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Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery

"A battery of field artillery is worth a thousand muskets" General William Tecumseh Sherman

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Rollin G. Harmon

Rollin G. Harmon was born around 1843 in Astabula, Ohio. He enlisted in Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery on August 6, 1861 and was mustered in on October 5 at the rank of corporal. Sometime during the summer of 1862, he was promoted to sergeant. From September 16, 1863 through December 1863, he was absent on medical furlough, returning to his family in Ohio, due to ague and weakness so severe that he was “unable to sit up for more than 15-20 minutes.” In January, he reenlisted, at which time he was described as being 6 feet tall, with gray eyes, and light hair and complexion. His residence at the time was Sycamore, Illinois. After his return to the battery, he was promoted again, this time to 2nd Lieutenant on March 14, 1864. In April, he took his veteran’s furlough. In the fall, he was raised to the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He was mustered out in September 1865.

After the war, Harmon continued in the military, joining Company D [regiment not given] U.S. Infantry on April 25, 1866, serving until April 4, 1869. He married Mary Sophia Quicksall on October 10, 1878 in Chicago. She was the widow of Samuel Quicksall of [Fort?] Wayne, Indiana, who died Dec. 16, 1871 on the Wabash Railroad near Huntington, Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Harmon apparently had no children. Rollin served as a member of the Chicago Fire Department, where he was more commonly known as George R. Harmon; it is not known if he helped combat the famous conflagration of October 1871.

Rollin died of consumption (tuberculosis) on December 15, 1883, and was buried at Chicago’s Rosehill Cemetery. At the time of his death, he was living at 408 Wabash Ave. In January 1884, his body was disinterred and shipped to Ohio.

Sometime in 1898 – perhaps as early as July, or as late as November, Joseph O’Donahue was appointed Mary’s guardian by the Cook County Probate Court. Mary was sent to Illinois Eastern Hospital for the Insane at Kankakee, Illinois. She died Oct. 27, 1900.

SOURCES: Rollin Harmon military and pension records, National Archives, made possible through a generous donation by Larry Werline.

Samuel S. Garst

Samuel Garst was born October 15, 1839 at Jonesborough, Washington Co. Tennessee. It is unknown when he came to Illinois.

He was mustered into service at Camp Butler, Springfield, Illinois on January 4, 1862. He gave his residence at enlistment as Girard, Illinois. He spent the first months of his service driving mules, then was absent for a few months, sick. His regular task in the battery appears to have been that of driver, according to later testimony of a comrade. He, along with many other men in the battery, suffered from malaria while at Vicksburg. His illness was treated with two quinine tablets, sometimes taken with whiskey. He reenlisted in January 1864, and was described at the time as 5 feet, 11 inches tall, with grey eyes, light hair, and a light complexion. He was promoted to corporal in March. While on duty near Holly Springs, on August 28, 1864, he was captured by Rebel forces. He described his capture: “I was at Selma Cahaba and Mount Gamry [sic – Montgomery] al and at Macon & Andesonvil [sic] Ga was down at Macon Ga about a month Doctor Gardner gave me medicine but I got away from Andersonville in March 65 and got to Wilson Cavalry near Macon Ga. Some time in May I was sent home and stayed there” until the rest of the battery returned home to Springfield and was mustered out. Despite his absence from the battery, Garst was still promoted to sergeant on November 1, 1864.

After the war, Samuel suffered almost constantly from rheumatism, in later years becoming so incapacitated that he could hardly feed himself. Despite his suffering, the army was reluctant to grant him a pension in later years, because there were no official medical records documenting his case from the war. Finally, Garst’s pension came through as a direct act of Congress in 1906.

After the war, Garst lived in Girard, Illinois from 1865 until 1903. He married Nancy Elizabeth Thacker on March 1, 1866 at Nilwood, Macoupin Co., Illinois. They had at least 7 children who survived to adulthood: Mary, Ida V., Samuel L., Nancy A., Charles M., Ethel M., Jesse T., and probably had another unknown son who may have died in infancy. In 1903, Garst moved to Leeds, North Dakota, where he lived until 1907, moving to Monrovia, California where he resided until at least 1920. He died on July 5, 1926.

