Regimental History

































View the 52nd Illinois Roster

Correction Notes For the Illinois Roster and Other Information                           

Timeline of Service

“The 52nd is the bravest Volunteer Regiment that I ever saw fight in my life”.
Colonel T. W. Sweeny
52nd Illinois Infantry
April 6, 1862


November 19, 1861

    The Fifty-second Infantry Illinois Volunteers (also known as “Lincoln Regiment” or “Lincoln Rangers”) was organized at Geneva, Kane County, Illinois by Colonel J. G. Wilson and mustered in for three years by Lieutenant J. Christopher. Companies A, S, G, H, I and K volunteered from Kane County while Company B came from Bureau County, Company C from DeKalb County, Company E from Winnebago County and Company F (Fulton Tigers) from Whiteside County.


November 28, 1861

  Moved with 945 men to St. Louis, Missouri and went into quarters at Benton Barracks.  The     regiment was assigned to guard the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad for the months of December and January. 

Here Colonel Wilson resigned.

            For information on Benton Barracks, visit:

 Missouri Civil War Muse

To read about the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, visit:

          Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad


December 8, 1861

            The regiment moved to St. Joseph, Missouri.

  St. Joseph, Missouri

Commanding: Lieutenant J. S. Wilcox          



Dear Libbie,

Today is Christmas and what are you doing?  Are you thinking of me?  I have not heard from you. . .I should like to step in and see how you are spending Christmas. . .I thought of home a good deal today and look at pictures and think shall I ever see the original again? I dream of you almost every night—of being at home and wake up and behold, I’m not there. . .

                        Charles H. Watson

                        Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                        (From a letter written from St. Joseph, Missouri, December 25th, 1861)

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January 16, 1862

            Moved to Cairo via Palmyra, Quincy and Mississippi River.

 To read about the city of Cairo, Illinois, and its importance to the North in the Civil War, visit:

    Cairo, Illinois


January 24, 1862

            Moved to Smithland, Kentucky.


February 7, 1862

            T.W. Sweeny was commissioned Colonel of the 52nd.

            For more information on T.W. Sweeny, also known as “Fightin’ Tom Sweeny”, visit Thomas William Sweeny.


           The Civil War Museum at the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Park has an extensive collection of artifacts relating to the war west of the Mississippi.  Included is a display dedicated to "Fightin' Tom Sweeny" and the 52nd Illinois.  For more information, visit this site:

Cannons at Stop Number 5 (Sigel's Final Position) National Battlefield Missouri


February 10, 1862

            Embarked for Fort Donelson.

            For information on the Battle of Fort Donelson, visit:

Upper River Battery Fort Donelson


February 17th, 1862

          Arrived at Fort Donelson where they were assigned the duty of guarding and       transporting rebel prisoners.


February 18th, 1862

            Sent with prisoners to the newly opened prison at Camp Douglas in Chicago.

            To learn more about Camp Douglas, visit:

            ILLINOIS in the CIVIL WAR

Illinois Civil War


 Camp Douglas  Camp Douglas (Chicago)



March 7th, 1862

            Arrived at St. Louis, Missouri.


March 13th, 1862

            Left for the Army of the Tennessee.

            For information on the Army of the Tennessee, visit:

            Army of the Tennessee


I wrote home the night before we left telling you we were to leave.  The next day was warm and pleasant and we marched from Camp Benton to the tune of “The Girl I Left Behind Me”. . .



            Charles H. Watson

            Co. E, 52nd Illinois

            (From a letter dated March 22, 1862)

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March 20th, 1862

            Disembarked at Pittsburg Landing.  Assigned to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division; Colonel Sweeny commanding the Brigade and General Smith commanding the Division.

For information on General Charles F. Smith, visit:

Charles F. Smith



April 6th and 7th, 1862

            The Regiment took a prominent part in the Battle of Shiloh.  Losing 170 killed, wounded and missing out of 500 who entered the battle.  Major Stark commanded the first day of battle, Captain Bowen the second.

            Edward B. Spalding, Sergeant of Company E, received the Medal of Honor for his actions on the first day of the battle.

