History of the 85th Illinois Volunteers
Illinois Volunteer Infantry
Henry J. Aten
In the following pages the military history of all who had a part in make the regiment illustrious is given, together with some account of the subsequent career of those with whom the writer has been able to communicate. This is a record of deeds done and duty performed, which, although brief, and in many instances incomplete, is their best eulogy.
As originally made up, the roster of the field and staff of the Eighty-fifth will be found in Chapter II, together with the manner in which the regiment was recruited and organized. In subsequent chapters all changes among the commissioned officers are recorded at the time and place they occurred. It is therefore only necessary, in this connection, to give a personal sketch of
THE FIELD AND STAFF.
COLONEL ROBERT S. MOORE, was born in Green county, Kentucky, March 19, 1827. When he was ten years of age his parents removed to Illinois and settled on a farm in Sangamon (now Menard) county, where he worked on the farm until the breaking out of the Mexican war. He enlisted as private in Company F, Fourth regiment, Illinois infantry, and participated in the battle of Cerro Gordo and in the siege of Vera Cruz. At the peace with Mexico he returned to Illinois, located his land warrant in Mason county and engaged in farming. While this engaged he founded the town of Spring Lake. In 1854 he married Miss Isabella Trent, removed to Havana and engaged in buying and shipping grain, while still paying attention to his farm.
At the beginning of the War of the Rebellion he promptly offered his service to his county, recruited a company and entered the service as captain of Company E, Twenty-seventh regiment, Illinois infantry. He was engaged at the battles of Belmont and Farmington, and at the siege of Corinth he was wounded. While at home on leave of absence on account of his wound he was authorized by Governor Yates to raise a regiment under the first call for troops in 1862, and upon its organization he was commissioned colonel of the Eighty-fifth.
Of commanding appearance, he possessed an admirable voice, while his soldierly instinct and military experience enabled him to fit the regiment for effective service in a remarkably short time. With his regiment he opened the battle of Perryville, Ky., and at the close of the fighting he was complimented for his skill and courage by his superior officers. At the battle of Stone River he was injured in the hip by a vicious horse, and injury from which he never wholly recovered. He remained in command of the regiment until the following June, when he resigned for disability. No officer ever enjoyed more fully the confidence of his men, and few so fully merited it. He returned to Havana and resumed the grain business until 1879, when he removed to Colorado and engaged in farming and mining. His address is Littleton, Colo.
COLONEL CALEB J. DILWORTH was born near Mount Pleasant, Jefferson county, Ohio, April 8, 1827. His parents Abram Rankin Dilworth and Martha Stanton Judkins, were of old Quaker stock. They removed to Indiana, and soon after to Illinois. They were living near Canton, in Fulton county, at the time of the Black Hawk war, and took refuge with friends in Canton when there was an Indian alarm. An elder brother, Rankin, graduated from the military academy at West Point in the class of 1844, and died from wounds received at the battle of Monterey in the war with Mexico. A half-brother, William H. Evans, was quartermaster of the Eighty-fifth during the last year of its service.
Colonel Dilworth read law with General Leonard F. Ross, of Lewiston, and was admitted to the bar in 1848. In the fall of 1853 he married Miss Emily Phelps, daughter of William and Caroline Phelps, of Lewiston, Ill., the only issue of such marriage being a son, William A., now practicing law in Omaha, Neb.
