The History of the 35th Illinois Volunteer Infantry


Battles the 35th Illinois Volunteer Infantry were involved in:

  • Pea Ridge, Arkansas
  • Corinth, Mississippi
  • Perryville, Kentucky
  • Stones River, Tennessee (Murfreesboro)
  • Chickamauga, Georgia
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Missionary Ridge, Tennessee
  • Rocky Face Ridge, Georgia
  • Resaca, Georgia
  • Dallas, Georgia
  • Mud Creek, Georgia

The 35th Illinois Volunteer Infantry was originally known as G.A. Smith's Independent Regiment. It was organized in Decatur, Illinois in July 3rd, 1861. Its organizer and first colonel was Gustavus A. Smith. On the 23rd of July, 1861, it was accepted by the secretary of war as Colonel G.A. Smith's Independent Regiment, of Illinois Volunteers.

On August 4th, 1861, they left Decatur, Illinois and arrived at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri on August 5th, 1861. The regiment remained there one week, and was ordered to Marine Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri. Eight companies were mustered into the United States service. Aggregate strength of the Regiment was 793.

On the 15th of September, 1861 they were moved by railroad to Jefferson City, Missouri. On the 25th of September, 1861 they moved to Otterville, Missouri also by railroad. On the 15th of October, they marched to Sedalia, Missouri a distance of 15 miles, and joined General Sigel's advance on Springfield, Missouri. They arrived at Springfield, Missouri on October 26th, 1861. Total distance marched on this trip, 125 miles.

On November 10th, 1861 they marched to Wilson's Creek, and returned to Springfield, Missouri on November 12th, 1861. Distance marched, 25 miles. On November 13th, 1861, left Springfield, Missouri for Rolla, Missouri. They arrived there on November 19th, 1861. Total distance marched, 114 miles. On January 23rd, 1862 the Regiment began the advance on Springfield, Missouri, and arrived there on February 13th, 1862. The next day, they followed Price's retreating army, and arrived at Cross Hollows, Arkansas on the 21st of February after a hard and fatiguing march. The line of battle was formed, and they skirmished with the rebels nearly every day. Total marching distance, 228 miles.

On March 5th, they retired from Cross Hollows, Arkansas to Pea Ridge, Arkansas. This was a total marching distance was 12 miles. At this point, the 35th Illinois Infantry was part of the Fourth Division, First Brigade. This was composed of the 4th Iowa Infantry, 35th Illinois Infantry and the 4th Iowa Battery. This Brigade was commanded by Colonel Greenville M. Dodge. On the 7th of March, 1862, the Brigade moved north on the Cassville Road about a mile and one half to Elkhorn Tavern. This is where they commenced their part of the Battle of Pea Ridge, at about 10:00 AM. Soon after, they were supported by Vandever's Brigade, composed of the 9th Iowa Infantry, the 24th Missouri Infantry and the Dubuque battery, along with a detachment of the 3rd Illinois Cavalry. This was the whole of the Fourth Division who was commanded by Colonel Eugene A. Carr. The enemy, composed of Missouri troops lead by General Sterling Price, were repulsed in all of their attempts to gain the table land upon which the Elkhorn Tavern and Pea Ridge are situated, until about 4:00 PM when assaulting Carr's position with 12,000 men and 30 cannon, it was taken after heavy resistance and heavy loss to Price's troops.

The 35th Illinois lost 15 killed, 45 wounded and 55 captured- of whom 15 of the captured were wounded.

Colonel G.A. Smith was severly wounded in the head and arm, early in the action,and was so disabled that he never rejoined the Regiment to take command of it after this. The Regiment was engaged in repulsing the enemy on the morning of March 8th, 1862 without loss. The losses in Carr's Division, composed of the 4th Iowa, 35th Illinois, 9th Iowa, and 24th Missouri Infantry Regiments, the 1st Iowa and the Dubuque Batteries and the detatchment of the 3rd Illinois Cavalry, was more than half the entire loss of General Samuel Curtis, Army in the 3 days of fighting in the Battle of Pea Ridge. The Regiment then marched from Pea Ridge, Arkansas to Keitsville, Arkansas for a marching distance of 49 miles.

