82nd Illinois Infantry

43rd Illinois Letters

Illinois Staats-Zeitung

March 25, 1864

Camp 43rd Regt. Ill. Vols. Inf.,

Little Rock, Arkansas

March 4 1864


You certainly will already have heard the news that 8 companies from the 43rd Illinois Regiment (Körner Regiment) have reenlisted, among which is the Chicago company. Hopefully we will have ¾ of the regiment [reenlisted] by April 1, because we need only 25 more men. The first company that reenlisted was that from Chicago; it is perhaps the first German company from the state of Illinois to take this patriotic step.

Now the fairer sex from Little Rock also has to take the oath of allegiance. Yes, no citizen, not even a child, can buy something before they have shown their loyalty certificate to the seller. One of them named Woodruff, who only took the oath to make purchases, but nevertheless wanted to remain faithful to the southern Confederacy, as he stated in a letter, had sent things south with the Underground Railroad; however, he fell into the hands of our vigilant spies and was exiled from here and will be deported to Dixie this week. He has much property but this did not save him.

Several Negro regiments will be raised here under the supervision of Col. Cummings, colonel from a Pennsylvania cavalry regiment. Two regiments are already filled but the loyal white Arkansans are not idle—3 regiments are already complete, 1,200 men each; one has 8 companies and the 4th Regiment has 5 companies.

Besides ours, the 9th Wisconsin, a German regiment, is also here, which permits the German soldiers to take part in some amusement each Sunday. Several members of Company C from the regiment have set up a theater in three large hospital tents; last Sunday the Proposal on Hegoland took place; unfortunately the majority of the actors had come only a half hour before the performance from duty (steamboat loading) and therefore were very exhausted, and the poor average woman in the street had the day before, caught a cold on guard duty the day before, and was therefore very hot. Despite all these difficulties it went rather well. What would the actors in Chicago say, if they were supposed to perform under such circumstances?

About two days ago the long awaited fleet arrived and brought with it our greatest friend, Beer. A true beer drinker came off poorly, however, because we had to pay 25 cents for a small glass of beer; whiskey costs the same.

General Steele promised our regiment that we will arrive in Chicago next month. All old regiments in this department up to the 7th Missouri Cavalry have reenlisted.





Illinois Staats-Zeitung

April 11, 1864


[43rd Illinois]

Little Rock, Ark.

March 23, [1864]


Since my last letter significant changes have taken place in this department. The whole army of Arkansas has had marching orders since May 3. However up until today we could not march because the cavalry and artillery were in no condition to march; they could hardly pull the guns out of the city. Yesterday 500 horses finally arrived and they had barely been distributed when the troops began moving. First came the mounted cavalry, then the dismounted cavalry, which is supposed to search for horses on the way. In all about 6,000 men under the command of Brigadier General E. Carr, then followed Gen. Salomon’s Infantry division, the strongest division of the whole United States army, with different batteries, followed by the supply and ordnance train. The train ended with Col. Engelmann’s Brigade; the 43rd (Körner Regiment) Ill. The Regiment formed the rear guard. The 43rd spent the last six months as Provost Guard in Little Rock.

They marched through the city. Each soldier has his belongings on his back, his haversack stuffed with rations and his coffee pot on his side. The officers were unhappy because only one wagon was allowed for each regiment and they had to carry 3 days rations and boiling pots. The evening before departure several half starved mules were caught and fed well during the night. The next morning they were packed and joined in the march. Two Negros were detached to each mule. One had to pull the animal and the other had to whip it. I wonder if they have come 10 miles with the animals, because the donkeys had enough to haul themselves.

Last Friday Jeremiah Earnest, captain of a guerilla company, and T. J. Miller, a guerilla, were hanged in front of the jail. They were convicted of hanging three Union people in Clark County, Ark. The rumor goes that the band, of which the above-named Earnest was captain, had hanged and murdered about 50 Union people.



Illinois Staats-Zeitung

May 18, 1864

[43rd Ill.]

Little Rock, Ark.

May 4, 1864

Dear Editor;

 To the many friends of the 43rd Illinois Regiment is submitted the news that the regiment arrived in Little Rock on May 3 after an absence of 6 weeks. It does honor to all the troops of the expedition, and among them the brave men of our regiment, to the greatest honor, that they had overcome the immense hardships during this time with heroic endurance and never wavering courage. If the reputation of our regiment had not already been justified earlier, then this expedition certainly earned it a reputation of which every soldier could be proud.


            Our losses were, although we took part in nearly all parts of the battles, relatively very low; Our missing, dead and wounded are as follow:


Co. B   Wilbert, missing 26 April in Camden, Ark.

