Yates Phalanx: The History of the Thirty-Ninth Regiment, Illinois Veteran Infantry in the War of Rebellion, 1861-1865


Intended for Civil War buffs as well as genealogists, this text provides a detailed history of the Illinois Thirty-Ninth Union Regiment, which named itself Yates Phalanx after the governor of the state. Formed in April 1861, the Thirty-Ninth Illinois Volunteer Veteran Infantry fought in Civil War campaigns from the winter of 1861 to its muster-out on December 6, 1865; indeed, the Thirty-Ninth was the lead regiment that held (and then turned) Lee’s forces at Appomattox Court-House.

The book contains an eyewitness account written by a regimental surgeon, who supplemented his text with soldiers’ statements and excerpts from their diaries and letters. Biographies of over 1,500 soldiers have also been included, which relate enlistment and discharge information, service history, and in many cases personal items such as birth and marriage details. Period drawings and photographs enhance the text, and appendices include listings of Union and Confederate forces, a roster and company histories for the Thirty-Ninth, and a letter written by the author’s great-great-grandfather, a member of the Thirty-Ninth, which describes his imprisonment at and eventual escape from Andersonville Prison in Georgia. Through soldiers’ letters and reminiscences, the reader is exposed to life during the Civil War.

This work contains much more than the regiment’s battlefield exploits; there are also the men’s ties to communities left behind, their experiences in the camps, their routines and their distractions. Accounts offer uncensored views of social issues, soldiers’ opinions, and thoughts on deserters and heroes alike. In short... You Are There!

Charles M. Clark, M.D. and Frederick Charles Decker

(1994), 2015, 8½x11, paper, index, 456 pp.

ISBN 9780788401527