Martin J. Barger, Bismark, farmer was born in Newell
township, Vermillion co., Il on the llth? Of February, 1846, and is the son of William J.
Barger and Elizabeth (Randy) Barger. His father died when he was quite young, and
his mother marrying again, he left home and apprenticed himself to the shoemakers
trade, which he learned.
The subject of this sketch displayed a truly heroic spirit in his persistent effort to become enrolled with the Union defenders. At the beginning of the war young Barger endeavored to get into the army while he was yet but sixteen years of age. He was very small and delicate, and had a girlish appearance. At that time the physique of the volunteer was closely scrutinized, as the supply of men was greater than demand. Co. B of the 25 Reg. ILL. Vols. Was organizing at Danville, and he presented himself to Capt. Thomas McKibbin, who was recruiting it, The Captain laughed him to scorn, and told him that they did not want boys, but men to fight at the same time pointing to some stalwart specimens standing by. After this rebuff, he repressed his military ardor until the early spring of 1862, when some of the Davison and Myers boys, of the 25th, were home on furlough. He now determined on making another trial, in the spite of the ridicule, which beset him, from all who became acquainted with his intention. When he applied to be mustered into the service, in the hope of saving transportation expenses. Failing in this, he went to Springfield, but was rejected there. Proceeding hence to St. Louis with his companions, he was also rejected there. He then went to Rolla, and fared likewise there. This point was the end of railroad travel. A squad of convalescents was forming here to move forward to join their commands, and our hero stated his case to the commanding officer, and requested permission to join them and be furnished rations. When they reached Springfield, Missouri, he renewed the effort, with the same disheartening result. He continued on the squad to Forsythe, Missouri, where he joined the 25th ILL. Reg. He was dressed in civilian clothing, and before he found the command, was arrested and taken before Siegels provost marshal, but, on explaining himself, was released. Making application at once to Capt. Wall of Co. B, he was told that it was no use, he would die in a few days. Foiled again at the last resort of appeal, he did not know what to do, but finally decided to follow the army and be a solder, if for nothing else than to triumph over all opposers and opposing circumstances. He was furnished arms and equipments, and an outfit of clothing. In about a week the army was in motion for Batesville, Arkansas. The first day he kept up, the second day did not get into camp with his command, the third day did not arrive until late at night, and the fourth day entirely lost sight of the army. He had some money, and bought his meals along the route, camping out at night. He moved forward every day, way worn and weary, almost fainting from fatigue. When he came into camp at Batesville about an hour after the command had arrived, - not having been seen for nearly a week, and supposed to be either captured or dead the cheers of the boys arose to greet him, and signalized his triumph. Henceforward he kept abreast of the best among them. From hence the army moved to Cape Girardeau, where, after a time, it was paid off. The captain asked him if he wanted pay. If you think I will make a soldier, was the answer. O, youll do! Replied the captain, with an air of confidence and satisfaction. Having signed the pay roll, he was legally a soldier; his hopes were realized and his triumph complete. Old soldiers know the meaning of sand and grit but few have seen a better exhibition of it. He was in Mississippi in the summer of 1862, and marched to Louisville under Buell, and was present at the battle of Perryville, but not engaged. He was in the battles of Stone River and Chickamauga; wounded and taken prisoner at the latter place, and held about ten days, when he was released on parole. He was not exchanged until the next summer, while on the Atlanta campaign.
Mr. Barger remained with his regiment until exchanged, but not doing duty. He fought his last battle at Jonesborough; was present at the subsequent battles of Columbia and Nashville. The term of service of his regiment having expired, the recruits served out the rest of their time at Gen. Stanleys headquarters. He was discharged in March, 1865. His wound incapacities him from hard labor, and he draws a pension.
He was married on the 19th of April to Mary A. Steward, who died on the 16th of August, 1870. He was married again on the 25th of September, 1873, to Margaret W. Richie. They have four living children: Walter L. R., Anna M., Samuel B., and John W. Mr. Barger is a republican in politics, and in religion a Methodist.
Just some info:
My great Grandfather, I am from the last marriage line. His first wife died and my great grandmother was Laura Bell Leonard.