            For more information on the Battle of Shiloh, visit:

  Battle of Shiloh


In the fight of Sunday we sustained almost our whole loss, having but one killed on Monday.  Thirty were killed on the field or have since died of their wounds.  It was an awful day.  I certainly desire never to see another like it.  The regiment did its duty nobly.  We repulsed a Cavalry charge handsomely, and afterwards were engaged with an elegant Reg’t, the “Louisiana Guards”, for over an hour, when they have way and were succeeded by another fine regiment, the “South Carolina Tigers”, (we were so near that we could read the inscription on their colors) and would have given them fits if two new Regiments had not come up on our right flank, when we gave way about 50 rods and then halted and made another stand. Whilst we were engaged with the Louisiana Guards, I received a slight wound in my left shoulder, and it was then that Knapp received his death wound, Capt. Ward was wounded about the same time.  There is one thing about the battle field that I am agreeably disappointed in, there are no shrieks or groans of wounded men.  Knapp staggered to me---all he said was, “Wilcox, I am wounded, help me to the rear.” I did so.  Gustaffson was struck right by my side, so also was O’Brien and others.  Wm. Tuck was wounded through the thickest part of the thigh and bled profusely, but simply observed “They have hit me”, and kept on firing away until exhausted by loss of blood.  Generally, in my judgment, but very little pain attends a gun-shot wound, or else our men are mighty plucky and won’t show it.  I commanded the company on Sunday, and we were under fine nine hours from 6am until 9pm.  I lay out that night until about midnight, when William found me.  I had lost considerable blood, and feel the effect of the loss now.  In our fight with the “Louisiana Guards” we killed 133.  We buried them on Wednesday.  The colonel, who was wounded and taken prisoner, told me we completely broke his regiment.

                                                                        Lt. Col. John S. Wilcox

            52d Illinois Regiment

           (Elgin Gazette)

                                                                                   RE: The Battle of Shiloh


May 1862

            The Regiment was engaged in the Siege of Corinth. Pursued the enemy to Booneville, Mississippi and returned to Corinth.

            For more information on the Siege of Corinth, visit:

           Siege of Corinth


Well, wouldn’t you like to know how we live.  Well, we have fresh beef every other day, vegetable soup, desiccated potatoes, then every other day we have salt beef or pork and beans together with soft bread and coffee twice a day.  The day that pork and beans are on the bills I don’t eat very hearty.  Our dwelling is in a tent. . . . We have what is called a “fly”.  It is a piece of cloth made to put on an officer’s tent. It’s secesh property—it keeps the sun off. . .We have a table in here and live as cozy as you please.   We take off our hats when we eat.

                        Charles H. Watson

                        Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                        (From a letter written August 6th, 1862 from Camp Montgomery, Corinth, MS)

To read about the daily ration for a Union Soldier, visit:

           Civil War Army Rations


October3rd and 4th, 1862  

            The Regiment was heavily engaged in the Battle of Corinth the loss being 70 killed and wounded.  On October 3rd, General Hackelman is mortally wounded and Colonel Sweeny assumes command of the brigade.  Lt. Col. Wilcox assumes command of the Regiment.

            To learn more about the Battle of Corinth, visit:

[Photo] Color view of Corinth railroad crossing.  Battle of Corinth


Corinth Interpretive Center  Corinth Interpretive Center


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October 12th, 1862

            The Regiment pursued the retreating enemy as far as Ruckerville and returned to Corinth.


December 9th, 1862

            The 52nd moved with an expedition to Alabama and met the enemy near Little Bear Creek driving him 15 miles.


December 14th, 1862

            The Regiment arrived back in Corinth.


December 19th, 1862

            Under command of Lt. Colonel Wilcox, the Regiment left Corinth with the expedition of General G. M. Dodge to intercept N. B. Forrest.  Having marched 100 miles in four and one-half days, they returned weary and foot sore.