In 1862, the subject of this sketch was practicing law in Havana, Ill., and assisted in recruiting the Eighty-fifth, and at the organization of the regiment was commissioned lieutenant colonel. He served in that capacity until Colonel Moore resigned, when he was promoted to be colonel. He commanded the regiment from June 14, 1863, until June 27, 1864, when, in the midst of the indescribable turmoil of battle at Kennesaw mountain, Georgia, the command of the brigade devolved upon him through the death of his seniors. It was his plucky decision that held the ground wrested from the enemy, although his corps and army commanders doubted its possibility. At Peach Tree creek his brigade forced a crossing of that stream, although defended by largely superior numbers, fighting the battle out alone with the Third brigade, and winning for himself and his command the highest commendations of his superiors. He continued in commanded of the brigade until wounded by a gun shot at the battle of Jonesboro, Ga., the ball passing entirely through his neck. Recovering from his wound, he was hastening to the front to rejoin his command when, upon his arrival at Chattanooga, he found that communication with Sherman’s army had been severed. He reported to General Thomas for duty and was appointed to the command of the post at Cleveland, Tenn., a position which he held with credit to himself until the post was discontinued. He was then assigned to command at Covington, Ky., where he remained until the close of the war. He was commissioned brevet brigadier general March 13, and was mustered out of the service June 5, 1865.
After returning to Illinois he practiced law at Lewistown until the autumn of 1870, when he removed to Lincoln, Neb., where resumed the practice of his profession. He was elected state’s attorney in 1874 and served two terms. In 1878 he was elected attorney general, holding the office for two years, and in 1892 he was elected department commander of the Grand Army of the Republic of Nebraska and served one term.
As a soldier he was enterprising and fearless; he won merited distinction at the bar. He had retired from active professional life and was residing in Omaha, where he died on Saturday, February 3, 1900. His remains were taken to Lincoln and buried in Wyuka cemetery on the Monday following, past department commanders acting as pall-bearers, while department offices conducted the services.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL JAMES P. WALKER, son of Joseph Walker, was born in Adair county, Kentucky, April 6, 1826. His father, Joseph Walker, removed to Illinois and settled on a farm in Sangamon (now Logan) county in 1830. Seven years later found the Walker family at Irish Grove, in Menard county, where his father died in 1841, leaving a crippled wife and younger son to the care of James P. He took his mother to his mother’s father in Kentucky, where he remained for three years, working on a farm to get money to return to Illinois. He was fortunate in that his father was an educated man, as all his schooling was obtained from his father before his death. On his return to Illinois in 1844 he began the study of medicine and by working on the farm and teaching school he earned the money which enabled him to prosecute his studies.
When the war with Mexico broke out he enlisted in Company F, Fourth regiment, Illinois infantry, commanded by Colonel Edward D. Baker, was a messmate of Colonel R. S. Moore and participated in the battle of Cerro Grande and the siege of Vera Cruz. After the war he resumed the study of medicine and graduated from Rush Medical College in 1850. In 1857 he located at Mason City and was practicing his profession when the War of the Rebellion began. Under the first call for troops in 1861 he recruited a company and entered the service as captain of Company K, Seventeenth regiment, Illinois infantry. He participated in the battles of Fredericktown, Fort Donelson and Shiloh. After the battle of Shiloh he resigned, returned home, helped to raise the Eighty-fifth, and at the organization of the regiment he was commissioned surgeon. He was promoted to be lieutenant colonel on June 14, 1863, and was dismissed from the service on October 6, 1863.
Just prior to the battle of Chickamauga he was arrested for permitting his hungry men to forage, that being at that period of the war about the worst thing an officer could be accused of. Unfortunately for Colonel Walker he did not violate his order of arrest when the battle came on. If he had no doubt he would have escaped punishment. But his remaining under arrest afforded an opportunity for those whom his kindness to his men had offended, and he was summarily dismissed without a hearing.
He returned to his former home and resumed the practice of medicine, which he continued to his death, which occurred on January 14, 1892. He was buried by his comrades of the Grand Army of the Republic, a special train carrying the post from Havana to Mason City to attend his funeral.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL JAMES P. GRIFFITH was born in Chester county, Pennsylvania, February 2, 1834. He served for some time as a member of the Chester and Delaware Dragoons, and removed to Illinois in the fall of 1856, locating at Havana, in Mason county, where he was engaged as a general merchant at the beginning of the War of the Rebellion. He enrolled Company B, of the Eighty-fifth, and was chosen captain at the organization of the company. He participate in all the campaigns and battles in which the Eighty-fifth was engaged, was wounded at the assault on Kennesaw mountain, but speedily recovered and returned to duty. At the assault on the enemy’s works at Jonesboro the command of the regiment devolved upon him when Major Rider was wounded and disabled, and again he succeeded to the command of the regiment when Major Rider resigned, and led it through the Carolina campaign, on the grand review at Washington, and on its return to the state for final discharge.