SOURCES: Samuel S. Garst military service and pension record files, National Archives.

Salmon Clothier

Salmon Clothier was born March 23, 1841 near Brockville, Canada West. He enlisted with the battery on September 1, 1861 at Rockford. At the time of his enlistment, Salmon gave his occupation as a farmer, and was described as being 5’8” with blue eyes, auburn hair, and light complexion. His residence at enlistment was Kishwaukee, Winnebago County, Illinois.

Like most soldiers, he had bouts of illness. From September to November 1863, he was absent on sick furlough to Rockford, Illinois, where he was diagnosed with intermittent fever and jaundice. Back with his unit, he reenlisted on December 4, 1863 at Vicksburg, and on December 13, 1863 he was promoted directly from private to sergeant, bypassing the rank of corporal completely. He was mustered out with the rest of the battery on September 4, 1865.

After the war, Salmon continued to be plagued with health problems. Fellow battery member Jacob W.B. Fort stated after the war that he treated Clothier at Vicksburg for “disease of lungs, stomach and kidnies.” Clothier complained that he was “troubled with occasional attacks of bleeding from the lungs,” which he claimed began at Vicksburg. Battery member Guy T. Gould “was in the same Co. & mess & Tent with him for 3 years” and testified to Clothier’s illness during the war.

Salmon never married. After the war, from 1866 to 1887, he lived in Chicago, where he was neighbors with fellow battery member Hananiah Hemingway. Salmon then moved to Imperial, Chase County, Nebraska in 1887, where he resided until his death. He may have lived for a short time in 1890-91 at Champion, Chase County, Nebraska, and may have gone to California briefly around or before 1912. He was a member of G.A.R. Post #301 in Nebraska. He died on February 26, 1916 at Imperial, Nebraska, and is buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery at Imperial.

SOURCES: Salmon Clothier military service and pension record files, National Archives; correspondence to and reply from Chase Co. Historical Society regarding burial site of Clothier; “Obituary Report,” Journal of the Forty-First Annual Encampment of the Department of Nebraska Grand Army of the Republic, Held at Columbus, Nebraska, May 16, 17, 18, 1917. Made up by A.M. Trimble, Asst. Adjt. Gen’l. State House, Lincoln, Nebraska.

HOW CPL. SAMUEL J. CHURCHILL EARNED THE MEDAL OF HONOR

Cpl. Samuel J. Churchill was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1897 for his actions at the Battle of Nashville, December 15, 1864. While the men of his detachment sought shelter from an enemy barrage, Churchill “stood manfully at his post,” singlehandedly loading and firing 11 rounds from his cannon before help arrived. An impressive task for any man, this action is particularly remarkable when one considers that a fully staffed Civil War artillery piece had a crew of 8 men to conduct loading, aiming, and firing procedures.


– – IN HIS OWN WORDS – –

excerpted from his book, _Genealogy and Biography of the Connecticut Branch of the Churchill Family in America_ (Lawrence, KS: Journal Publishing, 1901), pp. 75-76.
This material is in the public domain.

[The Union army began to engage Southern forces just outside of the city of Nashville, Tennessee.]

On December 14, 1864, the Union line advanced and attacked the rebel army in their fortifications. We had to march for some distance under a galling fire from the enemy before we could get our battery in position. Number one, of my gun detachment, seemed very anxious to get into the fight. He would hug the cannon with both arms and say, “We’ll give it to ’em, won’t we, old Bett?” Old Bett was his pet name for the gun. Our battery was ordered in position on high ground in plain view of two rebel batteries, on to our right and the other directly in front, about 240 yards distant, which were doing their best to dislodge the Union forces, and several men and horses were killed before we could get our battery in position. My gun, a 12-pound Napoleon, was located about eight feet to the right of a large brick house. At the command “load!” number one of the cannoneers (referred to above) took the sponge staff, sponged the gun, and while waiting for number five to come up with the ammunition, a volley from the rebel batteries caused him to become terror stricken. He dropped his sponge staff and ran behind the brick house. His terror spread to the other cannoneers, who also fled, and neither command or entreaty could move them to return to their gun. It was there that I won my medal of honor. In the face of a terrible rain of shot and shell from the enemy I loaded and fired my gun eleven times alone before assistance came. The rebel batteries were silenced and driven back and the Union forces took an advanced position.