April 5th, 1862, the Regiment was marched to Batesville, Arkansas, with Major McIlwain in charge of the Regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Chandler (from the 35th Illinois) was in charge of the Brigade. They arrived at Batesville, Arkansas on May 8th, 1862. The marching distance was 291 total miles.

On May 10th, 1862, the 35th Illinois Infantry was assigned to General Jefferson C. Davis' Division, and began the march to Cape Giraradeau, Missouri. They arrived at Cape Giraradeau, Missouri on May 21st, 1862. Total miles marched, 252 miles.

On May 22nd,1862 they embarked on the steamer Sunshine for Hamburg Landing, Tennessee and arrived there on May 25th. On May 27th, 1862 were moved to Farmington, Mississippi, and took part in the siege of Corinth, Mississippi until its evacuation on May 30th, 1862.

June 1st-June, 5th, 1862 following the rebel army, and got in front at Booneville, Mississippi. On June 12th camped at Clear Creek, Mississippi and then on the 22nd of June at Jacinto, Mississippi. The distance marched from Hamburg Landing, Tennessee to Jacinto, Mississippi including countermarches was 92 miles.

On June 25th, 1862 marched to near Holly Springs, Mississippi, and then returned for a total of 100 miles. On August 8th, 1862, they marched to Iuka, Mississippi a distance of 35 miles.

On August 9th, 1862, the regiment was detached to guard the Bear Creek Bridge; remained on guard duty until the 21st of August, 1862. While at this place, they were sent to Iuka, Mississippi to get 112 bales of cotton abandoned by rebel owners. They left Bear Creek on August 21st, 1862 and joined Buell's Army at Murfreesboro, Tennessee on September, 1st, 1862. Total miles marched; 175.

On September 2nd, 1862, started for Louisville, Kentucky and arrived there on September 25th, 1862. Total distance of 220 miles marched.

On October 1st, 1862, advanced on Bragg's Army in front of Louisville, Kentucky. On October 8th, 1862, the Regiment was at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky. Skirmished with the rebels on their left flank with no loss to the Regiment. Reached Nashville, Tennessee on November 6th, 1862. Total marching distance from Louisville, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee was 200 miles.

On November 10th, 1862 the Regiment was an escort for a train to Mitchelville, Tennessee and also escort on the return trip.

On November 26th, 1862, The 25th Illinois and 35th Illinois Infantry Regiments scouted to Harpeth Shoals, Tennessee for 4 days and then returned. Total marching distance was 132 miles.

December 26th, 1862 they left Nashville, Tennessee for Murfreesboro, Tennessee, distance 45 miles.

December 30th and 31st, 1862 and January 1st-3rd, 1863, the Regiment was involved in the battle of Stone River, Tennessee The 35th Illinois lost 1 commissioned officer killed and 10 men killed; 1 commissioned officer was wounded and 44 men wounded; 21 men were missing; and 4 men captured and paroled. The Regiment started this battle with 20 commissioned officers left, and 419 men.

On January 31st, 1863 the Regiment was sent out on scout duty to Franklin, Tennessee and returned. Total distance marched was 84 miles. They returned on February 12, 1863. On March 7th to March 15th, 1863 they were sent to scout Triune, Tennessee for a total distance of 52 miles.

On June 24, 1863 the Regiment left Murfreesboro, Tennessee for Winchester, Tennessee. They arrived there on July 3rd, 1863 for a total distance of 60 miles. Then on August 7th-August 20th, 1863, they were sent to Stevenson, Alabama for a distance of 40 miles.

On August 28th, 1863, they marched to Caperton's Ferry. The next day, Heg's Brigade, composed of the 25th Illinois, 35th Illinois, 8th Kansas and the 15th Wisconsin Infantry, crossed the Tennessee River on pontoons, and drove the rebel pickets back, while the bridge was being built. They were the first Infantry on the south side of the river.

On August 29th-September 19th, 1863 they crossed Raccoon, Sand, and Lookout Mountains and marched to Alpine, then Dug Gap which was 6 miles in front of Lafayette, Georgia, and then to the battlefield of Chickamauga, Georgia for a distance of 150 miles.

