116th IL Regiment 50th Reunion - 1916


116th and 41st Organized at Fairview Park - Former Marched 3,541 Miles During Civil War

First suggestion of the erection of a tablet in Fairview park ro mark the site of the organization of the 116th and Forty-first Illinois Regiments, is made in a letter to The Review by N.M. Baker, chaplain of the 116th. The letter follows:

Editor Review - During the reunion of the survivors of the 116th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in Fairview park yesterday, it was suggested to us that if we would select a suitable tree in the park, a tablet might be placed upon it recording our regiment within those grounds on Sept. 30. 1862. Those of us to whom this suggestion was made were inclined to regard it favorably, but not wishing to be selfish, we remembered that the good old Forty-first was organized there also in the fall of 1861. Is not the organziation of these two regiments in the bounds of what is now Decatur's prinical park of enough historical interest to the people of Macon county and especially Decatur, that they should wish that fact to be permanently recorded there? It would certainly please the few members of these regiments that remain alive and would be a fitting memorial to hundreds who have answered the roll call on the other side. But instead of placing the tablet or tablets on a tree which might be blown down in a storm or shattered by lightning or might die of old age, I suggest that a good stone suitably placed would be far better. Is the matter worth considering? SIGNED - N.M. Baker, Chaplain 116th Ill Vol. Inf.

At the fiftieth annual or golden jubilee reunion of the 116th regiment held in Fairview park Thursday afternoon it was brought out officially by President Fred Schwab that the regiment had marched 3,541 miles during the civil war. The regiment had forty-nine enlisted men killed and fifty-six died of wounds. Seven officers and 232 enlisted men died of disease, accidents and in confederate prisons. The total casualty list was 295.


The reunion was a big success in every respect and the veterans voted to continue holding their annual gathering until there are no longer and left to meet. There were twenty-five bent and gray old beterans at the part Thursday afternoon, out of 1000 handsome and stalwart young men who marched forth so gallantly from the same place in the early sixties.

50th Reunion of the 116th IL Regiment. Photo by Rembrandt Studio

Photo list:

Lower row left to right Charles Bullard, W.H. Bowdle, Albert KcKee, A. Cochran, Michael Witt, John Fields, Larkin Fesler, Erl Querrey, Daniel Bowen, Fred Schwab. N.M. Baker, J.T. Smith, Conrad Enterline, Daniel Shutter, J.W. Peaker, John Foster, Mike Connelly, J.K. Peck, J.M. Hawk.

Veterans in rear George W. Lyons, Fred Schur, Robert M. Black, Daniel Moore, T.W. Brown.

Women in picture Mrs. J.A. Cochran, Mrs. L. Houck, Mrs. J.T. Smith, Mrs. J. Jones, Mrs. M. Connelly, Mrs. Ira N. Barnes, Master, Ira N. Barnes, Mrs. Belle Querrey, Mrs. Florence Querrey, Mrs. Hawk, Mrs. John Scott, Mrs. Fred Schwab, Mrs. F.A. Po_er_s, Miss Clara Baker, Mrs. Green.


Letters were received and read from thirteen old comrades who were unable to attend the reunion. Cornelius Cotherin, Rocky Ford, Col.; Chester R. Smith, Grass Lake, Mich.; Henry Ebert, Chanute, Kans.; Samuel Barnett, Mount Vernon, Wash.; J.W. Peaker, Jacksonville, Ill.; James W. Womell, Sargent, Mo.; John N. Wilson, Taylorville, Ill.; John Fry, Bentonville, Ark.; Andrew J. Patterson, Buffalo, Mo.; W.A. VanLeer, Bloomington, Ill.; T.M. Littleton, Lodi, Cal.; George Goodner, Quincy, Ill.; L.R. Havely, Kellerton, Ia.


Record of comrades who died since our reunion, Aug. 11, 1915:

L.C. Farnam at his home at Pawnee, Ill., Nov. 17, 1915. Comrade L.C. Farnam was the last one of five brothers to pass away. One brother was killed at Resace.
Benjamin W. Schenck, at Soldiers' Home at Danville, Feb. 28, 1916
John Downey, at Mr. Zion, March 1916
John S. Helms, at Tiffan, O. Feb 4, 1916
Zenith R. Prather, at Decatur, April 8, 1916


Members of the 116th at their reunion passed resolutions thanking the Woodmen for their cooperation, the women fold for their fine dinner and for the consolation of mothers who lost sons in the war of the Rebellion. The resolutions were signed by James K. Peck, Fred Schwab and N.M. Baker.


Fredrick Schwab was furnished the following detailed history of the 116th regiment by the adjutant general at Washington.

