During that period, no government-sponsored deposit insurance had yet been devised, to guarantee the integrity of banks and safeguard people's savings accounts. Banks rose and fell, in those days, largely on the character of the men who ran them - and in Knox County, Illinois, as in many other localities, some banks closed their doors at great loss to depositors, while other banks endured year after year. those which survived usually did so because the capital was judiciously managed. farm mortgages, for example, could only be safely placed if the bank officer knew the reliability of specific customers. In this capacity, Captain Jim excelled, for he knew which farmers were good risks, who had good character and would keep their promises. He never retired and was at his desk until within a few hours of his death. His personal estate was subsequently found to be modest.
The Illinois State Archives in Springfield today has the records of the 86th Illinois Infantry Regiment. Among those records is a telegram on the printed form of the Illinois and Mississippi Telegraph Company. Timed 11:20 a.m. and dated at Peoria, August 12, 1862, a message from Jas. L. Burkhalter, Captain, is written to Allen C. Fuller, the addressee. "My company is full to maximum," wired Captain Burkhalter to Fuller. "Have attached myself to Eight-Sixth, Colonel Irons. Will send enlistment papers and election returns per mail."
So began this important chapter in the lives of some Illinois men from that village named Maquon, a chapter which is published only now.
Sunday, March 6, 1864
Left old camp at McAfee Church at three o'clock and marched to Gordon's Mills, about 7 miles. Bivouacked for the night.
Detailed fourteen men to remain in old camp. Their guns had been of the U. S. Springfield pattern, and are being turned over for exchange. The men are to rejoin the company in a few days. Wrote out a roster on clothing issue. Blouses, pants and bootees for the boys.
Monday, March 7, 1864
Weather is bad. It rained very hard during the night. Our troops were very uncomfortable, all through the night.
Tuesday, March 8, 1864
Weather is quite fair and pleasant today. The company is gone on picket, on Crawfish spring Road, about three-quarters of a mile from Gordon's Mills. In command, Captain Burkhalter.
Wednesday, March 9, 1864
Nice day. Company relieved from picket at 9 a.m. and returned to camp. Brigade was visited by Major General Thomas, Brigadier General Davis and Brigadier General Morgan. There was heavy firing in the direction of Buzzard Roost and Dalton. It was supposed to be the enemy's practice firing.
Thursday, March 10, 1864
Wet weather. It rained last night almost incessantly, but cleared up about 10 a.m. Clear for the balance of the day.
Friday, March 11, 1864
Am Officer of the Day on grand guard. Still camped at Gordon's Mills; weather clear. Everything quiet on our front today, except that a few of the enemy's mounted scouts have appeared near our advance company pickets.
Saturday, March 12, 1864
The weather is clear this morning and quite warm - so much so as to be really uncomfortable to sit in the sunshine. Regiment was on battalion drill and commanded by Major Allen L. Fahnestock.
Sunday, March 13, 1864
Everything is unusually dull and quiet, but the weather show a fair breeze from the South, which makes the atmosphere very pleasant.
Monday, March 14, 1864
Company detailed for picket at Gordon's Mills. Special muster held for the purpose of ascertaining the number of men absent and under what circumstances. A certificate is required from each company's commanding officer. Counter- sign: Wartrace.
Tuesday, March 15, 1864
Company relieved from picket by a company from the 52nd Ohio Regt. Returned to camp, had Brigade drill by Colonel Daniel McCook. No news of interest from the front.
Wednesday, March 16, 1864
Thursday, March 17, 1864
Weather is pleasant and had Brigade drill by Colonel Daniel McCook.
Friday, March 18, 1864
Company detailed for picket, on post near Chickamauga Creek, below camp. Weather quite pleasant and everything passed off quickly.
Saturday, March 19, 1864
Relieved from picket by Company H, 52d Ohio, and returned to camp. We were visited by Colonel D.W. Magee. Some indication of rain.
