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1st Illinois Light Artillery
in the American Civil War

Regimental History
First Light Artillery. Cols., Joseph D. Webster, Ezra Taylor; Lieut.-Cols., Charles H. Adams, Allen C. Waterhouse; Majs., Ezra Taylor, Charles C. Campbell, Charles M. Willard, Charles Houghtaling, Samuel B. Barrett, Allen C. Waterhouse, John T. Cheney, Raphael G. Rombauer, John A. Fitch.

Battery A of this regiment was called into service by Gov. Yates, in response to the first call of President Lincoln for troops. Its first appearance was on Sunday morning, April 21, 1861, and at 9 p. m. it moved for Cairo via the Illinois Central railroad. On its arrival there it was assigned the duty of bringing to all downward bound boats with the view of preventing the shipment of contraband goods within the Confederate lines. The mode adopted for bringing boats to was to fire a blank shot in their direction, but on April 24 the steamer Baltic disregarded the blank shot, when a solid shot was fired across her bow, which had the desired effect. These shots were fired by squad 1, and they were the first that were fired across the river. After about a week's stay at Cairo, the battery was ordered to take a position 2 miles above on the Mississippi river bank. The position was christened Camp Smith and was occupied by the battery nearly five months. The battery did not muster into the U. S. three months' service, but was mustered into the three years' service on July 16, 1861. On Sept. 6 it moved with Gen Grant to Paducah, where it remained until Feb. 4, 1862, participating in the various expeditions from that place, among which was the feint on Columbus simultaneous with Grant's attack on Belmont. It occupied the Confederates' camp at Fort Heiman until Feb. 13, when it proceeded to Fort Donelson and upon its arrival opened fire at once, using canister in repelling the last decisive charges and firing 55 rounds. It took a conspicuous part in the battle of Shiloh, going into the fight at 8 a. m., of the first day, and retiring some time after 4 p. m. It was also engaged in the second day's fight. In December it moved to Yazoo and took part in the Chickasaw bayou fight, being under fire about 4 hours and firing 807 rounds. It was engaged at Arkansas Post in Jan., 1863, and on May 17 marched to the Big Black river, to a place called Bridgeport, where it captured a Confederate lieutenant and 12 men. After the surrender of Vicksburg it moved with the division to Jackson and during the siege of that city lost 7 prisoners and 1 killed. It participated in the Atlanta campaign, first engaging the enemy at Resaca and then at Dallas. It took part in the engagements of July 19-21, losing 2 men, and on the 22nd was attacked from the front and rear, and being overpowered by superior numbers was captured, many of the men being taken prisoners, while a number were killed and wounded. The remaining members of the battery took part in the grand move to the south of Atlanta, which culminated in the severe battle of Jonesboro and compelled the evacuation of Atlanta. The battery was ordered to Nashville during the campaign against Hood and from there it was sent to Chattanooga, remaining till the latter part of June, 1865, when it was ordered home for muster-out, arriving at Chicago July 3, where it received a royal welcome at the hands of its friends, who gave it a grand banquet in honor of its return.

Battery B was organized in April, 1861, and left in June for Cairo, where it lay for three weeks and then moved to Bird's Point, Mo. One section of the battery participated in the fight at Frederickton in October. The entire battery went with Grant to Belmont on Nov. 7, going into action with 6 guns and coming out with 8, completely demolishing the Confederate battery. At Fort Donelson, in W. H. L. Wallace's brigade, the battery occupied the extreme right, fighting with scarce any intermission for 3 days. The day before the battle of Shiloh it was transferred to Sherman's division and was in that fight. It was also with him on the right at the siege of Corinth; was at LaGrange, Holly Springs and Memphis with Sherman; was at Chickasaw bayou, Arkansas Post, the siege of Vicksburg, Champion's hill, Mechanicsburg and Richmond, La., and on May 1, 1864, moved with Sherman on his Atlanta campaign, taking part in the fights at Resaca, Dallas, Kennesaw mountain and many minor engagements. On July 12, 1864, the battery was ordered to Springfield that the men might be mustered out. It had 219 men altogether on its muster rolls and lost 16 by death, 6 in battle and 27 wounded.

Battery C, familiarly known as Houghtaling's battery, was organized in the summer of 1861. The records of the adjutant-general's office give no detailed account of its service, nor the dates when it was mustered in or mustered out. Its first service was about Cairo, Paducah and Bird's point. With Morgan's division it took part in the siege of Corinth; was then with Sheridan's division in the Tennessee campaign; was engaged in the operations about Vicksburg; took part in the Chickamauga and Chattanooga-Ringgold campaigns; was with the 14th corps in the Atlanta campaign, and then formed part of the army in north Georgia and middle Tennessee. Wherever it was called into action it rendered a good account of itself, and of all the batteries from Illinois none achieved greater distinction than Houghtaling's.

