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Civil War News - Madison County, Illinois

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser





Source: Alton Telegraph, May 10 & 17, 1861
The Regiment [7th Illinois Volunteer Infantry] quartered in Alton appear to be contended and happy. They come out daily as Companies, and drill amid the green grass and leaf-covered forests in the vicinity of the city, and decorate themselves with wild flowers with which the woods abound. To see them in their innocent recreations and their love for the romantic and beautiful, one would never be led to think they were preparing to shed blood. They have conducted themselves with great propriety since they have been here, and have the good wishes and kindly sympathies of the entire community. Last Friday morning they hoisted a large and beautiful flag over their camp, amid the shouts and hurrahs of thousands. Afterward Colonel Cook and others made some patriotic and pertinent remarks, which were received with deafening applause. Then the Star Spangled Banner and other patriotic airs were sung by the Volunteers, with a will and emphasis which showed that their song came from the depths of their hearts.

Friends from abroad having relatives here may rest assured that the people of Alton will spare no pains to make the soldiers comfortable and happy during their sojourn among us. Some of our ladies’ hearts are so large and full of patriotism that they are talking of getting up a great picnic for the entire Regiment so that the Volunteers can have a chance to meet our citizens and receive evidences of their kindness. We cannot say now whether they will be able to succeed in their contemplated enterprise. But simply speak of it is an evidence of the esteem and respect they entertain for the brave soldiers sojourning for the time being among us.

The men in this encampment are diligently engaged in drilling preparatory to active service, whenever they may be ordered. They are a fine-looking lot of men, and we have not yet heard of a single case of disorderly conduct among them since they have been in our city. Some of them complain of their quarters, but we think that it is caused more from the fact that they are inside the Penitentiary walls than from any inconveniences which they suffer. It is not supposed at this time, however, that they will be permitted to remain much long with us, especially if their service should be needed in Missouri, but at present we do not think that will be the case.

Many of our citizens have enough milk to spare, and we learn that it is in great demand at Camp Dubois. Would it not be convenient and agreeable to those who are so abundantly supplied with milk to send it into the Camp for the benefit of the brave Volunteers who stand in so much need of it? We have also been told that some milk shylocks have been taking it there and selling it at 10 cents per quart, while they supply their regular customers at 6 cents. It is shameful thus to extort upon men who have left their all to protect our Government and perhaps our lives and property from destruction, simply because they are in a situation that they cannot help themselves.

The 7th Illinois Infantry was mustered at Cairo, Illinois, on April 25, 1861, under Colonel John Cook. On April 27, they marched from Camp Yates to the armory, where they received their arms – the Harper’s Ferry altered musket. The regiment then marched to the depot and took the train to Alton, arriving at 4 p.m. They quartered in the former State Penitentiary. The men were eager for war, with hopes of glory, and to be quartered in the old criminal home grated harshly. Every day the regiment was marched out onto the city commons by Colonel Cook, and exercised in the manual of arms and the battalion evolutions, until they attained a proficiency surpassed by none in the service. On May 19, Private Harvey of Company A died – the first death in the regiment. On June 2, Private Dunsmore of the same Company died. On June 3, the regiment left Alton on board the steamer “City of Alton,” for Cairo, Illinois. They were inspected at the St. Louis Arsenal, and then proceeded on their way. They saw service at the Battle of Fort Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Allatoona, the March to the Sea and the Carolinas Campaign. The regiment mustered out of service on July 9, 1865.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 7, 1861
Colonel Cook’s Regiment left this place on Monday evening last, about 10 o’clock, for Cairo. There was a large assemblage of citizens collected on the levee to see them off, and when the boat began to move, deafening shouts were sent forth from the brave volunteers, and returned by the citizens. They embarked on the [steamboat] City of Alton. From the uniform good conduct of the men while here, they had made many friends, and most of our citizens regretted to see them leave, and on the other hand the soldiers expressed the warmest attachment towards our citizens, and acknowledged with grateful feeling the kindness shown them, especially by the ladies of the place. More than one of them said they hoped after peace was restored, they would be permitted to return this way, and meet again their kind friends in Alton, before leaving for their homes. That they may be successful to their mission, be preserved from the bullets of the rebels, escape desolating sickness, and speedily be permitted to return to their homes, is the earnest desire of our citizens.


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 21, 1861
On Tuesday morning the steamers Sam Caty and LaSalle landed at our wharf from Peoria, with the 17th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers Colonel L. F. Ross in command. Their camping grounds is a little north of Middletown. They are a fine-looking body of men.

On Wednesday a Regiment under the command of Colonel Turner arrived by the way of the Illinois Central and Terre Haute, Alton and St. Louis Railroad, from Freeport.

On the same morning, the Regiment from Joliet arrived on the St. Louis, Alton, and Chicago Railroad, under the command of Colonel Marsh, and also Colonel Hecker’s German Regiment from Chicago.

These troops are camped in the suburbs of Alton, and are a determined and noble looking company of men. There is no nation on the face of the earth which has such an intelligent set of men to light its battles as ours. Here it is our fellow citizens, inferior in no respect to the best of our people who are at home, that volunteer to lay down their lives in defense of their country, and that too without any reference to the consideration they are to receive. They should, and we have no doubt but they will, receive the sympathy and kind attentions of our citizens while they sojourn in our community. In addition to the Regiments named above, it is understood that the Dixon Regiment, under Colonel J. H. Wyman, will also be stationed here if this should be sol, Colonel Wyman, as the senior Colonel, would have charge of the encampment. Of those men here, Colonel Turner is the senior.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 26, 1861
A number of the Alton Volunteers who have been in Cairo in the Jaegers and Captain Tucker’s Company, have been spending a day or two at home. They represent the troops in that place as in good spirits and enjoying excellent health for the season of the year. Nearly all of them have re-enlisted to serve during the war.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 26, 1861
On Wednesday, Captain Franklin Moore’s Cavalry Company of Madison County was sworn into service, and took their place in the camp. This Company is commanded by the following officers: Captain Franklin Moore; First Lieutenant George Leopold; Second Lieutenant Thomas Brown.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 9, 1861
Captain J. L. Roberts if organizing a crack rifle company made up in a good degree from the brave and well-drilled company of Captain B. W. Tucker’s three months’ volunteers. Those wishing a place in this popular organization must call soon, as it is nearly full and will leave for Springfield on Saturday or Monday at farthest. Captain Roberts is just the man to lead his men to victory and renown, and all who join with him will be sure to be called to active service.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 9, 1861
We learn that Steerling and M. Welfley are aiming to form an Artillery Company in Upper Alton for the purpose of serving under General Fremont in the southwest. The Company will be mainly made up from those who have had active experience in the Prussian army. A few men with the proper qualification may yet be received into this company. The patriotic ardor of our people is unabated, and we have no doubt this company will soon be full.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 23, 1861
Lieutenant Ferdinand Welker of Alton has entered upon the duties of Quartermaster in the battery of Captain Schwarz Light Artillery, which Company is attached to Major General Freemont’s bodyguard. We are certain we shall hear a good account of him in whatever position he may accept. This adds another to the list of “Alton boys” who are doing good service in our sister state. We learn that Mr. Welker will be detailed to recruit some additional forces for said Company.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 30, 1861
We notice that our old friend George W. Tuthill, formerly of Alton, is now Second Lieutenant in a Company from Springfield, and now at Camp Butler. George is a good fellow, and his numerous friends here will be glad to hear of his good fortune.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 30, 1861
Captain L. B. Hubbell, who has just returned with his Company from a three months’ campaign in Missouri, has just opened a recruiting office in the front room of the Telegraph building, for the purpose of organizing a company under the following order: “I detail you on recruiting only at Alton, Illinois, for the Third Regiment of Missouri Rifles. And you are authorized to enlist men for the three years, or during the war, and to receive and send men in such numbers as they may present themselves to the Arsenal in St. Louis, to be reported there to Colonel Burbank, officer in charge. Signed Colonel Wright, Third Regiment Missouri Rifles.”

There is no doubt but this company will soon be filled up, under the active and persevering efforts of Captain Hubbell and the young men laboring with him, and the earnest desire of our people to relieve their brethren of Missouri from the anarchy and deep distress under which they are now laboring. Call soon if you want to get a place in this Company.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 30, 1861
Captain William M. Hart left Alton for Camp Butler today with a fine Company of men. He had room for a few more good men, however, who can enlist by calling at the old rendezvous at the office of the Illinois Iron Works, where they will find his brother ready to receive and forward them to the Camp.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 1, 1861
Never has there been in our city [Alton] any public day so universally observed as was last day, yesterday. Every store and place of business, as far as we could observe, were close during the entire day, with the exception of the National Mills and the Distillery. These two establishments were in full blast from morning until night. The streets were almost entirely deserted, but few persons were to be observed on them, and hardly any wagons were in from the country. There were public services in every church in the city, in the morning, which we believe were well attended by serious and solemn congregations, and as far as we have learned, the sins of the nation were faithfully exposed by the pastors of the different churches.

In the afternoon, a Union prayer meeting was held in the Presbyterian Church. This meeting was well attended, filling the church almost to its utmost capacity. The following ministers took part in the exercises: Rev. Messrs. Jameson and Coon of the Baptist Church; Rev. Mr. Logan of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; and Rev. Messrs. Lippincott, Norton and Taylor of the Presbyterians; and in addition to these, several lay members of the different denominations made remarks and led in prayer. A most excellent impression was produced by this meeting. It was evident that the people are looking with earnest desire to the Great Ruler of the nations, that He might give success to our heroes, vindicate the right, and once more restore peace to our distracted and bleeding country. It is to be hoped that the great mass of our people are beginning to realize that righteousness and righteousness alone exalteth a nation, while sin is a reproach to any people. In the evening, also, there was religious exercises in nearly all of the churches, which were also well attended.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 4, 1861
Captain Davis, we learn, has put in process of organization a Company in the American Bottom for Colonel Morrison’s 40th Illinois Regiment, and proposes in connection with H. Baeer to address the people during the coming two weeks. We bid him success in his unbounded energy, and shall welcome with much pride the Company of Rangers when formed. Colonel Morrison, doubtless, will be proud of it, as it is to be commanded by his fellow soldier in Mexico, Captain L. W. Moore, of Madison, assisted by Mr. William Stallings of Six Mile. Under their control, the Company cannot fail. An honor to the American Bottom.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 29, 1861
No portion of the people of the United States have suffered so much on account of the war, as the loyal men of Southwest Missouri. Nowhere have the secessionists manifested such a fiendish spirit. They appear to have neither honor nor mercy. The helpless women and children have been plundered and robbed by them of everything, and left to starve or perish from the inclemency of the approaching winter, while many of the men have been murdered in cold blood, and the rest have had to flee for their lives. Their farms have been stripped of everything that would sustain life, and even their houses, and in many instances the fences around their fields, have been consumed. This was the condition in which they were found when Fremont’s army took possession of Springfield. No wonder that these poor, persecuted, robbed and injured people rejoiced when they once more beheld the glorious Stars and Stripes proudly waving in their part of the State, and beheld the Rebel horde fleeing before the conquering Union forces.

The exiled husband and father once more returned to the embrace of his half-famished, distracted, but now rejoicing wife and children, and they together knelt and thanked God for their deliverance from a fate worse even than death itself. But their rejoicing and safety was of short duration. For reasons best known to those in authority, our army was ordered to retrace their steps. No sooner was this move known, than Price and McCulloch, with their band of half-clothed soldiers, emerged from their hiding place and take possession of this portion of the State, and these poor, suffering Union people will once more be subjected to all the horrors and privations previously endured by them, increased by the inclemency of the weather and the great scarcity of provisions.

The retrograde movement of our forces appeared to us at the time as unwise, but then we thought the General in command ought to know his own business. He was trained to military duty and certainly was not troubled with any diffidence in reference to his own qualifications, or he would not have been so free to criticize the acts of others. He was no doubt right. We do not pretend to know anything about military matters, but we cannot refrain from sympathizing with those true and loyal spirits in Southern Missouri, who amid all their trials and hardships still maintain their attachment and devotion to the Union.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 29, 1861
The Wisconsin 11th passed through our city last evening and embarked on the City of Alton for St. Louis. This regiment is composed of fine, large, robust men, and are exceedingly well equipped. Their arms are Minnie muskets, manufactured at the Springfield, Massachusetts armory, and the men appeared well pleased with them. A splendid band accompanies this regiment, which discoursed sweet melodies to the crowd on the levee who had congregated to see them embark.

After the soldiers had left the cars, and while the officers were forming in line, one of our citizens, a railroad man, who had just read the cheering news from North Carolina, approached the Captain of one of the companies and proposed “three cheers for North Carolina.” The officer, who had not heard the news, supposing him to be a southern sympathizer, pushed him aside rather roughly. Not altogether relishing this kind of treatment, he again approached and endeavored to explain himself, when the Captain, becoming irritated, struck him a severe blow in the face and knocked him down. Our railroader got up and was about pitching into the Captain, when one of the Privates advanced from the ranks and gave him another severe blow, which dropped him a second time. His friends who saw that matters were getting serious, interfered and took him away. It is proper to state that when the officers of the regiment became acquainted with the news, they ordered three cheers for North Carolina, which were given with a will, by the entire regiment.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 17, 1862
To the Editors of the Telegraph:
From Camp Caito, January 9th, 1862
Marching orders! Off for Dixie! Pass it round! Our time has at last come boy’s – don’t be afraid to “hurrah!” We are tired enough of camps; give us a chance and we will show you. We are going sure this time. And so it is, for we are ordered to be ready for instant marching at 12 o’clock, this day.

The long looked and anxiously waited for time seems to be close at hand, sure enough. No more scouting or “play fights.” Downright work is at hand, and with cheerful spirit, intermingled with an occasional sigh or sad thought for the loved ones far away, we make ourselves ready. We secure five days rations with plenty of ammunition, “secession medicine,” pack up camp equipage including tents and cooking utensils, and await for the order. It is amazing to see how the sick ones have suddenly got well. One boyish looking “sucker,” with face swollen disproportionately on one side with mumps, comes up concealing the fleshy side, and declares most solemnly that he is quite well, or if that is disputed, thinks he can stand it. No amount of medicine can produce such a healthy effect. All we want is to go, and no fooling. Well, it is most eleven, most time, but not quite.

One man from Company “E” comes up and asks the Colonel to give the word, at the same time reporting that the sick men are fast getting worse, and that their stimulant cannot hold out much longer without a forward movement. Reminding one of certain distinguished public men, not to say editors, who wax cold in the true Union causes when things come of a defeat, or an editorially forward movement is delayed. Is there not a similarity? They are not willing to bide the time of men who can both plan and execute. We want no more Bull Runs or Springfields, and you suggest Belmonts. We have had enough. Be sure we are right, if it is a year longer, and then go ahead.

Tom blow your call! “Fall in,” is heard up and down the line. The word is given, and a regiment of volunteers spring to their line, each anxious to excel in speed his neighbor. No matter if the mud is deep and soft, and the drizzly rain makes you damp and chilly. A warmer clime awaits us, aye, and hotter work than drill and camp duty. Well, the line is formed, the Colonel, in a few earnest and patriotic words, not unmixed with pride and sorrow, asks his men to distinguish themselves, as others have done before them, and to show that what has been done in times past can be done now. “Three cheers for the flag that waves over us, and three more for our gallant young Colonel,” lustily given, in this response.

Right face! Forward march! And off we go to the tune of “I wish I was in Dixie,” with merry faces, and I trust, with stern hearts. Through mud and water (never mind young soldiers, if you do slip down; it neither indicates weakness or drunkenness). Other and worse slips have been made by older and wiser man. Now you are up, watch closer next time, and a “secesher” [Rebel] may be at your mercy. “Halt!” “Front face!” And we find ourselves on the Ohio levee in line like cattle, waiting for a transport to bear us to our unknown destination.

Goodbyes are said to those who remain, and congratulations are extended to those who go. We soon get anxious, waiting in the “drizzle,” but no boat. Soon, however, are orders come for us to go to camps, and be ready to go at an instant’s notice. Countenances hitherto bright, now look mixed at the thought of being fooled again. The explanation is sufficient. The heavy fog which hangs thickly, not to say gloomily, over the river, for through its density we see triumphs for our cause, and glory for those who are not “home guards,” has prevented the arrival of a large number of troops, already expected and promised. Well we go back with the assurance that next time we go “surely” and compose ourselves.

Where the morrow may take us, we know not. We know that we will go wherever ordered, but we do not know which of us may live to tell the tale of the next five days, and we trust we will do our duty, and are glad we have the opportunity.

Yours, for Columbus, Dixie, or somewhere.
The Twenty-Ninth Illinois Infantry


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 18, 1862
Lieutenant William G. Pinckard arrived in Alton last evening from Corinth. He is on business connected with his position as Quartermaster of General Colesby’s Division. He reports the health of the soldiers as very good, and states that they are very tired of the slow mode of conducting the war. All are hoping for an early move towards the lines of the enemy.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 1, 1862
Mr. Nicholas Challacombe, who advertised in our columns for fifty teamsters for Rosecrans’ Division in Tennessee, obtained the men and leaves for Dixie tomorrow morning. No better man could be found for wagon master than Mr. Challacombe. He is thoroughly acquainted with the business, perfectly reliable, and a driving, energetic man.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 1, 1862
We understand that the United States Infantry station in Alton are receiving their pay today. This will be a blessing to many of them, as it will enable them to procure many little comforts not furnished by the government, while to many others it will only furnish means for dissipation, which brings in its train many pains and untold suffering and often premature death.


Men Have Volunteered to Serve in the Army
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 1, 1862
Owing to the number of enlistments from the Telegraph office, we shall be compelled to suspend the publication of our Daily after today, until we can recruit a sufficient number of hands to take their places. Five of our men have volunteered, and among the number is Mr. John T. Beem, our partner, and Messrs. Thomas S. Pinckard, Samuel Malcom, Samuel Matthews, and Thomas McCorkle, all of them among the best and most efficient hands in the office. We could not say to them stay, for we felt that their services were more needed in the army than in the printing office, and if we could sell out, we would go with them, as all other business, in our opinion, should be subordinate to the great work of subduing the Rebellion. We regret the necessity which compels us to suspend our daily issue, but hope that it may be of short duration. In the meantime, we shall continue the publication of the weekly as usual, and hope that through its columns, we may meet the wants of our friends until we can make arrangements for issuing the daily again.


HART, HARRISON “HARRY” (LT. COLONEL)/Source: Alton Telegraph, August 1, 1862
Founded a Company in the 22nd Regiment of Illinois Volunteers
We mentioned a day or two since that Lt. Colonel Harry E. Hart, of the 22d Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, had returned home sick. We have the painful duty to perform today of announcing his death. He died this morning of camp fever, at the residence of his brother-in-law, Mr. A. H. Plait, of Alton.

Colonel Hart was raised in Alton, and has always enjoyed the confidence and esteem of his fellow-citizens in a high degree. He was active and public-spirited, and was always ready to aid his public enterprises of Alton, State or country. He was with the army in Mexico during our late war with the Republic [Mexican-American War], and when troops were called for to defend our cherished government against the affairs of the Rebels, he interested himself immediately in getting up a company in Alton. When the company was organized (May 1861), he was elected to take command of it. In the organization of the 22d Regiment, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, which position he held up to the time of his death. He, however, acted much of the time in the capacity of Colonel, owing to a severe wound which Colonel Dougherty received at Belmont, which disabled him for a long time from performing the active duties of his command. The 22d Regiment was in the battle of Belmont and New Madrid, which it distinguished itself for bravery and did credit to its commanders.

The death of Colonel Hart at this time is a great loss to his regiment, as he had the confidence and affection of all the subordinate officers and men. We have understood that he will be buried with military honors on Monday afternoon next, at 4 o’clock, to take place from the residence of Mr. Plait on State Street, and will be attended by the battalion of U. S. Infantry stationed in Alton.

The 22nd Illinois Infantry was organized at Belleville, Illinois on May 11, 1861. It was mustered into service for three years. On July 11, 1861, the Regiment moved to Bird’s Point, Missouri. On November 7, 1861, seven companies engaged in the battle of Belmont, in which Colonel Dougherty received a severe wound. The loss to the regiment was 144 killed, wounded, or missing. Lt. Colonel Hart returned to Alton sick in July 1862, and died a few days later of camp fever. He was buried in the Alton City Cemetery.

On August 19, Colonel Dougherty attached Colonel Hunter at Charleston, Missouri, driving him from his camp in a hand-to-hand combat, capturing many prisoners and horses. Of the 22nd, 1 was killed and 11 wounded, including Colonel Dougherty, whose shoulder was broken with the butt of a gun, and Captain Johnson, who received a gunshot through the right leg.

The 22nd Regiment went on to engage General Jeff Thompson in Sikestown, and went on an expedition to Tiptonville to intercept the retreating enemy from Island NO. 10, where 4,000 prisoners, 2 Generals, and a large quantity of stores, ammunition, arms and guns were captured. The Regiment was engaged in the siege of Corinth, and then engaged in guarding Memphis and Charleston Railroad, when on August 25, 1862, it fell back to Nashville. The Regiment besieged the city of Nashville for months without receiving communication from the outside world. On December 31 and January 1 and 2, 1863, the Regiment was engaged in the battle of Stone River, where it lost 199 out of 312 men. Every horse belonging to the Regiment was killed. After the occupation of Murfreesboro, the Regiment was in camp at different points. They then engaged in the battle of Chickamauga, September 19 and 20, losing 135 officers and men out of less than 300. The Regiment lost 96 men in less than ten minutes. They remained in and around Chattanooga, suffering from exposure and want of provisions. On November 26, it was engaged in storming the heights of Mission Ridge, losing 30 – 40 men. They spent the greater part of the severe winter (1863-4) in the mountains of East Tennessee. They marched to Dandridge in pursuit of the Rebels, then on through Knoxville to Loudon, Tennessee. They then marched to Cleveland, Tennessee, and remained there until joining the grand Army of General Sherman. They were engaged at Resaca, where 20 men were killed and wounded. On June 10, 1864, the men were ordered to Springfield, Illinois to muster out.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 8, 1862
We have been informed that Thomas S. Pinckard, who was laboring to raise a company of volunteers in Alton, after raising twenty or thirty men, has abandoned the effort. He was induced to take this step from the vacillating course of the Common Council, and the committee appointed to raise funds, and to furnish bounties to those who might volunteer. Many of the men he had procured were from the country, and had enlisted in his company with the understanding that they should get the proposed bounty from the city. Under these circumstances, he released them. A number of those who joined his company in Alton have enlisted in Captain Trible’s company, and all will go into the service in some one of the companies from this vicinity.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 8, 1862
The work of enlisting in this section is progressing finely everywhere. We understand that Captain Rogers of Upper Alton has already succeeded in filling up his company. John Trible, Esq., of the same place, although he only commenced enlisting Wednesday, has met with such good success that he has no fears but that he will succeed in filling up his company in the course of a day or two. Curtis Blackman, Esq., a gentleman well advanced in years and favorably known as a member of the legislature in previous years from Madison County, informed us yesterday that the young men of Marine had prevailed upon him to take charge of a company from that place, and that he expected to be able in a day or two to report it full at headquarters.

Quite a number of other gentlemen are laboring in other parts of the county with good prospects of succeeding. We now believe that Madison County will be able to raise her quota of volunteers by the 15th instant. In Little Jersey, also much activity is prevailing in raising troops. Our full company at least of volunteers will be furnished from our county.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 8, 1862
It will be observed that President Lincoln has decided that no negro regiments will be received into the army. It is reported that he said their admission would cause 40,000 men now in the army to leave the field, but he does not tell us how they would procure their release. He also said it would drive some of the border states out of the Union. Perhaps it would. But it has been a question for some time, whether it would be cheaper to protect them in the Union, or subdue them out of it. Our own opinion is, if they are to continue to cramp and cripple the government so as to prevent a vigorous prosecution of the war, with all the means God has placed within its reach, that the latter course would be the cheapest in the end. It is natural to expect that all of this class will immediately pitch in, and fill up the quota of troops now called for. We shall expect to hear of all the effective force in such printing establishments as the Chicago Times, Springfield Register, Quincy Herald, and Alton Democrat, immediately enlisting. The conductors of these establishments profess to be in favor of suppressing the Rebellion, but they do not think the negro is good enough to kill Rebels, will they not now volunteer and aid in doing it themselves.

Now we have never argued this matter, and do not feel any great interest in it now, but we would just as soon that colored men should risk their lives on the battlefield as our white friends, not deeming their lives any more valuable than that of whites, and that a ball from a musket in the hands of a negro would do just as much as though it was directed by white hands. WE cannot, therefore, understand why it is, that millions of men who stand ready to render effective aid in subduing the Rebellion, should be permitted to stand idle, while our sons and brothers are slaughtered and decimated by disease, in an unfriendly climate, by the thousands. Such a course appears to us like a strange and unaccountable infatuation, without precedent in the history of the world, or a single substantial reason to support it.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 8, 1862
Pursuant to a call of over fifty of the citizens of Upper Alton, Stocker’s Hall was crowded to overflowing at an early hour in the evening. The meeting was organized by electing the Hon. Cyrus Edwards, President; and George R. Stocker and J. M. Elwell, Vice-Presidents; and John Trible, Secretary.

Mr. Edwards, on taking the chair, made an exceedingly impression and patriotic speech, during which he said that in the beginning of our difficulties with the South, he had sought to avert war by every possible means. He had been willing to make every concession that any reasonable man could ask. For peace, he had been willing to yield everything but principle and honor. But the South was determined to be satisfied with no reasonable concession. She had forced this war upon us for the purpose of destroying this, the noblest and best government ever established by human wisdom. He believed with Frank Blair, that treason and rebellion corrupted the blood. Though he had many strong ties that bound him to the people of the South – Virginia was the home of his ancestors, Maryland was the land of his birth, and Kentucky was the adopted state of his youth, and he had warm and dear friends all over the South – but when they raised the hand of the assassin to destroy our nation of existence, those ties that bound them to him were in an instant sundered. He was now an old man, but was willing to offer up all for his country. He sent forth his only surviving son of sufficient age into the ranks, and he enjoined upon him to aim neither to the right nor to the left, too high nor too low, but right at the heart of the enemy. And should it be necessary, if his country needed the sacrifice, he was willing to offer up his own life upon the altar of his country. During this most eloquent speech, the venerable speaker was frequently interrupted by loud bursts of applause.

Mr. B. H. Mills moved that a committee of five be appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting. Messrs. B. H. Mills, Joseph Burnap, T. R. Murphy, and George Carr were appointed that committee.

Mr. H. S. Baker was then loudly called for and responded by making a most earnest, forceful, and convincing speech, of which the brief limits of this report will not allow even a synopsis. Mr. Baker, as is usual with him in his speeches, elicited the loudest applause.

Mr. B. H. Mills, the chairman of the committee on resolutions, then reported the following resolutions, which were adopted without a dissenting voice:

We, the people of Upper Alton, assembled without distinction of purity, in view of the dangers that surround us, do deliberately adopt the following as expressive of our sentiments:

Resolved, that the present unnatural and wicked rebellion, devised by designing politicians and prosecuted by a large portion of the people of the South against a government from which they had never received aught but blessings, must be suppressed, no matter what the cost, and the war should not cease until the glorious old flag floats over every foot of soil within the limits of the United States.

Resolved, that we heartily approve the course pursued by the President of the United States, in his effort to restore the supremacy of the laws, and that we will support him in all legitimate measures, having the same object in the future.

Resolved, that Gov. Yates is due the hearty thanks of every loyal citizen for his efforts in raising troops, and particularly for his untiring attention to our sick and wounded soldiers.

Resolved, that it is apparent to the most casual observers, that if we do not subdue the rebels at an early day, they will subdue us, that we much prefer to defend our liberties and homes on other soil that that of Illinois – we therefore recommend that the Governor be requested to muster in the entire militia force of the State, to be prepared for any emergency that may arise.

Resolved, that we believe the minds of the brave men who go forth to peril their lives to defend our lives, liberty and property, should be set at rest in regard to the “loved ones at home” – that as every tax payer has an interest in sustaining the government, we therefore call upon the County Court, by virtue of the power granted at the last special session of the Legislature, to levy a tax sufficient in amount to comfortably provide for the families of volunteers in active service – their widows and orphans.

Resolved, that we have learned with pleasure that our esteemed fellow-citizen, Andrew F. Rogers, is raising a company for active service – that we bid him God speed in his patriotic efforts, and pledge him our cordial cooperation.

Resolved, that the proceedings of this meeting be published in the county papers.

The hall being found too small to contain the large assemblage, Captain J. W. Davis being loudly called for, from the outside stairs of the hall, delivered the most stirring and impressive speech of the evening.

On motion, Messrs. L. J. Clawson, James Cooper, and J. B. Lathy were appointed a committee to raise and disburse money for the purpose of supporting the many families of persons who may enter the ranks as soldiers in defense of their country, and for the purpose of encouraging persons to volunteer. The sum of $404.00 was immediately subscribed. On motion, the meeting adjourned.
Cyrus Edwards, President. John Trible, Secretary


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 22, 1862
This regiment is now full, and Col. Rutherford informed us that he expected to be able to have it organized this week. All the companies are now in camp, but the two from Alton are not yet quite full. As far as we have been able to learn, it has been made up of a very choice lot of men, and it is expected that it will render efficient service to the cause of the Union on the field of battle.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 22, 1862
This body of men, raised in this city by William Achenbach, the Daguerrean, left for Springfield last Tuesday morning to join Col. Friend S. Rutherford’s regiment. Captain Achenbach is thoroughly acquainted with military tactics, having been for a long time in the army in his native land, and we have no doubt he and his brave companions will reflect credit upon our city on the battlefield. There was a large crowd at the depot to see them off, and they left amid the loud plaudits of their friends and fellow citizens, mingled with many good wishes for their success and safe return.


