Conflict, War and Military History in Illinois

The works below are about military history in Illinois. See the right column for more info about this website.

Revolutionary War

War of 1812

Blackhawk War

Civil War

World War One

Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois (9 vols)

Springfield: State of Illinois 1900
Illinois Adjutant GeneralGo to Books

Volumes 1 through 8 of this 9-volume set are concerned with the Civil War. Volume 1 contains a history of the state’s response to the Federal Government’s calls for contributions of state contributions of regiments and discussion of a number of topics of interest, together with reprints of some documents. Volume 1 also contains a number of schedules, including a list of Illinois volunteers who died at Andersonville prison, and a list of military organizations. The second half of the volume has regimental rosters, and these Civil War rosters continue through the end of Volume 8, with regimental histories interspersed throughout.

Volume 9 is entitled Record of the Services of Illinois Soldiers in the Black Hawk War 1831-1832 and in the Mexican War 1846-1848. This is stated to have a complete roster of officers and enlisted men in both wars. Volume 9 has an appendix “… giving record of the services of the Illinois Militia, Rangers and Riflemen, in protecting the frontier from the ravages of the Indians from 1810 to 1813.”

Beginning on page 345 of Volume 9 is the “Roster of Illinois Volunteers American-Spanish War 1898-99, with historical sketches from time of mobilization, to muster into the United States service.”

Revolutionary War

The Conquest of the Illinois

Chicago: Donnelley 1920
Clark, George Rogers, edited by Quaife, Milo M. Go to Book

According to the editor, George Rogers Clark’s conquest of Illinois country during the American Revolution, “…was the factor chiefly responsible for giving the Old Northwest to the new-born American nation in the treaty of 1783.” Thanks to Clark, the Great Lakes States are not part of Canada today. If the U.S. had not won the Old Northwest, it seems much less likely that the U.S. would have had the opportunity for the Louisiana Purchase.

Clark’s original memoir is very difficult to read. In this edition the editor of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Milo Quaife, rewrote the memoir and added notes to make it more accessible. He also included an Introduction that explains the historical background for Clark’s campaign.

See the resources on this site for: The Exploits of George Rogers Clark

See also on this site: Books on the American Revolution on U.S. History; Colonial Era, Revolution, Confederation

Illinois country, Northwest Territory, Revolutionary War, George Rogers Clark, memoir, U.S. history book

Military History in Illinois

Sketch of his Campaign in the Illinois in 1778-9…

Cincinnati: Clarke. 1869
Clark, George Rogers (Col.) Go to Book

(title continued) “…with an introduction by Hon. Henry Pirtle, of Louisville and an appendix containing the Public and Private Instructions to Col. Clark and Major Bowman’s Journal of the Taking of Post St. Vincents”

This account of Clark’s campaign is the text of a letter that Clark sent to George Mason of Virginia. In addition to the documents mentioned in the book title, there is also a biographical sketch of Clark.

See the resources on this site for: The Exploits of George Rogers Clark

Illinois country, George Rogers Clark, Revolutionary War, correspondence, personal narrative, historical

War of 1812

“The Story of James Corbin, a Soldier of Fort Dearborn”

Mississippi Valley Historical Review Vol III, 1916-17, 219-28

Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association
Corbin, JamesGo to Article

Corbin was an enlisted soldier at Fort Dearborn in August 1812 when soldiers there were massacred by local Indians. He dictated this account in 1826, and also described the very difficult circumstances of his life afterward as a prisoner of the Indians and then as a prisoner of the British army, and finally as an impoverished and half-crippled veteran.

Narrative of the Massacre at Chicago [Saturday] August 15, 1812, and of Some Preceding Events

Chicago: Fergus. 1914
Kinzie, Juliette A.Go to Book

This volume is basically a reprint of an 1844 edition, with the addition of a genealogy of the Kinzie family in America, and an essay, “John Kinzie, A Sketch” by Eleanor Lytle Kinzie Gordon. Mrs. Kinzie’s first-person account of the Chicago massacre was originally written in 1836.

