The One Hundred and Twelfth Regiment Illinois Volunteers was mustered into the service of the United States on the 20th and 22d days of September 1862, at Peoria, Ill., and was ordered to report to Major General Wright, commanding the Department of the Ohio, at Cincinnati, O. It accordingly moved from Peoria on the 8th day of October 1862, by rail, and arrived at Cincinnati, O., about midnight, on the 10th day of October, when it was immediately ordered over the Ohio River, to report to Major General Gordon Granger, at Covington, Ky. The Regiment reported to General Granger about 2 o'clock on the morning of the 11th of October, and immediately went to work to prepare for the field. Having been brigaded with the Thirty-third Indiana, Seventy-seventh, Ninety-seventh and One Hundred and Eighth Illinois, under command of Colonel Coburn, of the Thirty-third Indiana, and having obtained transportation and supplies, it marched from Covington, Ky., on the 18th day of October 1862, for Falmouth, Ky.; but on the 19th day of October it was detached from the Brigade and ordered to guard a large supply-train to Big Eagle, on the Lexington and Covington pike. The Regiment arrived at Big Eagle on the evening of the 21st of October, and, under orders, marched to Georgetown, Ky., on the 23d, and to Lexington, Ky., on the 24th.
It remained in camp at Lexington, Ky., for about five months, performing various duties, but was principally engaged in grand guard and provost duty; although detachments were occasionally sent to the ferries on the Kentucky River, to guard against the approach of the enemy. And at one time, 100 men of the Regiment were mounted and kept on active and severe duty for several weeks; and while thus engaged, aided in driving Cluke's command out of Kentucky.
On the 21st of March 1863, the Regiment moved for Danville, Ky., arriving there on the evening of the 22d, and at midnight on the 23d, it was ordered back to Dick's River bridge, on the Lexington pike, with orders to guard the bridge, and hold the opposite bank of the river, at all hazards. It remained at the bridge until the evening of the 24th, when it fell back to the Kentucky River, at the mouth of Hickman, with the rest of the army, retreating before was supposed to be a superior force of the enemy.
From the Kentucky River, it marched back to Nicholasville, and from thence moved by way of Camp Dick Robinson, Lancaster and Crab Orchard in the direction of Somerset, Ky., in pursuit of the enemy, by forced marches. But the cavalry and mounted infantry having overtaken and defeated the enemy at Dutton's Hill, near Somerset, and driven him across the Cumberland River, the Regiment having only heard the sound of artillery at a respectful distance, counter-marched and moved back to Stanford.
In October 1862, the Regiment, on its arrival at Lexington, Ky., was brigaded with the Forty-fifth Ohio and the Eighteenth and Twenty-second Michigan, under command of General Green Clay Smith, of Kentucky. He remained in command until in January 1863, when Colonel Doolittle, of the Eighteenth Michigan, took the command.
At Stanford, the Regiment was again detached from the Brigade, and ordered to Milledgeville, Ky., where it was mounted, and remained in camp until the 26th of April, when, with the new Brigade, consisting of the Forty-fifth Ohio, Thirty-second Kentucky and One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, under command of Colonel Benjamin P. Runkle, of the Forty-fifth Ohio, it marched for Somerset, Ky.
At Somerset, it joined other troops, under the command of Brigadier General S. P. Carter, of Tennessee, and moved to Monticello, Ky., south of the Cumberland River, and aided in driving a body of rebel troops, under command of General Pegram, from that place, and out of Kentucky into Tennessee. There the Regiment was under fire for the first time, and although it was not severely engaged and suffered no loss, it was complimented by Colonel Woolford for its steadiness, who remarked that he could scarcely believe the Regiment had not before been under fire.
From Monticello, the Regiment returned to Somerset, Ky., where it remained until July 1863, and where detachments from it were constantly engaged in active and severe duty, scouting up an down the Cumberland River, often at great distances, by night and by day; and in guarding fords and ferries on the Cumberland River. While at Somerset, Ky., 200 picked men from the Regiment, under command of Captain Dunn, of Company D, with similar detachments from other regiments at Somerset, all under command of Major Dow, of the Regiment, joined Colonel Sanders in his celebrated raid over the mountains into East Tennessee. For rapidity of movement, marching over mountains, and swimming rivers, by day and night, and for successful execution, baffling the enemy doing him a great amount of damage, and, finally, escaping from a vastly superior force, where every mountain gap was supposed to be securely guarded, this raid stands among the most brilliant of the war. It severely tested the courage and endurance of the men and officers who participated in it. The detachment of the One Hundred and Twelfth lost, in this raid, eleven (11) men captured, and five (5) drowned in swimming Clynch River, at night.
