The other day someone left a comment asking for more info about Colonel Frederick A. Bartleson of the 100th Illinois. The only info I have is what I’ve found online. He was born November 10, 1833 and was an Illinois state attorney. In the spring of 1858 he was the prosecutor in an odd case in Joliet. A man was accused of killing a young woman (who he might have been romantically linked to). During the trial the young woman was presented as a witness for the defense, which effectively won the case. It seems that the dead body had no clear identifying marks so the young lady’s mother decided to blackmail the defendant claiming the body was her daughter. The truth was that some local doctors wanted to learn their trade on a fresh corpse. They hired someone to dig up a freshly buried woman, when they were done the man had second thoughts about reburying the woman and instead dumped her in a secluded area.
Bartleson is credited with being the first man from Joliet to volunteer for the Union. At a rally after the fall of Fort Sumter he enrolled and said, "I will ask no man to do that, which I would not be willing to do myself." He entered the service as captain of Company B in the 20th Illinois. The regiment fought at Fort Donelson and Shiloh. Bartleson lost an arm at Shiloh. When he was healed he was given command of the 100th Illinois in August 1862.
The 100th Illinois fought at Stones River and then at Chickamauga, where Bartleson was wounded and captured. He was sent to Libby Prison in Richmond and was paroled in time to led his regiment in the Atlanta Campaign. On June 23, 1864 he was killed in the fighting at Kennesaw Mountain. He was buried in Joliet. I found no mention of any children but his spouse was Catherine Murray.
His obituary in The Joliet Signal Newspaper on Tuesday, July 12, 1864 says of his death: “An advance was ordered and the Colonel had command of the front skirmish line, and while leading his column in plain view of the enemy, was pierced through the body by a rebel bullet and fell from his horse and was taken up and carried from the field’s lifeless corpse.” Oddly the obituary says that his body arrived in Joliet on July 1st but that he was buried on June 31st.
It also said of Bartleson, “Well may the citizens of Joliet mourn the loss of one so noble and brave as Col. Bartleson proved himself to be Courteous and honorable, he won the respect and confidence of all who knew him. Gentle as a lamb and as brave as a lion, he captivated the feelings and inspired his soldiers with more than human courage. Truly, his death, at this critical juncture of affairs, is a national calamity.”
If you’re still wanting info on Bartleson I suggest you see if you can get a copy of
Colonel Frederick Bartleson by Kathy Johnson through interlibrary loan. Its only a small pamphlet produced by the Will County [Illinois] Historical Society, but it might have some extra info.
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