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Boys in Blue of Illinois

CW--E. W. WaltonDuring the American Civil War (1861-1865), the ‘Boys in Blue‘ were the Federal Union army soldiers. Those in the Southern Confederacy were considered the ‘Boys in Gray’. Both due to the color of the uniform.

If you had an ancestor who served from the many Illinois (Union) Army regiments, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library has scanned thousands of photographs of Illinois soldiers who served during the Civil War. Those regiments that are completed include 4th, 10th, and 11th Illinois Cavalry and the 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 26th, 33rd, 37th, 53rd, 56th, 64th, 77th, 86th, 101st, 108th, 114th, 117th, 120th, 122nd, and 130th Illinois Infantry Regiments.

With the over 8,000 photos already scanned and on the site there is included (when known) the person’s full names, regiments and companies in which soldiers served, other relevant information is included when it has been verified: where the soldiers were from originally; their residence at enlistment; the dates and the studios where the photographs were taken.

Use the search box at the top to begin and see if there were any ancestors in Illinois regiments. Now a relative did not have to been born or raised in Illinois to search in their regiments. Many did not even live in the state prior to joining such a unit. If they had actually been from a southern state and wanted to support the Union cause, many did go to a northern state to join their regiments. CW- Stephen Cooper

If a name is located, a thumbnail image of the photo is shown along with any information. Click on the thumbnail to enlarge the photo. A reminder, not all the photos are of the individuals back when they served 1861-1865. Many were portraits of the person taken years later, and then labeled with their regiment. Also look to see if there was information written on the back of the photo – that would be scanned also and available to see.

Use the tabs at the top to view the photo and the text information, to print or download the image. When ready to start a new search – set the search box to the right of the search to ‘new search’.

If you locate an ancestor in uniform, that is a real treasure. Again check for any written information on the person and their regiment. Also check using different spellings of a family name. What you know in the 20th century for a spelling could have varied in mid-19th century. If the ancestor had an unusual given name, try that way also. Also placing a surname could produce the photographic company that did the photo and not only the soldier, so do watch for that. cw-Newton Wilson

So any possible Illinois Union ancestors, this is the place to check.

Photos: E. W. Walton of the Illinois Infantry, Co. A 130.; soldier Sgt Stephen Cooper of Co. S with the 53rd Illinois Volunteers and Newton Wilson, in his uniform, from La Salle County, Illinois, who served in the 4th Illinois Cavalry Regiment, Company L. He resided in Ottawa, Illinois at the time of enlistment.

Related genealogy blogs:

Civil War Medical Records

Various Civil War Photo Sources

Digital Civil War Images


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