Taken from Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois (1900-1902)
Submitted and Transcribed by Debbie Woolard
The One Hundred and Thirty-First Infantry was composed of men from the counties of Hamilton, Gallatin, Hardin, Pope and Massac. They were enlisted during the months of July and August 1862. By order of Governor Yates, it was organized and went into camp at Old Fort Massac, Massac county, Illinois, in September 1862, and remained there in camp until November 13, when it was mustered into the United States service. The Regiment then numbered 815 men, excluding officers.
While at Fort Massac the Regiment was without tents, camp equipage or guns, except a few inferior guns borrowed for use in guard duty and squad drill, but notwithstanding it limited outfit, the guard duty and squad drill was kept up. During this time the measles broke out in camp, and about 100 of the men were prostrated therewith, nearly all of whom either died or were afterwards discharged for disability caused thereby.
After the Regiment was mustered into the service, it was ordered to hold itself in readiness to proceed to Memphis, Tenn., which order was received with joy by all the men, notwithstanding quite a number of them were sick at the time.
On December 2 it embarked on the steamboat Iowa, and proceeded to Cairo, where the men were furnished with guns of inferior quality, being the Harper's Ferry flint-lock guns, and three different sizes in caliber, altered for caps, which were received under protest. The Regiment then went on same boat to Memphis, arriving there December 7. It reported to General Hurlbut, and was ordered into camp about two and a half miles southeast of the city, where it found quarters in old stables and outbuilding. Tents were then issued, and a portion of the guns were exchanged for Springfield rifles. The Regiment was assigned to General Landrum's Brigade of the First Division of the Seventeenth Army Corps of the Army of Tennessee, which was then preparing to move on Vicksburg.
On December 20 the Regiment again embarked on the steamboat Iowa and took position in the fleet, and moved down the Mississippi. Landed at Milliken's Bend, La., on December 24, where the Regiment was engaged in picket duty until December 27, when it again embarked on the same boat, and with a portion of the fleet moved up the Yazoo River to near Haines' Bluff, where it took part in the engagement at that place, which ended January 1, 1864. It then returned on board the transports, and that night the whole fleet was ordered to Milliken's Bent, where it remained until January 4.
General John A. McClernand now taking command of the Corps, it started on an expedition against Arkansas Post, moving up the Mississippi about thiry miles to within about three miles of Arkansas Post, where it disembarked about noon on January 10. The One Hundred and Thirty-first Regiment then marched until about 11 o'clock at night, only making a distance of four miles, the march being through swamps covered with underbrush and fallen timber; then coming to a halt, it formed a line of battle and remained so until daylight next morning. During all this time a snow and rain storm raged unceasinly, and the soldiers were drenched to the skin. On the following day a greater portion of the Regiment was engaged on detached duty, assisting heavy artillery through the swamps; the remainder continued in line of battle on the exteme left. This point the enemy shelled continously during a greater part of the day, with the view of driving the Union forces from this portion of the woods, and making their escape through the same; but failing to do this, the shelling ceased about 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
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