Reunion at Oswego: Fourth Illinois Cavalry

September 29, 1886

Published in Kendall County Record


Our sister village up the river put on its holiday attire last Friday to do honor to the boys of '61; the old soldiers of the Union. It was the occasion of the Fourth Cavalry reunion a company of which was enlisted largely in this county, Company C.

The Fourth Cavalry was mustered into the service in September 1861. Judge T. Lyle Dickey was the first Colonel. He resigned in February 1863 and was succeeded by M. R. M. Wallace of Chicago who was later promoted to General. Among the officers of this regiment we find the names of Major Charles D. Townsend, Oswego; Captain Edward W. Mann, Oswego, Captain Garrett L. Collins, Big Grove; Captain Asher B. Hall, Oswego; Lieutenant John P. VanDorston, NaAuSay. In June 1865, the remaining men of the 4th were put into the 12th Cavalry with Hasbrouck Davis, of Chicago as Colonel.

In running over the roster of enlisted men, we find the following deaths of members of Company C, from this county: Henry Engle, John S. Moore (killed at Centre Hill, Mississippi,) Henry C. Smith, Henry A. Brokaw, Enos C. Darby, and William H. Marion.

The attendance of members at this reunion was not large, as the regiment is scattered all over the Union. There were, however, enough comrades from other organizations to make up a large crowd. The Main Street was decorated with flags and the stirring music of the band put life in every pulsation.

The dinner was served in the basement of the schoolhouse, and a noble collation it was. The ladies of Oswego and neighborhood have generous hearts and the food furnished would have supplied a full cavalry regiment. Numerous tables were put in position in the different rooms and loaded with baked beans; the ne plus ultra of a soldier dinner, cold chicken and meats, sandwiches, pie, cake, grapes and lots of coffee. No one went away hungry. It was certainly a feast. The ladies were so kind and attentive in serving their guests that it was not a wonder many ate more than the wanted just to please the fair servers.

After dinner the company occupied seats in front of the school building and other exercise took place. There was music by the band, a song from the glee club and an address by General Wallace. It is a pleasure to hear the General speak. He is so simple and easy in his diction, yet eloquent withal. He paid tribute to the people of Oswego for their kindness and hospitality. He spoke of the glorious results of the war, of what the Nation owed the soldier, and closed with a beautiful peroration, in which he placed the members of the Fourth Cavalry very near the Great White Throne at the final muster. He did not believe one soul of them would miss the roll call of the Grand Commander when the last day came. A light shower during the talk annoyed the audience some but they stood the wetting without much confusion.

After the benediction by Elder Minard, the company dispersed, and the regiment met in a hall downtown to transact business.

It was a fine affair all through, and every visitor was well entertained.


Comrades Meet

An Incident of the Rebellion

How the Boys Helped Each Other

Kendall County Record, May 5, 1897


To the Editor:

Recently I was on my way home from Aurora: the sky was overcast, the elements threatened and night was not far distant. I concluded not to proceed and knocked at the door of Comrade Wormley and announced that I had made up my mind to go into camp for the night. "All right," said John. "How many horses?" "Two." "Well, we can corral them. I think this is a good enough locality for forage."

I had met this comrade years ago, when hope was high and life was young, amid the stirring scenes of the Civil War. He rode with as gallant a body of troopers as ever rode in battle line, the Fourth Illinois Cavalry. He was in the chase from Fort Henry across to the Cumberland River and helped to encircle Fort Donelson. Later he was at Shiloh, but was overcome by the storm of that terrible Sunday night. He was ordered to a hospital but reported to his command in a few days and engaged in active work of the cavalry in the vicinity of Corinth, Mississippi. This caused a relapse, and he was sent to a hospital at Jackson, Tennessee. He was very sick. His friends at home were notified and they immediately dispatched Doctor Davis of Oswego to take charge of the case. This physician arranged to transfer his patient from the hospital to the home of a friendly colored family who live in a favorable locality in the northern suburbs of the town.

The Fourth Cavalry were not then at Jackson and Dr. Davis came to our company (Company K, 20th Illinois Infantry), because we were from Kendall County, to get assistance. Samuel Hagerman, I and two others, subsequently killed in battle, went with Dr. Davis at nightfall to the hospital and put the sick soldier on a cot. He was very light and was entirely unconscious. We filed out of the hospital with the cot and with the Doctor acting as guide, passed through town to the home of the colored family. The distance was over half a mile, but scarcely a word was spoken on the way. We all thought the case was hopeless, but we were never called upon to carry the soldier to the grave as, at that time, we anticipated. Dr. Davis remained with his charge for seven weeks. The sick soldier boy slowly recovered and on October 1, 1862 was discharged from the service and sent home.

Signed: Fox