Website & Events Honor Civil War Soldiers of the ‘McKendree Regiment’

Lebanon, Ill. — McKendree University has launched a new section of its website dedicated to its link to Civil War history. The website and upcoming activities commemorate the 150th anniversary of the official muster-in of the 117th Illinois Volunteer Regiment, also known as “The McKendree Regiment.” Led by Gen. Risdon M. Moore, a professor, many of its 958 soldiers were McKendree faculty, graduates, students and staff.

Visitors to will find photographs and stories of several soldiers and their families, a map of battles involving the 117th Regiment, links to a photo gallery and answers to frequently asked questions.

Jessica Tieman, a senior history major from Lincoln, researched the 117th Regiment to compile the “McKendree’s Civil War History” web pages. "It is unlikely that McKendree University will ever again have so many students and faculty directly impacted in a national purpose as great as the Civil War,” she said. “It was so highly represented in this conflict. There is a great deal of pride in these men because they were not only veterans; they were civic leaders, dedicated members of their church congregations, entrepreneurs, doctors, professors, government representatives and integral founders of universities throughout the local area. These men were clearly socially responsible citizens.”

Austin Vuichard, a senior accounting, economics and finance major from Coulterville, and Mike Embrich, the university’s web manager, worked with Tieman to design and develop the web pages.

Active duty military and veterans will receive complimentary tickets to the “Salute to Hometown Heroes” football gameon Saturday, Sept. 15. The McKendree Bearcats will take on Missouri University of Science and Technology at 6 p.m. at Leemon Field. Before kickoff, a uniformed 117th Regiment-Civil War re-enactors group will carry in the game ball and a Civil War flag detail of U.S., Illinois and Regiment flags will present the colors.

Students will place 958 American flags—one for each 117th Regiment soldier—on the campus quad near the fountain on Tuesday morning, Sept. 18. The flags will remain on display through Sept. 20.

On Wednesday, Sept. 19 at noon, a ceremony at the flagpole on the quad will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the official muster-in of the 117th Regiment. The 30-minute ceremony will feature comments by Frank Austin, a retired campus public safety officer, and music. Immediately afterward, all are invited to a brown bag lunch presentation on the new 117th Illinois Regiment website. It will be held in Room 222 of Piper Academic Center and the public is welcome.

Members of “Bearcat Nation” are encouraged to participate in 117 volunteer opportunities during the university’s “National Call to Service Month.” On Saturday, Sept. 22, students will assemble care packages for the armed forces and place flags on the graves of all Civil War soldiers buried in College Hill Cemetery in Lebanon. Donations for the care packages will be collected at upcoming athletic events.

Photo of the 117th Regiment

In 1912, Civil War veterans gathered in Edwardsville for a 50-year reunion of the 117th Illinois Volunteer Regiment.