Civil War Rosters
115th Infantry

*Company D, One Hundred Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, was recruited in Schuyler county by Rev. S. M. Heckstep, a Methodist minister who was on the Rushville circuit at the beginning of the war. The greater part of the volunteers in this company were from Bainbridge and Frederick Townships, and they were mustered into service at Springfield October 4, 1862. Rev. Huckstep was elected Captain and served his country as gallantly as he had served the Lord, until he received a mortal wound at the battle of Chickamauga September 20, 1863. The wound was inflicted by a shrapnel ball, and he was taken to the hospital at Chattanooga, where the ball was removed from his thigh. From there he was removed to Nashville, Tenn., where he died December 9, 1863. Soon after the death of Captain Huckstep, Lieut. Samuel Hymer was promoted to Captain and he commanded the company until the close of the war.

Company D, One Hundred Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, participated in the battle of Franklin and Harpeth River, April 10, 1863, also in the battle of Chickamauga, Ga., September 18, 19 and 20, 1863, and was in the Dalton raid under General Palmer from February 21 to February 27, 1864. They were also in the charge on Tunnel Hill, Ga., May 7, 1864, and when General Sherman started on his Atlanta campaign, the One Hundred Fifteenth Regiment was in the advance and took a prominent part in the battle of Resaca, Ga., May 15 and 16, 1864.

During the summer of 1864 Company D was stationed at Buzzard Roost Gap, and it was here Captain Hymer and his little band of Spartans gained renown by the defense of a block house, where they held Gen. Hood’s army of 40,000 men in check for nearly ten hours, thus blocking the advance of the enemy and securing the safety of the remainder of the regiment, as well as that of the Eighth Kentucky Infantry, then stationed at Ringgold and which retreated to Chattanooga.

For this conspicuous act of gallentry, Captain Hymer received the brevet rank of Major from President Lincoln, and on March 28, 1896, Congress bestowed upon him a medal of honor.

The defense made by Captain Hymer and the brave Schuyler boys of Company D is well worthy a place in the military annals of the county, as it is seldom soldiers are called upon to fight against such fearful odds. Of the forty-one men who aided in the defense of the block house five were killed, six were wounded and the survivors, who surrendered after a gallant defense, spent months in southern prisons.

Company D had been sent to Buzzard’s Roost Gap in July to guard that strategic point, which was an opening in the valley about one hundred years wide. During the summer a block house 24×24 feet was built of spruce logs, one tier being laid horizontal and backed up by other logs set perpendicular. The top was also covered with logs and on top of this was placed sod and dirt to a depth of three feet. Flaring portholes, 4×4 inches square, were cut in the logs on all four sides and a firing platform was built inside. The door to the block house was cut on an angle so the enemy could not get a direct fire in case it had to be opened, and surrounding the block house was a deep ditch. The little fort was well provisioned and the men were armed with rifles.

During the summer of 1864 General Sherman was transporting train loads of provisions over the Western & Atlantic Railroad to supply his troops, and the block house at Buzzard’s Roost Gap was built with the idea of guarding the railroad at that point. The boys of Company D patrolled the railroad two or three miles each way twice a day to keep the rebels from pulling the spikes and wrecking the trains, thereby cutting off General Sherman’s line of supplies.

Along in the middle of August Gen. Joe Wheeler came dashing up to the block house on one of his cavalry raids, but when he took in the situation that wily general wheeled about and retreated, as his force was not strong enough to carry the block house by assault.

But it was different with General Hood. He came with an army of about 40,000 men on the morning of October 13, 1864, and that gap afforded him his only means of escape from General Sherman’s army, which was pressing him so closely he could not get through at Snake Creek Gap or Rocky Face Ridge. At Buzzard’s Roost Gap the mountains rose abruptly on either side and there, in the center of the one hundred yards of open space, stood the little block house.

