HISTORY OF THE 84TH REGI-
MENT ILL. VOLS.
BY L. A. SIMMONS.
In commencing to lay before the reading public in a newspaper, a full and accurate History of the 84th Regt Ill Vol, Inft, we wish at the very outset to have it understood that the task is undertaken at the urgent request of many who were members of this regiment, and their friends; who seem inclined to believe, that because we were so fortunate as to keep a journal or diary of passing events, during the whole term of enlistment we have all the necessary facts at hand for such a History. Many have urged the publication of our diary, but this we have ever considered, for various reasons utterly impracticable. Having consented to write for the gratification of our former comrades and their friends, we wish all to distinctly understand, that we shall only attempt to bring before them a plain unvarnished statement of facts; a distinct, concise, and reliable narration of events as they transpired, during the term of almost three years, that we were in the service.
It would be a display of arrogance and vanity, to claim for our regiment, superiority over others in material drill, discipline or courage; or to show that it, more frequently than most others bore the shock and brunt of battle; that it endured greater hardships, or suffered more severely in action than other regiments who have contributed to make a proud and glorious record, for our noble State. Such claims we have no intention of setting forth, – invidious comparisons we shall most carefully avoid; and shall endeavor to abstain even from the luxury of indulging in terms of eulogy upon the conduct and career of our regiment. We are proud, and we think justly, of the record which our regiment made, and to our latest hour expect to esteem it an honor, that our name was for the whole term upon its rolls. We are content to lay before the public the plain truth; facts stated with the utmost seriousness and candor; being fully satisfied that the thinking patriotic citizens who read this history, will award to the Regiment no improper position, on the glorious Roll of Honor of the State of Illinois.
The Spring and Summer of 1862 were fraught with stirring events. The war had been in progress a year; vast armies had been sent into the field, but as yet only a small portion of the Confederate States had been passed over by our forces. The army of the Mississippi had hardly advanced to the northern boundary of the Mississippi and Alabama; the army of the Potomac was toiling upon the Peninsula, and at every point our troops were met by equal and at many points by superior numbers. It was evident to all thinking minds, that more troops must be speedily sent to the scenes of action, or the suppression of the great rebellion would indeed prove a failure. The President seemed fully to comprehend the situation, and about the 1st of June, 1862, issued his proclamation calling for fifty thousand more volunteers to serve for the term of three years, or during the war. The quota for Illinois under this call was speedily determined and it was soon known that four new regiments were immediately required. On the 6th day of June, Governor Yates telegraphed to Louis H. Waters Esq, of Macomb, Ill, offering him the Colonelcy of one of these regiments. Col. W. had early in the war gone into the field, and as Lt. Col. commanded the 28th Regt. Ill. Vols. for several months; but for substantial reasons had resigned his position in that regiment and returned to the practice of his profession. On receiving this telegram, he immediately replied to Gov. Yates that he would gladly accept the proposed honor, if he should find it possible to enlist a regiment. Within the succeeding ten days he wrote to many influential friends in adjoining counties soliciting their co-operation, and made a strong effort, in his own town and county, to secure the efforts, in this direction, of men competent to become officers; besides this, he was actively engaged in soliciting every man to enlist, who could possibly leave his family and business. During the month of June, at least twenty men declared their intention of raising a company for his regiment and though they labored diligently the work of recruiting progressed but slowly. Partisan feeling was still rife in every community, and in many truly patriotic breasts there still rankled deep-rooted prejudices against the President, and