Sunday, March 20, 1864
Weather fair. Captain Burkhalter is in command of 86th Regt., as Captain Thomas is absent. Company F complimented as being in best trim on inspection of any in Brigade. Inspected by Lt. Rogers.
Monday, March 21, 1964
Weather pleasant and warm. Had Brigade drill by Lt. Col. Clancey. Nothing unusual happened during the day until about sunset, when things took on the appearance of a coming storm.
Tuesday, March 22, 1864
Snow 9 inches deep
We were surprised this morning by a severe snowstorm at daylight. The snow was three inches deep and at 9 a.m. was about six inches. By 4 p.m., when the storm abated, the snow was nine inches on the level. Now the weather has moderated and is thawing.
Wednesday, March 23, 1864
Cold. Snow still about nine inches deep, but a fair day is in prospect.
Sundown, yet much of the snow remains on the ground. Still cold, but clear.
Thursday, March 24, 1864
Last night was very cold. the men suffered much because of insufficient cover and shelter. Cleared up during the day and became warm.
Friday, March 25, 1864
Snow 3 inches deep
We were again surprised with about 3 inches of snow this morning, which turned into a drizzling rain; that, in turn, rendered everything most unpleasant. Company returned from picket to camp and found everything wet and covered with snow.
Saturday, March 26, 1864
Snow nearly all disappeared last night. Weather is now pleasant, but the mud is bad. Moved my headquarters to near Gordon's Mills. Colonel D. W. Magee's resignation was accepted and regretted by many.
Sunday, March 27, 1864
Weather is pleasant and had company inspection. The outfit's appearance is excellent, showing much care and industry on the part of the men. Received the compliments of Company F being the best equipped and in the best condition in the Brigade.
Awarded by Colonel McCook.
Monday, March 28, 1864
Weather is nice. Company is on picket. Had an election for Major. Candidates were Captain Thomas and Captain Burkhalter - resulted in the election of Captain Thomas. Vote stood Thomas -14; Burkhalter - 7.
Tuesday, March 29, 1864
Company returned from picket. Brought camp and other equipage up from the camp at McAfee. Weather is good.
Wednesday, March 30, 1864
Nothing of interest today. Rainy and cold.
Thursday, March 31, 1864
Brigade returned to the camp at McAfee fro a General Review by Major General Thomas.
The general appearance and conduct of the review was not very satisfactory, to my gaze. Principally attributable to the miserable music made by the 52d Ohio Regiment band. Returned same day.
Friday, April 1, 1864
Weather cool, but fair. Company is in camp. No drill. The men are much fatigued from Review and the long march to and from the parade ground.
Saturday, April 2, 1864
Weather all right, but still quite muddy. I returned to old Camp McAfee to see the Mustering Officer. Rode a little donkey and found that a rather tedious way of getting through the world. Loaned Lt. Lansing J. Dawdy $30 in cash. Loaned Captain John French of Company K $20 in cash.
Sunday, April 3, 1864
Company F received the credit of having the best grounds and quarters in Brigade, by Colonel Daniel McCook. Weather fair and warm.
Monday, April4, 1864
Had Joseph M. Wilson mustered into the United States service to date from his enlistment. Walked through the rain and mud to Division Headquarters, to the Mustering Officer.
Tuesday, April 5, 1864
Weather pleasant, but roads very muddy. Company is in camp. No drill.
Wednesday, April 6, 1864
Weather fair, roads getting dry. Had Brigade drill under Colonel Daniel McCook. Boys busily engaged in constructing quarters and building chimneys. had two men on the sick list.
Have some apprehension that our camp is not a befitting and healthy location.
Thursday, April 7, 1864
Weather is fair. had Brigade drill under Colonel Langley of 125th Illinois. Did very well. Had to write the Quartermaster General in Washington about why so many of my company records and equipment are missing. It is due to battle losses and inefficient supply, as well as bad storage service while we are on campaign.