1863 - This is our first march also our mud march. Marched from Memphis to Tallahatchie River, reaching same Dec 13; returned to Memphis and started down the Mississippi river on steamboat the 20th. Reached Yazoo Dec. 26th and went up same fifteen miles.
Battle of Chickashaw Bayou Dec 27-28 and assault on Chickashaw Bluffs the 29th. 116th had five men wounded.
Operations against Arkansas Post also called Fort Hindman.

On Jan. 4, 1863 Gen. John A. McClernand assumed command of the army of the Mississippi Jan 10-11, the battle of Fort Hindman was fought, the fort was taken by assault. The whole command under Gen. Churchill from Texas, 4600 men were taken prisoner. Gen. John A. McClernand from Springfield, Ill. commanded Union army 116th, held center, loss heavy.

Jan 22d, 116th landed at Young Point opposite Vicksburg, where the celebrated canal was being dug; the 116th lost over 100 men by disease; funeral services and burial on the levee, no other place being available.


Steele's Back Bayou or Deer Creek expedition. This expedition was to Rolling Fork by Muddy Steel's and Back Byou and Deer Creek with skirmishes March 21-22 at Deer Creek and March 24-25 at Back Bayou. Admiral Porter's boats were saved, value of $3,000,000.


May 2d, after feigned attack on Haynes Bluffs remained at Milliken's Bend; marched May 7th, arrived at Hard Times Landing opposite Grand Gulf, May 11th, marched 12th for Jackson, Willow Springs, Rocky Springs. Commissioned a Creek and Auburn to Raymond where we arrived May 13th. Morning of 1_th moved forward by Edward's Depot to Black River 13th in advance; 20th May first charge at Vicksburg. Col. Boyd shot through lung; Color Bearer Sam Bady killed 22nd; charge and assault, loss heavy.


This is called our heat and dust march, no water. This was in pursuit of Johnston by Sherman and ended in capture of Jackson and the driving of his army beyond Pearl River and beyond to Brandon, July 19th. Regiment returned toward Vicksburg and camped near Back river until after the battle of Chickamauga Sept 9-10 when ordered to move to Chattanooga under siege.


The following was given by Col. N.W. Tupper as the itinerary of the 1st brigade 2d division, 13th army corps.

Nov 1st - Marching from Eastport on Tennessee river; Nov 2 crossed Tennessee near Chattanooga; Nov 23, embarked on Pantoon boats by special instrucion floated down Little Chackamauga and crossed ober to Big Chickamauga; captured rebel pickets, gained position on east end of Missionary Ridge and held it at all hazards. The brigade did its duty. Nov. 30 was in chase of enemy.


Sherman's army was immediately started on this march to Burnsides relief. This was one of the most severe marches of the war; men had left camp without overcoats and had no shelter and rations were very scant. Having reached Knoxville and accomplished the purpose of the expedition, the return was made via Tellico and Strawberry Plains to Chattanooga, went into winter quarters at Larkinsville, Jan 18, 1864


Left Larkinsville May 1st, marched to Bellefonte, marched to near Stevenson, May 2; Bridgeport May 3; Whiteside's Station, May 4; Lockout Valley, Ga.; May 5; Lee and Gordon's Mills, May 6; Gordon's Gap, May 7; through said Gap May 8; marched through Snake Creek Gap May 9th, moved into position May 10th; Battle of Resaca began May 13th. At battle of Resaca Col. Forman was severely wounded. Died from wound. Battle at Dallas, Captain Thomas White then in command of the 116th was killed; Captain J.H. Miller and six men wounded.

Moved to Big Shanty. Enemy fell back to Kenesaw Mountain; lost eight men in assault in front of Kennesaw and two men killed and twenty-eight wounded same place. Regiment crossed Chattahoochee river at Ros_e Jul 14; assisted in destruction of Atlanta and Augusta railroad July 30 in fight; Jul 2_ captured rebel colors, had five men killed and sixteen wounded, fought July 2 to Aug 31 near Jonesboro; lost two men killed and eight wounded.


This was the celebrated Savannah campaign under Gen. Sherman; the 116th participated therin Dec 12, arrived in locality of Fort McAllister, Ga., and the next day was one of the regiments selected by Gen. Hazen to assault said fort. Lieut. Isom Simmons of Co. H was killed; where Lieut. Fredrick Schwab of Co.I put in command of Co.H.


After the surrender of Savannah Dec 21st, the regiment enjoyed a brief period of rest, until this celebrated march began. It bore its share in the hardships hereof; skirmishing with the enemy repeatedly engaged at Pocotaligo; advanced through swamps and over terrible roads, crossing numerous creeks and rivers; fighting its last battle at Bentonville. Grand review May 23 and 24. Mustered out June 7th 1865.

From The Decatur Review, 13 August 1916


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