The Life and Times
John Romine (see photo) and William T. Baird
61st Volunteer Illinois Infantry

Jerry Lee Baird, Gr-Grandson of John Romine and William T. Baird
Revised July, 1999


It has been a grand adventure gathering information and revising my history of past relatives in the Great Rebellion. The information that has been updated has been made available only recently with the access to the Internet and its wide variety of resources (over 5 million) as well as the State of Illinois Archival records to all Regiments from Illinois.

In this revision, I hope to not only cover the information of my two Great Grandfathers in the 61st Regiment but to also provide insight into their life and times in the area and Greene County in particular. The major purpose of this narrative is to find out what life was like at these times, how did my ancestors get there, and what were the major influences upon them during their lifetime. I have also tried to cover as much history about the people who played major roles regarding their participation in the Civil War. They would influence both John Romines and William T. Baird and through their historical records, I can find more evidence of the Baird and Romine history.
I have also found insight into who I am and what I am doing here as well. The information found during early settlement, the visits to little known cemeteries, and the religious influence to the area proves valuable to the generations that follow. I hope this is not the end of research but only the beginning of a long search for who I am, where did I come from, and why am I here.

I have tried to acknowledge any quotes and research from the referenced materials at the end of the narrative and suggest it's reading for anyone who is interested in the 61st Regimental History and the History of Greene County.

Early Settlement into Greene County 1765-1855 Leading to the Great Rebellion

John Romines enlisted into the volunteer army on October 25, 1861, listing his residence as Wilmington (along with 7 other Wilmington residents during the next 3 months). Wilmington is now the location of Patterson, Illinois. The volunteers of Company A of the 61st Illinois were mostly from Greene County, Illinois, and listing residences of White Hall, Carrollton, and Athensville. Others came as far as Indianapolis, IN. and the State of Massachusetts.

William T. Baird volunteered on December 28, 1861 in the city of Carrollton, IL. and became a private in Company E of the 61st Regimental Illinois Infantry Volunteers. A Samuel W. Baird was also a part of Company E of the 61st and died at Helena, Ark. On Aug. 12, 1863. I do not know at this time what their relationship might have been. Samuel Baird was from Otter Creek and enlisted on Dec. 14,1861. It is suspected that they were brothers. Samuel W. Baird was born on Jan 12,1811

The backgrounds of both John Romines and William T. Baird seem to be familiar to most southern settlers Greene County Map16 in the Greene County area in the 1840s. William T. was born on 12/5/1845 and described as 5 ft. 6 inches tall with a ruddy complexion and blue eyes, light hair and the occupation of a farmer. He was born on December 5,1840, making him 21 years of age at the time of military service. John Romines was born in 1837 in Overton County Tennessee, and enlisted at the age of 18 and reenlisted in February of 64 at the age of 23. The census of 1850 in Overton County reveals no Romines residing there. His description is blue eyes, black hair, ruddy complexion, and 5 feel 8 1/2 inches tall.

Both John and William were from a farming and southern background and probably migrated to the Illinois River basin sometime in the 1850s, too late for large land acquisitions, yet still open to tenant and rental farming. The Illinois valley from 1840 to 1860 was one of wonder and speculation.

Early settlement had come with the explorations of LaSalle, Louis Marquette & Joliet, and early French and English settlers. Later came Lewis and Clark who also touched base on the Illinois Shore at Ft. Massac at what is now Metropolis, IL. Two thousand French settlers were located in the Illinois bottom in the mid 1700s. These French settlers were unique to the French influence in the Illinois Territory due to the fact that they were farmers rather than trappers and traders. This made for a longer French cultural influence to the region via these "habitants". The Illinois Territory had a total population of 3000 French in 1769 and 2000 were in the valley bottom including Greene.

After the Louisiana Purchase and the exploration of George Rogers Clark, settlement was still slow in the territory. Only two permanent families had settled in southernmost Illinois by 1803. In 1809, Congress set up the Territory of Illinois with Ninian Edwards of Kentucky appointed the governor. Southern Illinois near Mound City had the only recorded Indian Massacre of the War of 1812, and after that time Indian influence would diminish rapidly.

The travel routes also influenced Early settlement. With the Illinois prairie inpenetrable till the early 1820s, Illinois was settled from a Southern to Northern route with the waterways being the lead source of transportation. Settlement in Massac, Kaskaskia, St. Louis, and even Vandalia (via the National Road) were larger than Chicago prior to 1830. The first half of the 18th century saw Illinois greatly influenced by the French and by the early 19th century, the influence was almost totally English. One reason was the loss of the territory by the French in the French and Indian War. British control after that diminished the French Influence. This may also be in large part due to the fact that most French were trappers and traders, while most English were farmers and settlers. The French influence therefore dwindled rapidly after the game and forests began to disappear at the beginning of settlement into the Illinois Valley.

Greene also was influenced by some Native American Cultures as late as 1812, although the Blackhawk War in 1831 was more in Northern Illinois than Southern. The Pottawatomies were north and along the Illinois River and the Kickapoos were centralized along the current route of Interstate I-55 through Springfield Illinois to Lincoln.

Maps show the significance of the river valley in Illinois and its influence to transportation. Along with the convergence of the Ohio and Mississippi in Southern Illinois, the Caskaskia River, Macoupin River, Sangamon River, Missouri River, Mackinaw River, Spoon River and Illinois River gave excellent access, plentiful timber, sugar from maple trees, and tillable river soil for planting. With this, St. Louis, Cahokia, Edwardsville, Cairo, and Shawneetown were settled by 1812. The state annexation was approved by a total population of over 40,000 in 1818, allowing the doors to open for settlement and land acquisition.

Greene County originated in 1821 and land grants came from Edwardsville, Illinois. The county was named after Nathaniel Greene, of the Revolutionary War. The first settlers in the county were David Stockton and James Whiteside.

Jacob Fry, later commander of both William T. Baird and John Romines, built the first house in the county near Carrollton. He also constructed the first coffin to be used in the county. Colonel Fry was a commander during the Blackhawk War and had under his command at that time Robert Anderson (Ft. Sumter Commander), O.H. Browning (Browning repeating rifle and Mormon), Abraham Lincoln, and John Wood. Anderson who later would surrender Ft. Sumter at the beginning of the War and later raise the Stars and Stripes once again above the fort at its' surrender by the Confederacy. O.H. Browning is now famous for his work at the Rock Island Arsenal (contains a wonderful munitions museum of the Civil War now) and production of gun prototypes during the War Between the States. The Winchester repeating rifle is a copyright of his. Winchester himself died of a heart attack, right before his meeting with Browning. Abe Lincoln was promoted to Captain under Fry's leadership. John Wood would later become Governor of Illinois. Col. Fry and his regiment never entered any armed conflict. Colonel and later General Fry will play a major role in the lives of both John Romines and William T. Baird.

The Settlers came in the 1830s to 1840s in droves to settle the waterways and start opportunities for farming and new land. Land was rich and fertile and the plow had finally overcome the prairie. The river ways were the key means of travel in the area by flatboat and canoe in the earlier years and certainly the Apple creek basin was one of the first settled. Kaskaskia was the first land office in the territory in 1804. Illinois was to be settled from a South to North direction during its first 30 years. Illinois had been settled by the French and English as early as the 1740s. The first settler in Sangamon County, William "Peg Leg Pulliam" erected his cabin in 1818. Fort Massac (Metropolis) and Cairo were established in the late 1700s as protective forts established by the Spanish, the French and later the English after the French and Indian Wars. Father Louis Joliet as well traversed across the waterways to the Great Lakes.

With the advent of travel and State admittance, Illinois had to forge enough names (40,000) to be admitted to Congress in 1818. Many of those voting for statehood were French, black, slave, indentured servants, and soldiers. With the advent of the steamship, flatboats could now be towed back south to bring many other settlers to the region, along with the steamboats. The White Hall Cemetery has at least four participants to the Revolutionary War and three participants to the War of 1812.

Land offices for the territory that was to become Greene (after Nathaniel Greene, Revolutionary War Hero) began in Edwardsville in 1816 and Quincy in 1831. Carrolton (named after Charles Carrol, a signer of the Declaration of Independence) was founded on April 26,1821, White Hall on March 8, 1832, and Wilmington on May 18,1836 (later becoming Patterson). Roodhouse was laid out on April 26, 1866, prospering as a railroad hub till the early 1950s. Hillview and Eldred were not founded till 1915. From 1835-37 alone, over five hundred new town sites were laid out. Towns were laid out in Jersey County in 1836-7:Camden, Deleware,Grafton,Hartford, Jerseyville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Randolf, Salisbury, Teneriffe, and Upper Grafton. All but Grafton and Jerseyville became ghost towns.

The National Road ushered thousands of settler's westward from Wheeling, Va., through Columbus, Indianapolis and beyond, coming to Vandalia. The waterways provided the other avenue for entry. The waterways of the Ohio, Wabash, Mississippi, Sangamon, Illinois, and Missouri allowed for easy access from the south, but little travel through the middle of the state due to prairie grass, lack of trees for building and fire, and little quality drainage. Illinois therefore had a population density looking like a large U, beginning at Cairo and Ft. Massac and moving northeast up the Ohio to the Wabash and West up the Mississippi to the Illinois. The Romines and the Bairds therefore seem to be at the tail end of a large migration of settlers to have made the southern journey, by flatboat or more probably by steamers in the 1840s and 1850s.

Southern influence was predominant in the area in the early 1800s. Most settlers were coming from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Southern Indiana. Jacksonian Democracy was also a large majority of the early voters in the region. In 1810, 168 slaves are said to have been in the territory, In 1829, they increased to 917, and in 1830 they decreased to 746. The Missouri question and the issue of statehood for Illinois addressed the slavery issue. On December 3, 1818, Illinois had entered the union. By 1823 the state had a little over 50,000 total inhabitants and the subject of slavery was being addressed even in the most remote parts of the state. By 1824, the people of Illinois finally registered their resolution that their constitution should not be altered to admit slavery. For the first six years of Illinois existence as a state, the question of slavery hung like a threatening storm over her politics. Governor Coles and Morris Birkbeck did more than any other two men in the state to prevent it becoming tainted with the curse of slavery.