He was promoted to be lieutenant colonel on April 7, 1865, and was mustered out with the regiment. After the close of the war he located in Kenosha, Wis., where he engaged in business. His present address is No. 812 Pomeroy street, Kenosha, Wis.
MAJOR SAMUEL P. CUMMINGS had long been prominent as a merchant in Astoria when the War of the Rebellion began. He had also been prominent in affairs political in the county and frequently served as a member of the county board. Early in the war he had been commissioned a mustering officer with the rank of major, and had assisted in recruiting several of the early regiments. He enrolled two companies for the Eighty-fifth and at the organization of the regiment was chosen major. He was favorably mentioned for gallant conduct in the battle of Perryville by his colonel and brigade commander, served through the Kentucky campaign, and participated with the regiment in the battle of Stone River or Murfreesboro. Failing health, however, compelled him to resign at Nashville, and his resignation was approved for disability on April 6, 1863.
He returned to Astoria, where he continued in business until within the last few years, and where he still resides. He as served his constituents as supervisor, judge of the county court, and has represented his county in both branches of the legislature. Possessed of an ample fortune he is now enjoying a ripe old age among the people he served for so long.
MAJOR ROBERT G. RIDER was born in Ravenna, Portage county, Ohio, March 14, 1831, attended Jefferson college at Cannonsburg, and studied medicine at Washington college, Washington, Pa. He removed to Illinois in 1855 and the following winter attended a course of lectures at a medical college, Dubuque, Iowa. He began the practice of his profession at Mobile, Ala., but returned to Illinois some three years later, and at the beginning of the War of the Rebellion was practicing medicine at Havana, in Mason county.
He enrolled Company K and was elected captain of that company at its organization, commanded the company at the battle of Perryville, through the Kentucky and Murfreesboro campaigns, and was promoted to be major of the regiment April 6, 1863. He was appointed provost marshal when the brigade was assigned to garrison duty at Murfreesboro, Tenn., but returned to duty with the regiment when the brigade was ordered to Nashville to prepare for an active campaign at the front. When in the assault on Kennesaw mountain Colonel Dilworth was called to command the brigade, the command of the Eighty-fifth devolved upon Major Rider. He retained command of the regiment until disabled by a gun shot wound in the head at the assault upon the enemy’s line at Jonesboro, Ga. Recovering, at least partially, from his wound he resumed command of the regiment, which he led in the march to the sea. He resigned at Savannah, Ga., December 13, 1864.
Returning to Havana he resumed the practice of medicine, which he continued until 1880, when he removed to Mount Ayr, Iowa. In 1884 he retired from the active practice of his profession, but resided in Mount Ayr to the time of his death, which occurred on November 14, 1899.
ADJUTANT JOHN B. WRIGHT was commissioned adjutant from Havana at the organization of the regiment, served through the Kentucky and Murfreesboro campaigns, participating in the battles of Perryville, Ky., and Stone River, Tenn. He resigned February 23, 1863, and returned to Havana, where he died many years since.
ADJUTANT CLARK N. ANDRUS, son of Cyrenus W. Andrus and Lucy Rockwell, was born in Havana, Ill., February 21, 1843. His parents removed from Watertown, N.Y., to Havana in 1836, and Clark N. was the only living child when he enlisted in Company K. At the organization of the regiment he was appointed sergeant major and participated in the battles of Perryville, Ky., and Stone River, Tenn. He was promoted to be second lieutenant of Company E, January 20, 1863, and to be adjutant on the 23rd of the following February. He participated in all the battles and campaigns in which the regiment was engaged until severely wounded in the assault on Kennesaw mountain, Georgia. His arm was amputated in the field hospital, after which he was taken to Hospital No. 3 at Nashville, where gangrene set in and his arm was reamputated. But medical and surgical skill was of no avail and this promising young officer died on July 23, 1864. His father was with him when the final summons came, and brought his remains back to Havana, where they were buried by the side of his devoted mother.