And the Reflections of War
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 22, 1862
We were deeply impressed in beholding Captain Trible’s Company leave Alton on Tuesday evening last. Four or five of his men had long been intimately associated with us in our office. Mr. T. T. Beem, our partner, being among the number. There was a large crowd of our oldest and most respectable citizens present to give them a parting farewell. While we looked upon the parting scene of these young men, with their parents and other friends, we could not refrain from asking: How many, and who among that interesting group of young men would fall by the sword, or by their still more deadly enemy, disease, before the company would return? How many would come back to us maimed and crippled for life? How many would escape the demoralizing influence of camp life, and be permitted to return with their former good habits untarnished by its blighting influence?

In view of those thoughts, we were led to ask, why our people are called upon to make such precious sacrifices for their country? Why is almost every family weeping over some dear one in their circle, who has already fallen a victim to this devastating war? Why is everyone looking anxious, distressed, and perplexed? Why all kinds of business are deranged, and in many instances, completely paralyzed?

There can be but one answer given to those questions. All this sacrifice of blood, treasure and distress of mind is brought upon the nation as the legitimate fruit of the accursed system of slavery, which has been fostered, protected, and extended by the nation, until nothing but blood will atone for the crime, or remove its blighting and withering influence from our happy country.

If it was honorable and praise-worthy for our Revolutionary sires to pledge their lives, their property, and sacred honors, in the struggle for our independence, it is no less so for us to sacrifice everything to maintain, in all its purity and unity, and with all its free institutions unimpaired, the glorious country we inherited from them.

After these reflections, we felt like saying to those heroic young men, most of whom we have known from infancy up, go forth, in the name of the God of battle, and contend for your country, for the right, and for freedom. The cause is worthy of the cost, and although some of you may be called upon to yield up your lives, yet remember, that it is sweet to die for your country, and doubly so, when her cause is so pre-eminently just as it is in this conflict to subdue the rebellion now raging in the South.

We know that the parents are ardently attached to these, their sons, and that life is sweet to the young and hopeful, but with our government overthrown, freedom gone, and universal anarchy reigning, children would be a source of misery, and life would be a burthen. Victory then, in this conflict, is more important and more to be desired than the presence and safety of sons, or of even life itself. Let everyone therefore arm himself with a spirit of sacrifice and endurance, and with faith in the Great Ruler of nations, and strive manfully for the right until we shall have a permanent peace restored to our beloved land.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 29, 1862
We have received a letter from a member of Alton’s Captain Trible’s Company, now in Camp Butler. The writer represents the boys as all well and full of fun. He says their rations are very good, but their barracks are nothing to boast of, but that they expect in a short time to be better situated in that respect. Trible and Achenbach both need a few more men to fill up their companies. Rutherford’s Regiment has eleven companies in it, but it is doubted whether it will be permitted to go on to the field with that number. Achenbach’s Company has not yet elected its officers, except the Captain and First Lieutenant. Richard S. Howard from the Grafton Road was chosen as their Lieutenant. The other officers will be elected as soon as the company is filled.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 29, 1862
We are glad to publish the following testimonial of respect, tendered to our energetic young friend, Lieutenant S. B. W. Stewart, by the undersigned citizens of Alton. But we exceedingly regret, that whoever drew up the letter to Mr. Stewart, should have so far forgotten himself and the propensities of the occasion, as to insert in the correspondence a miserable can’t party phrase, first made use of as a party catch-word by the notorious traitor, Vallandigham, the “Union as it was and the Constitution as it is.” We are satisfied that a majority of the signers of this paper did not see that sentence, or they never would have put their name to the paper. Vallandigham, we should think, would be the last man that loyal men would feel like quoting, and especially in addressing a man who had consecrated his life to put down a rebellion with which Vallandigham is notoriously in sympathy.

“To Lieutenant S. B. W. Stewart, 97th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers:
The undersigned, your friends, have witnessed with admiration the energy, industry, and perseverance displayed by you in recruiting for your regiment in Alton under adverse circumstances sufficient to have disheartened one of less heroic mould, and as a testimony of their appreciation of your conduct and services, tender you the accompanying sword, belt and sash.

They will watch your future career with paternal solicitude, not doubting that you will discharge all the duties of your new profession with honor to the “Old Flag,” and distinction to yourself; and when this unholy rebellion shall have been crushed, and the “Union as it was and the Constitution as it is” shall again shed their benign blessings over our unhappy country, they will welcome your return to the undearments of home and the avocations of peace.

Signed by:
G. D. Sidway, M. D. Davis, D. D. Ryrie, R. L. King, William McPike, C. D. Caldwell, G. S. Hopkins, W. T. Miller, M. M. Dutre, B. F. Barry, Sam Barnett, Dr. White, Whipple & Tunnell, Isacc Scarritt, H. G. McPike, W. C. Quigley, W. B. Buckmaster, Thomas Dimmock, C. M. Crandall, M. H. Filly, D. Simms, H. Wissure, R. T. Gunderhill, Samuel Avis, L. D. Cleveland, G. Paddock, D. C. Martin, S. & W. Pitts, J. W. Stewart, W. A. Holton, Charles W. Dimmock, and Albert Wade.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1862
As our readers are aware, three weeks ago today, Captain Trible’s Company left Alton for Camp Butler, at which place they arrived at 8 o’clock on the morning following, and at twelve o’clock the same day we were examined and sworn in. Some three or four members of the company experienced considerable difficulty in passing muster, on account of their youthfulness, but one person, however, was thrown out. Being the last company to arrive to fill out this regiment, we were thrown on the outskirts of the camp, a location which would require “distance to land enchantment to the view.” However, the boys fell in with hearty earnest in cleaning out the rubbish and pitching their tents, and now, after some pretty hard manual labor, we have succeeded in somewhat civilizing this part of the camping ground, and have before us a street that will admit of favorable comparison to a large number of so-called streets in Alton. Three weeks’ experience in camp has afforded us somewhat of an insight into a soldier’s life and duties, and it is with feelings of pleasure that the writer chronicles the fact that the boys all take to it finely, and appear highly satisfied. Not a murmur has been expressed, but all are eager for marching orders.

The regiment was formally organized, some days since, by the election of the staff officers. Captain L. D. Martin of the Bunker Hill Company was unanimously elected Lieutenant Colonel, and being loudly cheered, he addressed a few short and pertinent remarks to the men. For the position of Major, there were two aspirants – Mr. Horton and Mr. Reed – each of whom delivered speeches before the election. Mr. Horton was elected almost unanimously. Mr. Reed asserted that Colonel Friend S. Rutherford had promised him the position of Major, provided he brought two companies into the Regiment. After his defeat, Mr. Reed induced one of the companies which he claimed to have been instrumental in bringing into the regiment to desert. They were captured at Decatur, and brought back to camp under arrest. Upon their return to camp, an order was received from Adjutant General Fuller to disband the company and cashier the officers. The men were distributed among some of the companies, to bring them up to the required number. Thirty of these men entered Captain Achenbach’s Company, and their former 2d Lieutenant was given the same position in his company. Thirty others went into Captain Scott’s company, and their former 1st Lieutenant was given the same position in his company, thereby throwing out Mr. S. B. W. Stewart, who had been elected to the 1st Lieutenancy by the men some time previous. A chance was given Mr. Stewart for the 2d position, but he was defeated. Our boys expressed regret at the treatment of Mr. Stewart received at the hands of this company. I do not know what he proposes to do now. Mr. Reed was afterwards arrested and placed under guard. I have not heard what became of him.

The regiment was to have been mustered into the United States service a week ago, but it did not take place until today, when eight or nine companies were mustered in. Captain Trible’s company will not be mustered in for some days yet. The company is incomplete, and there is no immediate prospect of it being filled up. It is probably that we will have to give up one of the Lieutenants, in order to hold out sufficient inducements to have men enter the company. There is sixty-three names on the roll-list, and as a matter of course, we want twenty-five more. But what the company lacks in numbers, it probably makes up in quality, for in the ranks of no other company in the regiment is found as much grit and intelligence, as is seen in the ranks of the Alton boys. Their peculiar brightness has manifested itself in various forms, and has secured for the boys the title of “Alton Rip Snorters,” by which they are known all over camp.

The grub is very fair, and having good cooks, who understand their “biz,” the eatables, when served up, are not to be sneezed at.

There has been considerable sickness among the boys since our arrival here. Some five or six have been on the sick list every day, but two of them, however, were serious cases.

There were ten desertions reported at the Adjutants office on Saturday. Of these, four were from this company. These were from the number who camp from Missouri and unlisted at Alton. They left camp on last Sunday week, and started for Alton on foot. A detachment of four men, in charge of our Orderly, started after them, but arrived too soon, and consequently missed them. This morning, however, they made their appearance in camp, having voluntarily returned.

There are at present some eight regiments completing their organization at this camp. Also two artillery companies. The secesh prisoners who have ornamented the inside of Camp Butler, proper, for months past, have been all sent South. Only some sixty, who are sick in the hospital, are left behind. Their departure was quietly conducted, there being little demonstrations offered on the part of the prisoners. Their old quarters are being overhauled and put in better trim. The prisoners look anything but inviting.

On last Thursday, a small party of ladies and gentlemen arrived from Alton for the purpose of presenting Captain Trible’s company with a flag. Lieut. Lewis, with a squad of eight men and one Sergeant, proceeded a short distance from camp, received the party, and acted as an escort for them to the camp. On reaching the companies’ quarters, the men were drawn up in line, and the flag was presented to the company by Miss Hattie Phinney, with a neat and appropriate address. Lieut. Lewis, in acknowledging the gift to the company, made use of some happy and well-timed expressions. As no company flags are allowed, and this being a regimental flag, it will in due course of time be formally presented to the regiment, with the condition that if we succeed in carrying it safely through the campaign, it shall be returned to the company at the conclusion of the war. The flag is a very handsome one, and as a matter of course, the Alton boys think a great deal of it, and will certainly strive to do their duty with its folds streaming over them. We frequently meat with Alton forces in this camp. During the past week, four or five citizens of Alton paid us a visit, which was certainly appreciated by us.

The 70th Illinois Regiment (three months’ men) leave today for Alton, for the purpose of guarding the prisoners there.

The weather has been quite pleasant thus far. Last Friday evening we had a heavy rainstorm, which continued, more or less, severe throughout the night. Out tents afforded us a poor shelter against the beating rain, and many a poor lad passed the night without sleep, not having a dry spot whereon to rest their heads. More anon. Signed by Hip Snortell


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1862
Our people, having ascertained on yesterday that Major General McClernand, one of the prominent heroes of the hard-fought battles and bloody victories of which Kentucky and Tennessee have been the theaters, was in our vicinity on private business, sent for him requesting the honor of a speech upon the aspect of the war, and his views in reference to its successful prosecution.

Notwithstanding the storm in the early evening, and the threatening clouds pertending, our citizens, such as are not absent upon the tented field, rallied in large numbers at the call of Murphy’s splendid band, which played in superior style the glorious national airs, to which the national heart has beat and our national troops have marched for a century. The 77th Ohio and 70th Illinois Regiments in full uniform marched down from camp and swelled the crowd to a large concourse.

General McClernand appeared upon the balcony of the Franklin House in company with Hon. George T. Brown, Sergeant-at-Arms of the United States Senate, who welcomed the General substantially as follows:

“General, on behalf of the people of Alton, I take pleasure in extending to you a cordial welcome. Our country, lately so united and happy, struggles with a giant rebellion, nearly as causeless as that which resulted in the driving of the Evil One and his followers from the presence of the Almighty, and destined, we hope, to as signal a failure. In this day of gloom and disaster to our arms, we hail with no ordinary gratification, the presence of a distinguished son of Illinois, fresh from the glorious battlefields of the Southwest. To the Northwest, the present contest is of more importance than to any other section of the Union. While the loyal States are united in fighting for the preservation of the Union, we of the Northwest are fighting for that and much more, an access to the markets of the world. The soldiers of the Northwest, under your gallant leadership, and that of your brother officers in command, have already shown what victories loyal hearts and strong arms can accomplish. In the future conduct of the war, we think we only need a few more of the same kind to crown our efforts with lasting victory and subsequent peace. Accept sir, for yourself and the brave men you have led to battle at Belmont, Ft. Donelson, and Shiloh, the heartfelt gratitude of the people whom I represent.”

As the General stepped forward to reply, cheer upon cheer greeted him from the assembled multitude, but from no other part of the crowd so heartily as from the gallant soldiers whose greater sacrifices, solemn pledges, and sufferings, render them far more conscious of their country’s peril than those can be who have only heard of the war of cannon, the rattling of musketry, and the groans of the dying. The General said he would not attempt to find words to express the emotions which filled his soul as he saw the multitude, who in spite of the thunder, lightning and rain, had assembled in the open air to welcome so humble an individual as himself. He was aware that they came to welcome him as the representative of a cause sacred above all causes to them, and to the friends of constitutional liberty throughout the world. A cause now fearfully imperiled, and calling for the speedy employment of all the moans which God has placed in our power. It had been justly observed by the speaker introducing him, that this Rebellion is a causeless one. Even Mr. Toombs, now a General in the armies of the Rebellion, said but a short time before the war that the peculiar constitutional rights of the South had never been more faithfully observed than then, and yet at that time men high in position in the execution of our laws and having access to and control of our arms and treasure, had prostituted their trusts, perjured themselves and poured a flood of treason, anarchy and demoralization over the proudest and fairest land and the happiest people that ever the sun shone on.

Mr. Brown had been pleased to refer to the battles of Belmont, Ft. Donelson, and Shiloh. In each of those battles, the gallant Illinois troops had done their duty and had carried the banner and proud name of their state in the forefront of every struggle. But the rebellion is not suppressed. Recent success has flushed the Rebels, and more audacious than ever, they are marching their massed legions northward. The man of the northwest in addition to the many vita interests which is imperiled in common with the people of the whole country, have the additional motive of preserving to their intense posterity untramancied by treaties or customs the great inland sea, by which God has connected their commerce with the whole world. This must be done, and to this end the Rebellion must be put down, though the war lasts five hundred years. Let the troops of the north be massed for battle, no longer guard Rebel property, private or public, and let them be rolled upon the foe as any mighty, irresistible projectile.
[the rest of the article was unreadable]


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1862
To Colonel F. S. Rutherford, 97th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers
September 6, 1862
Dear Sir: Your friends of Madison County, desirous of expressing their personal friendship to yourself, and their appreciation of the patriotic enterprise in which you have engaged, respectfully ask your acceptance of the accompanying testimonial. Trusting and believing that you and the soldiers under your command may prove worthy of the fame which Illinois has already won on the battlefield, we bid you an earnest God speed in the sacred cause of Liberty and Union.

Signed by W. C. Flagg, Levi Davis, E. L. Dimmock & Co., John M. Pearson, D. C. Martin, H. C. Sweetser, C. Phinney, Blair & Atwood, W. T. Miller, L. Hamlin, D. S. Hoaglan, Isaac Scarritt & Co., M. G. Atwood, Patterson & Travis, W. A. Holton, John Dye, J. E. Hayner, H. S. Baker, W. C. Quigley, Hatheway & Wade, D. D. Ryrie, George T. Brown, E. D. Topping, G. D. Sidway, N. Hanson, A. S. Barry, C. M. Grundall, and R. T. Wood.

Accompanying the above was a splendid sword, belt and shoulder-straps, together with a horse and complete accoutrements, including pistols &c. To this compliment, Colonel Rutherford returned the following graceful reply:

Springfield, Illinois, September 8, 1862
Messrs. W. C. Flagg, Levi Davis, E. L. Dimmock & Co., John M. Pearson, D. C. Martin, and others:
Your letter, tendering the present of a beautiful sword, a magnificent horse and caparison, has been duly delivered into my hands. I can devise no form of words that does not seem lame and spiritless beside the intense emotions of gratitude and pride, this unlooked-for proof of your kindness and liberality has awakened in me. Though deeper than before, the feeling is not a new one, for it is but one of many favors – a triple underscoring to a “long line” of highly appreciated marks of good will – now bearing an accent which move beyond reply. It is the more significant and touching that it is not for me along; that I am esteemed a worthy medium for the bestowment of such a patriotic gift to the cause of our country. While I could not ungenerously interpret out of it the personal sentiment which makes it doubly grateful to me, yet I cannot feel that it is more an offering to the “sacred cause of Liberty and Union,” which I am thus appointed to administer. It is an offering of that sterling and noble patriotism which, against every assault, is to be the salvation of this people, the safeguard of Freedom and the hope of the world. “It marshals me the way I was to go,” and though untried in the grim service to which it consecrates me, and the self-distrustful to make proud promises; yet it is my privilege to hope that, encouraged and sustained by the sturdy, brave, and true Illinoisans who have chosen me for a leader, and who will pour out as water, their hearts’ last drop of blood ere they will put a blot upon the State’s bright escatchem, I may give such an account of your honorable token as will make you glad to remember, in the time to come, both your generous action and its humble and grateful recipient.

I am gentlemen, Your most obedient servant,
Friend S. Rutherford


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1862
We are gratified to announce that our old friend, Captain Senton, who has for a long time been fighting the battles of his country, has returned safely to his old home and resumed his former business. His shop is on Second Street [Broadway]. He is so well known in this community as a superior workman, and accommodating and obliging business man, that it is not necessary for us to say anything more than to simply announce the fact, that he has resumed business to assure him an extensive patronage.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 12, 1862
The field pieces that Governor Yates promised should be sent to Alton for the defense of Alton arrived last night. They are two fine brass six pounders. We learn that a company is to be formed from Alton Fire Companies, to take charge of them and learn how to make use of them in case there is any raid made upon our city.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 19, 1862
We observed the above heading to an article in a leading religious paper this morning. It struck us as being exceedingly appropriate at this time, when so many are depressed and almost hopeless. That God will ultimately crown the army which is contending for the national existence of the best government, the sun ever shone upon, for free speech, a free press, universal education, and for liberty, we cannot doubt for a moment. And the people have proved themselves faithful in every emergency. They have furnished troops by the million, poured out their treasure like water, and are ready to furnish everything that is needed to annihilate this wicked and unnatural rebellion. But we hear some hypochondriacs say with prolonged fear and downcast eye, “We have no men to lead our troops on to victory.” We reply, our necessities must soon develop a head. Great emergencies always produce great men. Never despair, but trust in God and the people, and all will yet come out right.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 26, 1862
President Lincoln has at last lost all hopes of conciliating the rebels, and has issued his proclamation declaring the slaves free in all States which may be found in rebellion on the first day of January next. He has, however, very wisely provided to have all loyal slave-holders compensated, which may be found in those States. He also leaves untouched the slaves which may be found in States represented in the United States Congress on the first day of January 1863, except as they are affected by the confiscation act passed by Congress.

This proclamation will send a thrill of joy and hope through the hearts of all loyal men in the United States, and will insure the Government the hearty sympathy and good wishes of every philanthropist and lover of free institutions throughout the civilized world.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 3, 1862
Having read your paper of last Friday, containing a statement signed by “Rip Snorter,” in which my name was mentioned, I would explain it. I think he reported too much toward the end of the article. Those not acquainted with military affairs would be very apt to misconstrue the whole matter, as some ladies of Alton have done already. I am not so barbarous as to refuse a man a furlough under such circumstances. I hope to explain it so as to retain the good opinion of the citizens of Alton.

A private of Captain Slaton’s company, named Whitlock, came to me and stated that his captain had gone home, and that he (Whitlock) had received a letter stating that his two children had died, and that his wife was lying at the point of death, and requested me to help him get home. I told him I would go to Colonel Rutherford and ask his permission. I did so, and stated the case to him. The Colonel said he was willing for him to go, but he had no right to give him a leave of absence, as the latest order refuses any furloughs in any circumstances whatever. I then wrote a petition for Whitlock, to the Governor, and took it to Colonel Rutherford, who signed it instantly and willingly. Mr. Whitlock went to Springfield and got a furlough. He returned this morning and thanked me with tears in his eyes for my trouble. I think comment on this statement is unnecessary, but I do it to take the blame from shoulders where it does not belong. Signed by William Achenbach, and verified by Jacob W. Whitlock. Witness, B. F. Slaten, Captain.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 3, 1862
The men from Madison County in the regiment are generally enjoying good health, there being but six or seven cases of sickness, and none of them dangerous. Last Monday night a rumor was spread in the camp that McClellan had conquered Stonewall Jackson and taken 35,000 prisoners. The firing of cannon was heard, and the ascent of rockets seen in Springfield. The Telegraph operator was absent, and someone in the office wrote on a slip of paper the words quoted above. One of our officers was sent to see whether there were any dispatches confirming the rumor. Seeing the slip of paper, he returned to the camp and spread the intelligence. The cheering, which had already spread from regiment to regiment, awakening all that vast multitude, was now redoubled, the troops seemed wild with joy, and the tremendous clamor was heard for miles around, making the woods of the Sangamon and the prairies ring. Our men assembled at the headquarters of Colonel Moore, a bonfire was made of our Chaplain’s hay, and our Colonel being called for made a well-times speech, which was tremendously applauded. Speeches were then made by Major Newsham, Captains Olden, Hulbert, McFarland, and Messrs. Gregg and Kerr. The enthusiasm continued unabated until the command was given to retire to quarters. The cheers still rang in the distant encampments.

Colonel Hecker, in addressing is fine regiment in one of those bursts of oratory for which he is unrivaled, remarked “that with it he could make a gap in aristocracy, that would be a thoroughfare for liberal institutions for ages to come.” If his men have an opportunity, they will make his words good.

The regiments of Colonels Day, Lovell, Rutherford, and Hecker are armed and equipped, and in common with all the other troops here, are anxious for marching orders. The defensive policy is in low repute here. It is rumored that the regiment of Colonel Day is going to join the brigade of Colonel Blair. Colonel Day is at St. Louis at present. We were visited last Friday by our distinguished Senator Trumbull and General Paine. The Senator made a speech to the regiments of Colonels Sinan and R. Moore. He is still, as ever, an earnest advocate of a vigorous policy, and believes as men generally do now, that we cannot conquer the enemy without using all the means in our power to weaken his strength, cripple his resources, and crush out the spirit of the rebellion. This, with McClellan’s cry of a bloodless victory, might now be considered the great farce of the war, had it not ended in a terrible tragedy. The cry of concentration and advance must be caught up by the whole people, and continued until the army and its leaders are inspired or driven by the sound, before we can reasonably hope for success.

Today, a regiment of “three months” men returned from Alexandria, Virginia. The men say it is thought generally we have gained great advantage, and that McClellan is a favorite with the men. One main objection to McClellan, to use his own words, is that he always thinks “tomorrow better than today.” This is a grave error, and to it may be attributed all the reverses of the war. It kept our magnificent Army of the Potomac idle for a long and inglorious winter campaign, exposed to the rigors of a Northern winter, losing the golden opportunity of crushing the rebellion before their raw conscripts had been disciplined and brought into the field. It sacrificed the gallant Baker on the bloody field of Ball’s Bluff, quenching forever one of the brightest lights of the nation. It has “held the word of promise to the ear and broken it to the hope.” The many thousands whose bones repose on the fields of Virginia and Maryland, the tears of widows and orphans from the powerless homes of the North, cry out against the policy. Let not a magnificent army again chafe in inactivity on the banks of the Potomac. Let us never again hear the desolate wail from the fever-parched lips coming up from the swamps of the Chickahominy. We trust to the President, Congress, and the people, to prevent the recurrence of the great mistake of the eastern campaign. If it happens again, our cause is lost, and with it the hopes of mankind for freedom for ages to come. Signed by Occasional.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 10, 1862
The last two weeks at Camp Butler has been characterized by an unusual degree of activity. The drilling has been urged on, and the companies have acquired considerable proficiency in company and battalion drill, and also in the manual of arms. A week ago yesterday, there was a review of nine regiments, being all at that time stationed here, with the exception of Colonel Snell’s. The regiments were formed in two brigades, the first commanded by Colonel Hecker, the other by Major Newsham. The line extended about half a mile, and presented an imposing appearance, most of the regiments with their bayonets glistening in the bright sunlight. We were review by Colonel Fonds, commander of the post. The regiment of Colonel Hecker was preceded by their pioneers, and a splendid brass band which discoursed inspiring music. There was a large attendance from the city witnessing the review.

The regiments of Colonels Day, Snell, Rutherford, and Jesse Moore left here last week for Louisville. Last night we visited their deserted encampment, and although the grounds and buildings were never very commodious, a feeling of desolation came over us, similar to that so beautifully expressed by the poet:

“I feel like one who treads alone, some banquet hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled, whose garlands dead, And all but lie departed.”

Our regiment is armed with French rifled muskets. They are said to carry eight hundred yards. Out men are still cheerful and enthusiastic, notwithstanding the sickness that prevails, unused by the wet weather of the last two weeks. We have a good hospital, and those that have been in it speak highly of the nurses.

The storms in the political world pass by and produce little impression here. The men seem determined to make good use of their leisure hours, and several debating societies have been established. At the last meeting in Captain Kinder’s company, the question of drafting was discussed. The boys are almost unanimously in favor of a draft. The arguments in its favor were: 1st. It is the quickest method of converting a sympathizer into a Union man. 2d. It is the quickest method of raising an army, and therefore a vast saving of expense. It would prevent the danger which may result from the preponderance of secession votes at home, since loyal men mainly join the army. It was argued, “We do not want traitors in the army,” to which it was replied, “We can better take care of them than our fathers and mothers at home.” The speeches in favor of drafting were loudly applauded. Those literary societies will be of great benefit to our regiment.

I take pleasure in congratulating the Telegraph in its final triumph. Throughout this struggle it has been the consistent, persistent advocate of a vigorous policy. Thank heaven, that policy is adopted at last. We have entered on the new life of the Republic with a future radiant with hopes for our country and for mankind. The incubus that shadowed the brightness of our example is about to be removed.

Yesterday our regiment was paid their bounty and premium, and 1,700 dollars have been sent from Captain Blakeman’s company to their friends at home. We are under orders to leave for Cincinnati immediately, and will be on our journey in two days at most. We are anxious to depart for new scenes, to join the advancing columns of the Union. Signed by Occasional.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 10, 1862
Yesterday afternoon several messages from Camp Butler were received stating that Colonel Rutherford’s regiment, the 97th Illinois, would pass through our city enroute for Louisville, Kentucky, and as our place is well represented in two companies of the regiment, many were on the “que vive” to know when they would arrive. Anxious parents, sisters and wives thronged the depot of the Chicago Road from early in the afternoon till late at night, anxiously awaiting the expected ones. An observer could see that it was no usual thing which was to happen. They were there with little “tidbits,” little things, which when they first left home, perhaps were lost sight of, things which would be tempting to the appetite as also for the comfort of the dear ones they were to meet. Time wore away, and dark came on, and still they came not. Tired limbs and wearied bodies were forgotten in the anxious waiting for the train to arrive. The crowd increased as night came on. At about half-past ten, the cry of “here comes the train,” brought all up standing, and all were aroused and watching. The train consisted of twenty-six cars, box and passenger. They passed the depot and stopped on the curve on the levee to change engines preparatory to continuing their journey.

It was no use trying to keep the men from coming out of the cars, for if they didn’t get through the doors, they did get through the windows, and the meeting with the friends beggars all descriptions. We can but faintly touch upon it, it needed to be seen to be appreciated. There were aged parents whose sons were there, sisters whose brothers were there, wives whose husbands were there, and those who had no immediate relatives still had acquaintances among them. They knew their stay would be short, and the parcels that had been prepared with so much care were handed over, and the interchange of sympathy was good for the heart to witness. All looked well and hearty, and were anxious for the “fray.” The train was prepared, and ready to go, the last leave-takings had to be gone through with, perhaps for the last time upon earth, and as they gazed upon the faces of the dear ones so soon to leave them, was it my wonder that the tear would fall? The parting was sad and impressive, and amid the cheers, tears, and prayers of that large crowd, they moved on to their destination. May the Bod of battles be with them and keep them unharmed, and return them in safety to the friends they have left behind. We expect to hear noble deeds from the 97th yet, for we know that wherever Illinois soldiers are found, there is safety, and there is something to be relied upon. We are certain we shall not be disappointed in our expectations. We say three cheers for Colonel Rutherford and his noble band of men!