Greene and Scott Counties had become the major hub of intellectual and religious presence in the west by 1840. This area was also the most populated during the 1830s and 40s. Jacksonville, along with Springfield sprouted up as small communities by 1830. Except for Springfield, Albion, Jacksonville and a few other villages, virtually all were on navigable water and near timber. Intersections of two or more trails sponsored many communities, especially when they were near a ferry or river. The area west of White Hall and closer to Hillview was deemed prime territory with the advent of the steamboat. Steamboats were able to moor at the edge of the Hillview Blacktop in the 1840s.

By the time the Bairds and Romines were in Greene County, the threat of Indians was long passed. The Black Hawk War in 1832 was more a skirmish in northwestern Illinois than southern Illinois. French influence would have still been felt at the time of their arrival, especially near the river towns of western Illinois and Navoo (French speaking only in 1860, moving to St. Louis in 1871) but two generations later, with intermingling marriages, the French language was extinct in most of the territory.

Edwardsville led land speculation in the state from 1831-34 and Springfield, Edwardsville, and Quincy were leaders from 1829-1839. In 1831 there were 10,000 people in the counties of Pike, Calhoun, Adams, Schuyler and Fulton, all north and west of the Illinois River in the military tract. Peoria was laid out in 1826 shortly before Reynolds became Governor. The counties of Rock Island, LaSalle, Cook and Champaign were all created in 1831 and 1833. Prior to 1830, there were fewer than 2 people per square mile north of Peoria.

Northerners began to inundate the Military Tract making towns like Pittsfield, Quincy, Vermont, and Kinderhook. The Erie Canal finally linked the Michigan and Illinois canal at the end of the 1840s to provide a definitive trade route to northern markets through Chicago and the Great Lakes. Steamboats first visited Chicago in 1832 and the Illinois and Michigan Canal was finished in 1847. By the time the canal was finished, the railroad was making a significant impact on the territory. The Illinois Central Railroad was planned to run from Cairo through Decatur, Bloomington, to the Illinois River and the western end of the Illinois and Michigan canal. The Northern Cross Railroad, costing $1,850,000, linking Quincy, Springfield, Danville, and Indiana was promoted in 1837and completed in 1839. Due to these changes the attempt to make Jacksonville the state capitol failed and Springfield was chosen instead. Springfield became the state capital in 1839, moved from Vandalia. This accommodated for the great population shift moving northward by the 1830s. Its' location gave northern, and central Illinois better access to government machinery, and symbolized compromise between the restless Northern and Southern Settlers.

Jacksonville, approximately 25 miles north of White Hall, founded the county seat of Morgan County in 1825, hoping to become the premier city of the state and also it's state capital. Illinois oldest published newspaper became operational there in 1831, In 1833 Illinois College was founded, as well as the ladies Education Society (oldest ongoing society in America) and Jacksonville Female Academy (MacMurray College today). Daniel Webster addressed crowds in the late 1830s. Stephen A Douglas practiced there along with many other notable intellectuals of their day. The Yale band, founders of Illinois College in 1829 vowed to bring religion and enlightenment to the West. IC became identified with the movement for the abolition of slavery and even a group of students there were indicted by a grand jury for harboring runaway slaves. Lincoln was probably influenced by many of his friends and associates from Illinois College towards his views of slavery. IC graduates included William Berry, his partner in new Salem, William H. Herndon (his law partner) and Ann Rutledge's brother David. 9 students graduated from the first class in 1830. In 1839, Jacksonville obtained the School for the Deaf (1839), and later the School for the Blind and the State Insane Asylum. This was a critical mass of educated people very early in the founding history of the territory. Woolen Mills began production and started shipping by rail by 1840. Population was 446 inhabitants in 1830 and 1900 in 1840. Note that Chicago had a total of 150 residents in 1832 and 4170 in 1837.

Religion was dominant throughout the western culture at this time. Baptists from the South, especially Tennessee and Kentucky, and Catholics, Prebysterians and even later Mormons from the North. All had received religious persecution at one time in the New World. Baptists were taxed in New England for the National Episcopal Church and later moved via waterways to resettle and spread the word of the Gospel and to probably avoid taxation.

The influence of Baptists is found both in the Baird and Romines family. Men such as Isaac Backus, Patrick Henry, and John Smyth brought the religion to Southern Illinois. The Episcopal Church persecuted baptists some 50 years after the founding of the republic. Patrick Henry, defending three Baptist preachers in 1768 stated "it cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here" Baptists moved to the new territories to find freedom of persecution, taxes, and confiscation of property. John Smyth started the Baptist Movement to the New World in 1607 in Amsterdam, but of course John the Baptist and the Anabaptists began the religion some 1500 years before. Isaac Backus traveled across Virginia and North Carolina preaching the Baptist Mission, and eventually his followers moved to the Illinois Territory. Baptists, Protestants, Episcopalians (National Church), Mormons, and Catholics played a major role in settling the Illinois territory. 1833 ended religious persecution in the America's by an act of Congress.

In 1847 the Mormons under Joseph Smith had a battalion of soldiers of over 4000 to participate in the Mexican-American War. This led to the Governor forcing over 19000 Mormons to leave Navoo Illinois after the assassination of Joseph Smith at the Carthage jail. Their property was sold a year later to the Icarian socialists ($1.50 per building) who stayed till 1860. Religious separatism was a definite part of the settlement of early Illinois.

In late 1836, a major blizzard affected the territory, bringing disaster in land speculation and death across the land. A major freeze locked cattle, horses, and people where they were to starve or die of exposure. One farmer survived by carving out the entrails of a cow to stay warm, till help could arrive. Many residents long remember the winter of '36 as the worst this area had ever seen. Many went back east after the blizzard and many migrated more towards the West. By the late 1840s, the value of the West beyond the Mississippi, had more lucrative opportunities than the land speculation explosion in the Illinois River Valley in the 1830s.

With these effects and the ever-increasing connections to the north, waterways and rail, the relationship to St. Louis and trade would eventually change. The Great Lakes would prove to be more expedient to carry trade by rail than the laborious steam travel to N. Orleans. By 1853, Alton and Chicago were connected to Springfield, bringing the railroad to the area. This was the great surge to population to Roodhouse and White Hall with direct connections to the city of Chicago, the Great Lakes, and the Northeast. By 1855 the rail route from Alton to Springfield to Chicago was complete. Rail and waterway traffic increased, while
the plat roads and highways would suffer along with the Illinois and Michigan Canal. This allowed the communities of Carrollton, White Hall, Roodhouse, Jacksonville, and Springfield to thrive. Trade of wheat, cattle, pigs, fruits transported from the old country, and the increase of agricultural implements to till the prairie allowed the region to thrive. New agriculture came from the settlers and orchards cropped up across the region. Many letters went back east to family describing the wealth of the land and an invitation to join at ones earliest convenience.

Census records from 1830 in Greene County record no Romines, Vestels nor Bairds. The records were done on November 27,1830. At that time there were a total of 7,673 individuals living in Greene with the average family containing 5.7 persons.

Both John Romines and William T. Baird probably arrived in the 1850s, by steamboat or rail to St. Louis and then to Alton and into the area. In 1834 230 steamboats coursed the Mississippi, By 1848, there were 1300 traversing the Mississippi. Fares in 1837 from Louisville to N. Orleans were 125 dollars, and by mid century were no more than 25 dollars.

St. Louis and Quincy still had the advantages of the Mississippi, which proved to be a major contribution for the Civil War, but trade could now cross the prairie via rail. With the advent of the railroad, McCormick Reaper, and the Deere Plow, the central part of Illinois could now be settled. Coal for the use of heat and rail transportation also proved to be a new industry for the state allowing another stage of migration to follow. Mass migration occurred in the area from 1830-1850. After that, land speculation was minimal.

By 1851, the West Jacksonville school district became the first in Illinois to offer free, public high school education. Both John Romines used his mark "x" on all pension records, as did his wife Hannah. William T. Baird could write and signed all federal documents. It is also noted that he did carry a bible with family history through the war and read it extensively. I have at this time discovered no grave sites in the Greene County Area posting Baird or Romine at dates earlier that John Romines and William T. Baird. The Illinois registry shows over 100 Bairds in Illinois alone who participated in the Great Rebellion, but only one Romines across the entire state. General Absalon Baird was a Medal of Honor Recipient in the War, although I have not found a direct relationship at this time. General Absalon Baird was from Northern Illinois.

The influence from the news in Missouri of John Brown, Quantrill, and the Border Wars, to the news coming from Jacksonville and its revolutionaries, Douglas, Bryan, Tanner, and others could have influenced the men greatly, or may not have touched them at all. Southern farmers were held in some distaste by northern intellectuals, feeling they were lazy, unkempt, and liked to keep to themselves, rather than support the community. The differences of northern cultural values and Southern cultural values were quite distinct. The obvious case of recruiting for the rebellion and enlistment for most young men in Illinois was loyalty to the community and neighbors first, pay second, and the possibility of seeing some of the country third. Loyalty to Lincoln and the Whigs was limited the further south in Illinois one went. Almost all of Greene County was Democratic after Jackson and many were from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Slavery was not a major issue in Illinois, although the tenant farmer or the pauper sometime sold their time to indentured servitude for maintaining a living. The confederate actions in Missouri surely caused excitement in the community, and the loyalty as seen in William T. Bairds 'Jones Cemetery" east of White Hall Illinois, show that both Confederate and Union soldiers are buried there. Also with such luminaries as Lincoln (Lincoln Douglas Debates), Douglas, and John Brown in the area, loyalties to the Union were regional.

The Illinois Central Railroad was the first land-grant railroad in the U.S., receiving its charter from the State of Illinois in 1851. In 1855 it had over 600 miles of track making it the longest railroad in the world. Lincoln was an attorney for ICC and Samuel Clemens received the nickname "Mark Twain" working for a steamboat operated by the ICC. The ICC moved over 30% of all troops and supplies south in the Civil War. The rail also became a key source of moving wounded troops, both Northern and Southern to Hospitals in Mound City and St. Louis.

