On This Date:  Follow the Fifth Illinois day by day


5 December 1864:  Companies A, B, C, D, E and H, under Capt. George McConkey, moved to Natchez, while the remainder of the regiment stayed at Vicksburg.

November 1864:  Raid on the Mississippi Central Railroad near Canton, Mississippi.  Two hundred men from the Fifth, under Col. John McConnell, joined 2,200 men under Col. Embury Osband to cut supply lines to John B. Hood's Army of Tennessee in Tennessee.  Osband's cavalry was once again tasked with the destruction of the newly rebuilt Way's Bluff bridge and railroad.  As the rest of the cavalry destroyed the bridge's infrastructure, McConnell's Illinoisans destroyed about one mile of bridge around Vaugh's Station. The Fifth also encountered Confederates at Goodman while they destroyed a bridge near the town; no injuries or deaths were reported.

23 October:  Death of Major Horace P. Mumford.  The major had been in Illinois campaigning for the Republican party when fever  and dysentery took his life.  The regiment, his political allies, and all his superior officers were devastated by the news and found it difficult to "lose so brave and good an officer, so noble a young man."  Mumford was honored at the Illinois state house.

5 October:  Reaching Woodville during a thunderstorm, Osband sent Companies A & C, Fifth Illinois and the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry into town, surprising the Confederates.  The Fifth captured 12 prisoners, some military stores, and 12 wagons with teams.  Next morning, Osband moved toward Edward McGehee's plantation on the Whitestown Road, where Daniel Gober's East Louisiana Cavalry camped.  Osband divided his column, with the Fifth and Third cavalry with the Second Illinois artillery, moving towards Gober from the left, while the rest of the cavalry, with Osband moved toward the right.  The Third pressed Gober from the rear, eventually moving them directly into the Fifth Illinois, who captured Gober's troops, and guns from Eugene Holmes Louisiana artillery.  James Bennett, Co. G, wrote that the regiment "bore an honorable part" in the skirmish, and the regiment deserved equal honor with the Third United States Colored Cavalry.

29 Sept:  Osband's cavalry, including the newly-arrived Eleventh Illinois, and infantry and artillery under Col. Charles A Gilchrist, embarked on transports for Bruinsburg.  After disembarking, the column moved toward Port Gibson, with the Fifth serving as advance guards, under Capt. George McConkey.  McConkey's men encountered Joseph T. Cobb's Texans in town, described as "just drunk enough to render them reckless."  McConkey's initial charge received a hail of fire that killed Jacob Hall, Co. F, and a leg wound from Sgt. James Bennett.  Backup from the Fifth regiment dislodged the Texans, killing two.

27 Sept. - 1 Oct 1864:  Expedition to Rodney and Fayette, Mississippi to dislodge Rebel bands operating between Bolivar and Tunica Bend, along Deer Creek.  This began a month-long campaign under Col. Embury Osband, Third United States Colored Cavalry, containing the Fifth Illinois, commanded by Maj. Horace Mumford, Second Wisconsin, and the Third United States Colored Cavalry.  Mumford instructed his cavalry to disobey Osband's orders due to his drunkenness on the expedition.  The Fifth captured three Rebel scouts south of Bolivar Landing before returning to their camp.

24 August:  Captain William Berry, taken prisoner during the Brookhaven raid in June 1863, returned to his regiment after a daring escape from a George prison.  Col. John McConnell gave Berry command of a special force of cavalry scouts, consisting of selected men from seven Fifth companies, with the majority from Berry's Co. L.

11 -20 July 1864:  Expedition from Vicksburg to Grand Gulf under Henry W. Slocum, to rout Wirt Adam's cavalry from southern Mississippi.  The cavalry had skirmishes at Port Gibson and Grand Gulf.

July-August:  Began the worst period of ill health for the regiment, with 189 men dying of illness while stationed at Vicksburg.  Smallpox hit the regiment in the winter, with malaria and dysentery devastating the troops during the summer.  One soldier recorded "sickness as common as hard-tack ad sow-belly."  Rumors also spread of the eventual dismounting of the regiment due to loss of horses.

10 July:  Major James Farnan, once captain of Company K, left on medical furlough, sick with chronic diarrhea.  His health never improved, and he resigned in October 1864 .