Friday, April 8, 1864
A little rain last night, but weather is all right today. Sent in monthly return covering the month of March clothing and camp and Garrison equipage: 46 canteens, 51 haversacks, and 45 knapsacks, et al.
Saturday, April 9, 1864
Decent weather. No drill today, so as to enable the boys to prepare for Sunday inspection.
Sunday, April 10, 1864
Light showers during the day, which made it rather disagreeable. Did not have the usual Sunday inspection on account of bad weather.
Monday, April 11, 1864
Weather satisfactory, had company drill in the forenoon and battery drill in the afternoon. did not do very well. there was an apparent lack of energy on the part of our field officers.
Tuesday, April 12, 1864
Unpleasant and rainy at times, today. Company in Grand Guards, commanded by Lt. Amos Loveland of Company F.
Wednesday, April 13, 1864
Company relieved from picket. Weather all right. Had battalion drill by Major Allen L. Fahnestock.
Thursday, April 14, 1864
Bad weather. Had numerous cold and disagreeable showers during the day. No drill. The men are all huddled around their comfortable firesides.
Friday, April 15, 1864
Weather nice. Had company drill, but nothing else. Captain Hall inspected us for equipment and approved new issue of camp and garrison equipage.
This is my birthday. Boys threatened to wallop me as is customary on such occasions.
Saturday, April 16, 1864
Company drill today. Battalion drill was ordered, but was afterwards counter-manded, so as to allow the men an opportunity to prepare for inspection.
Weather very pleasant, though cool.
Sunday, April 17, 1864
Company detailed for picket on post number one (Chickamauga). Had nice weather until about sunset, when it began to rain, ending in a very cold, miserable night.
Monday, April 18, 1864
Company relieved from picket. Had general inspection. The appearance of the company was quite good, considering the previous bad night. Weather fair, still very cool.
Tuesday, April 19, 1864
Nice day. had company and battalion drill. The health of the men is much better than I had anticipated it would be, in so low and marshy a camp, and on the banks of the sluggish Chickamauga Creek.
Wednesday, April 20, 1864 to Friday, April 29, 1864
In the regimental history of the 86th Illinois, the author, John Kinnear, who was then Sergeant in Company A, describes this period as a bucolic time in camp.
Saturday, April 30, 1864
Prepared a lengthy roster covering clothing which has been issued to the boys. Everyone needed trousers and stockings. Next largest issue was of shirts. Also drew up a list of goods transferred to me by the regimental quartermaster.
Sunday, May 1, 1864
Active preparations are under way today for the impending campaign. All surplus baggage is going to the rear for storage in Chattanooga and everybody is busy and anxiously waiting for the order to move forward. Though the weather has been poor all day, the men are nearly all out of their quarters and tramping about through the drizzling rain and mud.
Sick in hospital
had to send Richard Finch to the hospital at Chattanooga. He is sick with an intermittent fever.
Monday, May 2, 1864
Everything is quieter than yesterday. The weather is nice and preparations are now complete for the regiment to leave on very short notice. Troops of the 20th Army Corps have arrived to relieve this Brigade and are now in camp here.
Started a new roster for clothing issue. Johnny Mire needed a new dress coat. Tim West had to have stockings and Sergeant's chevrons. Loaned Captain Joseph Major of Company A one musket complete with one set accoutrements. Turned over to Sergeant Ross one musket and bayonet.
It was handed over to Captain Ed Van Antwerp, with one set of accoutrements.
Tuesday, May 3, 1864
Received orders to march at 6 a.m. towards Ringgold. Leaving Gordon's Mills, the column moved in obedience to those orders and reached Ringgold at two p.m. and then went into temporary camp, to await further preparations. At this place, we joined the First and Second Brigade, which arrived here yesterday from Camp McAfee. Now, for the first time in several months, the whole Division is camped together. The other Divisions of the Corps are moving into position here. The weather is quite pleasant and warm. Raised shelter tents for the night.