The War 1861-65

John Romine Portrait
Pvt.,Co. A., 61st Illinois Regiment

With the excitement of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, the Whig National Convention in Chicago, and the ability of quick communication via the telegraph and rail, correspondence was quick to come to Greene County. The political affiliations of Lincoln to his circuit riding days and his influence in the legislature provided much local political fervor in this time. The majority of volunteers to the call of duty were young, mostly between 18-25 years of age, but some 237 were 50 years of age or older, including Colonel Fry. Most of the men enlisted without an idealistic purpose, just a conviction that the Union was in trouble and something had to be done, In Illinois and Greene County, but especially Scott and Sangamon Counties, the political fervor to save the Union must have been high. Billy Yank knew that failure would be the end to the Union. After the defeat of Bull Run in July and August of 61, the President called for 500,000 additional troops to fight for the Union. The amazing fact of the fall of '61 is that there were more volunteers for the service than the state could handle. Many newspapers urged the young patriots to go to Springfield, others in Illinois enlisted in Kentucky and Missouri regiments. In December recruiting was put to a halt, so William T. and John were part of the last enlistments. Recruiting did not continue again till after Pea Ridge, Donelson, and Shiloh. Illinois would eventually claim a total enlistment of 125 infantry regiments, 16 cavalry regiments, 30 artillery batteries, and a quota excess of 20,000 men, quite patriotic indeed. Springfield, Quincy, Carrollton, and Aurora were locations where early troop rendezvous occurred. Later Camp Butler in Springfield became a major debarkation point. The 61st would later be mustered out in Camp Butler.

Training was to be inconsistent throughout the ranks, Colonel Jacob Fry was an aged veteran of the Blackhawk War, later becoming a General and Prentiss was a politician. Private Leander Stillwell of Carrollton (Otterville) and the 61st remembered one so-called veteran officer who was not only illiterate, but whose command for a left or right wheel, a fundamental military maneuver of the time, was; "Swing around boys, just like a gate". Another Illinois soldier in 1861 commented "The MajorÖ.. has drilled us but once since having command and has made somewhat of a failure. He sits a horse about as gracefully as a sack of flour, but after all I think he will do better than some expect. He has good sense even if it is tinctured with Mexico." 5 William T. Baird had limited Lieutenants and Captains to lead his company after 1862.

By votes from the rank, the Captains of Co. A were appointed by February and March of 1862, Capt. Simon P. Ohr from Springfield, and Capt. Francis Posey from Indianapolis (this is the only officer that William T. Baird mentions in his pension notes after the war). Colonel Jacob Fry organized the 61st in Carrollton and 3 full companies (a-c) were mustered Feb. 5, 1862. John Romines was in Company A of the 61st with almost 100 other recruits. They moved to Benton Barracks in Missouri where a sufficient number of recruits were joined to make 9 full companies. This is where William T. Baird joins the regiment with Samuel W. Baird of Otter Creek in Company E of the 61st.[11]

Company E voted Charles E. McDougall of Petersburg a 1st Lt. On July 1,1862 and later promoted to Captain on March 26 of 1864. Captain Manning of the Company was unsuccessful as a leader being mustered in on March 7, 1862 and mustered out the same day due to drunken'ss. Jedediah Beals of Beardstown became first Lt. March 7 and died March 7 at Evansville, Ind. In 1862. Luther Grundy from Kane enlisted on March 26,1864 and was mustered out on Sept. 8, 1865 in Springfield. This certainly shows that leadership was lacking in the ranks of Company E during most of the campaign.

Upon training at Benton Barracks, they were assigned to the 2nd Brigade of Colonel Madison Miller, 18th Missouri, under the division of Brigadier General B.M. Prentiss. The Army of the Tennessee was then formed under the leadership of U.S. Grant. The requirements for the Army Organization are listed below.

1 Regiment = 10 Companies or 845-1,010 officers and men
2 Battalions = 1 Regiment
3-4 Regiments = 1 Brigade
3 Brigades=1 Division
3 Divisions = 1 Corps

Colonel Fry was a veteran of the Blackhawk and Mexican War and also 61 years of age at the beginning of the war. His notoriety followed him in being able to muster the 61st. He surely was close to Lincoln, having commanded him in the Blackhawk War. He also was quite an orator from his political days. The order of rank and leaders appears as the following: [1]

61st Volunteer Infantry: Colonel Jacob Fry
2nd Brigade: Colonel Madison Miller
6th Division:General Benjamin Prentiss
Army of the Tennessee: General U.S. Grant

Company A (John Romines)
Capt. Simon P. Ohr;Springfield (promoted Maj. 1862)
Capt. Francis M. Posey:Indianapolis , In. (mustered out 3/7/65)
Capt. William H. Armstrong (resigned 7/15/65 as 1st Lt.)
Capt.Green P.Hanks: Wilmington (8/65 to 8-65) mustered out 9/65

Company E (William T. Baird)
Capt. Henry W. Manning/ Kane/3/7/62 to 3/7/62 : mustered out drunkenness
Capt. Charles McDougall/Petersburg/ 3/27/64 to 3/9/64 :Mustered out Sept. 8/65

A total of 10 companies represented the 61st with a total of appx. 1000 fighting men. Companies A-H were organized from Greene, Jersey, Cass, Scott, and Lawrence counties.

On March 26, 1862 the regiment embarked for Pittsburgh Landing, also known as Shiloh. On arriving on March 30 they were assigned to the brigade of Col. Miller, Eighteenth Mo. And the Division of General Prentiss.

The control of the Mississippi and the waterways through the south were critical in Lincoln's plans for the defeat of the Confederacy. By the capture of Forts Donelson, and Ft. McHenry, Grant had laid claim to be a general that could fight. Close friends salvaged his career at Benton Barracks, and it was well known that he did not like Benjamin Prentiss. St. Louis was the major embarkation point at this time during the war with key ship works here and the Eads/Erricson ironclads (gunboats designed by Union). The Mississippi, to Cairo and then to the Ohio, and on to the Cumberland River was the easiest trail to the heart of the Confederacy.

Upon the arrival at Pittsburg Landing, Leander Stillwell, 18 years old, Company D, 61st Regiment writes "I shall never forget how glad I was to get off that old steamboat and be on solid ground once more, in camp out in these old woods. My company had made the trip from St. Louis to Pittsburg landing on the hurricane deck of the steamboat, and our fare on the route had been hardtack and raw fat meat, washed down with river water, as we had no chance to cook anything, and we had not then learned the trick of catching the surplus hot water ejected from the boilers and making coffee with it. But once on solid ground, with plenty of wood to make fires, that bill of fare was changed. I shall never eat again meat that will taste as good as sow belly did then, accompanied by flap jacks and plenty of good, strong coffee. We had not yet got settled down to the regular drills, guard duty was light, and things generally seemed to run "kind of loose" And then the climate was delightful. We had just left the bleak, frozen north, where all was cold and cheerless, and we found ourselves in a clime where the air was as soft and warm as it was in Illinois in the latter part of May. The green grass was springing from the ground, the johnny jump-ups were in full blossom, the trees were bursting into leaf, and the woods were full of feathered songsters. There was a redbird that would come every morning about sunup and perch himself in the tall black oak tree in our company street. And for perhaps an hour he would practice on his impatient, querulous note, that said, as plain as a bird could say, Boys, boys, get up! Get up! It became the standing remark among the boys that he was a Union redbird and had enlisted in our regiment to sound the reveilleÖ [2]

Owing to improperly cooked food, change of climate and of water, and neglect of proper sanitation measures in the camps, camp diarrhea became epidemic at Pittsburg landing, especially among the 'green regiments" like ours. And for about six weeks everybody suffered, more or less, the difference being only in degree. The fact is, the condition of the troops in that quarter during the prevalence of that disorder was simply so bad and repulsive that any detailed description thereof will be passed over. I never saw the like before, and never have seen it since. I always thought that the one thing which aggravated this trouble was the inordinate quantity of sugar some of the men would consume. They would not only use it to excess in their coffee and rice, but would eat it raw, by handfuls. " This disease affected both John Romines and William Baird as stated in their muster reports and pension descriptions described after the war. Disease would kill more soldiers in the war than any other reason.[2]

Both John and William were on roll call till April 30, 1862 and the assumption must be made that they were part of the 61st when they were overwhelmed by confederates at Shiloh on April 6,1862. Here was a regiment that was extremely green in warfare and it proved to be disastrous for them at Shiloh.

General Prentiss, from Quincy, and a direct descendent of settlers who had crossed on the Mayflower, founded a new division including the 61st at Pittsburg landing and was placed at the outer rim of the Union encampment. Prentiss was a captain in the Illinois Volunteers in the Mexican War, and a mediocre lawyer who had an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 1860. The division was about 6200 strong. From an inconspicuous beginning in 1861 as the elected captain of a Quincy, IL. Infantry company, the 42-year-old Prentiss had, in 4 months, risen to Brigadier General.

The 61st, like many of the new regiments at Shiloh, were simply too inexperienced to await what was to happen next. Private Leander Stillwell of Carrollton and the 61st spent most of his days wandering through a nearby Peach orchard hunting for wild peas and onions. It all seemed wonderful to this young boy from Carrollton, arising in the cool and fragrant mornings to hot coffee, pancakes, and bacon, then strolling through grounds strewn with fallen peach blossoms. In the morning of the 6th, the confederates assaulted the regiment. The behavior of Hildebrand's brigade, which was located to the left of Sherman's division, offers insight into the tragedy of the early hours of Shiloh. "Consisting of almost all raw recruits, it virtually fell apart before the Confederate assault, particularly the 53rd Ohio, who's colonel immortal words were "fall back and save yourselves" [2]

The 61st, camped on a tributary of Lick Creek, had eaten breakfast and were busily polishing muskets when the sounds of cannon and musket were heard. Jacob Fry announced" Gentlemen, remember your state and do your duty today like brave men". Sherman's division was being overrun and Prentiss was right behind. The regiment was so new that their commanders brief speech did not seem that unusual. It was only after Shiloh that the troops realized an experienced officer would have addressed the men as "soldiers". Soon the line of Confederates appeared before the 61st. A long brown line appeared from the woods, with muskets at a right shoulder shift, in excellent order, came. The soldiers of the 61st were paralyzed. Shoot, shoot, shoot, cried a company Lt., Why don't you shoot. One Illinois soldier, three months off the farm, frantically replied that he couldn't see anything at which to shoot but smoke. : Shoot, Shoot, anyhow! the officer shouted in his ear.