To learn more about Major General G. M. Dodge, visit:


    Major General Grenville M. Dodge Grenville M. Dodge


January 2nd, 1863

            The Regiment moved to the Tennessee River to intercept Forrest.  Forrest had already crossed at Crump’s Landing.  The expedition returned.

            For a short biography on Nathan Bedford Forrest, visit:

              Nathan Bedford Forrest


January 26th, 1863

            The Regiment moved to Hamburg, Tennessee, and embarked on a steamer.


January 27th or 28th, 1863

            The 52nd disembarked and returned to Corinth.


February 25th, 1863

            With Major Bowen commanding the Regiment and Colonel Sweeny commanding the expedition, the 52nd moved to Jacinto, Mississippi.


February 27th, 1863

            Arrived in Jacinto, MS.


March 4, 1863

            The Regiment returned to Corinth.


April 15th, 1863

            Lt. Col. Wilcox commanding the Regiment, moved with an expedition of four brigades of infantry, one of cavalry, and 14 pieces of artillery, Brigadier General G.M. Dodge commanding to Northern Alabama.  Marched to Burnsville on the 15th, through Iuka on the 16th; crossed Bear Creek on the 17th—Colonel Cornyn’s cavalry skirmishing with the enemy.


April 20th, 1863

            Colonel Sweeny was promoted to Brigadier General.


April 23rd, 1863

            The whole force advanced, driving the enemy.  That night lay in line of battle.


April 24th, 1863

            Moved forward and entered Tuscumbia, Alabama.


April 27th, 1863

            Moved toward Courtland.  Met the enemy at Town Creek and skirmished till night. 


In the spring of 1863, the regiment, along with the rest of the division, were involved in General Dodge's support of Col. Abel Sreight's infamous mule brigade raid into Georgia.  Outwardly, the raid was an attempt to break the railroad around Rome, Georgia.  The raid was broken up by Nathan Bedford Forrest and he was considered brilliant for doing so-I beg to differ.  Streight's raid, as well as Grierson's in Central Mississippi, was primarily concerned with pulling Confederate cavalry away from the Mississippi River. While Forrest was busy collecting mules and Yankees, Grant was crossing the river below Vicksburg and there was not a Confederate cavalryman for miles. Streight's raid was a diversion and a very successful one. –Tom Parson, Park Ranger, Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center

To read a short history of the raid, visit:

            Raid History


May 2, 1863

            Returned to Corinth.


August 18, 1863

            Moved to Germantown, TN, the regiment being assigned to guard the railroad.


. . .you say you have had a letter from Mrs. Frank that she thinks more of her husband than she does of the Union—that she could not be separated from him, etc.  Well now I think there are too many such women.  Now you ought to hear some of the Secesh women talk.  They urge their men to war saying they don’t want them to come home till they have driven us from their soil.  They glory that their husbands, brothers, sons, and lovers are in the Army and if they had more, would send them.  Well now if they feel so in a bad cause, how should we feel in a good one? 

                        Charles H. Watson

                        Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                        (From a letter written from Germantown, TN September 6, 1863)

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October 29, 1863

            Moved to Iuka.


October 31, 1863

            Bivouacked three and a half miles east of Iuka.


November 6, 1863

            The left wing of the Sixteenth Corps moved eastward, arriving in Eastport and crossed the Tennessee.

November 11, 1863

            Arrived in Pulaski, TN, the Regiment assigned to do provost duty.


January 9, 1864

            Three-fourths of the regiment reenlisted as veteran volunteers and started for Illinois.


January 17, 1864

            Arrived at Chicago and proceeded to Geneva, Kane County.


January 20th, 1864

            The Regiment is furloughed.


February 24th, 1864

            The regiment returned to Pulaski, Tennessee with the addition of one hundred and seventy-three recruits.  Lt. Col. E. A. Brown took command of regiment, Colonel Wilcox having resigned. 