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 10, 1862
We understand that the young Misses of Alton have reorganized their Lint Society again, which was in operation last winter, and did so much towards furnishing material for dressing the wounds of our noble soldiers who were injured on the battlefield. This society can accomplish much in the aid of our brave men on the field, and at the same time the reflex influence of their benevolent deeds on their own hearts will more than compensate for all the trouble it may cost them. Their next meeting will be at the house of Mr. R. L. King on Belle Street, Saturday afternoon next.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 24, 1862
The Alton Union Aid Society has contributed during the past month the following articles:
To the hospital of 70th Regiment Illinois Volunteers – 20 pillow ticks; 20 pillow cases.
To the hospital of the 77th Regiment, Ohio Volunteers – 9 shirts, 9 pair drawers, 4 towels.
Sent to the Illinois Sanitary Commission at Cairo, for benefit of wounded soldiers at Corinth – 2 jars blackberries, 7 cans and 5 bottles of peaches, 1 sack dried apples, 1 can tomatoes, 5 cotton sheets, 17 pillow ticks, 33 pillow cases, 2 feather pillows, 9 handkerchiefs, 2 napkins, 8 pair socks, 81 shirts, 15 pair drawers, 781 yards bandages, 1 testament, a large quantity of lint, scraped and raveled, rags, compress, &c. Signed by L. J. Lea, Secretary


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 24, 1862
The eloquent and patriotic E. C. Ingersoll, Esq., the man who loves his country more than his party, will address the citizens of Alton and vicinity in the city hall, on Monday, October 27th inst. Let every voter of Madison County be present and hear the noble defender of his country discourse on the importance and absolute necessity for every citizen to stand by the government in this hour of peril, when it is openly assailed by the armed rebels in the south, and secretly in the north by the K. G. G.’s. It is from the latter the friends of the country have the most to fear at present. There is no man in Illinois better qualitied to tear the hypocritical cloak of identity from these fire-in-the-rear men, and expose them in all their naked deformity to the reprobation of every patriot in the land, then Mr. Ingersoll. Let there be an overwhelming audience present to hear him on Monday next. The hour when the speaking will commence will be announced by handbill, or otherwise.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1862
Again we speak of the 70th Illinois Volunteers – that body of men, according to the Democrat, who have been parading our streets from early morning till late at night, causing trouble in getting around them, and who have disturbed our neighbors dreams in the still hours of night, have been paid off, and will leave in a short time for their homes. We think this regiment has behaved nobly under the circumstances. They have been disappointed time and again in getting their money. We bid them goodbye, hoping that if they go in for the war, they may acquit themselves nobly.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1862
The 126th Regiment, formerly the 128th, have pitched their tents at the lower extremity of Hunterstown, on the border of Shield’s Branch.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 31, 1862
The following letter was received by a contraband at Fortress Monroe, from his late mistress. Thousands of men in the South, like the husband of this woman, have left their families (to be supported by slaves), while they fill the Rebel ranks and shoot down the defenders of our Union. When the families of those men are deprived of that support, either by the voluntary escape of the slaves, as in this instance, or the confiscation of them by the government, those families will be reduced to beggary and starvation, and the husbands and fathers who have sworn to protect, feed and cherish them, if they are not as false to their social ties as they have shown themselves false to their country, will cease their warfare against the Union and return to their domestic duties, and that will be the end of the Rebellion:

“Anthony, I have heard that you were making a great deal of money, and as we are in Williamsburg and have no support, and William [her husband] is away and I cannot hear from him, I send you this to let you know that we are in need of everything. I have no meat, no money of any kind that will pass. I want you to send me some bacon and sugar and coffee, and any other things you can get that I need. I have no money to buy a thing with. You have had twelve months’ freedom to make money in – it is time to do something for me and my children – they are in want of clothes and the winter is coming. If you do not send me some money, they will perish with the cold, for wood is very high, and I am not able to buy any now to cook with. We have done all in our power for you until you left us, and can you hear of your master’s children starving, and you able to work and help them so I cannot think it.

I should like to see you, if you can give me a little help every month it would keep us from want. Send what you can get for me by John King, he will bring it safe. He is doing all he can for his mistress. He does not let them want for anything. I never should you this, if I had not been in want, as you have not done anything for me all this time. If you consider yourself free, it is your duty to do what you can for me and my two little children. I shall expect you to do all you can, if John King does not come up soon you can send them by Sam Simpkins. He belongs to Mrs. Eliza Jones. Tell him to bring them to Mrs. Tilford. We are there now. Send them as soon as you can. From your Mistress, Hannah D. Westwod.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1862
(This letter was received some days since, but we could not find room for it in our columns until after the election.)
The prospect of a speedy removal to the scene of danger, which produced great activity in camp three weeks since, has been changed to uncertainty, and it is now even rumored that we will remain here for the winter. We, however, hope still soon to be removed. It is now expected that we will be under the command of General McClernand, who is at present in Springfield, there are at present seven regiments stationed here. Two of them lately arrived from the southern part of the state. They are strong looking men, good marksmen, and will make excellent soldiers. The members of Captain Blakeman’s company were favored some days ago with an excellent dinner from the patriotic ladies of Marine, by the hand of Miss Blakeman. We valued the dainties much as a change from our rough fare, but more, as a token of kind remembrance from the sympathizing friends we have left at home. The thought that our friends are mindful of our perils will be an incentive to renewed efforts in “danger’s darkest hour.”

Last Wednesday the three regiments of Colonels Hecker, Moore, and Judy, under Colonel Hecker, and those of Colonels Hundley, Hardee, Niles, and Fonda, under Major Newshum, were ordered to Springfield to be reviewed. We started, fully equipped, at ten o’clock, and arrived at the prairie east of the city at twelve; here we halted and ate our first dinner from our haversacks. We then resumed our march, and having passed through the principal streets of the city – objects of pleasing interest to thousands of gay belles and gallant beaux who thronged the windows and the corners of the streets – returned once more to the prairie, where we were reviewed by General Brayman. Many beautiful and intelligent faces from the windows of the high school were seen waving their handkerchiefs in token of appreciation, showing that the cause of education and the hearts of the rising generation are allied to the Union. After review, we resumed our march toward camp, and arrived in as the shades of evening were closing around us, having marched about eighteen miles, besides standing two hours motionless on our feet. We would have relished such a march toward the land of cotton, but such a tramp merely to gratify the love of display of some officers was not so well appreciated by some of the men.

We have watched with anxiety for some time the efforts that have been made by certain parties to prejudice the minds of the western people against those of the East, and the inactivity of our army on the Potomac has been used to the prejudice of the Yankee name. The same heroic valor that distinguished the Yankees in the war of the Revolution exists now among their sons, and if blame there be, let it rest with the leaders the government has placed over them, and not with the men. Let there be harmony between the East and the West. Woe to the man that sows the seeds of prejudice that may result in dire war. The true patriot glories most in being an American, and State pride is humbled in the august presence of the Republic.

The news from our army in Tennessee is cheering, but while we exult in the victory of our forces, we must shed a tear for our heroic dead, whose blood moistens the ground where they so bravely fall. Thirty brave men from a small town in Iowa fell on the field of Perryville. Among the mourners of that brave band is an old man of our company – a man of steady habits and undaunted heart – 68 summers have passed over his now whitened locks, yet his step is firm and his heart was as merry as the merriest of the band. Three of his sons have joined the army, and his wife is at home on his farm. Yesterday the old man received the intelligence that one of his sons had fallen, and that another was seriously wounded. The strong heart of the old man refused to weep, and his grief was too deep for utterance. He told few his sorrow. He was going home today at any rate, but he resolved to go immediately. There was some delay in getting his furlough, and at nine last night the old man started on his lonely walk to Springfield, to reach the train going north. Poor old man, the winds of that wild night to him wailed a requiem over the grave of his loved lost son. Yet, his heart falters not. Let his heroism be an example to those who would falter in devotion to our cause. Signed by Occasional.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1862
Colonel Compton, who was taken prisoner near Helena sometime since, by the guerrillas, has been exchanged, and arrived in the city last evening, much to the joy of his numerous friends. It was some offset for his sufferings in the Little Rock Penitentiary, to learn that the chief of the guerrilla party, by whom he was captured, is now in the military prison in Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 7, 1862
General John A. McClelland, the celebrated General who is universally popular among all loyal men, came into our town on Saturday night from Springfield, and stopped over the Sabbath at the Franklin House. None of his old Democratic friends, however, called upon him, they now denounce him as an abolitionist, just as they do Ingersoll, Smith, and all others of their party who are in favor of a vigorous prosecution of the war. We understand that the General leaves for St. Louis this morning.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 14, 1862
Last evening, we witnessed the dress parade of the 126th Regiment at their quarters just in the rear of the City Cemetery. They were all drawn up as in battle array, and presented a fine appearance, indeed. The orders were given plainly, and were obeyed by the men promptly as they were given. They showed that they had done something besides lounge around the camp. We judge from the dexterity shown there, that the drill book has been a constant companion among both private and officer. We expect to hear some noble deeds done yet by that fine-looking regiment, and we wish them, to take with them when they leave us, our warmest wishes for their future success.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 28, 1862
Who that witnessed the unfurling of “Old Glory” last evening at the Old Folks’ Concert, for the benefit of the Ladies Union Aid Society, can doubt the loyalty of the major part of our respectable citizens? Such a furor as was exhibited when the singing of “Rally, Boys, Rally,” commenced, and the unfurling of our beloved flag took place, we have seldom, if ever, witnessed before such a waving of handkerchiefs from the ladies. God bless them, they are always for the Union – and the storm of huzzas and clapping of hands from the sterner sex must have made the hearts of secession sympathizers quall, if any had the hardihood to mix themselves with such a highly respectable audience as welcomed the Quincy Old Folks in this their first concert in our city. The large hall was jammed, and all left there perfectly satisfied with the entertainment, and thanking our Quincy friends for their very successful efforts in behalf of a Society that aims to benefit the sick and wounded soldier, and has already added greatly to their comfort to the different regimental hospitals opened in Alton.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 19, 1862
A correspondent of the New York Tribune, writing from the Department of the West, says that the Emancipation Proclamation is already having its effect in the preparations which the slaveholders of Alabama and Tennessee are making for their future relations to the slaves. Many of them have already entered into a contract with their slaves to remain upon the plantations under wages. They have come to the conclusion that the slaves are as necessary to them as it has long been asserted, they were to the slaves. Several instances were noticed by the correspondent where this arrangement has been effected. One, Mr. Aiken, a cotton planter of Tennessee, said to him that he and several of his neighbors had already had a talk with their slaves, and agreed with them to remain and receive wages. They preferred them to any new set of laborers that they could obtain. They had advised their slaves to remain, and they were pleased with the arrangement. Other instances are narrated sufficient to show that the movement is spreading.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 25, 1863
We have been requested to say that this association of patriotic and benevolent ladies will hold a festival at Mr. Charles Sebastian’s, in the American Bottom near Wanda, for the benefit of sick and wounded soldiers. All those who feel interested in the object they have in view are invited to attend.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1863
Two trains of soldiers passed through this city, one of them yesterday, and the other this morning. They were a portion of General Pope’s Division, and were found south, but to what particular point we are not advised. We are also informed that there will be more along tomorrow from the same Division.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 30, 1863
The Alton Democrat of yesterday, knowing that its commendation would be most damaging to the character of any loyal man, thus speaks of Colonel Rutherford:

“Since the Colonels’ entering the service, he has been more of a fighting man than a wire pulling politician, and probably Secretary Stanton is fearful of his fidelity to the Constitution and Laws of the old Union being stronger than it is to the abolition program of the Administration.”

We should think, the above notice, from such a source, would furnish good grounds for a suit in court for damages. Or it is possible that the author of this article is so green, as to believe that the Colonel holds his principles so lightly as to imitate the writer of the notice by repudiating them, simply because the Administration did not give him all the favors he asked?


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 30, 1863
We received the following letter from William Palmer, living three miles south from Rockbridge in Jersey County, this morning, in which he says he found the following threatening notice tacked to his gate post:

“A grand rally of the Democrats of this and adjoining counties have resolved that the Union Leagues of this country are responsible for all the unlawful arrests of our citizens, and for each arrest or attempt to arrest will have to pay for the same with their lives threefold, and for the destruction of property in every case, the match box will be consulted and in this there will be no mistake we are for peace. Signed by Many Democrats, this October 21st, 1863.”

The above not reflects the feelings of multitudes of poor deluded creatures in this State, who have been led to believe from reading such papers as the Alton Democrat, Jerseyville Union, Carlinville Spectator, &c., that the Administration was not prosecuting the war for the restoration of the Union, but to liberate the slaves, and to establish a more intolerable despotism over the free people of the North, than that of Austria. ___________ [unreadable] supply the deadly bullet to the persons, and the match to the property, of their peaceable and quiet neighbors. It would be well, however, for these poor creatures to understand, that the laws in Illinois can still be enforced, and that unless they wish to stretch hemp or find lodgings in the Penitentiary, they had better behave themselves.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 30, 1863
The following letter, written from Missouri to a man by the name of Sigler, who is now confined in the military prison in Alton, will explain itself. It was handed to us by an officer of the 37th Regiment Iowa Volunteers. It will be seen that the writer makes some home thrusts, which is not only calculated to make his Rebel friend smart, but is also applicable to a great many others. We deem it best not to publish the author’s name:

Trenton, October 17th, 1863
D. F. M. Sigler, Esq.:
Dear Sir: In reply to your letters requesting my assistance to get you released from the Alton prison, I must most respectfully decline for several reasons. First, I have taken an oath several times since the Rebellion broke out to support the general government, without mental reservation or evasion, and not to give aid and comfort to its enemies. Such you have shown yourself to be by raising arms against the government. But you say you have seen your folly, and intend to quit. I ask what right I have to rely on your promise, when the universal doctrine of those in arms, as well as friends to rebellion at home, is that an oath is not binding, and they would not keep it? Yes, have you not violated your parole and forfeited your oath? But you say your wife and others persuaded you to it. If you could be persuaded to violate an oath, may you not be persuaded to forfeit your promise again? In your first letter, you say you enclose me a letter to your wife, and before your letter is finished, your mind changes and you do not send it. Surely your mind changes very suddenly. Again, I acknowledge I know no person who has been in prison, and taken the oath, who is not as strong and active a rebel as ever. But you urge the claims of your innocent children on me (and surely they have claims). But I ask, have not the widows and orphan children of those who have lost their lives in the Union army claims on me? Those poor children in Missouri that Governor Jackson took their State school fund to arm his rebels to murder the children’s fathers and drive them from their homes. Do you not think the insane of our State have claims on me, who have been turned out of the asylum and their money and bedding taken by C. F. Jackson for his rebel soldiery? My eyes have seen them wretched and perishing. I ask what does all this? The slave power has undertaken to destroy a free Government, and have robbed poor children of their School money and the lunatic of what benevolence had provided for them. Yes, slavery has done all this! For every rebel says he seeks his rights – that is slavery – and under that pretense can commit every kind of outrage. Now, don’t you think the rebels of Missouri ought to make up the poor children’s school fund, and pay indemnity to the insane, and restore the interest taken by them (the rebels) due on our State bonds? Please give those things a serious consideration, and do not forget you have been a co-worker in the matter, and in making orphans and robbing the poor of their School fund, in undertaking to fight for the South. That has brought all this on us. So, excuse me for declining to assist you under these circumstances. I subscribe myself your Humble Servant.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 6, 1863
We are informed on good authority that the dismissal of this brave and patriotic officer was caused entirely by a mistake, and that there is no doubt but he will be honorably restored to his command. This will be very gratifying information to his many friends in Alton and neighborhood, who felt that he had been unjustly dealt with when he was dismissed.

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 13, 1863
An order has been issued from the War Department restoring Colonel Friend S. Rutherford to the command of the 97th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, from which he was dismissed a few days ago by mistake. He will probably return to his regiment within a few days, as his health has been very much improved within the last month.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 27, 1863
Colonel Friend S. Rutherford of the 97th Regiment, who has been detained at home for some months on account of ill health, called upon us this morning to bid us goodbye, and is off to resume the command of his regiment. His health is now apparently entirely restored, and he left in fine spirits, although he could not refrain from feeling sad over the painful accident which has so lately befallen his regiment.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 4, 1863
The Copperhead City Council has at last caved in, and “Old Glory” has been flung to the breeze from the spire of the City Hall. It is a good augury [sign]. It is a badge of the obituaries of Alton Copperheadism. It shows that the traitors’ last hope of handing the State over to the tender mercies of the Pro-Slavery Confederacy has expired, and that the opportunity for substituting Rebel bunting for the “Old Rag” has gone forever. It is a good sign for us, and a wholesome humiliation for the craven Rebel sympathizers who have prolonged their waiting to see which side was going to win. They have heard the voice and sulkily bowed to its mandate, and left us not even the privilege of admiring the courage that would dare to stand by the infamous ensign they secretly loved. We welcome the banner for its own sake, and because it must be a sore application to the eyes of those miserable and unpatriotic individuals who sought to debase and destroy it. Long may it wave and flutter its reproaches in the face of its guilty enemies until grief and repentance make them fit to dwell beneath its glorious folds.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 18, 1863
The Washington correspondent of the Chicago Tribune, in speaking of the appointment of Captain G. V. Rutherford as Chief Quartermaster at Alexandria, says this is an excellent appointment, and peculiarly fitting, as Captain Rutherford has been engaged for some weeks in ferreting out the outrageous frauds perpetrated by Captain Ferguson at Alexandria.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1864
We would invite the special attention of our grumbling, fault-finding, Rebel-sympathizing and pro-slavery neighbor of the Alton Democrat to the following testimony as the ability of slaves to take care of themselves, and coming as it does, from the Boston Courier, one of the most intensely copperhead sheets in the United States, he certainly cannot, therefore, reject the force of the testimony on account of the source through which it comes.

“They are a race of practical and experienced agriculturists. Hardly a plantation is found where there are not black men who are as competent to conduct with success the whole practical agriculture of the place as their masters were, for whom they once labored. I venture the assertion that beginning with the humbler classes in northern communities, there cannot be found five million of farm laborers who have more practical skill with farming tools and more direct knowledge of conducting the main operations in agriculture than these five million of negro-Americans. Large numbers of them are found, also, to understand all the main features of that system of religion so wonderfully adapted to every grade of human intelligence, that system in which faith in a crucified and arisen Savior is more than a substitute for every other knowledge and all other rites. I suppose we are safe in assuming that there are five hundred thousand of these blacks, who in point of Christian light and Christian practice, will compare favorably with the converts from paganism made by the labors of our foreign missionaries.”


Call Goes Out for More Soldiers
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1864
Yet a few more days remain for filling up the quotas for Illinois. A few more days for the saving of the draft. A few more days for the liberal bounties and rewards for the volunteer recruit. Let loyal men fall in, choosing their own branch of the service, and let us end this rebellion as we first attacked it, by volunteers rallying round the flag. Never were offered richer premiums on patriotism. Never the inducements to serve the country better enforced by reason of personal advantage. Let the next two weeks see the work accomplished, and the enrollment list made useless, so far as relates to the present call for troops.

Lieutenant Colonel Martin, or his aid, Sergeant Hazard, of the 97th Regiment, can be found at their room in Mercantile Hall, ready and willing to attend to all who may wish to come in out of the draft. The people of Madison County would feel mortified if all the rest of the State should make up their quota, while a draft should have to be resorted to in this county to make up ours. Let every man, therefore, step up during the next two weeks.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 22, 1864
We have been informed the County Court of Madison have voted to pay $50 bounty for every volunteer enlisting in the county previous to the first of March next, except to the citizens of Alton. The Judges of the Court are deserving of much commendation for their liberal and patriotic appropriation for this purpose, and it is hoped the Common Council will increase the bounty which they propose paying to the same figure. With these liberal inducements held out to recruits, we have no doubt, with proper activity, old Madison will soon furnish her quota of soldiers for the army. Let every individual feel that he is personally interested in this matter and work accordingly, and the object will soon be accomplished.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 22, 1864
We have seen no more masterly pictures of the horrid character of the Rebellion than the following passages from the speech of Frederick Douglass, the colored orator, to an audience in the Cooper Institute, New York:

“We are now wading deep into the third year of conflict with a fierce and sanguinary rebellion, one which, at the beginning of it, we were hopefully assured by one of the most sagacious and trusted political prophets, would be ended in less than ninety days; a rebellion which, in its worst features, stands alone among rebellions a solitary and ghastly horror, without a parallel in the history of any nation, ancient or modern; a rebellion inspired by no love of liberty and by no hatred of oppression, as most other rebellions have been, and therefore utterly indefensible upon any moral or social grounds; a rebellion which openly and shamelessly sets at defiance the world’s judgment of right and wrong, appeals from light to darkness, from intelligence to ignorance, from the ever-increasing prospects and blessings of a high and glorious civilization to the cold and withering blasts of a naked barbarism; a rebellion which, even at this unfinished stage of it, counts the number of its slain not by thousands or tens of thousands, but by hundreds of thousands; a rebellion which in the destruction of human life and property, has rivalled the earthquake, the whirlwind and the pestilence that walketh in darkness and wasteth at noonday. It has planted agony at a million hearthstones, thronged our streets with the weeds of mourning, filled our land with mere stumps of men, ridged our soil with 200,000 rudely formed graves, and mantled it all over with the shadow of death. A rebellion which, while it has arrested the wheels of peaceful industry and checked the flow of commerce, has piled up a debt heavier than a mountain of gold, to weigh down the necks of our children’s children. There is no end to the mischief wrought. It has brought ruin at home and contempt abroad; cooled our friends, heated our enemies, and endangered our existence as a nation.

Now, for what is all this desolation, ruin, shame, suffering, and sorrow? Can anybody want the answer? It has been given a thousand times from this and other platforms. We all know it is slavery. Less than half a million of Southern slaveholders – holding in bondage four million slaves – finding themselves outvoted in the effort to get possession of the United States Government, in order to serve the interests of slavery, have madly resorted to the sword – have undertaken to accomplish by bullets what they failed to accomplish by ballots. This is the answer.

Whence came the guilty ambition equal to this atrocious crime. A peculiar education was necessary to this bold wickedness. Here all is plain again. Slavery – the peculiar institution – is aptly fitted to produce just such patriots, who first plunder and then seek to destroy their country. A system which rewards labor with stripes and chains! – which robs the slave of his manhood, and the master of all just consideration for the rights of his fellow man – has prepared the characters – male and female – that figure is this rebellion – and for all its cold blooded and hellish cities. In all the most horrible details of torture, starvation and murder, in the treatment of our prisoners, I behold the features of the monster in whose presence I was born and that is slavery. From no source less foul and wicked could such a rebellion come. I need not dwell here. The country knows the story by heart. But I am one of those who think this rebellion – inaugurated and carried on for a cause so unspeakably guilty and distinguished by barbarities which would extort a cry of shame from the painted savage – is quite enough for the whole lifetime of any one nation, though that lifetime should cover the space of a thousand years. We ought not to want a repetition of it, nor can we wisely wish a possible repetition of it. Looking at the matter from no higher ground than patriotism, setting aside the high considerations of justice, liberty, progress, and civilization, the American people should resolve that this shall be the last slaveholding rebellion that shall ever curse this continent. Let the war cost much or cost little, let it be long or short, the work now begun should suffer no pause, no abatement, until it is done and done forever.

The hour is one of hope, as well as danger. But whatever may come to pass, one thing is clear – the principles involved in the contest, the necessities of both sections of the country, the obvious requirements of the age, and every suggestion of enlightened policy, demand the utter extirpation of slavery from every foot of American soil, and the enfranchisement of the entire colored population of the country. Elsewhere we may find peace. Elsewhere we may find prosperity, but it will be a transient prosperity. Elsewhere we may find greatness and renown, but if these are based upon anything less substantial than justice, they will vanish, for righteousness alone can exalt a nation.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 19, 1864
We were kindly invited by the members of the Ladies and Gentlemen’s Leagues at the Coal Branch, about three miles from this city [Alton], to be present last evening to partake of a supper gotten up in that place in honor of the noble veteran soldiers who are now at home on furlough. These grave boys belong to the old and gallant 10th Regiment Illinois Volunteers, and having re-enlisted, are now at home to visit the mothers, wives, and sweethearts. The supper was also intended as a tribute of respect and affection for some fifteen or twenty new recruits, who have volunteered to return to the war with their veteran associates from that vicinity. The tables were spread in the Methodist Church, a neat and comfortable building, which will seat about 250 persons. When we arrived, about half past seven o’clock, we found most of the seats were removed, and two long tables were spread from one end of the building to the other. And we speak nothing but the plain, unvarnished truth when we say they were the neatest looking tables that we ever beheld. We do not mean by this there was a greater display of dishes and mere ornament than we have ever beheld, for that was not the case. But what we mean is that the tables were groaning under the weight of good things, cooked in style which at once marked those who got up the supper as adepts in the art of tickling the palate, while at the same time there was just sufficient of ornament to make the tables pleasant and agreeable to look upon. The room even at that early hour was filled, but before the exercises commenced, it was literally jammed and packed in every nook and corner, the most of the audience being compelled to stand. The first exercise was the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner. Mr. F. B. Cressey of Shurtleff College gave a very happy and felicitous speech, thirty minutes in length. He received the undivided attention of the audience, and was frequently applauded during its delivery, showing that he knew how to strike the keynote of his hearers. After the singing of another song or two, the people were invited to partake of the rich repast before them, which they did with a relish. There were many toasts given, and other interesting exercises to which we would be glad to allude, but time and space forbids.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 4, 1864
This regiment, authorized to be raised in this State by the War Department, is rapidly filling up. Upwards of forty recruits have been enlisted in Alton and county, with Captain William Flint, who has been authorized to raise a Company.

Yesterday the committees in charge of the disbursing of the city and county bounties, commenced paying the colored recruits. They are mustered into service by Captain Abbott, Provost Marshal, and upon his certificate the recruits are paid the same as whites. This morning a detachment of colored soldiers in charge of Captain Flint left on the Alton and Chicago Railway for the general rendezvous at Quincy.

The prospects of the regiment are flattering for an early organization. There are already five companies in camp. Now is the time, and the opportunity, for colored men to exhibit a patriotism that will command the respect of all men. Let them come forward and enlist in a regiment of their own.

A regular camp is established at Quincy. The regiment occupies large and extensive barracks, newly built for its use, and they are supplied with everything in the shape of clothing, camp and garrison equipage the same as the white soldiers.

At the recent celebration of the 22nd, in Quincy, we are informed by Colonel Breye, who has been authorized by the War Department to get this regiment up, that some of the regular army officers pronounced the appearance of the men – the cleanliness of the camp, grounds, and barracks - in every respect equal to that of any other camp in the State.

The colored regiment raised in Madison County, was part of Company E of the 29th U. S. Colored Infantry. Not all in this unit were African-Americans – some were Native Americans and Asians. The men were sent to Quincy, Illinois, where they mustered in and learned basic squad and company drills. They were ordered to Annapolis, Maryland, and from there to Alexandria, Virginia. The men saw action in the Battle of the Crater, Battle of Globe Tavern, Battle of Poplar Grove Church, and the Battle of Boydton Plank Road. They then served on the Bermuda Hundred front and at Richmond, until participating in the Appomattox Campaign. They were then assigned garrison duty until they were moved to Texas in May 1865. They served in the Rio Grande Valley until November 1865, when they were mustered out of service. Three officers and 43 enlisted men were killed in action, while 188 enlisted men died from disease.

Lewis Martin, shown in the photo, was a free black man from Alton who served in the 29th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops (USCT), during the Civil War. He was severely wounded in the Battle of the Crater before Petersburg, VA, on July 30, 1864, and his right arm and left leg had to be amputated. Martin lived in Springfield later in life and was well known. He was a member of the John A. Bross Post (African-American unit) of the Grand Army of the Republic. During the funeral services for Captain John G. Mack in October 1887, Martin fainted at the cemetery, the walk being too much for him. He lived on a pension from his military service, and in 1889 he received $6,500 in back pension payments – part of which he used to buy property along West Jefferson Street in Springfield. Martin was found dead on January 26, 1892 in a home on that property. His cause of death was listed as stroke, however newspaper articles stated he probably died of exposure and alcoholism. He was known to be a “hard drinker.” Martin was buried in an unmarked grave in the pauper’s section of Oak Ridge Cemetery. He finally received a headstone on November 2, 2013.

For a list of those who served in Company E, please visit this website.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1864
Robert G. Smith, Esq., the gentlemen who was robbed the other night, called upon us this afternoon. He says as near as he could ascertain, there were some fifty or sixty in the gang which plundered his store, and thus they represented themselves as belonging to the 37th Illinois Volunteers. But he thinks that the most of them were deserters, while there were a few from Missouri and a portion from Jersey County in this State. He thinks he has discovered the names of a few of the plunderers, and if the rest of them entirely escape his vigilance, they will be smart.

Mr. Smith’s loss is much heavier than we at first supposed. He says they did not destroy anything, but carried off whatever they thought would prove of value to them. Among the things taken was a horse, saddle, bridle and buffalo robe, all the ready-made clothing he had in his store; also, all of his piece goods and as many boots and shoes as they could carry; two revolvers and a shotgun; and $190 in money. All amounting to $1,000.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1864
It is a little strange that while the Alton Democrat and the Jerseyville Union deny that political differences had anything to do with the plundering of Robert G. Smith, that neither of these papers manifest the least regret at the atrocious act, but on the contrary, burlesque it as though it was a good joke, with evident relish. The article from the Democrat of this character, we have already laid before our readers. And we observe that the Jerseyville Union republishes the same infamous piece, with the following additional remarks:

“A reliable U. L. says that Bob, being much alarmed, started for Alton, and the 37th, in his socks and drawers, coming all covered with lather at the rate of 219, thus distancing every competitor. On a careful examination of the premises, Colonel De Funk Sowser remarked that Bob was evidently frightened at his own shadow, and ordered his brave boys to retire in order to their refreshments.”

In another article on the same subject, the Union speaks as follows:

“We are just as heartily for Law and Order as concerns Bob Smith, as for ‘any other man.’ To be sure, we have no reason to love him much, and we candidly say we do not, but what can one expect who will themselves inaugurats such a state of affairs. Everyone recollects how the ‘spry and informer,’ as he was then styled by our contemporary of the Alton Democrat, made an unlawful raid upon our office upon the 5th of last December, and failed. We wish him no harm and hope the reason of unlawful force he has received will cause him to cease such efforts against his neighbors in the future. His rancorous persecution of Barnard, who still unjustly suffers, will not soon be forgotten by him or others, we opine, but now as then our advice is leave him to the stings of a guilty conscience.”

