J. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) Currey.

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of its term of service, was ordered to Pensacola, Florida, and thence to Mobile,
where it joined other forces in a charge on the enemy's works. This charge took
place on the 9th of April, 1865, about six o'clock in the evening. It was on
the forenoon of that same day that General Lee surrendered to General Grant at


The defensive works at Mobile, says Andreas in his history, "comprised a vast
system of redoubts and connecting curtains, that stretched along the left bank
of the Tensas (Alabama) River like a crescent, with its horns withdrawn and rest-
ing on the banks. It was manned by three thousand, four hundred troops, had
some forty guns in position, was protected by ravines and abattis in front and an
elaborate system of torpedoes, which covered the whole plain with their unseen
dangers the entire defense being supported by the gunboats that had, up to this
time, escaped Farragut's fleet. The Thirty-seventh Illinois, under command of
Colonel Black, was on the extreme left of the assaulting lines. Next in order was
the Twentieth Iowa, Lieutenant-Colonel J. B. Leake, afterward general, com-

"The necessary orders having been given, the various brigades and regiments,
at five o'clock, took position in the trenches and awaited the signal for attack,
which was given by six shotted guns, fired at 5 :50 p. m. on the right. Immediately
ten thousand men were in motion, driving straight for the front. Their onset was
greeted by every gun, small and great, on the rebel side, the right of the lines
being most fiercely opposed. The center and left reached the earth-works simul-
taneously, and, in ten minutes from the firing of the signal, they 'held the fort.'
Every gun, all the battle-flags, an immense amount of war material, a mile of
fortifications, three thousand prisoners of war, and the city of Mobile were the
immediate fruits of the victory. But all this was not accomplished until six hun- !
dred of our men had been killed and wounded; yet during the ten minutes from
the time the signal gun was fired until the last hostile flag went down, not the
slightest wavering took place. The flag of the Thirty-seventh was among the first
over the walls."

The Thirty-seventh remained at or near Mobile until June 28th, when it was ]
sent to Texas, arriving at Galveston July 2d. The regiment was stationed at
various points in Texas during the succeeding year, its service consisting of restor-
ing order in that extensive section of country. In this service it continued a full
year after the return of peace, and it was not until the 15th of May, 1866, that
the regiment was at length mustered out and sent home. Thus many of the
veterans of this regiment spent almost five years in the service.


During its recruiting stage the regiment afterwards known as the Thirty-ninth
Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, was called the "Yates Phalanx," so named in honor
of our patriotic war governor, Richard Yates. The first steps in its formation
date from April 24th, a few days after the President's call for troops; but its
services, though promptly offered, were not accepted, the state's quota being already
filled. After the battle of Bull Run, July 21. 1861, the regiment was again offered
and this time was accepted. Meantime its preliminary organization was broken
up, but little delay occurred in enlisting the full number required to fit it for serv-
ice. The regiment was mustered into the service of the United States, October
11, 1861, Colonel Austin Light being the first commander. Colonel Light was dis-
missed from the service, however, in the following November, on charges connected
with his former army experience. He was succeeded by Colonel Thomas O. Osborne.
Later in the war, Osborne was promoted to be Brigadier-General.


Orrin L. Mann, of Chicago, was Major in this regiment when it was mustered
in, and afterward was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was
brevetted Brigadier-General before the close of the war. The service of this
regiment was at first with the army of the Potomac, operating in the Shenandoah
Valley. It also took part in the battle of Malvern Hill, and the assault on Fort
Wagner in Charleston harbor, where it captured the identical gun which had
opened fire on Fort Sumter at the beginning of the war. The regiment was with
General Butler at Bermuda Hundred, taking part in a severe engagement in which
its losses were very heavy, the number of killed, wounded and missing in the
regiment reaching a total of about two hundred. Other engagements on this line
of operations resulted in further severe losses to the regiment. Captain Homer
A. Plimpton commanded the regiment in the successful storming of Fort Gregg
during the siege of Petersburg. This exploit is described as follows:

"The charge of the Thirty-ninth," says the account in Andreas' history, "was
made across an open swamp, with a heavy fire from front and sides ploughing
through the ranks. Just at the base of the fort was a ditch twelve feet wide and
ten feet deep, with clean, slippery sides. Into this the men rushed, and climbing
the opposite side, by digging footholds in the bank with their bayonets, gained
the fort, and, after a hand-to-hand struggle of half an hour, triumphantly planted
their flag on the parapet. As a testimonial to the exceptional bravery displayed,
a magnificent bronze eagle, cast for the purpose, was presented to the regiment for
its colorstaff."

