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72nd Illinois Infantry
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
72nd 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
Seventy-second Illinois Infantry. Col., Frederick A. Staring; Lieut.-Cols., Joseph C. Wright, Joseph Stockton ; Majs., Henry W. Chester, Joseph Stockton, William James. This regiment was organized at Chicago as the first regiment of the Chicago Board of Trade. Its first bills were put out for one company, calling itself the "Hancock Guards," on July 23, 1862, and exactly one month afterwards the entire regiment was complete and mustered into the U. S. service for three years or during the war. The very day of its muster it was started for Cairo, where it arrived on the 24th, its strength at that time being 37 officers and 930 men. On Sept. 6 the regiment was ordered out to Paducah, Ky., where it went on post duty until the 17th, when it was sent down to Columbus, Ky., at which point it did guard and picket duty until Nov. 21. It was not idle, however, during this time, but in addition to thorough and constant drilling which made it one of the finest organizations in the army, found time for two expeditions, one to Clarkton, Mo., when it dispersed a Confederate camp and captured a number of prisoners, horses, etc., and the other to New Madrid, which was not so eventful. The regiment then made its headquarters at Memphis until Jan. 19, 1863, and while there went out on an expedition to Horn Lake creek, where it dispersed a gang of Blythe's Confederate guerrillas, capturing quite a number. The first real battle in which the regiment engaged was at Champion's hill, and fortunately for it its loss was slight. In the desperate charge at Vicksburg on May 22, it participated with the highest honor to itself, losing some 130 of its number in killed, wounded and missing, but fighting as bravely as men could fight until the last. On July 12 the regiment embarked for Natchez, Miss., where it landed the succeeding day, taking possession of the town, capturing a large number of prisoners, several pieces of artillery, Confederate government stores, and 5,000 head of Texas cattle. There it remained doing provost duty until Oct. 17, with the exception of two slight skirmishes at St. Catherine's creek, Miss., and Cross bayou, La. From Oct., 1863, to Oct., 1864, the regiment was on provost guard duty at Vicksburg, and during this year of comparative inaction only went on two expeditions. The first of these was to Benton, Miss., where it had a short but severe fight with a body of Confederates, and the second was to Grand Gulf. On Nov. 29 it was in a severe skirmish with the enemy at Spring Hill on the road between Columbia and Franklin, Tenn., and in the fight at Franklin it lost 9 officers out of 16 engaged, and 152 men, who were either killed or severely wounded. The regiment was actively engaged in the siege of Spanish Fort, which was the last hostility in which it participated. On Aug. 6, 1865, it was mustered out at Vicksburg, and thence moved directly to Chicago. During its term of service the regiment received some 450 recruits, and when ordered home transferred 270 of these to the 33d Ill. at Meridian, Miss. The regiment brought home 22 officers and 310 men. A resume of the losses of the regiment is as follows : Officers killed in service, 7; men killed in service, 78; officers died of disease, 3; men died of disease, 130; officers wounded, 10; men wounded, 120; officers taken prisoners, 3 ; men taken prisoners, 76. Total losses, 427.

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

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