Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Colonel Frederick A. Bartleson

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.

8 comments:

Celia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nick said...

FYI, the previous comment was removed because it was spam for a place in Costa Rica, not because it was something negative about me or the blog.

Anonymous said...

Glad you found some of the information and the photo I have on my site about Colonel Frederick Bartleson of interest.

A couple of other photos exist and he has relatives who have some of his belongings on loan to the museum in Joliet.

His grave is in Oakwood Cemetery, Joliet, Illinois.

Gary Lee said...

I found your post while doing a Google search. I am researching the "Mud Creek Line" and troop placements / skirmishes around it in June, 1864 leading up to the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, GA. I own property that sits right on this line and have preserved a large portion of the earthworks from this line.

Colonel Bartelson is mentioned here: http://civilwar.org/battlefields/kennesawmountain/kennesaw-mountain-history-articles/cobbcountysecrist.html

Secrist was a well-known historian here in Cobb County, and I am trying to locate his source of the information he wrote about Bartelson as well as any additional information on the position he captured near "French's Hill". If anyone has any information, I would love to hear from you.

Nancy said...

I just came across a portrait of Col. Bartleson in the collection here; although, depending on provenance, I may forward it to Joliet.

RoadDog said...

There was an article in the April 14, 2011, Joliet Herald News "Joliet's civil warrior" by Tony Graf that you might be interested in.

Boots Brothers said...

Accounts of the Battle of Chickamauga have mentioned that Union troops did not cross the Brotherton Road where, in fact, Colonel Bartleson was probably captured as several companies of the 100th Illinois crossed it the morning of the battle to reconnoiter was as a massing of troops and artillery...running into General Hood's division before it attacked.

Too bad for the Union that word of the massing of troops did not reach headquarters before the 100th and Woods' division were ordered to move and created the "gap" in the line Hood went through, by happenstance.

At least that's my understanding of what happened.

Boots Brothers said...

Accounts of the Battle of Chickamauga have mentioned that Union troops did not cross the Brotherton Road where, in fact, Colonel Bartleson was probably captured as several companies of the 100th Illinois crossed it the morning of the battle to reconnoiter was as a massing of troops and artillery...running into General Hood's division before it attacked.

Too bad for the Union that word of the massing of troops did not reach headquarters before the 100th and Woods' division were ordered to move and created the "gap" in the line Hood went through, by happenstance.

At least that's my understanding of what happened.