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16th Illinois Cavalry
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
Sixteenth Cavalry. Col., Christian Thielemann; Lieut.-Cols., Robert W. Smith, Nathan C. Goodenow ; Majs., Christian Thielemann, Friedrich Schambeck, Charles H. Beers, Milo Thielemann, Hiram S. Hanchett, John Hoffman, Francis Jackson. This regiment was composed principally of Chicago men, Thielemann's and Schambeck's cavalry companies, raised at the outset of the war, forming the nucleus of the organization. The former company served as Gen. Sherman's body guard for some time. On June 11, 1863, the regimental organization was completed, and mustered in for three years, and in October the regiment was ordered to Knoxville, Tenn., where a portion of it participated in the defense of that place in November and December. On Jan. 3, 1864, a detachment under Maj. Beers was attacked by three of Longstreet's brigades and after maintaining its ground for 10 hours against five times its own number, losing heavily in killed and wounded, its ammunition gave out and it was compelled to surrender. The loss of the regiment upon this occasion was 356 men and 56 officers. The remainder of the regiment arrived at Red Clay, Ga., May 10, and on the 12th was engaged in the battle of Varnell's station, where it lost 1 officer wounded and captured, and 12 men. It was then on duty almost every day from that time until after the fall of Atlanta a period of nearly four months during which it participated in the battles of Rocky Face ridge, Buzzard Roost, Resaca, Kingston, Cassville, Cartersville, Allatoona, Kennesaw and Lost mountains, Powder springs, Chattahoochee river, and various engagements in front of Atlanta and Jonesboro. On the retreat before Hood from Florence, it kept up a running fight with the enemy for three days and nights, until it reached Columbia. In a 6 hours' engagement at Duck river the regiment held its position triumphantly against a vastly superior force of the Confederates until dusk. It next participated in the battle of Franklin and in various skirmishes between there and Nashville. It engaged in the two days' battle at the latter place, and in the pursuit of the enemy to the Tennessee river. It remained in Tennessee and Alabama on scouting duty until July 2, when it was ordered to Franklin, Tenn., where it remained scouring the country in all directions until ordered to Nashville for muster out. It arrived in Chicago on Aug. 23, 1865, for final payment and discharge. The original force of the regiment was 1,200 men. It received 100 recruits, and at its discharge could muster only 285 men, showing a casualty list of nearly 1,000.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 3

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