Wednesday, May 4, 1864
Remained in camp all day. The weather was quite warm and nice. Received orders in the evening about eight o'clock for tomorrow morning at daylight. We are to march through Ringgold Gap and take position on the south side of Taylor's Ridge.
Thursday, May 5, 1864
Moved out of our temporary camp in the rear of Ringgold, at sun-up. Marched through Hooker's Gap; we took position on the right of the Fourth Army Corps and in the rear of the village of Stone Church and immediately on the left of Spring branch. There we lay all day and night.
The army is rapidly concentrating and swelling its numbers to huge proportions, which I think make the capture of Dalton and Rome certain beyond any doubt. And, if properly managed, very speedily. The troops gathering here for operations against Buzzard's Roost and Dalton are the Fourth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Twentieth and Twenty-Third Army Corps, as well as a division of each of the Seventeenth and Sixteenth Army Corps. They are commanded as follows: Fourth Corps by Maj. General O. O. Howard; the Fourteenth Corps by Maj. General John M. Palmer; the Twentieth Corps by Maj. General Joseph Hooker. These three corps comprise the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by Maj. General George H. Thomas. The 15th, 16th, and 17th corps are commanded as follows: 15th, by Maj. General John A. Logan; 16th by General Dodge; 17th by Maj. General Blair - these three comprising the Army of Tennessee and commanded by Maj. General James B. McPherson. The 23rd Corps - the Army of the Ohio - commanded by Maj. General Schofield. The three armies are commanded by Maj. General W. T. Sherman.
Such is the present organization, with an effective force of about 100,000 men.
Late advises from Rebel papers show that they apparently very much under-estimate our forces in the Federal Army everywhere.
Friday, May 6, 1864
Stayed in the same position of yesterday. Sky was clear all day and the sun beat down uncomfortably hot. But as the command lay in camp, the men sought shade and in that way kept cool.
Saturday, May 7, 1864
This morning, the general advance begins. We left at daybreak. Our Brigade - McCook's - and that of Jeff C. Davis' Division - moved in the advance, on the Ringgold and Dalton Road, with the 52d Ohio deployed as skirmishers. We headed toward Tunnel Hill at 7 a.m. Met the enemy about three miles from town and had a brisk skirmish, very early.
Heavy skirmishing occurred about 9 a.m., when the Brigade line of battle formed and advanced a short distance. We moved by the right flank and diagonally to the right and front, where we took shelter under the crest of a high hill, when Captain Barnett's Battery 'I,' 2nd Illinois, took up position.
(Ed. Note: Captain Barnett's Battery 'I," was part of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery, an outfit that attracted many men from Knox County or Galesburg. The 1878 Knox County History shows several names of enlistees in the various batteries of that outfit. it is quite likely that Captain Burkhalter and his men from Maquon knew many of the lads with Captain Charles Barnett very well.)
Sunday, May 8, 1864
Reveille was at 3 a.m. Everything and everybody astir and ready, come what may. Every mess cooked and ate breakfast, while all things on our front were as still as 'Death.'
Our orders are to march at 6 o'clock, at which time I fear that rough work will begin.
The order to advance was given and our lines proceeded forward, changing direction to the left and moving to a position at the foot of and in the rear of Signal Knob, which is situated immediately in front of Buzzard Roost Gap. At this position, the Brigade was drawn up in tow lines of battle with a skirmish line well advanced and actively engaged with the enemy skirmishers.
Heavy skirmishing began on our front. This was kept up constantly along the whole length of the line from right to left.
Brisk skirmishing continues nearly along the line.
As if by common consent, the firing has ceased for about an hour, thereby providing a pause for something to eat.
Firing has resumed quite heavily at some distance to our right; supposedly, I am told, on General Hooker's front.
Heavy cannonading went on all afternoon and until some time after dark. Davis' Division has entered the Gap, without serious loss. With our skirmishers well advanced, we bivouacked for the night.
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