Fort Dearborn massacre, Chicago history, online history

Heroes and Heroines of the Fort Dearborn Massacre

Lawrence, KS: Journal. 1896
Simmons, NoahGo to Book

The re-telling of this famous incident was motivated by the author’s desire to highlight the previously-ignored role of his relative in the incident. Nevertheless, it is an interesting narrative, and includes events leading up to the incident.

Fort Dearborn massacre, Chicago history, U.S. history online

“Illinois in the War of 1812-1814”

Transactions for 1904, pp 62-197

Springfield: Illinois State Historical Society
Stevens, Frank E.Go to Article

This book-length article about the western front of the War of 1812 is by the same author who had recently published a book on the Black Hawk War, which can be found on this web page.

War of 1812, Illinois history, books online free

Narrative on the Plains of Michigan

Middleboro, Mass., L. B. Romaine, 1957?
Van Horne, JamesGo to Book

This is a reprint of an 1817 pamphlet entitled “A Narrative of the Captivity & Sufferings of James Van Horne, Who was Nine Months a Prisoner by the Indians on the Plains of Michigan”, published in Middlebury, VT. Van Horne was a soldier stationed at Fort Dearborn who was taken prisoner in the massacre of most of its garrison by Indians on August 15, 1812. This includes an eyewitness account of that event as well as an account of the war along the Great Lakes as seen by the Indians and their captives.

Blackhawk War

The Sauks and the Black Hawk War, with Biographical Sketches, etc

Springfield, ILL: Rokker. 1887
Armstrong, Perry A. Go to Book

This history of the Black Hawk war was written about 50 years after the event, and the author strove to make it the most comprehensive account yet written by consulting virtually everything that had been published about it and about the Indian nations that were involved. At the end of the book is a 65-page appendix entitled “Muster-roll of Illinois Volunteers in the Black Hawk War of 1831-2”.

See the resources on this site for: The Black Hawk War of 1832

Black Hawk War, Sauk tribe, military history, military veterans, online history

Record of the Services of Illinois Soldiers in the Black Hawk War, 1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-8 …

Springfield: Adjutant General 1882
Elliot, Isaac H., ed.Go to Book

(title continued) “… containing a complete roster of commissioned officers and enlisted men of both wars, taken from the official rolls on file in the War Department, Washington, D. C. with an appendix, giving a record of the services of the Illinois Militia, Rangers and Riflemen, in protecting the frontier from the ravages of the Indians from 1810 to 1813”

According to the ‘Preface’ in Volume 1 of the Illinois State Historical Library’s 1970 volume of the militia rolls in The Black Hawk War 1831-1832 edited by Ellen M. Whitney (on this web page), this 1882 edition by the Adjutant General’s office contains many errors and omissions. It would be better to rely on the Whitney volume for records of participants in the Black Hawk war.

See the resources on this site for: The Black Hawk War of 1832

Black Hawk War, Mexican War, military veterans, roster of soldiers, free history

Military History in Illinois

The Black Hawk War, including a review of Black Hawk’s life illustrated with upward of three hundred rare and interesting portraits and views

Chicago: Stevens 1903
Stevens, Frank E. Go to Book

The author of this comprehensive account of the war and events surrounding it claims to have researched the subject for over 25 years. Most of the 300 illustrations are portraits, and the index is filled with names of participants also. There are two appendices entitled, “Abraham Lincoln in the Black Hawk War” and “Jefferson Davis in the Black Hawk War”.

Black Hawk War, Black Hawk, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, portraits, roster of veterans, online books

History of the Black Hawk War

Jacksonville, ILL: Goudy press 1834
Wakefield, John A.Go to Book

Author John Wakefield had served as a scout during the War of 1812 while a teenager. He subsequently trained as a medical doctor and then as a lawyer, and in the 1820s was a politician in Illinois. He enlisted in the army at the beginning of the Black Hawk War, serving first as a surgeon, then as a scout. He kept a daily journal throughout the campaign, and immediately afterward drew upon that journal to write this history.

