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32nd Illinois Infantry
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
32nd 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-second Illinois Infantry. Col., John Logan ; Lieut. -Cols., John W. Ross, William Hunter, George H. English; Majs., John S. Bishop, William Hunter, George H. English, Henry Davidson, Smith Townsend. This regiment was organized at Camp Butler and was mustered into the U. S. service Dec. 31, 1861, for three years. The command was recruited under the "Ten Regiment Call," and by special authority from the war department comprised ten companies of infantry, one of cavalry, and a battery of artillery. Previous to taking the field the latter detachments were assigned to regiments of their distinctive arms of the service. On Jan. 29, 1862, the regiment arrived at Cairo, drew arms (smooth-bore muskets altered from flint-lock), and on Feb. 2 relieved the 8th Ill. at Bird's Point, Mo. Co. A escorted the battery to Fort Donelson and particiapted in the action with slight casualties. Later in the month Cos. C and K were embarked on the wooden gunboats "Tyler" and "Lexington," and encountered a Confederate battery at Pittsburg landing. After a sharp action the battery was silenced and portions of both companies made a landing, but they were fiercely attacked by infantry and cavalry and obliged to return to the boats, having lost 1 killed and several wounded. The regiment went into the first day's action in the battle of Shiloh and successfully withstood three severe charges with slight loss, being then shifted to the extreme left of Hurlbut's division, the flank of which was hard pressed by Breckenridge. Upon this position the enemy made repeated and most desperate assaults, but the regiment held its position until about 3 p. m., most of the time at short pistol range, when having exhausted its ammunition down to the cartridges in the boxes of the dead and wounded, it retired with fixed bayonets under a terrible enfilading and reverse fire upon its left flank, which was wholly unsupported. In this action the regiment lost 44 killed and 212 wounded and prisoners, more than fifty per cent, of the force which went into action. It fell back in confusion, but reformed in the line of battle that evening and advanced with its division the next morning. It was engaged in the siege of Corinth, but was so reduced by the casualties of battle and sickness incident to exposure and severe labor that it numbered less than 300 effectives. After the occupation of Corinth it was engaged against Price and Van Dorn at La Grange and Grand Junction, Tenn., making many wearisome marches and participating in several skirmishes. As a part of the 4th division, Army of the Tennessee, it marched from Bolivar and at the Hatchie river, or Metamora, engaged Price and Van Dorn after their repulse at Corinth. There it made a gallant charge across the bridge under a severe artillery fire, losing 7 killed and 29 wounded. In November it made a rapid march to Lamar, Miss., dispersing a body of Confederates and capturing 100 prisoners. On June 12, 1863, the regiment rejoined its division in front of Vicksburg and took its full share in siege operations. In the following September it operated against Harrisonburg, La., where a large Confederate force was dispersed and 9 pieces of artillery captured, after which the command returned to Natchez. In Jan., 1864, it moved to Hebron's plantation in the rear of Vicksburg, where the regiment reenlisted as veteran volunteers, and in March it embarked for Illinois on 30 days' veteran furlough. Returning to the field it was under fire before Kennesaw mountain, occupying the extreme left, but in July it was shifted to the extreme right and after three days' constant skirmishing assaulted the enemy's works near Nickajack creek, the regiment planting the first colors on the works. It was under fire daily until July 18, when it was transferred to the 2nd brigade, 4th division, 17th army corps, and ordered to Marietta to guard the supply depot. In September a foraging party of 50 men was sharply attacked, and all but 9 were captured. In October the regiment was posted near Big Shanty and the water-tank a mile south, and Jackson's Confederate cavalry attacked the force at the former place, capturing 12 men. In November the regiment fired its stockade and quarters at Big Shanty and began the march to the sea, having been transferred to the 3d brigade, 4th division, 17 army corps. It reached Monticello on the 20th and the Oconee river on the 26th, where a sharp skirmish took place, with considerable artillery firing. On Dec. 10 it encountered the enemy 5 miles from Savannah and drove him 2 miles, when it was met by a severe fire from the heavy guns of the city defenses, by which 5 were wounded, but it was shifted to the right and skirmished in the face of the heavy artillery fire. In Feb., 1865, it began the march into South Carolina, forced the Salkahatchie, wading the stream and backwaters 2 miles wide in ice cold water, varying from 2 to 5 feet in depth, and engaged in a sharp skirmish on reaching solid ground. At the North Edisto river it forced a passage under a severe artillery fire, making a way for the direct column to enter Orangeburg. On March 3 it arrived at Cheraw, and on the 13th at Fayetteville, N. C, where a portion of the regiment skirmished with the enemy. It was engaged at Bentonville, where five companies on the skirmish line lost heavily. It then marched north via Petersburg, Richmond and Alexandria to Washington, where it participated in the grand review, and then was despatched to the far west, being mustered out at Ft. Kearny, Neb., Sept. 16, 1865.

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

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