14th ILLINOIS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY.Organized: Spring, 1861 Camp Duncan Jacksonville, IL
Mustered In: 5/25/61 Camp Duncan Jacksonville, IL
Mustered Out: 9/16/65 Ft. Leavenworth, KS
Discharged: September, 1865 Springfield, IL
The 14th Illinois was a three year, western theater infantry regiment. It left the state during the latter part of June, 1861 and moved, via Quincy, IL, into Missouri. There, it joined Union Gen. Fremont on his campaign to Springfield. Winter quarters at Otterville followed.
In February, 1862 the 14th moved to forts Donelson and Henry in Tennessee. Upon their capture the unit embarked on transports to Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing, TN.
During the two (4/6 -4/7) days of fighting at Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing the regiment received its baptism of fire. It lost, in killed and wounded, one half of the command engaged. The regimental colors came out of the bloody conflict with forty two bullet holes.
Next came the siege of Corinth, MS. That was followed by a move to Bolivar, TN via Memphis. Subsequently, the Rebels were met and defeated at the village of Metamora on the Hatchie's River (10/5/62). Winter quarters were then established at Lafayette, TN.
Spring, 1863 found the 14th ordered to Vicksburg, MS. With the capture of that city (7/4) the regiment moved on to Jackson. In August it proceeded to Natchez. After the Meridian raid a large portion of the regiment's members veteranized and headed home on thirty day furloughs.
Returning to the field in 1864 the 14th joined Union Gen. W.T. Sherman's campaign to capture Atlanta, GA. At that time the 14th and 15th Illinois were consolidated into the "Illinois Battalion."
In October, 1864 Rebel Gen. John B. Hood made a demonstration against Sherman's forces. During this confrontation t a large number of the battalion were killed while the major portion of the balance were captured and sent to Andersonville prison. Those troops not captured were then mounted for the "March To The Sea."
1865. The battalion marched north through the Carolinas. It was the first to enter Cheraw, SC, Fayetteville, NC. They also took part in the battle of Bentonville (3/19 - 21).
At Goldsborough, NC that spring the battalion designation was discontinued because a sufficient number of organized companies of recruits had arrived to fill the ranks of both the 14th and 15th Illinois.
The War having ended, the newly reconstituted (consolidated) 14th marched northward to Washington City. There, it participated in the Grand Review (5/24). It then proceeded by rail and river to Louisville, KY and thence to Ft. Leavenworth, KS where it was mustered into history.
Officers Killed Or Mortally Wounded: 0; Officers Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.: 1; Enlisted Men Killed Or Mortally Wounded: 62; Enlisted Men Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.: 160.
Residence: Cooperstown, IL Age: 20.0 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 2/14/65 Mt. Sterling, IL Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 2/14/65 Mt. Sterling, IL
Mustered Out: 9/16/65 Ft. Leavenworth, KS
Discharged: September, 1865 Springfield, IL
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Rank At Discharge: Pvt.
NOTE: The birth - to - death biographical profile of John W. Briggs was created in November, 2020 during the Covid-19 medical pandemic. It contains less depth of detail than many other biographies within this website because military service, pension and other veteran-related files housed in Washington, D.C.'s National Archives were not available. At a later time those documents may be obtained and the data contained therein added to the narrative which follows.
John W. Briggs was born on January 3, 1845 in Macon City, Macon County, MO. This is according to pension information from the Old Soldiers Home in Orting, WA. More on this later.
Parenting John were Henry (b. 12/17/17 Brown County, IL) and Dicey (nee Bullard b. 1824 OH) Briggs. The couple had married on 12/24/40 in Brown County, IL.
Henry and Dicey produced two children before Dicey's death in (early) 1850. Those children were Alfred M. Briggs (b. 1842 Brown County, IL - d. 1852 Buckhorn Brown County, IL) and John.
On 4/4/50 in Brown County, IL Henry remarried. The second Mrs. Henry Briggs was Elizabeth (nee Beckman b. 6/19/32 IL). The U.S. Census for 1850 found the Briggs farming in Township l SR 4W Brown County, IL.