Battery D was organized at Cairo Sept. 2, 1861, and on Sept. 18 moved to Fort Holt, Ky. It was engaged in the siege of Fort Donelson, where 2 of its guns were disabled, and it also took part in the battle of Shiloh, taking eight positions during the action. The battery was commanded by Capt. H. A. Rogers during the campaign of Gen. Grant down the Mississippi, and back again to Memphis, then to Milliken's bend and round to the rear of Vicksburg, during the battles of Raymond and Champion's hill, and up to May 29 in the siege of Vicksburg, when he was shot dead by a minie-ball. During the winter of 1863-64 the battery was reorganized at Camp Fry, Chicago, as a veteran battery. Returning to the scene of war, it left Vicksburg on April 5, 1864, on the campaign under Sherman through Georgia, and was in at the final capture of Atlanta. On July 22 it behaved with a coolness and bravery unsurpassed in the history of the war. It returned to Nashville, Tenn., was there during the last battle, and then went to Clarksville, where it remained until the order came for its muster out. The battery was mustered out of service at Chicago, July 28, 1865.

Battery E was organized at Camp Douglas during the fall of 1861, and was mustered into service on Dec. 19. On Feb. 13, 1862, it was sent to Cairo, where horses, guns and all other necessary equipments were procured. On March 27 it took boat to Pittsburg landing, arriving on the 30th, and received its baptism of fire at Shiloh on April 6, its casualties being 1 killed, 16 wounded and 1 missing. It participated in the movement on Corinth and then followed the line of the Memphis & Charleston railroad, skirmishing, camping, etc., till it reached Memphis, Tenn. On May 2, 1863, it went to Grand Gulf, Miss., thence to Jackson, and assisted in the capture of the latter place. Two days later it moved on Vicksburg, arriving on the 18th, and took an active part in the siege, losing 2 killed and 6 wounded. On July 5 it marched back to Jackson and assisted in a nine-days' siege, when Johnston evacuated. In Feb., 1864, it had a skirmish at Wyatt, Tenn., on the Tallahatchie river, and in June marched to Guntown Miss, and fought in the disastrous battle of Brice's cross-roads, losing 1 killed, 3 wounded and 4 missing. In July it marched on Tupelo, and fought at Pontotoc, Miss. The following day it was ambuscaded and lost 1 wounded. On July 14 it fought and whipped the Confederate Gen. Forrest at Tupelo, Miss. The time of enlistment of the battery expired Dec. 19, 1864, but it was not mustered out of service until the evening of Dec. 24, at Louisville, Ky.

Battery F was recruited at Dixon and was mustered in at Springfield Feb. 25, 1862. It moved to Benton barracks, Mo., March 15, with four 6-pounders. It was engaged in the siege of Corinth and on June 9 marched for Memphis, arriving on the 18th. It participated in the Vicksburg campaign and after the surrender of that city marched with Sherman to and participated in the siege of Jackson, Miss. From Jackson it returned to Vicksburg, where it remained until October, 1863, and then accompanied Sherman's command to Memphis. It was a part of his army in the Chattanooga campaign, and on the night of Nov. 23 was one of the batteries placed in position on the north side of the river to cover the crossing of Sherman's forces and prevent a hostile force moving to oppose him until he had taken position. The exact position of the battery was on a wooded knob, having a fire to the left and front, perfectly covering the ground in those directions and intended to repel any attack in the direction of the tunnel. It did very effective work in the actions which resulted in the complete rout of the enemy at Missionary ridge. It next marched on the Atlanta campaign, fired the first shot at the Confederate lines at Resaca, and continued to fire effectively, advancing as the enemy retired and doing good service throughout the three-days' operations. At the battle of July 22, before Atlanta, it was in the thickest of the fight, losing its caissons with all their implements and equipments after the entire support of the battery had been captured and a withdrawal under the circumstances was simply impossible. During the campaign, beginning in May and ending on Sept. 4, 1864, the battery lost 5 killed, 9 wounded and 1 missing. It accompanied the troops that followed Hood into Tennessee and participated in the campaign that ended in the complete rout of the enemy at Nashville. On March 7, 1865, the battery was consolidated with other batteries in the regiment.