dominant party; but Col. Waters was not the man to despair of ultimate success. From the middle of June, until the 1st of August he was incessantly on the move; addressing public meetings in Mercer, Henderson, Hancock, McDonough, Fulton, Schuyler, Brown and Adams counties, and every where rendering all the assistance he possibly could to those who were recruiting. To Capt. William Ervin of Macomb, Ill, belongs the credit of having organized the first company for the 84th Regt. Ill. Vols. He started to Camp Butler, the camp of rendezvous, with about fifty men on the 1st day of July, 1862, but immediately returned to McDonough Co. for recruits to fill up his company. About the 25th of July the camp of rendezvous for this regiment was changed to Quincy Ills., for during this month the army of the Potomac had met with terrible reverses; the army in Southern Tennessee was being forced back into Kentucky; the President in this emergency had called for three hundred thousand volunteers; and the quota of Illinois, now being about forty regiments instead of four, it became necessary to establish camps of rendezvous in the several congressional districts of the State. Now it was, that the peril of our government became apparent to every one; farmers left their crops standing in the field, mechanics threw aside their tools, merchants hastened to turn the measuring of calicoes and ribbons into other hands, and all rushed into camp, earnest, anxious, zealous, to do their part in sustaining the best government the world ever saw in upholding the Constitution and the laws. During the month of July and the early part of August, ten companies were filled up and organized for the 84th Regt. Ills Vols, and before 15th of August, all were in camp near Quincy Ills. Our abstract of the records of the regiment shows the original organization to have been as follows: Company C was organized at Macomb about July 1; William Ervin, Capt., Epaphroditus C. Coulson 1st Lieut., William P. Pearson, 2d Lieut. Company A organized July 21st, at Macomb, Ills., John P. Higgins, Capt., Thomas G. Wisdom, 1st Lieut., William F. Starnes, 2d Lieut. Company G organized July 25th at Oquawka, Ill., Fred. Garternicht, Capt., William H. Fuller 1st Lieut., Russell W. Caswell 2d lieut. Company D organized at Mt. Sterling Ills, about July 27th. M. W. Davis, Capt., Thomas D. Adams, 1st Lieutenant, Walter Scoggan, 2d Lieut. Company I organized at Clayton, Ills, Aug. 6th, Albert J. Griffith Capt. William Scott, 1st Lieut. Thomas F. Kendrick 2d Lieut. Co K organized at Biggsville, Ills, Aug 8th, John B. McGaw, Capt., Alexander P. Nelson 1st Lieut., Myron H. Mills, 2d Lieut. Co. B organized at Vermont, about Aug. 10th, V. M. Grewell, Capt., Lemuel L. Scott, 1st Lieut. James A. Russell 2d Lieut., Co F, organized at Vermont Ills, Aug. 11th, Caleb B. Cox, Capt., Joseph Nelson, 1st Lieut., Samuel Frost, 2d Lieut. Co H, organized at Keithsburg, Ills., Aug. 14th, John C. Pepper, Capt, Luther T, Bell, 1st Lieut, Henry F. Abercrombie 2d Lieut. Co E organized at Quincy, Ill, Aug. 15th, Myron G. Tousley, Capt., Hiram P. Roberts, 1st Lieut., Henry V. Lewis, 2d Lieut. The organization of the regiment was completed about the 15th of August. Thomas Hamer having been appointed Lt. Col., Charles H. Morton, Maj., James B. Kyle, Surgeon, David McDill and Elijah C. Marshall Assistant Surgeons Charles E. Waters, Adjutant, Samuel L. Roe, Quartermaster and Rev. Ralph Harris, Chaplain. The following men were selected for the noncommissioned staff, – John W. Frierson of Co F, for Sergeant Major, Andrew S. McDowell of Co. I, Quartermaster Sergeant, Monroe P. Edwards, Commissary Sergeant, and Thomas B. Maury, Hospital Steward. The position of the several companies in the regiment was determined by drawing lots for letters – when Capt. Higgins drew A which placed his company on the right, Capt. Grewell B, which placed his company on the left, Capt. Ervin C. which made his the right center or Color company of the regiment. For the benefit of those who have not been in the service, we will here state, that the companies of a regiment are arranged by letter, and commencing on the right, stand in the following order, A, F, D, I, C, H, E, K, G, B. As soon as the several companies went into camp, Col Waters had them well supplied with clothing and camp equipage, and made drill the order of the day from 8 a. m. to 4 p. m. Saturdays excepted.