It was about noon when General Hood’s army appeared, and then the battle was on. At first it was the rebel sharp shooters who were called into action, but as there was no sign of weakening by the gallant block house defenders, Captain Slocum’s New Orleans battery was brought into play. Three guns were placed on each hill at a distance of from 400 to 600 yards, and an enfilading fire begun. In an interview with the writer Captain Hymer stated that about 130 or 140 shots were fired before any impression was made on the block house. One solid shot hit the southeast corner and tore the heavy timbers into splinters. Five balls entered the port holes, and with every shot a member of Company D gave up his life. Nathan Jones was the first man killed, a musket ball striking him in the forehead. Fielden Loe had his head shot off with a cannon ball. Joseph Boyd had his left arm torn off at the shoulder with a cannon ball. John Parrish’s left arm was shot off between the elbow and wrist. William Dixson was struck by a cannon ball on the leg, which stripped the flesh to the bone, and amid the carnage within that little block-house, these brave men lingered, while their companions continued the combat, and died as bravely as they had fought.

All afternoon the artillery battle waged, and solid shot and shell were rained down upon the block-house by Captain Slocum’s batteries on the hills. With the approach of darkness General Hood grew impatient, and thinking the block house commander might want to surrender he ordered a flag of truce sent out. Captain Hymer stated that he was too busy to be on the lookout for a white flag and, in the darkness, the truce bearer was shot down. Then followed a charge that was repulsed and the rebel forces received orders to take the block house at all hazards. But before a final assault was made, J. B. Schneider, a drummer boy in the Second Missouri Infantry, who was a prisoner in the rebel ranks, volunteered to bear a flag of truce and, behind the shelter of the railroad embankment, made his way toward the fort. This was about 9 o’clock at night, and the moon having come out brightly the lad was noted and firing ceased. Sergeant Robert Stewart and Andrew Jacoby challenged the flag-bearer, who stated his errand was to secure the surrender of the company in defense of the block house. Soon afterwards Captain Hymer left the fort to confer with the Confederate officers and there, beneath the stars, the following terms of surrender were drawn up:

“In the Field Near
“Dalton, Ga., Oct. 13, 1864.
“Captain Hymer, commanding fort of U. S. troops near Dalton: I am ordered by Maj. Gen. Bates, C. S. A., to demand the immediate and unconditional surrender of the fort and garrison. Your command, your officers and men will be treated as prisoners of war and with the courtesy due their respective ranks. They will be permitted to retain their personal property and clothing. Your defense has been gallant and any further resistance an unnecessary effusion of blood.
“Respectfully,
“Theo. Carter, Capt. C. S. A.”

“I accept the terms, believing further resistance hopeless.
“Samuel Hymer.
“Capt. Co. D, 115th Ill. Vol. Inft.
“Commander.”

As soon as the terms of surrender were signed Captain Hymer’s company was marched out of the block house, and some of the old veterans say it was a surprise to the rebels to learn that there were only forty-one in that little company. That night was spent in the field and, on the following morning, Pat Zimmerman, Alva Bond and William Tyson were detailed to bury the dead. The five men who had sacrificed their lives in the gallant defense were wrapped in their blankets and buried in a shallow grave near the block house, and after the close of the war their bodies were removed to the National Cemetery at Chattanooga, and are buried in Section K. In addition to those killed at the block house, William Harlow died at Jeffersonville, Ind., January 2, 1865, from wounds received in the fight, and John S. Smith died in Andersonville prison of weakness and debility.

Under date of October 18, 1864, E. W. Dace, writing from Tunnel Hill, Ga., gives the list of killed, wounded and captured in the battle as follows:

Killed–Privates, John Parrish, Joseph E. Boyd, Fielden Loe, William Dixson, Nathan Jones.
Wounded–Corporals, Andrew Jackson, P. A. Zimmerman, George Masterson, James Thompson, James C. Dupuy, William Harlow.
Captured–Capt. Samuel Hymer, Lieut. Michael P. Jones, Sergeants, Andrew Jacobs, Alva Bond and Robert Stewart. Corporals, Andrew Jackson, P. A. Zimmerman, James C. Dupuy, James Thompson, Overton Parks, Garrett Lane and George Masterson. Privates, James M. Bryant, Squire Bechtol, Andrew J. Barker, Joseph W. Campbell, George W. Cross, Joseph Collister, Samuel Eads, Martin Goree, George Gregory, William Herron, John D. Jackson, Jesse Jackson, Milton P. Julian, Charles Lamaster, John Moreland, James W. Robertson, Thomas Smedley, John Smith, John M. Stevens, Elias Stevens, Andrew Terrell, William Tyson and Anson W. Underhill.

