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2nd Illinois Cavalry
Regiment History

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Adjutant General's Report

The Second Cavalry was organized at Camp Butler and mustered into service August 12, 1861, and with Company M, which joined the Regiment some months later, numbered 47 commissioned officers and 1,040 enlisted men. This number was increased by recruits and re-enlistments, during its four and a half years term of service, to 2,236 enlisted men and 145 commissioned officer. Deducting 12 commissions upon which the holders were not mustered, and counting only the highest grade in which each officer served, gives a total of 96 different persons who held commissions in the Regiment and were mustered upon them. Of these, six were killed in battle, two died of wounds and three died of disease while in service, making a total of 11.

The Regiment left Camp Butler Sept. 15, and encamped for brief periods at Carbondale, DuQuoin, Fort Massock on the Ohio, and about the 1st of October, arrived at Cairo. During the battle of Belmont, November 7, Captain Bowman with his company formed a line of couriers to the battle field and promptly transmitted a report of the battle. In December it crossed over to Bird's Point, and did considerable scouting after Jeff Thompson, capturing six of his men at Bertrand, and had its first man killed there by a rebel bullet.

About the first of January 1862, it went to Paducah, Kentucky, and on the 15th started with General Smith's expedition towards Fort Henry, approached to within 15 miles of the fort, and returned to Paducah after an absence of 11 days.

About sundown March 2d, Lieutenant Colonel Hogg started with 200 men of the Regiment to reconnoitre Columbus. Proceeding about 7 miles bivouacked for the night on the banks of a swollen stream. The next day learned at Milburn, 13 miles from Columbia, that the place was being evacuated. The Colonel told the boys that he proposed to march direct to Columbus and that they might meet some rebels. "If we do" said the Colonel, "don't use your pistols but give them the cold steel. The sabre is the weapon for the Cavalry to rely upon". A few months later on the bloody field of Bolivar he yielded up his life in maintaining this principle. Arrived at the fortifications a little before sundown-drew sabre, dashed into town and ran up the stars and stripes amid cheers for the Union and their gallant Colonel. Found some large guns and military stores, but most had been removed or destroyed. Deserters reported that the rebels had just left and Jeff Thompson was in the neighborhood with a cavalry force, but no attack was made. The next day a fleet of gunboats and transports being General Sherman and three regiments of infantry steamed cautiously down the river, not knowing that the place was in possession of the "yanks" until they saw the stars and stripes floating to the breeze. At this time the Regiment was considerably scattered. Seven companies in Columbus, A and B with Grant in Tennessee, participating in the battles of Henry, Donelson and Shiloh, D and L at Cairo, and C at Caledonia, Ill. Were not again united until July 1864, at Baton Rouge. In April went to Hickman and when Corinth was evacuated formed part of the column that opened the Ohio and Mobile railroad through Tennessee. Arrived at Trenton June 17, and spent some time in ridding the country of guerrilla bands. August 15, Lieutenants Fallis and Goodheart, of company C, were killed in battle at Merriweather's Ferry, Tennessee. About noon, August 30, arrived at Bolivar and without stopping for dinner went to the front to meet General Armstrong who was marching on the place with 2,000 cavalry. The Colonel formed his little band of 130 men in an open field and awaited the onset. Soon the laden storm burst upon this devoted band. They returned volley after volley from their Sharpe's carbines, but the enemy, confident in their overwhelming numbers, pressed steadily on. The two companies of infantry skirmishers on the left were captured, which left the way open to the flank and rear. The Colonel ordered a sabre charge and this handful of men actually cut through the rebel horde, but in doing so Colonel Hogg fell pierced by seven bullets. Lieutenants Shannon and Leib also fell, the latter lived about a month. A number of privates were killed, several wounded and captured. Captain Musser withdrew the remaining force and supported two pieces of artillery that were coming to the front. The infantry under Colonel Legate also came up and the further advance of the enemy was checked.

After the battle of Bolivar the Regiment was again engaged under Major Mudd in guerrilla warfare. On one occasion the Major followed a force of the enemy all day comping upon them about sundown camped in the woods. They were taken completely by surprise as the Major's movements had been so rapid that no intimation of his approach had been given. A number of prisoners and a wagon load of shotguns were captured. In November it moved to Lagrange, and when Grant crossed the Tallahatchie River, was left as a part of the garrison at Holly Springs, Miss., where immense quantities of military stores had been accumulated. At daylight, on Dec. 20, Vandorn surprised and captured the place. While a part of his force was attending to the infantry, Vandorn, with the rest of his command, came upon the cavalry. Lieutenant Colonel McNeil was captured in his tent, and ordered to surrender his command, and each officer took command of his company and began an onslaught upon the enemy, which was now coming up on all sides. Captains Higgins, Marsh and Whitaker-the two latter were wounded-dealt effective blows upon the enemy with their respective companies. Major Mudd, disregarding his leave of absence, came up to Company F, and directed it to charge a force approaching in the rear. Major Mudd, with this company, cut through the rebel battalion and made his way to Coldwater, the next station above Holly Springs, but, in doing so, this company left upon the field five killed, ten wounded, two of whom died, and twelve captured, including Captain Musser. Captain Marsh with his company joined Major Mudd on his way to Coldwater. Major Bush took command of the other four companies and, after recapturing their camp, releasing a number of prisoners, and inflicting heavy loss upon the enemy, cut his way out and joined Major Mudd at Coldwater.

