" For Lincoln

and

Liberty!"

7th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Company B

Unit History

The 7th Illinois immediately formed even as President Lincoln was still drying the ink on the order for 75,000 volunteers after Fort Sumter was sieged. Made up of men from the area around Cairo and Springfield, the men of Illinois were quick to take up the banner against the insurrection of the Southern states. 

They first formed and began their service with training on the old Illinois state fairgrounds outside of Springfield, which became known as Camp Yates. Because the capital was the only place to enlist in the beginning of 1861, the 7th Illinois was joined by several militia units already partly uniformed and trained, including the iconic Co. I, formed from the pre-war militia known as the "Springfield Zouave Greys." When fully recognized by the state as a regiment, while the first one to be formed, it was numbered as the seventh as a nod to the six regiments mustered during the Mexican-American War. However, they were only intended to serve for three months, but few did not continue to serve after reforming for a three-year service instead.The regiment saw service at the Battle of Fort Donelson and Henry, and later services at the Battle of Shiloh, the Battle of Allatoona, the March to the Sea with General Sherman, and the Carolinas Campaign.

Cairo, IL in 1862

Equipment and Unit Info

We of the 7th Illinois form one of the most important parts of any Civil War army, the infantry. We are the backbone of any army and the main fighters in this war for the Union. Through us, the artillery and the cavalry act as necessary supports to our efforts.

Below you will find our required equipment and uniform list. Bear in mind that we are a Western unit, and so will not be as standardized as a regiment from the East, but we are still invested in maintaining historical accuracy in our portrayals. You aren't required to have everything in one go, as the club has a host of items available for loan during the first year. However, things like brogans and a fitting hat should be the first things to get from the list below. Take a look here for a list of suggested sutlers to get the gear below. Before buying any piece of equipment, make sure to discuss the choice with your unit guide that will have been assigned to you.

 

Uniform:

* Kepi or Forage Cap

* Frock coat preferred historically, but the sack coat is a slightly more comfortable alternative

* Muslin or homespun shirt

* Sky blue foot-pattern trousers

* Suspenders

* Thick socks, preferably wool

* Brogans

Equipment:

* Black Tarred Haversack

* Canteen (VERY important), with dark blue wool cover, cotton sling

* Cartridge Box

* Waist belt with US belt buckle

* Cap Box, shield style

Weaponry:

* 1855 or 1861 Springfield Rifle, or P-53 Enfield

* Bayonet and leather scabbard according to what was gotten above

Camping and other Necessities:

* A-tent or Shelter/Dog Tent (full or half)

* Period-looking seat of some sort, whether stool or full chair

* Mess kit; tin or steel plate and cup, and knife, fork, and spoon. No blue enamelware!

* Blanket, preferably the 1851 Gray blanket with dark gray end stripes, or the 1862 Brown blanket with dark brown end

stripes, or a period-style quilt.

* Cotton dress gloves

We must note here that any other necessities will depend on your style of camping. Some prefer to have a cot while some prefer to sleep on the ground with a period ground cloth and plenty of blankets for comfort and heat. The inside of the tent is up to you and is not a public space unless you want it to be. Add to this list based on your own needs.

Extras (not needed immediately if at all)

Knapsack, soft-sided M51 or M64 pattern

* Dress uniform requirements: cravat, Hardee hat, and shoulder scales

* Eagle Breast Plate

* Cartridge Box US buckle for flap weighting

* Period drawers (underwear)

* Several cloth sacks or pouches for putting niceties in

* A pack of cotton balls for earplugs, or flesh-colored earplugs.

* Gum blanket or poncho

 

Besides that listed above, it never hurts to take a look at some great lists of suggestions and tips on how to prepare for your first reenactments. Take a look at these two, for instance, to begin with, and continue your search from there:

http://companyqdispatches.blogspot.com/2013/05/tips-for-new-civil-war-reenactors.html

http://www.9thpareserves.org/Tips.htm

 

 

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Last Updated: 02/23/2020