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.

But 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. 

Abraham Lincolcn
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.

 John W. 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 month.

To be continued next week--

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