No one can read these comments of the Democrat and Union without being satisfied that the editors rejoiced that the robbery had taken place.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 4, 1864
There was a ball at the house of Harrison Dunn, about half a mile from Mr. Smith’s house, on the 22d, to commemorate the birth of Washington. It was numerously attended, and Mr. Smith was there among the others. About an hour after Mr. Smith arrived at the room, he saw four men approach him with navy revolvers in their hands. The leader then seized him by the arm and asked him if he was dancing tonight. Smith answered in the affirmative, and jumped to his feet, and placed a lady between himself and the man, whom he recognized at first as one of the party who robbed him on the night of the 21st of December. There were a number of other strangers in company with the four whom Smith recognized, who had pistols in their hands. Smith then ran into the ladies’ room, drew his revolver and said he would shoot the first man who should enter the room. By this time there was great confusion, attended with screams from the ladies, in all parts of the house. At this crisis, one of the ladies raised a window, when Smith managed to make his escape from his pursuers – jumping some ten or fifteen feet to the ground. The robbers pursued him for some distance, but finally gave up the chase.

Mr. Smith’s workmen, having discovered that he had left the room, they made haste to reach his house and secure such things as would be likely to be carried off by the robbers. They just arrived in time to save Mr. Smith’s horse from falling into their hands.

During this time, Mr. Smith was making all haste to reach Alton, which he soon did, and procured a squad of the 8th Kansas, under Captain Leighton, and another squad under command of Lieutenant Smith of the 10th Kansas. When he returned and arrived at Dunn’s house about 3 ½ o’clock Tuesday morning. A guard was placed around the house, and all who were in the building were retained – the house was then searched, but nothing could be found of the robbers.

Mr. Smith then suggested that the cellar be searched, and he and Youngblood started down the stairs for that purpose, but when they had reached the foot of the stairs, they were met by the Rebel, Meadows (alias Davis) with a pistol in each hand. He fired instantly at Smith, the shot passing between Smith’s right arm and his body. Youngblood then fired at him and turned to go back upstairs, when Meadows shot him in the back. Mr. Smith then fired at him in order to make his escape from the cellar. Meadows then fired at Smith as he retired, and wounded him slightly in the hand. He then fired again and shot one of the 8th Kansas in the hand. The Kansas boys then fired away at him, when he fell back into the cellar.

Captain Mortimer Scott then said to Mr. Smith that he would disarm him and deliver him up to us, if we would not shoot him any more – stating that Meadow’s was a friend of his. About 30 minutes after the shooting was over, Captain Leighton called attention to a rocket that was shot up by some person, and wanted to know what it meant, which could not be answered except on the supposition that it was a signal to the confederate of the robbers who had been at the house.

They robbed one of Mr. Smith’s men, who took his part of all the money and papers that he had about him, and also a valuable revolver.

There have been several skirmishes in that neighborhood since that time, and we think it is high time that a stop should be put to these infamous outrages. The military authorities should take the matter in hand, if the civil law is too weak to arrest the evil.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 15, 1864
The 10th Kansas band daily discourses the sweetest music in front of the Franklin House, and are decidedly the best musicians we have listened to for many days. We understand they are practicing one or two new pieces which they will shortly produce.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 6, 1864
There was a large and very enthusiastic meeting at city hall on Saturday evening for the purpose of raising men for one hundred days’ service. The meeting was presided over by the aged and honorable, Cyrus Edwards.

His remarks upon taking the Chair were exceedingly patriotic and to the point. He was in favor of the call for 100,000 men, and thought that all should go to the front and put an end to this infamous Rebellion. Although he was far down the vale of declining years, he still felt the warm current of patriotic feeling and blood tingle in his veins. His life, his money, influence, and all was pledged to the maintenance of the Union. His remarks were listened to with great interest, and he was frequently interrupted by bursts of applause.

Captain Burbank explained that the absence of the band was owing to the refusal of Colonel Weer to allow them to play for any such a party, and stated that although Colonel Weer still commanded his regiment, it was a matter of gratification to loyal men to know that he no longer commended the Post.

Other speakers included:
Brigadier General Copeland and Mr. Taylor. Colonel Weer came forward and attempted an explanation of the face of his forbidding the band to play, citing that he intended to keep military discipline. The audience went into convulsions of laughter and sneers, during which the Colonel acknowledged his commission would “run out” soon, and repeated his offer to resign.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 6, 1864
As intended and expected, the loyal ones at Coal Branch had a rousing good time last night. We, that is, the report, went out about dark and found already a large crowd together. We found that our enterprising recruiters, Cressey and Johnson of the Mercantile Hall, with their usual energy, had kindly sent out a band of martial music, the patriotic strains of which added much to the interest of the occasion.

The meeting was called to order by the President, Mr. James Mitchell, who made a few introductory remarks, full of true and earnest patriotism. His words and actions showed that he was not a whit behind his young friends in the good cause of a righteous freedom.

Next, all joined in singing the “Battle Cry of Freedom,” and if the manner in which it was sung is any indication of the purpose of those present, we have no fears about their springing to the call of one hundred thousand men.

Dr. Rutherford then took the floor, and spoke with his accustomed energy and effect. As a matter of course, the peace party did not escape without a warming. Fortunately for them, however, few of their crowd were present in person, at least as we had reason to judge. His manner of “putting the case to the Union boys in regard to doing their duty now, was forcible and effective. But we all know the Doctor style of doing such things.

Now came Captain Burbank’s turn, which he improved to the best advantage. His report from the neighboring villages was full of encouragement, showing that the loyal sons of this part of “Egypt” are again raising in the power of their might. If we of this immediate vicinity would have a share in the coming struggle, we must be in for it without delay, or we shall be too late.

We were next favored with the roll of drums and the fife’s shrill notes, which served as a sort of interlude to the exercises.

Mr. Edward K. Cressey of Shurtleff College was next called for and made his appearance. He spoke for an half hour or so in a manner which gave evidence that he fully appreciated the nation’s condition, and was determined to do all in his power, both by talking and going himself, for the triumph of the right. His speech had the right ring about it, and like all the others, was received with continued applause. Our soldier friend, Mr. Mattox, volunteered a stirring, patriotic song, which was just the thing.

Mr. Carsten of Coal Branch said a few words in regard to the raising of men there, urging them to take hold and lend a helping hand. A call was then made for volunteers to come forward, and prove their sincerity by putting down their names. While this was being done, we started for home, well pleased with what we had seen and heard, and assured that the Coal Branch boys were all right.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 13, 1864
A fine company of men, raised among the students of Shurtleff College and in Alton and Coal Branch, for the one hundred days’ service, left for Springfield this morning. Many sad hearts were at the depot to big farewell to husbands, brothers, and kind friends. We noticed the tear in many eyes, as the brave fellows shook the hands of their dear kindred.

The organization of the company is only temporary, and the company is commanded by Captain John Moore. The first Lieutenant is Mr. John Carson. There were about ninety men in all, and the company is comprised of the very best young married and single men.


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 13, 1864
There are but few places in this country where the people have manifested more practical patriotism than our neighbors out at the Coal Branch. This small neighborhood or village, numbering perhaps less than five hundred souls, has furnished since the war commenced, about one hundred and fifteen volunteers – thirty-five of whom left this morning for Springfield with a Company of one hundred days’ men. But our good friends do not satisfy themselves with giving up their sons and brothers, but they contribute very liberally towards the support of the families of those who volunteer.

The following preamble and resolutions in regard to the brave men who have volunteered to serve their country for one hundred days were adopted at a succession of meetings held by the citizens of the Coal Branch, assisted by Dr. Rutherford, Captain Burbank, and others, to make provision for their families. There is no bounty, no relief from the county, and probably no pay till they are mustered out of the service. We have caused a subscription to be opened for one hundred days for the relief of their wives and children. We have succeeded in collection $211. The donors have our thanks.

Resolved, That the employers of the Coal Branch employ no men to the exclusion of those who are about to serve their country in the present emergency.

2d. That we, the citizens of the Coal Branch and vicinity, do pledge ourselves to support the wives and families of the men that are enlisted on the Coal Branch for one hundred days.

3d. That a levy of ten percent of all the earnings of the employers and working men of the Coal Branch be collected for the support of said families.

4th. That any man refusing to comply with these resolutions shall be considered disloyal to our country.

James Mitchell, Treasurer
James Maloy, Secretary
H. Maloy, P. Robinson, and W. Smith, Committee

Coal Branch settlement was in the Elm Street – Alby Street neighborhood, mostly in Godfrey Township. There were many coal mines along the Coal Branch stream, which provided fuel for steamboats and trains. Early coal miners included James Mitchell, Thomas Dunford, Dennis Noonan, Peter Robinson, Charles Crowson, William Watts, Henry Camp, Peter Taylor Nathan Sydel, Henry Conlon, John Rutledge, and Joseph and Richard Whyers. James Mitchell, a Scotsman, opened the first coal mine in the summer of 1848. After the Chicago and Alton Railroad was completed, large quantities of coal were shipped to Springfield, Bloomington, and Chicago. By 1882, the vein of coal was nearly exhausted.

The Coal Branch settlement had a few stores, a church, and a school. Joseph and Richard Whyers also operated a flour mill. As seen in the article above, about 115 men volunteered to join the war effort during the Civil War. The families left behind had little money, and the Coal Branch employers levied ten percent on the earnings of the workers, to help support the soldiers’ families.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 1, 1864
Mr. DeLange, a wide-awake and efficient night watchman, discovered a soldier this morning about one o’clock, who looked rather suspicious, and refused to give any satisfactory account of himself when he observed that he had a bundle with him, which was afterwards discovered to be wet clothing. Mr. DeLange then, after considerable difficulty, arrested the soldier and took him to the military quarters. On an examination of the latter this morning, it was ascertained that the clothing was stolen, and Mr. DeLange has requested us to say that the owner can recover them by calling on him at Mr. R. L. King’s store.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 15, 1864
Joseph F. Baker, son of Hon. D. J. Baker of Alton, has been promoted to a Captaincy in the Marine Corps. This is a merited and well-deserved promotion. Captain Baker has been in the service of his country through the last three years, and has passed through several of the hardest fought battles of the east. Among them in the first battle of Bull Run, and the raid of the Merrimac upon shipping opposite, Fort Monroe. He was a Lieutenant on the ill-fated Congress.

Mr. Joseph Brown, son of Thomas Brown, late of Alton, has been appointed an Ensign in the Navy, and assigned to the gunboat service on the Mississippi.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1864
We are much pleased to learn that two of our Alton boys have received appointments in the Navy. Mr. Charles Dimmock Jr. has received the appointment of Master’s Mate in the regular Navy, and has been ordered to report to Mound City, for which place he takes his departure this evening. Mr. William Christie has received the appointment of Purser’s Clerk, and been assigned on the Gunboat Chillicothe. These fortunate gentlemen will doubtless fill their respective post with honor to themselves and to the country, to the service of which they have devoted themselves. Our best wishes go with them.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1864
The steamer D. A. January is now lying at our wharf with four hundred sick and wounded soldiers on her. The boat was bound for Quincy, but the river is so low she had to return. We understand that she will land them now at Jefferson Barracks.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 19, 1864
The meeting at the city hall last evening was a perfect success as far as numbers were concerned. Notwithstanding the very short notice, the hall was very nearly filled. Mayor Hullister presided, and D. D. Ryrie and Henry G. McPike acted as Secretaries. We had hoped that we would have been furnished with the proceedings from the proper officers, but as they have failed in this part of their duty, we shall have to content ourselves with publishing our own impressions of so much of the action of the meeting as we witnessed. We had another engagement, which detained us from the hall until after General Rosecrans and General Copeland were through with their remarks.

Dr. Rutherford was on the stand when we entered, and how long he had been speaking previous to our entrance, we cannot say. But he made some very happy and appropriate remarks after we entered, and also said some things which had been better left unsaid. After he was through the inevitable Dr. English took the stand, and the words flowed out of his mouth with as much ease as water gurgles down the steep falls of a muddy stream, and with just as little soul in them. He remarked that everyone was acquainted with his political career, which was about the only truth he uttered while upon the rostrum. It is well known that he supported James Buchanan through all of his imbecile and traitorous career while President. That he defended him and his Cabinet while they were engaged in transferring all the arms and munitions of war to the South, so that they might fall an easy prey into the hands of the Rebels. That he stood with the old mummy in denying the right of the general government to use force in enforcing the laws in the Rebel states. That he was the champion of Kentucky while she was contending that the national government had no right to use her territory for the transfer of United States troops to the Rebel states. Yes, Doctor, your political history is well known, and will be well remembered, and although you may talk loyalty very fluently, yet it will require a great deal of hard labor to make the people believe you are sincere. You are too well known in this community for that. If there were any persons present last night who were deceived by your plausible speech, it was strangers, and not those who are acquainted with you.

After the doctor got through with his remarkably modest speech, he asked for the reading of a resolution, which had been prepared for the Common Council, but that body, failing to have a quorum, it was presented to the public meeting. The resolution was well enough of itself, and recommended certain men as a committee to whom the whole matter of raising the regiment was to be referred.

But certain gentlemen, not finding their names among those contained in the resolution, constituted themselves into a committee, and increased the number to fifteen, and accomplished the very important matter of including themselves in the list. The names of these individuals had no sooner been read, then the chairman in hot haste put the question to vote, without giving anyone of the audience an opportunity to make a suggestion, or to say a word in reference to the matter. There are a very few good, reliable Union men on the committee, and we hope the committee may be guided to wise conclusions, but the way the matter was conducted, the meeting really had no more to do with their appointment than the man in the moon.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1864
The survivors of the Alton Jaegers arrived this morning on the train from Chicago, and were received by the Society of Turners and the Mayor and Council, headed by the Murphy’s Band. The war-worn heroes were received with shouts of welcome, and the hearty hand-shaking and tokens of joy at the safe return of so many of this favorite company was universal. Amid the smiles of joy, we noticed the tear of sorrow on more than one manly cheek, shed to the memory of those who went to battle, but ne’er came back. There were parents and brothers to meet these brave veterans, and not a few former comrades, who having lost limbs in fierce strife, were obliged to remain at home.

The company was escorted through our principal streets to the City Hall, where two long tables were spread with the choicest production of our market for their consumption. The Mayor, in behalf of the citizens of Alton, welcomed them in a short speech, after which the order was given to “fall in” for dinner. After their dusty and tiresome trip in the cars, it is useless to state that this order, like all others received by these men, was obeyed with alacrity. Hilarity and good, cordial feeling was the programme, and was strictly adhered to. The war-worn and weather-beaten flag attracted much attention and comment. The men generally look hearty and robust, but are doubtless pleased to see the rocks and hills of Alton again. We will publish tomorrow a roster and historical sketch of the “old 9th” regiment.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 2, 1864
There is now only one week more left before the draft, and yet there has been little accomplished in the way of raising troops, and no field officers have yet been commissioned. We are not definitely informed, but we are satisfied that no one of the many who are raising recruits have anything like a company recruited. Unless there is much more activity and energy used this week than there has been for the two weeks which are passed, it is very evident that but comparatively few men will be raised from the city and county.

From circumstances which have developed themselves within the last few days, it is evident that the loyal portion of our community have not confidence in the men who it is reported has been appointed by General Rosecrans to superintend the raising of this regiment. There is no escaping from the fact that men will be judged by the company they keep, and when an officer finds his particular and personal associates among those who have never raised their hands or their voices in behalf of their country, it is not surprising if loyal men should feel indisposed to confide in him, let his professions be what they may.

Colonel Andrew F. Rodgers may be an excellent and brave officer in the field, but if he is to be judged by his conduct since he has undertaken to recruit this regiment, he is certainly not the right kind of a man to take charge of the Alton Guards. For he cannot certainly expect the support and sympathy of the loyal portion of Madison County by the course he is now pursuing, and if he fails to obtain that, he should not be entrusted with the command.

We have withheld an expression of an opinion on this subject, hoping and believing that Colonel Rodgers would prove just the man we wished for the post, but we are now well satisfied that in these expectations we were mistaken, and that it would be very unfortunate if he should be commissioned as Colonel of this regiment.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 9, 1864
The unlisted men for this regiment were partly mustered in today, and the balance will be mustered in tomorrow. The whole number now on the rolls is near 450 men. There is no doubt that the regiment will be filled at once.

We noticed the Alton Guards, recruited by Captain DeLange, marching through our streets to headquarters this morning. They were a fine-looking body of strong, full-grown men, and will doubtless be a credit to the service. The companies are being mustered in as fast as the proper rolls can be made out.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 9, 1864
We were informed yesterday that Captain Rutherford, the Commissary of this post, had been relieved from duty here, and that an officer by the name of Porter was ordered to take his place. We have heard no reason assigned for this strange and unaccountable proceeding, but a day or two will probably develop the modus operandi by which the result has been brought about.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 9, 1864
We have known for some time past that Samuel Avis, one of our oldest and most trustworthy and competent citizens, had received an appointment as Quartermaster, but deferred noting the fact until it was made public where he should be assigned. We are now gratified to be able to state that he has been assigned to duty at this post [Alton]. This result is very gratifying, not only to Captain Avis, but also to his many friends in this vicinity.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 16, 1864
Surgeon Bluthardt, formerly Assistant Surgeon of the 1st Illinois Cavalry, and late Surgeon of the 23d Missouri Infantry, has received the appointment of Surgeon of the Alton Guards Regiment – the 144th Illinois Infantry. Dr. Bluthardt has been practicing for some month’s past in Alton, and has gained an enviable position among our physicians.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 7, 1864
The mass meeting at Edwardsville on yesterday was a perfect success in every respect. Although the Madison County Fair was in session at the time of the speaking, engaged in the most exciting and interesting portion of its exercises, the number around the stand – just outside of the Fairgrounds – could not have been less than 1,500 or 2,000 persons! The exercises were commenced with singing by the celebrated Lumbard brothers of Chicago, who are without doubt the best vocal musical performers in the West.

The Hon. Mr. Ward of Chicago, who has a wide reputation over the State as an eloquent and effective speaker, then took the stand, and although very hoarse from constant speaking for the last month, yet he elicited from the audience their undivided attention and most enthusiastic applause during the whole time of his discourse. But owing to the condition of his throat, he did not occupy the stand more than thirty minutes. He is well qualified to do most effective service for the Union cause, as he possesses fine abilities and shows by his manner that his whole soul is engaged in the work. Neither is he afraid to call things by their right names, but expresses himself clearly and distinctly in language which cannot be misunderstood. He left an excellent impression on the minds of the people, which they will be very likely to retain until after old Abe and General Oglesby are elected.

Then “Rally ‘Round the Flag” was sung, as it never was before in this county, by the Lumbards, the audience joining in singing the chorus. Such singing could not be produced by more art – northing but the deep, warm feelings of the heart ever prompts such soul-stirring music. If there was copperhead within hearing distance, he must have felt that it was no place for him. None but patriots could breathe that atmosphere.

General Oglesby was then introduced amid the most enthusiastic applause. His very appearance spoke eloquently for him, as he stood looking over his audience while their minds could not well refrain from adverting to his many bloody conflicts with the enemies of his country, and to the severe wound which finally compelled him to leave the field, and which he now bears on his person as a memento of his patriotism and devotion to his country.

All that we can say of his speech is that it was a masterly effort, and deeply impressed the audience. We would no more think of attempting to give an abstract of it than we would of reporting the streaked lightning or the rushing and impetuous cataract. No one could hear him, however, without being thoroughly convinced of his sincerity and honesty. His rebuke of Peace-sneaks, rebel-sympathizers, bushwhackers, and rebels was withering and almost annihilating. No man possessing a soul or any self-respect could listen to him, and afterwards give his vote to men who acknowledge that our war thus far has been a failure, and who are willing to treat with rebels with arms in their hands for an ignominious peace. No, never!

Oglesby conclusively demonstration that General McClellan was not only the first man to recommend the draft, but that he also ordered the first arbitrary arrests to be made, and was the first man to suspend the writ of Habeas corpus (we shall at some future time publish the evidence of these statements). The General’s style of speaking is liable to criticism in a number of respects, but for power and effectiveness, he has few superiors in the country. His audience listened from the beginning to the end of his remarks in breathless silence, except when they yielded to their feelings in bursts of applause, although he spoke something over two hours.

One little incident occurred while he was speaking, which will illustrate his power over his audience. An elderly country gentleman, who sat near to the platform, about the close of the General’s speech, rose up, and after a moment’s hesitation, with deep emotion remarked: “I must go home now, but General Oglesby you are right. This war must be prosecuted to a successful issue. The rebels must be subdued, and if necessary to this end, I am willing to give my last son, horse, mule, and hog.” This man, we are satisfied expressed the feelings, in these few remarks, of the great mass of that audience. Victory or death was the predominate feeling in that assembly.

After the speech was closed, large numbers of the venerable old farmers of the county clambered up on the platform ito take the gallant and brave soldier, and our next Governor, by the hand, and wish him God speed in his good work.

We never attended a meeting where everything passed off so pleasantly, or where we had reason to believe that more good was done than this. The speakers and the Lumbard brothers returned to Alton last evening, and took the train at seven o’clock this morning to attend the great mass meeting at Belleville today.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 7, 1864
Colonel Hall, who has been assigned to the command of the Alton Guard Regiment, called upon us this morning. He will assume the command just as soon as the regiment is filled. We understand that it still requires one more company to complete its organization, and that company has been accepted, but is now doing duty in Missouri. The Colonel is from the town of Shelbyville, and had, when he was appointed to this command, just completed his three years’ service, acting most of the time as the Colonel of the old and brave 14th Illinois Regiment, but the latter portion of the time he had charge of a brigade. Our citizens have much reason to congratulate themselves, that they have such an experienced, talented, and gentlemanly officer assigned to the command of our home regiment.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 28, 1864
We have been very credibly informed that the candidates of the Peace Democracy (Copperheads) of this county, in their electioneering perambulations, go heavily armed. Why is this, if they think it wrong to shoot at the rebels in the South lest they should become exasperated? Are they not afraid they may exasperate Union men at home by this war-like display of firearms? Or are we to understand them as not being opposed to the prosecution of wars in general, but only to the one being waged against their erring brethren in the South. But if our armies would only turn their guns against the abolitionists, then they would be willing to have it prosecuted with the utmost vigor. Down on all such whining sentimentality, and base hypocrisy, say we. If your sympathies are with the rebels and against the loyal people of the North, say so like men, and stop your miserable complaining against the government, our generals, and brave soldiers for lack of humanity.

It does not look well for men who are eternally crying out against the inhumanity and cruelty of war, and recommending charity, conciliation, &c., to be going about with revolvers in their pockets. It especially looks bad for a minister of the gospel thus to display his war-like propensities at the very time that he is advocating the Chicago platform and a cessation of hostilities.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 28, 1864
We announced some weeks since that this popular and faithful officer, who had been acting as Commissary at this post [Alton] for the last two or three years, had been removed from this place and ordered to Fort Scott. We now learn that this latter order has, however, been revoked by the Secretary of War, and that the doctor will remain in Illinois until he receives further instructions from the War Department. He has been absent from here, visiting his family in Quincy for some days, but returned here this morning, looking hale and hearty, and in the best of spirits.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 28, 1864
This gallant and experienced officer assumed the command of the Alton Guard Regiment yesterday. Its corps of officers is now complete, all of whom have had experience in the army, and have proved themselves well qualified for the positions to which they have been appointed. They are all likewise as true as steel to the Union, and in favor of subduing the rebellion by force of arms. We congratulate our citizens in their success in securing such worthy officers to take charge of the regiment which is to be in our midst for at least a year.


Source: Alton Telegraph, October 28, 1864
Fosterburg, October 11, 1864
It had been announced some six weeks in that miserable copperhead paper – the Alton Democrat – that Dr. English and Zephaniah Job would speak in Fosterburg on the 11th inst., on the great issues of the day. Accordingly, after supper I stopped over to the Burg to hear what might be said, and not having learned where the speaking was to be, I inquired of sundry persons, but no one could tell. In passing Herp’s doggery, a few persons were seen standing about the steps, and individual, who had probably “imbibed” more freely than the rest, was talking and swearing. Passing on, however, in search of the speaking and visiting every place likely to be used for that purpose, without success, a lucky idea entered my mind. I thought, perhaps, the squad seen at Herp’s might have compelled to leave the hall for want of room, either to sit or stand, and that they could inform me where the great rally was. I accordingly hastened back, and found that same individual still going on in the even tenor of his course, talking and swearing. After listening awhile, I asked one of them where the speaking was. He said he guessed there would be no speaking tonight, and then added, that is Job talking. Here, then, in a nutshell, was the great McClellan rally of Fosterburg precinct, six weeks advertising in a public, and the unwearied efforts of the high priest of that profession, who for several weeks previous, and daily gone out into all the hedges and highways about Fosterburg and the region round about, to compel them to come in, but they didn’t come. The above affair amounted to fourteen men and boys, all told, standing and laughing about Herp’s doorsteps, indeed, you rarely find there a ____ ______ ______ that on any other night. If any call for _____ _____ _____, the number, I can very ____ ____ _____. Mr. Job had gone _____, he invited the copperhead ______ the street to Ed Bush’s, and had something to drink. After they had all drank, he called for his bill – sixty cents was the reply. Now divide seventy-five by five, and see if you don’t have fifteen. But you said fourteen? I did say there were fourteen at Herp’s, but they, forming a jubilation with Ed, made fifteen. Mr. Job declaring it the cheapest liquoring he had done, handed Ed a dollar bill and started home, thinking, perhaps, that the extra forty cents might be bread cast upon the water, that might be gathered sometime in November.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1864
A posse of soldiers from the 144th Regiment, returned on Saturday night from Fidelity, where they had been scouting in pursuit of Simpson and Dr. Jay of that place, who were implicated in the murders committed in that town on last Monday. They brought in two prisoners – one by the name of Simpson, a brother to the man who was with Henderson when the murders were committed, and the other was a young man by the name of Blackburn. We have not learned what charges were brought against them. The soldiers are still seeking after Dr. Jay and the Simpson who participated in the shooting affair on that occasion, and it is to be hoped they will succeed in taking them. They and their wicked comrades have kept that neighborhood in a perfect state of terror for the last four or five months past, and it is high time their career was brought to an end.


Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1864
The facility with which the citizen changes from the routine of civil duties to those of a military character is wonderful. It is but a few weeks since the organization of the 144th Illinois Volunteers (the Alton Guards), and they now show a great degree of proficiency in the various maneuvers of the infantry drill and the manual of arms. Their dress parades are attended by large numbers of our citizens, and the fairer portion of them seem to be particularly well pleased with the soldierly and genteel appearance of both officers and men. Yesterday, a very large crowd witnessed the parade, and the universal word was that of approbation and pleasure at the progress made by our favorite home regiment.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 16, 1864
We regret to inform our readers that Captain John E. Detrich, who has been a resident of Alton for something over a year, has resigned his position as Commissioner of the Board of Enrollment, in the Provost Marshal’s office, and has returned to his home. He made hosts of friends the short time that he was among us, and this step which he has now taken will be regretted by all those who were so fortunate as to make his acquaintance. He is a man of fine intellectual ability, unswerving integrity, and of genial and social feelings, and the good wishes of his friends will follow him to his retirement, with the confident expectation, however, that they will soon hear of him occupying a more important position, and more in accordance with his talent and qualifications than the one which he has just vacation

Captain Henry of Washington County has been appointed to take his place, and has already arrived and entered upon his duties. He is a gentleman of whom we know nothing personally, but have heard him spoken of as an individual well qualified to fill the office to which he has been assigned. We welcome him to our city.


(Civil War era)
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 13, 1865
There is hardly a day passes but we hear of some new recital of the terrible sufferings and deprivations which our prisoners in Rebel hands are called upon to endure. Thousands and thousands of them have absolutely perished from want and exposure; and multitudes of those who have survived have been reduced to mere skeletons, and have suffered almost every affliction which it was possible for fiends to inflict. The very recital of their hardships and deprivations makes the blood tingle in the veins of every patriotic and humane person. Those atrocities and the cruel treatment which our prisoners received was for a long time accounted for on the ground of the scarcity of provisions, which it was said existed in Dixie, but since the raid which Sherman has made through Georgia, this flimsy excuse has exploded. It is now known that food in superabundance is to be found in the vicinity of Andersonville, where our prisoners have suffered the most, and there is no excuse, on that score, for the treatment which our brave boys have received at their hands. It is the result of the cruel and bitter hatred of the Rebel authorities against the northern people, and is but the outgrowth of the system of slavery, which has destroyed every humane feeling in the hearts of those who were brought up under its withering and blighting influence. They are as much accustomed, and as really hardened, to human suffering as the butcher is to that of the animal creation. And they can never be brought to repentance except by subjecting their prisoners to some of the hardships which our men in their hands have to endure. We know that this course will probably fall hard upon some who are comparatively innocent, but our government is under solemn obligation to protect its soldiers against wrong by all the means lying in its power, and if there must be suffering, let it fall rather on its enemies than on its friend.

