113th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

On May 31, 1864, at Regimental Dress Parade on Front Street, Memphis, Tennessee, Ed Chatfield (circled) stood to the rear as acting corporal, Company B. The date was significant for the regiment. The disastrous second march against CSA's Nathan B. Forrest  commenced the following day, destined for defeat at Brice's Crossroads on June 10, 1864--Forrest's greatest victory.

Photo Credit link: Ohio Memory.org
Private Edward L. Chatfield
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The 113th Illinois Infantry participated in the "Western Theater" of the war, principally Tennessee, Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi--the mounting drama in Edward's letters heightened further by the specifics in his diaries. Edward penned moving accounts of:

          * events from the Mississippi Central Railroad Campaign
          * the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou.
          * the digging of Grant's Canal.
          * the siege of Vicksburg. 
          * the first march to occupy/detain Nathan Bedford Forrest.
          * June 2, 1864 (hisfinal diary entry, when exiting Memphis) the second day of the second march to occupy/detain Forrest.
 
Edward didn't write again for ten months, his next communication a letter dated April 1, 1865, Direct: U.S. Hospital, Grafton, West Virginia (738 miles northeast of Memphis, TN.) Edward had endured and survived the unthinkable:
         
          *  the Battle of Brice's Crossroads.
          *  three Confederate prison confinements.
          *  severe malnutrition, 58- pound weight loss, near-death condition.
          *  the perils of escape.
          *  sea transport from Wilmington, NC, to Annapolis, MD.
 
Edward had to shift to survival mode, nightmares and sleep-startling imagery invading
his consciousness for (at the least) 51 years, see Edward's 1904 sketch of Andersonville
Commandant, Captain Henry Wirz. 
 
War's corrosive experiences--the odious, horrific memories--compelled Edward to stop writing about the war. Others could tell the story, if they chose to do so.  Fortunately, several of his contemporaries did just that.
         
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
  
1SG (Orderly) John J. Kellogg,  Company "B",
authored the Vicksburg Campaign...  a  stirring summary of the events leading up to the Battle of Vicksburg. 
Private Riley Vincent Beach, of
Company "B", in his recollections and Extracts from the Diaries of Army Life...gave detail to to the Battle at Brice's Crossroads, imprisonment, and Chatfield's escape.
Sgt. James H. Dennison, Company "K" 113th Illinois, kept diaries, published by the Kankakee Historical Society and edited by Jack Klasey, chronicles the  conditions, soldiers, and timelines at Andersonville and other Confederate prisons.  
Regiment Flag, 113th Illinois Infantry
Read more about 113th Illinois,
the Regimental history
and Company B.
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