101st Illinois Infantry History
Submitted by Norm Witherbee
HISTORY OF THE
The One Hundred and First Infantry Regiment Illinois Volunteers was
organized at Camp Duncan, Jacksonville, Illinois, during the latter
of the month of August, 1862, and, on the 2d of September, 1862, was
mustered into the United States service, by Captain Charles Ewing,
For about a month after muster-in, the Regiment remained at Camp
engaged in drilling and equipping for the field. At last, on the 6th of
October, marching orders came, and, embarking on the cars, the
on the evening of the 7th, reached Cairo at sunset.
Here the Regiment remained for over a month, doing garrison duty.
interim was devoted to drill, in which the Regiment became so
as to win a very fair name. In consequence of the rainy weather, there
was a great deal of sickness while at Cairo, and a good many men were
or died from disease. November 26th, the Regiment left Cairo, and
down the river to Columbus, Kentucky, and thence, by rail, to Davis'
Mississippi, where it was assigned to Loomis' Brigade of Ross'
Army of the Tennessee.
November 28th, it started on its first march, and, on the 30th,
Lumpkin's Mills, six miles south of Holly Springs, where the Regiment
heard the ''clash of contending arms,'' from the Tallahatchie River,
miles beyond. The Regiment remained at Lumpkin's Mills three days, when
it received orders to return to Holly Springs, Missisippi for provost
December 13th, Company A, Captain John B. Lesage, was sent to
with rebel prisoners. December 20th, Holly Springs was captured, and
B, C, E, F, I, and the sick men of Company A, who had been left behind,
were taken prisoners and paroled.Soon after they were sent to Memphis,
and, thence, to Benton Barracks, Missouri, where they remained until
in June, 1863.
At the Holly Springs disaster, the men of this Regiment, on duty,
all they could have done, under the circumstances. Another Regiment was
doing the picket duty, while the one Hundred and First was in the town,
doing provost duty, and divided about the town, in squads, too small to
make successful resistance to the overpowering numbers that surrounded
them. Wherever the blame of this disaster shall rest, it surely should
not attach itself to the One Hundred and First Illinois. When the town
was captured, Companies D, G, H and K, which were stationed along the
fell back to Cold Water, where they fell in with the Ninetieth Illinois
(Irish Legion), and assisted greatly in repelling Van Dorn's attack on
Afterwards, these four companies were formed into a battaion, and
assigned to the Fourteenth Illinois Volunteers, and did a great deal of
scouting service over Tennessee, finally bringing up at Memphis,
in February, 1863. Here they were joined by Company A, Captain Lesage,
who took command of the Battalion. Upon leaving Holly Springs, Company
A proceeded to Cairo, and thence to Vicksburg, but was sent back up the
river with prisoners. About the first of February, the prisoners were
over at Alton, Illinois, but not until the Company had been fearfully
by the sickness incurred while on that duty. Often Captain Lesage could
not muster half a dozen men for duty, and this, too, when he had over a
thousand prisoners under his charge.
Early in March, the battalion was ordered down to Vicksburg, where
it was broken up, and the companies assigned to various independent
Company K was assigned to provost duty at General Grant's Headquarters;
Company A was assigned to the ''General Bragg''; Company G to the ram
Company D to the ''Rattler'' and the ''Crocket;'' and Company H to the
From this, until the final reunion of the Regiment, each company
its separate history of scouts, skirmishes and expeditions, up and down
the Mississippi and its tributary streams. Company G had the honor of
the blockade at Vicksburg, for which service, after its fall, General
furloughed the entire company.
On the 7th of June, the other part of the Regiment was exchanged
sent down to New Madrid, Missouri. July 11th, they were sent to
Kentucky, whence they were started out on a series of scouts and
which only terminated about the 25th of August, by their bringing up at
Union City, Tennessee. Here they remained about a month, during which
Compainies A, D, G, H and K rejoined them, and completed the reunion of
the Regiment, which remained a unit thenceforth.
September 24th, 1863, the Regiment received orders transferring it
to the Department of the Cumberland, and it started, at once, for
Kentucky, via Cairo and Sandoval, Illinois, and Mitchell and New
Indiana, arriving in Louisville, Septemver 27th. September 30th, it
Louisville, via Nashville, and arrived at Bridgeport, Alabama, October
2nd, 1863, and remained there until the 27th. This period of service is
always referred to as a hard time, owing to the severe rains and
of tents. In fact, most of the Regiment was tentless, until the 1st of
October 27th, the Regiment was temporarly assigned to the First
Third Division, Eleventh Army Corps, and started on the march to the
arriving next day at Lookout Valley, where, on the night of its
it participated in the night battle of Wauhatchie, where, by singular
fortune, not a man was hurt. For nearly a month, following, the
lay encamped in the Valley, exposed to the daily shelling from Lookout
Mountain, which, during that time, killed one man and wounded another.
November 22nd, the Regiment received marching orders, and proceeded
to Chattanooga, where it participated in the battle of Chattanooga,
one man killed. Immediately after the battle, it was ordered to the
of Knoxville, and participated in that severe march; and, finally,
to Lookout Valley, December 17th. Many of the men were barefooted, and,
in that condition, had marched many a weary mile, over the frozen
and sharp rocks, even as their forefathers had done in revolutionary
leaving their blood to mark their steps.
