Tuesday, June 10, 2008

14th Missouri (66th Illinois)

On back of monument:
14th Missouri,
Afterwards designated 66th Illinois Infantry,
Commanded by Col. B. S. Compton.
This regiment, known as Birge's Sharpshooters, armed with Deer rifles, was detached from its brigade at 9.30 a.m., April 6, 1862, and ordered to guard Snake Creek bridge. It was soon ordered back to this place and was engaged here and in field beyond the creek. On Monday a part of the command was engaged in front of the 3d Division. Its loss in the battle was 2 men killed and 6 men wounded; total, 8.

1 comment:

J Sullivan said...

When the regiment fought fought at Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862, it was named "Birge's Western Sharpshooters". It was a multi-state regiment, with three Illinois companies, three Missouri companies, two Ohio companies, and one company from Michigan (they had lost their 10th company [mostly Missouri men from St. Louis] when theater commander MG Henry Halleck had ordered it transferred to the newly forming 26th Missouri Vols). In the early war the WSS was usually known as "Birge's Squirrel-Tails, due to the regiment's official early war headgear, a grey sugarloaf hat decorated at the crown with three blackened squirrel tails. On April 6, the WSS fought along Tilghman Branch (creek), skirmishing against Terry's Texas Rangers (the 8th TX Cav) and Brewer's Alabama and Mississippi (Cavalry) Battalion. On April 14, the regiment learned that its designation had been changed to "Western Sharpshooters-14th Missouri Volunteers". Shortly thereafter the regiment was reinforced with the Third Independent Company of Ohio Volunteer Sharpshooters, brining the regiment back up to full strength (ten companies). In Dec of 1862, at the insistence of Illinois Governor Yates, the regiment's designation was changed again, to "66th Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Western Sharpshooters)". The unit continued to excel regardless of the name changes, participating in the Corinth Campaign, the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea, and the Carolinas Campaign. Despite the regiment's independent assignment during the Battle of Shiloh, the Illinois state monument's commission commemorated its participation in Shiloh due to its later war designation. The regimental monument is located near the area where the Western Sharpshooters fought Brewer's Cavalry Battalion.