09 May 2009

73rd Illinois Regiment and the Battle of Perryville

James A. Rice "accepts the appointment of 2nd Lieutenant, Company K, 73rd Regiment of the Illinois Volunteers, 12 October 1863, in Perryville, Kentucky", according to the document below.
This appointment must have occurred in 1862; James A. Rice (my great-great grandfather) was captured by the Confederates at Chicamauga in September of 1863 and held for several months.

According to the regimental history, the 73rd IL Volunteers were in pursuit of General Bragg on October 12, 1862 after the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862. A diagram depicting the Battle of Perryville can be found here, as well as a brief textual description the 73rd Illinois' participation.
Source of Document: Record Series 301.018 ADMINISTRATIVE FILES ON CIVIL WAR COMPANIES AND REGIMENTS. 1861-ca. 1903. 117 cu. ft. No index. Illinois State Archives.

A summary of the 73rd's history, to whom they were attached, and engagements in which they participated can be found here. The 73rd Regiment Infantry was also called the "Persimmon Regiment or Preacher's Regiment."

Organized at Camp Butler, II1., and mustered in August 21, 1862. Moved to Louisville, Ky., August 23-25, thence moved to Covington, Ky., and duty there during Kirby Smith's threatened attack on Cincinnati, Ohio, September 1-17. Attached to 35th Brigade, 11th Division, Army of the Ohio, to October, 1862. 35th Brigade, 11th Division, 3rd Corps, Army Ohio, to November, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, Right Wing 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January 1863. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1863. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 4th Army Corps, to June, 1865.

SERVICE.--Pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1-16, 1862. Battle of Perryville, Ky., October 8. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 16-November 7. Duty at Nashville until December 26. Reconnaissance to Mill Creek November 27. Advance on Murfreesboro, Tenn., December 26-30. Battle of Stone's River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. At Murfreesboro until June. Expedition toward Columbia March 4-14. Middle Tennessee or Tullahoma Campaign June 24-July 7. Fairfield June 27. Occupation of Middle Tennessee until August 16. Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Battle of Chickamauga, Ga., September 19-20.

Captain James A. Rice was captured and held as a POW at the Battle of Chickamauga, Ga.; the regiment had further activities, but without Captain Rice.

A comphrehensive history of the 73rd Illinois Regiment can be found here.

The 73rd, under the direct command of Colonel James F. Jaquess, was part of the Army of the Ohio, commanded by General Don Carlos Buell and under Major-General Charles Gilbert of the Third Corps. They were attached to the 11th Division, which was commanded by General Philip Sheridan and the 35th Brigade of Colonel Leiboldt .

General Gilbert's description of the Battle of Perryville can be found here. A diary written by a member of the 37th Brigade (not the 35th), 11th Division covering the months of October, November and December of 1862 can be found here.

A diplomatic event in Civil War history involved Colonel Jaquess of the 73rd Illinois (Preacher's Regiment) based upon his belief in common ground between himself and fellow Methodists in the South (17 July 1864). More detail can be found in this book online (use search function for Jacquess); a brief description of Colonel Jaquess' overtures and others mentioned (President Lincoln, General Rosecrans, General James Garfield, Jefferson Davis, and the book's author, James Gilmore) can be found in this series of links.



A picture taken when we visited the site of the Battle of Perryville in May of 2008.

The events of Perryville, Kentucky, that involved James A. Rice, including his promotion and his regiment's participated in the Battle of Perryville, escaped my notice until my visit to the Illinois Archives in Springfield when I perused the 73rd Regimental files. A curator at the Illinois National Guard museum recommended that I check the Archives' records and check for documents James Rice since he was an officer of the regiment. Glad I did.

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