16th Illinois Infantry

The SIXTEENTH INFANTRY ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS was organized and mustered into United States service at Quincy, Ill., under the “Ten Regiment Act”, on the 24th day of May 1861. It was mustered in by Captain T. G. Pitcher, U.S.A. June 12, 1861, moved to Grand River as railroad guard; after which the Regiment was scattered along the line of the road as guard. July 10, Colonel Smith’s force was attacked at Monroe Station by 1,600 mounted Rebels, but he held his position until the arrival of reinforcements, when the enemy retired. On the 16th, lost two men killed and two wounded at Caldwell Station. August 20, Regiment moved under General Hurlbut to Kirksville, and in pursuit of General Green, arriving at Hannywell on September 1. September 10, ordered to St. Joseph, Mo. On 14th, together with the Third Iowa Infantry, had a skirmish at Platte City. 17th, returned to St. Joseph. January 27, ordered to Bird’s Point. March 3, ordered to New Madrid, where we were attached to the Army of Mississippi, Second Brigade, Colonel James D. Morgan, First Division, Brigadier General E. A. Paine. On the evening of the 12th of March the Tenth and Sixteenth Illinois Volunteers were thrown forward and erected a line of earthworks, mounting four heavy guns, within half a mile of the enemy’s works. March 13, the battle of New Madrid was fought, the Sixteenth supporting the siege guns. April 7, were landed on the opposite side of the Mississippi, with the Tenth Illinois, and followed the retreating enemy to Tiptonville, Tenn., where we captured 5,000 prisoners, a large amount of artillery, small arms and ammunition. April 9, returned to New Madrid; 13th embarked for Osceola, Ark.; 17th, embarked for Hamburg, Tenn., where we arrived 22d. Participated in the siege of Corinth. After the evacuation, pursued the retreating enemy to Booneville; June 12, returned and camped at Big Springs. July 20, moved to Tuscumbia; 29th, crossed the Tennessee at Florence. September 15, arrived at Nashville, after a seventeen days march, with continual guerrilla fighting loss, one killed and five wounded. Garrisoned Edgefield, Tennessee, guarding railroad bridge. November 5, Garrison was attacked by Rebel General Morgan, who was repulsed, leaving many dead upon the field. Our loss, one killed and five wounded. The Regiment remained at Edgefield until the middle of July 1863, when it broke camp and marched to Murfreesboro, where it remained one month; thence it marched to Columbia, Tennessee; thence to Athens, Huntsville and Stevenson, Alabama, camping a few days at the latter place, when it made a forced march to Bridgeport, where, with the Brigade, it guarded ordnance stores and pontoon bridge against a threatened attack. The battle of Chickamauga having just been fought, Bragg was threatening the rear of Rosecrans’ army. While at Bridgeport, on September 30, an immense quantity of ordnance stores, lying directly at the right of the Regiment, exploded, by which 14 men were killed and wounded. Early in October, a march was made up the Sequatchie Valley as far as Anderson’s Gap, a distance of 40 miles. Up to this time the Sixteenth had been in the First Brigade, First Division, Reserve Corps of the Army of the Cumberland. At Anderson’s Gap orders were received transferring it and the entire Brigade to First Brigade, Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps. The Brigade was commanded by General James D. Morgan, the Division by General Jeff. C. Davis, and the Corps by General John M. Palmer. The Regiment remained in this Brigade, Division and Corps until the close of the war. From Anderson’s Gap the Regiment marched to Waldross Ridge, and for a few weeks guarded a line of transports up the Tennessee River; thence it moved to Kelly’s Ferry, where it encamped until January 1864, where it was engaged in the arduous duty of unloading from boats the rations, forage, and ammunition sent forward to Thomas’ army, which lay at Chattanooga, 60 miles above. From December 20 to 31 the Regiment re-enlisted as veterans, and on New Year’s Day, 1864, left for Illinois on a furlough of 30 days. Returning, arrived at Rossville, Georgia, the latter part of February; went into camp with the rest of the Brigade and Division. May 5, moved with Sherman’s army on the Atlanta campaign; was in advance of Division at Buzzard Roost, where a sharp fight was kept up for one day, in which the Regiment lost 18 killed and wounded; withdrawing from the front of Buzzard Roost with the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Corps, the latter, under command of General Logan, made a night