Recuriting its strength in the Valley, for a few days, the Regiment
was then set to work building corduroy roads; after which, on the 1st
of January, 1864, they were sent to Kelley's Ferry to relieve the
Illinois, then about to return home on veteran furlough. Here the
remained until the last of January, when, upon the completion of the
to Chattanooga, they were ordered to Bridgeport, where they went into
and quietly remained there until the 2d of May, when they started for
front. The Eleventh and Twelfth Corps had been consolidated into the
Army Corps, and the old Brigade, to which the One Hundred and First had
been attached in the Eleventh Corps, had been transferred to the First
Division of the new Corps, and became the Third Brigade of that
This Brigade was commanded by Colonel (afterwards Brigadier General
of the Eighty-second Ohio. Leaving Bridgeport, May 2d, on the 6th,
Taylor's Ridge, which was crossed next day, and encamped at Anderson
Office. Remained there until midnight of May 10th, when it marched for
Snake Creek Gap, which was reached next day and held for two days. On
13th, having marched through the Gap, the troops were ready for action,
near Resaca, but were held in reserve all day. On the 14th, were again
held in reserve, until three p.m., when they started on the
for the left, which was reached just in time for the Brigade to render
important service in the action then progressing.
During this engagement, it is said, the One Hundred and First was
to take a hill in front of them, which they did in so gallant a style
to win the admiration of General Hooker, who happened to be standing
and who cheered the troops with the encouraging shout of ''Go in, my
boys.'' The next afternoon it was ordered forward, and, at four
while in column, was charged by a rebel force
Both officers and men of the Regiment conducted themselves
and rendered valuable services, losing one man killed, six mortally
and forty wounded. Pressing the rebels, it again came upon them at
Georgia, on the 19th but did not get into a fight, as the rebels left.
Again, followed on the 23d, and, on the 25th, got into a hot and heavy
fight at New Hope Church. Among the wounded at this place were Adjutant
Padgett, Lieutenant Hardin, and Lieutenant (afterward Captain) Belt,
subsequently died of wounds.
After this, the Regiment bore an honorable share in the various
around Kenesaw and Pine mountains, losing one killed and five or six
During the battle of Kulp's farm, June 22d, it supported Battery I,
New York, which did signal execution during the fight. June 27th, lost
Lieutenant Dimm, who was killed on the skirmish line. After the rebels
evacuated Kenesaw, was engaged in the pursuit, and, on the 6th of July,
took position on Chattahoochie Heights, where the Regiment remained
July 17th, crossed the river, and, on the 20th, just after crossing
Peach Tree Creek, the rebels assailed the Corps with terrible force.
line under fire, the enemy was held at bay, and their charges repelled,
until at 8 p.m., when he abandoned the attack, and returned to his
In this engagement five were killed and thirty-five wounded. Among the
killed was Captain Thomas B. Woof. The morning report, next morning
only 120 effective men, for duty, having left Bridgeport with 365 men.
July 22d, took position in front of Atlanta-the Regiment supporting
Battery I, First New York, in which position it remained until the 25th
of August, when it was ordered back to Chattahoochie Bridge, which the
Corps was to guard while the rest of the army swung into the rear of
September 2d, the Regiment was sent out on a reconnoissance,
with the Thirteenth New Jersey and One Hundred and Seventh New York,)
claims the honor of having been the first Regiment that entered
Georgia, after its fall, which occurred on the second anniversary of
muster into service. It remained in Atlanta until the destruction of
place- most of the time having charge of the fire department.
November 15th, started on the''great march'' and participated in
its glories, its trials, and its triumphs; and, whether as advance
driving rebel cavalry before it, or as rear guard, pulling wagons out
the mud or corduroying roads, over unfathomable mud-holes, the One
and First Illinois always did its duty so well as to win high
from its Brigade and Division Commanders. The story of that march is
the same for all regiments, and need hardly be repeated. The Regiment
Savannah, and entered the place, December 22nd, 1864.
January 17th, 1865, crossed over into South Carolina, and went
the great campaign of the Carolinas, participating in the battles of
and Bentonville, losing only one man wounded.
March 24th, entered Goldsboro, and, on the 13th of April, entered
where the Regiment remained until the final surrender of the rebel
after which, on the 30th, it started overland for Richmond, Virginia,
was reached May 8th. Here it remained until the 11th, when it marched
Richmond, and took up the line of march for Alexandria, where it
on the 19th.
May 24th, participated in the ''grand review'' and then went into
at Bladensburg, where, on the 7th of June, it was mustered out, and
for Springfield, where, on the 21st of June, 1865, it was paid off and
Civil War main page
County main page
materials contained on these pages are furnished
for the free use of
individuals engaged in researching their
Any other non commercial use requires prior
Any commercial use or any use for which money is
asked or paid for any
reason is strictly prohibited.
©Gloria Frazier 1996-2012 All rights reserved.