Charles M. Barnett journal  1863-1864
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Barnett, Charles M., b. ca. 1837

Rank : 1st Lieutenant; Captain (1862 May or June)

Regiment : 2nd Illinois Light Artillery Regiment. Battery I (1861-1865)

Service : 1861 December 31-1864 November 8

A New Yorker by birth, Charles M. Barnett was an unmarried twenty four year old man living in Joliet, Ill., when he plunged into the Civil War. His personal response to the fall of Fort Sumter was to enlist on April 19, for three months duty with McAllister's Battery (Co. K of the 10th Illinois Infantry), during which time he distinguished himself sufficiently to earn a promotion from sergeant to lieutenant.

Between the end of July, when his enlistment ran out, and December, Barnett presumably cooled his heels in Joliet, but when Battery I of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery was being formed in December, he reported to Camp Butler to accept a commission as senior 1st Lieutenant in the three years' service. Reporting to General Pope, Battery I was ordered to Corinth, Miss., and served through much of the summer of 1862 in nearby Rienzi, Miss. Although they saw minor brushes with the enemy in Mississippi, it was not until October, when they were ordered north to Kentucky, that they experienced the full fury of battle. As part of Sheridan's 11th Division of the Army of the Ohio, the Battery played an important role in the Battle of Perryville (Chaplin Hills) and in the subsequent pursuit of Bragg's retreating army into Tennessee.

From November, 1862 until August, 1863, the Battery performed garrison duty in Nashville, where Barnett became Chief Artillery and Inspector of Horses. In August and September, as part of the Reserve Corps under the command of Gordon Granger, Barnett took part in the advance to Chattanooga known as the Tullahoma Campaign, and acted as rear guard for General Thomas' army as they retreated from Chickamauga, and was repeatedly engaged during the following weeks during the Chattanooga Campaign, helping to open the "Cracker Line" in late October and seeing action during the Wauhatchie Night Attack.

In November, after Wauhatchie, Barnett managed to secure a furlough to visit his father who was living near Saratoga, N.Y., thus missing the remainder of the Chattanooga Campaign. On December 12, 1863, he married Mary Martha Green in Joliet, Ill. In December, too, the enlisted men were asked to reenlist, and those who did were allowed to return home for thirty day furloughs. While the enlisted men were away, Barnett and the other officers were sent out to recruit.

Battery I returned to active duty in February, 1864, and served under Sherman during the Atlanta campaign, the March to the Sea, and the March through the Carolinas. Barnett was appointed chief of Artillery of the 2nd Division, 14th A.C., during the Atlanta Campaign, and was briefly acting Chief of Artillery for the entire Corps, but on November 8, 1864 he resigned his commission and returned to civilian life in Illinois. His post-war activities are unknown.