Three of the wounded soldiers, namely: George Masterson, William Harlow and Squire Bechtol, were paroled, while the remainder of the officers and men of Company D were taken to the army prison at Selma, Ala. From there they were transferred to Cahaba, about twenty-five miles down the river, and then sent to Mullen, Ga. Late in November a scouting party, sent out by General Sherman, drew close to Millen, and the prisoners were transferred to Savannah, and later marched across country from Thomasville to Anderson prison, one of the most notorious of the rebel prisons.

On December 26, 1864, the doors of Andersonville prison closed upon the boys of Company D, and they remained there until March 25, 1865. They were put on board the cars and transported to Vicksburg and from there went up the Mississippi River on the steamboat “Henry Ames” to St. Louis, where they were paid by the Union Quartermaster, and a thirty day furlough was granted. At the expiration of the furlough, the company assembled at Springfield, where it was mustered out of service June 11, 1865.

Company C.
Utter, Edwin – Sergeant, discharged May 13, 1865, disability.

Company D.
Banks, Francis – Corporal, discharged May 11, 1863, disability.
Barker, Andrew J. – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Barker, Charles – Corporal, absent wounded at mustering out of regiment.
Bechtol, Squire – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Bennett, William R. – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Bond, Alva – Corporal, mustered out June 11, 1865, as Sergeant.
Bowling, William – Private, died at Danville, Kentucky, January 25, 1863.
Bowman, William – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Boyd, Joseph E. – Private, killed at Dalton, Georgia, October 13, 1864.
Bridgewater, Andrew – Sergeant, Private, died Jeffersonville, Indiana, February 8, 1865.
Bridgewater, Elias – Private, died at Cleveland, Tennessee, March 10, 1864.
Bridgewater, Christian C. – First Lieutenant, resigned for good of service, May 26, 1863.
Bryant, James M. – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Bryant, John – Private, discharged February 7, 1863, disability.
Buckles, Elisha – Private, died at Chattanooga, September 29, 1864.
Buckles, James – Wagoner, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Byers, Monroe – Private, died at Danville, Kentucky, January 22, 1863.
Campbell, George W. – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Cokenour, Alfred – Private, discharged October 24, 1863, disability.
*Colister [Calister], Joseph – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
*Colvin [Calvin], George W. – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Cross, George W. – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Dace, Edwin – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Dace, Michael – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Deal, James A. – Corporal, mustered out July 1, 1865, as Sergeant, prisoner of war.
Deal, Strathearn – Private, died at Danville, Kentucky, January 27, 1863.
*Dixson [Dixon], William – Private, killed at Dalton, Georgia, October 13, 1864.
*Dupuy [Dupee], Daniel T. – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
*Dupuy [Dupee], Francis M. – Private, killed at Chickamauga, September 20, 1865.
*Dupuy [Dupee], James C. – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Eads, Samuel S. – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Everhart, Samuel – Private, discharged April 30, 1863, disability.
Fagan, Patrick – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Frisby, George – Sergeant, absent sick at mustering out of regiment.
Gillett, George – Sergeant, killed at Chickamauga, September 20, 1863.
Gory, Martin – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Gregory, George – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
*Harlow [Harlon], William – Private, died Jeffersonville, Indiana, January 2, 1865.
Herron, William – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Hobart, Luther M. – *Sergeant, Hospital Steward, mustered out June 11, 1865
*Howell, Thomas S. – Recruit
*Huckstep, James M. – Musician
Huckstep, Stephen M. – Captain, died of wounds December 9, 1863.
Hymer, Samuel – Captain, First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant, honorably discharged, May 15, 1865.
