78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment

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78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Flag of Illinois.svg
State Flag of Illinois
Active September 1, 1862 to June 7, 1865
Country United States
Allegiance Union
Branch Infantry
Campaigns Tullahoma Campaign
Chickamauga Campaign
Chattanooga Campaign
Atlanta Campaign
Sherman's March to the Sea
Carolinas Campaign

The 78th Illinois Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.


The 78th Illinois Infantry Regiment Regiment was organized at Quincy, Illinois in Adams County, mustering in on September 1, 1862.[1]:1 The 78th Illinois then left the state by way of the steamboat along the Mississippi River for Louisville, Kentucky, arriving on September 19, 1862. The 78th Illinois Infantry Regiment Regiment was organized at Quincy, Illinois in Adams County.[2] The 78th Illinois Infantry Regiment, would see all of its wartime duty in the Western Theater of the American Civil War.

The 78th Illinois was originally attached to 39th Brigade, 12th Division, Army of the Ohio. The regiment went through a series of reassignments; first in November 1862 to Gilbert's Command, District of Western Kentucky, Department of the Ohio. While in Franklin, Tennessee, in February 1863 the regiment was assigned to the Army of Kentucky, Department of the Cumberland. In June 1863, another reassignment assigned the 78th Illinois to the 2nd Brigade, 1st Division Reserve Corps, Army of the Cumberland. The final reorganization would come in October 1863, assigning the regiment to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, XIV Corps.

The regiment received the blue United States uniform, typical of the civil war.[3] Initially, the regiment was armed with .69 caliber rifled muskets, altered to use a percussion cap. In 1863, the regiment saw more modern arms provisioned to the soldiers; a mixture of the Enfield rifle and Springfield Rifle Muskets were carried. In 1864, all troops were armed with the Springfield Rifle Muskets.[4]


First Six Months[edit]

September 1, 1862
Regimental Muster in Quincy, Illinois
September 19, 1862
Moved by steamboat from Quincy, Illinois down the Mississippi River, then up the Ohio River to Kentucky
October 5, 1862 through January 30, 1863
Moved to Shephardstown, Kentucky and guard Louisville & Nashville Railroad from Elizabethtown to New Haven, with Headquarters at New Haven
December 28, 1862
Action at Muldraugh's Hill (Companies B and C, captured by General John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry)
December 30, 1862
Action against Company H at New Haven
January 30February 7, 1863
Moved to Nashville, Tennessee

Middle Tennessee Operations[edit]

February–April 1863
February 3, 1863
Repulse of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's attack on Fort Donelson, Tennessee
February 12 through June 23, 1863
Moved to Franklin, Tennessee
March 4, April 10 and June 4–5, 1863
Actions at Franklin

Tullahoma Campaign[edit]

June 24 and July 3, 1863
June 24–28, 1863
March to Triune, Murfreesboro and then to marching near Shelbyville
July 1, 1863
Occupation of Shelbyville and Middle Tennessee through August 1863

Chickamauga Campaign[edit]

August 16 to September 22, 1863[5]
September 19 – 20, 1863
Battle of Chickamauga — On the final day of the battle, the 78th Illinois served a vital role as part of Mitchell's Brigade in reinforcing Thomas at the height of the Confederate attack and took 40% casualties

Chattanooga Campaign[edit]

September through November 1863[5]
September 24 — November 23, 1863
Siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee
November 23 — 24, 1863
Tunnel Hill
November 24 — 25, 1863
Missionary Ridge — (Regiment temporarily attached to 15th Army Corps November 24)
November. 26, 1863
Chickamauga Station
November 29 — December 17, 1863
March to relief of Knoxville
February 22 — 27, 1864
Demonstration on Dalton, Georgia
February 23 — 25, 1864
Tunnel Hill, Buzzard's Roost Gap and Rocky Faced Ridge
April 11 — 13, 1864
Reconnaissance from Rossville to La Fayette

Atlanta Campaign[edit]

May 1 to September 8, 1864
May 6 — 7, 1864
Tunnel Hill
May 8 — 11, 1864
Battle of Rocky Face Ridge
May 8 — 9, 1864
Buzzard's Roost Gap
May 9 — 13, 1864
Demonstration on Dalton
May 14 — 15, 1864
Battle of Resaca
May 17 — 18, 1864
May 19 — 25, 1864
Battle of Dallas
May 25 — May 26, 1864
Battle of New Hope Church
June 9 — July 3, 1864
Battle of Marietta
June 11 — 14, 1864
Pine Mountain
June 15 — 17, 1864
Lost Mountain
June 27, 1864
Battle of Kennesaw Mountain — The regiment participated in an unsuccessful and costly assault on the Confederate position on Cheatham Hill.[6]
July 4, 1864
Ruff's Station, Smyrna Camp Ground
July 5 — 17, 1864
Chattahoochee River
July 19 — 20, 1864
Battle of Peach Tree Creek
July 22 — August 25
Battle of Atlanta
August 5 — 7, 1864
Battle of Utoy Creek
August 25 — 30, 1864
Flank movement on Jonesboro
August 31 — September 1, 1864
Battle of Jonesboro — The 78th Illinois was in Baird's Division, which spearheaded the successful attack on the Confederate line
September 2 — 6, 1864
Lovejoy Station

