part of a volume entitled Fifteen Years Ago: or the Patriotism of Will County by George H. Woodruff
Submitted by Merryann Palmer, firstname.lastname@example.org, to whom every reader should be grateful.
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designed to preserve the names and memory of WILL COUNTY SOLDIERS, both officers and privates - both living and dead: to tell something of what they did, and of what they suffered, in the Great Struggle to Preserve Our Nationality.
by GEORGE H. WOODRUFF
printed and published for the author by James Goodspeed; Joliet: Joliet Republican Book and Job Steam Printing House 1876
"The Republican, of that date, (23 June 1862) says: "W.C. Wood offers a bounty of $100 to the first company that is completed to its maximum in the 100th regiment." Other citizens, I believe, made similar offers, and , it is to be hoped - paid them!
The supervisors met July 29th, and appropriated $60,000 for a war fund, and took the necessary steps for raising the money. They voted a bounty of $60 to each volunteer, or $5 monthly to his family, as he might elect. War meetings and enlistments are going on all over the county. Twelve companies, six of whom had their headquarters in Joliet, were being raised in Will county. Soon the idea of a Will county regiment is suggested, and takes with everybody, and soon authority is obtained to that effect, and the old barracks on the fair grounds are put in order, and the Will county regiment, the 100th Illinois, are in possession, and fast organizing the companies and the regiment. This is soon accomplished, for the enthusiasm and excitement throughout the county surpasses that of the previous year.
An enthusiastic meeting was held at the Linebarger school house the 26th of July, and 20 recruits raised. On lady, a Mrs. Bush, gave up her fourth son to the cause, and said, if she had four more, they should go. This was by no means an isolated instance. A Mrs. Noble, of Wilmington, gave two boys to the 100th regiment, and she subsequently gave one to the 39th regiment. These were all she had of sufficient age. These widows, I think, exceeded in their spirit of sacrifice the widow that Christ commended. Like her, they gave all they had, and gave something better and dearer far than money.
These two Noble boys - sons of a Noble mother - were taken prisoners at Chickamauga, and taken to Andersonville. One lived through it; the other died a martyr to his country.
Another woman gave her only son, and her husband too, and both were sacrificed on the altar of her country. Of the son, Sergeant Holmes, on of the bravest boys in the 100th, we shall have something to say in the history of that regiment. The husband, (Gary B. Mitchell) died early in the service at Nashville.
The companies comprising the 100th held their elections, and the regiment held its election, at Camp Erwin, as the camp was now called. Only one man was thought of for colonel, Fred. A. Bartleson, the gallant major of the 20th. The full account of this, and the roster of the officers and full muster roll of the regiment, together with a detailed history of its campaigns, will be found in its proper place.
One of our resident physicians, Dr. A.L. McArthur, received at this time an appointment as medical examiner on the state board, a post of great usefulness and responsibility. Dr. A.W. Heise accepted the appointment of surgeon to the regiment, and Drs. E. Harwood and H.T. Woodruff were appointed assistant surgeons.
But the 100th regiment does not absorb all the interest, or all the volunteers.......
".....The one hundredth - the Will county regiment, had a public reception, Saturday, July 1st, at the house square. It was a grand demonstration. A most hearty and thankful welcome was given to the bronzed and scarred veterans; - the survivors of Lavernge, Stone River, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Rocky Face, Resacca, Adairsville, Dallas, Lost Mountain, Kenesaw Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Lovejoy, Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville!
They were received by the Mayor and Council, with the music of bands, the firing of cannon, and the shouts and huzzas of the assembled thousands. The members of the Soldiers Aid Society in their sanitary uniform, and many other ladies lined the streets through which they marched, and welcomed them with smiles and the waving of flags and handkerchiefs. A reception speech was made by Joliet's silver-tongued orator, Judge Parks, which was responded to by Col. Waterman. An adjournment was then made to Young's Hall, which was tastefully decorated, and where a rich and bountiful repast had been provided, and was dispensed by the FAIR, always ready to welcome the BRAVE.
July Fourth was celebrated by a grand union picnic, which was held in the park south of the city. Hon. Sam. K. Casey, was president of the day, assisted by twenty-four vice-presidents. Rev. Mr. Jewett of the Methodist, and Rev. Mr. Kidd, of the Congregational church, acted as Chaplains. Dennis E. Sibely, of the 100th, read the declaration of Independence, and T.L. Breckenridge, was orator of the day. Our Joliet bard, C.H.Macomber, Esq., welcomed our returned soldiers in poetic and patriotic numbers. Major S. G. Nelson, of the 100th, and Major Dan. O'Connor, of the 90th, were the chief marshals. A free dinner was given to all returned soldiers. And thus we celebrated the birth-day of our nation in 1776, and its deliverance from threatened dismemberment in 1865.
Other regiments, companies and battery's came home during the summer, and were gladly welcomed; and one after another the Will county soldiers, the survivors of the long and cruel civil war, having given from one to four of the best years of their lives, to the work of saving the Union, doffed the army blue which they had worn so proudly and so long, and once more quietly took their places in the various walks of civil life; - GLAD, that their fighting days were over, -glad, that all over our broad land, "grim-visaged war had smoothed his wrinkled front;" - glad, that all the clouds which had so long lowered over our beloved country were ......"
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