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                                Civil War of the United States
                                 History of the 53rd Regiment
                              of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry
                                      Military Records
                                    Cook County, Illinois


Information contributed for use in Cook County ILGenWeb by
            possible multiple contributers

Contributor: 	Ray Brucks [], Jun 2000

53rd Illinois Infantry

The FIFTY-THIRD INFANTRY ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS was organized at Ottawa, Illinois, in the winter
of 1861-62, by Colonel W. H. W. Cushman. On the 27th of February 1862, was ordered to
complete its organization, and to assist in guarding the Confederate prisoners captured at
Donelson and confined there.

Ordered to St. Louis, March 23d, and from St. Louis to Savannah, Tenn. April 6th, was ordered
to Shiloh, but for want of transportation did not move until afternoon of the 7th. Were assigned
to First Brigade, Fourth Division, Brigadier General J. G. Lauman commanding Brigade,
Brigadier General S. A. Hurlbut commanding Division, in which Brigade and Division the
Regiment served until the close of the war.

The Regiment was engaged in the siege of Corinth, and for meritorious conduct on the skirmish
line were furnished with new Springfield rifles. Marched to Grand Junction, LaGrange, Holly
Springs, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn., arriving there July 21, 1862. The weather having been
very hot, the troops had suffered very much from heat and scarcity of water on the march.
September 3, Colonel Cushman took leave of the Regiment, having resigned, leaving the
regiment in command of Captain McClanahan, who had been acting as a field officer since the
evacuation of Corinth.

September 6, moved toward Bolivar, Tenn., arriving there on the 13th. October 1, moved toward
LaGrange, but meeting a large rebel force, moved back to Bolivar. Acting Adjutant C. R. May
was taken prisoner by the rebel cavalry.

October 4, moved toward Hatchie River, and on the 5th engaged four times their number of the
enemy, who were retreating from Corinth.

While crossing Davis's Bridge, on the Hatchie, a regiment from another state was forced back
through our lines, but the Fifty-third moved steadily forward, holding the bridge and road for
over two hours, until other troops could be crossed and placed in position. Loss in this battle,
sixteen killed and forty-nine wounded. The Regiment here assisted in running a section of
artillery, a Missouri Battery, up the bluff by hand, placing it within fifty yards of the enemy's
line, and supported it while it did splendid work. The Regiment was complimented by General
Hurlbut for its work here.

Returned to Bolivar, October 8th. October 15th, Lieutenant Colonel Earl took command of the

Moved to LaGrange, November 4th, 1862. On the 28th of November, moved south with General
Grant's army to Cold Water, Holly Springs, Waterford, Abbeyville, and Oxford, Mississippi;
arrived at Yocona Creek December 13th, and on the 22d commenced the northward march
toward Tallahatchie River.

January 1, 1863, the Division was made a part of the Seventeenth Army Corps, General J. B.
McPherson, commanding Corps; J. G. Lauman the Division, and Colonel I. C. Pugh, of the
Forty-first Illinois, commanding Brigade, now First Brigade, Fourth Division, Seventeenth Army

January 11th, arrived at Moscow, Tenn. The Division was transferred to the Sixteenth Army
Corps, General S. A. Hurlbut command Corps, and was placed on duty guarding the Memphis
and Charleston Railroad.
March 11, moved to Memphis. May 17, embarked for Young's Point. On 20th, moved to Haines
Bluff, on the 25th swung into line with the main army around Vicksburg, being on the left of the
Thirteenth Army Corps, Major General E. O. C. Ord command, to which our division was
temporarily assigned.

On July 5, moved with General Sherman's army against Jackson, Miss., and on the 12th, while
closing the lines around that place, the Brigade was ordered to charge the rebel works. The 53rd
participated in this gallant but disastrous charge, going in the fight with 250 men and
officers, and coming out with but 66. Colonel Earl fell near the rebel breast-works, pierced with
four canister shot. Lieutenant Colonel McClanahan was severely wounded. Captain Michael
Leahey and Lieutenant George W. Hemstreet was killed. Captain J. E. Hudson, mortally
wounded. Captains Potter and King were wounded. Lieutenant J. B. Smith lost an arm and was
taken prisoner. Captain George R. Lodge, Lieutenants Mark M. Bassett and John D. Hatfield,
and a number of the enlisted men, were taken prisoners. The color guard and bearers were all
either killed or wounded. The colors were captured, saturated with the life-blood of Sergeant
George Poundstone, the color bearer.

A few days after this fight, the Regiment returned to Vicksburg. The Division was assigned to
the Seventeenth Army Corps, Brigadier General M. M. Crocker commanding Division. Moved
to Natchez August 18th. Returned to Vicksburg November 30th, and camped at Milldale.
On the 1st of February 1864, the Regiment, having re-enlisted, was mustered as a veteran
organization, and on the 3d started on the Meridian campaign. Returning, arrived at Hebron,
Miss., February 29th.