After the organization of the Regiment was completed, the drill was vigorously continued and too much credit can scarcely be given Col. Waters for his indefatigable efforts at this time, to render his Regiment fit for immediate duty in the field. His recent experience in the 28th Il., Vols, rendered him thoroughly competent as a drill-master and tactician. In Capt. Garternicht he found an able and thorough assistant, for Capt. G, had not only drilled with Col. Waters in the 28th Ill. Vols., but had seen several years actual service in the German army. The month of August was devoted to drill and the study of the Regulations and Tactics.
The sudden change from citizen to camp life, could not of course be made without inducing considerable disease, and as most were for the first time compelled to cook for themselves most of the food during the first month was badly prepared. To become a thorough soldier, a man has many things to learn, and during this month we must contend that the Regiment as a whole, made good progress. Before the end of the month we were said to be ready for muster into the U. S. service, and awaited somewhat anxiously the arrival of the mustering officer, to make us a part of the grand army of the Union. The rolls were prepared about the 20th and on the last day of the month Capt. Ewing arrived. But of muster and the incidents of the ensuing three months in another Chapter.
Muster – In to Service and Kentucky Campaign.
All the necessary preparations having been made, on the 1st day of September, 1862, Capt. Ewing of the U. S. Army mustered in the regiment for the term of three years or during the war. In his inspection of men as he proceeded to muster, he rejected some from each company as unfit for service. These we noticed were generally boys from seventeen to twenty years old, most, if not all, of whom would have made excellent soldiers, and who would, as a general thing, have endured the hardships incident to a soldiers life better than men of more mature age. The fact has been remarked by many that boys of this age proved more capable of enduring the toils, privations and fatigue of actual service than those of any other age. Those who were rejected by the mustering officer regretted very much that they could not be received, but many of them subsequently were taken by other regiments, and we met them from time to time in Dixie. – The original muster-in-rolls show that company A had three enlisted officers and eighty-two enlisted men; company B three officers and eighty-nine enlisted men; company C three officers and ninety-two enlisted men; company D three officers and ninety-three enlisted men; company E three officers and ninety-four enlisted men; company F three officers and eighty-eight enlisted men; company G three officers and eighty-seven enlisted men; company H three officers and ninety-five enlisted men; company I three officers and ninety-four enlisted men; company K three officers and eighty-nine enlisted men; field and staff, nine officers and four enlisted men; making the aggregate strength of the regiment nine hundred and forty-six, officers and men.
Two days after muster the regiment was ordered to be in readiness for a move at any moment – and this order continued in force for the succeeding twenty days. The drill was continued every day, and every effort put forth to render the regiment thoroughly acquainted with all the evolutions required in actual service. On the 4th day of September a large pic nic party came from Macomb, Vermont, and intermediate neighborhoods, to our camp, and enjoyed a brief visit and a good dinner with the boys before they went into the field. They brought an abundance of delicacies for the palate, but their presents was enjoyed far more than all. The day passed very happily, but toward evening, when the hour for separation and parting came, pearly tears were welling from more eyes than belonged to fond mothers, wives, daughters, and sweethearts. – On the 14th the Regiment was armed with the long Enfield rifle musket, and fully equipped for duty in the field. About the 19th of September twenty-five dollars of bounty was paid to each enlisted man; a months advance pay had been received a few days previous. For several days it was currently reported that we were about to go into Missouri, but on the 23d the Regiment took the cars for Louisville, where it arrived on the 26th, and after a few hours delay went into camp in the southeastern portion of the city. – When we arrived in Louisville we were surprised to see a broad pontoon bridge nearly completed across the Ohio, and that a large number of the business houses were closed. It was indeed a season of agitation and alarm among the citizens. Gen. Bragg had encamped only about five or six miles from the city, and an attack was hourly expected. We had scarcely laid off camp when the regiment was ordered to move. Lines of battle were hastily formed in the street, and an attack was, during the whole night, momentarily expected. Yes, our first night on the south side of the Ohio river was passed in line of battle, resting on arms, reposing upon a newly paved street – rather a rough bed the boys counted it, but it was only a fair beginning of the hardships they were to find in the “sunny south.” In the course of three or four days the regiment was supplied with the necessary transportation, and on the evening of the 28th was sent out on picket, where it remained until the army moved. – On the evening of the 30th of September, the order was circulated allowing but one wagon to each regiment for the transportation of baggage, one tent for the headquarters of each regiment, and all other teams were detailed for duty in ammunition and supply trains. Our Regiment, meantime, was assigned to the tenth (10th) Brigade of the fourth (4th) Division, in which it continued during the campaign.