ADJUTANT PRESTON C. HUDSON was born at Milton, Pike county, Illinois, August 20, 1844, and while yet a child removed with his parents to Havana, in Mason county. He was attending school when the War of the Rebellion began, and enlisted as a private in Company I. He was promoted to be first lieutenant of his company, October 27, 1863, and to be adjutant of the regiment on July 23, 1864, and served in that position until mustered out with the regiment. By saving money earned in the army he was enabled to take a course in the University of Michigan, and after graduating from that institution he located at Fort Dodge, Iowa, where he read law and was admitted to the bar in 1871. Always studious, he took high rank at the bar, and was twice the nominee of his party for judge of the court of common pleas, but was defeated by a narrow margin. He removed to Toledo, Ohio, in 1884, where he continued the practice of his profession until overtaken by a stroke of apoplexy in August, 1897. His death came as sudden as it might have come on the battlefield, he being found dead in his office, the opinion of the doctors being that his death was from apoplexy, induced by the heat.
QUARTERMASTER SAMUEL F. WRIGHT was commissioned quartermaster with the rank of first lieutenant at the organization of the regiment, served through the Kentucky campaign, and was dismissed from the service at Nashville, Tenn., November 21, 1862. He appears to have regarded his office as a private snap, the charges under which he was dismissed stating that he had issued vouchers on the government for a carriage for private use. He returned to Havana, where he died many years since.
QUARTERMASTER HOLOWAY W. LIGHTCAP was born at Milford, Hunterdon county, N. J., October 2, 1826, and removed to Illinois in 1856. He was a merchant tailor, residing in Havana, when he was commissioned quartermaster to succeed Samuel F. Wright, December 1, 1862. He was wounded by his horse falling on him, and resigned for disability July 20, 1863. He returned to Havana, and has been engaged as a commercial traveler most of the time since. His address is Havana, Ill.
QUARTERMASTER WILLIAM H. EVANS was a half-brother on Colonel Dilworth, and when he entered the service was twenty-five years of age. He had been a clerk in the county offices at Havana, and had become very accurate in his methods of conducting business, but was residing at Vermont, in Fulton county, when he was appointed quartermaster of the regiment on January 14, 1864. He served in that position until the war closed, and was mustered out with the regiment. Soon after his return to Illinois he removed to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he died on February 4, 1872.
SURGEON JAMES P. WALKER (promoted lieutenant colonel).
SURGEON PHILIP L. DIEFFENBACHER was born in Columbia county, Pennsylvania, February 6, 1830. His father, Daniel Dieffenbacher, descended from German ancestors, who settled in eastern Pennsylvania. His mother was Catherine (Long) Dieffenbacher, whose parental ancestors were German, and settled in Virginia. Her maternal ancestors, named Springer, came from Stockholm, Sweden, and settled in Wilmington, Del., at an early date.
He removed with his parents to Illinois in 1837 and settled on a farm in Tazewell (now Mason) county, and while helping his father improve and cultivate the farm, the subject of this sketch availed himself of every opportunity to gain an education. In the fall of 1849 he returned to Pennsylvania and entered the academy at Newville, in Columbia county, where he pursued his studies until the summer of 1851, when he returned to Illinois. He taught the first school ever held in the Dieffenbacher school house, six miles east of Havana, during the winter of 1851-2. Returning to Pennsylvania in the autumn of 1852, he entered the office of his maternal uncle, Dr. Philip H. Long, at Mechanicsburg, where he read medicine until September, 1853, when he entered Jefferson Medical College at Philadelphia, Pa., and graduated in the degree of doctor in medicine in March, 1855. After taking a course of one year in Blockley hospital, West Philadelphia, Pa., he opened his first office for practice in Mount Joy, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1856 he returned to Illinois and located in Havana, where he has since resided and practiced his profession, except three years’ service in the army.
