Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: Highland sent 267 men to fight in the Civil War

On Dec. 20, 1864, the 15th Missouri had crossed a pontoon bridge at “Duck River.” Just four days later, the 117th Illinois crossed this same pontoon bridge while in pursuit of the rebel Gen. Hood, who was planning to make a stand at Corinth, Miss.

“The 117th wagon train had not caught up with us, and we had just corn to eat for eight days. David Mason of Company A, died this morning.

“On Jan. 16, 1865, we drew five days of rations and didn’t get full rations again until Feb. 3. We continued to have a few skirmishes and casualties, but no major battles.

“By Feb. 5, 1865, we were being sent to New Orleans, and we will be going up the Tennessee River, then down the Ohio River, and at Cairo, Ill., will go down the Mississippi River by boat to Maj. Gen. Edward Canby.

“After our arrival on Feb. 18, our camp was on Chaimette Plain, near the De LaBlonde mansion, near New Orleans.

“Less than a month later, our mission was complete, and we were headed for Mobile, Ala., by boat.

“By March 25, we were a part of the movement on Mobile. Our fifth major battle, the Siege of Mobile, Ala., was from March 25-April 9, 1865. This was the last big battle of the Civil War, and the 117th’s last battle occurred nine hours after Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered to Gen. U.S. Grant at Appomattox to end the Civil War. With communications as they were at that time, this was not known at Mobile.

“The 117th Illinois Infantry Regiment, during most of the Civil War was assigned to the 3rd Division, which was commanded by Gen. A.J. Smith, under whose command they continued to serve until the close of the Civil War on April 9, 1865.”

(I used my previous column to describe our troops and also the 15th Missouri’s sadness of the assassination of President Lincoln, just seven days after the Civil War’s end.)

The 117th Illinois and its other major battles were:

• Meridian Campaign, Feb. 3 to March 4, 1864;

• Red River, La., Campaign, March 10 to May 22, 1864;

• Tupelo, Miss., July 5-15;

• then back to Nashville, Tenn., November and December 1864 and;

• Siege of Mobile (described above).

There were 985 area men who served in the 117th, and 232 either died in the South or were sent home with disabilities (injuries). The 117th also had 33 skirmishes during their enlistment. They traveled 8,840 miles.

The following is a list of deceased 117th Illinois soldiers from the Highland area, as taken from Edwin Gerling’s book.

• Pvt. Homer L. Aldrich of St. Jacob died on Feb. 27, 1863. He is buried at Fort Pickering, Tenn.

• Pvt. Thomas Beggs of Marine died on July 26, 1865 at the hospital in Jackson, Miss.

• Pvt. James Biswell of Trenton was discharged June, 19 1865 due to disability.

• Sgt. William Blakeman was discharged on March 2, 1863 due to disability.

• Pvt. Mathias Brandenburger of Highland,drown in the Mississippi River on Aug. 14 1863.

• Pvt. Erastus Burson of Trenton died on March 17. 1863;

• Pvt. Hiram Dee of St. Jacob received a disability discharge on Jan. 15, 1863 and died at home March 5, 1863. He is buried in Dugger Cemetery in rural Highland.

• Pvt. Adam Diefenbaugh of Greencastle (Alhambra) died at the Vicksburg, Miss. hospital.

• Pvt. John Gleason of Trenton died at Memphis, Tenn. on Aug. 4, 1864.

• Capt. Alexander Johnson Gregg of Marine was wounded on June 24, 1864, and was discharged with disabilities.

• Pvt. John Grunterman of Trenton was wounded on Dec. 16, 1864 at Nashville, Tenn.

• Pvt. Andrew J.W. Hays of St. Jacob died at Jefferson Barracks Hospital on Nov. 6, 1864. He is buried in Anderson Cemetery in rural St. Jacob. His broken tombstone has been cleaned, epoxied and reset. (We have also found a tombstone for James R. Arterberry, could be Atterbery, of Company D of the 59th Illinois at Anderson Cemetery. It had fallen, but has been cleaned and reset. The tombstone of his father or grandfather, Michael Atterbery, 1795-1844, was also found at Anderson Cemetery.)

• Cpl. John H. Henderickson of Jamestown died at home on Dec. 27, 1864.

• Pvt. August Hitze of Trenton was discharged on April 1, 1863.

• Sgt. Oliver Hockett of Saline (Grantfork) was discharged on Jan. 17, 1864, due to disability.

• Pvt. Henry Howrey of Marine died on Sept. 9, 1864 at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, Mo.