But what surprises us, is that while the Rebels are treating our prisoners in this way, that their officers, which have fallen into our hands, are paroled and are permitted to run footloose; put up at our first-class hotels, and live upon the fat of the land. This was the case a short time since in St. Louis, and is so now in this city [Alton]. We have been credibly informed that there are several Rebel officers now at large, who have their names and ranks spread upon the hotel registers, are received into society, and treated as good, loyal men. And it has been asserted that at the late ball in this city [Alton], one of these paroled officers was in the room all evening, with a Confederate rosette pinned to his bosom. We know nothing of the truth or falsity of the report. But if it is true, it is an outrage and insult to loyal people, and demands the immediate attention of the military authorities.

Familiarity with treason must certainly, to a great degree, have destroyed its heinousness in the mind of our population, when they are willing to associate on terms of equality, with those who are charged with trying to overthrow the government. If a man has stolen five dollars, he is at once debarred from all good society, while those confined for the highest crime known to our laws are petted and feasted as though they had rendered some valuable service to their country or their fellow men. This is all wrong. Things should be called by their right names, and men deserve to be treated according to the enormity and wickedness of their crimes, instead of by the texture of their clothing or the polish of their manners.

No wonder our brave boys in blue feel like cursing their country, when they are released from the filthy and dirty prisons of the South – where they have suffered a hundred deaths – and return home to find those who sanctioned and encouraged the cruelty visited upon them, feasted and their society sought, while they are passed by with a sneer or a curl of the lip, and when the taunt expresses itself in words, it is that they are nothing but common soldiers. There is a great wrong here, which calls loudly for a remedy. Will our military authorities examine into the matter?

Andersonville Prison in Georgia, one of the most notorious of the South, was established in 1864. It was officially named Camp Sumter. It was only is use for fourteen months, however, during that time, 45,000 Union soldiers were imprisoned there, and nearly 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, or exposure. The prison was enclosed by a fifteen-foot-high stockade wall, called the “deadline,” which if crossed, the soldiers would be shot. The camp was covered with vermin, mud, maggots, lice, and filth. One soldier reported, “You could not sit down anywhere. If you pick all the lice off of you, and sit down for a half a moment, you would be covered with them again.” Food was scarce, and many died from starvation. It was so overcrowded, the men were forced to stand most of the time. In time, gangs were formed inside the stockade, as desperate soldiers stole what little clothing and food they had from each other. Usually, the weak and dying were the victims, until they finally grouped together and fought back. Some of the gang leaders were tried and hung by other prisoners.

When the war ended, Captain Henry Wirz, the stockade commander, was arrested and charged with murder, in violation of the laws of war. He was hanged in Washington D. C. on November 10, 1865. The Andersonville National Cemetery now stands on the property. In 1865, an expedition of laborers and soldiers, accompanied by former prisoner Dorence Atwater, and Clara Barton, went to Andersonville to identify and mark the graves of the Union dead. As a paroled prisoner, Atwater was assigned to record the names of deceased Union soldiers. Fearing the loss of the death record at war’s end, Atwater made his own copy in hopes of notifying the relatives of some 12,000 dead interred there. Thanks to his list and the Confederate records confiscated at the end of the war, only 460 of the Andersonville graves had to marked with “unknown U.S. solder.”

When Union soldiers were exchanged and released and came back to Alton, they told the stories of the Southern prisons, and as seen in the article above, were angered when they saw the Confederate officers on the streets and hotels of Alton, while their comrades were dying in the Southern prisons.

In the Alton prison, Confederate soldiers and other war criminals suffered from overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, and rampant disease such as dysentery and smallpox. When the Alton citizens became alarmed at the smallpox outbreak, the military was forced to open a smallpox hospital on Sunflower Island across from Alton to try and contain the disease. Those who died there were buried on the island. Most of the island was flooded when the dam was constructed, and the graves were lost forever.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 13, 1865
We regret to announce the death of this gallant and able young man. He was raised in this city [Alton], and was among the first who responded to the call of the country when the war broke out, and has been active in the service ever since. At the terrible battle which took place at Altoona some months since, where our troops displayed such unprecedented bravery and skill, and a mere handful of them foiled Hood’s entire army, he fell wounded through the lungs. It was hoped for some time that he would recover, but we were informed this morning that contrary to these hopeful expectations, he had died, and that his corpse is hourly expected to arrive in our city. We have been requested to say that on the arrival of his remains in the city, suitable funeral services will take place. His aged parents have the heartfelt sympathy in their sad bereavement of our entire community, and it is hoped they may receive abundantly of that support and strength which the Christian religion alone can impart.

Funeral of Lieutenant John S. Robinson
Source: Alton Telegraph, January 20, 1865
There was a very large concourse of citizens and soldiers attending the funeral services of this young and lamented officer, yesterday morning at the Baptist Church. The house was filled to its utmost capacity, and many were unable to find admittance. Colonel Richard Rowett of the Seventh Regiment was present on the occasion, having come from his home in Carlinville, where he is slowly recovering from a wound received in the Allatoona fight. The Rev. Mr. Jameson, the pastor of the church, conducted the services on the occasion in a very fitting and appropriate manner. After the services were concluded, the many friends of the deceased were permitted to take a last look upon his remains. His features were remarkably well preserved considering the number of days that had elapsed since his death. The military then took possession of his corpse. A suitable number of Lieutenants being detailed to act as pallbearers, the procession moving toward the cemetery, headed by a band of music. Lieutenant Robinson volunteered in the 7th Illinois Regiment while it was employed in Alton as a guard for the military prison in 1861, and again reenlisted as a veteran. He early rose to the rank of Lieutenant, and was soon made the Adjatant of the regiment, which position he filled with credit to himself and to the great satisfaction of the regiment. But for some time previous to his receiving his fatal wound, he had been acting Adjutant of the brigade, of which Colonel Rowett was in command. To give some idea of the terrible fighting which the 7th regiment was engaged when he fell, it is only necessary for us to state tha tone man out of every two of that regiment was either killed or taken prisoner at Allatoona. The remainder of the men are now with Sherman at Savannah. We are requested, in behalf of the family and friends, to return thanks to Lieutenant Colonel Kuhn for the military escort and band furnished on the occasion. [Note: Lieutenant Robinson is buried in the Alton City Cemetery.]


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 27, 1865
It is said in an exchange that a Savannah belle stepped off the sidewalk the other day with a pouting expression, to avoid walking under an American flag, which hung in front of an officer’s headquarters. General Geary, military commandant of Alton, immediately gave orders to have her promenade back and forth under the hateful symbol for an hour, as a warning for similar offenders. We have no doubt but the exercise thus forced upon this fair flower of Southern soil proved not less beneficial to health than the discipline was advantageous to her manners.


Source: Alton Telegraph, January 27, 1865
Among the many, in the vicissitudes of war, whose fates have for months been shrouded in mystery, few had acquired a more honorable reputation for those manly qualities that go to make up the true citizen soldier than Captain Wilber Hurlbut, of the 6th Michigan Infantry. The uncertainty which succeeded the first report of his death, encouraged his family to hope that he might still live, though wounded and a prisoner. But it is now no longer permitted them to doubt, what seems conclusive evidence that he fell on the second day’s battle of the Wilderness, on the morning of the 6th of May, 1864.

Captain Hurlbut was the only son of Rev. Thaddeus B. Hurlbut, and was born in Upper Alton, Illinois. He had nearly completed the Junior year of his college course, when in February 1862, he joined the army as Lieutenant, and Aide de Camp to the lamented General Richardson, and while upon his staff, took part in the battle of Fair Oaks, then of the Peninsular campaign and Antitrain. After General Richardson’s death, he entered the 5th Michigan Infantry, and became Captain of Company D, in which capacity he served with the regiment at the battle of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg (when he was wounded), Locust Grove, Mine Run, and others, having at the time of his death participated in nearly a score of battles. He was in command of the regiment at the time of his fall, owing to the wounded condition of his superior officers.

During his college term, he occupied a distinguished position as a scholar, and his talents, attainments, and character were held in high estimation by his instructors and fellow students. In the social circle, his graces of mind and person, and his rare virtues as a son and brother, made him deservedly the idol of his family and the center of their hopes and affections. It was the privilege of the writer to know him intimately during his connection with the army, and to be placed in close relationship with him during some of the most arduous campaigns in Virginia, where constant opportunity was afforded of observing the man and appreciating his worth. The qualities that adorned him in private life were exemplified in the fearless soldier and Christian patriot.

Prompt and courteous in the discharge of every duty, retiring and gentle in his deportment, he secured the confidence of his commander and the affection of his fellow officers. Those who knew him can sympathize deeply with his family in their great bereavement, as they will ever cherish for his memory that affectionate regard and friendship which his rare virtues inspired. His lamented and uncertain fate must ever add double poignancy in the intense grief of those who were near and dear to him. To hope against hope and never to know when, where, and how he died, but always to feel the dread certainty that he has gone forever in this life. May time soften the affliction to the bereaved ones, until God in his providence shall call them together. Signed J. H. T.


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 10, 1865
The citizens of Edwardsville have recruited and organized a full company of volunteers for one of the ten regiments called for from Illinois, and they took the cars for Springfield this morning. The officers are: Captain Frank C. Springer, First Lieutenant William R. Prickett, Second Lieutenant H. D. Wilson. The company is composed of as fine a looking body of men as has ever been recruited from old Madison, and the officers are men every way worthy of the positions assigned to them. We hope to learn that this county is not slighted by the authorities in the organization of the regiment to which this company may be assigned. Frank Springer has the talent and energy to fit him for any position in a brigade or regiment. Shall we have the satisfaction of calling him “Colonel Springer?”


Source: Alton Telegraph, February 10, 1865
The colored citizens of Alton intend having a grand time on Friday next, expressive of their good feelings because of the repeal of the odious black laws of Illinois, by the Legislature. Their places of business will be closed at 12 p.m., and all are expected to meet at city hall, when a procession will be formed and will proceed through the principal streets of the city, returning again to the hall, when some of the ablest men of Chicago and St. Louis will address them. A salute of 62 guns – one for each member of the Legislature who voted for the repeal – will be fired during the day. It is very natural that they should feel exultant over the repeal of laws which have been so oppressive to persons of color, and we hope their celebration of the event will be enjoyed by all to the fullest extent. At night, there will be a dance, music and singing at city hall.

In 1818, Illinois was admitted into the Union as a free state, but slavery continued and free blacks were oppressed by a series of restrictive state laws that denied them fundamental freedoms. These Illinois Black Laws (also known as Black Codes) were observed from 1819 - 1865. Under these laws, blacks could not vote; testify or bring suit against whites; gather in groups of three or more without risk of being jailed or beaten; and could not serve in the militia and thus were unable to own or bear arms. Blacks living in the state were required to obtain and carry a Certificate of Freedom; otherwise, they were presumed to be slaves. The Illinois constitution also allowed indentured servitude at the salt mines in southern Illinois. The mines provided significant income for the state, and served as an American presence in what the United States government considered vulnerable frontier territory.

Illinois Black Laws were repealed in 1865, the same year the United States Congress ended the legal institution of slavery with the passage of the 13th Amendment.

In the State Legislature:
The Illinois General Assembly seemed ready to repeal the Black Laws in January 1865. Outgoing governor, Richard Yates, who had resigned to become a United States senator, urged the legislature to remove the laws from the statute as quickly as possible. He was one the few whites in the legislature who had always found slavery abominable. In 1864 Yates openly stated that he favored the abolition of slavery because he supported humanity, and he knew that the U.S. Constitution gave all Americans independence. He agreed with Jones, who had said all along that both the state and federal laws were in conflict with state and federal constitutions. Bills to repeal the laws were introduced in the Illinois general assembly on January 2, 1865. Petitions poured in from throughout the state, asking for the repeal of the now infamous Black Laws. Concurrently, the U.S. Congress debated the Thirteenth Amendment. Congress acted on February 1 and Illinois became the first state to ratify the amendment, abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude. On February 7, 1865, after the Senate and House had voted overwhelmingly in favor of the repeal, Governor Richard J. Oglesby signed the repeal of the Illinois Black Laws. The black celebration that followed in Springfield included recognition of Jones, who ignited the fuse in a cannon that blacks fired sixty-two times—one for each member of the Senate and House. Following, Jones and the group went to the local African Methodist Episcopal Church to continue the celebration, concluding with a speech by Jones.

Source: Alton Telegraph, February 17, 1865
The festivities of our colored citizens passed of yesterday without the least incident to mar the good feelings of the occasion. The procession, headed by the band of the 144th Illinois Infantry, formed at City Hall about half past twelve p.m., and proceeded thence to State Street, up State to Third, up Third to Belle, up Belle to Ninth, up Ninth to Alby, up Alby to Twelfth, up Twelfth to Henry, halting at the residence of Mayor Hollister while the band played “Rally Round the Flag.” The Mayor and General Stone made their appearance, when Mr. Hollister returned his thanks for their attention. Three rousing cheers were given for the Mayor and the General, when the procession again moved down Henry to Second [Broadway], and up Second to city hall.

The large room was soon filled by an attentive audience, and appropriate addresses were delivered by Mr. Jones of Chicago, William Gray and James W. Turner of St. Louis, and Rev. Mr. Embry of Alton. The following resolutions were offered and unanimously adopted:

We, the colored citizens of Madison County and State of Illinois, assembled en masse, do ordain and proclaim the following preamble and resolutions:

Whereas, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Illinois, being in session on the 4th day of February 1865, did, by concurrent resolutions, repeal the infamous code of laws known as the Black Laws of Illinois, which laws being a transcript of the slave code of Virginia, conceived in interests of human slavery, were an emanation [release] from Hell, and although of no possible benefit to the State, they were the source of incalculable evil, and untold injury to us, giving license to the low and vile, to insult our women, despise our manhood, and abuse and wrong our people; therefore,

Resolved, 1st, That we hail with joy this epoch in the history of our State, and herald our congratulations to our fellow-citizens throughout this commonwealth.

2nd, That we tender our heartfelt thanks to those Legislators who, by their speeches and their votes procured the repeal of these laws, and express the desire that God may grant them to live in health, in prosperity, and great honor to see their children’s children, to the third and fourth generation,

3rd, That we tender our heartfelt thanks to our fellow citizen, John Jones, to whose persevering efforts and untiring zeal we are much indebted for the repeal of those laws.

4th, That we send our greetings to our fellow citizens who are soldiers in the field, and pray that God may bless and support them, and they be enabled to win many victories.

5th, That we send our friendly greeting to our fellow citizens of our sister State of Missouri, Maryland, and Tennessee, may they grow in population, in wealth, in happiness, until they reach the climax of greatness.

6th, That we owe paramount allegiance to the Constitution and laws of the United States, and are unconditionally devoted to the cause of the Union, and express the hope that there will be a continued and vigorous presentation of the war until the rebellion is crushed; to this end we pledge our all, our lives if need be, for freedom and the Union, in testimony of which, we ask most respectfully of the government, through his Excellency, Governor Oglesby, permission to raise ten companies of colored freemen of this State to be organized as cavalry, to be _____ered by colored men; and mustered in for the war, and we pledge ourselves to raise the minimum number in sixty days from the time such permission is granted.

7th, That we are determined to press this demand until granted, or until we are flatly denied.

8th, That we claim this, the land of our birth, as our native home, secured to us by the blood of our fathers, and the toil and sweat of our ancestors for more than two hundred years; we are, therefore, unalterably and inflexibly opposed to any and every scheme, plan or combination, havingthe view of colonization, deportation or concentration of our people anywhere, that our ideas of an American Nationality is in the union of all the States, each subject to the Constitution and paramount laws of the general government; that her authority shall be known, and her people spread, all over the broad continent of North America, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from Greenland to the Isthmus of Darion.

9th, That our faith is in the wisdom and goodness of God, that he can and will demonstrate, in this happy land, that all the nationalities of the earth are members of one common family, one under free government, righteous laws, impartially administered, may all live together happy, speaking one language and worshipping one God. May God bless American and her rulers; may she grow in knowledge, in wealth, in population, until a hundred million souls shall occupy her broad lands. May she be known as the cradle of liberty, the mistress of learning, the mother of science; that the poor and oppressed of every clime, from the rising to the setting of sun, may hail her as the freest, happinest, and most beneficent government on earth.

10th, That we request Rev. J. C. Embry to prepare a copy of those resolutions for the Christian Recorder and Anglo African.

A few pertinent remarks were made by Moses G. Atwood, Esq., Rev. Mr. Jameson, and Mr. Johnson, which were received with the greatest attention and respect. The speaking was continued until 5:30 o’clock p.m., when the meeting adjourned until 7 o’clock.

At the stated time, speaking again commenced, and was continued until 11 o’clock, when the seats were removed, and those so disposed enjoyed themselves in the many dances until early morn.


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 10, 1865
We announced yesterday that this somewhat notorious individual, whose name head this article, had been arrested in Missouri, charged with horse stealing, &c., and was in the hands of the Deputy Sheriff of Jersey County, on his way to the jail of that county. It will be recollected that he is an old offender, having for some time past been implicated with the Rebel sympathizers of Jersey County, and accused of acting in concert with such men as Henderson, Carlin, Jay, Simpson, and others, in resisting the laws, horse stealing, &c. He has been arrested two or three times previous to this, but managed (owing to the large number in Jersey County who sympathized with him) to make his escape. Under this state of the case, we were not much surprised to learn this morning that while the Sheriff was on his way yesterday to Jerseyville, he was met by some fifty or sixty men, supposed to be from Jersey County, who demanded that Scott should be surrendered up to them. The Sheriff, being comparatively alone, was compelled to yield him up into their hands. They took him off in the direction of the Grafton Road [Rt. 3 or West Delmar], and Scott has not been heard of since. He has probably suffered the fate of his comrade, Henderson, who was summarily shot near Fidelity last Fall.

All will admit that it is a desperate state of society, which apparently makes such lawless acts as these necessary or justifiable. We say apparently, because we do not believe that they are either necessary or justifiable. Better suffer almost any or all kinds of evils rather than to take the law out of the hands of the regularly constituted authorities. But this state of things is nothing but the legitimate consequence of such disorganizing and Satanic inculcations, as have been published in the Jerseyville Union for the last two years. If the people will support and encourage papers in their midst which denounces the Government as despotic, and as aiming to deprive the people of their liberties, they must not be surprised if all reverence for law and authority should cease, and that just such criminals as poor Scott should become common. And when the courts become so weak and imbecile that the vilest of criminals escape without punishment, it is not surprising, although it may not be wise, that the people should take the matter into their own hands.

We do not regard Scott as half so culpable as we do those political demagogues, who for the vilest purposes, inflamed the minds of such men as he, to the commission of these crimes. Men who sow to the wind must expect sooner or later to reap the whirlwind. Once destroy the confidence of the people in the Government, and there is nothing left for us but anarchy, violence, murder, and rapine. [Note: see article below regarding Mortimer Scott.]


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 10, 1865
As this day is being celebrated in almost every city, village, and town in the country, except Alton, in honor of the glorious success which has attended the arms of the Union troops since the last inauguration day, and especially within the last few months, it would not be amiss for us to contrast our present condition with what it was at that time, and in doing so, we shall avail ourselves liberally of facts furnished by the Chicago Evening Journal of yesterday.

The 4th of March, 1861, found the government without an army, without a navy, with little military leadership, and less military spirit; the rebellion covering nearly half its territory and coast, and able to marshal an army of three hundred thousand men, well-armed and equipped for their wicked and atrocious enterprise.

But when Sumter fell, the people rose. At last the Shibboleth of the demagogues, “There is no North,” was turned in the twinkling of an eye, from the truth into a lie. There had been “no North,” indeed, “to speak of,” for a half century. There was a South – exacting, supercilious, domineering, dictatorial, and there was an apology for a North – cringing, pusillanimous, with no king but Caesar, and one her master, even the South. But behind that memorable 4th of March, there were hopeful signs of better days. Here and there, now and then, men came to themselves – a great multitude of them at last. The manhood of the North gradually returned. It was not dead, it only slept. The shackles gnawed the flesh, the chains wore in, the lash cut through. We would stand it no longer.

On the morning of the 9th of November, 1860, the North and freedom drew a long breath, as if waking from a long nightmare, and as if a new day had dawned. We elected our President, our first President, and on the afternoon of the 4th of March, 1861, inaugurated him. Then came the beginning of the end. The South, enraged, mad, furious at her loss of power, flew to arms, and the North rose, stood erect, and sternly accepted the dreadful arbitrament. It has been four years since then.

On the 8th of last November, we did again what the insurgents made war upon us for doing in 1860 – elected Abraham Lincoln. And today will be done again what the conspirators plunged us into this bloody sea for doing in 1861 – inaugurate Abraham Lincoln. Surely, this may go for pretty strong evidence that there is a North, and a North which, while hard to rouse, may be aroused, to be an antagonist in earnest and a formidable foe. Four years ago, then, we were not sure of even the national capital, while all between that and the Gulf was in possession of the insurgents. With an extemporized army and extemporized chiefs to lead it; with a government in chaos and the administrators of it utterly inexperienced; with the wisest of our sages at their wit’s end, and the astutest of our statesmen baffled and perplexed, we set about our work, and the day we celebrate witnesses the major part of that work done, well done, and done so as to stay done. We are back to where he started from; the flag is back on Sumter. The conquered States are Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, North and South Carolina – eight out of the thirteen States that are represented in the rebel congress. The captured capitals are Annapolis, Lexington, Jefferson City, Little Rock, Nashville, Natchez, Baton Rouge, Milledgeville, and Columbia. The fallen cities, harbors, rivers, ports, and forts – you know their names by heart. Their name is Legion.

Our achievements of these four years are prodigious. The chronicler of our history will bear us out in out assertion. It is fitting that we rejoice, then, and it is fitting that the 4th of March should be selected to be the day for that rejoicing. All hail the Fourth of March, 1865! All hail the breaking of the morn of the day of the slaves’ emancipation, the return of peace, and the salvation of the Republic!


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 10, 1865
We copy the following statement of this affair from a letter written by one of the “boys,” who took possession of the body of Scott:

“word came to Jersey County on the evening of last Tuesday, that the notorious thief and robber, Mortimer Scott, was to be landed at Alton on the next morning, in the care of Messrs. Argo and Bird, who had taken the chap at or near Quincy, where they recovered six horses that had been stolen from Jersey County, one of them being found in the possession of Scott. On Wednesday morning, some twenty men started to meet the men in charge of the Captain of the bandits. They proceeded as far as the corner of the military prison in Alton on William Street, where they met a messenger, telling them Scott had taken the stage in care of Mr. Bird, for Jerseyville. The men were ordered to right about face, and overtake the stage as quick as possible. This was done, and Mr. Bird was ordered to quit the stage and return with the prisoner, which he, at first, refused to do, but after some plain talk, he complied. We soon met Captain _______ [left blank], who shortly made all right between Bird and the Jersey boys. As far as we (the boys) were concerned, after resting a short time at Mr. Wendt’s, we left for Jersey with the prisoner. When we arrived at the Buck Inn [North Alton], the driver of the team conveying the prisoner, by mistake or otherwise, took the Grafton Road. Soon, we began to meet squads of men, which continued increasing until the road presented a line of men apparently half a mile long. After passing through the bridge over the Piasa to the Jersey line, we halted. Captain Smith formed the men into a hollow square, and Esquire Bartlett began to call out the names of men to serve as a committee to pump Scott, after which Scott was to be given up to the crowd. After a long time, the committee rose, but declined to let Scott pass into the hands of the crowd, saying it would result in more good to the public to take Scott to Jerseyville, and keep him in jail, and allow him to point out others, than it would do to hang him. To this the crowd objected, each one giving his reasons. After discussing the matter for some time, it was finally decided to take him to Jerseyville, which was done.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, March 17, 1865
We were shown yesterday a photograph of a fine-looking young man named Samuel Harrison, belonging to Co. B, 26th (?) Illinois Cavalry, who saved the life of Major Frank Moore lately, by killing a rebel who was leveling his rifle at him. We are pleased to learn that no harm has, as yet, befallen the brave Major. May he and his brave comrades soon return to their homes, with the assurance that their efforts in behalf of the country have been successful.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 7, 1865
The fall of Richmond, which was officially announced in all parts of the country yesterday, has probably created more heartfelt joy and gratitude and thankfulness to Him who overrules and control all events, among loyal citizens, than any occurrence which has ever taken place since the formation of the government. It has everywhere been regarded as the death knell to the Southern Confederacy.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 7, 1865
This gallant and worthy officer has been at home on a sick furlough for the last six or eight days. He had a severe attack of typhoid fever, and he was afterwards attended with very unfavorable symptoms, but we rejoice to state that his health began to improve as soon as he left his command for home. Although quite feeble when he arrived here, he has improved so fast that he left for his command again at Fort Gaines this morning. We are also rejoiced to state that while here, he was informed that he had just been appointed Brigadier General by brevet, for gallant conduct in the field. This is a compliment worthily bestowed. Colonel Kent has been in command of a brigade for some time past, and is regarded as one of the best officers in the southwest. He entered the army from Alton in one of the first Companies which was raised on the breaking out of the war, and has risen step by step, by his intrinsic merit, without the assistance of any outside influence, to his present position.


Source: Alton Telegraph, April 28, 1865
We have been permitted through the politeness of our esteemed friend, Charles W. Dimmock, Esq., to publish the following letter just received by him from Captain Fred T. Lewis of the 97th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, dated at Blakely, Alabama on the 10th inst., giving us a list of the killed and wounded in that regiment. We extend to the friends in Alton who have lost friends in that battle, our heartfelt sympathy and condolence.

“Dear Friend:
Enclosed I send you a list of casualties that have occurred in our Regiment during the past week, thinking that it may perhaps be well to have the same published for the information of the friends of the boys in that regiment. With three exceptions, these casualties occurred last evening.

For a week, we have been investing this place, slowly working our way up to the works of the enemy by gradual approaches – made under the cover of night. Last evening at six o’clock (Sunday), we were ordered to charge their works, and did it most successfully. It was a grand and terrible charge over ground covered with obstruction – with torpedoes concealed in the brush, which made sad havoc with our men. One of our Captains had his leg blown off by one of these hellish concerns. Also, a private in my company – Wyatt Stanton, was killed instantly by a Minnie ball. The 97th gained for itself a great and _____ name. Our division attacked the center of their lines, and our colors were the first from our division to be planted upon the enemy’s works. The color bearer was shot as he planted the old flag, and died shortly after. His last words were – ‘Give my compliments to Colonel Vifquain, and tell him I set the colors before I fell.’ Our Colonel was foremost in the fight, and a more gallant or brave soldier never lived. Other regiments suffered equally with ours, and the lose in the brigade will be 250 killed and wounded. The captured General Lidell and Cockrell, and several Colonels and subordinate officers.

Although not in command of Company G, yet I am told they all did nobly. In fact, the entire regiment covered itself with glory, and our State will never have cause to be ashamed of us. I ‘went in’ with Colonel Spicely, commanding brigade, and an aid-de-camp who was with me was mortally wounded just as we reached the parapet. I thought a great deal of him. As he was shot, he says to me – ‘Captain, I am gone. Send my sword to my mother, and tell her that I died at my post.’ I helped him to a place where he could lie down, and bad to leave him to go forward. Such is war.

This is one of the strong approaches to Mobile. Spanish Fort was taken day before yesterday, after a most terrific bombardment.

Very Truly Yours,
Fred T. Lewis

The following is a report of casualties in the 97th Illinois Volunteers during the investment of Blakely, Alabama, which commenced April 2, 1865, and resulted in the capture of the forts, 40 pieces of artillery, and 2,500 prisoners. April 9, 1865”

Company A
Captain R. H. Wood; Sergeant Stephen Smith; Corporal William Patterson; Privates R. S. Bates, H. R. Duncan, Win. Ketchum, Samuel S. Sprouse, B. F. Sawyer, William Clayton, Private William Ball, and Charles Johnson

Private John Jefferson

Company B
James W. House, William B. Eveland, William R. Wade, Eli Hildebrugh, Private J. W. Nicholson, Sergeant Theo Prideman, and Sergeant J. N. Neese

Company C
Philip Mulkey

Privates O. H. Perry, John Hassan, John Eldridge, A. G. Clark, J. McCafferty, and G. Stead

Company D
Captain James Wisher and Private David Rudley

Company E
Captain J. B. Dennan, Corporal Rice

Company F
Privates S. A. Beck, Elias S. Osborn

Company G
Corporal David Stanton

First Sergeant C. W. Colby; Privates John Wyant, Charles Johnson, Frank Depry, John Clarke, Thomas Doyle, Henry Doyle, and Patrick Finn

Company H
Privates John Wiezerman and John M. Tucker

Privates John Berliew and John Leibfried

Company I
Martin Scrote

Captain S. R. Howard; Private S. R. Howard Jr.; Sergeant M. Hickman; Privates Augustus Davis, Jacob Lawson, Charles W. May, C. Mendose, and Jacob McFArlane

Company K
Wounded and since died
Sergeant E. D. Lowe

Privates Charles Sush, John Proe, James A. Snyder; Second Lieutenant S. B. Drew; First Lieutenant and Adjutant J. R. Frierson

Private ______ Van Pelt


Source: Alton Telegraph, May 12, 1865
The Greene County Patriot says that this notorious individual who was committed under the charge of horse stealing in Jersey County, and whose case was transferred to Greene County, was acquitted last week at the Circuit Court, but was carried back to Jersey County, to be tried upon another charge, upon which it is thought he will likely be convicted.