The regiment was with the army of Grant in its pursuit of the retreating Con-
federates, and aided in preventing the escape of the enemy. After witnessing the
surrender at Appomattox, the regiment was sent to Richmond, where it remained
until August, and was finally mustered out of service at Norfolk, on December
6, 1865.


The first Board of Trade regiment was formed in Chicago during the summer of
1862, and was mustered into service August 21st of the same year as the Seventy-
second regiment of Illinois Volunteers, with Frederick A. Starring as its colonel.
This regiment was composed almost exclusively of Chicago men. In recruiting
for the volunteer service it was frequently the case that names were adopted for
the companies and regiments, which after mustering in received the regular desig-
nations used in the army. Thus the "Hancock Guards," named in honor of John
L. Hancock, president of the Board of Trade, was mustered in as Company "A";
the "Scripps Guards," named in honor of John L. Scripps, who was postmaster
at that time; the "Havelock Guards," composed of men from the Young Men's
Christian Association; and other companies were designated in like manner.

This regiment went into the service with a total strength in officers and men
of nine hundred and sixty-seven. During the three years' service in which the
regiment was engaged one hundred and eighty-five men were killed, and one
hundred and thirty-three died of disease. Seventy-nine members of the regiment
were taken prisoners at different times, and with other losses of men from dis-
ability and by transfers to other branches of the service, the number of officers


and men who returned with the regiment at the end of the war was reduced to three
hundred and thirty-two. The regiment took part in seven battles besides many ac-
tions and skirmishes of lesser note. A diary was kept by Joseph Stockton, who went
out as captain, was afterwards promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and at
the close of the war brevetted Brigadier-General. This diary has been printed
recently and a perusal of it affords a general view of the leading events in which
the regiment participated. General Stockton is so well known by Chicago people,
and the regiment with which he was identified bore so conspicuous a part in the
Civil War, that it will be interesting to follow the fortunes of the Seventy-second
in its campaigns as related in the diary.

After its arrival at the theatre of war in the West, which was then in Ken-
tucky, the regiment was on duty at Paducah and Columbus for some months. In
the following November, the regiment went to Tennessee and Mississippi, form-
ing a part of General Grant's army of the West. During the winter of 1862-3,
the regiment was engaged in military operations in and around Memphis. In
March the field of activity was transferred to the Yazoo river, by which route
the army was endeavoring to reach the rear of Vicksburg. It was while on
this arduous service that an extensive revival of religion occurred among the
troops. Captain Whittle of Company G, of the Seventy-second, was the leading
spirit in the numerous revival meetings which were held. Captain, afterwards
Major, Whittle was well known in Chicago as an effective revivalist for many
years. He was spoken of by Stockton in the diary as a "brave and good man."
In the meetings the chaplains of other regiments assisted, "particularly an Indiana
chaplain, who," says the diarist, "is a regular camp-meeting Methodist, and under-
stands his business." In another place the General observes, "Men are pious when
danger threatens, but somewhat lax when it is past."

Slowly working the steamers along the obstructed channels of the river and
bayous the men made sometimes not more than two or three miles a day. The
trees overhung the boats and the branches swept the decks. The boats' guards
were carried away while the men were obliged to lie prone on the decks in order
not to be swept off. Sometimes their course lay through a bayou in which were
standing trees, and these had to be removed by sawing off many feet below the
water line. In some places the channel was obstructed by fallen trees which the
enemy had chopped down so as to fall crosswise of the stream or bayou. "The
transports of the whole division," says the diary, "are close together, and at times
have to pull each other around the bends in the bayou. The patience of pilots
and engineers is sorely tried. It is certainly a tortuous way, and were it not
that the country is pretty well overflowed the 'Rebs' could harass us terribly,
while we could do them but little harm."

