Egypt’s 31st Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Logan Gen.

Illustration of John Logan, created 1874. From the Library of Congress.

Little Egypt’s greatest contribution to the Union effort in the Civil War undoubtedly comes from the 31st Illinois Volunteer Regiment. Put into service on Sept. 18th, 1861, under Col. John Logan, the regiment went on to become one of the greatest in the Union. The regiment consisted of about 1,100 men from the 18 southernmost counties of Illinois. Of the 1,100, 1,088 where Democrats, and 8 out of the 10 companies where from Logan’s congressional district. (Morris p. xvi) In total the regiment marched a combined 4,000 miles in the western theater with General Grant and General Sherman. The 31st Illinois fought 14 battles and 25 skirmishes, including the battles of Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, and the Confederate surrender of the Army of the Tennessee in North Carolina. The regiment lost 471 men of the original 1,100, a death count topped by no other Illinois regiment. (Dyer p.1,059) Much of my information on this regiment is due to the History 31st Regiment Illinois Volunteers organized by John A. Logan, written and published by a committee of three regiment veterans. Individually they are W.S. Morris who enlisted at age 19, supported Logan, became a 1st Lieutenant, and later went on to become a state congressmen. J.B. Kuykendall, who enlisted at age 19 in 1861, and L.D. Hartwell Jr. who was 17 when he enlisted, had six brothers all in the 31st Illinois, and went on to become a state’s attorney. Together they published a regimental history based on firsthand accounts and personal memoirs.