1 July 1864:  Expedition to Pear River, under Gen. Henry Slocum, who was ordered by Gen. Tecumseh Sherman to destroy the Mississippi Central Railroad bridge over the Pear River at Jackson, Mississippi.  The only Fifth troops in the expedition was the First Battalion, consisting of companies A, B, C, and D, under Lt. Gordon Webster.  Maj. Horace P. Mumford commanded the cavalry brigade, which included the Third United State Colored Cavalry.  This would be the first time the Fifth fought alongside African American troops.  Brig. Gen. Elias Dennis extolled Mumford's handling of the cavalry, "When I say to you that he handled his command as well, and done better fighting than any cavalry officers who were in the late raid."

Meeting very little resistance, Slocum's forces reach the state capitol at Jackson by July 4, and destroy the railroad bridge the next morning.  During the trip back to Vicksburg, the Fifth soldiers encountered Frank P. Powers's mounted Mississippi Infantry, John Scott's First Louiiana Cavalry and Samuel Gholson's cavalry at the junction of the Clinton and Canton Roads.

May-June:  Only 203 horses available for the entire regiment.  The men are threatened with unmounting and becoming infantry, which they refuse to accept.  McConnell leaves his regiment and proceeded to St. Louis to acquire horses for his cavalry.

27 May:  Col. John McConnell finally arrived to take command of the Fifth Illinois.  Originally given the commission in 1863, McConnell was too ill to join the men, and when he finally arrived, he received a very cool reception.  Many soldiers, especially John Mann, believed that the regiment's new colonel should have been chosen from within the regiment, instead of from other Illinois regiments.  Mann commented on McConnell's choice to take the commission: "had he been a man of proper self respect, he would not have received the commission, well knowing that it was not in accordance with the rule of the War Dept to allow citizens to be promoted over those in the service."  Nevertheless, McConnell served with the Fifth until their mustering out in 1865.  The colonel's first action was to recommend Maj. Abel Seley for lieutenant colonel, and Mann believed "nothing worse could have been done for the regiment or service."

22 May 1864:  Regiment is stationed at Vicksburg, Mississippi.  According to John Mann, Co. K, nothing happened, including the absence of supplies boats carrying much-needed rations.

4-21 May 1864:  The Fifth brigade with the 2nd Wisconsin, 11th Illinois, and 3rd U.S. Colored cavalry under Col. Embury Osband.  On 4 May, the cavalry brigade under Maj. Horace P. Mumford, joined the rest of the Union forces under Gen. John McArthur to attack rebel forces at Yazoo City, Mississippi.  This was the first time the Fifth fought with African American troops.


December 1863: The regiment discuss their options of becoming a veteran organization, reenlisting as a whole for the remainder of the war.  With the threat of becoming an infantry regiment, many of the men will not reenlist.  The men also spend the month chasing Confederate Wirt Adams cavalry around southern Mississippi, scouting around Natchez until 16 December.  Only 350 soldiers reenlisted as veterans, but the regiment earned the privilege to call themselves veterans and earning a month-long furlough in 1864.

November 1863:  Sickness at Vicksburg created a greater loss of men than during the Fifth's occupation of Helena the year before.  The only remaining original commissioned officer was Abel Seley, who now controlled the regiment after Apperson resigned due to sickness.  The regiment's horses also suffered greatly from loss of habitat due to war and lack of adequate government-issued grain.  Rumors spread that the regiment would be dismounted and the men would serve as infantry for the rest of their term, much to the disenchantment of the prairie boys.  This put a damper on the re-enlistment urged by the government to keep veteran soldiers in the service for the extent of hostilities, instead of the 3-year term of the regiment.

14-20 Oct.:  Ulysses S. Grant ordered the Vicksburg troops toward Canton, Mississippi to threaten the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad line, to allow the easy transfer of Sherman's troops to Georgia after Braxton Bragg's victory over Federal troops at Chickamauga in late September.  Col. Edward F. Winslow commanded the cavalry brigade, which consisted of the Fourth, Fifth and Eleventh Illinois, Fourth Iowa and Tenth Missouri cavalry regiment.  Maj. James Farnan commanded the Fifth's detachment.  Winslow's cavalry encountered Brig. Gen. William Jackson's cavalry brigade at Brownsville, the Catlett plantation, and Robinson's Mills.