One night when they had gone ashore there was a dreadful storm of wind
and rain which played havoc with trees and branches. "Our lives were in constant
danger from falling branches and trunks of trees. In Ross' division, just adjoin-
ing ours, there were five men killed by trees falling on them. I have never passed
through a more trying or frightful scene. There was no chance of getting away,
for one place was as bad as another, and the rain poured in torrents."

The Yazoo river line of approach to Vicksburg, however, was abandoned in
view of the great difficulties and the dangers attending it. and General Grant, the


eventual conqueror, soon had his forces in motion on other lines of attack. The
troops were shifted to the other side of the Mississippi river, and landed at
Milliken's Bend, from which point they marched in a circuit and once more reached
the river below Vicksburg. Thus the forces of which the Seventy-second was a
part were closing in upon the doomed stronghold, and by the 19th of May the
enemy was effectually hemmed in to escape no more until the surrender of the
city on the succeeding 3d of July, with thirty-one thousand prisoners and one
hundred and seventy-two pieces of cannon.

An interesting episode of this campaign was the visit made by the Lumbard
brothers, Frank and Jules, to the camp of the besiegers at Vicksburg. Mr. Jules
G. Lumbard, now a resident of Chicago, relates the story which the writer recorded
in September, 1909, substantially as follows: He and his brother Frank were
guests of General Grant during the siege of Vicksburg. Grant had invited them
down there from Chicago to cheer the men with their patriotic songs, the singing
of which on many public occasions had already made them famous. They sang
in the camp and in the trenches close up to the rebel lines, where their voices
could easily be heard by the enemy. During an interval of the singing a voice
from a Confederate within the intrenchments was heard calling out, "We know
who's singing over there; it's the Lumbard boys of Chicago. Come over here and
sing for us." The story is told sometimes to the effect that they accepted the
invitation and went inside the Confederate lines, but as a matter of fact they
did not go. Jules says positively that they did not.

It may not be inappropriate to remark at this point -that on the day that
General Pemberton raised a flag of truce on the ramparts of Vicksburg, namely
on the 3d of July, the battle of Gettysburg resulted in a great Union victory, the two
events occurring simultaneouly, and sounding the death knell of the Confederacy.
It was indeed still nearly two years before the war was finally closed by the sur-
render of General Lee's army at Appomattox, but the fighting henceforth was
generally speaking in the nature of a stubborn resistance to the inevitable.

On the day of the surrender of Vicksburg the troops marched into the city pass-
ing long lines of Confederate soldiers with their arms stacked in rows near them.
"There were no cheers as we passed by these men," says Colonel Stockton in his
diary, "but the salutations were, 'How are you Yank?' 'How are you Reb?'"
followed by generous gifts of hard tack and coffee to the half-starved prisoners.
The day was terribly hot, and Stockton says that he never saw men so seriously
affected by the heat as on that day.

When the guards were placed that evening Colonel Stockton was ordered on
duty as "officer of the day," and he relates that while making the "grand rounds"
the following night he would sometimes come upon groups of rebel prisoners sit-
ting by their camp fires discussing their fate. They were anxious to know whether
they were to be sent North, which they feared, or whether they were to be paroled.
Many of them said they had been afraid of what the besieging troops would have
done on the 4th, and well they might, says Stockton, "for in the morning orders
had been issued for a national salute of thirty-four rounds, shot from every gun
in position around Vicksburg, and several mines were to have been exploded blow-
ing up their forts. Taking it all in all, it was well for both sides, as many thou-
sands of lives would have been sacrificed in the assault."


