A REGIMENT OF IMMIGRANTS THE 82ND ILLINOIS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
THIS PAGE INTRODUCES THE HISTORY OF A FASCINATING GROUP OF GERMAN, JEWISH, AND SCANDINAVIAN IMMIGRANTS AND THEIR EXPERIENCES IN THE UNION ARMY DURING THE DARKEST DAYS OF THE CIVIL WAR
(The actual national flag carried by the 82nd Illinois during the war, now on display in Springfield, llinois)
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CONTENTS OF THE 82ND ILINOIS INFANTRY WEBSITE:
REGIMENTAL PHOTO AND INTRODUCTION PHOTOGRAPH OF CAPTAIN RUDOLPH MUELLER, COMPANY D, 82ND ILLINOIS THE 82ND ILLINOIS BOOKSTORE -- LOOK THROUGH OUR RECOMMENDATIONS ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S HISTORY OF THE 82ND ILLINOIS' WAR SERVICE COLONEL EDWARD SALOMON'S BATTLE REPORT OF THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN (FROM THE OFFICIAL RECORDS) LETTER BY RUDOLPH MUELLER DESCRIBING CHANCELLORSVILLE COMPLETE ROSTER OF THE 82ND ILLINOIS BACKGROUND ON COLONEL (LATER BREVET BRIGADIER) EDWARD SELIG SALOMON BACKGROUND ON JULIUS HILDEBRECHT, COMPANY D, KILLED AT CHANCELLORSVILLE GRAVESITE PHOTOGRAPH OF PRIVATE JOHN DAVISON, COMPANY D > BACKGROUND ON LT. WILLIAM LOEB OF COMPANY C AND HIS DESCENDANTS OBITUARY OF ASST. SURGEON EMIL C. BRENDEL OFFICER ROSTER OF THE 82ND ILLINOIS RECORD OF BATTLES FOUGHT BY THE 82ND ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS PHOTOGRAPH GALLERY OF THE 82ND ILLINOIS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY THE 82ND ILLINOIS AT GETTYSBURG CAN YOU HELP BRING THE 82ND'S HISTORY TO LIGHT? LINKS TO OTHER SITES OF INTEREST
(Chicago Historical Society photograph)
This photo shows the officers of the 82nd Illinois in camp at Atlanta in October 1864. They had just entered the city after fighting through the brutal Atlanta Campaign as part of the Twentieth Corps of Sherman's army. Seated in the center holding a sword is Colonel Edward Selig Salomon, former Alderman of Chicago's Ward Six, future Governor of Washington Territory and the second-highest-ranking Jewish officer in the Union volunteer army.
To the right of Colonel Salomon in the photograph is Regimental Surgeon Charles E.Boerner. To the left is Major Ferdinand Rolshausen. The young officer wearing the Officer of the Day sash is Captain Eugene Weigel. Lt. William Loeb of Company C is second from the right in the rear row. The officer with the dark moustache standing with his hand on his sword between Salomon and Boerner is Lieutenant Joseph Riegert. The officer to Weigel's right with his hand on his hip is Captain Rudolph Mueller, who married the daughter of the 82nd's first Colonel, Frederick Hecker, and committed suicide in Minnesota thirty years after the war's end.
GO TO A ROSTER OF THE 82ND ILLINOIS OFFICERS AS OF OCTOBER 1864
Captain Rudolph Mueller, Company D, 82nd Illinois Volunteers (Photo courtesy of Jerome Hunt)
Rudolph Mueller, former private in the 8th Illinois Volunteers (a three-month regiment) helped raise a company for the 82nd Illinois and joined as First Lieutenant in CompanyE. Promoted to the command of Company D, this young German immigrant fought at and survived all the battles of his regiment, including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Resaca, Peach Tree Creek, Dallas, Atlanta, and Bentonville. Mueller, an idealist and severe critic of himself, his colleagues, and his times mustered out with the regiment in the summer of 1865, married Colonel Frederick Hecker's daughter, scraped out a living as a merchant, and shot himself in the head in Minneapolis just before the turn of the century.
WHY SHOULD WE BE INTERESTED IN THIS REGIMENT, ONE AMONG MANY IN THE UNION ARMY?
- The 82nd Illinois was one of the only so-called "German" regiments that fought in the ill-fated 11th Corps of the Army of the Potomac to remain an intact fighting unit after its transfer to the Western Theater.
- It had a high proportion of Jewish soldiers among its members -- Company C consisted entirely of Jews from Chicago whose community equipped and armed them. Its second colonel (after the wounding and retirement of the German revolutionary Frederick Hecker) was Edward Selig Salomon, who was to end the war a Brevet Brigadier and go on to become Governor of Washington Territory, District Attorney of San Francisco and Member of the California State Legislature.
- The regiment fought in an staggering number of engagements in both the East and the West: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, Resaca, New Hope Church, Kolb's Farm, Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Sherman's March to the Sea, Averysboro and Bentonville. Its ranks were decimated -- as a result of battle casualties, disease and desertion, the regiment's complement dropped from 980 in Fall 1862 to barely 300 at war's end.
- The history of the 82nd is a thought-provoking example of the assimilation of immigrants into American society and the problems involved with the social development. The 82nd began its history as a German unit in a German division in a German Corps; it ended the war as a proud member of an historic "American" military unit (the "Red Star Division"--First Division, 20th Corps) in which the trials of combat made secondary considerations of ethnic difference and segregation.
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