27 Sept-1 Oct. 1862:  Winslow led a cavalry column to Yazoo City, to destroy Rebel cavalry camps around Vernon, Mississippi.  These camps had become a base from which Whitfield's Texans ventured to capture cattle and slaves from the Yazoo River valley, and harass Federal forces in the area.  The Fifth, under Abel Seley, joined the Fourth Iowa, Fourth Illinois, and Tenth Missouri cavalry regiments to "strike the enemy, who is hovering between Vernon and Yazoo City.   Company G, Fifth Illinois encountered the Ninth Texas while on picket duty at Moore's Ford over the Big Black River.  Initially holding the Texans at bay, but shots from cannon eventually dislodged Co G, and they fled to the safety of the Federal lines that were camped east of the river.  The Fifth lost no soldiers on the expedition.


22 Sept.:  Detachments from the Fifth Illinois and Fourth Iowa scouted the west bank of the Big Black River, Mississippi, flushing several Confederates from a farmhouse.  These bushwhackers "had been troubling our pickets at night," and the Fifth chased down and captured three rebs before they could escape.

26 August:  Lt. Col. Thomas Apperson received furlough to recuperate from malaria and jaundice, but he never recovered his health, finally resigning in October.  Major Abel Seley takes command of the regiment.

10-22 Aug:  Expedition to Grenada, Mississippi to destroy the cars of the Mississippi Central railroad.  Col. Edward F. Winslow, Fourth Iowa, commanded a cavalry column consisting of the Third and Fourth Iowa, and the Fifth Illinois, under Maj. James Farnan. Their goal was to destroy all the rolling stock abandoned around Grenada, before the Confederates could reopen the railroad bridge at Canton, destroyed during the Jackson campaign.  The Federal column was closely followed buy John W. Whitfield's cavalry, consisting of the Third, Sixth, and Ninth Texas cavalry, while Cap, A. M. Hostin's Sunflower Rangers cavalry moved south from Grenada to stop Winslow from reaching Grenada.  The Confederates were outnumber by Winslow's cavalry.  Co. G, Fifth Illinois captured the town of Durant on 13 August, while the Federal column destroyed bridges of Jordan's Creek and other waterways they crossed to hinder the movement of the rolling stock and Confederate pursuit.

24 July:  The Federal column reached Bolton Station, where five men from Company G vanished while on a foraging scout.  The regiment lost Thomas Taylor, Thomas C. Craig, James McAllister, William R. Thomas, and Albert Willets.  All soldiers eventually returned to the Fifth, except Taylor who died at Andersonville prison in July 1864.  When the column returned from the Jackson campaign, the majority of the soldiers suffered from malaria, heat stroke, and typhoid.  General Grant began issuing 30-day furlough for the sickest soldiers to return home to regain their health.  Thadeus Packard, Co C declared that the majority of the soldiers from his company occupied sick beds:  "Capt. Withers dangerously sick with bilious fever [typhoid or malaria]. . . .Only 20 available men and an officer was able to start out on a scout."  Packard left for a 30-day furlough in August but did not return until the end of October due to a severe malarial infection.  John Mann, Co K, also suffered from tertian malarial and malaria, "which keeps me too weak to stir much.  In fact it is very hard for one to get up in this climate when once reduced.  Mann left on his sick furlough in mid-September.

15-19 July:  Disappointed at Bussey's lack of action, Sherman again sent the Federal cavalry toward Canton to destroy the Way's Bluff railroad bridge north of the town, but this time accompanied by Charles R. Wood's brigade of infantry and four 12-pound howitzers.  Just south of Canton, the Second Wisconsin cavalry encountered Whitfield's Texas cavalry and Wirt Adams's Mississippian, who had an extended battle line from Bear Creek to the Canton Road.  Bussey deployed his troops, with Farnan's battalion of the Fifth sent to deal with the Texans guarding the wagon train on the Livingston Road.  Though the Fifth initially emptied a few Texan saddles, they were greatly outnumbered, but quickly reinforced with the Third and Fourth Iowa, the 76th Ohio, a detachment of the 25th Iowa and guns from a Missouri battery.  The Missouri guns pushed the Texans back in great disorder, but soon rallied and advanced, only to be checked by the Iowans and the artillery.  The Texans retreated crossing the Pearl at Shallow Ford.  The Federals took Canton, while Bussey's cavalry proceeded to the bridge and destroyed the Way's Bluff bridge.  The Federal column returned to Jackson 19 July, where they received orders for the march back to Vicksburg.

