arriving there on May 19, and participating in the Grand Review on the 24th of May.
Made muster-out rolls, and were mustered out on the 6th day of June. On the 8th, the Regiment left Washington for Chicago, arriving there on the 10th. Were paid off, and the men returned to their homes.
The Regiment was engaged in the battles of Hartsville, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Mission Ridge, Resaca, Peach Tree Creek, Utoy Creek, Jonesboro and Bentonville, besides a great many skirmishes, in which they lost men.