- Illinois in the American Civil War
The state of Illinois during the American Civil War was a major source of troops for the
Union army(particularly for those armies serving in the Western Theater of the Civil War), and of military supplies, food, and clothing. Situated strategically near major rivers and railroads, Illinoisbecame a major jumping off place early in the war for Ulysses S. Grant's efforts to seize control of the Mississippi and Tennessee rivers.
Illinois contributed 250,000 soldiers to the
Union Army, ranking it fourth in terms of the total manpower in Federal military service (and fourth in total population of the U.S. at the time). Illinois troops predominantly fought in the Western Theater, although a few regiments played important roles in the East, particularly in the Army of the Potomac. Several thousand Illinoisians were killed or died of their wounds during the war, and a number of national cemeteries were established in Illinois to bury their remains.
Abraham Lincoln, a number of other Illinois men became prominent in the army or in national politics, including Ulysses S. Grant(a resident when the war started), John M. Schofieldand John A. Logan. No major battles were fought in the state, although several river towns became sites for important supply depots and "brownwater" navy yards. Several prisoner of war camps and prisons dotted the state, processing thousands of captive Confederate soldiers.
During the Civil War, 256,297 Illinoisians served in the Union army, more than any other northern state except
New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Beginning with Illinois resident President Lincoln's first call for troops and continuing throughout the war, the state mustered 150 infantryregiments, which were numbered from the 7th Illinois to the 156th Illinois. Seventeen cavalryregiments were also mustered, as well as two light artilleryregiments. [ [http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilcivilw/regros.htm Illinois regiments during the Civil War] ] Due to enthusiastic recruiting rallies and high response to voluntary calls to arms, the military draftwas little used in Chicagoand environs, but was a factor in supplying manpower to Illinois regiments late in the war in other regions of the state.
Camp Douglas, located near Chicago, was one of the largest training camps for these troops, as well as Camp Butler near Springfield. Both served as leading prisoner-of-war camps for captive Confederates. Another significant POW camp was located at Rock Island. Several thousand Confederates died while in custody in Illinois prison camps and are buried in a series of nearby cemeteries.
There were no Civil War battles fought in Illinois, but Cairo, at the juncture of the
Ohio Riverwith the Mississippi River, became an important Union supply base, protected by Camp Defiance. Other major supply depots were located at Mound City and across the Ohio river at Fort Andersonin Paducah, Kentucky, along with sprawling facilities for the U.S. Navy gunboatsand associated river fleets.
major generals with Illinois ties included Ulysses S. Grant, John Buford, John Pope, John M. Schofield, John A. Logan, John A. McClernand, Benjamin Prentissand Stephen Hurlbut. Brigadier General Elon J. Farnsworth, who began his career in the 8th Illinois Cavalry, died at the Battle of Gettysburg. President Lincoln maintained his home in Springfield, Illinois, where he is buried. Over 100 soldiers from Illinois units would win the Medal of Honorduring the conflict.
On the homefront, composer and music publisher
George Frederick Rootgained fame and fortune from a number of well-received war songs, including " The Battle Cry of Freedom" and others. A pair of Chicago-based women, Mary Livermoreand Jane Hoge, organized a pair of large expositions, the Northwest Sanitary Fairs, where cash generated from the sale of donated items was later used to purchase medical supplies for the soldiers. Their activities helped spark the postbellum women's rights movementin Illinois. Mary Ann Bickerdyke, a resident of Galesburg, was a noted nurse for the Western armies.
Workers in various factories and mills, as well as the port and stockyards, helped provide a steady source of war
materiel, food, and clothing to Illinois troops, as well as to the general Union army. Mound City foundryworkers converted wooden river steamboats into armored gunboats for Federal service. With traditional Southern markets cut off by the war, the port of Chicago rose in prominence as Illinois expanded trade with the Great Lakesregion. Chicago meatpackers earned venture capital during the war that was reinvested in 1865, as the war ended, to create the Northern city's Union Stock Yards.
