33rd Illinois Infantry


The THIRTY-THIRD INFANTRY ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS was organized at Camp Butler, Illinois, in the

month of September 1861, by Colonel Chas. E. Hovey, and mustered into the United States

service by Captain T. G. Pitcher, U.S.A.

September 20, moved to Ironton, Mo., via St. Louis. Remained at Ironton during the winter,

with occasion scouts into the country. On one of these the battle of Frederickstown was fought-

Company A on skirmish line. March 1862, moved, with the command of General Steele,

southward, passing into Arkansas at Pitman's Ferry, and marching, via Pocahontas and

Jacksonport, to Batesville, where it joined General Curtis' army; thence, via Jacksonport, Augusta

and Clarendon, to Helena.

July 7, at Cache creek, or Cotton Plant, several companies participated in a battle with Texas

rangers, in which Company A rescued and brought off a field piece belonging to our cavalry.

The rebels had a large number killed, and were pursued for some miles. According to our official

report, one hundred and twenty-three rebel dead were found on the main battlefield, and a

number were killed in the pursuit. Seven were killed and fifty-seven wounded on the Union side;

none killed in the Thirty-third.

During July and August were camped 20 miles south of Helena, and engaged in eight expeditions

up and down the river.

September 1, was moved up the river to Sulphur Springs, and thence to Pilot Knob, where it

arrived the middle of October 1862.

November 15, moved to Van Buren, Ark., in Colonel Harris' Brigade, Brigadier General W. P.

Benton's Division, of General Davidson's Corps. Made winter campaign in Southeast Missouri,

passing through Patterson, Van Buren, Alton, West Plains, Eminence and Centreville, and

returned to Bellevue Valley, near Pilot Knob, about March 1, 1863.

The Thirty-third was then directed to St.. Genevieve, Mo., where with the command, it embarked

for Milliken's Bend, La. Attached to the First Brigade, First Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, it

was engaged in all its battles, participating in the battles of Port Gibson, Champion Hills, Black

River Bridge, assault and siege of Vicksburg, and the siege of Jackson.

April 28, in company with a large force, embarked and ran down to Grand Gulf, where we

watched the five-hours fight between the gun-boat fleet and the rebel batteries. The fleet having

failed to silence the rebel guns, the troops marched across the bend to the river below, and the

fleet ran past during the night, through a heavy fire, which however did but little injury even to

the frail transport boats.

Next day, April 30, again embarked, ran down the river some miles, and landed on the

Mississippi side. May 1, the Regiment opened the fight on both the right and the left of the field;

and the Thirteenth Corps mainly fought and won it. Four companies off the Thirty-third under

Major Potter deployed as skirmishers on the left, developed the position of the enemy, and drew

an artillery fire, holding the position until relieved by General Osterhaus' Division.

Next morning, May 2, entered Port Gibson without further resistance, found the suspension

bridge across the bayou burned; and the Thirty-third built, in four hours, a practicable floating

bridge, ever which the army marched.

On the 16th, was fought the battle of Champion Hills.

The 1st Division was held in reserve until near the close, but was in the advance in the pursuit,

and pressed the enemy closely until dark, when it halted at Edward's Station, and captured there

a quantity of stores. Early in our advance, two men of Company C were killed by a stray or

accidental shot.

At daybreak, May 17, were in motion, the Thirty-third leading the advance and mostly deployed

as skirmishers. Before 7 a.m. were engaged with the rebel works in front of the bridge and trestle

at Black River. At about 10 a.m., a grand charge swept the enemy out of their works, capturing

many hundreds of prisoners. Seventeen pieces of artillery were taken, fourteen of them being

seized by men of the Thirty-third regiment. Company B was detailed to escort the captured

cannon to Haines' Bluff.

May 19, first saw the fortifications of Vicksburg, moved up through the valleys under their fire,

and at one time had preliminary orders to join in Sherman's partial assault, but received no final

order to charge. Details took part in the fighting as sharpshooters. May 20, Captain Norton was

wounded by a "spent ball", and Captain Kellogg was killed.

May 22, joined in the grand assault. Three companies were sent out as sharp-shooters, and

Company B was on detached duty, leaving six companies to charge in line-probably not

exceeding two hundred and fifty men. Seventy-five or six of these-nearly one-third-were hit,

twelve being killed on the field, and several mortally wounded. Reached the rebel works, but

were repulsed with the rest of the army; and at nightfall withdrew to a less exposed position, and

began the six-weeks' siege.

June 1, a careful compilation of losses since crossing the river, showed nineteen of the Regiment

killed in action, and one hundred and two wounded, of whom ten had already died in hospital.

Some additional loss was suffered during the rest of the siege. July 4 came a welcome surrender

of the rebel stronghold and its garrison of over thirty thousand men.

Again no time was wasted in ceremony. July 5 marched with the main army to Black River to

oppose General Johnston; and by the 10th had pushed the enemy back to Jackson. On the night

of the 16th the place was evacuated. After tearing up the railroad tracks for some miles, returned

to Vicksburg July 24.

