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139th Illinois Infantry
Regiment History

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Adjutant General's Report

The One Hundred and Thirty-ninth Infantry was mustered into theUnited States service as a one hundred-day Regiment, at Peoria, on the 1st day of June, 1864, and on the 8th of June, it moved for St. Louis by steamboat, arriving there on the 10th; thence it moved to Columbus, Ky., where it remained about a week, when it was moved to Cairo as a garrison for that place.  Here the Regiment remained until August with but little to distrub the monotony of camp life.

About the 1st of August, a guerrilla party had captured some steamboats a short distance above Paducah, and took from them several hundred cattle and horses.  General Payne, who was then commanding the Department of Northern Kentucky, ordered Colonel Davison to take 400 of his men and go and take from the rebel farmers living in the counties adjoining the Ohio River, where the capture was made, as many cattle and horses as had been taken from the boats.  Some of the stock was recaptured, and enough others taken as directed to make good the loss.  Two or three of the ringleaders of the guerrilla party were also captured.  After the return of this expedition the Regiment remained at Cairo doing garrison duty until the 25th of September.  It was then moved to Poria to be mustered out of the service.  But the time had not come yet.  General Price with a large rebel force was marching towards St. Louis, and there were not enough troops to defend it that could be spared from other places.  President Lincoln therefore sent a dispatch to Colonel Davison requesting him to take his Regiment and go at once to St. Louis.  The President was aware the Regiment had already served beyond the time for which it was enlisted.  As soon as the circumstances were explained to the men they were ready to go. For this prompt response, the President wrote a letter to the men of the Regiment, expressing his thanks and commending them for their patriotism. Going by rail to St. Louis the Regiment marched out in the direction of Going by rail to St. Louis the Regiment marched out in the direction of Franklin to meet General Price.  Several other Regiments joining in the march the rebel General soon decided it was to his advantage to move to the southern part of the State.  The Union tryoops followed as fast as possible but failed to catch him.  Having driven him to a remote part of the State the Regiment was again moved to Peoria, where it was mustered out of the service on the 25th of October, 1864, having been in the service nearly five month.

[For further information concerning the call of these troops into the field see remarks which precede roster of the One Hundred and Thirty-second Infantry.]

Transcribed by Pat Hageman

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