march through Snake Creek Gap, fighting the battle of Resaca, and flanking the Rebels from Dalton. From Resaca the Regiment moved with the Division which was sent by Sherman to capture Rome, an important Rebel city, which was taken after a sharp fight, in which the Sixteenth sustained no loss. From Rome the Regiment moved to Lost Mountain; thence to Kennesaw Mountain, where for four days it lay under the fierce cannonade of a hundred guns on that impregnable natural fortress; was afterwards the reserve line of the charging column on June 27, when in a few minutes the army lost 3,000 men; the loss of the Regiment was some 10 or 15. Thence on the Chattahoochee river, which the Sixteenth was the first to cross, driving back the heavy picket line of the enemy, losing over 20 men. It participated in the battle of Peach Tree Creek, losing a number by wounds and prisoners by marching into the line of the enemy while the Regiment was making a night reconnoiter to the front. After the investment of Atlanta, the Regiment held a position on the front line, and for 30 days was constantly engaged in skirmish firing. About August 25 it withdrew from the front and swung round the city to the west, and on the 30th was in the thickest of the fight at Jonesboro. In the famous charge of the Fourteenth Army Corps at that place, in which Hardee’s line was broken, a large portion of it captured, and Atlanta won, the Sixteenth charged with fixed bayonets and empty guns. Owing to depression of ground over which the Regiment charged, its loss was less than 30, while Regiments to the right and left lost twice that number. After the capture of Atlanta, the Regiment went into camp nearly a month. While Hood was making his raid to the rear, the Regiment was sent with the Division back to Chattanooga, Huntsville, and as far as Athens. Hood having gone farther west, which changed the plans of Sherman, the Regiment and Division returned to Atlanta. Here the Corps was taken from the Army of the Cumberland, and, with the Twentieth Corps, became the Army of Georgia. With this the Regiment participated in the famous march through Georgia to the Sea. Being on the most advanced post at the evacuation of Savannah, it had the honor of being the representative Regiment of the Fourteenth Army Corps to take formal possession of the city. Marched north through the Carolinas during February and March 1865; assisted in the capture of Columbia and Fayetteville; was in the fierce fight at Averysboro, where, during the afternoon of March 16, the Regiment lost 15 or 20 killed and wounded, among whom was Captain White, of Company A, who was commanding the Regiment, and who fell, mortally wounded, while leading a charge across an open field. On the 19th, 20th and 21st of March, at the battle of Bentonville, the Division of which the Sixteenth was a part withstood for five hours, during the first day’s battle the six times repeated onslaught of Johnson’s entire army. The Sixteenth, being in the front line, while repelling a charge saw the Rebels, who had been successful at another point, swing around it, and drive the supporting Regiments from their works and into the swamp. Having repelled the assault in front, the Sixteenth climbed over the temporary breastworks, and opened fire on what, five minutes before, had been its rear. After a few shots, with the assistance of the Fourteenth Michigan, charged the Rebel line, capturing some 800. The second day of the battle, the Sixteenth, in conjunction with the Fourteenth Michigan, through a mistaken order of the Colonel of the latter, made a charge into the center of the Rebel forces, and for over a quarter of an hour was under as murderous a front and flank fire as ever rained on troops. In this brief space of time a third of the Regiment fell, having less than 300 in line on going into the fight. Company A, with 27 men, lost 10, 7 of whom died on the field or soon after. This was the last battle of the war the Sixteenth was engaged in, but it was the most terrible of them all. After this battle, the Sixteenth was marched to Goldsboro, where it encamped a month; thence to Raleigh and Durham Station, where Johnson surrendered his army to Sherman. Marched with Sherman’s army to Richmond and Washington; participated in the grand review at the latter place, May 24, 1865, after which the Regiment proceeded to Louisville, Kentucky, where it was mustered out on the 8th of July, after a term of service of four years and three months; and a week later it arrived at Springfield, Illinois, where it received its final pay and discharge papers.

 

Histories of Illinois Civil War Regiments and Units