Saturday, April 27, 2013

Camp Butler-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Located northeast of Springfield and named after Illinois state treasurer William Butler (not Gen. Benjamin Butler as I thought).

The National Cemetery at the site consists of 53 acres and had 19,824 internments at the end of 2005, made the NRHP in 1997.

It started off as a training camp for Union Illinois troops and was the second largest in the state, after Chicago's Camp Douglas.

Union Brigadier general William T. Tecumseh was sent to Illinois to select a site for the camp and was aided in his effort by Illinois state treasurer William Butler and Secretary of State Ozias Hatch.  This was probably Sherman's first post in the Civil War.  The site was selected for its trees and water as well as being located in the central part of the state with railroad connections.

Training at the camp began August 2, 1861 and during the war, some 200,000 trained there.  Later, it became a prison for 2,000 Confederates captured at battles in the west (including Fort Donelson, Island No. 10 and Arkansas Post.)

As many as 700 Confederates died at Camp Butler, many during an 1862 small pox epidemic.  Altogether, there are 866 Confederate graves there, all with government-issued gravestones.  The Illinois Division of the SCV erected a monument to them several years back.

Right in the Heart of Illinois.  --Old Secesh

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