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
A Slander Refuted.
To the Editor of the Oquaka Spectator.
Gentlemen: – A friend has called my attention o the following article which appeared in the columns of the Macomb Journal of July 14, 1865:
A Copperhead Coerced. – We learn that some returned soldiers residing about Dallas City, in the neighboring county of Hancock, recently called up on a notorious Copperhead living in Dallas named Finch, and began to question him concerning the manner in which he had upheld the war for the Union during their absence. Finch trembled in his boots and turned pale, and made diverse protestations of sound Union principles. The boys knew he lied, for this Finch was a prominent member of that treasonable organization, the Sons of Liberty, and his name was unearthed and published in connection with the Chicago conspirators. The boys thought if he was a good Union man he could have no objection to hurrahing for the Union, and swearing never to vote hereafter anything but a first-class Union ticket. Finch hurrahed for the Union in fine style, and swore solemnly that he would never vote another copperhead ticket.
As I am the only man named Finch residing here, I presume I am the individual alluded to as a Copperhead living in Dallas named Finch.
It will be a sufficient refutation of the allegations contained in the above, with the great mass of the citizens of Henderson and Hancock, when I state the simple fact that the author is one James K. Magie, who, I believe, figured in a newspaper at Oquawka, some six years ago; – the same Magie whom the Wide Awake Club at Terre Haut, in 1860, refused to let speak before them in consequence of his meanness; – the same Magie who soon after he started a paper in Carthage and played out in six months, and in that time outlived all his friends, – the same Magie who assumed the control and management of the Republican cause in Hancock county, who made speeches and statements so manifestly false that they were so proved upon him or every occasion, and after the election the Republicans attributed their defeat principally to his course, and were so indignant that they would not furnish him sufficient wood for his dying issue; – the same Magie who afterwards by some hook or crook got control of the a Republican sheet at Macomb, and when the war broke out in 1861, tried to raise a company with himself as captain, but failed. The company was raised, however, by others, and when it came to elect officers, Magie got nothing; having volunteered, he had to go to war, but he went as a private, and a very low one at that; and although he made constant efforts to get some kind of an office, to the credit of his company he never succeeded in rising above his grade.
Unerring nature has stamped the villain on Magie’s countenance, so that every honest man, upon looking him in the face, may prepare a lash
“To whip the Rascal naked through the world.”
Of course there is not the shadow or semblance of truth in the allegations, and they could only originate with such an unprincipled liar as this Magie.
As to my course forwards the soldiers and their families, let the soldiers speak for themselves.
Yours truly. John M. Finch.
Dallas City, July 25, 1865.
→ The Journal published an account of an outrage on a negro girl by some poor specimen of humanity and wants to know why we don’t howl about it. We did not hear of it, and if we had we are not in the habit of “playing dog.” The Journal insinuates that the person that did it was a democrat. As the person is not known we presume he started the report to keep suspicion off himself. We have just as much ground for believing that he was the man as he has that it was a democrat.
WANTED. – A first class salesman wanted immediately at Johnson’s.
History of the 84th Regiment.
We commence this week the publication of the History of the 84th Regiment, and trust it will prove interesting. We have a few extra copies of the Eagle containing the first chapter.
We have often heard about the cotton factories in the South, and there has been much speculation as to whether their fabrics will compare with the products of northern mills. Our readers can now have an opportunity to judge of this matter for themselves, by calling at Nelson Abbott’s dry goods house, where a lot of sheetings manufactured at the Augusta factory, Georgia, can be examined. – And while there you might as well purchase some of those cheap and desirable prints, new style delaines, etc., etc., the like of which can be found nowhere else in town. Remember Abbott’s new cash dry goods house, southwest corner of the square.