Corporal Leander Stillwell of Millers Brigade, the 61st stated:

"We had turned out about sunup, answered to roll-call, and had cooked and eaten our breakfast. We had then gone to work, preparing for the regular 'Sunday morning inspections, which would take place at nine o'clock. The boys were scattered around the company streets and in front of the company parade grounds, engaged in polishing and brightening their muskets, and brushing up and cleaning their shoes, jackets, trousers, and clothing generally. It was a most beautiful morning. It really seemed like Sunday in the country at homeÖ. The wagons were silent, the mules were peacefully munching their hay, and the army teamsters were giving us a rest. I listened with delight to the plaintive, mournful tones of a turtle-dove in the woods close by, while on the dead limb of a tall tree right in the camp a woodpecker was sounding his long roll" just as I heard it beaten by his Northern brothers a thousand times on the trees in the Otter Creek bottom at home. [2]

Suddenly, away off of the right, in the direction of Shiloh church, came a dull, heavy "PUM"! then another, and still another, Every man sprung to his feet as if struck by an electric shock, and we looked inquiringly into one another's faces. "What is that?"ask every one, but no one answered. Those heavy booms then came thicker and faster, and just a few seconds after we heard that first dull, ominous growl off to the southwest, came a low, sullen, continuous roar. There was no mistaking that sound. That was not a squad of pickets emptying their guns or being relieved from duty: it was the continuous roll of thousands of muskets, and told us that a battle was on. [2]

What I have been describing just now occurred during a few seconds only, and with the roar of musketry the long roll began to beat in our camp. Then ensued a scene of desperate haste, the like of which I certainly had not seen before, nor ever saw again. I remember that in the midst of this terrible uproar and confusion, while the boys were buckling on their cartridge boxes, and before even the companies had been formed, a mounted staff officer came galloping wildly down the line from the right. He checked and whirled his horse sharply around right in our company street, the iron bound hooves of his steed crashing among the tin plates lying in a little pile were my mess had eaten its breakfast that morning. The horse was flecked with foam and its eyes and nostrils were red as blood. The officer cast one hurried glance around him and exclaimed: My God! This regiment not in line yet! They have been fight on the right for an hour! And wheeling his horse he disappeared in the direction of the colonel's tent. "[2]

The retreat through the camp was so disorderly that Miller found that many of his men had lost all self-control. Advancing to the front were 2000 confederates under James Chalmers. Of the two brigades numbering 7 regiments and nearly 5000 fighting men defending, only 2 or 3 retained some effective strength.

The 61st withdrew to trees and fallen timbers beyond Spain Field and would then hold their position for another hour before withdrawing in mass confusion.

Samuel T. Carrico of the 61st also recorded; 'This position was in the edge of the woods, with considerable underbrush. In a few minutes the Johnnies could be seen marching in column of fours to our left. As soon as they came opposite each company of our regiment, our men commenced firing, the rebels being within easy range. They made no reply until far enough to the left to outflank us, when they came to a front and the fun began.

I did not realize a sense of danger until a man named Robinett , in Co. G., a few feet from my right, fell dead with a bullet through his brain, for I had for some time been looking for bees, not knowing, being a "green" soldier, that the buzzing and "zips" were made by bullets. "[2]

Leander Stillwell quotes " I saw men in gray and brown clothes, with trailed muskets, running through the camp on our right and I saw something else, too, that sent a chill all through me, It was a gaudy sort of thing, with red bars. It flashed over me in a second that the thing was a rebel flagÖit was going fast with a jerky motion, which told me that the bearer was on a double quickÖthe main thing was to get out of there as quick as we could. "[2]

The confederate divisions of Brig. Gen. Adley Gladden included the 1st Louisiana Inf. And the 26th Alabama. General Gladden was to die before 9 a.m. on the 6th in front of the 61st.T he roar of battle came tumbling down from the right. A wave of bright light flashed through the trees in front, which was sunlight glistening from thousands of gun barrels, the 61st had at last "seen the elephant". They began firing without orders. After three shots from the brigade, General Miller was told by Prentiss to retreat with his entire brigade to the north side of Spain field. As they crossed the open field Prentiss ragged line fell into more confusion, coning under a heavy confederate fire from several directions. The 61st was now behind cover, with many of its men protected by logs and stumps. The 18th Wisconsin was to be the far left of the Union Defense, the 61st was next and the 188th Missouri was to their right.

Leander Stillwell of Company D to the left of William Baird (Co.E) and to the right of John Romines (Co. A) makes comments later in his diary that;

"Soon the regiment was running through the woods to the safety of Hurlbut's line (coming from Belvedere in Boone County), located to the rear near the Peach Orchard. Here, the 61st along with a companion regiment was placed in Hurlbut's reserve, where, as it lay upon the ground, could hear the sounds of canister and shell whirling about them. Prentiss, remaining regiments also driven to the rear, rallied near an old wagon trail, which had been washed to deep ruts. Today it is called the Sunken Road, where they awaited the next onslaught. Grant sends word forward that the position must be held at all costs. Scouting had been inept the two days previous to the confederate attack. Observers had seen clusters of horses viewing the company drills, yet few gave notice that such a large force of confederates were gathering for the storm. The men were so surprised that they ran to the river and safe harbor to a way to get out. Guns were left where they were with the surprise. The only thing slowing down the confederates was the fact that so many spoils lay in their wake. Breakfast was still cooking on many fires and many a confederate had little supplies or food on their way to Pittsburg Landing. Boots, coats, rifles, ammunition, tents, blankets, and all forms of valuables had been left behind for the taking. 2

Hurlbut built a line from the renments of regiments, which were shattered in the days fighting. Stuarts brigade which included the 55th IL. the 61st IL. And the 9th and 12th of McArthur's brigade were gathered together for the last fight of the day.

The 61st was 400 men in strength at the beginning of the battle, and they were now scattered about among other regiments and also many were with Prentiss in the Hornets nest. Others skedaddled to the river. Over 7000 soldiers of the Union were cowering on the banks of Pittsburg landing by nightfall. One commander stated his men were demoralized and had lost confidence. After 2 hours of evading the surprise attack, many were demoralized and just started walking to the rear. After 10 hours of attack, many more joined them. I would say it was these men's purpose to fight another day. Whether John Romine or William T. Baird fought or ran cannot be derived. John Romines would have received the most immediate attack with Company A being on the far left flank.

Prentiss puts up a gallant stand at the "Sunken Road" or " the Hornets nest" where fighting was considered most fierce. The rebels had set up 62 field guns and provided an incessant barrage of canister from 11 batteries till nearly 5 p.m. At 4:55 Prentiss received another assault from Forrest and his cavalry. They fell on the 23rd Missouri (mostly Illinois troops) and began to flank the remaining defenders. Recent amputees were crawling to the river banks in fear of being overrun but eventually Prentiss surrenders those remaining or approximately 2200 of the original 6000 in his division. Colonel Miller who was the 61st Commander saw Prentiss raise the white flag at 5:16 P.M. Miller then also had to surrender and twice tried to surrender his sword. General Polk refused to take it, saying, "no man who has fought like you have should have to be deprived of their side arms.6 Even Gen. Breckenridge would not accept the weapon when offered. Colonel Miller had fought since sunrise that morning. Definitely Miller and Prentiss along with those of the 6th regiment had saved the Union to fight another day.

Hurlbutts division reforms and becomes the last bastion of defense before the river. Due to the lateness of the day and the massive defensive held by Hurlbutts division of which the remnants of the 61st were stationed (55th, 9th, 12th IL.) The Confederate assault then stalled. First the southern troops were running out of steam, second they were facing the last line of Union Defense, and thirdly, fire from union batteries and the naval gunboats at the landing presented obstacles that even the freshest troops would have had difficulty in overcoming. Thousands of Union skedaddlers had positioned themselves under the cliffs next to the river that day to avoid going into battle. Even the urging of General Ammen' brigade coming from across the river as reinforcements could do little to move them from the bluffs. It is a certainty that many men of the 61st were there with them. We do know that neither William T. Baird nor John Romines were captured at the hornets next and were still considered present with the muster report. Whether they were with Hurlbutts division or at the banks is not known. I prefer to think that they did what they could to stop the surge of the attack, and like anyone else, were fighting for their lives, which they did save on this day.

The regimental history quotes; "April 6, 400 men were formed in line, in time to receive the first assault of the enemy, and stood their ground for an hour and a quarter, and until every other regiment in the division had given way, and were then ordered to fall back. Upon retiring from this position, the Regiment was complimented by General Prentiss for its gallant stand. It was then ordered to support a battery of the first Missouri Artillery, and at one o'clock p.m. ordered to the support of General Hurlbutt--coming to his support at a very critical moment, and maintaining his line until relieved by a fresh Regiment, when its ammunition was entirely exhausted. When the second line was broken, the Regiment retired in good order and took a position supporting the siege guns. 80 were reported killed, wounded, and missing, including 3 commissioned officers. Finally the arrival of Colonel Jacob Ammens brigade of the Army of the Ohio, part of General Bull Nelsons division, which had been marching at full speed all day, helped stem the assault."

The Confederates then put a halt to the fighting till dawn on the 7th. This proved disastrous for the Confederates and Bragg. Wallace and Buell were both bringing reinforcements throughout the night. Forrest was aware of the arrival of Buell, but could not find a commander to give the order to continue the advance at night.