• Pvt. George Kile (later Kyle) of Highland died on Feb. 17, 1863 and is buried at Fort Pickering in Memphis, Tenn.

• Pvt. James A. Matthews of Greencastle (Alhambra) was discharged on April 24, 1863 out of the Memphis, Tenn., hospital with disability.

• Pvt. Samuel Obourn of Marine died on July 18, 1865 aboard a train at Meridian, Miss.

• Pvt. Joseph Purviance of Troy died on July 4, 1863 at Memphis, Tenn.

• Pvt. Jackson Rail of Trenton was discharged on Jan. 17, 1863, for disability.

• Pvt. Charles Randle of Baden Baden (Millersburg, now East Pierron) was discharged on July 9, 1863, due to disability.

• Pvt. Wiley Reaves of Alhambra died on May 20, 1863 at Memphis, Tenn.

• Pvt. Washington Schaffer of Marine died on June 9, 1863 at Memphis, Tenn.

• Pvt. Peter Schmidt of Highland was discharged on March 14, 1863 due to chronic diarrhea disability.

• Pvt. Franklin Shohun of Jamestown died on March 29, 1863 at Memphis, Tenn.

• George Sly of Highland died on April 30 1864 while at home on a sickness furlough.

• Cpl. Daniel Taylor was discharged on Oct. 22, 1863, due to disability.

• Pvt. Charles Tetrick of Alhambra was discharged on 1 April 1, 1863, due to disability.

• Sgt. John Thornburgh of Alhambra was discharged on Nov. 19, 1864 at Memphis, Tenn.

• Pvt. Bartholomew Turner of Trenton died at Memphis, Tenn., on March 4, 1863.

• Pvt. Henry Van Hooser of St. Jacob died on May 15, 1863 at Memphis, Tenn., at the hospital and is buried at home.

• Pvt. Jacinth Watkins of Trenton died on June 21, 1864 at Memphis, Tenn.

• Pvt. Eli Watt of St. Jacob died on Jan. 8, 1865. He was buried at home.

• Pvt. Joseph West of Marine was discharged on April 24, 1863, due to disability.

• Cpl. Calvin J. Wiest of Marine was wounded at Nashville, Tenn. and was discharged on March 14, 1863. He died on the train on his way home. He is buried in Marine Cemetery.

• Pvt. Henry Wilder of St. Jacob was wounded at Nashville, Tenn. He died on Jan. 15, 1865.

• Pvt. James Wilson, a recruit, drown at Alexandria, La., on May 2, 1864.

• Pvt. Francis Wood of Alhambra was discharged on Jan. 15 1863, due to disability.

• Pvt. James R. Wright of New Douglas was discharged on March 20, 1863, due to disability.

Robert Gerling’s booklet, Highland: An Illinois Swiss Community in the American Civil War, had some statements on Page 38 that are worth repeating: “Ernest Wallischeck of Highland, of the 82nd Illinois, was wounded in the battle of Gettysburg and died shortly afterward. He is one of only six Illinois soldiers interred in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg.

“Ten Highland soldiers were incarcerated in four different Confederate prisons, Andersonville, Danville, Richmond and Salisbury prisons. William Bloemker and Theodore Chatoney died while being held prisoner at Andersonville, Ga., and Henry Rutz had the distinction of escaping twice and returning to his 15th Missouri Regiment.

“At least 15 Highland men were wounded, many in other skirmishes and battles.

“Highland was represented in 25 Illinois regiments, five cavalry units and two Illinois light artillery batteries, plus at least six Missouri regiments, four cavalry and one Artillery. Highland sent 267 men, many of them were Swiss born or first generation, into the Civil War.”

Mundis Cemetery is in Section 11 of Marine Township. Its history was written by Mrs. Edna Schwarz in 1984. It states that the following Civil War veterans are buried in Mundis Cemetery (near the Mills Apple Farm on the Marine-Grantfork Road, now called the Pocahontas Road): John Hughes, Isham King, Francis Schaub, and an unknown sailor, who was on his way home from the Civil War. The sailor became sick and stopped at the home of Israel Mundis, just across from the cemetery, where he died. He was then was buried in the Mundis Cemetery.

I will have an additional column in Jan. 28, 2016 about the 15th Missouri Regiment, as they were not deactivated at the end of the Civil War but sent to Texas, because of the was between France and Mexico.

(Quotes from the Civil War books of the late Edwin G. Gerling; his son, Robert Gerling; Mrs. Edna Schwarz; and my files.)