Battery G was organized at Cairo and was mustered in Sept. 28, 1861. On March 18, 1862, it moved to Columbus, Ky., thence to Island No. 10 and New Madrid as garrison and returned to Cairo April 11. On the 13th it moved down the river to Fort Pillow and on the 16th returned. On April 22 it moved to Hamburg, Tenn., was engaged in the siege of Corinth in May and in the battle of Corinth in October. It participated in the Vicksburg campaign and after the surrender of that city engaged in the operations in Mississippi and Tennessee, being a part of the force that repelled the attack upon Memphis in Aug., 1864. The battery was mustered out of service at Camp Butler July 24, 1865.

Battery H was recruited in and about Chicago during Jan. and Feb., 1862. In March it was ordered to St. Louis, where it was equipped with 20-pounder Parrott's as a 4-gun battery and was immediately sent down the river to join Gen. Grant's command. It arrived at Pittsburg landing April 5, and participated in the battle of Shiloh the next day forming the center of that line of artillery which, with the gun-boats on the Tennessee, repulsed the last charges of the Confederates on the first day of the battle. The battery participated in all of the battles in which the 15th corps was engaged and was one of the working companies of that famous corps at Vicksburg, Missionary ridge, the Atlanta campaign, the march to the sea, finally marching in review before the president at Washington and was mustered out with the rest of the 15th corps. The guns were captured on July 22, 1864, in front of Atlanta, but were soon recaptured and turned with good effect upon the retreating enemy.

Battery I was organized at Camp Douglas and was mustered in Feb. 10, 1862. On March 1 it moved to Benton barracks, Mo., and in April was engaged in the battle of Shiloh. In May it was in the siege of Corinth and afterward moved to Memphis. It went on an expedition into Arkansas in October and afterward into Mississippi, where it engaged the enemy's cavalry. It remained at Memphis until Nov. 28, when it participated in the Tallahatchie raid, then returned to LaGrange and Holly Springs, and finally to Moscow, Tenn. It was engaged in the Vicksburg campaign, then moved with Sherman's army and participated in the siege of Jackson, after which it returned to the Black river. It moved under Gen. Sherman via Memphis and Corinth to Chattanooga and was engaged in the battles there in November. It veteranized on March 17, 1864, and went to Illinois on furlough. Returning to the field it participated in the battle of Nashville, and was mustered out July 26, 1865.

Battery K was organized at Shawneetown and mustered into the service Jan. 9, 1862. The first year's service of this battery was in chasing guerrillas through Kentucky, chiefly in and about Perryville. It formed a part of Burnside's expedition, participating in all its arduous service in connection with the 1st cavalry division of the army to which it had been attached. It was the first battery in East Tennessee and was foremost in the capture of Knoxville. During its service in Tennessee it was attached to the brigade of which the 14th Ill. cavalry formed a part, the history of which will be found on another page of this volume. A part of the men were mustered out at Springfield in June, 1865, and the remainder at Chicago in the month following.

Battery L, "Rourke's Battery," like battery C. was never reported in detail by the adjutant-general. Its service was chiefly in Virginia with Gen. B. F. Kelley's command and Porter's division, though on Sept. 19, 1862, it was transferred to the Department of the Ohio for a short time. It then returned to Virginia and took part in the Mine Run campaign and the operations in the Shenandoah Valley. It was frequently engaged with the enemy and always with credit to itself and the state which sent it forth.

Battery M was organized at Camp Douglas and mustered into the service Aug. 12, 1862, for three years. On Sept. 27 it left for Louisville, where it did garrison duty until Nov. 11. The first real engagement in which it participated was Chickamauga, where during the second day's fighting it repulsed Gen. Longstreet repeatedly, losing 2 men killed, 14 wounded and 16 horses killed. On Sept. 21 the battery was placed at Ringgold gap of Missionary ridge, whence it shelled the Confederate cavalry that appeared in the valley beyond. On Nov. 2 it drove away a lot of Confederates who had begun to fortify in front of Fort Negley, and on the 25th it fired its last shot at Gen. Bragg from its position near the fort. In May it started on the Atlanta campaign, and participated in all the marches, battles and skirmishes until Sept. 5, near Lovejoy's Station, where it fired its last shot at the nation's foes. The members of the battery returned to Atlanta, and being so worn out were sent to Chattanooga Nov. 1, and did garrison duty there, at Cleveland and Charleston, Tenn., until July 14, 1865, when they started for Chicago, where they were mustered out July 24, 99 strong. It had 7 commissioned officers, 170 men mustered in, 157 detailed men, lost 2 killed in battle, 1 detailed man killed, 1 man died of wounds, 2 killed by accident, 7 died of disease, 1 taken prisoner, 31 previously discharged, 7 transferred, 22 deserted, 16 wounded and 39 horses killed. It traveled 3,102 miles, fired 7,845 rounds at the enemy, and was under fire 178 days.

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

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