Leander Stillwell, waiting in the ranks of the 61st Illinois, later wrote that he first noticed the fresh troops as they came out of the darkness at the rear, led by Ammen's band playing "Dixie". As the soldiers came within talking distance, he shouted asking the name of the regiment. When told he stated`" I gave one big gasping swallow and stood still, but the blood thumped in the veins of my throat. " The night of the 6th was one of horror for both sides." 2 Many dead and dying were all over the field and the Union desperately needed reinforcements. . Reinforcements came from Buells division overnight as well as W.H. Lew Wallace (later the Author of the novel "Ben Hur"). Wallace was criticized severely by Grant for not arriving sooner.

When Buell arrived, over 7,000 Union soldiers were cowering below the cliffs of Pittsburg Landing and using every bit of their remaining energy to find a way out of there. Reasons for the halt of Confederate attacks may have been numerous. Bragg later confessed that he had Grant where he wanted him and felt he could mop up the remaining troops the next morning. The real reasons were the Confederates had been fighting over 10 hours, General Johnston (the greatest Confederate General in the West) had died, and leadership was inconsistent. Prentiss had caused serious delays in the fighting with his gallant stand, ammunition was short for many, and the Lexington and Tyler gunboats would cause serious damage to them if they continued. . Of the total of 13,047 soldiers killed, wounded, or missing, Illinois contributed over one third. 28 of 65 regiments engaged at Shiloh were from Illinois. Prentiss and remnants of the 61st were captured at the end of the day on the 6th at the "Hornets Nest", so called because bullets were flying so fast through the thickets that it sounded like an active hive of hornet bees. Those that surrendered saved the day for the Union, holding out till dusk. Colonel Miller surrendered as well around 5:24 p.m.

The capture of General Prentiss did not give much satisfaction to the confederacy nor did the loss of Albert Sidney Johnston, one of the ablest Confederate Generals. Prentiss, who had fought as noble a battle as any in the entire war, was placed upon a train and taken to a southern prison. Undaunted, the politician Prentiss, called to bystanders at each train stop and "indulged in oratory to his heart's content". Even while in prison, as Albert Richardson wrote, "the Illinois General continued to harangue the people, and his men to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" until at last the Rebels exchanged him.6

The night of reinforcements was a nightmare to all. Bodies were strewn everywhere and causalities could not be reached. Nathan Bedford Forrest had spies review the Union lines and discovered reinforcements disembarking by steamers. He then went to find Bragg to press the attack at night but could not find him. Bragg and his staff were sleeping in General Sherman's tent, which had been overrun earlier in the day.

Day two of Shiloh was a total change with the arrival of Buells division by steamboats the night of the 6th, the confederates were outnumbered and received enormous casualties the last two days of the battle. The south had lost many men, arms, and Joseph E. Johnston, some considered their greatest general. Shiloh became the largest battle ever to occur up to that point.

Another character to remember at Shiloh and till the end of the war was Nathan Bedford Forrest. He entered the confederate army a millionaire from slave holding and cotton, and rose to Lieutenant General by the end of the war. He was key in the destinies of most of the commanders of William T. Baird, John Romines, and the leadership of the 61st. He had no military training but fought in 179 battles and skirmishes and personally killed over 30 Yankees. In four years, he had enlisted as a common private and rose to the rank of Lt. General, the only soldier on either side to do so. General Sherman was almost killed by Forrest personally on the first assault at Shiloh, and he would have been if Forrest's revolver was not out of ammunition. General Prentiss surrendered to Forrest at Shiloh. Later Colonel Fry was to surrender to Forrest at the Trenton Post in December of 62, William T. Baird was wounded by concussions from Forrest's guns at Cemetery Hill outside Murphfreesboro in December 19, 1862, and John Romines was captured by Forrest's Calvary by a train ambush in December 1864 after the battle of Overall Creek. "That Devil Forrest" was certainly the appropriate name to any relatives of the Bairds, Romines, or Vestels following the war.

Forrest also has one of the most thrilling details of battle for any soldier during the war at the final day at Shiloh, He definitely was the last man to leave the engagement as described below by Shelby Foote in his book "Shiloh":

"Forrest was attacking 50 yards out front of his men (cavalry in defense of the retreat), standing in the stirrups and swinging a saber. The union troops had scattered the skirmishers but Forrest didn't stop. He rode on, still standing and brandishing the saber, charging the Federal Cavalry behind the Union skirmishers, he broke through and was now after the main body. The trouble was, he was charging by himself. Everyone else had reigned in after the union cavalry was scattered and had turned back to gather prisoners. He was still calling Charge, Charge! 50 yards beyond. He broke through the blue infantry ranks and they closed in behind him. The soldiers were yelling "kill him, kill him, knock him off his horse!" Forrest then saw what was happening and began to haul in the reigns, trying to turn back towards his own men. One heavy set union corporal then put the muzzle of his rifle into the colonel's hip and pulled the trigger. The force of the ball lifted Forrest out of his saddle but he regained his seat and held onto the reign, still hacking and slashing.

He was facing the rebs lines again and as he came out of the mass of blue uniforms and furious white faces, he reached down and grabbed one of the soldiers by the nape of the neck, swung him onto the crupper of his horse, and galloped back to his lines, using the Federal as a shield against the bullets fired after him. When he was out of range he flung the soldier off, the mans' head striking one of the jagged stumps with a loud crack, and rode to where the reps were waiting. The ball that wounded Forrest was the last that drew blood at the battle of Shiloh. "4

Forrest also delayed supply lines throughout the war. A Carrollton soldier informed his parents in December that his company was on half rations of coffee, and quarter rations of bacon and hardtack. Food supplies also left much to be desired. One soldier of the 61st reported. "But its awful poor beef, lean, slimy, skinny and stringy. The boys say that one can throw a piece up against a tree, and it will just stick there and quiver and twitch for all the world like one of those blue bellied lizards. Christmas allowances were also exceedingly small. This created the worst problem for soldiers throughout the war. Disease was killing more soldiers than the actual battles. Numerous soldiers of both companies complained of diarrhea, and dysentery. John Romines will be hospitalized in July 31 with the same intestinal fever, which haunts him till his death.

Over 20,000 Union troops had arrived by ferry over the night. Sunday the 7th found the Federals outnumbering the rebels 54,592 to 34,000 or an advantage of 20,592 men.

A monument at Shiloh now marks the spot in Spain Field where the 61st Infantry held the confederate attack on the morning of April 6, 1862. It reads:

61st Infantry
Commanded By
Col. Jacob Fry

Formed in line of battle about 8:00 a.m. April 6, 1862.
Advanced through the open field in front and engaged the enemy a short time, then fell back to this line and held it for more than one hour, when the regiment retired to south side of Cornith Road. Its loss in the battle was 12 men killed, 3 officers and 42 men wounded; 18 men missing: total 75

April 7 placed the 61st in reserve and no other references are made of the regiment in the Regimental History till April 18 when they were assigned to the First Brigade, 3rd Div., Col. LF Ross, 17th IL. Commanding Brigade. On April 28, Major Ohr took command of the Regiment with Col. Fry being absent.

Brigadier Gen. John Logan took command for 4 days from may 2-6 and then succeeded by Brig. Gen. Judah. "Black Jack" Logan is also a remarkable General coming from Southern Illinois.11

Movement was then taken on June 6 to Bethel Tenn. under Col.. Haynie (48th IL) and on the 16th moved to Jackson,Tenn. And then to Bolivar. [11]

In Sept. 1862, they moved via Jackson and Cornith, to Brownsville, Miss. on the Memphis and Cornith Railroad. They returned to Bolivar after the battle of Iuka but records show no participation. [11]

On Oct. 10, Col. Fry was reassigned to command the post at Trenton, where on the 20th of Dec., he was taken prisoner by Nathan Bedford Forrest and Paroled. Brig. Gen. Brayman took command on the 10th. [11]

On December 18, 1862, 240 men, including William T. Baird (John Romines was also present on the muster roll) proceeded by rail to Jackson and moving out of the Lexington road, under command of Col. Engleman with the 43rd IL. And a detachment of cavalry took a position at Salem Cemetery on the same day, and on the morning of the 19th repulsed the enemy under Forrest, with three pieces of artillery.11 It was during this battle that William T. Baird was injured by cannon fire. His Declaration for Original Pension of an Invalid presented on Aug. 16, 1875 states:

"I was knocked down and stunned at Union Cemetery Tenn. by a shell in battle Dec. 19,1863. My head is affected seriously at this time from said wound. I was treated by the regimental surgeon Armstrong in regimental hospital." [13]

On receiving reinforcements from Gen. Sullivan, the regiment pursued the enemy some distance, after which , they returned to Bolivar where they guarded the Union Railroad for some time.

On May 31, the regiment being in the 16th Army Corps, moved via rail, to Memphis, and embarked for Vicksburg. June 3, they arrived at Chickasaw Bayou, and on the 4th accompanied an expedition up the Yazoo River, landing at Sataria. With Lt. Col. Fry having resigned, Major Ohr was promoted Lt. Col. and on July 17th, they moved to Helena, AK. , August 13, in General Steels army, Col. McLane commanding from the 43rd Ind. Div. , and Col. Graves of the 12th Mich. Commanding brigade. They moved sharply to Clarendon, Duvall's Bluff, Brownsville, to Little Rock, skirmishing some with the enemy after leaving Brownsville, and arrived at Little Rock in Sept. 10. [11]

William T. Baird had serious problems with this march. He reports that "for several days I was taken in a wagon and followed up the regiment." I was taken by sunstroke and was feeling better at the end of the March so I did not seek assistance." 13Affidavits taken in 1888 state that on the 20th day of June 1863 "under forced march from Mechanicsburg to Haines Bluff under General Kimble, His neighbor and comrade James (M or W) Jones stated in 1888; "I saw him just before the stroke and immediately after. I never heard him complain before he was sunstroke, but since that time down to the present, he has been suffering with pain in his left side, and his eyes are badly affected since he was sunstroke, so much so that in the hot weather he cannot do anything, nor be out in the heat of the sun. I have lived a near neighbor to him during the last four years, and see him often, and I know that his eyes are growing worse all the time." 13John Romines and William T. Baird were with the regiment all this time and the muster reports them present.The rest of the time for the regiment to December was guarding the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. On Aug. 1, 63 William T. Baird went on furlough. John Romines is with the regiment through December as being present.
Again on January 9, 1864 William T. Baird was admitted to the regimental hospital with bronchitis and returned to duty on January 11, 1864.

