17th Illinois Infantry

17th Illinois Infantry

The SEVENTEENTH REGIMENT OF ILLINOIS INFANTRY VOLUNTEERS was mustered into the United States service at Peoria, Ill., on the 24th day of May 1861. Left camp on the 17th of June, for Alton, Ill., for the purpose of more fully completing its organization and arming. Late in July it proceeded from Alton to St. Charles, Mo., remaining but one day; thence went to Warrenton, Mo., where it remained in camp about two weeks-Company “A” being detailed as body guard to General John Pope, with headquarters at St. Charles. The Regiment left Warrenton for St. Louis, and embarked on transports for Bird’s Point, Mo. Remained at Bird’s Point some weeks, doing garrison duty; then proceeded to Sulphur Springs Landing; debarking there proceeded, via Pilot Knob and Ironton, to Frederickstown, Mo., in pursuit of General Jeff. Thompson, and joined General B. M. Prentiss’ command at Jackson, Mo.; thence proceeded to Kentucky and aided in the construction of Fort Holt; then ordered to Elliott’s Mills; remained there a short time and returned to Fort Holt; thence to Cape Girardeau, and with other Regiments were again sent in pursuit of General Jeff. Thompson’s forces. Met and defeated them at Fredericktown, Mo., October 21, 1861, losing several killed and wounded. Captured two 6-pound howitzers and 200 prisoners. The enemy fled in great confusion, leaving his dead upon the field, among whom was the Brigade Commander, Colonel Lowe. Among the killed and wounded on the Union side was First Lieutenant J. Q. A. Jones, Company “K”, killed; Second Lieutenant Owan Wilkins, Company “A”, wounded, and Sergeant Jacob Wheeler, Company “K”, was twice wounded, once dangerously. October 22, pursued the enemy, and engaged him near Greenfield, Ark., in which the Seventeenth lost one killed and several wounded. Returned to Cape Girardeau, doing provost duty until early in February 1862, when ordered to Fort Henry. Participated in the sanguinary battle, followed by the surrender of Fort Donelson, losing a number of men; thence marched to Metal Landing; thence embarked for Savannah, later arriving at Pittsburg Landing, where the Regiment was assigned to the First Division of the Army of West Tennessee, under command of General John A. McClernand, and upon the memorable field of Pittsburg Landing took part in the momentous battles of the 6th and 7th of April. On the 6th, the Regiment was under fire from early morn until night, when a rain set in. Meanwhile under the dauntless and skillful leading of General McClernand, the field was contested with fluctuating success in seven successive positions. At nightfall he formed his decimated ranks for the eighth time upon the Seventeenth Regiment to rest on their arms until the morning of the 7th, when the Regiment with the Division moved forward to the attack, and in co-operation with the other Union forces, after a fierce and stubborn conflict, dove the enemy from the field. It is a notable fact that the First Division, including the Seventeenth Regiment, maintained its organization, not only amid the wreck and confusion of the 6th, but also on the 7th. It fought out the two days battle, and to General McClernand, perhaps more than any one commander, is due the credit of averting this calamity. In the two days the Seventeenth lost some 130 killed and wounded. The victory won, later the Regiment marched with the advance forces to Corinth. After the evacuation of Corinth, marched to Purdy, Bethel and Jackson, Tenn.; remained there until the 17th of July, when the Regiment was ordered to Bolivar, and assigned to duty as Provost Guard. Remained at Bolivar until November 1862, during which time participated in the expedition to Iuka, to reinforce General Rosecrans. Afterwards at the battle of Hatchie. Returned again to Bolivar; remained there until middle of November. Then ordered to Lagrange, reporting to Major General John A. Logan; were assigned to duty at Provost Guard, Colonel Norton being assigned to the command at that post. Early in December marched to Holly Springs; thence to Abbeyville, guarding railroads; thence to Oxford. After the capture of Holly Springs, was assigned to the Sixth Division, Seventeenth Army Corps, under Major General McPherson; then proceeded, via Moscow, to Collierville; from there to Memphis, and was assigned to duty at the navy yard. Remained there until January 16th; then embarked for Vicksburg; re-embarking and proceeded to Lake Providence, La., then the headquarters of the Seventeenth Army Corps, doing duty there until the investment of Vicksburg commenced. Arriving at Milliken’s Bend on or about May 1st, commenced to march across the Delta to Perkin’s Landing, on the Mississippi river, thence to the crossing below Grand Gulf, advancing with McPherson’s command, via Raymond, Champion Hills, Jackson, Big Black, and to the final investment of Vicksburg. After the surrender of that city, remained there doing garrison duty and making incursions into the enemy’s country as far east as Meridian; west as far as Monroe, La. Returning to Vicksburg, remained there until May 1864-the term of service of the Regiment expiring on the 24th of May, of that year. The Regiment was ordered to Springfield, Ill., for muster-out and final discharge, when and where those of the original organization who did not re-enlist to entitle them to retain their regimental organization, the veterans and recruits whose term of service had not expired were consolidated with the Eighth Illinois Infantry Volunteers, and were finally mustered out with that regiment and discharged in the spring of 1866.


Histories of Illinois Civil War Regiments and Units

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