– – ARMY CITATION – –

from _War of the Rebellion: The Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies_,
Series I, Vol. XLV, part I, p.492.
Report of Col. E.H. Wolfe,
Commanding Third Brigade, Second Division, Army of the Tennessee Detachment.

Near Columbia, Tenn., December 23, 1864

Inasmuch as all the batteries of this division were placed under the immediate control of Captain Lowell, G Battery, Second Illinois, acting as chief of artillery, during the two days, I have not referred to the action of my [brigade’s] battery during either day, though I have personal knowledge of the valuable services rendered and the crushing execution done by this battery. The battery was engaged constantly during the two days, and the conduct of the officers and men at all times was such as to merit approval. Corpl. Samuel J. Churchill, of this battery, commanding one gun detachment, is highly commended for distinguished bravery displayed on the first day. At a time when two of the enemy’s batteries opened upon his guns, compelling for a short time the men of his detachment to seek the protection of the ground, this young soldier stood manfully up to his work, and for some minutes worked his gun alone.


– – AWARD LETTER – –

– – FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT – –

as excerpted from Samuel J. Churchill’s book, _Genealogy and Biography of the Connecticut Branch of the Churchill Family in America_ (Lawrence, KS: Journal Publishing, 1901), pp. 76-77.
This material is in the public domain.

WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON CITY, January 20, 1897
Mr. Samuel J. Churchill, Late Corporal Battery G, Second Illinois Light Artillery:
SIR: I have the honor to inform you that, by direction of the President and in accordance with the act of Congress, approved March 3, 1863, providing for the presentation of medals of honor to such officers, non-commissioned officers and privates as have most distinguished themselves in action, the Assistant Secretary of War has awarded you a medal of honor for most distinguished gallentry in action at the battle of Nashville, Tennessee, December 15, 1864.

. . . .

This non-commissioned officer, commanding one gun detachment, and when the enemy’s batteries opened upon his gun compelling the men of his detachment for a short time to seek shelter, stood manfully at his post and for some minutes worked his gun alone.


– – A COMRADE – –

– – COMES TO HIS ASSISTANCE – –

excerpted from the book, _Genealogy and Biography of the Connecticut Branch of the Churchill Family in America_ by Samuel J. Churchill, (Lawrence, KS: Journal Publishing, 1901), pp. 77-79.
This material is in the public domain.

LAWRENCE, KANSAS, January 25, 1897
Chief of the Record of Pension Office, War Department, Washington, D.C.:
DEAR COLONEL: Yours of January 20 was received the 22d, and the medal was received the 23d. I am very happy to be accounted worthy to receive such an honor, and I assure you that I appreciated it very highly and thank you most sincerely. I just want to say to you that there was a private soldier in my battery that deserves a medal of honor as much or more than I did. It was at the battle of Nashville, December 15, 1864; he was the wheel driver of the caisson and his position at the time was comparitively out of danger. He saw my situation as I was manning the gun alone, and asked permission of the lieutenant to come and help me, which was given and he came boldly up where the missiles of death were flying thick and fast and said to me, “Let me help you; the lieutenant says I can.” I never was so glad to see a man as I was to see him. He took the sponge staff and went to work like an old warrior, and he was ever after that my number one of the gun detachment, and the number one that left me had to take his place as driver. That was true gallantry. His name was J.A. Thorp, private, Battery G, Second Illinois Light Artillery. I have not heard from him since the war, and know not if he is dead or alive. I shall always hold him in grateful remembrance as a true and brave patriot.
Thanking you again for your kind remembrance, I am very truly,
SAMUEL J. CHURCHILL
This letter was published and copied by many papers all over the country, and finally I received the following letter from the man himself:

