Stephenson County, Illinois Genealogy
Military History of Stephenson County
When the call for troops was made at the outbreak of the Mexican war Stephenson county was but a few days in raising its quota under the leadership of William Goddard, of West Point, who was promoted to captaincy in the regiment commanded by Col. J. L. D. Morrison of the southern part of the state. The regiment was mustered in July 2nd, 1846, served nearly a year, and was mustered out and came home in June, 1847.
No community exhibited greater patriotism than Stephenson county during the civil war. Scarcely had the smoke at Sumter cleared away before active preparations for war began. On April 18th a meeting was held at Plymouth Hall in which patriotism obscured party affiliations. All were American for the
defense of the country and the flag. Hon. F. W. S. Brawley presided with J. R. Scroggs and C. K. Judson as clerks. Speeches by S. D. Atkins, Charles Betts, C. S. Bragg and William Wagner aroused the patriotic enthusiasm to fever heat. Several
enlistments were made that night and within two days the first company was filled ready for muster.
Under the command of Smith D. Atkins, captain, and M. E. Newcomer and S. W. Field, lieutenants, the company left for the front on the first day of May and was mustered in as Co. A, 11th Regt. Shortly after a second company under command of. Captain W. J. MeKim, Henry Settley and Phil. Arno, lieutenants, went to the front. A company was recruited at Lena while other parts of the county gave their quota to the cause.
The 15th Regt. organized at Freeport was mustered in May 24th, six weeks- after the opening gun of the war. After a few weeks instruction at Alton it was sent into the field receiving its baptism of fire in Missouri under Sigel and from there passed on down to the hotter scenes of war. It was mustered out at Fort Leavenworth September 1st, 1865. In all it
traveled, on foot, by boat and by rail, upwards of eleven thousand miles. The officers were Col. Thomas J. Turner, Senior Major William R. Goddard, Junior Major Rufus C. McEathron, and Surgeon William J. McKim.
The 46th, made up almost wholly of Stephenson county men, was organized at Camp Butler December 28th, 1861, by Col. John A. Davis who was succeeded after his death at Bolivar, Tenn., October 10th, 1862, by Col. Benjamin Domblazer, with Maj. John M. McCracken and Major Joseph Clingman next in command. It was at Ft. Donelson and Ft. Henry, Pittsburg Landing and the campaign through Tennessee, participated in the Siege of Vicksburg and marched through to the Gulf. Here it was mustered in as a veteran regiment January 4th, 1863, returned to Freeport and was furloughed on the 27th, seeing no active service after.
The 92nd, mustered in at Rockford, September 4th, 1862, contained three companies from Stephenson county and was assigned to the Army of Kentucky. It was the first in the Rebel stronghold on Point Lookout, participated in the battles around Chattanooga, fought under Thomas at Chickamauga, was in the hottest of the fighting in the Atlanta campaign, swung south with Sherman on the world famous March to the Sea, and was mustered out at Concord, N. C., and discharged and paid off at Chicago, July 10th, 1865, after nearly three years of the hottest fighting in the war. The regiment came out under command of Col. brevetted Brig. Gen. Smith D. Atkins, Lieut. Col. Christopher T. Dunham, Adj. Isaac C. Lawver, and Quartermaster Phillip Sweely.
Besides these Stephenson county furnished companies or men in the 14th, 26th, 45th, 47th, 71st, 74th, 90th, 92nd, 93rd, 142nd for 100 day service, 146th, 1 year, 147th, 1 year, infantry; 7th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th cavalry, and the lst and 2nd artillery.
Stephenson county has paid a fitting tribute to her honored dead who fell in the country's cause in the monument that graces the county square. The movement began at a meeting held February 2nd, 1868, and designs were submitted July 28th, 1869, by artists from New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Chicago and their merits explained. The choice fell to the drawings of Gen. S. D. Atkins and the idea carried out in stone that had been submitted on the trestle board. The corner stone was laid with appropriate ceremonies October 14th; 1869, and the monument dedicated the Fourth of July, 1871, one of the greatest celebrations of the nation's natal day Stephenson county ever beheld.
Nov. 24th, 1899, in the presence of the governors of three states with their staffs, senators, congressmen and high officials, the monuments to the troops from Illinois were dedicated on the battlefield of Chattanooga and surrounding ridges. The colonel of the 92nd, who had led the van on Lookout Mountain in the famous battle above the clouds, was a participator in the ceremonies as were numerous other officers and men who did not realize to what extent they were making history in those trying days.
In the war with Spain and in our later colonial embroglio, Stephenson county furnished her quota of men with a promptness that gave evidence of the fervor of patriotic fire that had not burned out since '61. With such loyal hearts beating in unison when the nation is assailed, the government of Washington and Lincoln is safe from foreign foe while there is a county called Stephenson and a state named Illinois.
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