January 1, 1862
Three batteries of light artillery are mustered into the service. Approximately 55,000 Illinoisans are in the military service.


January 7, 1862
A constitutional convention convenes in Springfield. The resulting document would, among other things, reduce the power of banks and corporations, and restrict the rights of African Americans living in Illinois while preventing the entry of others from outside the state. The proposed constitution is rejected by voters in a June election.

For more on the convention see: Jack Nortrup, “Yates, the Prorogued Legislature, and the Constitutional Convention,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 62:1 (Spring 1969): 5-34; Arthur C. Cole, The Era of The Civil War, 1848-1870, Centennial History of Illinois, vol. 3, p. 266-72.

February 1862
Three regiments of infantry and seven batteries of light artillery are mustered into the service. The U.S. government occupies the old Illinois penitentiary at Alton for use as a military prison. At points almost 2,000 men at a time are held here. A smallpox epidemic ravages the facility from the fall of 1863 into 1864.

February 6, 1862
Fort Henry, Tennessee, is captured by U.S. naval forces operating on the Tennessee River. A combined forces operation was planned by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, but Confederates surrender before Grant’s troops are in place. During the war an estimated 3,000 Illinoisans serve in the U. S. Navy, mostly on vessels operating on the western rivers.

For a detailed overall study of the campaign see: Benjamin Franklin Cooling, Forts Henry and Donelson: The Key to the Confederate Heartland. A full study of wartime naval action, including those on the western rivers, is: Bern Anderson, By Sea and By River: The Naval History of the Civil War. Histories of individual U.S. Navy vessels are found in: U.S. Navy Department Naval History Division, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

February 15, 1862
Confederate troops holding Fort Donelson, Tennessee, attempt to break through Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s forces surrounding the works. Illinois leaders and regiments play crucial roles in the battle. After-action reports tally casualties in Illinois units as: over 380 killed, 1,400 wounded, and 200 captured or missing. The attack is unsuccessful and the fort surrenders on February 16. About 10,000 prisoners are sent to Camp Butler near Springfield, and Camp Douglas outside of Chicago.

For the involvement of Illinois troops in the battle see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For a detailed overall study of the campaign see: Benjamin Franklin Cooling, Forts Henry and Donelson: The Key to the Confederate Heartland.

February 17, 1862 
Gov. Yates is on way to Fort Donelson with Auditor Jesse Dubois, Sec. of State Ozias Hatch, and John Wood. “Many sad hearts today, but a glorious victory. People by thousands on the road and at the stations, with flags, and shouting with joy. Thank God, our Union is safe now and forever. Send surgeons, friends and clothing for the wounded.” This begins the first of the relief operations for which Yates becomes famous.

February 18, 1862 
Gen. Henry Halleck informs Gov. Yates that 3,000 prisoners from Fort Donelson will be sent to Camp Butler near Springfield, and another 3,000 to Camp Douglas near Chicago. Yates telegraphs that “We think it is unsafe to send prisoners to Springfield, Ill.; there are so many secessionists at that place.” Illinois Adjt. Gen. Fuller telegraphs to Halleck from Chicago that the state has a lease of Camp Douglas to May 1. “Shall I renew it . . . and prepare it immediately for prisoners? And if so when will it be wanted? It will accommodate 7,000.”

February 21, 1862
The first Confederate prisoners of war arrive at Camp Douglas, outside of Chicago. In early 1863 the camp’s death rate reached 10%, among the highest in any Civil War POW facility.

Much has been written about Camp Douglas. Camp Douglas’ history is told in: George Levy, To Die in Chicago: Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65; Theodore J. Karamanski, Rally ‘Round the Flag: Chicago and the Civil War, ch. 5.

Mid-February 1862 
Illinoisans on some railroad lines see Confederates captured at Fort Donelson as they head for Camp Butler or Camp Douglas. A Joliet resident remembered: “Crowds of our citizens were, of course, attracted to the depot to take a look at the conquered rebs.”

February 22, 1862
The first Confederate prisoners of war arrive at Camp Butler, located near Springfield. Prisoners are held for periods until May 1863. Over 880 died, 200 escaped, and 330 released upon taking an oath of allegiance to the United States.