11-13 July:  Skirmishes at Canton.  On 11 July, Bussey received orders to move north toward Canton to destroy the track of New Orleans, Jackson, and Great Northern rail line, which the cavalry accomplished at Midway and Calhoun.  Moving toward Canton, Bussey found the way blocked by George B. Cosby's brigade of Mississippi cavalry, entrenched south of the town.  After exchanging a few shots, Bussey withdrew, much to the complaints of Fifth soldiers, who described Bussey as "not fit to command a troop and should quit."

9 July:  With the Fifth in advance, the Federal cavalry slugged it out with the Third and Ninth Texas cavalry just east of Clinton.  The Fifth came under a severe fire, and "was ever under cannon fire, but the shells made more noise than anything else.  The Confederates retreated to Jackson. Sherman's army converged on Jackson from three sides, wit Johnston's only retreat lay to the east and across the Pearl River.  Bussey's cavalry camped north of Jackson at the Jackson Insane Asylum.

8 July:  Skirmish with the Ninth Texas Cav, supported by the 27th Texas.  East of Bolton, the Federal cavalry found the Texas cavalry three miles east of Clinton.  Company I with a company from the Third Iowa Cavalry tried to flank the Texans, while Companies K and L, under Seley, confronted the Texans, "charging upon the flying rebs using the pistol and carbine freely, not getting close enough to use the saber.  After driving the Texans, the regimens received a severe lesson, as the Texans formed in line , and the regiment stood under  severe fire, wounding Robert King, Co. K and a Company L soldier.

7 July: Fifth skirmish with John W. Whitfield's cavalry brigade, consisting of the Third, Ninth, and Twenty-Seventh Texas cavalry, from William H. Jackson's brigade on the Bolton Road.

6 July to 25 July 1863:  Jackson campaign.   The Fifth Illinois, with the Third and Fourth Iowa, and Second Wisconsin cavalry regiments, under Col. Cyrus R. Bussey, joined the rest of the army under William Tecumseh Sherman, in an expedition to drive Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Relief out of Mississippi.  The federal horsemen fought against Confederate troops at Jefferson Davie's plantation (7 July), against Texas cavalry on the Bridgeport Rd. (7/8), against the Third and Ninth Texas east of Clinton (7/9), and at Canton where the cavalry fought against George B. Cosby's brigade of Mississippi cavalry.  The cavalry played a major role n the campaign, though Bussey was charged with being too nonaggressive.

4 July 1863:   "The whole army here are in fine spirits--sanguine and determined" to whip the Confederates.  By early afternoon the men heard rumors that the Rebels at Vicksburg had surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.  "Vicksburg is ours this time for certain," recorded Pvt. William Skiles, Co. G.

30 June 1863:  Major Thomas Apperson received the rank of lieutenant  colonel, while 3rd Maj. Abel Seley, moved up to first major.  Capt. James Farnan, Co. K, and Capt. Horace P. Mumford, Co. F, achieve 2nd and 3rd major appointments.  Gov. Richard Yates appointed Maj. John Mconnell, late major of the Third Illinois Cavalry, who was recuperating from poor health at Springfield.  He would not join the regiment for another year.

25 June to 1 July 1863:  Expedition to Greenville, MS with the Mississippi Marine Brigade, 25th Wisconsin Infantry, a detachment of the Fifth under James Farnan, all under the command of Lt. Col Samuel J. Nasmith, in response to rebel artillery firing on Mississippi River traffic.  Unable to locate the rebel artillery, Nasmith's troops were heading back to Snyder's Bluff when they learned that William Parson's Texas cavalry had attacked the federal outpost at Lake Providence, where the first African American troops were posted.  Arriving after the attack ended, Pvt. William Skiles recorded that the Texans "burned every thing, Cotton gins, houses, & negro quarters, killing negroes, & burned several.  We could see their skulls & jaw bones laying around."

4 June 1863: Encamped outside the siege lines at Vicksburg, John Mann recorded that the "roar of artillery has been almost incessant for the last 24 hours and are of the heaviest caliber," as Grant tried to pound the Confederates in Vicksburg into surrendering. 