See the resources on this site for: The Black Hawk War of 1832

Black Hawk war, diary, personal account

History of the War between the United States and the Sac and Fox Nations of Indians …

Jacksonville, ILL: Goudy 1834
Wakefield, John A. Go to Book

(title continued) “… and parts of other disaffected tribes of Indians, in the years eighteen hundred and twenty-seven, thirty-one, and thirty-two”

This account was published immediately after the Black Hawk War. The author’s overall approach appears to be to reproduce treaties between the U.S. government and the Indians, and also related public documents, and show how the Indians violated the treaties. His purpose seems to be to show how the Indians bore full responsibility for the wars.

Black Hawk War, Causes of Black Hawk War, Indian treaties, books online

Indian Creek Massacre and Captivity of Hall Girls …

Milwaukee: Reic 1915
Scanlan, Charles M. Go to Book

(title continued) “Complete History of the Massacre of 16 Whites on Indian Creek, near Ottawa, Ill., & Sylvia Hall and Rachel Hall as Captives in Illinois and Wisconsin during the Black Hawk War, 1832”

This was a famous incident during the Black Hawk war that has been included in many histories. This lively re-telling also throws light on the origins of the war.

Indian Creek Massacre, Black Hawk War, Illinois history, Silvia and Rachel Hall, free online books

The Expedition against the Sauk and Fox Indians 1832…

NY: 1914
Smith, Henry Go to Book

(title continued) “…The following narrative of the expedition against the Sauk and Fox Indians, last year, has been kindly furnished to the Military and naval magazine by an officer who served in General Atkinson’s brigade”

Reprinted from the Military and Naval Magazine of the United States of August 1833. This account reads much like an official military report of the war. There is no sympathy here for the acts of the Indians and no significant analysis of the causes of the war, but it is a valuable account of the strategies and actions of military commanders throughout the campaign.

See the resources on this site for: The Black Hawk War of 1832

Sauk tribe, Fox tribe, Black Hawk War, military history, free book

Military History in Illinois

The Black Hawk War, 1831-1832

Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library 1970-1973
Whitney, Ellen M., Comp. and ed.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2 Part 1

The Illinois State Historical Library produced four volumes in this documentary series on the Black Hawk War. Only two of the four are available online; Volume 1, and Volume 2, Part 1. The volumes not included here are Volume 2, Part 2, Letters and Papers June 24, 1832 – October 14, 1834; and Volume 2, Part 3, Appendices and Index.

Volume 1: Illinois Volunteers.
The ‘Foreword’ contains an explanation of the various collections of records that were used to compile these rolls of participants in the Black Hawk War, and notes accompany the rolls of each military unit throughout the volume. This volume includes muster rolls for 244 units of Illinois volunteers who served in the 1831 and 1832 campaigns. The rolls accounted for 204 companies and detachments and 40 staff organizations. Chapters of Volume 1 are:

-Introduction, “Prelude to Disaster: The Course of Indian-White Relations Which Led to the Black Hawk War of 1832” by Anthony F. C. Wallace
-Part One – Black Hawk Campaign of 1831: Muster Rolls
-Part Two – Black Hawk Campaign of 1832: Muster Rolls
-Appendix: Service Records and Reports

Volume 2, Letters and Papers Part 1 April 30, 1831 – June 23, 1832.
Approximately 1,400 items were selected by the editors from available collections of documents for presentation in both parts of Volume 2. About half of those are in Part 1.

Black Hawk War, Black Hawk campaigns, militia volunteers, Illinois soldiers, historical documents

Civil War

Bugle Echoes; The Story of Illinois 47th

Springfield: Phillips 1905
Bryner, CloydGo to Book

A Civil War history of the 47th Illinois Infantry Regiment.

