Chicago Board of Trade Battery Civil War Monument

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Rosehill Cemetery was chartered in 1859. At 350 acres, it is the oldest and largeset non-sectarian cemetery in Chicago. Rosehill Cemetery contains the graves of veterans of all American wars, including the War of Revolution.

It has a separate section for those who fought in the Civil War. Aside from the graves, there is a monument dedicated to the Chicago Board of Trade Battery. The monument lists the battles the battery participated in, the miles they marched, and miles they traveled by train. (See Gallery below)

“In July of 1862 President Abraham Lincoln called for three hundred soldiers to fight the civil war. “At this juncture men with minds to grasp the situation, and whose moral judgment urged them to support the right, appeared with fixed determination. These characteristics were developed in Chicago thus:…”

C.T. Wheeler, the president of the Chicago Board of Trade, called a general meeting of the Board to pledge their money and influence to recruit a unit of soldiers to fight in the Civil War. This unit would be known as the Board of Trade Battery, a horse artillery unit. Within 48 hours there were 63 volunteers and 180 men waiting to enlist. Over five thousand dollars was pledged. Fifty thousand dollars was eventually deposited to outfit and arm the battery.

This action was also designed to demonstrate the commercial leadership of Chicago, “…firing the patriotism of commercial America until the nation felt its assuring influence.”

In 1863, the battery was reorganized to a Flying Horse Artillery, the only Flying Artillery battery in the Western Union armies. Horse or flying artillery pulled light cannons attached to caissons. It is reported a horse artillery battery had the ability to dismount, detach the canons, set up, load, and fire in one minute.

The Chicago Board of Trade Battery suffered surprisingly light casualties. Only 19 men perished. Ten killed in battle or died later from their wounds and 9 who died as a result of disease.

The battery was mustered out in Chicago in June of 1865. The records and mementos of the Battery were lost in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. A "Historical Sketch of the Chicago Board of Trade Battery Horse Artillery Illinois Volunteers" was published privately in Chicago in 1902. Quotes used in this article are from that publication.

There is also a Chicago Board of Trade way marker at Chickamauga, one of the battles the Battery participated in.

 

 

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