In July, 1862, he was appointed assistant post surgeon to the military camp at Peoria, Ill., and at the organization of the Eighty-fifth he was commissioned first assistant surgeon of the regiment. He was promoted to be surgeon with the rank of major at Nashville, Tenn., June 14, 1863, and served in that capacity to the close of the war, and was mustered out with the regiment. Returning to Havana at the close of his service, he resumed the practice of his profession, and soon after his return was appointed United States examining surgeon of pensions, holding the office until 1893, when he resigned.
He is a member of the following societies: The American Medical Association, the International Association of Railway Surgeons, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois State Historical Society, the Army and Navy Surgeons’ Association (a charter member), the Brainard District Medical Association (one of the organizers and president in 1880-1), the Dan McCook Brigade Association, the Regimental Association (one of the organizers and president until 1889), and was president of the board of education for nine years.
On May 17, 1874, he married Miss Martha M. Mitchell, whose parental and maternal ancestors served in the War of the Revolution. Their living children are: Martha M., Edith L. and Philip D. Three others died in infancy, namely, Robert, Morton and Mable.
FIRST ASSISTANT SURGEON GILBERT W. SOUTHWICK was born in Troy, Rensselaer county, New York, July 26, 1810; removed to Illinois in 1836, and at the beginning of the Ware of the Rebellion was practicing medicine at Arcadia, in Morgan county. He was commissioned first assistant surgeon in the Eighty-fifth August 6, 1864, and served as such until May 15th, 1865, when he was honorably discharged. He removed to California in 1881, where he now lives retired from active practice, the oldest surviving member of the regiment. His address is No. 1213 Bath street, Santa Barbara, Cal.
SECOND ASSISTANT SURGEON JAMES C. PATTERSON was born in Adair county, Kentucky, in 1824, and removed with his father, John Patterson, to Illinois in 1828, locating in Sangamon (now Menard) county. In 1845 James began the study of medicine with Dr. Grinstead at Middletown, attended lectures at Jacksonville, paying his tuition by serving as janitor of the college during the terms of 1846-7-8. He then entered Rush Medical college at Chicago and was graduated in 1849. He began the practice of his profession on Prairie creek in Logan county, where he remained until 1859, when he removed to Mason City, in Mason county. He enlisted as private in Company C, and was promoted hospital steward at the organization of the regiment, and on September 1, 1862, he was commissioned second assistant surgeon. He served with the regiment until April 16, 1864, when he resigned for disability. He returned to Mason City, resumed the practice of medicine, and died in 1871. During the latter years of his life he was greatly afflicted with what he and other doctors who saw him thought was rheumatism, but which finally resulted in ataxia.
CHAPLAIN JOSEPH S. BARWICK was born in Maryland, September 22, 1815, and removed with his parents to Indiana when about seven years of age, locating on a farm near Brookville, in Franklin county. He graduated from Asbury (now De Pauw) University, and was ordained a minister in the Methodist Episcopal church in 1837. After filling pastorates in Evansville and Indianapolis, he received the degree of doctor of divinity from the university from which he graduated. In the fall of 1850 he removed to Jacksonville, Ill., to accept the professorship of Latin in the Illinois Conference Female College. He continued teaching some six years, but was preaching at Havana when he was commissioned chaplain at the organization of the Eighty-fifth. This was an office so often filled by clerical adventurers that the men watched and waited before placing their confidence in the chaplain. The position was as difficult as it was thankless, and he who would fill it worthily must be pure in heart, chaste in act and clean in speech. Chaplain Barwick was thus equipped, and his presence put the men upon their honor. His care of the sick, kindly aid to the wounded and hearty sympathy for those in trouble, sealed the bond between him and the men which will hold good to the end of their lives.