February 29th, 1864

            Arrived at Pulaski, TN

“. . .I don’t think we shall move far for sometime.  I don’t think there will be much done in the west until after they have had another trial at Richmond.  I think Grant will try to take that first—will try to bring the eastern lines down as far as they are in the west.  We now hold all of Tennessee and if Grant takes Richmond, where will the Rebels go?  General Dodge was down week before last and took Decatur.  It was held by a force of Guerillas.  Dodge is now fortifying that place, and now, speaking of Dodge, I bought a couple of his pictures yesterday—will send you one in this, will send the other to mother. . . “

                        Charles H. Watson

                        Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                              (From a letter written on March 13th, 1864, from Pulaski, Tennessee)


April 29th, 1864

            The regiment is in Colonel E. W. Rice’s Brigade (First Brigade), General Sweeny’s Division (Second), Left Wing, Major General G. M. Dodge, Sixteenth Army Corps, moved southward.


May 2nd, 1864

            Arrived in Chattanooga, Tennessee


May through June 1864

            The Atlanta Campaign 




            Atlanta Campaign

            The Regiment participated in the following battles:

                        Snake Creek Gap



“. . .Are you getting anxious about me?  Well, have come through the fight unscathed.  Our Regiment has not been engaged at all. We were ordered to support a Battery which has saved us.  There has been eight days of fighting and we have been drawn up. . .and the fighting has been going on just in front of us.  The enemy has left everything--our forces are in full pursuit. There has been heavy loss on both sides.  Saturday and Sunday night there was very hard fighting.  Saturday night our Co. and Co. “H: were on a picket at a ferry.  Part of our brigade had a fight at the same place that afternoon.  Sunday morning, before we were relieved from guard, about 9 o’clock the enemy came up on the opposite bank in force.  Just at the same time the 66th Illinois came down the cross.  We opened fire on the enemy and drove him back and soon our Division crossed on pontoons.  Just after we crossed, the enemy made a charge but were driven back.  Sunday night they attempted to cut their way through our army at the Resaca, but were repulsed with heavy loss.  They then began their retreat.  We were about 5 miles below Resaca at Spares Ferry, Oostanaula River.  Yesterday morning we started after them, marched about two miles from where we now are.  They had a large force guarding their rear. We had quite a fight—that is the 2nd and 3rd Brigade of our Division.  We have not moved since then.  The 15th Army Corps. have been passing today. . .”

                        Charles H. Watson

                        Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                        (From a letter written from the fields near Resaca, Georgia May 17, 1864)

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              Lay’s Ferry

                        Rome Cross Roads


                        Kennesaw Mountain


Activity Area  

                        Nickajack Creek



. . .we passed one house that we shall always remember.  A young lady came to the door and waved her handkerchief---it was a rare sight for this country and of course, we all cheered her.  It was the only thing of the kind we have seen.  Her mother brought out some water and when a pail was empty, she would serve a boy for another pail full. . .she said. . .we were the first Yankees she had seen.  She had prayed for us to come.

                                    --Charles H. Watson

                                      Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                                    (from a letter written from camp near Kingston GA, May 21, 1864)


. . .Friday night we threw up breastworks working most all night.  The skirmishing at the front was very severe. Saturday, as soon as daylight, the firing opened again, the bullets came over us hitting the trees and occasionally a stray bullet would hit a man. Some were wounded and some killed way in the rear.  Saturday afternoon the Rebs charged our whole line. . .General Logan’s corps gave way but were reinforced and drove the Rebs back. . .they followed along the whole line.  Our boys lay behind the breastworks and poured a destruction on the advancing foe in front of our brigade.  They came on three regiments deep, yelling like demons.  The 2nd Iowa and 66th Indiana did not move but poured the lead-on into the enemy . . .the artillery also mowed them like grass. . .

. . .we were ordered to the front line of works and our company and Company G were sent on picket.  There had been considerable firing on the line all day.  We opened conversation with the Rebs. . .we agreed with them not to fire. They sang some songs, so did we. .

                                    --Charles H. Watson

                                      Co. E, 52nd Illinois

(From a letter written from Big Shanty June 26, 1864)


July 22nd and 28th 1864

            The regiment fought before Atlanta and Jonesboro.


