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31st Illinois Infantry
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
31st 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
Thirty-first Illinois Infantry. Cols., John A. Logan, Lindorf Osborn, Edwin S. McCook; Lieut.-Cols., John H. White, Edwin S. McCook, John D. Reese, Robert N. Pearson; Majs., Andrew J. Kuykendall, John D. Reese, Robert N. Pearson, Martin V. B. Murphy, Harry Almon, William B. Short. This regiment, except Cos. I and K, was mainly composed of men from the southern part of the state, the counties of Williamson, Perry, Franklin, Jackson, Johnson, Saline and Union furnishing the larger number. Its rendezvous was at Camp Dunlap, Jacksonville, Ill., but it was organized at Cairo, was there mustered into the service on Sept. 18, 1861, and went into camp of instruction in the brigade of Gen. McClernand. With less than two months' drill it took part in the battle of Belmont, Mo., cutting its way into the enemy's camp and with equal valor, but less hazard, cutting its way out again. In Feb., 1862, it was at Fort Henry, Tenn., and after emerging from the muddy environments of that stronghold it traversed the hills to Fort Donelson amid winter snows during the same month, and there lost 260 men killed and wounded, the regiment having performed in this engagement the difficult evolution of a change of front to rear on tenth company among tangled brush and on uneven ground in the heat of battle. The summer of 1862 was spent in guarding railroads, skirmishing in the country of the Forked Deer river, and scouting in the direction of Memphis to Brownsville and beyond. It was engaged in the skirmishes of Chewalla and Tuscumbia in October. On April 30, 1863, it crossed the Mississippi below Grand Gulf and next day, without waiting for rations, though hungry and weary enough, hurried forward to the support of the comrades then engaged in battle at Port Gibson. Quickly forming on McClernand's left it moved at the charge upon the right wing of the enemy, routing him completely and helping to secure a speedy victory. After crossing the Bayou Pierre, the men of the 31st again met and dispersed their foes at Ingram heights and then pushed on to Raymond, where the regiment hurled from its front the fragments of a brigade which the enemy had thrown against the advance of Grant. Moving onward in almost ceaseless march, it took part in the battle of Jackson, thence through a drenching rain it marched toward Vicksburg to meet the enemy anew, and was next engaged at Champion's hill. It then followed the retreating enemy to his intrenched lines at Vicksburg, where it took part in the bloody assaults in May, the regimental flag receiving 153 bullets and the staff being shot asunder in four places. During the siege the regiment took a prominent part in the operations against Fort hill. Having made the expedition to Monroe, La., the regiment went into camp at the Black river, and there on Jan. 5, 1864, three-fourths of the men again enlisted in the service. It was with Gen. Sherman in the campaign against Meridian, Miss., after which the reenlisted men took their furlough, starting for home on March 19, 1864. It returned to the front by way of Cairo, encamped for a time at Clifton on the Tennessee river, and then marching by way of Rome, Ga., sometimes collecting, herding and driving beef cattle, and sometimes skirmishing with the enemy, it joined Sherman's army at Acworth, Ga. It was in the skirmishes at Big Shanty and Brush mountain; in the battles around Atlanta, of which that on July 22 was the most terrible, the men fighting sometimes on one side of the earthworks and sometimes on the other ; was engaged in the battles of Lovejoy's Station and Jonesboro, and was with Sherman in the mock pursuit of Hood toward Tennessee. Returning to Atlanta it marched with Sherman to the sea and up through the Carolinas. Some skirmishing was done at Pocotaligo, which was evacuated by the enemy, and on Jan. 30 the march began by way of Salkahalchie, Orangeburg (which was captured after some fighting), Columbia, Winnsboro, Cheraw, Fayetteville and Bentonville, which was the scene of the last great struggle of Johnston's army. It then marched to Washington and participated in the grand review, after which it was ordered to Louisville, Ky., where it was mustered out on July 19, 1865. Total enlistments, 1,830; number at final muster out, 702; casualties, all causes, 1,128.

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

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