Monday, October 15, 2012

Company F, Illinois 54th Infantry Regiment: Private Calvin White, my 1st cousin 5x removed

54th  Illinois  Infantry  National  Flag

The 54th Illinois Infantry Regiment was organized at Camp DuBois, Anna, Illinois, in November of 1861.  The unit was organized as part of the "Kentucky Brigade" which also included the 60th, 62nd and 63rd Illinois Infantry Regiments.  On February 18, 1862 the unit was mustered into the service of the United States of America. 

On February 24, 1862, the "Kentucky Brigade" was ordered to Cairo, Illinois.   On March 15th, they were ordered to report to Columbus, Kentucky.   The unit saw action on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee while guarding the railroad.  During their support of the railroad, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest's men captured several detachments of the regiment.  Unfortunately nearly all of the early records for the regiment were destroyed by Forrest's men.  The records that weren't destroyed by Forrest's men were lost in transit by the Union Quartermaster's Department. 

In the Spring of 1863, the unit was attached to the Third Brigade, General Kimball's Second Division, Sixteenth Army Corps.  On June 2nd, they arrived at Haines Bluff on the Yazoo River and were a part of General Sherman's left flank in his action against the Army of Tennessee under General Joseph E. Johnston at Big Black River. 

The unit participated in an engagement at Paducah, Kentucky on April 14, 1864 against forces under the command of Confederate General Abraham Buford.  Buford's men were sent to round up horses that had escaped General Forrest's initial raid in Paducah on March 25th.  At noon on the 14th, under a white flag of truce, Buford demanded all women and children be removed from the city within the hour.  Before the hour could elapse, a detachment of Confederate troops began to attack the city.  Federal troops responded and the attack party was forced to rejoin their ranks.  No casualties were reported, however the Confederates made off with over 40 horses. 

On August 24, 1864 while guarding a sixteen mile stretch of the Memphis & Little Rock Railroad, the 54th Illinois Infantry Regiment was attacked by a force of nearly 4,000 Confederates under the command of General Jo Shelby.  The men fought for several hours but were forced to evacuate their hay breastworks due to a fire caused by enemy shelling.  Once the breastworks were evacuated, the men were captured by the Confederates.  They were held as prisoners of war until their exchange on December 5, 1864.  Following their exchange, the 54th served as a railroad guard at at Hickory Station, Arkansas on the Memphis & Little Rock Railroad until June of 1865.  The unit was mustered out of service one hundred and forty seven years ago today on October 15, 1865. 

The flag pictured above lists the name of the major engagements in which the 54th Illinois Infantry Regiment participated.   The names inscribed on the flag are:  VICKSBURG, LITTLE ROCK, CLARENDON, and GRAND PRAIRIE.

My 1st cousin, 5x removed, Calvin White served in Companies C and F of the Illinois 54th Infantry Regiment.  Calvin was born in Pasquotank County, North Carolina in September of 1835.  He enlisted as a Private in Company F, Illinois 54th Infantry Regiment on December 15, 1861.  He was 26 years old.  It's not exactly known when Calvin relocated from North Carolina to Illinois, however he is listed as residing in Shelby County, Illinois in the 1860 Federal Census.  For some reason, Federal Military Records are nowhere near as detailed as those on the Confederate side.  Calvin's service record is compiled of only a general index cover sheet and his pension document.   Both are pictured below.

Index Card for Calvin White

Calvin's pension indicating service in Companies C and F

In 1901 Calvin White was admitted to a home for disabled veterans in Danville, Illinois.  He remained there for 21 years until his death on December 11, 1922.  His burial location is not known at the time of this entry.

Here's my relation to Calvin:

Calvin White (1835 - 1922)
is your 1st cousin 5x removed
Alfred White (1804 - 1880)
Father of Calvin
Edmund White (1770 - 1812)
Father of Alfred
Joseph Morris White (1800 - )
Son of Edmund
Martha M White (1828 - 1898)
Daughter of Joseph Morris
Joseph Thomas White (1860 - 1910)
Son of Martha M
Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie) White (1892 - 1985)
Daughter of Joseph Thomas
Ruth Adelaide Nowell Stokes (1918 - )
Daughter of Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie)
Selby Edward "Stokey" Stokes Jr. (1946 - )
Son of Ruth Adelaide
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Selby

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