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66th Illinois Infantry
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
66th 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
Sixty-sixth Illinois Infantry. Col., Patrick E. Burke; Lieut.-Cols., Charles W. Smith, Andrew K. Campbell; Majs., George Pipe, Andrew K. Campbell, David C. Gamble. This regiment was organized at Benton barracks, St. Louis, Mo., during the months of Sept. and Oct., 1861. It was originated under the special patronage of Maj.-Gen. John C. Fremont and was designed as a regiment styled the "Western Sharpshooters," to be used as skirmishers. Eight companies were collected, three from Illinois, three from Missouri, and two from other points, in the states of Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana and Ohio. The regiment was mustered into the U. S. service, Nov. 23, 1861, with John W. Birge as colonel and Benjamin S. Compton as lieutenant-colonel, and was assigned as the 14th Mo. infantry. A ninth company was organized and added to the regiment on Dec. 5, and on the 12th the regiment was ordered to the field, not being yet thoroughly organized or equipped. It was armed with the Demmick, American deer and target rifle, but with meager accouterments. The regiment moved by rail to Centralia, Mo., and camped upon the prairies. From Dec. 14 to 28 it was constantly engaged in fighting and skirmishing with Confederate bushwhackers of Sterling Price's army. On Dec. 20 Cos. H and I had a brisk skirmish with Col. Keene's Confederate scouts. At daylight on Dec. 26, the regiment captured Columbia and two days later engaged in the battle of Mount Zion. During the month of Jan., 1862, it was scouting and skirmishing at Renick, Macon and Centralia. On Feb. 13 Cos. A, E, H and I were sent to the front at Fort Donelson and were soon engaged with the Confederate skirmishers, driving them back when three companies, A, E and H, directed their attention to a Confederate battery on the Dover road, which they soon silenced and kept it silenced during the three days' battle, the regiment being upon the front line every day. It was also engaged in the terrible battle of Shiloh and on April 20, a new company from Lima, Ohio, joined the regiment as Co. K. Up to this time the regiment had been known as "Birge's Western Sharpshooters," but that name was now dropped and it was known as the 14th Mo. infantry. On April 29 it left camp at Owl creek, Tenn., and started on the siege of Corinth, skirmishing daily with the enemy. On May 21 it was in the battle of Phillips' creek, and on May 30 it entered Corinth. On June 1 it proceeded to Boonville, Miss., via Farmington, Danville, Rienzi and Blackland, and had a skirmish near Boonville. On Aug. 28 a portion of the regiment, with the 14th Wis., was sent on a scout to Bethel, Tenn., and engaged in two skirmishes with the enemy. It was in the heavy battle at Iuka, returned to Corinth on Sept. 21, and was engaged in battle at White House and Corinth, losing 19 men killed and wounded. On Oct. 5 it followed the Confederates to the Hatchie river and had a skirmish with them on the 9th. On Nov. 20, 1862, the regiment was changed from the 14th Mo. to the 66th Ill. infantry, by which designation it was thereafter known. During the following year it was engaged with the Confederate scouts and guerrillas at Tuscumbia bridge, Danville, Hatchie bridge, Rienzi, Ripley cross-roads, Boonville, Glendale, Jumpertown, Kossuth, Cartersville, Yellow creek, Seward house, Jacinto and Whiteside's farm. Skirmishing also occurred at Bluff creek, Waterloo, Lauderdale and Lexington, Ala., during Nov., 1863. By Dec. 23 470 men had reenlisted and been mustered in as veterans. After a 30-day furlough the regiment returned to the front at Pulaski, Tenn., and during March and April, 1864, was engaged in scouting and foraging, with occasional skirmishes with the enemy. The regiment had the honor of opening the Atlanta campaign by driving Wheeler's cavalry and a brigade of Confederate infantry through Snake Creek gap, and holding until night the hills of Resaca. On this campaign the 66th was under fire 120 days, being engaged in all the noted battles from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and lost 225 men in killed and wounded. On July 22 it was hotly engaged, its colors showing 65 bullet holes through them. It joined in the movement to intercept Hood and was engaged in several skirmishes with the enemy until Oct. 24, when it returned to Rome. On the great march to the sea it had its full share of battles and skirmishes with the enemy, being engaged with Jackson's Confederate cavalry late in November and it drove Cobb's legion through Wrightsboro, Ga. On Dec. 5 it destroyed a railroad bridge over the Ogeechee river on the Macon & Savannah railroad, and again had a fight with Cobb's legion. On the 9th the Confederates opened on it with a 2-gun battery, but the regiment charged upon the battery, capturing a fine Blakely gun and 7 prisoners. At Eden cross-roads, unaided and alone, it defeated 980 Georgia militia, who fought behind breastworks. It joined in Sherman's campaign through South Carolina, participated in the grand review at Washington, and was mustered out on July 7, 1865, at Camp Logan, Ky.

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

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