MONTROSE, KANSAS, February 6.
Samuel J. Churchill:
FRIEND AND COMRADE: In reply to your letter of inquiry, which has been published, will say that J.A. Thorp is still in the land of the living and well. I came to Kansas in the spring of 1883, and settled here in Jewell county. My occupation is farming. For a good many years I have been trying to locate some of the Battery G boys, but never have succeeded in hearing from any of them until I saw your letter, and it came to me in such a way that it does me lots of good ­ it revives old memories. I congratulate you for the medal of honor that has been awarded you for your heroism at the battle of Nashville, Tennessee, December 15, 1864. It was the men that stood by their guns in the heat of battle that won the victory, not the skulkers. And when number one dropped the sponge staff and skulked to the rear and you were left alone, I could hardly wait for my relief to come, and when I took that sponge staff there wasn’t a man on earth that felt any better than I did. If you remember I pulled my jacket off and rolled up my sleeves as if I was going to chop wood. I really thought for a while that we were going to get the worst of it, but the victory was ours, and the old battle stained flag ­ Stars and Stripes ­ looked brighter than ever before.
I must say that words are inadequate to express my gratitude for the part that you have taken in my behalf, and if I should succeed in obtaining a medal it will be through your kindness. Give me the address of as many of the battery boys as you know, as I would like to hear from every one of them. Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain as ever,
Your friend,

JAMES A. THORP
Formerly of Battery G, Second Illinois Light Artillery

I have seen this comrade several times since and have done my best to get him a medal, but have failed for the reason that no “special mention” was made in the offical war records of what he did.


Medal

Medal of Honor awarded to Samuel J. Churchill
posted here with permission of Taylor Owen, a descendent.


READ MORE ABOUT THE MEDAL OF HONOR AT THESE SITES:

HISTORY OF THE MEDAL OF HONOR
LIST OF MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS, ALL WARS

LIST OF MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS, CIVIL WAR, A-L

-LIST OF MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS, CIVIL WAR, M-Z

LIST OF MEDAL OF HONOR WINNERS, ILLINOIS

Samuel J. Churchill

ChurchillWar
Samuel J. Churchill undated photograph posted here with permission of Taylor Owen, a descendent

When war broke out in 1861, Samuel J. Churchill had just arrived in Illinois. He was born in 1842 in Vermont, where he lived on a farm until heading west at the age of 18. He was among the first to answer the call to supress the rebellion of the Southern states, enlisting in early August of 1861 at DeKalb. In May of 1864 he was promoted to Corporal, and by the end of the war, held the rank of Quartermaster Sergeant.

Churchill’s most notable event of the war occurred during the Battle of Nashville in December of 1864. The battery came under heavy fire, and for a time, the men of his detachment were permitted to seek shelter. However, Cpl. Churchill singlehandedly manned his cannon, firing several rounds with great effect, before the rest of the men of his detachment returned to their posts. For his herioc efforts, Churchill was awarded the MEDAL OF HONOR in 1897.

After the war, Churchill moved to Lee’s Summit, Missouri, where he was one of the few “Union men” in town. He later moved to Lawrence, Kansas, where he found a friendlier environment. He was very active in civic and veterans’ affairs, holding several offices at the local and state level in the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) veterans’ organization. He died on June 5, 1932.

SOURCES: Battery G Muster Rolls from Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; The Bravest of the Brave: A Biography on the Life and Times of Cpl. Samuel J. Churchill by Cpl. Jeffrey A. Lovett (Dixon, IL: privately printed, Dec. 1991).

 

About the photos

Due to the apparent absence of any rank insignia, this photo was almost certainly taken before May of 1864, when Churchill was promoted to corporal. Perhaps this is an early war photograph, taken shortly after enlistment. Note the detail on his cap that looks very much like crossed sabers (denoting cavalry). Churchill also appears to be carrying a sword, rather than the heavier, curved artillery saber. His uniform is not the typical shell jacket used by most artillery units during the war. The battery may have been issued these uniforms while guarding the armory at Springfield, Illinois and the crossed cavalry sabers (if they are such) may be indicative of the battery’s early identity as the DeKalb Horse Artillery.

Here are two photos probably taken after the war, undated photograph in civilian dress ChurchillCivln       ChurchillCivlnZm
posted here with permission of Taylor Owen, a descendent.