He served through the war and was mustered out with the regiment. In 1866 he removed to Missouri and became principal of a college at Glasgow, and later was in charge of a church at Saint Joseph. Returning to Illinois, he preached some three years at Griggs’ Chapel, near Beardstown, and in 1877 he was transferred to the Missouri conference, and in 1878 was the presiding elder of the Linneus circuit. He was residing in Linneus, Mo., and had been superannuated a year or more at the time of his death, which occurred on October 5, 1890.
SERGEANT MAJOR CLARK N. ANDRUS (promoted adjutant).
SERGEANT MAJOR WILLIAM S. ALLEN was born in La Porte, La Porte county, Indiana, January 27, 1840, and removed with his parents to Illinois in 1854. He enlisted as a private from Havana, and was chosen first sergeant at the organization of Company B and promoted to be sergeant major in 1863. He served with the regiment until wounded in the battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, June 27, 1864, and was honorably discharged June 21, 1865. After his return to Illinois he served as deputy circuit clerk, removed to Oregon, where he spent some years and was postmaster at Hood River. Returning again to Illinois, he is now a railway postal clerk, and resides at No. 333 South Clay avenue, Jacksonville, Ill.
QUARTERMASTER SERGEANT JAMES T. PIERCE enlisted as a private in Company B from Havana, and was appointed quartermaster sergeant at the organization of the regiment. He served through the Kentucky campaign, and was discharged at Nashville, Tenn., in 1863. He was elected commissary of the regimental association at its organization in 1885. He was a printer, and removed to Waverly, Neb., where he died on June 7, 1897.
QUARTERMASTER SERGEANT EDWIN M. DURHAM was born in Greenville, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, December 19, 1844, and removed to Illinois in 1859. He enlisted as a private from Bath, in Mason county, and served through the Kentucky campaign in Company D. He was promoted to be quartermaster sergeant in 1863, served in that capacity to the close of the war, and was mustered out with the regiment. He first settled at Vicksburg, Miss., where he was a salesman, but removed to Missouri in 1869, and is at present a breeder of fine poultry at La Plata, Macon county, Missouri.
COMMISSARY SERGEANT THOMAS J. AVERY was born in Lexington, Fayette county, Kentucky, in 1836, and enlisted from Bath, in Mason county, Illinois, as a private in Company D. He was appointed commissary sergeant at the organization of the regiment, served to the close of the war, and was mustered out with the regiment.
HOSPITAL STEWARD JAMES L. HASTINGS was born in DeKalb, St. Lawrence county, New York, in 1834, removed to Illinois, and enlisted from Mason City. He was chosen sergeant of Company C at the organization of the company, and at the formation of the regiment he was appointed hospital steward, serving in that capacity until the close of the war, and was mustered out with the regiment. He returned to Mason City at the close of his service, and was engaged in farming for many years. He served as postmaster under the Harrison administration, but soon after the close of his term, removed to Chicago, where he was engaged in real estate and insurance until his death, which occurred in 1899.
PRINCIPAL MUSICIAN JOHN HAZELRIGG was born in Kentucky in 1828, removed to Illinois, was married, and a carpenter when he enlisted from Bath as a private in Company D. At the organization of the regiment he was appointed principal musician. He served to the close of the war, and was mustered out with the regiment. The pension office reports his death, but without giving date or place.
PRINCIPAL MUSICIAN JAMES B. DURDY was born in Hagerstown, Washington county, Maryland, in 1838, removed to Illinois, was single, and a printer when he enlisted in Company K from Bath. He was promoted principal musician, served to the close of the war, and was mustered out with the regiment. At the peace he returned to Illinois and followed his trade in Havana, but finally died and inmate of the Mason county poor house.
PRINCIPAL MUSICIAN ROBERT L. DURDY was born in Hagerstown, Washington county, Maryland, in 1827, removed to Illinois, was a printer, and enlisted from Bath. He was promoted principal musician from Company K, but his health failed in the Kentucky campaign, and he was discharged for disability at the New Market, Ky., December 27, 1862. He returned to Illinois, and worked at his trade in Havana, where he died many years ago.
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