These six companies, besides killed and wounded, lost 61 prisoners, including Lieutenant Colonel McNeil, Major Fullerton and Captain Musser, about 150 horses, all camp and garrison equipage, books and records, in fact everything except what the men had on their horses.

Three days after the surrender General Grant issued an order complimenting the Regiment for gallantry.

About the 1st of January 1863, arrived at Memphis, and while there dispersed Major Bly's battalion of rebels.

On one occasion parts of three companies in charge of a lieutenant, were sent to burn a bridge on Wolf River. Sergeant Ryder, who, with five men, had the advance, suddenly found himself confronted by an equal number of rebels under a lieutenant. The Sergeant took in the whole party.

February 19, embarked on steamer Empress, destined for Young's Point, La. Arriving at Greenville, Miss., it hastily disembarked and was sent out under General Burbridge. Coming in sight of a battery supported by cavalry, a charge was ordered, but, before getting in striking distance, the cavalry stampeded, and Company F, being on the right, pursued them and came upon six caissons, which they captured. While returning with these and a number of prisoners, they met the artillery, which opened upon them. The boys took to the swamps, their movements being greatly accelerated by the screening of cannon balls, which were the first they had heard. None were hurt but they were obliged to abandon their trophies. The artillery now followed their cavalry, and, as the General did not deem it advisable to make a vigorous pursuit, the Regiment returned to the river, re-embarked and arrived, March 1, at Young's Point, and, a few days later, went to Milliken's Bend. While there a lieutenant, with five men, in two canoes, penetrated forty miles into the enemy's country in pursuit of two boat loads of rebels. Came upon them about sundown anchored at a house surrounded by water. Took in the whole party, consisting of two Lieutenant Colonels, one Sergeant Major, one Quartermaster Sergeant and two privates, wounding one of them severely. Returned to camp after an absence of three days, and turned the prisoners over to General McClernand.

March 30, took the advance of the Vicksburg Campaign. Met Harrison's cavalry the same day at Richmond, took the place without loss, and had almost daily skirmishes until the 3d of May, when the last of Grant's army crossed the Mississippi below Grand Gulf.

After crossing the river it again took the advance with parts of the Third Illinois and Sixth Missouri, and had almost constant skirmishing until the army invested Vicksburg on the 18th of May. On one occasion Lt. Stuckel, having the advance, with 20 men, came upon a force of 80 mounted infantry, and while skirmishing with them was directed by one of Osterhaus' aids to charge them. The charge was made, though against an odds of 4 to 1-the enemy was completely routed, with a loss of 30 men killed and captured without a single casualty on our side. During the siege of Vicksburg the Regiment was stationed on Black River, and had frequent skirmishes with Johnston's scouts. On the 5th of July, just after the fall of Vicksburg, it, with parts of the Third Illinois and Sixth Missouri, again took the advance towards Jackson, and had fighting all the way to that place. Upon the fall of Jackson, the Regiment made a raid 60 miles south to Brook Haven, destroyed the railroad, a number of cars and engines and a large quantity of sugar, and then returned to Vicksburg.

August 16, embarked for the Department of the Gulf, and went into camp at Carrollton, just above New Orleans.

September 16th, started through southwestern Louisiana, going as far as Opelousas, and, having the advance as usual, almost daily fights were indulged in.

November 7th, Captain Kelly, with Company I, charged into Vermillionville, killing and capturing several of the enemy. On an expedition sent out from New Iberia, Companies H and F, numbering 60 men, made a dash upon over a hundred Texas rangers, killed and captured about 70 without the loss of a man. While at New Iberia, 150 men of these six companies re-enlisted. Returned to New Orleans January 15, 1864; went into quarters in the Picayune cotton press, and in February the veterans in charge of Colonel Mudd and Major Bush went home on a 30 days furlough. About April 1st the veterans and recruits, while returning to Dixie, were given a reception at St. Louis; were escorted by the city band through the principal streets of the city; cheered General Rosecrans, who waived his hand and said he hoped they would bear themselves as bravely in the future as in the past.