Members

Captain Patrick J. DeGeorge

 DaveEisele 1st Lieutenant Dave Eisele

DougAnderson First Sergeant Doug Anderson

Marc and Mike Corporal Marc and Private Mike Abramson

SamOtt Corporal Sam Ott

TimTedrick Private Tim Tedrick

HenryVincent Private Henry Vincent

Pattersons Private Mike Patterson

DonEstabrook Private Don Estabrook

RussKenitzer Private Russ Kenitzer

TomLyons  Private Tom Lyons

SteveAarli Private Steve Aarli

EdBooth Private Ed Booth

bforge Private Jim DeGeorge

BillHannay Private Bill Hannay

MaryJeschke Private Charles Jeschke

BilJeschke Private bil Jeschke

JosephMiechle Private Joseph Miechle

RobMellen Private Rob Mellen

RayOtt Private Ray Ott

PaulRambow Private Paul Rambow

PeterSikora Private Peter Sikora

Tedricks Private Del Tedrick & Phyllis Tedrick

SeanTedrick Private Sean Tedrick

Werlines Private Larry Werline & Carolynn Werline

DanWykes Private Dan Wykes

AudreyKonrad Mrs. Audrey Harris

 

Battery Bios

Someday, we hope to have information on ALL of the soldiers that served the battery during the war. If you can help by providing us with additional information, please let us know by contacting us and put “Battery G” in your subject line. Thanks for your interest and support!

Adrian, James

Churchill, Samuel J

Clothier, Salmon

Garst, Samuel S.

Goodwin, John C.

Hall, Alfred

Harris, Erastus

Harmon, Rollin G.

Hathaway, Nathan R.

Heath, Corydon

Hemingway, Hanniah W.

Ingalls, John

Lewis, Isaac A.

Loveridge, Jefferson S.

McCauley, Thomas

Mellberg, Charles J.

Padgett, Robert M.

Richards, Price A.

Schoonmaker, John

Scutt, Hiram B.

Sherburne, Albert

Sherburne, Benjamin F.

Steele, Joseph M.

Stout, Benjamin

Thorp, James A.

Weitig, Charles G.

Werner, William

1927 Survivors

In the fall of 1927, Nathan Hathaway, a corporal in the battery during the war, wrote to the government pension office in Washington, enquiring if any of his comrades were surviving, and if so, their place of residence. The reply he received listed the following:

James Adrian                         Lorimar, Iowa
John C. Goodwin                    Waterloo, Nebraska
Hannaniah W. Hemingway     Champaign, Illinois
Isaac N. Lewis                        Boscobel, Wisconsin
Price A. Richards                    Big Cabin, Oklahoma
Charles W. Wuetig                  Blue Island, Illinois

SOURCES: Nathan Hathaway pension file, National Archives.

Ordnance Deptartment

BATTERY G,

2ND ILLINOIS LIGHT ARTILLERY

ORDNANCE DEPARTMENT

Cannons     Ammunition  Other Ordnance Equipment  Artillery Links
At varying times, Battery G was equipped, re-equipped, or was using the following types of cannons.
The number in superscript following the type of cannon indicates the
source for the information (see list following table).

DATES TYPE OF CANNON # OF GUNS
Dec. 1861 – unknown 2 Napoleans and 4 Rodmans 2 6
Jan. 18, 1862 – unknown the above guns were probably received at this time
June-Dec. 1863 6 pounder bronze gun model 1840-41, rifled

(James rifle) 1

4
May 1864 6 pounder bronze gun model 1840-41, rifled

(James rifle) 1

4
May 1864 Model 1861 (3 inch) Ordnance rifle 1 4
Ordnance reports show 8 guns, as above, in May 1864.

Probably temporary.