*Ishmeal [Ishmael], Francis D. – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865. [listed from both Schuyler and Brown Cos.]
Jackson, Andrew – Private, Corporal, died at Huntsville, February 1, 1865.
Jackson, Jesse – Recruit, tr. to Co. A, 21st Illinois Infantry, mustered out December 16, 1865.
*Jackson, John D. – Private
Jacoby, Andrew – Corporal, mustered out July 1, 1865, as Sergeant, prisoner of war.
Jacoby, Christopher – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Jones, Michael P. – First Lieutenant, Second Lieutenant, First Sergeant, honorably discharged, May 15, 1865.
Jones, Nathan – Private, killed at Dalton, Georgia, October 13, 1864. [listed from both Schuyler and Brown Cos.]
Julian, Milton P. – Recruit, tr. to Col. A, 21st Illinois Infantry, paroled prisoner of war, discharged August 30, 1865.
Kent, Asher – Private, deserted September 28, 1862.
Lamaster, Charles – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Lane, Garrett – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865, as Corporal
Lenover, Alexander – Private, discharged March 24, 1863, disability.
Lent, Jeremiah – Private, discharged December 24, 1864, disability.
Loe, Fielden – Private, killed near Dalton, Georgia, October 13, 1864.
Masterson, George – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865, as Corporal.
Miller, Henry – Private, tr. to Engineer Corps, August 15, 1863.
Monnett, William – Private, died at Danville, Kentucky, February 15, 1863.
Moreland, John – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Muck, Humphrey – Private, mustered out May 18, 1865, wounded.
Myers, Daniel – Private, discharged April 12, 1865, disability.
Newell, James – Private, discharged April 20, 1864, disability.
Park, Overton – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865, as Corporal.
Parish, John – Private, killed at Dalton, Georgia, October 13, 1864.
Pickenpaugh, John – Private, tr. to Engineer Corps, August 15, 1864.
Rhodes, William – Musician, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Robertson, James W. – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Root, Jacob – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Russell, Isaiah – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Sebastian, George S. – Private [from Brown Co.]
Scott, Richard – Recruit, discharged June 5, 1865, as Corporal, disability.
Smedley, David L. – Private, discharged April 12, 1863, disability.
Smedley, John M. – Private, killed at Chickamauga, September 20, 1863.
Smedley, Thomas I. – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Smedley, William A. – Private, died at Chattanooga, October 15, 1863, wounds.
Smith, Daniel W. – Corporal, died Franklin, Tennessee, May 2, 1865.
Smith, John S. – Private, died in Andersonville prison, February 3, 1865, No. of grave 12,566.
Stark, John – Private, discharged March 7, 1863, wounds.
Stephens, Elias – Recruit, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Stephens, John M. – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Stewart, Robert – Corporal, mustered out July 1, 1865, as Sergeant, prisoner of war.
Stoneking, Jacob – Private, discharged October 7, 1864, disability.
Stoneking, Washington P. – Private, tr. to V. R. C., September 1, 1863.
Teeple, Jackson – Private, discharged April 20, 1863, disability.
Terrill, Andrew J. – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Thomas, James R. – Private [from Brown Co.]
Thompson, James – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865, as Corporal.
Tolle, Perry P. – Corporal, tr. to V. R. C., July 20, 1864.
Tyson, George W. – Private, died at Resaca, May 21.
Tyson, William – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Underhill, Anson W. – Private, mustered out July 1, 1865, prisoner of war.
Underhill, William B. – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Welker, Stewart – Private, mustered out June 11, 1865.
Zimmerman, Patman – Recruit, mustered out JUne 11, 1865, as Corporal, prisoner of war.

*Company H.
*Farrar, Jasper P.
*Ward, Hiram K.
*Whitsel, John D.
*Wren, John
*Zegler, Ezra

*Company K.
*Derrill, Henry S.

Sources:
Combined History of Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, 1882
*Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Schuyler County, 1908

Copyright 2000-2006 Judi Gilker; all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright must appear with the information.

 

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