Salathiel Timmons appears in an online database of Civil War soldiers:
At the time of his enlistment, he was married to Lydia and had a son Charles (my great-great-grandfather), then 18 months old.
He served as a Private in the 123rd Illinois Infantry Regiment. According to family legend, Salathiel enlisted alongside his brothers Laban, Leroy and Battle. Indeed, we see all of them listed in the history of the 123rd Regiment:
Of course, I’m giving away a bit of the story here – as you can see, three of the brothers came home and one, the ironically-named Battle, did not.
Salathiel became ill during the fall of 1864, so he apparently served without injury or incident for two years starting in the fall of 1862.
They mustered into service on September 6, 1862 at Camp Terry, Matoon, Illinois. They trained for less than two weeks before loading into freight cars headed toward Louisville, Kentucky where they were tasked with fortifying the city against the advances of Confederate General Bragg.
For more information about the defense of Louisville in 1862, please see:
The Union Army successfully defended the City, but then amassed an army of 60,000 men to chase after Bragg. The 123rd Illinois was part of that Army. The company of “raw recruits” took part in the Battle of Perryville and lost 36 men and had 180 wounded in its first battlefield action.
How important was this battle? From Wikipedia:
Following the Battle of Perryville, the Union maintained control of Kentucky for the rest of the war. Historian James M. McPherson considers Perryville to be part of a great turning point of the war, “when battles at Antietam and Perryville threw back Confederate invasions, forestalled European mediation and recognition of the Confederacy, perhaps prevented a Democratic victory in the northern elections of 1862 that might have inhibited the government’s ability to carry on the war, and set the stage for the Emancipation Proclamation which enlarged the scope and purpose of the conflict.”
The Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site commemorates the event. Maybe someday I’ll retrace Salathiel’s Civil War service and if so, this will be my first stop.
(Note: Wikipedia has AMAZING detail on the Civil War. Here is a detailed listing of all the regiments involved in the Battle of Perryville. The Illinois 123rd is of course included!)