In August, moved to New Orleans, with the Thirteenth Corps. In October, with Brigade of

Colonel Shunk, Eighth Indiana, Major General C. C. Washburne's Division, and Major General

E. O. C. Ord's Corps, engaged in the campaign up the Bayou Teche. Returned to New Orleans in

November. Thence ordered to Brownsville, Texas, but, before landing, was ordered to Aransas

Pass. Disembarked on St. Joseph Island, marched up St. Joseph Island and Matagorda Island to

Saluria, participating in the capture of Fort Esperanza. Thence moved to Indianola and Port


The First Brigade, while on the main land of Texas, was commanded by Brigadier General Fitz

Henry Warren.

January 1, 1864, the Regiment re-enlisted as veterans, and March 14 reached Bloomington,

Illinois, and received veteran furlough.

April 18, 1864, Regiment was reorganized at Camp Butler, Illinois, and proceeded to New

Orleans, via Alton and St. Louis-arriving 29th, and camping at Carrollton.

May 17, ordered to Brashear City, La. Soon after its arrival the Regiment was scattered along

the line of the road, as guard, as follows: Company F, C and K, at Bayou Boeuf; Company I,

Bayou L'Ours; Company A and D, Tigerville; Company G, Chacahoula; Company E, Terre

Bonne; Company B, Bayou Lafourche and Bayou des Allemands; Company H, Boutte.

Regimental Headquarters, Terre Bonne. The District was called the "District of Lafourche",

commanded by Brigadier General Robert A. Cameron, Headquarters at Thibodaux.

September 17, 1864, the non-veterans of the Regiment were started home, via New York City, in

charge of rebel prisoners, and mustered out at Camp Butler, about October 11, 1864.

March 2, 1865, ordered to join the Sixteenth Army Corps. Near Boutte Station the train was

thrown from the track, and nine men-five of A, three of D, and one of G-were killed; and no less

than seventy-two more were enumerated by name and description as more or less injured, many

of them very severely, two or three of whom subsequently died in hospital, and others were

discharged from service disabled. The heaviest loss in wounded fell upon Companies A and D,-

G, E and I coming next in number, and every company suffered more or less, except C and F,

which were in the rear of the train.

On the 18th, Regiment embarked on Lake Pontchartrain, for Mobile expedition. Company K,

remaining behind to guard transportation, joined the Regiment April 11, at Blakely. Moved, via

Fort Gaines and Navy Cove, landed on Fish River, Ala., and marched with General Canby's army

up east side of Mobile Bay. The Regiment was in the First Brigade, Colonel W. L. McMillan,

Ninety-fifth Ohio; First Division, Brigadier General J. McArthur; Sixteenth Army Corps, Major

General A. J. Smith.

March 27, arrived in front of Spanish Fort, the main defense of Mobile, and, until its capture,

April 8th, was actively engaged. Loss, one killed, two died of wounds, and nine wounded.

After the surrender of Mobile, marched, April 13, 1865, with the Sixteenth Corps, for

Montgomery, Alabama, where it arrived on 25th, and encamped on the Alabama River. Here it

received the news of Lee and Johnson's surrender, after which its operations were not of a hostile


May 10, marched to Selma, and May 17, by rail, to Meridian, Mississippi. Here remained. In

the latter part of July the Regiment was filled above the maximum, by men transferred from

Seventy-second, One Hundred and Seventeenth, One Hundred and Twenty-second and One

Hundred and Twenty-fourth Illinois.

Moved to Vicksburg, April 14, 1865, and remained at that place until mustered out of service,

November 24, 1865, and ordered to Camp Butler, Illinois, for final payment and discharge.

December 6, 1865, the enlisted men of the entire Regiment received their final pay, and

discharge from the military service, at the hands of Paymaster Maj. Carnahan. The

commissioned officers were paid and discharged next day, December 7, 1865; and the Thirtythird

Illinois Regiment ceased to exist. Its record of over four years of faithful service was


From first to last, about nineteen hundred and twenty-four names were borne on its muster rolls.

The Regiment had three Colonels, six Lieutenant Colonels, and five Majors. Four companies

had two Captains each; four had three each; one had four Captains, and one five. Only one of the

original field and staff officers belonged to the Regiment at the final discharge-Surgeon Rex. Of

the line officers, two only remained who had been officers at the outset-Captains Smith and

Lyon-and they had been promoted from Lieutenants; all the other line officers had "risen from

the ranks"; as had also the Major, Adjutant and Quartermaster.

The surviving members of the Regiment at this date (1886) are scattered far and wide, engaged

in various occupations, and with various fortunes. Many have held official stations in civil life.

All but a very few have added to the merit of their military record, that of an honorable and

useful citizenship.

Several Regimental reunions have been held, and the last printed roster shows the post office

address of a little over five hundred survivors living in over twenty different States and

Territories, one third of them having emigrated west of the Mississippi River.