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Company C, 61st Illinois InfantryThanks to Jersey County Historical Society and Marty Crull for this page.
Company C Veteran Writes From Far West
Wm. Linnell of Vasalia, Calif., writes an interesting letter of his experiences as a member of Co. C of the 61st Illinois Infantry.
Visalia, Cal., Aug. 18, 1922
Mr. Editor: – Your paper of Aug. 10 received yesterday. I was on of the 90 boys in Co. C, from little Old Jersey County. Am still alive at the age of 90. Eat three meals a day; saw wood three or four hours a day at the wood pile when it is needed. Now I want to tell of the captain’s [Capt. Ihrie] services while he was with us. Will have to go back 59 years ago.
The regiment was made up at Camp Cress, Alton. We left Carrollton February 27, 1862 for Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Mo., arriving there the next day. March 25 the regiment was ordered to Pittsburg Landing but measles had broken out among us and myslef and a lot of others had to go to the hospital. I was there until April the 6th. I was put in charge of six others of my regiment and told to go to the warf and get on a boat for Pittsburg Landing. We got to the river and found the Empress. My, but I had trouble with the captain. He refused to take us. I was in a quandry what to do when along come a lieutenant of our regiment who had been left behind for some cause. He took me up town to the transportation department, got me an order for passage. I shoved it into the captain’s face. He then let us go on board but with bad grace.
Four days later we landed at the battle field. I had to cross the battle field to find the regiment and what a sight it was. Trees 10 to 12 feet high full of holes, even the bushed mowed down. Clothing all over the field. Had to go by a hospital. Saw legs out on the ground. It was sure an awful sight to see.
When I got to the company I found Captain Ihrie in command of it. I had been there but a few minutes until the captain came and shook hands with me. We only talked a few minutes when he pulled his cap off and said, “Look at that Bill.” I saw a scar above his forehead and said, “How did you get that Cap.” “Well,” he said, “when we came to our tents Monday morning, we found a Kentucky regiment in possession. I told the colonel they were our tents. He got mad and hit me over the head with his revolver. Well, there came nearly being a fight between the two but say, our boys were regiment but they finally withdrew. [Note: this sentence is as published.]
After about two weeks our chance arrived at Corinth. Our regiment was stationed on Owl Creek on the right flank of the army. We laid there until after the evacuation of Corinth. Our regiment suffered very much in the battle and from sickness. We were so reduced that we were on guard every other day and only two on post for 29 hours.
June the 6th, we marched to Bethel on the Mobile & Ohio R. R. We were there about 10 days, the marched to Jackson, Tenn., two days’ march. Now I don’t remember how long Capt. Ihrie was in command of the regiment. I find Major Ohr was in command at Jackson. July we started for Bolwar, 28 miles from Jackson and arrived there in the evening on the 18th. In about three months we built winter quarters but in the meantime Capt. Ihrie was put in command of the Pie Red line. I think he was a staff officer on the staff of our brigade, commander, who was Gen. L. F. Ross. In September the captain was taken sick and died. His Brother, Col. George, who was on General Grant’s staff came over from Corinth and took his body and effects to New Jersey.
I would say the captain had a fine military appearance, 6 feet or more in height, broad shoulders, straight as an arrow and a thinker. He was like by every soldier in the regiment. Pease to his ashes.
Mr. Editor, you will find two of the Co. C men in your town. They are Theodore Dodson, and W. H. Cook. I don’t know whether there are any more of this company alive in Jersey county or not. Say, I would like to have a list running in your paper of all of the old 61st regiment. Let us see who is alive. What do you say?
Very, very much alive, ready to run a foot race with any body of his age, Serg. W. Linnell, Co. C, 61st Ill.
Note: This article was probably published in the local Jerseyville newspaper.