During this time, the country was nearing the presidential election, hopefully the reelection of Lincoln, and it was not uncommon to grant furloughs to the men to vote and support the Army. It was also considered an honor to most of men from Greene County to be a Veteran Regiment. Those who had opposed the Lincoln administration and the war had gone home, leaving only strong supporters of Lincoln throughout the Army. In regiment after regiment holding mock elections in the summer of 1864, Lincoln stood clearly as the choice over General McClellan, the Democrat candidate. Sergeant Leander Stillwell (promoted by this time) saw an even more interesting development among Illinois soldiers in the same period. His regiment, recruited in the Carrollton area, had consisted almost solely of Democrats at the beginning of the war. Now in 1864, virtually every one of these same soldiers was ready to support the union ticket of Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. John Romines reenlisted as a Veteran Volunteer on Feb. 1, 1864 and was present on roll from February to March. William T. Baird shows his muster on Feb. of 1862 for a three-year service, which would reach Feb. 1865 which he was mustered out of the Union. Lt. Col. Grass was instrumental in speaking to the 61st on behalf of Lincoln and the Union.

The regiment remained in Arkansas until Aug. 14, 1864, being stationed most of the time at Little Rock and Duvall's Bluff. It did its full share of the hard fatiguing and generally profitless marching that the troops composing that department made during that period. It participated in the combat at Clarendon, on the White River, June 26, 1864, which resulted in raising the Blockade of that river made by the rebel general, Joe Shelby (buried in Kansas City Cemetery) Enough of the men re-enlisted as Veterans to enable the Regiment to retain its organization as a Veteran Regiment. On March 20, Company K joined the regiment being mustered in at Camp Butler in Springfield, IL. William T. Baird went on furlough on Aug. 1, 1863 and was reported present with the company from Sept. 1863 to November of 1864. He was detached to DuValls Bluff AK. from June to October of 63 and then to the ambulance corps. From November of 64 to his end of the war he stayed at Duvall's Bluff in the Ambulance Corp., which was February 5, 1865. On Feb. 5, 1865, he was mustered out in Springfield, IL. By Capt. Montgomery.[11]

The job of working for the ambulance corp. was not an easy one. Never before in the history of mankind had such savagery of technology inflicted such harm on man. On the battlefield, the normal soldier had almost 48 hours to wait before they could be attended to. 94% of wounds occurred by bullets. Amputation was the most common remedy, due to infection. Casualties were divided into three categories: the mortally wounded, the slightly wounded, and those requiring surgery. Those who were close to death were made as comfortable as possible, then left alone, those with minor wounds were attended to by a dressing surgeon who gave them opiates and liquor, and those requiring surgery were placed in line to wait their turn. By 1864, rail traffic was a convenient way to get men to key hospitals. Chloroform was used on most surgeries. Infection and disease were also rampant in the traveling army. Also, many bodies were dug up, embalmed, and sent back home weeks after a soldiers death. Over 500,000 soldiers perished of wounds or disease by the end of the war. Mound City Illinois was one of the largest hospitals in the Union to treat soldiers after battles, Steamers or hospital ships would move up the Mississippi with captured and wounded soldiers as well as confiscated arms. These arms were retained at the Rock Island Arsenal since Harper's Ferry was too close to Confederate lines.

John Romines story is quite different, On August 14, the Regiment started to Illinois, on veteran furlough, leaving Co. K and the recruits and non-veterans in Camp at Duvall's Bluff (Wm. Baird stays). On this trip home, John Romines marries Hannah Kimmett on the 22nd of September 1864. The justice of the peace is Josiah Jones.

"On the expiration of its veteran furlough, the regiment rendezvoused at Springfield, IL. It went from there to St. Louis. Owing to the pending invasion of Missouri by the rebels under General Price, the Regiment was halted at St. Louis, Companies B, D, and G were detached from the Regiment and sent to Chester, IL. to guard the crossing of the river at that point. They remained there until October 14, when they joined the Regiment at St. Louis. The entire Regiment was then sent to Mexico Missouri on the N. Missouri RR, in the northeastern part of the state, and during the balance of that month was engaged in a series of hard marches after a gang of rebels who were operating in that part of the state, and finally chased them across the Missouri River and dispersed them. The Regiment then returned to St. Louis, and on Nov. 6, left by steamer to Nashville, Tennessee, from thence on Nov. 28, by rail to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. On December 4, they engaged General Forrest again in combat at Overall's Creek, three miles from Murfreesboro.[11]

Notes from the Regimental History include:

In addition to the casualties sustained by the Regiment in this action among the rank and file, Lt. Elijah B. Corrington, of Co. F, a most excellent officer, was instantly killed, being struck by a musket ball in the chest. [11]

On December 7,1864, the Regiment was engaged in the battle of Wilkinson's Pike, or the "Cedars" near Murfreesboro. It signalized itself by a gallant charge over the enemy's rail, and dirt breast works, capturing the colors of a Florida Regiment and a number of prisoners. Out of about 200 men engaged, the 61st lost in killed and wounded about thirty in this affair."[11]

On December 12, the Regiment, numbering then about 175, with a small squad of dismounted cavalry, and one company of the 1st Michigan Engineers, was sent as escort of a train of cars destined to Stephenson, Alabama, and returned with rations for the troops at Murfreesboro. A torrential downpour of rain effected the movements of both the union and Confederacy during the first two weeks of December. On the return, about 2 o'clock in the morning of December 15, about 8 miles out of Murfreesboro, the Regiment was attacked by an overwhelming force of rebels, under the command of "Forrest". General Jackson commanding the confederates during the attack, states that the battle occurred on the 13th , not the 15th as the Regimental History states. The confusion of dates is probably to protect Forrest, who was to be in support of Hood's invasion of Tennessee (The battle of Franklin was lost by Hood because "he had no eyes (the cavalry) to see which was also Nov. 15). The rebel force aggregated fully 1,500 infantry and cavalry, and was also provided with a battery of artillery. They surrounded the train and tore up the track in front and rear to prevent escape, and opened up a galling fire of musketry and artillery. The train guard, including John Romines, numbering all told about 225 muskets, held the train until about 8 A.M., in the hope of reinforcements reaching them from Murfreesboro, but at that hour there being no sign of help, and their cartridges nearly exhausted, they abandoned the train, and cut their way out. Lt. Col. Grass (who had persuaded the regiment to re-enlist as a veteran unit and vote for Lincoln), commanding the Regiment, was captured, and over half the Regiment was killed, wounded and taken prisoners. Among others killed was Lt. Lorenzo J. Miner, of Co. B., a most admirable young officer. John Romines was also captured.[11]

Forrest presence was due to the fact that John Bell Hood and his Texans were trying to draw Sherman and his troops back to Tenn. from their invasion in the South or Sherman's March to the Sea. This was Hood's last campaign into the north. This series of battles is now called the Franklin and Nashville campaigns. While watching the skirmish and capture of the Union soldiers including John Romines, Forrest received a communiquÈ that engagements were eminent at Franklin and to be on immediate alert for recall. By the time John Romine was captured, the battle of Franklin had decisively turned to the Union Side and Hood was on the retreat. This was to be the last invasion of the North by a Confederate Army.

Lt. Col. Grass and over half the regiment was killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. Major General Nulton who had successfully led the left wing of the Regiment through the rebel lines reached a blockhouse; about 1/2 mile north and upon being reinforced marched back and recaptured the train in time to prevent its destruction. John Wyeth's book on Forrest7 suggests that the train was destroyed to protect Forrest's flank. Whether the date of the capture was the 13th or the 15th, it proves disastrous that Forrest was not present in supporting Hood in the Battle of Franklin. Hood had planned an invasion of Tennessee to distract Sherman on his "March to the Sea' in hopes of disrupting his rail supplies. It was at this time that Sherman decided to leave his supplies behind and live 'off the land' till the Army could link up with the Union Navy at Savannah. Unfortunately, the harassment of the rail lines by Forrest did not deter Sherman, but did provide much needed provisions for a starving Confederate Army in a desolate war-torn Tennessee.

On the 14th, the Franklin Battle was on in earnest and John was a captive of the confederate forces on a long march to the Auschwitz of the Civil War- The infamous Andersonville prison outside Andersonville, Georgia. From February 1864 to April 1865, some 50,000 prisoners trooped through the gate, of whom some 13,000 (400 unknown) never returned alive. This was the last severe action in which the Regiment was engaged. February 4, 1865, the non-veterans, including William T. Baird and recruits rejoined the Regiment from Duvall's Bluff, AK. John Romines is to spend the next 5 months in Andersonville Prison.

Andersonville Prison

Unlike Colonel Fry, who was paroled on a prisoner exchange before John's internment, General Grant after taking command of the entire Union Army believed that prisoner exchanges would only support the confederate cause and return more soldiers to the field. Therefore after April of 1864, few exchanges occurred between the North and South. Through research of numerous diaries' available describing the suffering of Andersonville, the common theme from the prisoners was a feeling that the Union had deserted them.

Andersonville was originally known as Station #8 when Capt. Winder selected the location as a prison. Station #8 was on the Southwestern RR line and later became known as Anderson, after John W. Anderson, the Supt. Of the railroad. - and was later renamed in 1856 Andersonville by the postal service to avoid confusion with Anderson, S. Carolina. Capt. Winder found in 1863 the Andersonville Site to his liking and by late December of that year had entered into land leases with Benjamin Dykes and Wesley Turner for their lots east of the depot, at a monthly rental of $50.00 & $30.00 respectively. Within 8 months Dykes had $400 and Turner $240 and Andersonville's 20-count population was heftier by some 35,000. The camp was officially known as Camp Sumpter, but is best remembered as simply Andersonville.

