Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Lt. Louis Alden Simmons, 84th Illinois Infantry (stationed at Cleveland, Tenn., Spring 1864)

Identity of Lt. Simmons in the Myra Inman Diary

The Myra Inman diary mentions Lt. Simmons, also known as A. Simmons, who courts her in the Spring of 1864 while he is stationed at Cleveland, Tennessee. She is Southern and says that she dislikes him (though there were signs that she liked him, at times). This Lt. Simmons has his 31st birthday on March 16, 1864 (Inman Diary pg. 254). After he leaves Cleveland, he gets married. On December 27, 1865, she learns the news about Mr. Simmons from a friend, Lizzie Lea, who received a letter. Myra hears "that he was married to a woman from Lynchfield, Mass. (Inman Diary 333)."

William R. Snell, ed. Myra Inman: A Diary of the Civil War in East Tennessee, (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2000), 254, 333.

Bibliog. info on Myra Inman: A Diary of the Civil War in East Tennessee

My identification, based on genealogy profiles and sources, is that he is:

Louis Alden Simmons, 1st Lieutenant and 2nd Major, 84th Illinois Infantry, and author of the regimental history, is the son of Hezekiah and Zoa (Daily) Simmons, who married in North Bridgewater, Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1830. Louis Simmons was born in Massachusetts on March 16, 1833 (which would make him 31 in 1864). He married (1) Maria Theresa Harwood on November 20, 1865, in Fitchburg, Worcester, Massachusetts (not Lynchfield, as Myra recalled the town's name). The marriage occurred about a month before Myra heard the news. Simmons moved to Illinois by about 1850, eventually settling in Macomb, McDonough, Illinois. Simmons died December 6, 1888, and is buried at Prairie Lawn Cemetery, Wellington, Sumner, Kansas, US.

I attached some notes about the Inman diary to this soldier's profile on

Current Individual ID:

Louis Alden Simmons  •  L8HQ-W3W
16 March 1833 – 6 December 1888

URL (requires account and log-in):

Louis A. Simmons's own memoir, The History of the 84th Reg't. Ill. Vols., is very much a regimental history and doesn't give many details as to the author's own social experiences within the town, except to say that it was a pleasant town, full of loyal Unionists who made the soldiers feel welcome. He doesn't mention the young Southern lady (not a loyalist) who apparently won his heart.

He does tell about the march to Cleveland and the gladness of the soldiers to find that they would camp there for the winter. Pages 148 to 152 of his book describe the march, first to Charleston, Tennessee, and on to Cleveland. Simmons's account has slightly conflicting dates; he first has the brigade leaving its camp at Tyner's Station (now part of Chattanooga) on February 3, 1863, but then mentions that they marched toward Charleston on the 2nd to escort a wagon train (this may have been a detachment). The 84th marched in a northeasterly direction toward Cleveland, Tennessee. (They probably followed a route approximating today's I-75 from Cleveland to Chattanooga, passing through a gap of White Oak Mountain.) The soldiers' first encounter with the town was a brief but pleasant one. Their unit soon left Cleveland, but later returned to be quartered there--some at Cleveland and some at nearby Blue Springs. These camps were very agreeable to them. Chapter 12 (page 153) is entitled, "Camp at Cleveland--Reconnoisance to Rocky Face Ridge and Preparation for the Atlanta Campaign."

Simmons must have marched on February 2nd. He and his unit camped overnight near Cleveland, and the next day "passed through Cleveland about noon" (Simmons 149).

Apparently this was February 3rd, because Myra Inman notes in her diary on that day that "A Lt. Simmons came in and stayed about an hour and talked" (Inman diary 245). This would have been their first meeting.

Toward the end of February, the troops left Cleveland and marched to Dalton, Georgia, to make an assault against Bragg's army. It was unsuccessful and the army returned to Blue Springs. Simmons is disappointed because the soldiers are ordered to stay at Blue Springs, and don't get to return to their comfortable camps at Cleveland, which he blames on the despised Colonel Grose (Simmons 158).

The History of the 84th Reg't Ill. Vols
L.A. Simmons, (Macomb: Hampton Brothers, Publishers, 1866).

U.S. Census References (index and images):
1850: Warren county, Warren, Illinois, pg. 476: Lewis A Simmons, age 17, white, male. Birth: 1833, Massachusetts; listed in the household of Hezekiah Simmons.

1860: Macomb 4th Ward, McDonough, Illinois, pg. 205: L A Simmons, age 27, male, apparent head. Birth: 1833, Ills. Occupation: Atty at Law.

1870: Ward in city of Macomb, McDonough, Illinois, pg. 9: S A Simmons [as indexed; should be 'L A.' Compare 'L' in 'Louisa']. Male, age 37, born Massachusetts. Occupation: Attorney-at-Law.

1880: Macomb, McDonough, Illinois, pg. 462 B: Louis A Simmons, age 47, male, self (head). Birth: 1833, Massachusetts.

Various NARA microfilm publications (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); as indexed at (with viewable document images).

84th Illinois Infantry

84th Illinois Infantry was attached to Oliver O. Howard's 4th Army Corps from October 1863 to June 1865. It was one of the regiments of Col. William Grose's Third Brigade, in Maj Gen. David S. Stanley's First Division. Note that even though this was an infantry regiment, it was placed in a cavalry brigade. This is not so unusual in the Civil War.  General Oliver O. Howard's Fourth Army Corps was headquartered at Blue Springs, five miles in advance of Cleveland, Tennessee, in February 1864.

The following extract is courtesy of 
Illinois in the Civil War:
That website cited A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, vol. III, Regimental Histories
by Frederick H. Dyer [1908]

84th Regiment Illinois Infantry

  • Organized at Quincy, Ill., and
  • mustered in September 1, 1862.
  • Left State for Louisville, Ky., September 23.
  • Attached to 10th Brigade, 4th Division, 2nd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio, to November, 1862.
  • 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Left Wing 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863.
  • 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 21st Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1863.
  • 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, to May, 1865.
  • 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, to June, 1865.
  • Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22.
    • Reconnoissance from Rossville September 17.
    • Ringgold, Ga., September 17.
    • Battle of Chickamauga, Ga., September 19-20.
  • Siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., September 24-November 23.
  • Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23-27.
    • Lookout Mountain November 23-24.
    • Mission Ridge November 25.
    • Pursuit to Ringgold, Ga., November 26-27.
    • Ringgold Gap, Taylor's Ridge, November 27.
  • March to relief of Knoxville November 28-December 17.
  • At Whiteside, Tyner's Station and Blue Springs till May, 1864.
  • Demonstration on Dalton, Ga. February 22-27, 1864.
    • Near Dalton February 23.
    • Tunnel Hill, Buzzard's Roost Gap, and Rocky Faced Ridge February 23-25.
  • Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May to September.
    • Tunnel Hill May 6-7.
    • Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11.
    • Buzzard's Roost Gap May 8-9.
    • Demonstration on Dalton May 9-13.
    • Battle of Resaca May 14-15.
    • Kingston May 18-19.
    • Near Cassville May 19.
Reference for the location of the 84th Infantry as part of Oliver O. Howard's First Division: O.R., Ser. 1, Vol. 32, Pt. 3, p.551. Link to page 551.

No comments:

Post a Comment