THE CAPTURE OF JEFFERSON DAVIS [President of the Confederate States]
Source: Alton Telegraph, May 19, 1865
The news of the capture of the head of the bogus Confederate government and the grand arch traitor of the Southern rebels, was received in Alton yesterday morning, about nine o’clock, and was immediately published in an extra and circulated among our citizens, creating the most intense joy and gratification. For although there was but little outward demonstration, still the happiness of the heart shone forth in the eyes, and the bright and cheerful countenances of the friends of the government. The flags in various portions of the city were thrown to the breeze, and the glorious Stars and Stripes, as they were beautifully unfolded to the gaze of the beholder, appeared to exult in the fact that the last lingering hope of the conspirators against the government had now perished, and they now not only floated over a united, but also over the freest and best government that the sun ever shone upon.

The glorious news was also read in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and heartfelt thanks ascended to the Father of mercies from many loyal hearts, for His favoring providences, which had led to the capture of the leader of the Rebellion, who had caused the death of so many hundreds of innocent and noble men; clothed so many families in mourning; and made so many orphans and widows and otherwise produced such an untold amount of misery and suffering upon innocent parties, both North and South. The person who loves his country and his kind, and would not rejoice over the capture of this fiend in human form, who has given his official sanction to the diabolical massacre at Fort Pillow, and the systematic starvation and barbarous treatment practiced upon our prisoners of war, literally murdering thousands of them by the most excruciating torture which it is possible for a human creature to endure, must be as unfeeling and as stolid as a stone.

The great and absorbing question now arises, what will the authorities do with Jeff Davis? We have heard but one expression of opinion among Union men, and that is that he should be tried for treason, and if found guilty – of which there can be no doubt – that he should be hung as high as Haman. If he should be permitted to escape, we should think it an outrage if ever another man was hung in this country for any crime whatever. The blood of the tens of thousands of Union soldiers who were slain in this war, is crying to heaven for justice. That mistaken kindness which would spare the authors of such diabolical acts would be the most barbarous cruelty to all lovers of peace and good order.

But someone may ask, if you commence hanging traitors, when there are so many implicated, where will you stop? The rebels did not stop to inquire, when they fired on Sumpter, how many lives might be sacrificed before the war which they introduced by that act would be stopped. We are willing to leave the matter as to number of these culprits who should suffer capitally, to the wise discretion of the executive officers of the Government. But we have no sympathy with that class of citizens who never complain of severe inflicted on the rebels. They could hear with the most unfeigned delight of the hanging of the infatuated John Brown, of the cold-blooded murder of hundreds of innocent Union men of the South, of the cruelty to our prisoners of war, without one word of complaint, but let it be proposed that the traitors should be made to suffer the just penalty of the laws, and they are at once perfectly horrified, at the cold-blooded cruelty of the officers of the Government, and denounce all who are in favor of enforcing the laws upon such cut-throats and murderers, as being cruel and vindictive, and seeking to wreak their vengeance upon these high-minded and gentlemanly officers from an innate love of torture and murder. [Note: Jefferson Davis was never tried, and was released after two years.]


Civil War Soldier
Source: Alton Telegraph, May 19, 1865
The subject of this sketch was born in the State of Missouri, February 7, 1837. He was the third son of P. D. and S. D. Clayton. His parents now live near Upper Alton, Illinois. William was from childhood peculiarly fond of home, its pursuits, and enjoyments. He seldom, for any length of time, left its domestic circle unless compelled to, and then only to return as soon as possible. As a son, he was distinguished by subordination to parental authority, performing with alacrity and cheerfulness the tasks assigned; ever striving to ascertain the will of his parents and conforming his life to that will. He was, in a peculiar sense, “Mother’s boy.”

As a brother, kind, faithful and affectionate, spreading joy and bliss in his pathway as a friend, constant and true; as a neighbor, upright and honorable; as a citizen, loyal and true. Soon after the rebellion was inaugurated, he was impressed with the duty to contribute his share in subduing it. Accordingly, he enlisted in August.

He has passed through a large number of severe battles, with no other casualty than having the hair from the top of his head shaved off by a rebel bullet. With Colonel Straight’s command, he was taken prisoner near Rome, Georgia, and paroled. He lived until the wicked rebellion was crushed, and was anticipating great pleasure in mingling again with the “loved ones at home.”

“But God’s ways are not our ways,” and when the hearts of parents, brothers, and sister were animated with the hope of a glorious and joyful meeting, the sad intelligence of his death was received. He died May 5, 1865, near Nashville, Tennessee, of disease of the heart. His body was brought home, and the funeral attending at Mt. Olive Church near Upper Alton, May 13, by a large concourse of sympathizing friends, who were addressed by the writer from I Peter, V. 4-7: “But the end of all things is at hand; Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” Signed by J. Bulkley

From Company B, 80th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
Camp Harker, Nashville, Tennessee
May 6, 1865
Bereaved parents:
Although circumstances will not admit of our being present at the closing ceremonies of our much-loved friend and Sergeant, permit me, in behalf of the Company, to blend my sympathies with yours o’er the loss of one we held dear and true. That poo “Will” is no more, seems to us but too strangely true. Scarce ten days ago, he was all life and merriment. There were but very few of us, indeed, that did not participate in his happiness, little dreaming then that impatient death was waiting for him.

The nation has scarce ceased to wail o’er the death of her noble magistrate [President Lincoln], yet his place has been securely filled. Not so, with our much-loved Sergeant, his place can never be filled in this life, and hence comes the sorrowing never to be relinquished ‘till waffed above where sorrow is no more.

His exemplary conduct as a gentleman has not been excelled by his soldierly bearing. True to his post, his friends, and his country, he has lived, only to witness the fruits of his labor rewarded in the overthrow of that traitors’ scheme, the attempted inauguration of a Confederate Government. Sorrowfully do our hearts echo these lines:

Sleep today, thou early fallen,
In thy green and narrow bed;
Dirges of the pine and cypress
Mingle with the tears we shed.

“Will” has been noble in sacrificing his life upon the alter of his country; let us be noble in willingly submitting to the Ruler of destinies. We feel he has been called away to receive the reward of perpetual bliss, for his good stewardship. And all we can ask is, but to be placed in his company when our earthly pilgrimage is o’er. Farewell! May God grant you strength to bear your Cross, is the prayer of Company B.
Signed Andrew G. Clifford, In behalf of Company B, 80th Illinois Infantry


Source: Alton Telegraph, June 16, 1865
A long train, loaded with returning soldiers, passed down on the Chicago and Alton Road yesterday, and in the evening several car loads of soldiers w3ent through, going north. Our citizens should welcome home the heroes of this war, in a manner that should impress them with a sense of the gratitude we feel towards brave men who have fought and suffered, while we remained at home, enjoying life and the society of friends.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 14, 1865
Quite a number of the brave boys connected with the veteran 10th Illinois Regiment Volunteers arrived at their homes in Alton and vicinity this morning. Thrice welcome, say we to those noble braves, to the peaceful walks of life again, and to their happy homes!


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 14, 1865
The Missouri Democrat of this morning, in speaking of the four companies of this regiment on detached duty in that city, says they “have been doing guard duty in the city for six months past, and left yesterday for Springfield to be mustered out of the service. They were under command of the Major of the regiment – Emil Adam. During the service in St. Louis, they have demeaned themselves in a most soldierly manner, and officers and soldiers, they leave with the good wishes of all citizens with whom they have been thrown in contact here.”

And in Alton:
Our citizens generally and particularly those having friends in the 144th Regiment Illinois Volunteers, stationed in Alton, will be glad to learn that orders have been received for them to report at Springfield for the purpose of being paid off and mustered out of the service. They will probably leave tomorrow morning for that point, provided the four companies belonging to it now on detached duty in St. Louis, arrive here in time. The men composing this regiment have done their duty, faithfully to the Government, and have conducted themselves with remarkable and very commendable propriety towards our citizens, ever since they have been in the service. They may rest assured that their orderly conduct and courteous intercourse with our citizens is appreciated, and they leave, as far as we are informed, with the best wishes of this entire community for their future prosperity and happiness. We do not pretend to know anything about military or financial matters, but still it appears very bad economy to transport a thousand men to Springfield, and then, after paying them off, return them to Alton, at an expense of two or three thousand dollars, when a paymaster might have been sent here to perform the duty, without costing the government any additional expense. There may, however, be very important reasons for this strange proceeding, but we cannot see them.


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 21, 1865
From Springfield, Illinois, July 15th, 1865
To the Editors of the Alton Telegraph:
Thinking that yourself and some of the many readers of your paper might be interested in knowing what the officers and men of the 144th are doing, and how they are enjoying themselves in this pleasant city of Springfield, I write to you. I think I can still give them the compliment that as soldiers and as gentlemen, they here, as they did in Alton, have the respect of those with whom they have come in contact.

And the “Band!” Language is inadequate to express the many thanks they receive for the soul-stirring music they have given us. On last Thursday evening, they presented to William I. Allen, our efficient and worthy Adjutant, two beautiful silver goblets, as a token of their esteem, and from the Adjutant, received his warmest and most sincere thanks. On Friday evening, we again had the pleasure of listening to them. Again, was the Adjutant serenaded at the residence of his brother, where we had the pleasure of meeting a few of his many friends, and with them partook of the good things so kindly furnished.

Today the 144th is being mustered out, and this regiment will cease to be, except in the memory of those who have made friends among its members. They expect to be paid off on Wednesday or Thursday of the present week.
Respectfully,  Hammond


Source: Alton Telegraph, July 28, 1865
This Alton regiment, with the exception of two companies, was paid off at Springfield yesterday, and returned to Alton last night. They are busy shopping today, and are fast assuming the garb of peaceable citizens. May good fortune go with them into the walks of life.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 18, 1865
The good people of Wood River (Township), Madison County, gave a grand barbecue yesterday, and a general welcome home to the boys who have been periling their lives in defense of our country. The soldiers present were mainly those from the 80th Illinois Infantry – many of whom suffered in Andersonville and Libby Prisons. There was also a few present from the 2nd Illinois Cavalry.

The meeting was called to order about 11 o’clock, when from five to six hundred persons took their places around the stand, which was trimmed with American flags with the portraits of General Washington (the Father of our country), and Abraham Lincoln (the Savior of his country), prominently displayed. There also appeared on the desk in front of the speaker’s stand a rooster gaily decorated in red, white, and blue, which was captured somewhere in Tennessee by the boys in blue, and which accompanied the regiment in all of its peregrinations through the Southern country, and finally came up North to take a look at the suckers. There was considerable discussion on the ground among the uninitiated as to the political straits of this rooster. The most of those participating in the debate regarded him as thoroughly loyal, of the Brownlow stamp, but we were of the opinion that he was one of the subjugated class, which had been conciliated and had taken the amnesty oath, for he acted all the time as though he had something lodged in his throat, which he wished to get out.

The exercises were opened by prayer, after which the Rev. Mr. Rafferty welcomed the soldiers home in an address of nearly an hour’s length. Adjutant Newman of the 80th regiment responded in behalf of the soldiers, in an eloquent and forcible address, eliciting the closest attention of his hearers. Captain Hodge of the same regiment also made a few brief remarks, complimentary to the people at home for their kindness to the soldiers while in the field and prison. But, like General Grant, we have no doubt his sort is on the field, rather than the rostrum.

The audience then adjourned to the tables, which were spread in one of the most beautiful groves that it has ever been our privilege to witness – more beautifully covered with green grass than any parlor spread with Turkey or velvet carpet. On entering it, one might well imagine that he had been suddenly ushered into a Mohamedan heaven. The tables fairly groaned under the luxuries and substantials of life – everything, in fact, to satisfy and tempt the appetite was there. Soon, the long roll was sounded, and the brave boys fell into line, each with a lady, as naturally as the elected parties of Noah’s ark took their places in that vessel of safety. After them, the rest of the audience mated off in the same way, and took their places in the procession – except the writer, who was always an odd one, and who was compelled to walk alone, or do what was still worse, permit a gentleman to take his arm – thus arranged, the procession moved off at double-quick, and the tables were soon completely flanked, and all the spoils which they contained were captured and confiscated for the benefit of the captors. The whole management at the dinner table was perfect in every respect. Each one was well attended to, and the supply was ample and of the best, and “all did eat and were satisfied.”

After getting through this part of the exercises, the people separated into small groups, each party enjoying social intercourse to the full, under the shade of those delightful walnut trees. But of what was said and done and flashed from eye to eye on this occasion, even the proverbially impertinent editors have no right to speak. We are, therefore, mum on this part of the exercises.

About two o’clock, the audience was again called to the stand, and were addressed by John Fitch, Esq., in a few brief and patriotic remarks. He made one very important suggestion, which we hope will not be permitted to pass without further notice. He proposed that an organization be formed for the purpose of taking measures towards the erection of a monument at Edwardsville, as a memento of our appreciation of the worth of the brave soldiers from Madison County, who fell in battle with the enemies of their country. Let some steps be immediately taken for the accomplishment of this object. We suggest that a public meeting be called, to take place at Edwardsville, during the sessions of the County Fair, for the purpose of attending to this important matter. He was followed by a gentleman, whose name we failed to obtain, in a very forcible speech of nearly an hour’s length. But if he had possessed the eloquence of a Clay or the logic of a Webster, he could not reasonably have expected to produce much of an impression upon an audience wearied and tired out as this one was at that hour of the day.

After he concluded, all returned quietly to their homes. Everything passed off very well and to the satisfaction of all present. The only criticism we feel disposed to make is that the speeches were generally too long, and were greatly deficient in humor and enthusiasm. People do not generally attend such places for the purpose of being instructed, but rather for the sake of being amused and having their emotions quickened.

During the intervals between the speeches, the following young ladies regaled the audience with some interesting and patriotic songs, viz: Miss Lucretia Hamilton, Miss Ellen Moore, Miss Mary Williams, Miss Mary Moore, Miss Delia Kersey, Miss Martha Beeman, Miss Nancy Culp, and Miss Mary Hamilton. We have no doubt their melodious voices were much more captivating to the brave men, who had just arrived at home from the wars, than the eloquence of any of the speakers.

We were informed that our brave and personal friend, Mr. Henry Platt, who served three years in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, under command of Major Moore, had a very handsome compliment paid to him at the dinner table, by having a large and tastily trimmed cake presented to him, with his name baked in full on it. A well merited gift. We do not know what became of the cake, but we saw the little flag which was hoisted over it in the hands of Mr. Platt, and we have no doubt he made a wise distribution of the cake itself. Our friends on the Wood River will please accept our thanks for the kind invitation they extended to us to be present on this occasion.

This event probably was held just east of Upper Alton in Wood River Township, near where the former Alton State Hospital and Gordon Moore Park are located. The 80th Illinois Infantry was under the command of Colonel Thomas G. Allen, and Lieutenant Colonels Andrew F. Rodgers and Erastus Newton Bates. This unit was mustered into service on August 25, 1862, and assigned to the 33rd Brigade, 10th Division, Army. They were engaged in the battles of Perryville, Sand Mountain, Dalton, Resaca, Adairsville, Cassville, Dallas, Pine Mountain, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Nashville, and Lovejoy’s Station. They were mustered out on June 10, 1865.

Lt. Colonel Andrew F. Rodgers was the son of Rev. Ebenezer Rodgers, and brother to Edward Rodgers, who founded the Alton Brick Company. Lt. Col. Andrew Rodgers also had served in the Mexican – American War.

Lt. Colonel Erastus Bates first served as a member of the Minnesota State Senate (1857-1858). He became a resident of Centralia, Illinois, in 1859, where he set up his law practice. He entered the Civil War as a Major of the 80th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was promoted to Lt. Colonel, and then Colonel. He was brevetted Brigadier General in March 1865. For fifteen months he was a prisoner of war, and escaped from Libby Prison in Virginia, only to be recaptured and exposed to the fire of Union troops in South Carolina. After the war, he returned to Illinois and was elected to the State legislature in 1866. He was treasurer of Illinois from 1868 – January 1873.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 18, 1865
Let it be remembered that more than 15,000 Union soldiers were starved to death in the Andersonville prison pen alone. Let it be remembered that the Democratic party of today are the apologists and friends of the inhuman fiends who authorized and caused the starvation of 15,000 of the youth and flower of the North. Let it be written in letters of fire upon the hearts and memories of the men and women of the North, that the Democratic party are today perfecting their schemes for an alliance with the blood-thirsty and heartless men who starved to death during the past four years, fifteen thousand of their kindred, friends, and neighbors. Let each mother or father, who has lost sons in this fiendish rebellion, remember that the Democratic party are today raising funds throughout the North to aid in procuring the release of Jefferson Davis, the arch-fiend who authorized the starvation of 15,000 loyal Americans. Think, you who have lost your sons in this unholy war, of the agonies and sufferings of 15,000 starved Union soldiers, and then decide whether you will aid the Democratic party to place in the grasp of the Southern traitors and inhuman monsters, that which they failed to gain by the rebellion – the control of the whole government and the power of veto in every department. The following dispatch from an officer sent to lay out the soldiers’ cemetery at Andersonville should now set at rest all doubt, even in the minds of the infernal copperheads, that near 15,000 of our Union soldiers were starved to death at Andersonville.

The following is an extract from a letter received in Washington on August 9, 1865, from Captain J. M. Moore, A. Q. M., in charge of the party sent to Andersonville, Georgia, to lay out the soldiers’ cemetery there. The letter is dated July 20, 1865:

“We are encamped within one hundred yards of the prison pen of Andersonville, and it is, in the fullest sense of the term, nothing more than a pen – a human pen, wherein thousands of our soldiers were huddled together in an enclosure less than 200 yards long and 100 yards wide, where they were exposed to the rays of an almost tropical sun and the shivering winds of winter. No less than fifteen thousand men worn out by exposure and suffering are buried here. This prison pen should never be permitted to be destroyed, but should stand until its stockades fall to the ground by decay, that unbelievers in the North may look on this ground and convince themselves of the inhuman cruelty perpetrated by the Rebels upon our prisoners. There are about 14,000 headboards yet to letter.”


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 18, 1865
A soldier named Henry S. Lare was robbed near the Piasa Creek last night. He was riding with a German in a wagon, and was about turning off to the left of the road to a farmhouse, when six men halted them, and presenting a revolver, demanded their money. They got a certificate of deposit for $90.00, his discharge, and a small amount of money from Mr. Lare, and only 40 cents from the German. The soldier advertises his stolen certificate of deposit today.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 18, 1865
The gallant 97th Illinois Regiment arrived in Alton yesterday, about one o’clock, on the railroad cars. The stirring notes of the fife and drum, and the shouts of joy and gladness from the boys, soon brought the friends and relatives of the noble fellows to the depot, and many and joyful were the meetings of friends. They looked as they naturally would look after a three-year campaign in the South – bronzed with the exposure to all kinds of weather, and healthy and robust. Many were so changed – from mere boys to full-grown men, that they were at first not recognized by old friends. The short time allowed by the stay of the train barely gave an opportunity for handshaking all around, and the boys proceeded on route for Springfield. The regimental flags, all tattered and weather-beaten, were displayed upon the roof of one of the cars, and gave sad evidence of the scenes of exposure and peril through which this noble regiment has passed. It is supposed that some ten days will intervene at Springfield before the regiment is paid off.


Source: Alton Telegraph, August 25, 1865
These brave and gallant boys, who passed through this city about a week since to Springfield, to be paid off, returned home on Saturday night last, and we have had the pleasure of taking a good many by the hand and welcoming them home again. The most of those who went from Alton have enjoyed good health, and are looking exceedingly well. We also had the pleasure of meeting their accomplished and popular commander, Colonel Vifquain. He is comparatively a young officer, but he is spoken of as being one of the very best disciplinarians and military men in the Southwest, and has won the affections of his men to a wonderful extent. He is to leave today for his home.

The return of these men, however, brings to our mind some painful memories. Young Samuel Matthews, who left his situation in our office [Telegraph], so full of life and hope, is not among them. He was shot at Arkansas. Captain Trible is also missing. He was wounded at the same battle, but reached his home before he died. Colonel Rutherford also surrendered his life on the altar of his country in this regiment. And last, but not least regretted, was David Stanton. There may have been others, but these are all that we can call to mind, as being lost in this regiment from Alton. The foul fiend of slavery has exacted a costly sacrifice from the country, and yet it cries out continually – Give! Give! Give!


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 1, 1865
On August 31, 1865, a reception was given by Alton citizens to the returned soldiers of Alton and vicinity. The day was most propitious, being clear, with a very cool and bracing breeze. The Committee of Arrangements made a most wise and judicious selection of a location. The grove was all that could have been desired – in fact, could not have answered the purpose better if it had been made to order. The road leading to the grounds was in most excellent order, being smooth and almost entirely free from dust. The crowd began to assemble soon after ten o’clock, and by twelve, there were probably from 1,200 to 1,500 persons present. At that hour, the meeting was called to order by Mayor Hollister. The Silver Cornet Band then discoursed some sweet and good music, after which the exercises were opened with a very appropriate prayer by the Rev. J. A. Robinson, pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Dr. Taylor, who had been selected by the committee to welcome the soldiers home, in the name of our citizens, on being introduced to the audience by Mayor Hollister, commenced his eloquent discourse by inviting the soldiers to the front, remarking that as they had stood in the front before the Rebel hosts, and between them and the loved ones at home, it would only be proper that they should occupy the front on the present occasion. But owing to the extreme modesty of the brave boys who had fought our battles, only a few of them came forward. In addressing them, he said in substance that in welcoming to the bosom of society, the veterans, who as our representatives, have defended and preserved our homes and our institutions, he was discharging a pleasant duty. The dearest of all welcomes to those long absent and in peril, they had already resolved from the extended arms and loving lips of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, and children in a thousand happy homes. The welcome he extended was the grateful tribute of a community whose battles they have fought, whose honor they have vindicated, and of whose loved and cherished principles and institutions they were the champions.

While the living have returned, bringing the olive branch of glorious peace, crowned with victory and honor, to receive the expression of our gratitude, those who were borne from the battlefield and hospital to fill the consecrated graves of freedom’s martyrs have a stronger claim to our grateful remembrance. They are the nation’s dead, and in the tears of a grateful nation shall their memory be embalmed.

When our brave boys went forth clad in the glorious hue of heaven, and their country burring to avenge us of traitors and maintain our high place among the nations of the earth, their shouting was like the voice of Omnipotence, speaking terror to evil doers. When they went forth, it was the wonder of the world to see the mighty army in the garb of battle, and to know whence they came. With the dawn of peace, they have as suddenly and mysteriously melted away. If we seek for them, they answer us from peaceful homes, from the industries of civil life, and they appear among us in the garb of citizens, and better citizens, because of the fiery discipline through which they have passed, and prizing more highly our common glorious birthright, because of the price they have paid to maintain it. God’s blessing was invoked to rest upon them, as it does upon us, because of their sufferings and sacrifices, and still more abundantly.

It was vain to attempt to analyze the tears that would gather in the eyes of the brave men as these words of greeting and of thanks were uttered.

Captain W. H. Collins, Provost Marshal of the 12th Congressional District, who responded to the first call made by the President for troops by volunteering, in compliance with a request from the committee, replied to Mr. Taylor’s address in behalf of the soldiers, in a most happy, eloquent and forcible manner. He said, as near as we can remember, that he had spent four years in the service of the government, three years of the time having been spent at the front in command of a company. At Chickamauga, a Captain fell at his side, pierced by three bullets, and as he was borne dying from the field, he said, “Tell my mother I died like a soldier for my country, and tell her I believe I die a Christian.” When our troops had gained Lookout Mountain, and planted the Stars and Stripes upon its summit, a Sergeant caught the signal of triumph, and tears stood in his eyes at the thought that the flag he had left home, and friends and all he held dear, to uphold, was waving over the fortress of treason. Such was the spirit, the motive of the American volunteer.

Theirs was no menial service. They loved their country, they loved their flag – for those they fought, for those many gave their lives. Those who had been permitted to return with the dawn of peace, returned with warm and bright anticipations to greet home and friends. That their welcome was cordial, he could attest, in behalf of his own wife and family, and judging from the number of young ladies who had come to join in the welcome of today, they were all like-minded. The brave soldiers in all ages had been ideal and practical beaux, and he supposed Othello’s apology for his marriage with the fair Desdemonia explained the phenomenon: “She loved me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did pity them. This is the only witchcraft that I’ve used.”

When in the field, reading northern papers as they occasionally came to hand, they read that they were termed Lincoln hirelings and Old Abe’s minions, that the nation was bankrupt, that Union soldiers were continually murdered, and the war a failure. They thought their greetings as they came home would be with bowie knives and pistols, and that go which way they might, they must be still at the front. They were happy to find on the contrary, their friends on the day of enlistment were their friends still in a new and stronger sense and hosts of new friends have arisen to welcome their return. After the toils of long and weary marching and desperate battles, they have returned to rest, but soldiers still in our country’s need, should it be her pleasure to remove crowned heads from the continent, the American soldier is still a living reality, and his name is legion.

The first piece sung was “America,” by the audience, let by Mr. Packer of Upper Alton. Second was “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” solo by Mr. Packer, chorus by the audience. Executed with fine effect. Third was “The Prisoners Hope,” solo by Miss Kate Beiler, chorus by the audience. The alto was admirably carried by Miss Sallie Miller.

Miss Beiler, one of the most accomplished singers in this part of the West, and withal, as modest as she is accomplished, merited, as she received the hearty commendation of the large audience. In our judgment, while we admit that many of Alton’s fair daughters have acted a noble part in welcoming those who have for four years been their brave defenders, the young ladies above mentioned deserve the special gratitude of the community.

After dinner was over, there was another impromptu singing company got together, who entertained the audience with a number of patriotic and popular airs. The music on this occasion was led by Mr. James Newman, who, by the way, had the management of all the singing done on the occasion – Mrs. Malcolm, Miss Mattie Flagg, and several other Misses. The pieces were touchingly executed, and the performance was highly appreciated by the audience.

The dinner was pronounced by all present to have been one of the most bountiful and magnificent ever spread on any public occasion in Alton or vicinity. The provisions were so abundant, that there was enough left after all present – both soldiers and citizens – had partaken, to have fed a thousand or more. The eatables were not only abundant, but it consisted of the very best to be found in the market. An epicure from Upper Alton, who had had much opportunity for testing such matters, remarked to us that he never before witnessed such an ample provision of good things, spread on any public table in all of his experience.


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 1, 1865
Today will long be remembered by the returned soldiers of this vicinity. We had for some time understood that our friends at home were preparing a dinner to welcome us back to citizen’s life. And the long line of buggies and wagons that assembled this clear, cool and beautiful morning at Paddock’s Grove, realized our hope. The neighborhood was present en masse. Feeble old age welcoming a loved and long absent son; bright and blooming beauty tranquilly happy in the presence of a dear brother returned from “hair breadth escapes,” or bewitching and gay ‘neath the glance of true lover come home. All happy in the return of friends’ victories, and the prospect of national repose. The tables were laden with bread, wholesome and palatable. Ham, most delicious, chickens without number, cakes – beautiful and tempting to the taste, pies of all kinds, and of the quality which has rendered our women illustrious, and other delicacies too numerous to mention, till they groaned with the weight of the feast.

A choir of beautiful young ladies, assisted by our talented friend, R. Price Rider, sang many patriotic and popular songs and added much to the interest of the day.

We were favored by a patriotic and eloquent address by Judge Gillespie, which made the heart of many a soldier and citizen proud, and which, coming from a true and tried friend of our country and our cause, was highly appreciated by the soldiers present.

Next in order was dinner, to which we did ample justice, but after 400 citizens and soldiers had satisfied a sharp appetite, the pile of commissaries seemed scarcely less. Many a time have we longed for these fair bakers when eating parched corn in the South.

After dinner, the meeting was entertained by some appropriate toasts. Rev. J. Moore expressed the views of the soldiers present in an eloquent speech, in response to the toasts. The day will long be remembered by those present. As soldiers, we return our thanks for some tasteful bouquets, the flowers will soon wither, but the memory of the gift will be perpetual. We left the scene of festivity and joyousness fully realizing that we had been readmitted to the society of home, with its pure and ennobling influences. Long live our patriotic friends!

Signed, A Returned Soldier
Paddocks Grove, August 26, 1865


Source: Alton Telegraph, September 8, 1865
In the trial of Captain Wirz yesterday, a number of Union soldiers, who had been prisoners at Andersonville, testified that among the varieties of barbarity practiced at that place were shooting, starvation, robbery, laceration by hounds, and vaccination with poisonous matter.


Source: Alton Telegraph, December 8, 1865
Captain John P. Baker, son of the Hon. David J. Baker of Alton, of the First United States Cavalry, has just received from the President two brevets – first as Major, and then as Lieutenant Colonel – for gallant and meritorious services during the war, to date from the 13th of March, 1865. The Captain is deserving of this complimentary recognition of his services. He has been through the war from the beginning. Before actual hostilities commenced, he assisted in guarding the approaches to Washington; was in the first Bull Run fight; in the battle of West Point; in the battles of the Peninsular Campaign; at the battle of Antietam; at the battle of Fredericksburg; in Franklin’s Texas Expedition; in Banks’ Red River Expedition; with General Grover in Georgia; conducted the expedition which captured Augusta; and for the last six months, has been on duty with his regiment which is acting as bodyguard to General Sheridan in Texas. He is now in Springfield awaiting further orders, and expects to return to the South next week, and will probably spend the winter on the Rio Grande.


