Illinois in the Civil War

15th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry - Company G
The Confederate Army's Southern Illinois Company

In June 1861, 34 men from the Southern Illinois counties of Williamson and Jackson traveled to western Tennessee and became part of Company G of the 15th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry. Their story is a unique for many reasons and is relayed in the book Illinois Rebels - A Civil War Unit History of G Company, 15th Tennessee Regiment Volunteer Infantry by Ed Gleeson (1996, Guild Press of Indiana, 435 Gradle Drive, Carmel, Indiana 46032).

One of the interesting points about the group involves the battle of Belmont, Missouri in 1861 in which Southern Illinois men fought on opposite sides. Certainly many of the men must have known each other. Among them were, Captain Hilbert A. Cunningham of the 15th Tennessee C.S.A. and Colonel John A. Logan (Black Jack) who was then commanding the 31st Illinois Infantry. John Logan's wife Mary Cunningham Logan was the sister of Capt. H. A. Cunningham. In addition, prior to June of 1861, many believe that John Logan had entertained the idea of leading a unit in the Confederate forces.

The story of Cunningham and Logan doesn't end there. In May 1863, Capt. Cunningham took a furlough and within a few months was AWOL and then officially listed as a deserter. In the fall of 1863, he was granted a commission in the Union Army and served at the rank of Capt. as an aide to John Logan, who by then was a Major General.

Gleeson's book chronicles the formation of the group, identifies the soldiers by name and provides additional information for each of them.


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