See William S. Peterson, A History of Camp Butler, 1861-1866, Illinois Historical Journal 82:2 (Summer 1989): 74-92.

February 25, 1862 
President Lincoln signs the legal tender law, which creates the first U.S. national currency the value of which is not linked to gold at a fixed rate. Over the next years the value of the currency, often called “greenbacks,” will vary wildly.

March 1862
Some citizens of western Illinois angered by refugee African Americans moving into their localities threaten to bring suit under the state’s Black Laws, passed in the 1850s to prevent black immigration into Illinois. Two regiments of infantry are mustered into the service.

March 4, 1862
Women in Peoria organize the Ladies’ Soldiers’ Aid Society. By the end of the war the society will collect for the use of soldiers in the field and in hospitals: 3,547 hospital garments, 1,300 pounds of dried fruits, 218 cans of fruit, 736 quarts of tomatoes, 453 gallons of pickles, 140 gallons of blackberry cordial, 170 gallons of sauerkraut, and smaller amounts of other foods.

March 7-8, 1862
The battle of Pea Ridge is fought in northwest Arkansas. Several Illinois units take a part. After-action reports tally casualties in Illinois units as over 60 killed, 300 wounded, 98 captured or missing.

For the involvement of Illinois troops in the battle see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. For a detailed study of the battle see: William L. Shea and Earl J. Hess, Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West.

March 15, 1862
Citizens of Toulon (Stark County) meet at the courthouse to form the Toulon Sanitary Committee to assist in “the relief of such soldiers of Stark County as may be wounded in battle” and to discuss sending relief to “our wounded” of the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas.

April 1862 
Two regiments of infantry are mustered into the service.

April 6-7, 1862
U. S. and Confederate forces fight the battle of Shiloh at Pittsburgh Landing, Tennessee. The Federal commander, Gen. Ulysses Grant of Galena (Jo Daviess County), and a number of his leading subordinates hail from Illinois. A number of Illinois regiments are badly mauled. After-action reports tally casualties in Illinois units as over 700 killed, 3,100 wounded, and 890 captured or missing.

The role of Illinois troops in is described in: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. The Shiloh Battlefield Commission (Illinois) report, Illinois at Shiloh (digital format http://www.archive.org/details/illinoisatshiloh00illi) contains information about troop positions and the monuments marking them. Full studies of the battle include: Edward Cunningham,Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862; James L. McDonough, Shiloh: In Hell before Night; Wiley Sword, Shiloh: Bloody April.

April 7, 1862
Federal troops under the command of Illinoisan John Pope, assisted by naval forces, capture Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River, opening the river south to Memphis.

April 10, 1862 
President Lincoln issues a proclamation calling on all to, on their next day of worship, give thanks for recent military success and “implore spiritual consolations in behalf of all who have been brought into affliction” by the war. He also approves a congressional resolution that called for gradual emancipation of slaves by the individual states.

On hearing of the casualties at the battle of Shiloh, Gov. Yates has chartered of the steamboat Black Hawk to carry foods, medicines, and hospital supplies to be used in caring for Illinois troops wounded at the battle of Shiloh. Over the next weeks the Black Hawk and the City of Alton are used by Gov. Yates to deliver more relief goods and remove Illinois casualties from the battlefront.

April 16, 1862 
President Lincoln signs a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia.

May 1862
Gen. Henry W. Halleck’s U.S. army, including a number of Illinois units, conducts a campaign to capture the rail center of Corinth, Mississippi. Confederates evacuate the city on May 30. One regiment of infantry is mustered into service.

May 2, 1862
One regiment of infantry is mustered into service. Federal troops, including the 19th and 24th Illinois Infantry regiments, attack and recapture Athens, Alabama, which had fallen to Confederates the day before. U.S. troops, believing that they had been fired on the day before from private homes and by civilians, destroy large amounts of private property as revenge. The incident is a symptom of the changing government policy toward Confederate civilian property and, on both sides of the struggle, a hardening of feeling toward the enemy.

For more see: George C. Bradley and Richard L. Dahlen, From Conciliation to Conquest: The Sack of Athens and the Court-Martial Colonel John B. Turchin; Mark Grimsley, The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861-1865; Harry Stout, Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War.