Near Atlanta 20th August 1864

. . . We have moved back to the rear since I last wrote to you, which was three or four days ago.  We were safe enough at the front if we only kept in the ditch and we did not forget to do that as the Rebel bullets were continuously whistling over us. . . Today one of Co. C’s men was killed.  He stood up over the breastworks and was shot through the head.  They are now digging his grave, poor fellow, he has gone.  His comrades weep over him today, tomorrow somebody may weep over them.  . .

                        Charles H. Watson

                        Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                        (From a letter written near Atlanta, Georgia August 20, 1864)

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From the Clayton News Daily, August 26, 2014

JONESBORO — The sounds of battle have long since been silenced in Jonesboro, but the history remains.


From Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 1864, the Battle of Jonesborough was fought throughout the town. The Union Army bore down on the small city with the intent of destroying the Macon and Western Railroad, which was the last supply line for besieged Confederates in Atlanta.


In this war-torn town, one home found itself in the heart of the conflict.


Jonesboro, GA : The Warren House, 102 West Mimosa, Jonesboro, GeorgiaThe Warren House at 102 W. Mimosa Drive was built in 1859 for Guy Lewis Warren. It is most noted of the remaining antebellum homes because of the role it played during the battle, according to “The History of Clayton County.” Warren, a native of Connecticut, moved to the South early in life and married Mary Ruberry Vardell from Charleston, S.C.


Warren owned a hardware store and served as an agent for the Macon and Western Railroad in Jonesboro.


The Warren House gained a special place in local lore when its front yard played host to intense fighting on the second day of battle because it was just behind a hinge in the Confederate line.


Confederate troops under the command of Brig. Gen. Daniel Govan were tasked with defending the hinge, said local historian Peter Bonner.


During the afternoon of Sept. 1, Union troops broke through the line at the Warren House and engaged Govan’s troops in hand-to-hand combat, Bonner explained. In part of the yard, according to Bonner, Union troops from Kentucky fought a unit of Confederate sympathizers from Kentucky.


Many of the Kentucky troops from each side were related by blood or marriage, Bonner added.


Govan and about 600 of his troops were captured in the Warren House’s yard, he said.


The house served as the family home until 1864. The Warrens retreated to South Carolina prior to Sherman’s March to the Sea.


Once vacated, the house became Confederate headquarters and a hospital serving those injured during the Atlanta Campaign.


Following the Battle of Jonesborough, the 52nd Illinois Infantry took over the home and served as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers.


The house had an operating room on the second floor and a dying room on the third. In the operating room, located to right of the front door near the side porch, a window was used to discard soldiers’ limbs. The pile was burned every few days.


According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, “bodies of the dead and wounded were reputedly piled three deep in the grounds behind the Warren House.”


The wide hallways were filled with bunk beds that held recovering soldiers, said Dr. Jack Farrar.


Farrar is the home’s current owner.


The hall’s walls are filled with soldiers signatures, dates and poems. Additionally, poems and names are on walls in downstairs rooms and signatures are preserved on the walls of the operating room. The names were discovered in the 1930s by the home’s new owner, Sheriff Ernest Adamson, when wallpaper was removed from the plaster walls. The signatures include Robert Sullivan, artillery; James B. Washington, Division 14, and Doc. B. Thompson, according to


Farrar said soldiers were moved to the dying room when nothing else could be done for them. The window facing the railroad tracks above the second-floor operating room featured two openings through which Confederate soldiers could watch for the enemy without being noticed.


According to the home’s historical marker, “a bullet lodged in a wall and cannon balls in the yard were evidence of the proximity of heavy fighting.”


Staff writer Curt Yeomans contributed to this report


September 23, 1864


            The Second Division, Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, was transferred to the Fourth Division, Fifteenth Army Corps.


Late September/Early October 1864 

Moved to Rome, and by rail to Cartersville and then marched to Allatoona.  Arrived too late for battle, and returned to Rome.