John Ransom's diary (Michigan Infantry) from accounts at Andersonville states on June 14,1864 "To tell the truth, we are so near death and see so much of it, that it is not dreaded as much as a person would suppose. We stay here day after day, week after week, month after month, seemingly forgotten by all our friends at the North, and then our sufferings are such that death is a relief in the view of a great many, and not dreaded to any extent."[18]

John's internment was no doubt a living hell, although some changes occurred just before his arrival to ease some of the squalid hell, he lived in. It seems the Raiders as they were called, Union men or ruffians who would organize into gangs, would rob or kill others for meager clothes, food, boots, or other items necessary for bartering and survival. They were put to a halt in July of 64 by the Commander Wirtz giving clubs to the soldiers 'to go in and bring me back the ruffians who are causing these disturbances'. The ruffians were also called N'Yaarkers. They were from the east but not necessarily N.Y.; many were from Rhode Island and the 7th New Hampshire. They were also called Mosby's Raiders after the famous Confederate Cavalry General John Mosby. William Collins of the 88th Pennsylvania, Co. D., liked to be called that, as he was the leader of Collins Raiders. The group organized to get the Raiders was so called "Regulators" coming from Illinois, and included Private Leroy Key and Private Ned Carrigan, both from Bloomington and members of the 16th Illinois Cavalry. The Illinois men tore the gang apart, arrested 6 of the leaders, brought them to trial, and hung them. Collins rope broke and the prisoners chased him around camp, finally pulling him from a hole and stringing him up again. After the hanging, they were buried in a plot separate from the regular soldiers, which can now be seen today in all its infamy. Various punishments were doled out to the others, such as ball and chains, the stocks, or being hung up by the thumbs. Others were released back into the pen on a sort of parole (after running a gauntlet of embittered prisoners). At the time of the hanging of the six (Collins, Curtis, Delaney, Munn, Sarsfield, and Sullivan) over 25,000 observers watched from the walls and the prison floor.

The men from the 16th Illinois cavalry had more misfortune than any other captives of Andersonville. Of the 824 deaths at Andersonville from Illinois, over 1/4 came from the 16th cavalry. From the Regimental History of the 16th Illinois cavalry we know the following:

"On the 3rd of January, 1864, this Battalion was attacked by three Brigades of Longstreets command, and after maintaining its ground for ten hours, against five times its own number, and losing heavily in killed and wounded, its ammunition having become exhausted, it was compelled to surrender. The loss of the Regiment upon this occasion was 456 men and 56 officers. Long afterward the Rebels exchanged less than one-third of these prisoners, sent them back in the most wretched condition from the horrors of the prison pen at Andersonville. The others were victims of the frightful tortures to which they were there subjected,

Providence Spring Memorial, December, 1994
130 years after John Romines arrival at Andersonville

and now lie buried in the National Cemetery at that place." Illinois soldiers were afterward respected within the stockade. [11]

Conditions were still savage beyond reality. Individuals who did not have constipation from the long camp tenure when they arrived began to deteriorate almost immediately upon entering the stockade. 1/2 of the 92 Illinois regiment of 21 men died before the fall. Gums softened, teeth fell out, and dysentery set in within a month. Much of the responsibility lay within the water supply. A small stream running through the prison was used for both disposing of human waste as well as drinking water. The hot summer months in Georgia proved to be the most brutal months of confinement, due to exposure, more disease, and poor water. Waste from the confederate camp outside Stockade Branch also proved to contaminate the water even in the camps earliest days.

On August 9, 1864, a heavy downpour of much needed rain and flood drenched the compound. The prison population at that time numbered 33,000 inmates and it was still 5 months before the arrival of John Romines. The little stockade branch turned into a rushing torrent of water that tore down a 100-foot section of the wall. Before a man could take a step toward the aperture, two warning shots from Star Fort were fired and soon guards formed in line across the opening allowing no escape. The next day the rain continued and carried away some repair work allowing the prisoners much needed wood and for lodging and fires. Some prisoners taunted the guards, saying that Grant and Sherman were making bigger holes in the Confederacy.

Not long after the stockade branch settled back into its narrow banks on the 13th , a new spring was discovered about half way between the North Gate and the Stream. Fortunately, it bubbled up inside the stockade where it would be most appreciated, but it was within the "deadrun" (no-mans land to the prisoners, of whom many were shot who crossed it.) Dippers on poles were used to catch the clear water, then a trough was used to funnel the water across the deadline, and the water flowed at a rate of 8-10 gallons each minute.

Many inmates attributed the blessing of clean water to an act of Providence, and so the spring was named, and it still bubbles up as a favorite Andersonville landmark.

By November of 1864, Andersonville had become less crowded, where at one point there were barely 1500 prisoners left to wander about the stockade, which once had been packed with nearly 35,000, As a direct consequence of having most of the prisoners shipped out was the loss of most of the guard staff. Due to this fact, tension and discipline both slackened during this stage. Guard duty was held by old men and boys, many carrying inoperable muskets to guard the prisoners. The substandard railroads in the region were already overworked, serving as a lifeline for Lee's beleaguered army many miles away in Virginia. In November Sherman had taken Atlanta and was to take Savannah by the time John was in prison. The reason many were being moved from Andersonville was because of lack of significant rail traffic and the fact the South felt Sherman may break out to free those interred there. This of course did not happen. Figures below show the changes of deaths at the prison the 3 months before John's arrival.

September 8218 2790 90
October 4208 1595 51
November 1359 435 10

Those remaining at the prison from December to February of 1865 were predominantly sick and ill, being held at the camp hospital. Food and supplies were scarce, and most being admitted had been stripped of belongings before their arrival. John remained at the camp so we must assume that he was also ill from the old disease that had followed him throughout the war.

These three events may have eased John Romines stay at Andersonville, but still the effects of 7 months confinement added up. R. Seward, Company E of the captured 61st died on April 11, 1865 of diarrhea, and J. Wheeler of Company F of the 61st died on Sept. 18, 1865 of diarrhea. The effects of Shiloh and reports of both Baird and Romines show that this was the most common form of death during the war. Record upon record of the dead at Andersonville report death by diarrhea, phthisis (an old term for "wasting away"), scorbutus, dysentery, pneumonia, typhus, and bronchitis. 80% of the deaths were attributed to diarrhea (possibly TB). Few deaths were attributed to wounds. The effects on the 16th cavalry occurred between 7-12 months of incarceration.

When John was captured outside Murfreesboro, Andersonville was only 8 months old but already a hellhole containing more than 20,000 prisoners. The average area per prisoner was only 4 square yards. It may be assumed that John was stripped of most belongings before his arrival at the prison. Desperate men in the south were constantly looking for boots to cover their own feet as well as blankets to cover them at night. Bribes were common to the Southern guards for the most common necessities. At the time of his arrival, probably around Jan. 1, 1865, over 1,000 prisoners were arriving per day, even though many were being transferred. This made many of the long interred to believe that the South was winning the War. Others knew better hearing of the stories of Petersburg and John surely hearing of the battle of Franklin sometime during or immediately after his capture. All knew of Sherman's March to the Sea and the siege of Atlanta. Grierson's Raid (Jacksonville Native) into the Deep South would have occurred during the same period. Bewilderment met many who felt the cavalry under Sherman would breakout to relieve the prisoners and yet none came. It may also be assumed that the soldiers were being treated better that July of the previous year as recognized by the above events.

There were also many southern sympathizers by January of 1865 to also attempt to relieve the burden. Fraternization began to occur in the camp after January of 1865. A woman named Ann Williams came to the stockade and somehow gained entry. On the 17th Captain Wirz reported he knew of at least 7 prisoners she had given herself to before being discovered. He claimed she was not a prostitute because she had refused money. Her story to Wirz was that she simply wanted to be a friend to the prisoners, and 'had come for the purpose of seeing how she could help them" At least 7 prisoners could claim that life at Andersonville was not without its pleasurable moments.

With John being illiterate, it also may be assumed that his knowledge was dependent on other literates who knew how to write to relatives or the war department.

John Ransom writes in his Andersonville diary;

June 21, 1864: I am a fair writer and am besieged by men to write letters to the rebel officers praying for release, and I do it, knowing it will do no good, but to please the sufferers. Some of the letters are directed to Capt. Wirtz, Gen. Wilder, or Jeff Davis and other officers. One goes on to say he has been a prisoner of war over a year, has a wife and three children destitute, how much he thinks of them, is dying with disease, etc., etc. All kinds of stories are related, and handed to the first rebel who comes within reach. Of course they are never heard from.19

Many survived the prison because of the ability to barter their writing skills to meet the necessities of life.

Joseph Jones, Surgeon, Professor of Medical Chemistry, gives a very concise description of the prison at the trial of Capt. Wirz. (Hanged for his participation).

The prison consisted of a strong stockade twenty feet in height, enclosing twenty-seven acres. The stockade is formed of strong pine logs, firmly planted in the ground (by slaves) The main stockade is surrounded by two other similar rows of pine logs, the middle stockade being sixteen ft. high, and the outer one twelve feet. They are intended for offense and defense. If the prisoners should at any time force the inner stockade, the second forms another line of defense. The prisoners not only constructed numerous dirt houses with balls of clay and sand, taken from the wells which they had excavated all over these hills, but they have also, in some cases, tunneled extensively from these wells. The lower portions of these hills, bordering on the stream, are wet and boggy from the constant oozing of water. 20

The stockade was originally built to house 10,000 and included 17 acres, but enlarged by the addition of 19 acres. The average prisoner had only 4-sq. ft. to stand. This is misconstruing because a stream ran through the middle of the stockade and the area between the hills was low and boggy and was covered with excrements of the men and thus rendered wholly uninhabitable, and in fact useless for every purpose except that of defecation. The pines and other small trees were torn down immediately, including the roots, for firewood, cups, spoons, and food (a form of coffee was also made from the burnt roots of the tree). Therefore there was no shade tree in the entire enclosure of the stockade. The excrement was then so close to the stream that the water was so contaminated that the excrement could not be washed away. As I mentioned earlier, by the time of Johns arrival, Providence Spring was discovered, and the population had dwindled, yet the disease and filth was still everywhere. Pickups of the excrement of 30,000 prisoners was done daily (during maximum occupation) but still impartially and imperfectly carried out. As the forces of prisoners were reduced to confinement, want of exercise, improper diet, and by scurvy, diarrhea, and dysentery, including two outbreaks of smallpox, many could not move and were unable to evacuate their bowls near the stream. The vast majority of inmates appeared to lose all repulsion of filth, and both sick and well disregarded all of the hygiene and personal cleanliness. Lice and maggots were everywhere including the soup. The dead were delivered to the gate each morning although some kept them away from the gate so more rations could be shared among others still living.

