Brevet Brigadier-General Jesse Hale Moore

115th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

General Moore was born in St. Clair County, Illinois, April 22, 1817. He came of a patriotic family, his grandfather having been a soldier in the War for Independence and seen the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, while his father and two or three uncles did good service in the War of 1812. His boyhood was spent on his father's farm and in the common schools of the vicinity. After graduating from McKendree College in 1842, he began teaching, serving as principal of the Georgetown and Paris Seminaries and as president of Quincy College until 1856. He was converted and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church when quite young, and while devoted to his school work, he found time for theological study, and in 1846 entered the ranks of the ministry as a member of the Illinois conference of his church. He soon became known as a pulpit orator of marked ability, and was in great demand for special occasions, resulting in his transfer to the regular work of the ministry in which he acceptably served several leading churches. In August, 1862, while serving as pastor of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Decatur, he yielded to the earnest solicitations of many prominent citizens, and consented to take command of a regiment of volunteers, and was commissioned colonel of the 115th Illinois Regiment. The ability he had shown in the management of young people in the seminary and college was now turned to good account in the organization and training of men for military service. He commanded the regiment in all its battles and in nearly all of its campaigns, the only exceptions being when he was in command of the brigade or of military posts, and a few short absences on leave to visit his home. His courage and ability were shown and recognized in every battle, and his faithfulness to duty and his untiring devotion to the welfare of his regiment was manifested in every campaign. In the battle of Chickamauga he fearlessly led his regiment in the repeated assaults on the famous Snodgrass Hill, his horse being twice shot form under him, and receiving the highest commendation of the generals commanding. He commanded the post at Richmond, Ky., in November and December, 1862; at Tullahoma, Tenn., in August, 1863; at Shell Mound, Tenn., in the winter of 1863-64; at Resaca, Ga., in May and June, 1864, and at Tunnel Hill, Ga., from July to October, 1864. Also, he commanded the old "Iron Brigade," the second brigade, first division, 4th army corps, from the close of the battle of Nashville till the regiment was mustered out in June, 1865, well earning the brevet rank of brigadier-general given him by President Lincoln in April, 1865, "for gallant and meritorious conduct on the field of battle."

At the close of the war General Moore resumed his duties as a minister of the gospel, serving as presiding elder of the Decatur district from 1865 to 1868. He was a delegate to the General Conference in 1868, in which he took a conspicuous part, being made a member of the Book Committee, one of the most important bodies in the church. In 1868 he was elected a representative from the 7th Illinois district in the 41st Congress, and was re-elected in 1870. In his Congressional career, General Moore was a consistent and powerful supporter of the administration of General Grant, and an ardent advocate of his reconstruction policy. In his second term he was chairman of the committee on pensions, a distinction seldom conferred on a second-term member. In 1873 he was appointed United States pension agent at Springfield, which position he held till 1877, when the office was consolidated with that at Chicago. He then returned to the work of the ministry in the Illinois conference, until failing health compelled him to take a rest. He took an active part in the campaign of 1880 in support of General Garfield for the presidency, and was strongly endorsed for the position of commissioner of pensions, but the President thought otherwise and appointed him United States consul to Calao, Peru. He accepted the position, and with his wife, two sons and daughter-in-law went to his post of duty, where for two years he battled for the rights of his countrymen, the war between Chili and Peru being in progress during the whole period. His courage was again put to the test when that terrible scourge, the yellow fever, became epidemic in Calao. Instead of fleeing to the mountains, he remained at his post ministering to the needs of his countrymen, until stricken with the disease on Junly 6, 1883, and on July 11th following he passed peacefully away surrounded by such of his family as had gone with him to South America. He was temporarily buried in Bella Vista Cemetery, near Calao, but in 1885 was transferred by the United States government to his former home at Decatur, IL where all that is mortal of the old colonel of the 115th Illinois Volunteer Infantry lies quietly awaiting the final reveille. He was a Mason being a member of Macon Lodge No. 8 in Decatur, Illinois.

Submitted by: William L. Baran

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