            Cpl. John Rauth, ricochet

Co. D   A. Keller, killed

             Chas. Frank, killed

             George Neun, lightly wound

             Henry Jones, lightly wound

Co. F    Cpl. Anton Scherer, killed

             John Königstein, severely wound

             Ezeriah Walker, lightly wound

             John Schmulbach, died in general hospital in Camden

Co. G   R. Metzger, severely wounded in foot

Co. H   Lt. George L. Hax, wounded in arm

            D. Kuhn, severely wounded

            M. Miller, light wounded

            F. Holler, light wounded

Co. J    L. Reiber, light wounded

Co. K.  James Barnes, deserted April 26, 1864



      Gustav Wagenfucher

          Adjutant 43rd Ill. Vol. Inf.



The Red River Campaign, excerpt from from the Illinois Adjutant General's Report.

March 13th, 1864, the Forty-third was assigned to Third Brigade, Colonel A. Englemann commanding, Third Division, Brigadier General F. Saloman commanding. Major General F. Steele, taking command of the Red River Expedition, moved from Little Rock, March 23, 1864. After bridging many small streams and laying pontoon over the Ouachita, arrived at Arkadelphia on the 29th.

April 1, moved to Spoonsville. 2d, at Okolona, had a slight skirmish with Shelby's Brigade.

On 3d, Colonel Englemann's Brigade was sent back to Spoonsville to gather information concerning General Thayer's Division, which was to have joined them there. 5th, rejoined the army. 6th crossed the Little Missouri. 9th, General Thayer came up. 

On the 10th, moved to Prarie D'Ahu. The Cavalry in advance had come to a halt, nombers of Confederates being concealed in the hazelbush, while large numbers and a battery were in a ridge beyond. Lieutenant Colonel Dengler was ordered to drive the enemy from their hiding places, which he speedily did. He joined Adjutant Wagenfucher, on horseback, gallantly leading the men. A general advance was now made by the Forty-third Illinois, and Fortieth Iowa in line, closely followed by Vaughn's Battery, which soon engaged the enemy with great effect, driving him from his position, when the Forty-third with its Brigade moved at sundown to the position just left by the enemy. Artillery firing and skirmishing was kept up till 10 o'clock p.m., when the enemy charged on our lines and were repulsed.

April 12 to 14, marched to Camden, having several skirmishes on the way. General Steele had started south to unite with General Banks, at Shreveport but information was here received of the defeat of Banks and his retreat, and that the enemy was massing his forces against Steele; so he determined to return to Little Rock. At 1 a.m. on the 27th the Forty-third left Camden and crossed the Washita on a pontoon bridge. 

David Wilver, who had been on picket, was relieved after midnight. The body of the picket guards, having knapsacks and blankets with them, marched to the pontoon bridge, and joined the Regiment, but Wilver, having left his knapsack in camp, returned there alone, lost his way and was soon captured by the enemy. He was the only sound man of the Regiment who was ever taken prisoner by the Confederate.

On the 28th, reached Princeton, On April 29, the Brigade to which the Forty-third belonged having the rear of the army, line had to be formed on several occasions to check the advance of the enemy. These lines were formed of the Forty-third Illinois, Fortieth Iowa, and Vaughn's Battery, always punishing the enemy and sustaining no loss themselves. These Regiments doing picket duty were engaged with the enemy all night. The Confederates, having collected upwards of 20,000 men, the next morning, April 30, attacked the rear of General Steele's forces in the Saline River Bottom near Jenkin's Ferry. The Union forces engaged were General Salamon's Division, to which the Forty-third belonged, and the Second Kansas, colored and First Arkansas colored, regiments of General Thayer's Division, in all about 4,500 men. The battle was most desperate and bloody; at one time the enemy placed a battery of four guns in position, when some men of the Twenty-ninth Iowa, Forty-third Illinois and Second Kansas (colored), rushed up and took the battery, dragging two of the guns within Union line. By 12 o'clock, noon, the enemy having been driven out of the River bottom, the Union forces resumed their march. Union loss, 700. Confederate loss at lease three times as heavy. The Army arrived at Little Rock May 3. 

The Forty-third remained at Little Rock till the enlistment for three years expired. Not quite three-fourths of the old men having re-enlisted in the veteran services. Colonel Englemann was discharged December 16, 1864. He succeeded in prevailing on the State authorities to assign a sufficient number of drafted men to the Forty-third, so that Lieutenant Colonel Dengler could be commissioned Colonel, in which capacity he now commanded. The Regiment remained at Little Rock till its muster out, November 20, 1865. Colonel Adolph Dengler died December 1884 at New York.

See https://civilwar.illinoisgenweb.org/reg_html/043_reg.html

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