The Bonds of War: Imprisoned Members of the 96th Illinois

by Diana Dretske

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List of 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Soldiers from Lake County
Imprisoned at Camp Sumter/Andersonville

“Some of our men, taken prisoners, endured all that could be endured, and cannot be described, of the miseries and horrors of Libby and Andersonville. How many of the wounded, how many of the prisoners were never in line with the Regiment again!” — History of the 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Pvt. Orange M. Ayers (Company C) – Captured on May 14, 1864 at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia and taken to Andersonville. On September 5 transferred to Florence Stockade, South Carolina. In early January 1865, Ayers escaped, but was recaptured at Salisbury, North Carolina where he died on January 15.

First Sgt. Ambrose A. Bangs (Company B) – At the Battle of Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, Bangs was separated from the regiment when it fell back and found himself with the 22nd Michigan. Took part with them in a charge and became a prisoner with a large portion of that regiment. They were sent by cars to Richmond, Virginia, remaining there until November 20, 1863. From Richmond he was taken to Danville, Virginia, and was quartered in a tobacco factory until May 10. He was transferred to Andersonville and made his camp under one of the three pines near the southeast corner of the stockade. He survived Andersonville, but suffered from the effects of his long captivity the rest of his life.

Cpl. Jared O. Blodgett (Company G) – Captured at Ackworth, Georgia on October 5, 1864, while on a brief furlough to visit a brother in the 15th Illinois. He was a prisoner at Andersonville until April 28, 1865, and then transferred to Florence Stockade before being paroled.

Pvt. Myron J. Brown (Company G) – Captured at Resaca, Georgia on May 14, 1864 and imprisoned at Andersonville for four months. Transferred to Florence Stockade where he remained until being paroled in February 1865. Brown described his appearance when he reached Union lines at Wilmington, North Carolina: “I was fearfully emaciated. I was a mere skeleton, and could span my arm at almost any point with thumb and finger.” His prison experiences “seriously impaired” his health for the rest of his life.

Second Lt. Michael Devlin (Company D) – Captured while reconnoitering the front on June 18, 1864 near Kennesaw Mountain. He spent more than five months a prisoner at Andersonville and Florence, was paroled, but “so badly disabled as to be unfitted for further service.”

Cpl. William B. Lewin (Company C) – Captured at Resaca, Georgia on May 14, 1864 and taken to Andersonville where he developed scurvy. On September 5, 1864, transferred to Florence Stockade and was paroled in February 1865.

Pvt. Loughlin Madden, Jr. (Company C) – Following the Battle of Chickamauga, Madden was among the men from Companies C and H who were captured while on picket duty on Missionary Ridge, September 22, 1863. The prisoners were taken to Richmond, Virginia, then to Danville, Virginia, before being transferred to Andersonville in April 1864. “For a time he kept up, but at last became disheartened and homesick and longed for his friends. He died at Andersonville of scurvy and camp fever on August 12, 1864.”

Pvt. William McCreadie (Company C) – Following the Battle of Chickamauga, McCreadie was among the men from Companies C and H who were captured on picket duty on Missionary Ridge, September 22, 1863. The prisoners were taken to Richmond and then Danville, Virginia, before being transferred to Andersonville in April 1864. McCreadie died at Andersonville, June 4, 1864.

Pvt. Hugo Rodenberger (Company C) – Following the Battle of Chickamauga, Rodenberger was among the men from Companies C and H who were captured on picket duty on Missionary Ridge, September 22, 1863. The prisoners were taken to Richmond and then to Danville, Virginia, before being transferred to Andersonville in April 1864. Rodenberger died of scurvy at Andersonville on June 28, 1864.

Cpl. Deloss Rose (Company G) – Captured at Resaca, Georgia on May 14, 1864 and taken to Andersonville. On September 5, 1864, transferred to Florence Stockade and died a prisoner on January 28, 1865. “By his death the Company lost one of its most genial, whole-souled, companionable members.”

Pvt. Joseph Savage (Company C) – Following the Battle of Chickamauga, Savage was among the men from Companies C and H who were captured on picket duty on Missionary Ridge, September 22, 1863. The prisoners were taken to Richmond, Virginia where Savage was at Royster House and Castle Thunder. He was transferred to Danville, Virginia, and then to Andersonville in April 1864. “At Danville and Andersonville was three times vaccinated, twice biting his arm and sucking out the impure virus as soon as the surgeon turned his back, and thus escaping the fate that befell so many.” On September 5, 1864, while being transferred to Florence Stockade he made a daring escape, but was recaptured. He was paroled in February 1865.

Pvt. Joseph Schweri (Company C) – Following the Battle of Chickamauga, Schweri was among the men from Companies C and H who were captured on picket duty on Missionary Ridge, September 22, 1863. The prisoners were taken to Richmond, Virginia where Schweri was at Royster House, and then taken to Danville, and Andersonville. He was known as the “Little Dutch Whistler,” who amused his comrades while on the march and in camp. He survived his imprisonment at Andersonville.

Pvt. Charles Sturm (Company C) – Following the Battle of Chickamauga, Sturm was among the men from Companies C and H who were captured on picket duty on Missionary Ridge, September 22, 1863. The prisoners were taken to Richmond and then to Danville, Virginia, before being transferred to Andersonville in April 1864. Sturm “pined to the very last for his old mother.” He died at Andersonville on November 8, 1864.

Pvt. Eli Thayer (Company D) – At the Battle of Chickamauga on September 20, 1863, Thayer “was struck on the head by a bullet and rendered unconscious for a time. Recovering, he found himself a prisoner of war.” He was imprisoned at Richmond and then Danville, Virginia, before being sent to Andersonville. On September 5, 1864, Thayer was transferred to Florence Stockade where he died of camp fever in January 1865.

Cpl. Christian Weistoff (Company C) – Following the Battle of Chickamauga, Weistoff was among the men from Companies C and H who were captured on picket duty on Missionary Ridge, September 22, 1863. He was in prison at Richmond, Danville, Andersonville and Florence, “sharing the terrible experiences of his comrades at each of these places.” After nearly 15-months of imprisonment he was paroled “hardly more than a skeleton… and suffered more or less from the effects of the scurvy” the rest of his life.

 

Source:
Partridge, Charles A. History of the Ninety-Sixth Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Chicago: Historical Society of the Regiment, 1887.