From Somerset, Ky., the Regiment moved back to Danville, Ky., and in the month of July, assisted in driving about fifteen hundred (1,500) rebels, under command of Scott, across the Cumberland. It was four days and nights engaged in the pursuit of Scott, with but little or no rest or sleep, and for more than a 100 miles was skirmishing with the enemy.
After capturing about five hundred (500) prisoners-scattering many others in the woods-and recovering most of the property stolen by these raiders, Scott was finally driven over the Cumberland River and into the mountains, when the Regiment again returned to Danville, Ky., having had one (1) man killed and six (6) wounded in the pursuit and began the work of preparing for a campaign into East Tennessee.
From Danville, moved to Stanford, and from Stanford to Crab Orchard, from which place, having completed the necessary preparation, the Regiment marched for East Tennessee, with the army under General Burnside, re-brigaded with the First East Tennessee Mounted Infantry, Eighth Michigan Cavalry and Forty-fifth Ohio Mounted Infantry, under command of Colonel Byrd, of the First East Tennessee, on the 21st of August 1863, and arrived at Kingston, Tenn., on the 1st of September.
The Regiment actively participated in all the campaigns in East Tennessee, in 1863, and, up to February 4, 1864, sharing in the glory of redeeming that truly loyal people, and in wresting what was regarded as the key to the rebellion from rebel rule. Being always at the front and often at great distance from the main body of the army, it was kept constantly on the alert, and compelled to perform the severest duties, always on short rations.
Its operations in East Tennessee were at Kingston, Post Oak Springs, Athens, Calhoun, Charleston, Cleveland, Sweetwater, Philadelphia, Loudon, Campbell's Station, Knoxville, Bean Station, Blane's Cross Roads, Dandridge, Sevinville, Fair Gardens, Kelly's Ford, Flat Creek Cap, and other places, at many of which it was engaged in numerous skirmishes and battles, and being constantly in the presence of the enemy. At Cleveland, one (1) Captain was killed, several men wounded, and about twenty (20) captured in a skirmish.
At Calhoun, the Regiment, with the Brigade was driven back by an overpowering force under Wheeler and Forrest, and the One Hundred and Twelfth brought up the rear, and for the manner in which it was done, holding the enemy in check and saving all the stores, it was complimented in an official order. It, however, had 20 men captured and 1 Captain, who were guarding a ford on the Hiawassa, and were cut off. At Philadelphia, it made a handsome charge and drove the enemy from a hill, for which it was cheered by other troops, and Major Dow, commanding, as well as the Regiment, was highly complimented by General Sanders and other officers. In this charge, one man was killed and several wounded.
At Knoxville, the Regiment, with cavalry and other mounted infantry, was thrown out in front to hold Longstreet in check, while the town was put in a defensible condition, and on the 18th day of November 1863, behaved most gallantly, and lost about 100 killed and wounded, and about 20 men cut off and captured.
At Bean Station, Dandridge and Flat Creek, the Regiment lost several in each engagement, killed and wounded.
At Kelly's Ford, on the 28th of January 1864, the Regiment had 19 wounded, including 4 commissioned officers, and 1 man killed.
After the fight at Kelly's Ford, the Regiment moved to Maryville, Tenn., and from there to Knoxville, where it was dismounted, and marched on foot over the mountains to Mt Sterling, Ky., a distance of about 200 miles. Arrived there on the 23d of February, and remained until the 6th of April, where the Regiment, after having been refitted as mounted infantry, and about ready for the field, was permanently dismounted and moved to Camp Nelson, Ky., by way of Lexington, where, after refitting for the field, as an infantry Regiment, it marched back again over the mountains, into East Tennessee, and arrived at Knoxville on the 3d or May.
From Knoxville, on the 8th day of May, the Regiment moved, by rail, to Cleveland, Tenn., and from thence marched on foot to Tunnel Hill, Ga., in charge of a large ordnance and ambulance train; reported to Major General Schofield, commanding Department of Ohio, and the Twenty-third Army Corps, in the field. The Regiment had been re-brigaded with the One Hundredth Ohio, One Hundred and Fourth Ohio, Eleventh and Sixteenth Kentucky, under command of Colonel James W. Riley, of the One Hundred and Fourth Ohio, and known as the First Brigade, Third Division-under command of Brigadier General Cox-Twenty-third Army Corps.
