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81st Illinois Infantry
in the American Civil War

Online Books:
81st Illinois Infantry Soldier Roster - Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Volume 5, Revised by Brigadier General J.N. Reece, Adjutant General, 1900       View Entire Book

Regimental History
Eighty-first Infantry. Cols., James J. Dollins, Franklin Campbell; Lieut.-Cols., Franklin Campbell, Andrew W. Rogers; Majs., Andrew W. Rogers, Cornelius S. Ward, Thomas Hightower, James P. Cowens. This regiment was recruited principally from the counties of Perry, Franklin, Williamson, Jackson, Union, Pulaski and Alexander, in the southern portion of Illinois, in what has from the early history of the state been known as "Egypt." It was mustered into the U. S. service at Anna, Union county, Aug. 26, 1862, and was immediately after ordered to Cairo, then on Oct. 8 to join the army in the field under Gen. Grant in Tennessee, the first assignment being to garrison duty at Humboldt. The regiment crossed the Mississippi river at Bruinsburg below Grand Gulf May 1, 1863, marched 20 miles to Port Gibson and participated in that battle as a portion of the 3d brigade, 3d division, 17th army corps. It also participated in the battle of Raymond, the capture of Jackson, the engagement at Champion's hill, the fight at Black River bridge, and the first general assault on the enemy's works at Vicksburg, but was repulsed with the loss of 11 killed and 96 wounded. The regiment was then occupied in siege duties until July 4, when the 3d division was assigned the post of honor in the occupation and garrisoning of the city. The regiment participated in the engagement at Brownsville, Miss., leaving an expedition, sent out from Vicksburg to Canton and Brownsville, to destroy all the property belonging to the enemy possible. It participated in the capture of Fort De Russy and Alexandria, La., before the arrival of the army from New Orleans, commanded by Maj.-Gen. N. P. Banks. The regiment formed a part of the command which covered the retreat of the army from Alexandria to the mouth of the Red river, participating in the daily series of skirmishes amounting to the dignity of battles, as at Cloutierville, Marksville prairie, Cane river, Atchafalaya bayou, arriving at the mouth of the Red river May 21, 1864, and at Vicksburg three days later. From Vicksburg the regiment was ordered to Memphis, Tenn., and participated in the expedition to and battle of Guntown, Miss. The 81st was the first infantry regiment to open fire and continued under fire from 11 a. m. until dark, resisting charge after charge of the enemy, forming the last line of battle some 2 miles in the rear of the first line, closing the bloody drama with a loss of 9 killed, 18 wounded and 126 prisoners, out of a total of 371 men. On Aug. 3 the regiment was ordered to Devall's Bluff, Ark., and participated in a number of expeditions and skirmishes from that point throughout the state until Sept. 17, when it broke camp and marched with the command in pursuit of Gen. Price on his last raid into Missouri. The pursuit was made to Cape Girardeau, thence by boat to St. Louis and Jefferson City, and by rail and marches to Warrensburg, arriving at that point Oct. 25, remaining until Nov. 8, when Gen. Price having escaped into Arkansas, the regiment returned to St. Louis. It was then ordered to Nashville and participated in the battle there and the utter defeat and rout of the Confederate army. It was then ordered to Mobile, Ala., via New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico, held the advance in the investment of the Spanish Fort, opened the fight on March 27 and continued under fire from that date until April 9, when the works were captured by a charge, the 81st being the second regiment inside the enemy's works, capturing 83 prisoners, and losing 6 killed and 14 wounded. After the fall of Mobile the regiment was ordered to Montgomery, Ala., where the 3d brigade was assigned the position of army post duty in recognition of efficient services in the siege, remaining there until ordered home, via Meridian and Vicksburg, Miss., leaving the latter place July 31, and going direct to Chicago for final payment and muster out, Aug. 5, 1865. There were mustered into the 81st a total of 1,144 enlisted men, and of that number 54 were killed or died of wounds received in battle; 287 died of disease; 274 resigned or were discharged, and 529 were mustered out.

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

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