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58th Illinois Infantry
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
58th Illinois Infantry Soldier Roster - Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Volume 4, Revised by Brigadier General J.N. Reece, Adjutant General, 1900       View Entire Book

Regimental History
Fifty-eighth Illinois Infantry. Col., William F. Lynch ; Lieut. -Col., Isaac Rutishauser; Majs., Thomas Newlan, Robert W. Healy. This regiment was recruited at Camp Douglas, Chicago, and was mustered in to the U. S. service on Feb. 11, 1862. It left Camp Douglas, 887 strong, via the Illinois Central railroad, for Cairo, and reported to Brig.-Gen. E. A. Paine on the 12th. It was immediately furnished with arms and started from Cairo about midnight with orders to proceed up the Ohio to Smithland, Ky., thence up the Cumberland to the vicinity of Fort Donelson and report to the officer in charge of the United States forces. In the afternoon of Feb. 14 two companies were deployed forward and were briskly engaged for a short time, and a few casualties occurred during the evening and night. The regiment was under fire a short time on the morning of the 15th and again in the afternoon, and while attempting to secure an advanced and desirable position was considerably cut up and thrown into confusion by a masked battery, upon which it approached to within 250 yards. The conduct of the men on this occasion was remarkable raw in the matter of experience and armed with the most worthless guns, they behaved as well as veterans of a hundred battles. During the first day of the battle of Shiloh the 58th was almost continuously under fire, and when charge after charge had been repulsed, the regiment was obliged to surrender a few minutes before 6 o'clock in the evening. The loss to the regiment in the engagement was frightful, amounting in killed, wounded and prisoners, to upwards of 450, of whom 218 were prisoners. The few men left in camp were strengthened by those returned from hospital or sent from the state as recruits, and the regiment participated with credit in all the skirmishes and battles consequent on the siege of Corinth. It was engaged at the battle near Iuka and lost 23 in killed, wounded and prisoners. The year 1863 was spent in guarding Confederate prisoners in Illinois, and in October some of the companies had a skirmish near Obion river, Ky. Cos. A and B garrisoned Mayfield, Ky., and had several slight encounters with Confederates about that place. Being transferred to Mississippi, in Jan., 1864, it was the first regiment to cross the Big Black, the first to engage the enemy at Queen's hill, and the first infantry regiment to enter Meridian, Miss. It participated in the Red River campaign and engaged in the sanguinary struggle which resulted in the capture of Fort De Russy, the regiment's colors being the first planted on the works. It also participated in the battle of Pleasant Hill, La., in which it captured over 500 prisoners, and recaptured from the enemy a battery belonging to the 1st U. S. artillery, which had been taken from Gen. Banks' troops the day previous. In this engagement the loss to the regiment was very heavy, but the utmost gallantry was shown, both by officers and men, and to the 58th is due the credit of having given the first check to the foe and of taking five-sixths of the prisoners captured during the engagement. While returning from the Red River expedition, the regiment was engaged at Marksville prairie, Cloutierville and Yellow bayou. At the latter place its loss was very heavy, 9 color- bearers being shot in less than 10 minutes. At Memphis, on June 10, the veterans were furloughed and the non-veterans were sent to Tupelo, Miss., at which place and at Mill Springs, they met and whipped Forrest's command. The non-veterans then returned to Memphis, where the veterans rejoined the regiment on Aug. 6. On Dec. 1 it arrived at Nashville, Tenn., was engaged in the battle at that place, and on the 17th joined in the pursuit of the retreating army of Hood, following it as far as Eastport, Miss. The term of the original organization expiring on Feb. 6, 1865, the non-veterans were ordered home on Jan. 31, and the veterans and recruits, numbering about 390, were consolidated into four companies, known as the "Battalion 58th Ill. Infantry."

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

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