For histories of the Civil War, see also on this site: Section 973.7 Civil War on U.S. History; 1845 through the Civil War

Illinois Civil War history, regimental history

Reminiscences of the Civil War from Diaries of Members of the 103d Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Chicago: Leaming 1904
Committee of 103d, comp.Go to Book

The compiling committee collected and transcribed material directly from diaries and letters that were written by officers and men of the Regiment from mustering in 1862 to discharge in 1865.

Illinois Civil War history, regimental history

Regimental Publications & Personal Narratives of the Civil War: A Checklist. Vol. 1, Part 1 – Illinois

NY: New York Public Library 1961-1972
Dornbusch, Charles EmilGo to Book

This is Part 1 of a 7-part work, which covers Civil War histories of 17 participating northern states. Part 1 is dedicated entirely to Illinois. According to the compiler’s Preface, every battery and regiment is listed, and arranged numerically by arm of service – Artillery, Cavalry and Infantry. Any publications that could be associated with a particular battery or regiment are listed under that unit, including regimental histories, personal narratives, reunion proceedings, unit rosters and even sermons preached at soldiers’ funerals. Personal narratives by individuals who served under more than one unit are found under the unit of their first service.

Many or most of these articles and books are likely available online, free. For assistance in finding these, see our blog post Searching for eBooks.

For histories of the Civil War, see also on this site: Section 973.7 Civil War on U.S. History; 1845 through the Civil War

For biographies of Civil War Generals, see:
– Grant, F. D., ed., Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant in Century Past Biographies: G & H
White, Henry Alexander, Robert E. Lee and the Southern Confederacy, 1807-1870 in Century Past Biographies: I, J, K & L;
Sherman, William Tecumseh, Personal Memoirs in Century Past Biographies: S;
Johnston, Robert M., Leading American Soldiers in Century Past Collective Biography G – P;
Bradford, Gamaliel, Confederate portraits in Century Past Collective Biography A – F;
Bradford, Gamaliel, Union portraits in Century Past Collective Biography A – F

Civil War regimental histories, Civil War personal narratives

The Patriotism of Illinois. A Record of the Civil and Military History of the State in the War for the Union …

Chicago: Clarke 1865
Eddy, T. M.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

(title continued)”… with a history of the campaigns in which Illinois soldiers have been conspicuous, sketches of distinguished officers, the roll of the illustrious dead, movements of the sanitary and Christian commissions (2 volumes)”.

Illinois Civil War history

The History of Company A, Second Illinois Cavalry

Self-published 1912?
Fletcher, Samuel H.Go to Book

Fletcher was a member of company A. A roster of the unit is included at the end.

Illinois Civil War history

Muskets and Medicine, or Army Life in the Sixties

Philadelphia: Davis 1917
Johnson, Charles BeneulynGo to Book

A personal narrative by an Illinois volunteer in the Civil War.

Illinois Civil War history

This was Andersonville

NY: McDowell, Obolensky 1957
McElroy, John Go to Book

(title continued) ” … The True Story of Andersonville Military Prison as told in the personal recollections of John McElroy, sometime Private, Co. L, 16th Illinois Cavalry”

World War One

The History of the 33rd Division A.E.F.

Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library 1921-22
Huidekoper, Frederic LouisGo to Book|Go to Book|Go to Book|Go to Book

The history of the 33rd Division of the Illinois National Guard in World War I. The first three volumes contain the history; Volume 4 contains over 40 accompanying maps. These are the first four volumes of the State Historical Library’s series Illinois in the World War.

The War-Time Organization of Illinois

Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library 1923
Jenison, Marguerite Edith Go to Book

Volume 5 of the State Historical Library’s series Illinois in the World War. According to the Preface, the Historical Library began in 1919 to collect documents and materials of all sorts relating to the part of Illinois in World War I. This volume is “an encyclopedic resume of the civilian and military organization of Illinois, official, semi-official, and private, for the World War. It is designed to put the essential information about each of these organizations in convenient and accessible form. It is a handbook for the future historian and not a definitive history.”