May 22, 1864 recruited to a 6 gun battery 4 6
July 29, 1864 – unknown received 2 12-pdr. Napoleans  6 ?
Dec. 15, 1864  Type of guns not mentioned.5 6
Dec. 15, 1864 At least one of the guns was a 12-pdr. Napolean 6
April 1865 10 pounder Parrott rifles 3 4
1. “Summary Statements of Quarterly Returns of Ordnance and Ordnance
Stores on Hand in Regular and Volunteer Army Organizations, 1862-1867.”
Record Group 156. National Archives Microfilm Publication M1281. Roll 1,
Artillery Organizations.
2. Illinois-Vicksburg Military Park Commission. Illinois at Vicksburg.
(n.pl.: n.pub. 1907), p. 350-52.
3. Baumann, Ken. Arming the Suckers: 1861-1865. (Dayton, Ohio:
Morningside Books, 1989).
4. Barnickel, Linda. We Enlisted as Patriots: The Civil War Records
of Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery
. (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage
Books, 1998).
5. War of the Rebellion: The Official Records of the Union and Confederate
Armies.
Series I, Vol. XLV, part 1, p.497.
6. Churchill, Samuel J. Genealogy and Biography of the Connecticut
Branch of the Churchill Family in America
(Lawrence, KS: Journal Publishing,
1901), pp. 75-76.

Ammunition Issued

Ammunition issued, according to “Summary Statements of Quarterly Returns of Ordnance and Ordnance Stores on Hand in Regular and Volunteer Army Organizations, 1862-1867.” Record Group 156. National Archives Microfilm Publication M1281. Roll 1, Artillery Organizations:

Report for second quarter, ending June 30, 1863 (submitted Dec. 4, 1863).
100    12-pdr. Wiard canister, 3.67 bore (Hotchkiss)
1265   6-pdr. James cartridges
1645   friction primer
955     assorted paper fuzes

Report for third quarter, ending Sept. 30, 1863 (submitted Feb. 4, 1864).
110    12-pdr. Wiard percussion shell, 3.67 bore
955    12-pdr. Wiard fuze shell, 3.67 bore
100    12-pdr. Wiard canister

Report for fourth quarter, ending Dec. 31, 1863 (submitted May 23, 1864).
566    Hotchkiss shell, time fuze, for 20-pdr. Parrott & 12-pdr. Wiard guns, 3.67 bore.
80      canister, Hotchkiss, for 20-pdr. Parrott & 12-pdr. Wiard guns, 3.67 bore
746    6-pdr. field gun shot & spherical case cartridge bags
566    assorted paper fuzes
895    friction primers

Ordnance Equipment Issued

An example of some of the equipment carried by a battery on the march
according to the report for the second quarter, June, 1863:

QTY. ITEM
1 traveling forge
1 battery wagon
3 felling axes
4 6 pdr. James gun breech sights
4 iron tar buckets for field gun
1 wood bucket for forge
11 (18?) leather buckets for watering
4 cannon spikes
11 gunner’s gimlets for field gun
8 gunner’s haversacks
5 gunner’s pincers
13 handspikes, trail, for field gun
10 (11?) sets of harness for 2 wheel horses
20 sets of harness for 2 lead horses
11 common tin lanterns
8 lanyards for friction primers
45 (95?) nose bags
4 pick axes
5 (8?) priming wires, field
4 prolonges
6 cast steel shovels or spades
4 shovels, long handled
8 sponge covers, 6-pdr. gun
8 tarpulins, 12×15
8 thumbstalls
10 tow hooks
8 tube pouches
4 vent covers
4 vent punches
40 whips
3 worms & staves, field guns
1 battery wagon stocks
22 packing boxes
2 1 gal. tin cans
2 2 gal. tin cans
1 5 pds. paint (tin)
2 25 pds. paint (tin)

Artillery Links

For more information on Civil War Artillery and Ammunition, visit one
of these pages:

The Civil War Artillery Page   Loads of info! History, units, drill,
weapons.

Encyclopedia of Civil War Artillery  A portion of the preceding site, this
provides much information on weaponry and projectiles.

civilwarartillery.com
(Warning! Graphics and frames intensive!) An excellent site, with images
of a wide variety of cannon projectiles, shot and range tables, a glossary
of artillery and ordnance terminology, and much more!

A Storm of Shot and Shell: Weapons of the Civil War – an online exhibit
from the Chicago Historical Society, featuring artillery artifacts and
images.

How Do You Shoot A Cannon? – (564K .pdf file, a mere 4 pages, with color
illustrations.) A step-by-step guide to cannon loading and firing, according
to Andrews’ Mounted Artillery Drill (Confederate).

“Horsepower Moves the Guns” – full text article from America’s Civil War.

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