From this time on, the Regiment participated in the campaign of General Sherman, against Atlanta, and was with the Twenty-third Army Corps in all its movements in that interesting campaign. At Resaca, on the 14th day of May, it was actively engaged, and lost some 50 men killed and wounded-among the latter the Colonel.
At Utoy Creek, on the right of Atlanta, the Regiment, on the 6th of August 1863, with the Brigade, made an unsuccessful assault on the enemy's works, and lost 71 men killed, wounded and missing. Among the wounded were the Lieutenant Colonel, 3 Captains and 1 Lieutenant. 3 Sergeants and 1 Corporal were killed on the field.
The Regiment was engaged in numerous other battles and skirmishes of this campaign.
On the 8th of August, the Regiment was again re-brigaded with the Sixty-third, One Hundred and Twentieth and One Hundred and Twenty-eighth Indiana and Fifth Tennessee Regiments, under command of Colonel Thomas J. Henderson, of the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois. The Brigade was known as the Third Brigade, Third Division, Twenty-third Army Corps, and the Regiment remained in it until it was mustered out of the service at the end of the war.
On the 31st of August, after having cut loose from Atlanta, and struck for the Macon Railroad-General Cox being anxious to be the first to reach the road-an object it had so long and so severely struggled to accomplish-ordered the One Hundred and Twelfth Illinois, under command of Major Dow, to report to him personally, when the Regiment immediately pushed forward, drove the enemy rapidly back, and successfully reached the Macon Railroad, just in time to cut off three of four long trains, with ordnance, etc., and commenced the work of tearing up the track. From this moment, all felt that the fall of Atlanta was certain. After marching down to Jonesboro, learned of the evacuation of Atlanta, and on to Lovejoy, the Regiment returned with the army and with the Twenty-third Army Corps, went into camp at Decatur, Ga., and to rest, after being for four months marching and fighting, constantly in the presence of the enemy, and under fire almost every hour of the day and night. Here the Regiment remained, from the 8th of September until the 4th of October, when Hood having re-crossed the Chattahoochie, the Regiment and Brigade, with Sherman's Army, moved in pursuit, and marched during the month, by indirect marches, nearly 400 miles, passing through Marietta, Ackworth, Allatoona, Carterville, Cassville, Kingston, Rome, Calhoun, Resaca, Snake Creek Gap, Villanow, Sommerville, Gaylesville and Cedar Bluff, Ala., and then back again to Rome.
Here, the Regiment, with the Twenty-third Army Corps, was separated from General Sherman, and sent back into East Tennessee, to look after Hood, who was reported to have crossed the Tennessee. It accordingly marched on foot to Dalton, Ga., and from thence by rail moved to Nashville, and to Thompson Station, below Franklin, and from thence marched to Pulaski, Tenn., on foot.
Remained in camp, at Pulaski, until the 22d of November, when it commenced retreating to Nashville. During the retreat, participated in the battles of Columbia and Franklin, losing some 30 or 40 men killed and wounded.
The Regiment also participated in the battles of Nashville, on the 15th and 16th of December. The battles of Franklin November 30th- and Nashville, were glorious battles, and virtually terminated the war in the West.
The Regiment, with the Twenty-third Army Corps, having pursued Hood's Army to the Tennessee River, was then ordered to a new field of operations, and proceeded by steamboat down the Tennessee and up the Ohio River to Cincinnati, and from that city, by rail, to Washington City. From Alexandria, it went by the steamship "Atlantic" to Fort Fisher, North Carolina. The Regiment then aided in the reduction of Fort Anderson, in driving the enemy from his works at Town Creek bridge, and finally from Wilmington, which place was occupied on the 22d of February 1865. From Wilmington the Regiment marched to Kingston, N.C., passing to Goldsboro, and, with the army, occupied that place. From Goldsboro, moved to Raleigh. At Raleigh, after the surrender of Johnson's Army, moved to Greensboro, N.C., where the Regiment remained until the 20th of June 1865, when it was mustered out of the service, and ordered to Chicago, Ill. The Regiment arrived at Chicago on the 27th of June; was finally discharged on the 7th day of July 1865.
The Regiment was always in the Department of the Ohio, and served in the Twenty-third Army Corps, from its organization to the close of the war.