“. . .We have had some exciting times.  The Rebs have been trying to drive us back to force Sherman to leave Atlanta and last week they commenced operations near Big Shanty.  Hood Crossed the river near Pumpkin Town. . . . endeavored to cut Sherman’s communications. They first captured Big Shanty, then Achworth, then moved on to Allatoona.  General Corse was ordered there immediately.  This was last Tuesday.  The 4th we received orders to take the cars that night to be ready with four days rations in our haversacks.  The 3rd brigade went an done Regt. of the 12th Ill but the cars did not come for us that night.  The next morning a large train was sent form Kingston, but run off the tracks about six miles this side of that place. That served to hinder us so that we

did not leave till about noon.  We then hastened on to the scene of conflict as we heard they were fighting there.  We went on the train within about 3 miles of Allatoona where we left the cars and marched in, but the rebs had been repulsed.  We did not get there till after dark, but there had been a hard fight.  The Rebs attacked the place in force under French about 8 o’clock and fought hard till about 4p.m. when they left, leaving their dead and wounded where the attacked, but they sent in a flag of truce demanding the surrender of the place as it would save a needless effusion of blood.  General Corse replied that his men generally tired little and was ready to shed that needless effusion of blood.  Then they charged and a bloody fight followed.  We lost 141 killed, 351 wounded and 231 missing.  The Rebel loss was estimated at 1500.  We lost 5 officers killed and 16 wounded.  General Corse[1] was slightly wounded.  The men think a great deal of him-he was brave and cool. Among the killed was Captain Blodgett.  You will recollect that I have written several times of Lt. Blodgett in our Battery.  Well, he was commissioned captain of a company in the 39th Iowa-was a brave fellow. . .The next morning was rainy and the battle field presented a hard sight.  The dead were laying all around-friend and foe in front of the breastworks.  They were piled up as they fell.  Our forces were driven back from one line of works. . .the Union soldiers and Rebels were piled together. Many of the Rebel wounded had been left out all night.  Ours had all been taken in.  About nine o’clock in the morning a Rebel surgeon came in and surrendered up three hospitals of their wounded—about 400 in all. . .”




                                    Charles H. Watson

                                    Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                                    (From a letter written from Rome, Georgia)


[1] In a telegram to Sherman during the Battle of Allatoona General Corse said, "I am short of a cheekbone, and one ear, but am ready to whip all hell yet!"


September 26th, 1864

            The Second Division, Left Wing, Sixteenth Army Corps, was transferred to the Fourth Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, moved to Rome, and by rail to Cartersville and then marched to Allatoona.  Arrived too late for battle, and returned to Rome.

The Battle of Allatoona Pass


October 11th, 1864

            Lt. Col. Bowen was mustered out, Major Boyd took command.

For more information on General William Tecumseh Sherman, visit:

 General Sherman

“. . .I don’t suppose the Rebs will make a stand this side of Atlanta and they may get flanked there.  I heard a staff officer of General Sherman say that they found a letter written by a Rebel Major.  The Major said they could whip the Yankees, but that old Sherman was hell on flank movements. He didn’t believe the old cuss was honestly born, but that he came into the world by some flank movement. . .”

                        Charles H. Watson

Co. E, 52nd Illinois

(From a letter dated May 21st, 1864 from camp near Kingston, Georgia)

November 15, 1864

The Regiment with the Division, Brevet Major General J.M. Corse commanding, struck cross-country in “Sherman’s March to the Sea”.


 Engraving by Alexander Hay Ritchie depicting Sherman's March                      

      Sherman's March to the Sea


December 18th, 1864

            The non-veteran officers were mustered out, and J.D. Davis, having received a commission as Lieutenant Colonel, took command of the regiment.


December 21st, 1864

            Marched into Savannah.


January 29th, 1865

            The Regiment started on the Carolinas Campaign.

                        For more information on this campaign, visit:

Sherman in South Carolina: The burning of McPhersonville. Sketch by WIlliam Waud in Harper's Weekly, 1865  Carolinas Campaign


Late March, 1865

            The regiment was present at the Battle of Bentonville:

                        History of Bentonville Battle


March 24th, 1865

            The Regiment arrived in Goldsboro, North Carolina

April 10th, 1865

            The Regiment marched to Raleigh, North Carolina.