Operations In North Georgia and North Alabama against Forest and Hood (September 29 — November 3, 1864)

October 6 — 8, 1864

Sherman's March to the Sea[edit]

November 15 to December 21, 1864[7][8][9]
December 10 — 21, 1864
Siege of Savannah.[10]

Carolinas Campaign[edit]

January through April 1865
March 16, 1865
Battle of Averasborough — Taylor's Hole Creek, North Carolina
March 19 – 21, 1865
Battle of Bentonville — Here, the regiment was nearly surrounded while assigned to picket duty
March 24, 1865
Occupation of Goldsbore
April 10 – 14, 1865
Advance on Raleigh
April 14, 1865
Occupation of Raleigh
April 26, 1865
Bennett Place — Surrender of Johnston and his army

Post War Activities[edit]

April 29 — May 19, 1865
March to Washington, D.C. — via Richmond, Virginia
May 24, 1865
Grand Review
June 7, 1865
Mustered out

Strength and Casualties[edit]

When the regiment mustered in on September 1, 1862 it included 862 enlisted men. The regiment suffered 9 officers and 95 enlisted men who were killed in action or mortally wounded and 117 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 221 fatalities.[11]

Regimental Organization[edit]


The 78th Illinois Infantry Regiment Regiment was organized at Quincy, Illinois in Adams County.[1]:23

Commanding Officers [1]:3

  • Colonel William H. Bennison – resigned commission September 2, 1863.
  • Colonel Carter Van Vleck – died of wounds August 23, 1864.[1]:25
  • Colonel Maris R. Vernon – Mustered out with the regiment.[1]:3

Company A[edit]

Recruited in Schuyler County, Illinois.[1]:4

Company B[edit]

Recruited in Adams County, Illinois.[1]:6

Companies B and C were captured by, then Colonel, John Hunt Morgan during a December 26, 1862 raid at Muldraugh Hill. They were sent to St. Louis, Missouri, under terms of parole and not exchanged until October 1863, effectively reducing the regiment by two companies of infantry.

Company C[edit]

Recruited in McDonough County, Illinois.[1]:8

Company D[edit]

Recruited in Hancock County, Illinois.[1]:9

Company E[edit]

Recruited in Adams County.[1]:11

Company F[edit]

Recruited in Adams County.[1]:13

Company G[edit]

Recruited in Adams County.[1]:15

Company H[edit]

Recruited in Hancock County.[1]:17

During the same raid that captured Companies B and C, Colonel Morgan attacked the Regimenal Headquarters and Company H, on the morning of December 30, 1862, in New Haven, Kentucky. The company sustained no casualties, but it was assumed that Colonel Morgan's cavalry did, but was never substantiated.

Company I[edit]

Recruited in McDonough County.[1]:19

Company K[edit]

Recruited in Adams County.[1]:21


Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Reece, Jasper (1900). "Report of the adjutant general of the state of Illinois". archive.org. Phillips Bros., State Printers. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ Robbins, Edward M. (1919). Civil War Experiences 1862–1865: Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Buzzard Roost, Resaca, Rome, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Averysboro, and Bentonville. Carthage, Illinois. 
  3. ^ Todd, Frederick P. (1983). American Military Equipage. Morris Plains, NJ: Chatham Square Press, Inc. p. 760. ISBN 9781135764173. 
  4. ^ Todd, Frederick P. (1983). American Military Equipage. Morris Plains, NJ: Chatham Square Press, Inc. p. 770. ISBN 9781135764173. 
  5. ^ a b "National Park Service Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park website". nps.gov. 
  6. ^ "National Park Service Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park website". nps.gov. 
  7. ^ "Sherman's March to the Sea, 1864: A Southerner's Perspective". eyewitnesstohistory.com. 
  8. ^ "The Civil War Classroom Materials: Sherman's March to the Sea". pbs.org. 
  9. ^ "Civil War Battle Summaries by Campaign: Main Western Theater — 1864". cr.nps.gov. 
  10. ^ "National Park Service Fort Pulaski website Savannah, Georgia webpage". nps.gov. 
  11. ^ Dyer, Frederick Henry (1959). "The Civil War Archive website". A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion – 3 Volumes. Thomas Yoseloff. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 


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