Left Vicksburg, March 13th; reached Ottawa, Illinois, 22d, where the men were furloughed for
30 days. Companies I and E having been consolidated, a new company was organized and
assigned to the Regiment as Company I, Captain Samuel I. Haynie commanding.

The Regiment rejoined the Division at Cairo, Major General F. P. Blair having been assigned to
the Corps. Moved up the Tennessee River to Clifton. Marched via Huntsville and Decatur,
joining General Sherman's army at Kingston, Ga.

June 8th, the Fifty-third was ordered at Allatoona Pass, and instructed to build earthworks on
each side of the Pass. They worked hard at that until July 13th, when they rejoined the Division
at Marietta. Colonel B. F. Potts commanding Brigade, General W. Q. Gresham commanding

On the 17th, joined the main army at the front. Was engaged in the siege of Atlanta, and in the
engagements of July 19th, 20th, 21st and 22d, lost 101 men killed and wounded, Captain Samuel
I. Haynie and Sergeant Major Oran M. Bull being killed.

Were engaged as skirmishers at Jonesboro, and went with the army as far south as Lovejoy
Station; returned to East Point. After a few days rest at East Point, the Seventeenth Army Corps,
under Major General T. E. G. Ranson, moved October 1st, on a reconnoissance toward

Returned to East Point; October 4th, moved north in pursuit of General Hood's army. Followed
Hood's army to Gaylesville, Alabama, where the army halted and rested a week or so.
October 27th, the army received orders to move to the vicinity of Atlanta. Major General Ranson
being very sick, and not able to ride in an ambulance, the Fifty-third was detailed, at his request,
to carry him on a litter and escort him to Rome, Georgia; carried him to within six miles of
Rome, where he became too weak to go farther. At the farm house of James Berryhill, near
Rome, the brave and gallant General T. E. G. Ranson died at 2:30 o'clock P.M., October 29th,
1864. The Regiment escorted the remains to Rome, and the next day acted as an escort for a
large number of officers, who were returning to their commands in the main army.

Went into camp near Marietta, Georgia, November 6. November 13th, moved to West Point, and
on the 15th commenced the March to the Sea, Brigadier General Giles A. Smith commanding
Division. Arrived in front of the fortifications of Savannah December 10th; a very foggy
morning. The first shell from the enemy exploded in the ranks of company I, killing five and
wounding six men. On the 21st marched into the city, and went into camp near Bona Venture

January 4, 1865, the Forty-first Illinois, of 222 men and officers, Major Robert H. McFadden
commanding, was consolidated with the Fifty-third Illinois.

On the 6th, embarked for Beaufort, South Carolina, and soon after for Pocotaligo.

On January 29th, commenced the Carolina campaign. Moved by the way of Orangeburg,
Columbia, Fayetteville and Cheraw, participating in the battle Bentonville, March 20th and 21st,
losing one man killed and three wounded, among whom was Lieutenant Palmer, who had his
right leg amputated just below the knee.

Marched to Goldsborough, Raleigh and Jones Station; and after Johnson's surrender marched
with the army to Washington. Was in the grand review of May 24, 1865.
June 6th, left Washington for Louisville, Kentucky, where, on the 22d of July, the Regiment was
mustered out of service by Lieutenant Robert M. Wood, A.C.M., and moved to Chicago. July
28th, received final pay and discharge.

The Regiment was commanded from its organization until the latter part of August, 1862 by
Colonel Cushman, when he tendered his resignation, and left for his home in Illinois.

By Captain McClanahan from September 1, 1862 to October 15, 1862.
By Colonel Earl from October 15, 1862 to Jul 12, 1863.
By Colonel McClanahan from July 12, 1863 to June 21, 1865.
By Colonel McFadden from June 21, 1865 to July 28, 1865.

Lieutenants Mark M. Bassett and John D. Hatfield made their escape from Libby Prison on the
night of February 9, 1864, through the famous tunnel, Hatfield coming into the Union lines at or
near Washington. Bassett was recaptured the fourth night out, but subsequently effected his
escape from Columbia, South Carolina.

The following officers from the Forty-first Illinois were assigned positions in the Fifty-third,
upon the consolidation of the two Regiments:
  Major Robert H. McFadden, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
  Surgeon George M. Warmoth.
  Captain David H. McFadden, Captain K Company.
  Lieutenant John M. Robinson, Second Lieutenant K Company.
  Lieutenant William H. Palmer, First Lieutenant B Company.
  Lieutenant John Churchill, Second Lieutenant B Company.

The Regiment marched 2,855 miles. Transported by boat and cars 4,168 miles. Over 1,800
officers and men belonged to the Regiment during its term of service.

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