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85th Illinois Infantry
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
85th Illinois Infantry Soldier Roster - Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Volume 5, Revised by Brigadier General J.N. Reece, Adjutant General, 1900       View Entire Book

Regimental History
Eighty-fifth Infantry. Cols., Robert S. Moore, Caleb J. Dilworth ; Lieut.-Cols., Caleb J. Dilworth, James P. Walker, James R. Griffith; Majs., Samuel P. Cummings, Robert G. Rider. This regiment was organized at Peoria about Sept. 1, 1862, at a time when the government was in need of troops, as the Federal forces had been beaten back at Bull Run a short time before and Bragg was threatening Louisville, Ky., Gen. Nelson being driven back to that point. The regiment was one that was ordered to Louisville immediately after its organization, hence the members left their work, families and friends, and were hurried immediately to the forefront of the battle. Before they knew what dress parade meant they opened the battle of Perryville by making a bayonet charge early on the morning of that bloody day. When the army advanced on Bragg at Murfreesboro the regiment was stationed at Nashville and remained there doing train, police and post duty, but was called on to guard a train to the army during the battle of Stone's river, which it succeeded in doing in time to take a hand in the fight there for one day. During the remainder of the time that it was at Nashville but little occurred worthy of historical notice, but from the time it was relieved at that city it was always found in the active part of the Army of the Cumberland until the close of the war, being one of the last regiments to leave the field at Chickamauga; in the lead in crossing the Tennessee in pontoons when the stars and bars were lowered from Missionary ridge ; from there, with 100 rounds of cartridges in haversacks instead of bread, it was with the command that hastened to the relief of besieged troops at Knoxville; then returned to its camp at North Chickamauga, to remain until New Year's, 1864, when it moved to McAfee's cross-roads, near the battlefield of Chickamauga. During the winter of 1863 and 1864 it was stationed at or on that battle-field and was in the detail that made the reconnoissance against Rocky Face ridge, where it met with considerable loss in killed and wounded. It took an active part in the battles of Resaca, Rome, Dallas, Kennesaw mountain, Peachtree creek, Atlanta and Jonesboro. The members of the regiment are deserving of special mention for their conduct at Rome, where they swam the Etowah river, floating their accouterments over on rafts of rails, formed a skirmish line, drove the enemy from the city and raised the Stars and Stripes over the courthouse before all the enemy had crossed the other river and burned the bridge. At Kennesaw mountain and Peachtree creek the regiment lost half of its available force. The 2nd division of the 14th army corps was detailed to drive Forrest from the line of communication back in Tennessee, and marched after him until it crossed the river at Florence, where there was a skirmish in which the regiment was again in front and met with slight loss. It accompanied Sherman on his march to the sea and up through the Carolinas, was present at the battle of Bentonville, the capture of Goldsboro and Raleigh, and was doing picket duty when Sherman met the Confederate delegates to arrange the conditions of surrender of Johnston's army. It then marched to Washington, took part in the grand review at that place, rested a few days and was mustered out on June 5, 1865.

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

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