A few days after these events had taken place the regiment, with other troops,
went down the river in transports, and soon found themselves engaged in active
campaign work in Mississippi and Louisiana. On one occasion the force was sent
on an expedition a few miles into the interior of the latter state, under command
of Colonel Stockton. He writes in his diary that it was one of the most exciting
days he spent in the service. On July 14th the troops began their march at four
o'clock a. m. "My orders," he says, "were to capture all the horses, mules and
cattle I could, together with all arms and ammunition. The country is a beau-
tiful one, splendid plantations just blooming with cotton, the first I have ever
seen in such an early stage." He then proceeds to give a graphic description of the
excitement their coming caused among the slaves whom they found on these planta-
tions in great numbers. "The march was a perfect ovation from the darkies who
for the first time in their lives saw Yankee soldiers, and when they saw them they
knew that they were free. They rushed to the road, fell on their knees praying
with all the fervor and feeling of their race, exclaiming 'Glory be to God, Free-
dom's come at last!'

"We marched about fifteen miles into the country, and then started back on
our march towards the river. Such a sight as met my gaze. All along the road
were the negroes with their families, household goods, everything they could gather
in the short time, piled up in their immense cotton wagons as high as they could
get them. There must have been thousands of them, and no end to the children;
such a happy set of beings I never saw before. They were, to use their own
words, 'Going to Freedom.' They knew nothing else, they cared for nothing else,
they were now free; what they had looked forward to for years had come upon
them in a moment, and nothing could induce them to stay on the plantations."
They were told plainly that there were not enough provisions for them, but they
cared not, they sang and danced, and gave way to extravagant demonstrations of

In November, 1864, the Seventy-second received orders to join the army of
General Sherman, then preparing to start on the famous "march to the sea,"
but by reason of unexpected delays, the regiment was not able to do so. It then
joined the army of General Thomas and took part in the battle of Franklin. In
this battle the losses of the regiment were heavy, one hundred and sixty-one officers
and men being either killed, wounded or missing. Colonel Stockton was wounded
in this battle, and was not able to be with his regiment for some months there-
after. The regiment was sent down the Mississippi river and stationed for a time
at New Orleans. From there it was ordered to Mobile, then besieged by Union
troops. Mobile was evacuated on the 12th of April, 1865, three days after the
surrender of General Lee in Virginia.

This marked the close of the war, and soon after the troops began their march
towards the North, pausing for a time in the interior of Alabama doing post duty.
On July 19th, the regiment started on its homeward journey by way of Vicksburg,
where on the sixth of August it was mustered out of the service.

The members of the regiment, now having ceased to be soldiers, became once
more citizens of the Republic, and returned to their homes in Chicago. Here
they met with an enthusiastic reception. They were greeted with a salute of
thirty-six guns, and a committee of the Board of Trade escorted them to Bryan

1 my.


In command of a Zouave regiment which
served in the Civil War


Of the Twenty-third Regiment of Illinois

Original owned by Chicago Historical Society

Of Twenty-fourth Illinois Volunteers,
War of the Rebellion


Hall, where a banquet was provided for them, and they were welcomed home
with every demonstration of affection and regard.

After the war had closed Senator Richard Yates, in a speech at Chicago review-
ing his experiences while he was governor of the state during the war period, spoke
of the part Illinois had taken in raising troops for the armies of the Union. He
took occasion to pay this special tribute to our oldest and greatest commercial
organization: "While I was engaged in raising Illinois troops, in attempting to
discharge the duties of my position the most efficient co-operation which I received
from any quarter whatever was from the Board of Trade of Chicago."


"No class/' says Cook, "was apparently more enthusiastic for the defense
of the flag which symbolized the Union of States, when fired upon at Sumter, than
the Irish. Few regiments were more quickly filled than those recruited under
Irish auspices ; and that this enthusiasm was not a mere 'flash in the pan,' is well
shown by the spirit in which discouragements were disregarded and obstacles
overcome. As soon as war was a certainty, this call was issued:

" 'Rally ! All Irishmen in favor of forming a regiment of Irish volunteers to
sustain the Government of the United States, in and through the present war,
will rally at North Market Hall, this evening, April 20th. Come allJ For the
honor of the Old Land rally for the defense of the New." The signers to this
call were James A. Mulligan, Alderman Comiskey, M. C. McDonald, Captains
M. Gleason, C. Moore, J. C. Phillips, Daniel Quirk, F. McMurray, Peter Casey,
citizens Daniel McElroy, John Tully, Philip Conley, T. J. Kinsella.