→ The lovers of amusement in this vicinity will have an opportunity offered them of witnessing the best performance of the season. The Great Union Combination Show performs in our city Tuesday, August 22nd. This troupe is spoken highly of by the press, generally, and we anticipate a rich treat.
→ One Friday last conductor Abbe, on the down freight, at Colchester, while uncoupling the cars got his hand caught between two bumpers, taking off two fingers.
→Talk as you please about the rain injuring the wheat crop, there can be no doubt about Watkins & Co. selling more groceries than any other house in town. They sell more because they sell cheaper.
Home Again. – Our fellow townsman, H. R. Bartleson, returned from the Idaho gold mines last Friday. We have had no time to talk with him about matters in the mountains, but we know that operations in his lumber yard are lively for the season. Go there when you want to buy “plank” at lowest figures.
→ J. H. Wilson’s jewelry store is the place to get your broken trinkets mended, or time keepers regulated. A fine assortment of good jewelry always for sale.
→ A good boot is a desirable thing, and the place to get them made right and of the best material is at C. M. Ray’s manufactory. All work warranted.
Good in Sickness. – A. J. Browl has a fine lot of Catawba and California Wine, which he will sell for medicinal purposes. These Wines are pure and good. If you ain’t sick get sick and try them. We have no doubt it would gladden the heart of any temperance man.
The Equescurriculum. – The wonderful combination of intrinsic merit, and rare attractiveness, the Equescurriculum, is advertised to pay Macomb its second annual tour, on Saturday the 19th ult. This establishment [?] it was here last season gave universal satisfaction, and convinced the people, that the integrity of showmen is sometimes as good as any other person of character, engaged in active, business pursuits.
Mr. Lent the manager and the proprietor of the institution has materially strengthened his forces this season, and now has the largest show that has ever traveled. One hundred men, and one hundred and twenty horses, being daily brought into requisition there are some forty artistes all of them first class, who appears in the combined performances.
The great equestrian, the only bare back rider in the world, the high light of the Circle, James Robinson, styled the champion horseman, has been engaged, and will rider twice at each entertainment, introducing in a daring scene of horsemanship his infant son. Master D[?], Madame Tourniaire and her wonderful troup of French dancing horses are among the recent acquisitions of the Monster Equescurriculum.
Progressing. – The work on the new High School building is progressing, as fast as can be expected. The building committee have purchased some splendid brick for the out side wall, and this will add greatly to the appearance of the building. The Messrs Johnsons are doing a fine job of work on this building, and when it has finished we venture it will compare favorably with any building of the kind in the State.
PITTS!! PITTS!! PITTS!! – Farmers in want of a Threshing Machine will find it to their interest to look at the Pitts machine at Wadham & Stowells, N. W. corner square. They are also receiving a large lot of the Princeton Sorgo Mill that gave such universal satisfaction last Fall. Give them a call before you buy.
Thanks. – We tender to Lieut. S. L. Roe of Clayton, and others, our thanks for the interest they have taken in regard to the history of the 84th Regiment.
→ The appointment of Magie to the post office in Macomb reminds us of the boy who wrote to his father: “Come out here, dad, right away – the meanest men in town can office under this administration.”
→ Bob Acres has become historical, in consequence of his courage oozing out at his fingers’ ends. Magie, if we are to believe the reports, will become notorious in consequence of his courage “running off at his bowels.” We hope he won’t “run” the post office in the same way.
→ Magie is writing what he calls a “history of the 78th regiment.” So far it is a narrative of his great expectations, his disappointment, his loves, his hates and his revenges. He fancies himself the biggest toad in the puddle. Because others estimate him at his true worth, instead of acknowledging his own opinion of his value, he now doles out his lamentations by the chapter, and blurs a good deal of white paper, with his lachrymal effusions. He can go on with impunity, for we do not believe that any one whom he attempts to bespatter will pay him the least notice until skunk skins bear a better price than they do now.