May 20, 1862 
President Lincoln signs the Homestead Act into law. It deeds lots of 160 acres of public domain land to actual settlers who occupy and improve them.

May 25, 1862 
Illinois, New York, and Indiana are given special permission to furnish men for a three-month term. Illinois sends 4,696 into the service.

June 1862 
Three regiments of infantry and one battery of light artillery are mustered into service.

June 6, 1862 
Memphis, Tennessee, is captured by U.S. naval and land forces. The city becomes an important base for future operations down the Mississippi. Large hospitals established there will care for thousands of sick and wounded Illinois troops.

June 19, 1862 
President Lincoln signs into law a bill ending slavery in the territories of the United States.

June 25, 1862 
A meeting at Pekin creates an organization called the Union League. Its purpose is to strengthen civilian morale, prevent what it perceives as subversion by those sympathetic to secession, and to support the election of Republicans.

June 28, 1862 
Vessels commanded by U. S. admiral David G. Farragut steam up this Mississippi River and pass the powerful guns at Vicksburg. While the passage is successful it is clear that the navy alone cannot capture the city, which will not fall until July 4, 1863, after a campaign of several months.

July 1862 
Two regiments of infantry and one battery of light artillery are mustered into service. During July and August appropriations to provide enlistment incentives or “bounties” are approved by the boards of supervisors in several counties. Many provide more funds for the support of soldiers’ families.

July 1, 1862 
President Lincoln issues a call for 300,000 new volunteers. Illinois’ quota is 26,148. Enlistments number 58,689. The call came following the failure of the so-called Peninsular Campaign to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. An Illinoisan recalled that “It was, alas! evident that the backbone of the rebellion was still sound. A deep feeling of anxiety pervaded the public mind. . . . The north was for a moment almost disheartened.”

July 1, 1862 
President Lincoln signs an income tax into law. It charges 3% on annual incomes between $600 and $10,000, and 5% on incomes over $10,000.

July 14, 1862 
President Lincoln signs a bill creating a system of pensions for men disabled by service and for the next-of-kin to those who die in service. Thousands of Illinoisan will benefit. Lincoln also presents a message to Congress suggesting a law that would compensate states that abolish slavery.

July 22-26, 1862 
A large field trial of harvesting implements and other machines is held near Dixon (Lee County). For a report of the trial see Transactions of the Illinois State Agricultural Society vol. 5, 1861-64, pp. 218-41. http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015073297049

August 1862 
Sixteen regiments of infantry and three batteries of light artillery are mustered into service.

August 4, 1862 
President Lincoln orders a draft of 300,000 men to fill the ranks if voluntary enlistment does not succeed. The cash enlistment incentives or “bounties” offered by states and counties bring in volunteers enough that this draft is not needed.

Mid-August 1862 
The recruiting and organization of new regiments creates a huge workload for state officials. “The rush of business to the Executive and Adjutant General’s offices never before was anything like what it is at present. From early morning till late in the night, there is a constant crowd in attendance from all parts of the State.”

August 21, 1862 
“[I]t is absolutely necessary to procure a pass from the Governor before persons can go beyond the limits of the State. The order from the War Department on this subject is imperative, and is intended to prevent any evasion or escape from the impending draft.”

August 28, 1862 
The Springfield Soldiers Aid Society issues a first annual report of its activities. A full-text transcription of this revealing report can be found at: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.3162:1.lincoln

August 29-30, 1862
U. S. forces under command of Illinoisan John Pope are defeated at Second Bull Run in Virginia.

September 1862 
Twenty-nine regiments of infantry and one of cavalry are mustered into service.

September 2, 1862 
The threat of Confederate movement to the north leads Gen. Horatio Wright to write Gov. Yates: “It is of last importance that fifteen regiments be sent from Illinois at once. Seize all transportation and send them forward as fast as possible. . . . It is of the utmost importance that all forces in your control be sent to this city [Louisville, KY] immediately.”

September 16, 1862 
Panic in Washington, D.C., leads Gen. Horatio Wright to write northern governors including Yates to hurry newly-raised troops “as fast as they can be mustered and armed. The rebels are passing rapidly northward and must be met with larger forces than we yet have. Every day is of importance.”