22-25 June 1863:  Capt. Calvin Mann, Co. K, along with 40 volunteers, begin a ill-fated raid through southern Mississippi to cut Confederate communication and transportation lines.  After raiding Brookhaven, Mississippi, and destroying the railroad, the raider rode east, with Confederate posse hot on their trail.  Despite orders to keep moving, Mann rested his men on the night of 24 June, allowing the Confederate pursuit to pass the sleeping Federals.  On the morning of 24 June, Mann's raiders were ambushed at Rocky Creek.  The raiders had four killed and four wounded, and all were captured.  The commissioned officers, including Mann, were sent to Libby prison, while the privates were paroled and released after exchange.

10 June 1863:  Wiley received his dismissal from the Fifth Illinois for being absence without leave in late 1862.  The lieutenant colonel did not expect the dismissal, writing in a letter, "I did hope that I should not now at this late day be dismissed in this manner . . . . I feel as every loyal officer should, the disgrace of being dismissed when in the face of the enemy, & deeply desire to avert it."  Wiley's dismissal created a power vacuum in the regiment, and this prompted internal squabbling and schemes to secure the regiment as a Democratic-led regiment.  Maj. Thomas Apperson, Republican, however,  received the promotion to lieutenant colonel, while Seley was promoted to first major, and Capt. James Farnan, Co, K became second major, and Capt. Horace P. Mumford, Co. F gained the position oft third major; all were Democrats.

2-8 JuneExpedition to Mechanicsburg, MS:  Ben Wiley commanded the cavalry brigade involved in an expedition to Mechanicsburg to stop CSA Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army from attacking Grant's army.  Leaving 3 June, Wiley's horsemen were ambushed by Walter A. Rorer's 20th MS Mounted Infantry on the Lower Benton Road.  Packard remembered, "first the sharp crack of the riles from their pickets; here and there through the scrubby timber we could see the glint of their guns and the flash of their swords."  Delaying Wiley's cavalry until the afternoon of 4 June, the horsemen reached Mechanicsburg in the afternoon, just as CSA Gen. John Adams' cavalry brigade began its retreat.  Wiley sent the Third Battalion of the 5th IL, under Maj. Thomas Apperson to charge the retreating cavalry.  The charge became one of the Fifth's highlights as they sent Adams' cavalry scrambling for safety at Pritchard's Crossroads, where Adams reported that the Fifth "pressed me so closely that I had to fall back here."

30 May 1863:  The Fifth Illinois, commanded by Ben Wiley, board transports for Vicksburg, Mississippi, to join Ulysses S. Grant's forces.  The Fifth became part of the rear defensive troops tasked with preventing Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army from reinforcing the besieged troops at Vicksburg.


27 Nov-5 Dec 1862:  Expedition into Mississippi against the Mississippi Central Railroad, as part of Ulysses S. Grant's central Mississippi campaign to reach Vicksburg from overland.   The Fifth Illinois, under Abel Seley, joined the First Indiana, Ninth Illinois, and the Third and Fourth Iowa cavalry regiments under Col. Hall Wilson, of the First Cavalry Brigade in Washburn's cavalry.  The cavalry joined 7,000 infantry and artillery under Frederick Steele.  Rainy, cold conditions limited the success of the campaign, and the cavalry did minimal damage to the railroad bridges and telegraph lines in Mississippi.  The cavalry encountere Texas cavalrymen in several intense engagements, where they held the field after Rebel retreat.

22 Oct.:  Foraging party set out towards the Claborne McCalpin plantation south of Helena, under the command of Lt. William Elliott, Co. G.  Elliott commanded 150 soldiers from all companies; the more able-bodied soldiers, and more experienced officers, were on a 2-day scout under Apperson.   While foraging the cornfields, the detachment was attacked by Sam Corley, George W. Rutherford, and Alfred Johnson's cavalry, capturing 81 of the 150 Illinoisans, and killing four Fifth soldiers--Joseph T. Voorhees, Co F; James B. Martin, Co M; Jonathan D. Dryden, Co E; and Leroy P. Kilgore, Co A.  Elliott was held responsible for the ambush and never achieved higher rank within the regiment, mustering out as a lieutenant.  All captured soldiers returned to the regiment within a month as paroled prisoners.  By April 1863, all parolees were exchanged and returned to the regiment.