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April 17th, 1865 - The assassination of Abraham Lincoln

Special Field Orders, No. 56

Hdqrs. Mil. Div. of the Mississippi

            In the Field, Raleigh, N.C.

            April 17, 1865

The general commanding announces, with pain and sorrow, that on the evening of the 11th [14th] instant, at the theater in Washington City, His Excellency the President of the United States, Mr. Lincoln, was assassinated by one who uttered the State motto of Virginia.  At the same time the Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, whilst suffering from a broken arm, was also stabbed by another murderer, in his own house, but still survives, and his son was wounded, supposed fatally.  It is believed by persons capable of judging that other high officers were designed to share the same fate.  Thus it seems that our enemy, despairing of meeting us in open, manly warfare, begins to resort to the assassin’s tools.  Your general does not wish you to infer that this is universal, for he knows that the great mass of the Confederate Army would scorn to sanction such acts, but he believes it the legitimate consequences of rebellion against rightful authority.  We have met every phase which this war has assumed, and must now be prepared for it in its last and worst shape, that of assassins and guerillas; but woe unto the people who seek to expend their wild passions in such a manner, for there is but one dread result.

            By order of Maj. Gen. W.T. Sherman:

                                    L. M. Dayton

                        Assistant Adjutant-General

            (From the Official Records, vol. 39, part 1)


Dear Lib;

            Hurrah for our side the war is over! The great Rebellion is crushed!  Yesterday Jeff Davis surrendered to General Sherman all the possession from the Atlantic to the Rio Grande. General Johnston surrendered his army.  Well may the People rejoice.  I expect we shall be home, am looking for discharge now every day.  The Place where the surrender took place is about 20 miles from here.  We marched from Raleigh to this place last Saturday expecting to attack Johnston, but he manifested a disposition to surrender.  So, they have been negotiating ever since till yesterday when the thing was settled.  Well, what time of rejoicing.  It has been so many victories together: the fall of Richmond, the surrender of Lee, the surrender of Johnston and capitulation of Jeff Davis. Jeff will order all State troops to the Capitol of their State then to disband—but with all this glorious news we must mourn.  Monday evening we received the mournful intelligence that President Lincoln was murdered.  It came upon us like a belt from a clear sky.  The men were feeling over the news.  We knew that Johnston was capitulating, all felt well, thought the war was over when the announcement was made that the President had been assassinated.  The men were dumbfounded-- all noise ceased.  The men gathered around in little knots-- all looked sad as though they had lost their best friend.  Gen. Sherman was advised to be careful of himself.  He promised to be more on his guard.  He said that he showed the dispatch to Johnston announcing the murder of the President and said that Johnston appeared to feel as bad as he did that (Johnston) had rather settle with Lincoln than with Johnson.  They will have a harder man to settle with than before. . . General Sherman received us from the State House Square— the old flag was floating triumphantly from the State House—it was very pleasant day from the Atlantic to the Pacific.


                                    Charles H. Watson

                                    Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                                    (From a letter written from Morrisville, NC, April 17th, 1865)  


April 26th, 1865

            General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered his army.

            Following the surrender, the Regiment marched north toward Washington, D.C. via Richmond, Virginia.


May 24th, 1865

            The Regiment marched in the Grand Review in Washington, D.C.

To read more about the Grand Review of the Armies, visit:


200px Grand Review of the Armies Grand Review


June 2, 1865

            The Regiment moved to Louisville, Kentucky.


. . . .we are once more camped on the banks of the Ohio our faces turned northward, our hopes north, our thoughts continuously of loved ones far away.  When, oh when, shall we see them?  When shall we press them to our bosom and feel that our duty to our country is done?  Now we can turn to our family and feel that where we go, they may go.  Where we live, they shall live and where we die, there let us be buried.

                        Charles H. Watson

                        Co. E, 52nd Illinois

                        (From a letter written June 9, 1865)


July 5th, 1865

            The 52nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment was mustered out of the United States Service.


July 12, 1865

            The troops received final payment at Camp Douglas, Chicago, and were discharged.


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