January 1864
The city council in Canton (Fulton County) appropriates $400 for the relief of soldiers' families and a group of women gather to sew clothing for needy military families. One regiment of cavalry is mustered into service. Illinois regiments that have reenlisted for a second three-year term of service begin to arrive in Illinois for their "veteran furlough."

February 1864
A Pike County newspaper editor lauds gatherings to benefit soldier families, "if partisan politics be excluded," but declares that the amounts raised "cannot be relied on as a permanent means of relief" and calls for the levying of a county tax for the relief of soldiers' families. An appropriation to provide enlistment incentive or "bounty" is approved by the Will County board of supervisors.

February 1, 1864
President Lincoln issues a call for 200,000 new troops to serve for three years. This, combined with another call on October 17, 1863, results in a total quota to Illinois of 46,309. The state’s enlistments number 28,818.

February 22, 1864
The Ladies' Loyal League of Alton sponsors a sanitary fair to raise funds for the relief of wounded soldiers and their families. The sale of admission tickets, refreshments, donated items—including a lot of land for $125—brings total receipts of over $3,200.

February 25, 1864
The first U.S. prisoners of war arrive at the Confederate military prison at
Andersonville, Georgia (officially Camp Sumter). Large numbers of prisoners are removed to other facilities in the fall of 1864 as Gen. William Sherman's army operates nearby.

   The literature on Andersonville is vast. A full treatment of the camp is William Marvel, Andersonville: The Last Depot.

Winter 1863-64
The three-year enlistments of men who joined service in mid-1861 will soon end. Strong efforts are made to persuade them to reenlist and serve to the war's end. Many do so and a number of regiments are designed as "veteran." Those who reenlist enjoy a "veteran furlough" sometime in late 1863 or early 1864.

   Discussions of motivations for reenlistment are found in: Gerald Linderman, Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War; James M. McPherson, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War.

March 1864
Gov. Richard Yates travels the state to welcoming reenlisting veterans returning from the field for a short furlough.

March 10, 1864
Ulysses S. Grant of Galena is named general-in-chief, commanding all U.S. armies. Through the rest of the war he makes his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac.

March 14, 1864
Federal troops capture Fort de Russy on the Red River in Louisiana. President Lincoln issues a call for 200,000 volunteers. Quotas not met by April 15 will trigger a draft as needed. Illinois' quota is 18,524. Enlistees number 25,055.

March 28, 1864
A riot between civilians and furloughed soldiers in
Charleston, Illinois, leaves nine dead.

   For more see: Peter J. Barry, The Charleston Riot and Its Aftermath: Civil, Military, and Presidential Responses, Journal of Illinois History 7:2 (Spring 2004).

April 8, 1864
Federal troops under Gen. Nathaniel Banks are baldy defeated at Sabine Crossroads, Louisiana. The following day pursuing Confederates are badly mauled at Pleasant Hill.

April 23, 1864
President Lincoln accepts an offer by state governors to provide troops to serve for 100 days. Illinois' quota is 20,000. The call is answered by 11,328. It is intended that the units raised will serve in rear areas, freeing veteran regiments to move to the front.

April 24, 1864
The 29th U.S. Colored Infantry, composed of African Americans largely from Illinois under the command of white officers, is officially accepted for service. Many of the unit's recruits come from other states.

   For a full history of the 29th see: Edward A. Miller, The Black Civil War Soldiers of Illinois: The Story of the Twenty-ninth U.S. Colored Infantry.

May 1864
Two regiments of infantry are mustered into service for 100 days.

May 5, 1864
Gov. Richard Yates arrives in Springfield after a visit of "several weeks" in Washington where he worked to settle the issue of credits to Illinois against recruiting quotas for draft purposes. He also lobbied congressmen on increased pay for private soldiers.

May 7, 1864
Gen. William T. Sherman begins his campaign to capture Atlanta, Georgia. About 70 Illinois regiments are found in Sherman's force. Major unit commanders from Illinois include Gen. John M. Palmer of the 14th Army Corps and Gen. John A. Logan of the 15th Army Corps. Illinoisans also command a number of divisions and brigades.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops in the campaign see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. Histories of the Atlanta campaign include: Albert E. Castel, Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864; Richard M. McMurry, Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy.

May 9, 1864
About 200 women in Ottawa (La Salle County) meet and offer to work in stores in order to free male clerks to join the service under the most recent call for volunteers. The women promise "to do duty for one hundred days, if wanted," and announce that they will give their business to those merchants who later take back into employment men who enlisted in the service. President Lincoln calls on all to "unite in common thanksgiving and prayer" for the recent success of General Grant in Virginia.

May 25, 1864
The battle of New Hope Church, Georgia, is fought. Illinoisans make up a large part of the Federal force involved. Gen. John A. Logan commands the 15th Army Corps. Other Illinoisans command brigades and divisions.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For full histories of the battle see: Albert E. Castel, Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864; Richard M. McMurry, Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy.