Recollections of the Battle at Merriwether’s Ferry
Source: Alton Telegraph, May 6, 1886
Major Frank Moore has received from John Cox, a Sergeant of Company F, Second Illinois Cavalry, during the War of the Rebellion [Civil War], a copy of paper called the War Eagle, November 28, 1863, edited and published by Sergeant H. L. Goodall, Company D, Second Illinois Cavalry, Columbus, Kentucky. This little newspaper contains a communication from Major (then Captain) Moore, giving an account of a lively little fight about November 21, 1863, in which a detail of 65 picked men under Captain Moore defeated a party of rebel raiders at Merriwether’s ferry on the Obion River in Tennessee. Sergeant Cox was wounded at the fight mentioned, and sent the paper as part of the proof to show him entitled to a pension. The War Eagle contains a General Order from Brigadier General A. J. Smith, and one from General S. A. Hurlbut; also, an item stating that the rebels who were defeated at Merriwether’s Ferry had, the previous day, made a descent upon Hickman, Kentucky, and plundered the stores and a number of houses of prominent citizens. Complaint is made that an officer who was not at the ferry fight at all was given all the credit for the affair in certain quarters. Accounts are given of various Thanksgiving celebrations among the boys in blue and others. The paper is considerably discolored by age, and though small in size, contains a lot of interesting news. H. L. Goodall, the editor and publisher, now holds the same relation to Goodall’s Sun in Chicago. [Frank Moore Jr. held a position on Goodall’s Sun in Chicago.]


By Captain James T. King
Source: Alton Telegraph, November 18, 1886
It was a week after the Battle of Chickamauga, for weeks we had been marching and counter-marching, every day expecting the next to bring on a general engagement between the two armies, and at last
Company F received its fiery baptism. We had been skirmishing two days, and on Sunday, September 20(?), received orders that we knew meant fight to the death for some of us. Knap sacks and blankets had been piled, and extra rations and ammunition issued. First the long roll called our division into line; then a double-quick of four miles through stifling clouds of dust, past and over the dead of Thomas’ corps that lay in squads as they fell. Our last half-mile across a little open space, on which rebel batteries played at short range with grape and cannister, was a rush for shelter. General officers and staff, with pennants down, line officers and men with head and shoulders a little lower than when on dress parade; it was run for the rebs and death to some of us. My rifle was cut through by a shell that also killed the Captain of Company D, just behind me. I grabbed the rifle from a rebel we just then captured, stripped off his belt and cartridge box, and fought the battle out with rebel gun and powder. The gun was a good one, but the powder was miserable stuff. Next came a charge up a hill some three hundred feet high, against infantry and artillery. Elbow to elbow, as when on drill, guiding on the colors, we went up on the double-quick with a yell, over Thomas’ lines lying flat on the ground. They were almost too badly punished to fight, and much too brave to retreat. The rebel line broke, and we chased them with bullets, but a little later we came down that same hill, also on the double-quick, but without the yell, and not so much attention to guide center. From one o’clock until dark, it was charge and counter-charge, advance, retreat. Deploy as skirmishers and rally on the regiment, “Steady! Forward! 11th Illinois” sang but old Colonel Moore. “Let’s die boys, but not run,” said Sergeant Shively in a low undertone, as though he was afraid we might think he was posting for a hero. When he was shot through the breast, a few minutes later, we knew he meant it. “Thank God I got that fellow.” “Give them ____ Tom.” “Getting hot aint it?” “Oh, God!” “D___ them.” “I’m hit.” The spiteful spitting of the bullets as they zip past our ears. The dull thud as they strike comrades on either side of us, the patter on the leaves like heavy raindrops with exploding shells; the bugle calls, the furgeon and assistants with their long knives and themselves colored with blood; the musicians bearing off the wounded on stretchers – these are a few of the things a Private sees and hears in battle. To me they were only a sort of introduction to what I was to see and feel for more than a year to follow. Company F went into action at one o’clock with forty-four men, at dark it numbered but thirty-one.

One week later, I was detailed for a scout and forager on the south side of the Tennessee. With one comrade, I paddled across the river in a small dug out, and was captured at the foot of Lookout Mountain by a detachment of Longstreet’s Sharp Shooters. I was taken before an officer, the stars on his collar indicating the rank of Major General, and we were made to tell some lies about the position of our division on the other side, and were rewarded by threats of hanging as they claimed we were captured inside their lines. They did not hang us, but compelled us at the point of the bayonet to repair some railroad track we had burned a week before. The incidents of my capture were striking, but not fit for publication. From Chattanooga we were shipped in box cars to Richmond, via Atlanta, Augusta, Columbia, and Raleigh. We were ten days on the road, and the close, filthy cars were not to be endured in their crowded condition. There were fifty of us in each, and a few of us got permission to sleep on top, which we did all night long. Why we did not roll off I do not know, but if we had, it would have been better than the stifling air inside. We were without food two days on our arrival, and were systematically searched and robbed of money, watches, jewelry, pocket knives, table knives, spoons, match safes, and trinkets. Good boots we had to exchange for cowhide, because they had the hair on fine fur hats with gold cord we exchanged for a sort of monstrosity made of quilted calico. If there is anything to make a man thank God he lives under the government of the United States, it is the recollection of one of those guards from the turpentine district of North “Calina,” with butternut pants, grey coast, and calico hat, saying, “How did you all git ketched?!”

In Richmond, the daily ration was, as near as I could guess, about four ounces of beef and six or eight ounces of good wheat bread, and sometimes a pint of pea soup. The meat was sometimes good, but often putrid, having turned blue. The soup would be thick with bugs, and could not be separated, for the bugs extended to the bottom. I do not think they were unhealthy, and they tasted good, as did also the putrid meat, for we were very hungry men. I do not think we could have lived very long on the ration we there received, and some of the most robust, to my certain knowledge, died of starvation only. We became infested with vermin in a very short time, and as there were no means of fighting them except with our thumb nails, we were literally eaten by them. Day and night for nearly fifteen months I had no relief from this pest, that, it seemed to us, must have improved its pedigree from the time of Pharaoh. The prison floor would have been a palace but for them. There were four hundred men in our two-story building, and when we lay down at night there was hardly room for all. We got some bricks in our squad, and had each one for a pillow. It was a luxury, and we had to watch that they were not stolen. The guards used to throw us potato rinds and refuse pieces of bone and meat, and we fought for them. Our building was a tobacco factory, and one of the presses had been left screwed hard down on a box of plug. WE had no lever and no tools, but we got the tobacco. Our guards and their officers were always on the alert for green backs, offering at that time $10 “Confed” for $1 in green backs. Later, they offered $20 for $1, $50 for $1. Maybe this helped Grant to bring about Appomattox. I know we thought it would. There were a few greenbacks that escaped our searchers, and one dollar and ten cents found its way to my squad, composed of myself and three members of an East Tennessee regiment, whose loyalty was only equaled by their hate of the rebellion. By a little manipulating, we converted this into a ten-dollar bill, and that bought ninety-pound loaves of bread. It was the only time, while in the Confederacy, that I had enough to eat. Our trick was discovered just as the bread had been delivered, and nearly cost the life of one of the Tennesseans.

We had orders to be ready to move next morning, and were told it was for exchange. Jenkins, one of the Tennesseans, said, “They are not going to exchange us, Jim, they are going to take us south, and to a worse place than this, and we are going to jump from the train and run, and we want you to go. They will shoot, but _____ them, they can’t hit us, they have shot at us before. We will die anyhow.” The next morning, we took the cars, but the train pulled south, and then our guards told us we were going to Danville, Virginia. At dusk it was raining. The train running ten or fifteen miles an hour. I stole the cap from the musket of the guard nearest me while he held his piece at order arms. The fellow wore a calico hat. It took perhaps an hour of stealthy work, but I got it and tried the same tactics on his companion. His gun was not capped. I whispered to the other three, and we four jumped. After eluding the hounds and patrols for five days and nights, we were recaptured and taken to Danville, where our quarters were again the floors of the tobacco factories and ware rooms. The winter of 1863-4 was severe, and as we had no fire we suffered intensely. Our government at Washington at this time sent, under flag of truce, a suit of clothes, including a blanket and overcoat for each one of us. We heard of their arrival, and expected soon to be warmly clad. The next morning blue overcoats were so thick among the guards and their officers as to resemble a Union camp. The oaths that were sent out through chattering teeth against the thieves were deep and strong, however, we got a portion of the clothing, and as the ration was a little larger than at Richmond, our condition was more endurable, though we were crowded to the same extent, and smallpox was epidemic. We spent the winter making pipes, toothpicks, shawl pins, chess men, debating, praying, preaching, holding mock court, etc. It was during this time I got a Richmond paper containing an article relative to the interruption of the cartel in which it was proposed to “establish a general prison in the heart of the Confederacy, remote from the Union lines, where the Yankee prisoners might be more economically guarded, the chances of escape reduced to a minimum, and where their ranks would be so rapidly thinned by the diseases peculiar to the locality that the Yankee government would be compelled to submit to the terms of exchange proposed by the authorities at Richmond.” We soon began to hear our guards talking of Camp Sumpter, sometimes Andersonville, and soon knew the names were synonymous. It was down in Georgia. The Yanks there are dying twenty a day, and “you’ns all will soon be sent there too.” The news horrified us more than when we were there, and one hundred dead bodies were daily carried from the south gate. It was while we were in Danville that Colonel Streight made his escape from Richmond, and forthwith we had a tunnel completed, large enough to contain a small mule, but while waiting for a dark night, some spy among our own men gave the think away, and we were starved forty-eight hours for punishment.

A few nights after, some of the boys in my room made a bold break through one of the barred windows. They reached the ground, but were filled with buckshot, and not one got a hundred yards. They were brought in again, those that were not killed, and one sat near me shot through the breast, until we could feel the shot between his shoulders. He sat up while we dug them out with such knives as we had, and never moaned, but cursed the rebs because, he said, they shot him again after he fell. On May 16, we were again loaded in box cars, as they said for exchange. We felt it meant Andersonville, and laid a plot to capture the guards in the several cars and then run for it, or fight the relief, as occasion required. They placed all the guards outside, and told us to run if we felt like it. We did not run. I think that every one of us entering the gate at Andersonville left hope of home outside, one glance was enough. We thought we knew what misery was before, but what we had experienced in Richmond and Danville was happiness to this, and this was only the beginning of what was to come. There were eight thousand men here on eighteen acres of ground. Two months later, there was 23,000 men on the same space, and when they could crowd in no more, they changed the pen to thirty-five acres, and a month later there were thirty-five thousand men here, and one-third of the space was swamp and covered by the ground bounded by the dead line, which it was death to cross and death to touch if the guard was true to his aim. I have often thought that among all this army there was not one perfectly sane. Without shelter, without wood, with scant food and clothes, swarming with vermin. The rain beat us into the sand at night, the Georgia sun blistered us during the day. One incident is the parallel of a thousand. I saw a young fellow one morning, sitting on the sand where he had laid that night. The sun was burning hot on his bare head, the little clothing he had spattered full of sand from last night’s storm. He was scraping with a little twig the maggots from sun cracks in his bare feet, that seemed to have bred during the night. “Can’t you keep them out, partner?” I said. He made no answer, but looked at me with a hopeless despair I can never forget. My chum, named Reese, from an Ohio regiment, became moon-eyed, that is he could not see after the sun went down. I used to lead him about that he might not wander against the dead line. He had the scurvy badly, and was nearly gone, when we tried to rally him by telling him he thought he was going to die because he was moon eyed. He would say, “By _____, I’m not going to die. I’m going to outlive the _____ Confederacy.” He died at Florence. Another chum named Williams made a hard fight for life, but had given it up at the time we left Andersonville for Charleston. He said he was going to escape or die. I told him I would go too, if there was any chance, but had tried it once and would not throw my life away. He jumped from the train in the bright moonlight, and was killed by the guard. I went to the creek as usual, one day, for a cup of water. We used to dip from near the dead line, where it was clearer. Just ahead of me a ma, by some chance, touched the dead line. I think he was crowded against it. The guard scattered his brains by a center shot.

The virus with which we were vaccinated poisoned our blood, and arms rotted off by hundreds. The surgeons, or rather parties purporting to be such, burned these ulcerations with some preparation using the same rag and stick on a hundred cases. I think they spread the trouble rather than checked it. Scurvy attacked all. My teeth became loose and broke off like chalk, the gums broke away. It was very hard to eat the cornbread, as it was baked four inches thick and very hard. It had no salt, and was as full of flies as a plum pudding of fruit. As we drew rations after dark and ate them immediately, we ate the flies too, and then there was nothing until twenty-four hours later. My limbs became swollen and turned yellow. I used to bury my legs in the sand during the day to cool the fever in them, and drank a decoction of pine boughs when I could get them, for the acid contained in them.

In June and July, we had reached the very lowest depths of misery. The strong began to prey upon the weak. There was no law, no order, no government; only the stockade, the guards, the sun, the rain, the dying, and the dead. Hundreds of the strongest were raiding the thousands of the weak. It was only a little ration of cornbread and meat once daily, and that was taken away from the weaker ones by our own comrades. It began among some New York roughs, and spread until something had to be done. The rebels looked on in glee to see us murdering each other. Some had been killed, and many badly beaten, and the raiders went about in gangs taking what they pleased. The law-and-order prisoners began to organize, and armed with sticks where they could get them. The raiders turned regulators, and began to arrest regulators and even non-combatants, to turn attention from themselves. Wirz had orders posted that if there was any commotion, he would fire into the camp with grape and cannister. It was all commotion, these gaunt, starved, half-naked men by hundreds here and hundreds there, swaying to and fro with sticks and fists for weapons, the dead and dying all around, trampled on and uncared for; the rebel regiments under arms and the guns manned, the guards with pieces cocked and at a ready, waiting for orders to fire; even the rations neglected. Camp Sumpter was pandemonium those few days – it was wild. No one can tell what was done. The dense crowds hid the acts of individuals, and it were better could they have been hidden from heaven. After several days it ended, with law and order victorious. A large number of raiders were under arrest. We took the most guilty of these, organized a court, had a regular trial, sentenced six of them to be hung, and July 11, 1864, hung them until they were dead. Captain Wirz kindly furnished the lumber for the scaffold – the only kind thing I knew him to do. Order was maintained from that time, and every man’s right to his bread and meat. The dead were carried daily to the south gate. I used to count there 20, 40, 60, and more coming from all parts of the stockade. They were stripped almost, or quite naked. In some instances, where they had comrades, the eyes closed and jaws tied together with a big of rag, also the great toes, all to economize the precious clothing, but in the majority of cases, though, in that dense crowd, they died alone – the lice, the flies, and the maggots their only attendants, while the pitiless rain beat full in their upturned faces. There was much quarreling and some fighting for the privilege of carrying the bodies out, as we could sometimes pick up a stick, a bit of paper, or some information about the armies, and if nothing else, it was something to be talked of for a month that for fifteen minutes we had been outside of the cursed stockade. It is impossible to enter into a minute description of many things that occur to me; things our wives and daughters should not know. The sick call, the hospital, the dead house, and only volumes could describe the many incidents that I remember while many I have forgotten. The tunneling, the stocks, Captain Wirz, old General Winder, and the most pitiful of all, the chain gang.

Florence was a decidedly worse place than Andersonville, as the rations were very scant. We had no meat while there. The weather was very cold, and our sufferings intense. Much that happened there is a blank to me, as I was very weak at that time. We lay at Charleston, heavily guarded, while our fleet was shelling the city. Every few minutes, all night long, a shell, angels of peace, we called them, would come over, and as they would crash through the brick walls, I felt a little nearer home because of them. We left Andersonville, September 10, 1864, for Charleston, from there to Florence, at which place I was paroled, December 7, and passed the lines in Charleston harbor on December 10, having been within the rebel lines fourteen months and thirteen days. To go on board a clean United States transport, throw our vermin-infested rags into the sea, don a clean new suit of blue, fall into line and get each a loaf of bread and a great hunk of meat, raw (the first I had tasted for three months), a pint of coffee, and then to fall in again and again, and get the same, was happiness enough, and we began to realize what a great, good country we had been suffering for. The Captain and his wife, God bless them, took some of the weakest ones, myself among the number, into his cabin, dosed us with port wine, and they and the sailors went among us with little comforts and cheering words. Only five or six out of the thousand men died on the voyage to Annapolis. Here we were admitted to the hospital, which was another step heavenward. What care they took for our comfort there, how they cut off our filthy hair and scrubbed off the prison dirt – the first soap we had scented for many months. They placed us between the clean sheets and fed and watched us. The surgeons, nurses, and ladies of the Christian and Sanitary Commissions bade us rest and sleep and dream of home. These have made impressions that the ex-prisoners of war will carry with them into eternity. WE have a better appreciation of the comforts of peace and citizenship, and home and wife and children, and the flag we fought for, perhaps, than our more fortunate comrades. We cherish no hatred, I think, against those who fought against us. Some of our guards were as honest and noble men as ever wore the blue, and if living, are loyal citizens today. There are those, however, reaching from the head of the Confederacy down through the Winders, the Captain Wirz’s, and the Lieutenant Barretts, who carried out the suggestions of their Commander-in-Chief with such additional cruelties as their invention could add, whose crimes I do not believe can ever be forgiven. Thirteen thousand of our number lie buried at Andersonville, these with the additions of Charleston, Florence, Savannah, Millen, Richmond, Danville, and Belle Island, form a record that eternity will not blot out. An ex-Confederate, a short time again, in a public speech, said (and he belongs to the class above noted), “We were over-powered, but we take nothing back.” By all these graves they do take something back, they take it all back, and the Union that cost so much is going to stand, and we shall not beat our muskets into plowshares, nor swords into pruning hooks. Steel is too cheap to make it necessary, but shall oil them carefully and put them in a safe place and forget that they are there. But if the time again comes – heaven grant it never may – when they are needed, perhaps we shall remember, and they will be ready.

Captain Heinrich “Henry” Hartmann Wirz, born in 1823 in Zurich, Switzerland, was assigned to the staff of General John H. Winder, who was in charge of Confederate prisoner-of-war camps. In February 1864, Camp Sumter was established near the small railroad depot of Anderson (now Andersonville) in Georgia. Wirz remained there for over a year, holding the post of commandant of the stockade. At its peak, Camp Sumter held approximately 32,000 Union prisoners. The monthly mortality rate reached 3,000. Close to 13,000 (28%) prisoners died there. Captain Wirz was arrested on May 7, 1865, by a contingent of the 4th U.S. Cavalry. He was taken to Washington D. C., arriving there on May 10, 1865, where he was held in the Old Capitol Prison. Wirz was charged with “combining, confederating, and conspiring with John H. Winder, Richard B. Winder, Joseph White, W. S. Winder, R. R. Stevenson, and others, to injure the health and destroy the lives of soldiers in the military service of the United States, in violation of the laws and customs of war.” He was accused of committing 13 acts of personal cruelty and murders, confining prisoners in stocks, beating a prisoner with a revolver, and chaining prisoners together. He was also charged with ordering guards to fire on prisoners and to have dogs attack escaped prisoners. Wirz was found guilty of all charges except murder. Wirz was hanged on November 10, 1865, at the Old Capitol Prison in Washington D.C. His neck did not break, and the crowd of 200 spectators, guarded by 120 soldiers, watched as he writhed and slowly strangled. He was buried in the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C. In 1869, President Johnson gave permission to rebury Wirz’s body. While the body was being transferred, it was discovered that the right arm and parts of the neck and head had been removed during autopsy. As of the late 1990s, the National Museum of Health and Medicine still had two of his vertebrae. Even today there is controversy over his guilt.


By Captain Harrison Beard Starr
Source: Alton Telegraph, September 30, 1886
On June 15, 1864, Captain Harry B. Starr, now of the ferry boat Altonian, but then in command of the government transport, J. R. Williams, on the Arkansas River, was captured by the rebels and confined for 11 months, or until the close of the war. The circumstances of the capture are briefly these:

On June 15, 1864, while the J. R. Williams was steaming up the river about 80 miles above Fort Smith, and a similar distance below Fort Gibson, a rebel battery of three guns, which were masked on the riverbank, suddenly opened fire, the steamer making about six miles an hour at the time. The first shot hit the pilot house, carrying away a stanchion, while almost instantly succeeding shots killed the engineer, fireman, and one of the crew. The escort of 25 infantry returned the rebel fire for 20 minutes, but ineffectually, and at the end of that time, the transport surrendered to a force of 1,200 Confederate artillery and infantry. The boat was then burned by the captors, and Captain Starr and the other prisoners were taken by General Stanweide, about 50 miles west of the scene of the fight, whence in three days’ time, they were taken to Fort Wachter, where they remained 30 days. Then they were marched to Doxville, and then to Camp Ford, which was reached about the middle of September. There the Federal prisoners remained until the close of war, being released in the latter part of May 1865, when Captain Starr returned to Alton. While in the prison, Captain Starr and party were treated the same as the other 5,000 odd Federals, the bill of fare being one pound of beef and one pound of cornmeal per diem, with one-fourth pound of salt weekly. The only drink was water, which was obtained from a spring, and in hot weather, the supply was limited. At the time of the capture, the J. R. Williams’ cargo consisted of 50 tons of flour, 40 tons of corn, and 20 tons of clothing for the troops at Fort Gibson. At the time of their release from Camp Ford, which was near Tyler, Texas, the Federals were so badly off for clothing that they were almost literally naked, having nothing on but breech clouts.


By Captain Joseph H. Weeks
Source: Alton Telegraph, December 16, 1886
[Captain Weeks of Upper Alton is a very modest man, and the article below was not volunteered by him, but was related to a Telegraph reporter after persistent urging by the latter, and protestations of reluctance on the part of the gallant Captain.]

The boys of the old Thirty-Second Illinois Infantry will never forget the return to the front after their veteran furlough. Having feasted and enjoyed all that mothers, wives, and sisters could do for them, they were not in a good condition to make a 390-mile forced march over rough roads, on short rations.

They left Cairo on May 10, 1864, on an expedition under command of General Frank Blair (composed of the veterans from the 4th and 5th Divisions of the 17th Army Corps), who had orders to hasten to the front and reinforce Sherman. They embarked on two gunboats and 12 transports, and arrived at Clifton on the Tennessee River on May 14. On May 16, they started on a march across the State of Alabama, by way of Huntsville and Decatur. The route was over a very mountainous region, Sand Mountain the most prominent. Some places the roadway was out in the sides of the mountain overlooking a precipice, and so narrow that it was difficult for a team to pass. A sudden pitch or a rough jolt against one of the many boulders which lay in the roadway was sufficient to upset a wagon and send it down the mountainside. Several such accidents occurred, but no lives were lost. During a greater part of the route they were annoyed by Roddy’s rebel cavalry. Having some 200 head of cattle and a large supply train, they had to be continually on the alert. Near Decatur, the Federal cavalry, under Colonel Long, had a brisk fight with Roddy’s command, which resulted in favor of the Union soldiers, who captured forty prisoners. They joined Sherman’s army at Ackworth, Georgia, about June 10.

The 32nd found the Union army in line of battle within sight of Kennesaw Mountain. The Federal and Confederate forces were daily in conflict, and had been for many days, and there was scarcely a day that the 32nd was not under fire, from June 10 until early in September, a period of more than three months. After the fall of Atlanta, the 32nd was sent to guard a water tank. On October 3, Hood’s army, having flanked Sherman, captured and destroyed the railroad between Big Shanty and Altoona, at which time Captain Weeks, while in command of Company F, and while in advance picket duty, was captured within a few yards of the rebel rifle pits. Briefly, the facts were these: Captain Weeks had taken five picked men of his company, and was feeling his way towards the enemy when a sudden charge was made by the rebels, and the scouting party retired, Captain Weeks being the last to retreat. In crossing a creek at the foot of a ravine, Captain Week’s foot slipped and he fell, and on rising was confronted by a rebel officer’s cocked revolver, so he had to submit to the exigencies of the occasion and yield as gracefully as possible. The following morning, October 4, Captain Weeks, in company with 300 other Federal prisoners of the 14th and 15th Illinois, and 4 of Company C of the 32nd Infantry, who were captured under somewhat similar circumstances to Captain Weeks’, were marched by a rebel guard to Lost Mountain, a distance of 20 miles. They were quartered for the night in a hog pen near General Hood’s headquarters, scanty rations of cornmeal and raw beef being issued, which were cooked without any cooking appliances in the embers of the campfires. The next morning, the march was continued via West Point and Columbus, to Andersonville, Georgia. While marching through Columbus, the rebels seemed to take great delight in showing their Yankee prisoners to the admiring citizens, who manifested as much curiosity as if the Federals formed part of an itinerant menagerie of wild beasts. The prisoners were first taken to the Columbus Cemetery, where they were on view during the day, and at night they were quartered in a stable yard, with only two blankets for every six prisoners, and the nights were already cold and disagreeable. On October 11, the weary prisoners reached Andersonville, and were at once placed in the Bull Pen, which was a piece of swampy ground about thirty acres in extent, enclosed by three stockades. There were about 3,000 Federal prisoners in the stockade at this time, a large proportion of whom were sick with scurvy and diarrhea, and all were reduced to mere skeletons, and the average number of deaths among the captives was about 40 per diem, that is in the stockade and at the hospital. The hospital was such only in name, as it consisted solely of a shed with open sides. In fact, only a roof perched on poles. Men only went to this place as a dernier resort, the majority preferring to stand outside rather than to enter the medical post house, where their treatment was simply dreadful, no attention being paid to the sanitary state of the inmates. At the time of Captain Weeks’ arrival at Andersonville, the rations for the prisoners were cooked outside the camp, and consisted of four inches square of cornbread, a spoonful of rice, and a spoonful of molasses with a few black beans occasionally. Subsequently, the prisoners claiming that even these scant rations were not honestly supplied them, the raw cornmeal and rice were issued in an uncooked state. The cornmeal was the only part of the ration regularly supplied, the rice and molasses being served out about once a week. About once in a month, a handful of salt was issued, but the quantity was not more than sufficient to cook one meal per man. About once in five or six weeks, a ration of one ounce of bacon was issued to each prisoner, but this was in such a state as to be unfit for human food. The water in which the prisoners’ food had to be cooked passed through the rebel camp, and was used by the Confederates as a common sewer. The prisoners, by this dreadful treatment, were reduced to a state of despair and cared for nothing. The first thought of the prisoners on entering the stockade was to find shelter. This consisted of holes in the ground dug out as best they could with half pieces of empty canteens and scraps of any old metal that could be got. The holes were covered with boughs of trees in some cases, and some were mere furrows in the side of a bank. The men were literally in rags and tatters, and their condition was simply intolerable. Their clothings, such as was in any ways comfortable, was taken from them, only enough being left to actually cover sufficient of their bodies to comply with the demands of ordinary decency. On account of continued hardship, Captain Weeks eventually became totally blind, and it was many weary months before his sight was restored. He also suffered terribly from scurvy and from chronic diarrhea. At the expiration of his term of captivity, Captain Weeks was so emanciated, that his hip bones projected through the skin, and it was several years after the war before he enjoyed a tolerable degree of health. Captain Weeks was seven months at Andersonville, and it is wonderful that at this time he is able to so well attend to his business, and this fact speaks well for his constitutional vitality.

At one time during the imprisonment of Captain Weeks, a Southern lady, from motives of pure humanity, tried to supply the Yankee prisoners with sausage meat, prepared by herself, but she was stopped in her humane labor by the cowardly Major Birch, who vilified her in every way and finally used his drawn revolver, pointed at her head, before he could compel her to desist in her charitable undertaking.

With regard to Major Wirz, the notorious commander of Andersonville, Captain Weeks does not hold him personally responsible at all, but says he was simply the tool of the rebel generals, some of whom are now in the United States Congress, and others representing this country abroad. This fact is Captain Weeks’ reason for thus briefly allowing his prison record to appear in print. Otherwise, he would prefer to say nothing of what he went through while doing his part to sustain the honor of the American flag and the integrity of the Union.


By Captain William R. Wright
Source: Alton Telegraph, December 23, 1886
Captain William R. Wright of Upper Alton first entered the service of his country during the Mexican-American War, in May 1846, when he enlisted as a private in Company E and Illinois Infantry. Private Wright served fourteen months, and took part in the battle of Buena Vista, in which engagement six men were killed and eight men wounded, belonging to Company E. Private Wright’s only mishap in the battle was his being hit in the body by a spent rifle ball from the weapon of a Mexican sharpshooter.

On May 22, 1862, Captain Wright entered the Federal service as a First Lieutenant of Company B, 80th Illinois Infantry, Colonel Andrew Fuller Rodgers of Upper Alton commanding. One year later, Lieutenant Wright was promoted to the command of his company. Captain Wright participated in the battles of Perryville, Kentucky, and Milton, Tennessee, both engagements terminating in victory for the Union arms. During the Spring of 1863, the 80th Illinois was put into General Streight’s brigade of mounted infantry. On April 30, 1863, at Day’s Gap, the brigade engaged the enemy under the celebrated General N. B. Forrest. Two actions were fought during the day, both resulting favorably to the Federal arms. Private Frank McIntosh of Alton Junction [East Alton] was shot in the head by a rebel bullet, and his skull badly fractured. He is still living. On May 2, 1863, at Blunt Farm, the brigade had another brush with the enemy and repulsed them, but the next day, while skirmishing with General Forrests’ command, Streight’s entire brigade, 1,400 strong, was surrounded can captured by three Confederate brigades. The fighting was desultory, the weather wet, and unfortunately, all the Federal ammunition had become wet and unserviceable through the fact of the men having had to cross several swollen creeks. On the other hand, the rebels had managed to keep their powder dry, and then had the Union men at their mercy. For three days, the unfortunate captives were held at Rome, Georgia, whence they left for Libby Prison at Richmond, Virginia, reaching that notorious prison on June 16, 1863. At the Libby prison, Captain Wright was confined for twelve months, only seeing daylight through the prison bars for that period, except on one memorable occasion when, in company with sixty-two other Federal captains, he was marched out to take his chance in a lottery drawing, where the two officers drawing the black bean were sentenced to be hung. Captain Wright was one of the sixty who drew blanks, and it is gratifying to know that the death sentence was not carried into effect upon the officers who drew the two black beans.