September 19th and 20th,1863 the Regiment was involved heavily at the battle of Chickamauga. The 35th Illinois lost 3 commissioned officers killed, and 15 men killed; 5 commissioned officers wounded and 125 men wounded; 12 men were missing. The Regiment started the battle with 18 commissioned officers and 281 enlisted men.

September 22nd, the Regiment arrived at Chattanooga, Tennessee for a distance of 15 miles.

November 23rd, 1863 the Regiment was involved in the assault of the rebel rifle pits in front of Mission Ridge. On November 25th, 1863, the Regiment was in the storming and capture of Mission Ridge. The Regiment was formed in the front line on the left of Willich's Brigade, Wood's Division, Fourth Army Corps. Wood's Division was the first to carry the crest of the ridge, and the rebel works there. The men were led by the Regimental flags being advanced on the front. The flag of the Regiment was carried in advance of the men, to within 20 paces of the rebel works on the crest. All of the color guard except one, Corporal Preston, Company K, had been wounded, and he at this time, was shot through the head and killed instantly. The flag fell into the hands of Lieutenant Colonel Chandler, commander of the Regiment. He carried the flag himself into the enemy's works and the men followed him. They were the first into the enemy works and at that point the rebel line began to break in several places at this point. The 35th Illinois lost the following. 6 men killed; 2 commissioned officers wounded and 46 men wounded. The Regiment started the battle with 212 officers and men.

On November 28th, 1863 the Regiment marched from Chattanooga, Tennessee and arrived in Knoxville, Tennessee on December 7th, 1863. This was a distance of 138 miles. On December 11th-16th,1863, they were sent to scout around Mayville, Tennessee and back for a distance of 30 miles. Then on December 17th marched to Blain's Cross Roads for a distance of 20 miles. On December 21st, they were ordered to Stawberry Plains, Tennessee to help rebuild a bridge accross the Holston River. They built and planked the bridge 1100 feet long in 18 days. On January 21st, 1864 destroyed the bridge at Strawberry Plains, and marched to Knoxville, Tennessee for a total of 16 miles. On January 22nd they marched to Loudon, Tennessee for a total of 27 miles. They remained at Loudon, building a railroad bridge at this place, until the 13th of April, 1864. In that time they did one scout to Knoxville and returned for a total of 54 miles.

On April 14th, 1864, the Regiment marched to McDonald's Station, Tennessee for a distance of 60 miles and then on April 20th marched to Altoona Station, Tennessee and then returned for a distance of 20 miles. On May 3rd, 1864, They marched to Catoosa Springs, for a total of 20 miles. On May 7th-August 26th, 1864 they were part of the Atalanta, Georgia campaign for a distance of 100 miles.

Losses during the Atlanta campaign were as follows: 1 commissioned officer killed and 12 men killed; 5 commissioned officers wounded and 100 men were wounded; 6 men were missing. Most of the losses occurred at the following places: May 9th-10, 1864 Rocky Faced Ridge/May 14th-15th, 1864 Resaca/May 26th-27th, 1864 Dallas/June 18th, 1864 Mud Creek/June 21st-22nd, 1864 Kenesaw. Major McIlwain was killed on the 22nd day of June, in front of Kenesaw. He was a brave and efficient officer-always prompt in the discharge of his duties. He distunguished himself at the battle of Stone(s) River, as commander of the skirmishers of the brigade.

August 26th, 1864 left the Chattahoochie Bridge for Chattanooga, Tennessee. They went into camp on the 27th of August, 1864, and remained until August 31st, 1864. The 35th Illinois then statred for Springfield, Illinois to be mustered out of service. They were 11 days on the road to Nashville, Tennessee when they encountered Biffel's Calvary at Athens, Albama and Wheeler's Cavalry at Campbell Station, Tennessee. They rebuilt 6 miles of railroad track, and brought everything through. The 6th Indiana Volunteers accompanied the Regiment.

On September 27th, 1864 the 35th Illinois Volunteer Regiment, originally known as G.A. Smith's Independent Regiment, were mustered out of service. Total distance marched exclusive of railroad and steamboat were 3,056 miles!

* Information taken from the Adjutant General's Report. *