During the 1860 Presidential Election, two men from Illinois were among the four major candidates. Illinois voted in favor of Springfield resident
Abraham Lincoln(172,171 votes or 50.7% of the ballots cast) over Chicagoan Stephen Douglas(160,215; 47.2%). Of minor consequence in the state-wide results were Southern candidates John C. Breckinridge(2,331; 0.7%), and John Bell (4,914; 1.5%). [Leip, 1860]
Throughout the war, Illinois politics were dominated by Republicans under the energetic leadership of Governor Richard Yates and Senators
Lyman Trumbulland Orville H. Browning. Opposition views were often presented in "The Chicago Times", the vociferous mouthpiece of the rival Democratic Party. It was the nation's loudest and most persistent critic of Lincoln and emancipation. At one point early in the Gettysburg Campaignin June 1863, Union troops forcibly closed the newspaper at bayonet point. It was only reopened when Democratic mobs threatened to destroy the rival Republican paper and President Lincoln intervened. [ [http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/2379.html Chicago History website] ] In 1863, Browning's seat, formerly held by Douglas prior to the war, was regained by the Democrats with the election of William Alexander Richardson.
In the 1864 presidential election, Illinois residents supported Lincoln's reelection, giving the president 189,512 votes (54.4% of the total) to General George McClellan's 158,724 votes (45.6%). [Leip, 1864] Within a year, Lincoln was dead and his remains had been returned to Springfield for burial.
Notable leaders from Illinois
Among the many Illinois generals who rose to post-war prominence were
Green B. Raum(who became a U.S. congressman and the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service) and James L. Alcorn, who was a U.S. Senatorand the Governor of Mississippi. Both were born near Golconda. Galena-born John Aaron Rawlins, long a confidant of U.S. Grant, became the United States Secretary of Warin the Grant Administration. John M. Palmer, a resident of Alton, was a postbellum Governor of Illinoisand the presidential candidate of the National Democratic Party in the 1896 election. Edward S. Salomon, an immigrant from Europe, was appointed by President Grant as the Governor of the Washington Territory.
*Cole, Arthur Charles, "The Era of the Civil War, 1848-1870," (Sesquicentennial History of Illinois, Vol 3) (ISBN 0-252-01339-5) (1919, reprinted 1987), outstanding scholarly history covering politics, economy and society.
* Hicken, Victor, "Illinois in the Civil War," University of Illinois Press, 1991, a scholarly history focused on the soldiers.
* [http://www.illinoiscivilwar.org/ Illinois in the Civil War] . Retrieved February 1, 2005.
* [http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/2379.html Chicago History] . Retrieved August 7, 2006.
* [http://dig.lib.niu.edu/civilwar/about.html Northern Illinois University's Illinois During the Civil War website] . Retrieved August 8, 2006.
List of Illinois Civil War Units
* Burton, William L., "Descriptive bibliography of Civil War manuscripts in Illinois". Civil War Centennial Commission of Illinois, Northwestern University Press, 1966.
* Dyer, Frederick H., "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion". 3 volumes. Thomas Yoseloff, 1959
* Hicken, Victor, "Illinois in the Civil War," University of Illinois Press. 1991. ISBN 0-252-06165-9.
* Karamanski, Theodore J., "Rally 'Round the Flag: Chicago and the Civil War". Nelson-Hall, 1993. ISBN 0-8304-1295-6.
* Levy, George, "To Die in Chicago: Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas, 1862-1865". Evanston Publishing, 1994.
* Office of the Adjutant General, "Roster of Officers and Enlisted Men". 9 volumes, State Printing Office, 1900.
* U.S. War Department, "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies", 70 volumes in 4 series. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.
* [http://www.mikekoepke.com/illinois-in-the-civil-war/ Illinois in the Civil War (Mike's Musings)]
* [http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilcivilw/ Illinois in the Civil War (ILGenWeb Project)]
* [http://www.illinoiscivilwar.org/units_num.html Illinois regiments during the Civil War]
* [http://77illinois.homestead.com/files/77il/77home.html "History of the 77th Illinois Volunteer Infantry", W. H. Bentley, 1883]
* [http://www.civil-war.com/index.html Civil War Flags of Illinois]
* [http://dig.lib.niu.edu/civilwar/index.html/ Illinois During the Civil War, 1861-1865, Illinois Historical Digitization Projects at Northern Illinois University Libraries]
* [http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf8k4006m3 Civil War Records of the 4th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, 1861-1864] (6 volumes) are housed in the [http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/spc.html Department of Special Collections and University Archives] at [http://library.stanford.edu/ Stanford University Libraries]
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