June 1864
Eleven regiments of infantry are mustered into service for 100 days.

June 8, 1864
The National Union party convention meeting in Baltimore nominates Abraham Lincoln for reelection as president. The party is named in hope of attracting the votes of Democrats.

June 27, 1864
Sherman's forces attack Confederate troops entrenched on Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. They are thrown back with heavy losses. The day is one of the bloodiest that Illinois troops experience during the war.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For full histories of the battle see: Albert E. Castel, Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864; Richard M. McMurry, Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy.

July 1864
During the next months a number of regiments that have reached the end of their three-year enlistment period are honored in ceremonies at the capitol building in Springfield. The regimental flags are presented to the state for future care, and received by the governor or adjutant general.

July 11, 1864
Gov. Yates issues a proclamation calling on Illinoisans to donate onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and other vegetables to the state sanitary commission. "Every bushel of vegetable food supplied the army will save life... and one veteran soldier saved and strengthened is worth two recruits necessary to take his place if he is in hospital or lost. When you reflect that two-thirds of our losses are from disease, you will at once recognize the importance of every loyal man, not in arms, contributing his mite to promote the health of the army."

July 18, 1864
A call is issued for 500,000 volunteers to serve for terms of one, two, or three years. Credits for earlier calls reduce the quotas of many states. Illinois quota is 21,997. Enlistees number 15,465. The majority enlist for one year.

July 20, 1864
Confederate Gen. John B. Hood attacks William T. Sherman's army at Peachtree Creek, Georgia. Hood is repulsed with heavy losses.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For accounts of the full battle see: Albert E. Castel, Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864; Richard M. McMurry, Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy.

July 22, 1864
Gen. John B. Hood attacks Federal forces in the Battle of Atlanta. Illinoisan John A. Logan takes command of the Army of the Tennessee on the death of Gen. James B. McPherson.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For accounts of the whole battle see: Albert E. Castel, Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864; Richard M. McMurry, Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy. The story of Logan's notable wartime service is told in: James P. Jones, Black Jack: John A. Logan and Southern Illinois in the Civil War Era.

July 28, 1864
Sherman attempts to cut Confederate ability to escape Atlanta at the Battle of
Ezra Church. The 15th Army Corps commanded by Illinois Gen. John A. Logan is heavily involved.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For accounts of the full battle see: Albert E. Castel, Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864; Richard M. McMurry, Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy.

July 30, 1864
The 29th U. S. Colored Infantry, composed largely of men from Illinois, fights in the battle of the Crater outside of Petersburg, Virginia.

   For a full history of the 29th see: Edward A. Miller, The Black Civil War Soldiers of Illinois: The Story of the Twenty-ninth U.S. Colored Infantry.

August 1864
The Ladies' Soldiers' Aid Society of Peoria makes 370 hospital garments to be distributed by the U. S. Christian Commission, using cloth provided by the Commission.

August 4, 1864
Many Illinoisans observe the "day of national humiliation and prayer" declared by President Lincoln on July 7 at the urging of Congress.

August 8, 1864
The need to meet the state's military quota leads Gov. Richard Yates to issue a proclamation ordering that men recruiting in Illinois for the units of other states stop at once or face arrest.

August 31, 1864
Gen. John B. Hood attacks Federal forces at Jonesboro, Georgia, in an attempt to save Atlanta.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For accounts of the full battle see: Albert E. Castel, Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864; Richard M. McMurry, Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy.

August 31, 1864
The
Democratic national convention meeting in Chicago nominates Gen. George B. McClellan for president.

September 1864
U. S. officials offer Confederate prisoners of war at Rock Island the opportunity to take an oath of loyalty and enlist for military service against Native Americans in the West. Hundreds do so over the next months. Thousands do not.

   A full history of the Rock Island prison is: Benton McAdams, Rebels at Rock Island: The Story of a Civil War Prison.

September 1864
One regiment of infantry is mustered into service. Appropriations to provide enlistment incentives or "bounties" are approved by the boards of supervisors in some counties, including Grundy, Lee, Whiteside, and Will. Continued calls for men to enter service have greatly reduced the male workforce in many areas. One Whiteside County resident remembered that the area "was drained of able bodied men to such an extent that it was with difficulty that the crops were gathered." The draft process begins in some Congressional districts where volunteering quotas have not been met.

September 1, 1864
Confederate John B. Hood evacuates Atlanta. Gen. William T. Sherman occupies the city the following day. Many historians believe that the capture of the city played a vital role in the reelection of Abraham Lincoln as president two months later.

September 11, 1864
Many Illinoisans observe the day of thanksgiving declared by President Lincoln on September 3 to honor the victories at Mobile, Alabama, and the capture of Atlanta, Georgia.

September 12-18, 1864
The Illinois State Agricultural Society holds its annual fair at Decatur. A new category of premium award is for “Best Artificial Leg.” The Illinois State Sanitary Commission holds a sanitary fair in conjunction with the event.