October 1862:  Severe illness plagued the regiment, sending many of the commanding officers to their sick beds.  For most of the month, the regiment was commanded by Manor Abel Seley.  Rebel partisan bands ambushed and captured members of the 2nd Wisconsin and 1st Indiana cavalry regiments, close to the Fifth's camp at Beech Grove.  The Fifth participated in numerous scouts around Helena to curtail guerrilla attacks.

22 Sept. 1862:  President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, informing citizens that he would free all slaves in any state in rebellion against the United States as of 1 January 1863.  Many Fifth Illinoisans welcomed the proclamation, but others, especially those with Southern heritage rallied against it.  "In a letter from my wife, she states the president has just issued his proclamation freeing all salves in the United States," declared Lt. Thadeus Packard, Co. C, a northern-born soldier.

4-16 August 1862:  Expedition to Clarendon, AR: Believing Parsons planned an attack on Helena, Frederick Steele sent the Fourth Division of the Army of the Southwest, to Clarendon to make a demonstration.  The cavalry, consisting of the First Indiana, Fifth Kansas and Fifth Illinois, under Wiley, was commanded by Col. Graham H. Fitch, 46th Indiana Inf.  At Trenton, Fitch sent the Fifth Illinois with the First Indiana's artillery to Patterson's Deadening, to roust a camp of Texas Rangers, only to find the camp abandoned.  Another skirmish between the Fifth Illinois and Texas Rangers occurred at Aberdeen on the White River, with the Illinoisans killing two Texans.  The Lone State soldiers got their revenge when they shot and killed Robert T. Larne, Company A, Fifth Illinois by Big Cypress Creek on 15 August, but pursuit the next day did not reveal the killers. Hundreds of escaped slaves joined the Federal column at Clarendon.

July 1862:  Confederate partisan bands, led by William Parsons, attacked and ambushed foraging and scout parties from Helena.  Parson's brigade consisted of his 12th Texas, George Carters 21st Texas, Nathaniel Burford's 19th Texas  cavalry regiments, and Joseph Pratt's 10th Texas Field battery.  Alfred Johnson's Texas Spy Company of Cavalry, Francis Chrisman's Arkansas Cavalry, and Charles Morgan Texas battalion of cavalry, patrolled the area around Helena killing Federal pickets and ambushing scouts.

9 July 1862:  Col. C. C. Washburn, with a detachment of Fifth Illinois cavalrymen under Wiley, marched from Clarendon, AR to Helena, AR, capturing the town on the morning of 10 July, making the 70-mile march in 24 hours.  The rest of the Army of the Southwest under Curtis trickled into the river port over the next three weeks.  The regiment would be posted at Helena until May 1863.  Their stay at Helena would document one of the most unhealthiest periods in the regiment's history.

7 July 1862:  Battle at Hills Plantation against Texas cavalry under William H. Parsons.  The Fifth played a very minor role in the battle, which ended in a Union victory.

4-5 July 1862:  The combined army rested at Augusta, while Confederate partisan bands, hamper its progress by building large timber blockades along the route.

1 July 1862:  Steele and Curtis's combined forces began marching from Jacksonport, with the Fifth protecting the rear of the 15-mile long column.

30 June 1862:  The reunited regiment moved south, passing down into the White River valley, camping at the confluence of the White and Black rivers.  "Shortly after going in to camp, the men indulged in the delightful pastime of a bath in the White River," recorded John Mann.  Jacksonport, where Samuel R. Curtis and Steeles' armies united, was just one mile below the mouth of the Black River, and in view of the Fifth's camp.

6 June 1862:  Colonel Wilson received orders from Gen. Frederick Steele to reunite the regiment and move south from Pocahontas, leaving the next day.  According to John Mann, many of the men "were up all night indulging in debauchery and drunkenness.  Some were so drunk they were unable to travel."