In March of 1865, prisoner exchanges were resumed through an agreement hashed out between General Grant and the Confederates' General Ould. On the day Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, April 9, 1865, only 20 prisoners remained at Andersonville, all being confined to the hospital and unable to move. On April 18, three trainloads of prisoners were returned to the stockade due to Union Gen. Quincy A. Gillmore's refusal to accept the prisoners, pending approval from Grant, On May 4, 1865, Col. Geo. C. Gibbs-who assumed post commander from Gen. Wender in October, reported that all the prisoners within his command had been paroled for exchange at Baldwyn, Fla. John Romines would be among those remaining and was paroled at Jacksonville Fl. On April 28, 1865. He was then sent from Jacksonville, Fl. To Benton Barracks in Missouri on May 19,1865 and reported there May 24, 1865.John was then sent to Illinois for muster out on May 26. He received his discharge from the 61st Regiment on June 28, 1865 with a letter dated from the War Dept. May 30,1865. The last recorded death at Andersonville was R. Hanson of Wisconsin who died in February of 1865.

The ransacking of the Andersonville prison camp was at the hands of Sumpter County residents. On the night of May 3, 1865, during Gibbs visit to Florida, they broke into the prison warehouses and stole what military stores were left, and made off with army mules, clothing and bedding. With Sherman's assault on Georgia, little sustenance was available to anyone, including the prisoners.

Post 1865-

William T. Baird returned to the farm as did Leander Stillwell and John Romines. All would suffer from their wounds and injuries the rest of their lives. William T. Baird returned home to marry Mary F. Elliott in Greene, County, Illinois on October 21st of 1866 . The marriage was carried out by Isaac C. Tunison. William T. would have a long life after the war with several children. The report also claims that William T. was called "Beard" by most friends and neighbors . William T. later describes in his pension reports that his head injuries and stroke from the long march debilitated him to the point of blindness in his later years. He stayed on the farm with his children into the early 1900s. His blindness and the fact that he felt a burden to the family, not being able to carry his fair share of the workload , created great dispare and depression. He left a note to his children that he wished not to burden any of them further, and proceeded to the barn where he hung himself in the rafters on July 26, 1911. He is now buried in the Jones Cemetery, east of White Hall, not far from his life long residence. Mary Francis Elliott Baird died of consumption(some consider as tuberculosis) on April 18, 1918. The epitaph on the stone reads "Gone but not Forgotton".


William T. Baird gravesite, located at the Jones Cemetery east of White Hall, Illinois


John Romine gravesite located in a small rural cemetery outside patterson Illinois

John Romines returned home to Wilmington, and at one time, moved to Missouri for several years , before returning home. His illness stayed with him till his death, although he raised and prospered with a fine family and Hannah. Lowell Call, the notary public, and his wife Sylvia B. claimed in May of 1883: " I am 57 years old and have been well acquained with said Hannah Romine and her late husband John Romine ever since the year 1858 that was 7 years before they were married during those years before he entered the U.S. Service he freequently worked for my husband and stayed at our house and he was a very stout healthy young man and as soon as he was discharged from the Army he came to our house he was sick their with Chronic Diarrhoea and employed the late Dr. Thorn of Glasgow Il. To treat him for the same and from that time until the time of his death which occurred on or about the 19th day of February 1878 near Patterson, then called Breese, in the County of Greene and State of Illinois, he lived a good part of the time on our farm or close to it and I have frequently taken care of him when he would get down sick with that disease Dr. Thorn, as long as he lived, being his physician - I have been a nurse for many years-sent for, far and near, as such and was sent for to help take care of said John Romine when he was taken down with his last sickness and was with him until his death, that occurred as above stated-and when I arrived , the day after he had taken to his bed, I found him suffering with his old disease "The Chronic Diarrhoea: he grew worse and they sent for a young Dr. Arnold of Patterson who attended him till his death- as the disease progressed a slight fever accompanied it But the doctor was never able to control the Diarrhoea- he seemed to be handled just as he always had been in all his former attacks. And I have no interest whatever in this claim And my Post Office address is Alsey Scott County state of Illinois."[13]

Wittnesses: John H. Wells
Sylvia B. Call Susan Kimmitt
X (her mark)
The foregoing affidavit was subscribed and sworn to before me this 7th day of April 1883, by the affiant, Susan Kimmitt after the same was fully explained to her, and I certify that she is a credible person and entitled to credid. And I have no interest in this claim or its prosecution and my certifucate of qualification is on file in the pension office.
Lowell Call
Notary Public13

Hannah Romines did receive the pension and passed away at the age of 37 years in Alsey Illinois on August 19th 1886, by consumption which she had suffered for 3 months.

John and Hannah Romines had a daughter, Lora E. Romine (b.3/19/1875-d. 5/7/1939) who married Jesse L. Vestel on August 12, 1896. They in turn had a son, John Cartie Vestel on Sept. 28,1897. John had 3 daughters Virginia Spencer, Norma Beard, Dorothy Morris, and a son Ramond. This author is the son of Dorothy Morris.

John and Hannah also had Martha Ann born Nov. 17, 1867, Tanner B. born January 21, 1869, Margaret J. May 6,1871, Claudia W. Jan. 23, 1873 and Loretta March 19,1875.

Nathan Bedford Forrest

Nathan Bedford Forrest survived the war , and was quoted, from Senator and General John T. Morgan the following. " General, I am broken in health and in spirit, and have not long to live. My life has been a battle from the start, It was a fight to achieve a livelihood for those dependent upon me in my younger days, and an independence for myself when I grew up to manhood, as well as in the terrible turmoil of the Civil War. I have see too much of violence, and I want to close my days at peace with all the world, as I now at peace with my Maker."( Diabetes and the dreaded Diahrrea were to be the end of him, In the early autumn of October 29,1877 he died at the early age of 56. He is buried in Memphis at the Elmwood Cemetery He was a man who keenly felt the need for education , but had rose from an enlistee to a Lieutenant General and was the most successful Confederate Guerilla of the war. A man who rose from extreme poverty and became a millionaire before the war only to lose it, and then to regain it after the war. He used much of it to support those in need after the war.

He has been said to have been the founder of the KuKluxKlan, yet he testified otherwise.

His men were believed to be wild and desperate characters , but this was not the case. A large portion of them were well behaved citizens, farmers, mechanics, clerks, and educated, just like those of the 61st. Every soldier respected him and knew that He would be the first to the front. He was known to have killed many a deserter or coward on the spot on the battlefield. To him , the killing was a means to an end, that of successfully gaining their prize , the freedom of the South. The end to Forrest was to win the War, there was no other choice. At Murfreesboro, late in 1864 , before John Romines capture, he shot the color bearer of one of the infantry regiments which ran in front of the 61st. He beat them with sticks, and killed them to keep attacking, and was usually successful. He was always to the front and soldiers have no greater respect than to have their commander facing death as they. He killed over 30 yankees and had 29 horses shot out from under him, yet he wanted to return to the farm as did every other man. Sherman called Nathan Bedford Forrect a "devil" and promised a brigadier general promotion to major general if he killed him. Now there was a manÖÖ.

The results of the war affected every family and their families family over the next two generations. The story of William T. Baird and John Romines are tied together with the long term effects of war . The impact of the War of the States showed in both men tragedy long after the death of President Lincoln, both in their hearts and bodies.

Over 31,000 Confederates and 30,192 Union troops died of Prisoners of War during the Civil War. Over 313 Union soldiers died of sunstroke during the War. Total casualities for the Union during the War were 642,427 and 483,026 for the Confederacy. Only 110,100 soldiers in the Union were either killed in action or mortally wounded. Disease, suicide, executions, drownings, and accidents were the other leading causes of death. Over 500,000 soldiers returned home wounded after the war and the results of their impairments cannot be calculated over their remaining lifetime. We do know that with William T. Baird and John Romine, the toll was significant.


1)Andersonville: A Story of Rebel Prisons, by John McElroy; Vol. 1 & 2 : The National Tribune: 1899

2)Shiloh: Voices of the Civil War, by Time-life Books ,1996

3)Shiloh:The Battle that Changed the Civil War, by Larry J. Daniel;1997 :Simon & Schuster

4)Shiloh:Shelby Foote;1952:Vintage Books

5)Illinois in the Civil War: by Victor Hicken:1966; University of Illinois Press

6)Shiloh: Bloody April; by Wiley Sword; 1988; Morningside Bookshop

7)That Devil Forrest: Life of General Nathan Bedford Forrest; by John Allan Wyeth; 1959; Harper & Bros.

8)Frontier Illinois; by James E. Davis;1998; Indiana University Press

9)The Frontier State: 1818-1848; by Thomas Calvin Pease; Illinois State Historical Society

10)Embrace an Angry Wind:The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville; by Wiley Sword; 1992; Harper Collins Publishers

11)Illinois Adjutant Generals Reports 1861-1866; Regimental and Unit Histories

12)The Road to Shiloh: Early Battles in the West; Time-Life Books;1983

13)Civil War Military and Pension Records of John Romine and William T. Baird

14)Illinois GenWeb Project

15)Shiloh National Battlefield Website

16)Greene Co. Illinois GenWeb Archives (Greene Co. Map)

17)Illinois Central RailRoad Website :

18)Time-Life History of the Civil War:1987;Time Life Books, Tenting Tonight

19)John Ransom's Andersonville Diary/Life Inside the CW Most Infamous Prison;
by Bruce Catton (designer); May,1994; Berkley Pub. Group

20)Andersonville:Civil War Times Illustrated;1983;Eastern Acorn Press

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