Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
#38--John Wesley Hannah --Civil War Veteran, Serving in Illinois
Since Veterans’ Day was last week, I thought I would blog
about one of my veteran ancestors—John Wesley Hannah. I knew that my great grandfather, John Wesley
Hannah (1838-1899) had fought in the Civil War.
So when I wanted to know more about what he did and where he went, I did
two things: I got his records from the
National Archive and also began to research the history of his units. There is an incredible about of information
on the Civil War on the internet, but I primarily used Ancestry.com and the
sites that focused on units on Illinois that I found on the internet. By
putting the sources of information together, I have some idea of where he and
his company were, and what he was doing.
So my blog focuses on John Wesley in the Civil War. Because I have a great deal of information
about John and his service, I plan on using two to three postings to cover it.
first, a little background information. John
Wesley Hannah was born in Prairie Township, Edgar County, Illinois, near the
current town of Chrisman on February 9, 1838.
He was the youngest son of John M. and Charity (Mears) Hannah. In about 1830 his parents moved to Edgar
County from Brown County, Ohio. In 1850,
he was living with his two older brothers (George Newell and Oliver) and three
sisters (Albertine , Mary Sayres, and Catherine), his mother having died in
1842, when he was four years old. His
three sisters, Elizabeth, Sarah Ann, and Nancy, had married and were living in
Edgar County. In 1860, John was living
with his father, his sister, Albertine and his niece, Charity Conrey, whose
parents had died . His sister, Mary
Sayres, had also died. It is
presumed that as a child John helped on his father’s farm, attended school in
Prairie Township, and then school in Bloomington, Illinois. According to the 1860 Census, John was a
student of medicine.
On April 15,
1861, President Lincoln issued a proclamation asking each state to raise their
militia to defeat the states that were trying to succeed from the United
States. Therefore, Governor Yates
convened the Illinois legislature to organizing the militia. Since it was believed that the war was not
going to last too long, men were asked to enlist for a period of 3 months.
Hannah joined the 12th Infantry Illinois at Paris, Illinois for a
term of 3 months on April 18, 1861. He
was mustered in at Springfield, Illinois on May 2, 1861. At the time of his enlistment, he was described
as 5 feet 8 ½ inches tall with dark hair and grey eyes. His occupation was a farmer.
Ship at Warf at Cairo
The 12th was moved to Cairo,
Illinois where it performed garrison duties until the soldiers were mustered
out on August 1, 1861. I thought Cairo was a strange place to spend three
months as a soldier, but I found that the city sits where that the Mississippi and
Ohio Rivers converge. Controlling that
spot mean that whoever held it would be able to control traffic, and hence move
troops and supplies, on the river. On
August 1, 1861, John mustered out and returned to Edgar County. For his service, John received $13.00 per