In company with one hundred and thirty-five others, Captain Wright was imprisoned in a room forty-five feet square. Prisoners were not allowed blankets, and slept in their clothes. The daily ration per man per diem was one-quarter pound of beef, one-half pound of bread, one-half gill of rice (or black peas). This diet was barely sufficient to sustain life. Scurvy soon developed among the unfortunates, and the death rate was high. The suffering of the prisoners was terrible. No glass in the windows, no fire, no blankets. The only way of keeping warm was by indulging in as much exercise as was compatible with the dimensions of the room. General John Morgan, General A. P. Hill, and the Confederate Congressman Bruce, visited the prison, and through the exertions of the latter, the condition of the prisoners was very greatly ameliorated – he using all of his influence to aid them. This relief was of necessity only temporary. When General Kilpatrick was threatening Richmond, the rebels placed a torpedo loaded with 1,000 lbs of powder under the Libby Prison, the intention being to blow the inmates into eternity if the city was captured. On May 6, 1864, the prisoners left for Charleston, South Carolina, arriving there on July 18, after encountering every description of privation and suffering. At Charleston, Captain Wright and his comrades were first put in the old, unsheltered jail yard, originally built by the British troops during the War of the Revolution. The first rations served the federals here were one-half pound of cornmeal, one spoonful of lard, and a little molasses. Ten days later, the prisoners were sent to Roper’s Hospital, where they were housed until October 1864. Here, they were constantly under the fire of the heavy Federal batteries, and the prison was twice struck by Union shells, but no one was hurt. From Charleston, the prisoners were taken to Camp Sorghum near Columbia, South Carolina, where they stayed till Christmas 1864. Here, the rebels kept fifty bloodhounds, which they used most successfully in tracking escaping prisoners, as no one ever succeeded in eluding the hounds. Many were wounded by the dogs, and two died from the effects of the bites of the savage brutes. The water used here was no better than sewage.

In February 1865, the captives were removed to Charlotte, North Carolina, then to Raleigh, and subsequently to Goldsboro. At Wilmington, they were released from their long captivity, paroled and sent to Annapolis, Maryland, whence they shortly departed for their homes, the war being over. Out of thirty-six months service, Captain Wright spent twenty-two months in prison, and has nobly earned the pension he, in common with other comrades now enjoy, but which should, by right, be trebled in amount, as the least that a grateful country could do in recognition of her brave defenders.


Colonel Andrew Fuller RodgersWAR REMINISCENCE
By Colonel Andrew Fuller Rodgers
80th Illinois Volunteer Infantry
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, January 10, 1887
Colonel Andrew Full Rodgers was born in Howard County, Missouri, and is a son of Rev. Ebenezer Rodgers. Fifty-two years ago, when a mere child, Colonel Rodgers came to Madison County, and with the exception of five years spent in his country’s service, has ever since resided here. But comparatively few of the settlers of 1834 are now left with us, but of those who remain, none are better known or more highly respected than the gentleman whose war record is here epitomized.

Colonel Rodgers, who was intimately acquainted with the lamented and gallant Logan, now also finally mustered out, says that the current reports with regard to the late General’s Mexican-American War services are incorrect, as General Logan served during that war in the Quarter Master’s department. This statement is correct, and was what General Logan personally told Colonel Rodgers. As a memento of Buena Vista, Colonel Rodgers brought home a grape-shot, which he picked up on the battlefield.

In August 1862, Colonel Rodgers entered the service for the second time [Civil War], and was elected Lieutenant Colonel of the 80th Illinois Infantry, being commissioned as such by Governor Yates, and on the following April, he was promoted to Colonel of the regiment, upon the resignation of its first commander, Colonel Thomas G. Allen of St. Louis. It was at Murfreesboro that Colonel Rodgers succeeded to the command of the 80th, and at that time the regiment had rather an unenviable reputation, the precision of its regimental movements and maneuvers not being all that could be desired, besides being deficient in the manual of arms and other details. This state of affairs was very shortly changed, for in two weeks after Colonel Rodgers took command, his regiment was complimented in general orders as being the best drilled and disciplined regiment in Major General Reynolds’ division of the army of the Cumberland, and as having the neatest and best kept camp.

At the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, while leading his regiment in that hot engagement, a shell from a rebel battery burst directly over his head, and a fragment struck the gallant officer on the head, fracturing his skull. The Colonel was immediately carried to the field hospital, where his own brother, Dr. Ebenezer Rodgers, then Assistant Surgeon of the 80th, dressed his wound. From the effects of this injury, Colonel Rodgers’ right side became partially paralyzed, and still remains so, the wound being of such a nature that the Colonel will always suffer from it. After leading his regiment in many engagements, notably the Union victories at Perryville and Milton, and after whipping the noted Morgan twice, the 80th regiment was, in April 1863, assigned to General Streight’s brigade of mounted infantry, and assisted in winning two victories in one day at Day’s Gap on April 30. But on May 3, 1863, General Streight’s brigade was surrounded near Rome, Georgia, by three times its number of rebel troops, and the entire command was compelled to surrender to General Forrest. Soon after his capture, Colonel Rodgers and his officers were taken via Atlanta to Libby Prison at Richmond. The non-commissioned officers and men of the 80th were almost immediately exchanged and resumed active service, being known as the “orphan” regiment, from the fact of its being without commissioned officers, several companies being commanded by Sergeants for some time.

For twelve months, Colonel Rodgers suffered imprisonment in the horrible Libby Prison, in company with 1,200 other officers of all ranks from General to Second Lieutenant, and all were treated alike. At night, the room was so crowded that it was impossible to step without treading on someone. Indeed, the prisoners were crowded together in a most inhuman way. It was on rare occasions that the captives ever had enough to eat, their scanty rations being only sufficient to keep soul and body together.

From the Libby Prison, Colonel Rodgers was sent to Macon, Georgia, where he remained with his fellow officers five weeks, suffering much from hardship, exposure, and insufficient food. At Macon, the Confederates selected from 1,200 Union officers fifty of the highest rank, and took them to Charleston, where they were placed under the fire of the Union heavy artillery, which was daily engaged in pounding away at the city with 100-pounder shells, which very fortunately injured none of the Union men. Among Colonel Rodgers’ comrades at Charleston were Generals Shaler, Schofield, Wessells, Neal Dow, Scammon, Seymour, and Hickman. At his residence, Colonel Rodgers has the autographs of the fifty officers who were under fire at Charleston with him. The list includes fifteen Brigadier Generals. At Charleston, the prisoners had a chance to buy food, and for fifty dollars, Federal money, the rebels would gladly give one thousand dollars of Confederate money. After sixteen months’ imprisonment, Colonel Rodgers was exchanged.

Colonel Andrew Fuller Rodgers was born October 13, 1827. He was the son of a pioneer Baptist minister, Rev. Ebenezer Rodgers, who came to America in 1818, located first in Kentucky. In 1819, Rev. Rodgers accompanied Cyrus Edwards to Howard County, Illinois. In 1834, Rev. Rodgers moved to Upper Alton. He was one of the early trustees of Shurtleff College in Upper Alton, where Colonel Rodgers attended school. At the beginning of the Mexican-American War, he enlisted in Colonel Bissell’s Second Illinois Infantry under Captain Lott. Colonel Rodgers was the ideal soldier, brave and full of fire. After the war, he returned home, but joined the gold rush to California in 1849. After a year searching for gold, he became Deputy Sheriff of Sacramento County, and was a member of the famed Sutter Rifle Company. He returned to Upper Alton for a visit, and on his way back to California, became shipwrecked in the Pacific in 1853, with a loss of 250 passengers. Rodgers and a few other survivors were cast on Margueretta Island. He saved the life of a girl, and fifty years later, when she was living in St. Louis, she learned of Colonel Rodgers and paid him a visit, thanking him for saving her life. Colonel Rodgers returned to Upper Alton to live, and married Jane E. Delaplain in 1860. In 1862, he entered the military service once again as Captain of Company B, 80th Illinois Infantry. He was appointed Lt. Colonel of the regiment. Before he left home, his mother presented him with a sword with his name engraved on it. His service during the Civil War was eventful and distinguished. When he was captured and made a prisoner, his sword from his beloved mother was confiscated. Returning home, he recruited 500 men for the 144th Illinois Regiment at the request of Governor Yates. He resigned from the army on November 25, 1864. Years later, the sword given to him by his mother was returned to him. It had found a home in a G.A.R. Post, and when they discovered who he was, brought the sword to him.

Colonel Rodgers lived on Rodgers Avenue in Upper Alton for his remaining years. His brother, Edward, purchased land east of Upper Alton (where the Alton State Hospital was later erected), and also founded the Alton Brick Company. Colonel Rodgers died at the age of 94 years in January 1922, and is buried in the Upper Alton Oakwood Cemetery.


Gallant Civil War Soldier
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 26, 1887
William A. Hildebrand was at New Orleans on April 12, 1861, when Fort Sumter was attacked. He immediately took passage on the steamer, John J. Roe, the last boat that arrived in port of St. Louis before the blockade was established on April 24. His mother lived at Alton, and fearing lest she would feel bad to have her only son go to the war, he enlisted in Co. K, first Missouri Infantry, Colonel Blair’s regiment, on April 25, then at the Arsenal, without first going home. He was swapped off for another man in an independent rifle company called Lyon’s Body Guard, also of St. Louis. He was mustered out about August 12. His age was 19; weight, 140.

On September 1, 1861, he enlisted in Company F, 32nd Illinois Infantry; drilled the company and officers, and went through twenty-two battles and skirmishes. He was wounded and carried off the battlefield at Shiloh, after using up seven or eight muskets. He refused a recommendation for a commission by Lieutenant Colonel Hunter, preferring to remain non-commissioned. He had many diseases that killed others, but was never a day in a hospital, mistrusting the competency of average army surgeons. He never rode a mile in an ambulance, as horses had enough to pull without an additional hundred pounds or so in muddy roads. He trudged it through thick and thin, and paid as high as $5 for a hard tack on Sherman’s famous March to the Sea. He was honorably discharged at Savannah, Georgia on January 1, 1865, having served this latter term three years and four months, and serving in all about three years and eight months. He came out weighing 110 pounds with nasal catarrh and affected lungs. He paid Drs. Hunter and Dunham, at that time in St. Louis, $35 per month for treatment, and also had treatment from Dr. O’Leary of Boston, as well as others. His friends wanted him to apply for a pension, stating, “You are a fool. You can get it without trouble.” Hildebrand told them, “No! I will first try and get well, and then see if Uncle Sam owes me anything. I believe I had as many pleasures as hardships, and as much mental gain from books captured from southern cities as physical loss from exposure. So I will first draw a balance sheet, and see later.”

Hildebrand took the ground that it is one’s bounden duty to not only rally to the rescue of one’s country, but to cheerfully die in its defense if need be. Having the conviction of having done his whole duty towards his country is a patriotic comfort, the lustre of which he would not tarnish for any consideration or reward. “Though I gladly helped many of the dear comrades by my knowledge of facts observed in the service, to a well-deserved pension, I waived my own.”

Soon after the war, Hildebrand started in business with a cash capital of 50 cents, in the solid little city of Alton, and in course of a few years, he was able to get partly even with Uncle Sam by paying to his internal revenue collector for one year’s income tax, the sum of $35, to balance their accounts, and a cheerful payment it was.

“I now weigh 190 pounds, Hildebrand said, “have three boys, either of whom weighs more than I did on coming out of the war, and if Uncle Sam gets into any trouble while my health lasts, I will wind up my business on short notice, and shoulder a much-improved gun. President Cleveland’s veto is in harmony with his policy of economic government, and in accord with the wishes of an already overtaxed people, whereas his signature would have plunged the government into a position of protracted continuance of war taxes, whereas it is near time the late war should be forgotten.”

[William A. Hildebrand died in July 1887, at the age of 47. He is buried in the Upper Alton Oakwood Cemetery.]


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, September 29, 1887
Through the courtesy of Mr. William Ellis Smith, we have had the privilege of reading the “Proceedings of the third annual reunion of the Society of the Ninety-Seventh Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry,” held at Greenup, September 9, 1886. The history of the regiment is given in the little volume by Mr. Smith, who is Corresponding Secretary of the society. From this narration, we learn that the 97th was organized at Camp Butler, near Springfield, in September 1862, by Colonel Friend S. Rutherford of Alton, and mustered into service September 16. The commissioned officers were: Colonel Friend S. Rutherford, succeeded by Lewis D. Martin, also of Alton, and Victor Vifquain; Lieutenant Colonel L. D. Martin and Victor Vifquain; Major V. Vifquain and J. F. Buchanan; Adjutant V. Vifquain, Lewis Davis, Samuel R. Howard, John R. Frierson, and Thomas W. McClanaham; Quartermaster G. C. Cockrell; Surgeons Samuel Willard, William D. Turner, and Charles Davis; First Assistant Charles Davis and C. M. Smith; and Chaplain William M. Baker.

On October 3, 1862, the regiment received marching orders, and went into active service. In December, it participated in the first unsuccessful attack on the rebel works at Vicksburg, January 11, 1863. After several hours hard fighting, the boys were among the first to enter Arkansas Post, in the general assault on that fortified place. At this battle, Captain John Tribble of Alton received the wound which afterwards proved fatal. The regiment took part in the marches, skirmishes, and battles preceding the investment of Vicksburg, and “celebrated” the 4th of July, 1863, by entering that captured city. During the siege, the regiment was under fire for 45 consecutive days.

On September 1, the regiment received a challenge from the 6th Connecticut and 26th Massachusetts, both crack regiments, to drill for position at New Orleans, September 10. The 97th proved victorious. After manifesting its devotion on many bloody fields, the regiment was mustered out of service at Galveston, Texas, July 29, 1865, and arrived at Camp Butler, August 13.

The last great battle in which the 97th was engaged was the capture of Fort Blakely. On April 9, 1865, the General commanding decided to storm the rebel works, and the 97th was selected to lead the assault. At the command, “Forward 97th, Charge!” the whole regiment, as one man, rose over the works, and with a gallantry seldom equaled, started on their dangerous mission. Twenty minutes later, they were in Blakely, and 5,000 rebels and 35 pieces of heavy artillery were captured. Eighty killed and wounded in this regiment, besides the losses in the regiments following, were the sacrifices of this charge. Among the killed in this assault was David Stanton of Alton, a remarkably promising young man. On the 15th, the regiment entered Mobile, thence went to Selma, Alabama, and their last skirmish with the enemy was on May 2, when they drove the enemy out of Marion Junction and burned the depot. Thence, they returned to Mobile, and were then ordered to Galveston. The battle flag of the 97th, though torn and seamed by shot and shell, was brought back in triumph. No rebel hand ever touched it. Other Illinois regiments may have equaled the proud record of the 97th, but none surpassed it.

Of the 887 noble sons of Illinois, who composed the regiment, and who marched from Camp Butler, but 463 returned, nearly one-half being lost. Their graves may be found in the levees by the side of the great Father of Waters [Mississippi River], and again you will find them on the hill shaded by the grand magnolia at Champion Hill, by the Muddy Black, on Vicksburg’s heights, through the Dismal Swamp, by the forts, and on Mobile Bay.

The gallant commander of the regiment, General Friend S. Rutherford, after long and arduous service, was taken ill at New Orleans in 1864. His devoted wife went to that city to nurse him, and brought him home, but he lived only a week after his return, dying June 20, 1864. He had commanded a brigade for some time prior to his death, and had been commissioned Brevet Brigadier General. His remains are buried in Alton Cemetery. His widow and children reside in Alton.

Company G and Company I of the 97th Illinois Infantry were raised in Alton and vicinity. Company G was first commanded by John Tribble, who was wounded at the capture of Fort Hindman (Arkansas Post), of which wound he soon afterwards died. He was succeeded in command by First Lieutenant James W. Davis. Captain Davis resigned after the capture of Vicksburg, and was succeeded by Captain F. T. Lewis, who still resides in Alton.

First Sergeant Levi Davis was promoted to Second Lieutenant, and then to First Lieutenant.

W. P. Hazard was promoted to Second Lieutenant, and C. W. Colby also received that rank.

It is noteworthy fact that three officers of this regiment, from Alton, were brothers – sons of Hon. Levi Davis. That is a good family record of patriotism.

A. Achenbach, a photographer of Alton, brother of a celebrated German marine painter, was the first Captain of Company I. He resigned, and was succeeded by Lieutenant Samuel Howard. Company G. originally contained 80 men. Only 22 returned when the war was over. The number lost by Company I we have not learned.

The Reunion
The steamer Hudson arrived at noon, bringing quite a large detachment of the 97th to attend the reunion. They were received at the landing by Mayor Henry G. McPike, and William Ellis Smith, Henry Stamps, and H. K. Johnston, members of the regiment, and escorted to the council chamber, and took dinner at the Central Hotel and at Hotel Madison. Several ladies accompanied the party. The meeting was called to order by Mr. T. R. Hancock, President of the Association, who introduced Mayor McPike to the audience, who welcomed the survivors of the regiment to the city in eloquent and appropriate terms, paying special tributes to the memory of Colonel Rutherford and Captain Tribble. A fitting response was made by President Hancock. After the address of Captain Hancock, the roll was called by Secretary William Ellis Smith, and the following members responded to their names:

Captain R. H. Wood of Woodburn; Lieutenant George W. Larimer of Wichita, Kansas; Captain James Irwin of Logatee; Captain William Mathie of Springfield, Missouri; Captain George D. Armstrong of Wellington, Kansas; Lieutenant Alfred Miller of St. Louis; Lieutenant C. W. Bradman of Beardstown; Milnor Richmond of St. Louis; Captain Joseph Wisner of Washington, D.C.; B. H. McDaniel of Gillespie; S. H. Nichols of Neoga; Andrew Berry of Missouri; F. M. Johnson of Neoga; N. Crunkshank of Neoga; Owen Reeves of Lebo, Kansas; L. D. Wood of Bunker Hill; Charles D. Perry of Shobonier; Sergeant J. E. Hobson of Farmersville; William Bower of Nokomis; John Groves of Bachtown; D. D. cockrell of Bachtown; J. Elliott of Toledo; Captain B. F. Slaten of Jerseyville; R. B. Stout of Vandalia; H. Bowers of Springfield; J. P. Davis; Robert Ewing; and John Elder. Others present were out at time of rollcall.

Besides Companies G. and I, mainly from Alton, four companies were raised, all or in part, within 25 miles of Alton. They were: Company A, Captain William H. Willard of Gillespie, succeeded by Captain R. H. Wood of Woodburn, and William E. Best of Gillespie. Company C, with Captain John Nairn of Calhoun County, succeeded by Captain P. H. Pentzer of Gillespie. Company H, with Captain M. H. Scott of Delhi, succeeded by Captain J. M. Erwin of Vandalia. Company K, with Captain B. F. Slaten of Jerseyville, succeeded by Captain T. B. Spaulding of Edwardsville.

Among those present at the reunion was Lieutenant George W. Larimer, now of Wichita, Kansas, who commanded Company G at the assault on Fort Blakely.

Among the ladies present were Mrs. E. B. Stout and Mrs. William Solomon of Vandalia, and Mrs. Friend S. Rutherford of Alton, widow of Colonel Rutherford.

The present officers of the association are: T. R. Hancock of Neoga, President; William Burchfield of Vandalia, Recording Secretary; William Ellis Smith, Correspondence Secretary; and E. B. Stout of Vandalia, Treasurer.

From the Alton Telegraph, August 4, 1862
Departure of the 97th Infantry, 25 Years Ago
Yesterday afternoon, several messages from Camp Butler were received, stating that Colonel Rutherford’s regiment, the 97th Illinois, would pass through Alton en route to Louisville, Kentucky, and as our city is well represented in two companies of the regiment, many were on the qui vive to know when they would arrive. Anxious parents, sisters and wives thronged the Alton depot from early in the afternoon until late at night, anxiously awaiting the expected ones. An observer could see that it was no usual thing that was to happen. They were there with little tidbits, little things which when they first left home were lost sight of, things that would be tempting to the appetite, as also for the comfort of the dear ones they were to meet. At about 10:30 o’clock, the cry of “here comes the train” was heard, and all were aroused and watching. The train consisted of 26 cars, box and passenger. They passed the depot and stopped on the curve of the levee, to change engines preparatory to continuing their journey.

It was no use trying to keep the men from coming out of the cars, for if they didn’t get through the doors, they did through the windows, and the meeting with friends beggars all description. We can but faintly touch upon it, it needed to be seen to be appreciated. There were parents whose sons were there, sisters whose brothers were there, wives whose husbands were there, and those who had no immediate relatives still had acquaintances among them. They knew their stay would be short, and the parcels that had been prepared with so much care were handed over, and the interchange of sympathy was good for the heart to witness. All looked well and hearty, and were anxious for the fray. The train was prepared and ready to go, the last leave-taking had to be gone through with, perhaps for the last time on earth, and as they gazed on the faces of the dear ones so soon to leave them, was it any wonder that the tears would fall? The parting was sad and impressive, and amid the cheers, tears, and prayers of that large crowd, they moved onto their destination. May the God of Battles be with them, and keep them unharmed, and return them in safety to the friends they have left behind. We expect to hear noble deeds from the 97th, yet, for we know that wherever Illinois soldiers are found, there is safety, there is something to be relied on. We are certain we shall not be disappointed in our expectations. We say three cheers for Colonel Rutherford and his noble band of men!


Written by Francis Marion Johnson of Alton,
Member of the 32nd Illinois Infantry
Source: Alton Telegraph, May 22, 1890
Benny Harrison’s death occurred but a short time before the great Shiloh battle, and I had got comparatively well and was in that great battle, April 6 and 7, 1862. Our regiment (32nd Illinois) was terribly depleted on that ever-to-be-remembered spot of ground, by death from sickness and bullets. Our regiment, in line for inspection a day or so after the battle, was only one-third as long as when we marched off the boat (steamboat Empire) on first landing there. All of the boats (15 or more) had left loaded to crowding with the wounded but one, the Champion, by Thursday evening, the 19th. She was crowded with the last of the wounded who had been carried back by the Rebs on the first day’s fight (April 6, 1862), and left by them on their retreat on April 7 and 8. Among them was a number of our regiment (32nd Illinois) – one of them being my cousin and adopted brother, A. J. Johnson, who received two severe flesh wounds, at about half past two o’clock p.m., Sunday, April 6.

The surgeon requested that nurses should be detailed from the regiments having numbers of wounded aboard. Our boys requested that I should be detailed to go with them, and I was. Because of my position in the regiment, I was well known to every man and boy in it. The boat started north at sundown, Thursday evening, April 10, and landed at the foot of Chestnut Street, St. Louis, at 4 o’clock Sunday morning, April 13. On the trip, the diarrhea and a touch of the flux came back upon me, caused by drinking the Tennessee River water, and neglect of self in helping to care for the wounded. Myself and cousin were taken to the Fifth Avenue Hospital [in St. Louis], where we met my father, who was waiting to take us home. I had written and posted a letter to him, giving the name of our boat, and he knew by the dispatches in the papers about when the boat would arrive at St. Louis. We were reported at the hospital, underwent a brief examination, were given a 30-day furlough, and were turned over to a private, free of charge, repair firm (the folks at home) to be put into good repair again. Hundreds of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and other relatives and friends were about the hospital to care for and to take to their homes their sick and wounded boys and friends. Tears come to my eyes every time I think of the piteous, pleading, yearning look, that came to the eyes of those poor mangled and maimed or badly sick boys, whose folks or friends had not come yet, or those that had none to come, upon the witnessing the meeting of us that were more fortunate with our anxious relatives and friends and our departure home with them. There were also those that were considered peculiar cases, or in a too badly injured condition to be permitted to be moved, and were retained in the hospital to be experimented upon with an attempt at cure. The soldier sections in our cemeteries show how many were not cured.

On the way around from Pittsburg Landing, I had 20 men and boys to wait upon to food and water, and to wash and clean their wounds until such a time as the insufficient force of surgeons could attend to them. I had my crowd lying along the larboard side, center of the cabin, and in the center of the cabin by us was the amputating tables, using the boat dining tables, and it was saw and slash, night and day, from Thursday evening to Sunday morning, and numbers had not yet been touched (only by us as nurses) when they were moved off of the boat to the hospital. We, that at times had to assist the surgeons, would carry and cord up on the boat guards each in a separate pile – arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers, toes, and chunks of the flesh from almost every part of the human body that was cut out to get rid of gangrene, and on coming to deep places in the river, we would shovel them all overboard. The worst wounded among my twenty was an orderly sergeant, a wiry little fellow of 20 years of age. His right arm had been torn off at the shoulder by grape shot, his windpipe had been almost completely severed by a bullet, and another had passed through his mouth, knocking out all of his front teeth and coming out just under the base of his brain. I had to feed him soups, and always be on the lookout for fear that he would die because of his windpipe being cut. I kept a handkerchief tied tightly around his throat, and whenever it would slip out of place, the wind in breathing would escape, so as to endanger his life. At the very best that I could do for him, it was difficult for him to breathe, and in feeding him, I had to be very careful not to strangle him. He gave me so much uneasiness, that I kept after the surgeons to attend to him, but it was Saturday forenoon before they could because of the gangrene cases, and he was the only one out of my twenty boys that they did attend to on the boat. I did it all myself, and kept them in good condition. None of them had gangrene, and all had been wounded on Sunday, April 6, and the Orderly Sergeant was not attended to by the surgeons until April 12 – six full days. They had to unjoint his shoulder socket because of the arm portion of the bone being shattered. His windpipe was pasted up, and the mouth and neck wound dressed and he was set back in his old place, against the side of the cabin. He had a number of times previous to this beckoned me to hold my ear to his mouth, and he would, with great effort, beg me to get him a cigar to smoke. I told him no, the smoke would strangle him. Now that he was fixed up, he could talk in a tolerably loud whisper, and he said, “now get me a cigar.” I went to the bar and got a half dozen (I had been getting them every day for the other boys that smoked). I lit one and placed it in his mouth, he leaned back, puffing his cigar, and I can never forget that peaceful, happy, thoroughly satisfied expression that came into his countenance, such as ‘tis said those have that are about to enter the pearly gates of Heaven. I do not smoke myself, but I do not begrudge the comfort that others may have in doing it, as this poor, unfortunate boy did.

Nearby my boys, another nurse had two badly wounded men. One a big, stout German, about thirty years old, and who had left a wife and children at home, had his left leg badly shattered below the knee. On examining him, the surgeons said “his leg would have to come off above the knee.” The German raved and swore that it should not come off at all. Next day, a number of the surgeons and nurses seized him and threw him upon the table, holding him until ether and then chloroform were applied. Neither of them had the desired effect, and he had to be held by main force until his leg was cut off. Of all the heart-rending scenes that I ever went through, that was the worst. The ravings, the piteous pleadings, the bewailing of the condition of his poor wife and children. Why, people, it was enough to unstring the nerves of a man of iron. When it was done, and he was placed back in his place on the cabin floor, he sobbed and sobbed, his heart was broke, and just because of his love for wife and children. Probably, and I think certainly, that the loving wife and children restored that broken heart, if not the amputated limb.

Another poor, badly wounded soldier, an American about 25 years of age, lay near to this German. His left leg was very badly shattered just above the knee. He lay there so uncomplaining that it was thought that he was not hurt very bad. When he was taken up and operated upon, the surgeons made three different amputations to get ahead of gangrene – the third time cutting up into his body, and it was still ahead of them. He was laid back in his place on the cabin floor, and soon died. That night he was tied up with some weights in a blanket, and thrown overboard. If he could have had attention in time, his life could have been saved. Such are the horrors of war, and this is but a very, very little of it.

My father was taking the Alton Daily Telegraph, and the next evening after getting home, I saw an account where I had arrived at home wounded, and my cousin sick. As soon as I was able, I rode downtown and called upon Mr. Parks (editor of the Telegraph) to correct his mistake. He said, “I do not see the use of doing that – it is all in the same family, is it not?” Yes, I said, but I want the honor to be to him, to whom it is due. Foolish wasn’t it? There has proved to be no honor in it now-a-days, especially.

Francis M. Johnson’s hometown was listed as Upper Alton. His rank was listed as Musician. He was mustered in December 31, 1861, with his cousin, Corporal Andrew J. Johnson. The rank of Musician was a position just below Corporal, and just above Private. During the Civil War, military leaders on both sides depended on military musicians to entertain troops, position troops in battle, and stir them on to victory. Some performed concerts in forward positions during the fighting. At times, musicians from both sides played against each other on the night before a battle.

Francis M. Johnson was born in Alton in 1843, making him 18 years of age when he mustered in. During his lifetime, he became a historian of the old No. 2 school building (the first free school in Alton – later called Lincoln School). Johnson was filled with patriotism, and marched in every Memorial Day parade, beating the old drum which he had carried with him during the war. He married and had two sons – William and Frank Jr. – and three daughters – Fanny May Johnson, Mrs. Foreline, and Mrs. Grace Layton. He was a long-standing member of the G.A.R. at Alton. He died in 1912 at the age of 67, and is buried in the Upper Alton Oakwood Cemetery.


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