   For more on the 1864 sanitary fair see Jane Martin Johns, Personal Recollections of Early Decatur, Abraham Lincoln, Richard J. Oglesby and the Civil War (Decatur, 1912), pp. 224-40.
http://www.archive.org/details/personalrecollec00john

September 16, 1864
Women of the Soldiers' Aid Society of Edgington (Rock Island County) hold a festival. "Those differing in religious and political sentiment were united. . . ." About $245 is raised.

September 24, 1864
Soldiers of the 108th U. S. Colored Infantry regiment arrive at Rock Island to begin duty guarding Confederate prisoners.

   A full history of the Rock Island prison, including the posting of the 108th USCI, is: Benton McAdams, Rebels at Rock Island: The Story of a Civil War Prison.

Fall 1864
Some county agricultural societies hold fairs, among them Greene, Grundy, Stark, St. Clair, and Tazewell. Peoria again will not, as "our buildings and grounds were, most of the time, during the war, used for barracks for soldiers."

October 1864
Women of Camden Mills (Rock Island County) form a soldiers' aid society. One regiment of infantry is mustered into service.

October 5, 1864
Confederate forces attack Allatoona, Georgia, hoping to break Gen. William T. Sherman's supply line to Atlanta. The outnumbered Federal troops, among them
Illinoisans armed with Henry repeating rifles, hold the position.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For the 7th Illinois Infantry's story of Allatoona see: D. Lieb Ambrose, History of the Seventh Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry, from Its First Muster into the Service, April 25, 1861, to Its Final Muster Out, July 9, 1865, ch. 15 (digital format: www.archive.org/details/historyofseventh00ambr ) See also full studies of the campaign: Albert E. Castel, Decision in the West: The Atlanta Campaign of 1864; Richard M. McMurry, Atlanta 1864: Last Chance for the Confederacy.

November 8, 1864
Abraham Lincoln is re-elected president, defeating Democrat George B. McClellan. The vote in Illinois is 54.4% for Lincoln, 45.6% for McClellan.

In state elections the Republicans win 12 seats in the U. S. Congress to the Democrats' 2. Republicans take all statewide executive offices, beginning with Richard J. Oglesby of Decatur (Macon County) elected governor. The Republicans win 14 seats in the Illinois Senate, the Democrats 11. The Republicans take 51 seats in the Illinois House to 34 for the Democrats.

November 15, 1864
Federal troops commanded by Gen. William T. Sherman
destroy public facilities and military materiel before departing Atlanta for the Atlantic coast the following day. Over 40 Illinois regiments take part in what becomes known as Sherman's March to the Sea.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops in the march see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. Histories of the march include: Noah A. Trudeau, Southern Storm: Sherman's March to the Sea.

November 15-17, 1864
The La Salle County Sanitary Fair is held at Ottawa. Concern for the many local men wounded during the summer and fall campaign drove sponsors in an effort to "do more than we ever had for the brave but suffering defenders of our country."

November 24, 1864
Many Illinoisans observe the "day of Thanksgiving and Praise" declared by President Lincoln.

November 30, 1864
Gen. John B. Hood's Confederate army attacks Federal troops at Franklin, Tennessee. The Confederates are repulsed with heavy losses after savage fighting.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops see Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For a full account of the battle see: James Lee McDonough and Thomas L. Connelly, Five Tragic Hours: The Battle of Franklin; Wiley Sword, The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville.

December 10, 1864
Gen. William T. Sherman's army, which left Atlanta on November 16, arrives at the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia. Confederates evacuate the city on December 20.

   For a full history of the operation see Joseph T. Glatthaar, The March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman's Troops in the Savannah and Carolinas Campaigns.

December 15-16, 1864
The U. S. army under Gen. George H. Thomas destroys the Confederate force commanded by Gen. John B. Hood in battle at Nashville, Tennessee. After-action reports tally casualties in Illinois units as: more than 40 killed, 330 wounded, 20 captured or missing.

   For the involvement of Illinois troops see Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For a full account of the battle see: James Lee McDonough, Nashville: The Western Confederacy's Final Gamble; Wiley Sword, The Confederacy's Last Hurrah: Spring Hill, Franklin, and Nashville.

December 19, 1864
President Lincoln issues a call for 300,000 volunteers to serve for terms of one, two, or three years. Illinois' quota is 32,902. Enlistments number 28,324.

In order to encourage volunteering and avoid the embarrassment of a draft many county boards and towns vote larger-than-ever enlistment incentives.

December 21, 1864
President Lincoln issues a call for 300,000 volunteers. The Illinois quota is 32,902. Enlistees number 28,318.

December 29, 1864
Women in Elmwood (Peoria County) hold a festival to benefit soldier relief efforts.

Late 1864
D. D. Shumway of the Christian County Agricultural Society reports with concern a decrease of 9,000 "acres of cultivation in the last three years ... [which] exhibits the drain of the great war upon the labor of the country... many acres, formerly in cultivation, must have been turned to meadow as pasture."