The Regiment went into camp at Baton Rouge, La., and not being able to get horses, did duty as infantry for some weeks. While the veterans were enjoying themselves at home the non-veterans, under Major March, were having a very different experience. They left New Orleans March 13th, and took the advance of Bank's Red River Campaign; again met the Texas cavalry, and had frequent skirmishes with them. On the 31st Natchitoches was taken, where Lieutenant Irwin, of Company I, was severely wounded.

On the 6th of April met General Buchell and his German cavalry, drove him from his works, and in this charge Adjutant Moore, who led the advance, was wounded. In the battle of Mansfield, April 9th, General Guchell met a soldier's death. Here a number of men of the Regiment were killed. Major Marsh seemed to lead a charmed life, as his voice was always heard in the thickest of the fight. At Bayou de Glaze a shell burst over his head, sending a fragment through his horse a few inches from the saddle. On the 1st of June, at the Atchafalaya, a charge was led by Adjutant Moore, where his third horse was killed. The Major and his command arrived at New Orleans June 10th, forlorn and ragged, having lost everything at Mansfield, and had no opportunity of drawing anything on the two months retreat.

On 6th of July rejoined the veterans at Baton Rouge, and were mustered out August 11th, their term of three years having expired. Soon after the return of the veterans, Colonel Mudd was appointed Chief of Cavalry on McClernand's staff, and started up Red River to join the General at Alexandria. On May 3d the steamer was captured, and Colonel Mudd and two other Colonels were killed. While at Baton Rouge, three columns under direction of General Lee moved by different routes on Liberty, some 50 miles east of Baton Rouge. Colonel Marsh, with the Second, started on the evening of November 15th, swam the Amite River, and arrived in vicinity of Liberty next evening. Lieutenant Stickel, with 20 picked men, had the advance, with instructions to disperse all pickets and bands of the enemy, and prevent information being carried to the enemy. The instructions were carried out to the letter, and the place was taken completely by surprise.

On nearing the town, the advance captured a rebel who mistook the Unionists for friends, and stated that General Hodges with most of the troops had gone to meet the Regiment, leaving his Adjutant General with some detachments in town. The advance, followed at some distance by the Regiment, moved into town singing Dixie, and answering the questions of soldiers met on the streets in such a way as to entirely deceive them; halted in front of the hotel and called for the Adjutant General, who came out, and with other members of the staff were taken in. About 100 prisoners were captured that night, and as many more the next day. Major Jones made a raid in the country and capturing a cannon. General Lee and the other columns came up next day, when the rebels made a determined attack, but were repulsed with loss (see general order). Soon after the raid to Liberty the Regiment joined General Davidson's expedition towards Mobile, crossed Pearl River at Columbia, and with some other cavalry went to Pascagoula. The object of the expedition was accomplished, which was to prevent a rebel force from leaving Mobile to attack Sherman's flank on his march to the sea. About the 1st of January 1865, it took a steamer for New Orleans and went into camp at Carrollton. March 11th, again passed through the mouth of the Mississippi, and the next evening arrived at Pensacola, Fla., and went into camp at old Fort Barancas; just across the bay from Fort Pickens.

March 20th, started towards Fort Blakely, captured a train of cars with rebel paymaster, and on April 1st drove the enemy inside the works at Blakely, captured a battle flag and held position until the infantry invested the place. On the fall of the fort, April 9th, started through Alabama in pursuit of Jeff. Davis, learned at Tuscaloosa that he was captured; then marched across the country to Vicksburg, capturing General Pillow on the way, where it arrived June 4th, after three months of constant marching, much of the time without tent or baggage, subsisting on the country, and getting all news from the outside world through rebel sources. Went by steamer up Red River to Shreveport, where, June 23d, the Regiment was consolidated into six companies; surplus officers and non-commissioned officers were mustered out. Left Shreveport July 10th, in Merritt's Cavalry Division, for San Antonio, Texas, where it arrived August 2d. October 1st, started west, going to Eagle Pass on the Rio Grande; returned to San Antonio and was mustered out, to take effect November 22d, and ordered to report at Springfield, where it was paid off and honorably discharged January 3, 1864, after a continuous term of service of four years and a half, as most of the companies were accepted by the Governor July 1861.


Baton Rouge, La., Nov. 23, 1864.


First Lieutenant Isaiah Stickel, Second Illinois Cavalry, had the advance of the column under Lieutenant Colonel Marsh, which first entered Liberty. With 20 picked men, Lieutenant Stickel charged with drawn sabres the enemy's pickets stationed along the road at various points from Burlington Ford to Liberty, and without firing a shot captured many, so scattered the others that the main force of the enemy received no warning of the approach of our troops. Many of the enemy were killed and wounded by the sabre. On more than one occasion the force charged outnumbered Lieutenant Stickel's force two to one.

For the gallantry and brave discretion shown, the commanding General returns his thanks to Lieutenant Stickel and the noble men under him.

By order of Brigadier General Lee.

Assistant Adjutant General.

Transcribed by Linda Lee

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