Chapter headings are:

1. State Organizations
2. War Laws and their Enforcement
3. Military and Naval Activities
4. War Finance
5. Food and the War
6. Fuel and the War
7. Labor and the War
8. War Industries
9. Welfare Organizations
10. War Relief Organizations

War Documents and Addresses

Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library
Jenison, Marguerite Edith, ed.Go to Book

Volume 6 (final volume) of the State Historical Library’s series Illinois in the World War. Published by the War Records Section of the State Library, this consists of “selected documents of various classes, speeches, resolutions, etc., regarding the activity of Illinois in the World War.” It is intended to illustrate “… the various phases of Illinois’ contribution to the victory of 1918 and the mental reaction of the state and her leaders toward the war.”

Chapter headings are:

1. Public Opinion and the War
2. Mobilizing the State’s Resources for the War
3. Mobilizing Illinois Men for Service
4. Preserving Law and Order in the State
5. Visits of Foreign Missions
6. The Illinois Centennial
7. Bringing War Activities to a Close
8. Post-War Legislation
9. Return of the Illinois Service Men

Illinois in the World War; An Illustrated History of the Thirty-Third Division

Chicago: States Publications Society 1921
States Publications Society, comp. Go to Book|Go to Book

This is actually a compilation of histories of the military units that made up the 33rd division, authored by their commanding officers or written under their supervision. Numerous photos. Chapter headings are:

Volume 1:
Definitions of Military Terms
Equivalents of French Measurements
Decorations Awarded to American Soldiers
Illinois in the World War – A Record of Service
World Dominion the Stake
America Turns the Tide
The Thirty-Third Division
– A Dedication by General Bell
– History of the Division
– The Thirty-third Division Staff
– The Sixty-sixth Infantry Brigade
– The 131st Infantry
– The 132nd Infantry
– The 124th Machine Gun Battalion

Volume 2:
The Sixty-fith Infantry Brigade
– The 129th Infantry
– The 130th Infantry
– The 123rd Machine Gun Battalion
The Fifty-eighth Field Artillery Brigade
– The 122nd Field Artillery
– The 123rd Field Artillery
– The 124th Field Artillery
– The 108th Ammunition Train
– The 108th Trench Mortar Battery
The 108th Engineers
The 122nd Machine Gun Battalion
The 108th Field Signal Battalion
The 108th Trains Headquarters and Military Police
– The 108th Sanitary Train
– The 108th Supply Train
The Thirty-third Division Auxiliaries

War Publications and Reports of the War Committee of the University of Illinois 1917-1919

University of Illinois 1923
War Committee of the University of Illinois Go to Book

The University’s War Committee produced publications throughout World War I to advise government leaders or to provide guidance to citizens of Illinois. Many are illustrated. Titles include:

Food Conservation
Municipal War Work
The War Garden
Food Production
War Legislation
War Activities and Moral Leadership
Sugar in War Time
The Great Condition
The German War Code
Responsibility for the Great War
The College Man and the War
Italy and the Peace Conference
New Arab Kingdom
The Republic of the Ukraine
Conflict of Parties in the Russian Revolution
The New Poland
Aims and Claims of Germany
Mobilization for Food Production
Farm Machinery Situation
Use of Farm Labor during the War
Grow More Wheat in Illinois
Home Economics Exhibits
Shall I Plant a Garden?
Apple Flakes
Growing Plants for War Gardens
Conserving Sugar in Ice Cream
War Bread Receipts [recipes]
Applications of Trigonometry [to aiming artillery]
An Outline of Economic Readjustment
Historical Background of the Great War

To receive links to free history articles and resources every day in your Twitter or Facebook feeds, follow:

Century Past History (Twitter)

History of the Great Lakes States (Facebook)

Your comments and feedback are welcome!