17 June 1862:  Abel Seley's detachment of Co. D, F, and L were at Smithville, Arkansas. Seley sent out his most experienced soldiers under Lt. Samuel J. R. Wilson, Co. F, with 15 men from the same company, to assist a Union family's move into Union lines.  On Wilson's successful return, he learned that Rebels under Wiley C. Jones, from William Coleman's Missouri Cavalry, were waiting to ambush his forces.  Wilson retreated to the James McKinney farm and sent word to Seley that he needed reinforcements.  Seley sent all the men at his disposal, under Capt. Robert Organ, Henry Caldwell, and H.P. Mumford, the rescue squad ran into the ambush at the McKinney house.  Organ quickly regrouped and charged Jones' guerillas hidden in the brush around the farm.  The Fifth detachment captured Jones and 14 of his men.  The Fifth lost two men killed and five wounded in the engagement.  Seley praised his men and commanding officers for the "the courage ad bravery displayed" as they entered the battle.  This site provided wrong information about where the Fifth's camped at Smithville, but does provide an accurate description of the skirmish:  http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=6658.  The Fifth camped at Smithville, not 10 miles south of the town.

30 May 1862:  Seley's detachment still at Smithville.  The army finally paid it soldiers for two months' service.  John Mann received $60.42, and recorded that "my pay will barely suffice to keep my family."  With pay in their pockets, the Fifth soldiers spent the next couple of days drinking away their pay.

24 May 1862:  Major Abel Seley, with Company D, F, and L, move to Smithville, Arkansas to scout the area for signs of Wiley C. Jones's company of Missouri cavalry.

22 May 1862:  Regiment is stationed at Pocahontas, AR under Col. Hall Wilson.  Wilson's men spend most of their time foraging for food because Col. Wm P. Carlin, 38th Illinois Infantry took all the Fifth's rations when he left for Jacksonport, Arkansas to connect with Samuel R. Curtis's Army of the Southwest.  Wilson got so frustrated with the regiment's abilities to steal from local farmers, that he appealed to "all honest men," to stop stealing to save the "reputation of the regiment from disgrace."  A small scout from Company K searched the countryside for a Rebel spy, who they found hiding in a swamp.  The weather turned hot and muggy, with temperatures in the nineties, and Fifth soldiers began to get "very sick, very fast," including Wilson who contracted dysentery and typhoid.  For more information about Pocahontas, click this lilnk:   http://www.gogobot.com/black-river-overlook-parkcivi-pocahontas-attraction

31 March:  The Fifth Illinois took the advance of William P. Carlin's First Brigade during the march into Arkansas.  Reaching Doniphan in Ripley County, Companies A, B, and C, the men encounter pickets from Timothy Reeve's Company of Independent Scouts just four miles east of Doniphan.  The Fifth horsemen drove Reeve's men over the Current River, only to be stopped by pickets hidden on the south shore.  Colonel Wilson led the charge with Company C and G through the river, dislodging Reeve's men, and wounding their leader.  This was the Fifth's first battle and their first successive battle.  The regiment remained at Doniphan until 27 April when Steele ordered them to Pocahontas, AR.  Steele had orders to join Samuel R. Curtis's army at Jacksonport, AR for a campaign to establish a Federally-backed government at Little Rock, securing Arkansas for the Union.

17-29 March:   Wiley with Companies A, B, C, K, L, and M occupy Greenville on the St. Francis River, 40 miles south of the Knob.  As Steele's army  moved through southern Missouri, he left garrisoned posts in his rear to maintain his supply line and the Fifth Illinois played a major role in guarding this lifeline.  The 13th Illinois Infantry relieved the Fifth from guard duty at Greenville, and they joined the rest of the regiment as part of the Division of Southeast Missouri under Steele.  The Fifth served in the Third Brigade with the Ninth Illinois and First Indiana cavalry regiments.

7 March:  Wilson commanded the post at Pilot Knob, where the Fifth served with the 16th Ohio Battery of Independent Artillery.  

3 March:  The regiment left Benton Barracks for Pilot Knob, MO, becoming part of Brig. Gen. Frederick Steele's army and tasked with securing Arkansas for the Union.

March 1862:  The regiment received its first pay, which only covered from mustering to December 1861.  The families of many soldiers were already suffering from lack of revenue; this trend would continue throughout the war.  The boys also received their arms, including inferior French Lefaucheux pistols and short Mississippi rifles, which took a .54 caliber bullet.

20 February:  The Fifth Illinois left Camp Butler, marching through Illinois, crossing the Mississippi River into Missouri, camping near Benton Barracks.

January 1862:  Some companies in the regiment had been in training for five months, and many were anxious to leave Camp Butler for the war.  Rumors run through camp that the boys would soon leave for the front