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27th Illinois Infantry
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
27th Illinois Infantry Soldier Roster - Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Volume 2, Revised by Brigadier General J.N. Reece, Adjutant General, 1900       View Entire Book

Regimental History
Twenty-seventh Illinois Infantry. Cols., Napoleon B. Buford, Fazillo A. Harrington, Jonathan R. Miles, William A. Schmitt ; Lieut.-Cols., Fazillo A. Harrington, Jonathan R. Miles, William A. Schmitt; Majs., Hall Wilson, Jonathan R. Miles, William A. Schmitt, Henry A. Rust. This regiment was organized with only seven companies at Camp Butler, Ill., Aug. 10, 1861, and was ordered to go into camp at Jacksonville, Ill., as part of Brig.-Gen. John A. McClernand's brigade. On Sept. 1 it was ordered to Cairo, where its organization was completed by the addition of three more companies. At the battle of Belmont, Mo., it received its baptism of fire, when it formed the right wing of the attacking force. Under the inspiration of its brave colonel it advanced in the midst of a perfect hail of bullets and canister and drove the enemy from his camp in utter rout, capturing 2 brass field pieces which it immediately manned and turned upon the retreating Confederates. It lost severely in the engagement and was the last regiment to leave the field after the enemy had been reinforced from Columbus. In March, 1862, it formed a part of the "Mississippi Flotilla," and started down the Mississippi river, taking an active part in the siege of Island No. 10. It left its moorings above the island and proceeded to Hickman, Ky., where it disembarked and in company with the 15th Wis. infantry, three companies of the 2nd Ill. cavalry, and 3 pieces of Houghtaling's battery, made a forced march to near Union City, Tenn., where at daylight on the morning of Mar. 31 it attacked a Confederate force that was being concentrated there, capturing and burning the enemy's entire camp and garrison equipage. On May 3 it advanced to near Farmington, Miss., and skirmished for several hours with the enemy with but few casualties, and on the 9th it engaged the enemy in force at Farmington in a pitched battle, losing heavily. On May 17 it again encountered the enemy, drove him from his position and occupied Farmington. In October it took part in a skirmish at Lavergne, Tenn., where quite a Confederate force was routed, part of it captured, with a large supply train, and about a month later it took a prominent part in repulsing Gen. Forrest's attack upon Nashville. In the movement toward Murfreesboro the regiment was deployed as skirmishers and took the advance of the brigade on the "Nolensville pike." Upon discovering the enemy it pushed forward so steadily in the midst of a drenching rain that the enemy was soon in full retreat toward Nolensville, from which place he was also quickly driven, falling back toward Murfreesboro. On Dec. 30 it marched in line of battle, supporting the 22nd and 42nd Ill. as skirmishers, the enemy giving way slowly and reluctantly. The next morning heavy fighting commenced away to the right of the regiment, followed by the driving in of the picket line in front, and soon the whole regiment was under fire. The enemy, flushed with success, advanced rapidly, when the 27th opened and gave him volley after volley which sent him reeling back. Three times he rallied and advanced only to be repulsed by the terrible fire which the 27th and 22nd were pouring into his ranks. The regiment suffered terrible losses, being in a position where it drew the fire of two Confederate batteries, besides the fire of the advancing infantry columns. About noon the regiment was ordered to fall back, and coming out on the Murfreesboro & Nashville pike near Gen. Rosecrans' headquarters, was at once ordered into line of battle to check the Confederate advance. Facing about, the regiment fixed bayonets and rushed upon the foe with a most unearthly yell, driving him back, capturing a large number of prisoners, and saving the day to the Union forces. About 1 p. m. on the following day the enemy approached where the regiment had thrown up breastworks and the latter, withholding its fire till the Confederates were within short range, opened a most murderous fire, compelling them to retreat on the double-quick, leaving their dead and wounded, besides nearly 200 prisoners, this was the last of the hard fighting by the regiment at Stone's river, and it soon went into camp beyond Murfreesboro, where it performed picket duty with an occasional skirmish until June 24, 1863, when it moved with the army as part of the 20th army corps against Shelbyville, Tullahoma and Stevenson; thence to Bridgeport, Ala., where it was stationed for some time. From there it moved to Chickamauga, where soon after 4 o'clock on the first day of the battle it was suddenly hurled into action on the left front, and was soon in a desperate encounter with the Confederate forces under Gen. Longstreet. Advancing under a murderous fire, it retook 2 pieces of the 11th Ind. battery, which had just been captured, held the ground gained notwithstanding the enemy made several attempts to retake it, and lost heavily in the short engagement. It held the position until near daylight the following morning, when it was ordered to the rear for breakfast and a little needed rest. By 11 o'clock on the morning of the 20th it was again called into line of battle and went immediately into action, but was unable to check the advance of the enemy, who was moving forward with a line six or eight columns deep. After suffering great loss from the enemy's fire, the line was broken, but the regiment moved in good order to the rear, where it served as train guard until ordered into camp at Chattanooga. It was in that city during its investment, was engaged in storming Missionary ridge, as a part of Marker's brigade, Sheridan's division, Thomas' corps, and was particularly noticed for its good conduct. It moved with the army of the Cumberland on the Atlanta campaign, during which there was scarcely a day that the 27th or some part of it was not under fire more or less severe. It occupied the summit in the engagement at Rocky Face ridge, where during the nights spent upon it with no shelter, the men had to lash themselves with withes to the saplings growing among the rocks for fear of rolling down the ridge. It was engaged at Resaca, near Calhoun, Adairsville, Dallas, Pine mountain and Muddy creek. In the assault on Kennesaw mountain Harker's brigade made the center assault. The regiment went into this action with 17 officers, coming out with only 7, and the loss of men was in about the same proportion. It skirmished around the vicinity of the Chattahoochee river, was in the battle of Peachtree creek, and took part in the investment of and skirmishes about Atlanta. It was relieved from duty on Aug. 25 and went to Nashville ; was conveyed from there by steamer down the Cumberland river and up the Mississippi to Alton, Ill. ; thence by rail to Camp Butler, near Springfield, where it was mustered out Sept. 20, 1864, after three years' and three months' constant service at the front. During its term of service the regiment lost 102 killed or died of wounds ; 80 died of disease ; 328 wounded ; 209 discharged for disability and resignation ; and 39 transferred. Its veterans and recruits were consolidated with the 9th Ill. infantry.

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

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