September 4, 1862
The 95th Illinois Infantry is mustered into the service at Camp Fuller outside of Rockford. Privates in the regiment include a woman serving under the name Albert D. J. Cashier, and the well-known African American antislavery lecturer H. Ford Douglass.

For more on these two interesting private soldiers see: Rodney O. Davis, “Private Albert Cashier as Regarded by His/Her Comrades,” Illinois Historical Journal 82:2 (Summer 1989): 108-12; Gerhard P. Clausius, “The Little Soldier of the 95th: Albert D. J. Cashier,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 51 (1958): 380-87; and Robert L. Harris, Jr., “H. Ford Douglass: Afro-American Antislavery Emigrationist,” Journal of Negro History 62 (1977): 217-34.

September 17, 1862
The battle of Antietam is fought near Sharpsburg, Maryland.

September 22, 1862
President Lincoln issues a preliminary emancipation proclamation, which will free slaves held in states or portions of states that on January 1, 1863, remain in rebellion against Federal authority.

Fall 1862 
Annual agricultural fairs are held in some counties, including Stark, St. Clair, and Winnebago. Other county agricultural societies decide against holding fairs due to the effort involved in recruiting and organizing troops. They include Grundy, Morgan, Peoria, Randolph, Schuyler, Tazewell, and Vermilion.

October 3-4, 1862
The battle of Corinth, Mississippi, is fought. Federal forces of Gen. William S. Rosecrans, including several Illinois units, fend off the attacks of Confederate generals Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price. After-action reports tally casualties in Illinois units as more than 70 killed, 520 wounded, and 150 missing. A full study of the battle is: Peter Cozzens, The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth.

October 8, 1862
The battle of Perryville, Kentucky, is fought. It is the first action for many Illinois regiments raised during the past summer. After-action reports tally casualties in Illinois units as: over 160 killed, 675 wounded, 110 captured or missing.

For the involvement of Illinois troops in the battle see: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. A full study of the battle is: Kenneth W. Noe, Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle.

October 20, 1862 
President Lincoln orders Democratic politician Gen. John A. McClernand of Illinois to organize troops from Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa for an expedition under McClernand’s command to capture Vicksburg, Mississippi. The operation will conflict with that of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, causing frayed tempers.

November 1862 
Three regiments of infantry and one battery of light artillery are mustered into service.

November 4, 1862
Illinois holds congressional and state legislative elections. Democrats win 9 seats in the U.S. House to the Republicans’ 5. The Democrats win a majority of 1 in the Illinois Senate and of 28 in the House.

December 1862 
One regiment of infantry is mustered into service.

December 7, 1862
A sharp battle at Hartsville, Tennessee, results in capture of 104th Illinois Infantry.

December 13, 1862
A citizen of Geneseo (Henry County) is upset by the small amount of money given by the county to support soldiers’ families. County money has been appropriated but the amount so small that a mother and five children receive $6 per month in aid. “Is this the feast their families were invited to last summer, when you and I were urging the husband and father of these families to enlist in the Union army?”

December 20, 1862 
Confederates raid the Federal supply depot at Holly Springs, Mississippi. This and similar strikes disrupt Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s planned campaign to capture Vicksburg.

December 21, 1862
Boxes of food, clothing, and other items donated by citizens of La Salle County towns of Ottawa, Serena, Dayton, Northville, Rutland, Bruce, Allen, Manlius, and Farm Ridge are sent to the Chicago office of the U.S. Sanitary Commission as “The La Salle County Christmas Gift to the Soldiers.”

December 29, 1862
Battle at Chickasaw Bayou, Mississippi, opens Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s campaign to capture Vicksburg.

The participation of Illinoisans in the campaign is discussed in: Victor Hicken, Illinois in the Civil War. Extended accounts of the battle and the larger campaign are: William L. Shea and Terrence J. Winschel, Vicksburg is Key: The Struggle for the Mississippi River; Terrence J. Winschel, Triumph and Defeat: The Vicksburg Campaign.

December 31, 1862-January 2, 1863
Battle of Stones River is fought near Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A number of Illinois units provide distinguished service, 19th Illinois Infantry earning fame for its crossing of the river to save the Federal right wing. After-action reports tally casualties in Illinois units as: over 400 killed, 1,700 wounded, 870 captured or missing