James A. Mulligan lived as a boy on his stepfather's farm near the present
village of Gross Point, one mile west of Wilmette, and, after a brief and event-
ful career, he lies buried in Calvary cemetery within the limits of the City of
Evanston. He was the son of Irish parents, born in Utica, New York, June 25th,
1830. His father having died when he was very young, his mother married Michael
Lantry, and the family removed to Gross Point, where Lantry engaged in farm-
ing business, at the same time conducting a teaming business in Chicago. In the
latter business he was very prosperous. The boy James was provided with a
good education by his step-father, and, after graduating at the University of St.
Mary's in Chicago, he studied law, and afterwards entered upon its practice. He
also engaged in editorial work and won a high reputation as a writer and speaker.

At the breaking out of the Civil War in 1861, Mulligan was one of the earliest
to respond to the call for troops. He raised a company which was called the "Mul-
ligan Guards." This company was joined by other companies and formed the
Twenty-third Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, of which he became colonel. This
regiment was popularly known as the "Irish Brigade," and was engaged in many
campaigns, both in the western and eastern armies. Wherever Colonel Mulligan
went his devoted wife followed him as closely as she could, and often joined
him at his campaign headquarters.

Almost at once after its formation the regiment was sent to Missouri and


assisted in the defense of Lexington, which was besieged with a large force of
Confederates under Gen. Sterling Price. Here they formed a part of a Union
force of four or five thousand men, but the opposing force was many times greater,
and after a noble defense of some ten days, Mulligan was obliged to surrender.
In this he was fully justified by the military authorities. His entire regiment was
taken prisoners, but soon afterwards the men were exchanged and the regiment was
then reorganized and joined the Army of the Potomac, with which it continued
during the remainder of the war.

The siege of Lexington inspired a poet, whose verses were printed in one of
the newspapers of the day, and are quoted in "Putnam's Rebellion Record." Here
are three stanzas of this stirring poem:

"The Irish boys are bold and brave,

The Irish boys are true;
They love the dear old stars and stripes,
The spangled field of blue.

" 'Tis Mulligan can tell the tale
Of how they fought that day,
When with the foe at Lexington
They met in bloody fray.

"Fast flew the shot and murderous shell,

The bullets fell like rain;
But dauntless stood his brave brigade
The heroes of the plain."

Later in the war Colonel Mulligan served with the eastern armies, and was
engaged in opposing the advance of the forces under General Early in the Shenan-
doah valley, when he met his death on the 24th day of July, 1864, at Kernstown,
Virginia. Some of Mulligan's men came to his assistance when he fell, but seeing
that the Confederates were rapidly advancing in overwhelming numbers, and that
every man was needed to oppose their advance, he gave orders to his men to leave
him where he lay. "Never mind me, boys," said he, "but save the flag of the
Irish Brigade." He fell into the hands of the enemy, .who moved him to a farm
house, where he lingered two days before he expired.

Mrs. Mulligan was at Cumberland, Maryland, when the news reached her
that her husband had been desperately wounded. She purchased a conveyance, and,
accompanied by her nephew, Martin J. Russell, drove through the enemy's lines,
which were opened by order of General Early, but did not reach her husband's
side until a few hours after he had breathed his last. She accompanied the re-
mains to Chicago, where they were laid in state in Bryan Hall and were visited
by thousands. The funeral was the largest ever held in Chicago and the body
was taken to Calvary cemetery for interment. Here it lay unmarked for many
years, but, in 1883, the Legislature of this state made an appropriation of twenty-
five hundred dollars for a monument, and this amount was doubled by the sub-


scriptions of generous citizens. The monument stands near the entrance to the

There is a song, composed by George F. Root soon after the death of Colonel
Mulligan, entitled "Lay Me Down and Save the Flag." These were not the exact

Online LibraryJ. Seymour (Josiah Seymour) CurreyChicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth (Volume v.2) → online text (page 17 of 55)