Elizabeth bore Henry two children before his passing on 10/5/54 in Brown County, IL. Those children were: Francis M. Briggs (b. 1852) and Henrietta Briggs (b. 1855).
Elizabeth then re-wed to a Mr. R.S. Linn. In 1860 the Linn household, which included John, was located in Lee Brown County, IL.
On 2/14/65 during the waning days of the American Civil War, John - then living and farming in Cooperstown Brown County, IL - enlisted in the U.S. Army's (Consolidated) 14th Illinois Infantry for a period of one year. Upon his enlistment we gain a glimpse of Private Briggs the physical man. He was 5'6" tall, had a sandy complexion, grey eyes and sandy hair.
Without the availability of his military service records there is little we can say about Private Briggs' brief exposure to army life beyond the fact that he survived the experience and, upon his discharge - with payment of $6 - he retained his rifled musket and "accoutrements." With the shooting war having ended before his Federal muster-in date, it is unlikely John ever fired the weapon at Johnny Reb.
As with many veterans of the American Civil War, where John settled when he returned to civilian life is an unknown. What is known, however, is that as of the 1870 census he had removed from Illinois and was farming in the community of Maine located in or near the community of Prairie Stearns County, MN. Also, he had married and was the father of one child.
John's bride was Mary Elizabeth/Elizabeth Mary Myers (b. 2/16/46 KY). In 1900 Mrs. Briggs would note she and John had then been married for thirty four years during which she had mothered seven children, four of whom were then living.
As of this writing, of the seven Briggs children, only five are identified: C.E. (b. 1869), Bert "Berty/Bertie" M. (b. April, 1874), Dicie Bell (b. 1877), Martha E. (b. February, 1881) and Henrietta "Etta" (b. July, 1884). All except Dicie, who was birthed in Illinois, were Minnesota born.
The Briggs family remained in Prairie, MN until at least 5/1/85. While there John applied for a U.S. Government disability pension based on his "days" of Civil War soldiering. Although the request was granted, without pension records it can only be said that by the time of John's passing his monthly stipend had grown to a tidy fifty dollars per month.
1900. A new century. A new decade and a new U.S. Census. That tally found John - noting himself to be a farm laborer - residing in Eagle Bend Todd County, MN. Under his roof were his wife and three- Bert, Martha and Etta - of their children.
In June, 1904 the Briggs family was still in Minnesota, but by that time had moved to Ackley Hubbard County. That was where on 6/17/04 at the age of 58.4 years Mary Elizabeth/Elizabeth Mary died. No details are available pertaining to her passing. She was/is buried in the Eagle Bend, Todd County Cemetery.
Following Mary Elizabeth/Elizabeth Mary’s death John continued to farm in Ackley. He was there with the three aforementioned children as of 6/29/05, but by May, 1907 all had moved westward to Sumner Pierce County, WA. Although not documented, likely it was the presence of grown children in the Pacific Northwest that drew John to the Puget Sound region.
On 8/7/09 John made application for residence in the Washington State Old Soldiers Home located near Sumner in Orting Pierce County, WA. On this occasion the old soldier made note of the fact that he was receiving a $12 per month disability pension based on his days of Civil War soldiering. The pension was probably based on heart and kidney problems as those were mentioned in the Home application.
John’s application was received in Orting on 8/9/09. He was approved for residence that same date and moved into the Home on 8/24.
How long John remained in the Orting residence is not known. However, as of 5/18/15, while “on furlough” and residing at 633 West 85th St. in Seattle, King County, WA he requested a discharge from the Home so he might “leave the country.” His honorable discharge from the Orting facility was granted on 5/19/15.
Did John subsequently leave the U.S.? Available documents are silent on the matter.
Former Civil War soldier John W. Briggs died in Seattle King County, WA on 4/16/23. He was 78 years, 3 months and 13 days old. His passing was the result of lobar pneumonia and organic heart lesion.
Death had visited John at 7062 13th Northwest Seattle. This was the home of one of his married daughters. Burial was/is in the Riverton Crest Cemetery located just south of Seattle in Tukwila King County, WA.
· The American Civil War Research Databases lists this veteran’s surname as Biggs.
Buried at Riverton Crest Cemetery
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