Bement Goes to War

Bement Goes to War (HMFU3)

Location: Bement, IL 61813 Piatt County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 55.411', W 88° 34.315'

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— Looking for Lincoln —

Edgar Camp came to Bement in 1855 along with two brothers. As one of the early settlers, he assisted in building the first houses. The Camp boys were joined by another brother in 1858.

When Civil War broke out, Edgar, James and William volunteered. Edgar enlisted in August 1862 as a member of Company H, 107th regiment Illinois Volunteers Infantry which was mustered into the United States service at Camp Butler, Illinois.

Edgar was promoted to First lieutenant, then Captain (in February 1863). Copies of Ordinances issued by Camp are shown here. While on the skirmish line near Kenesaw Mountain, he fell mortally wounded on June 16, 1864. James and William survived.

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Bement was young at the beginning of the Civil War. It was incorporated as a village in 1860, and the first states seceded in February 1861. War started in April. The State of Illinois was unprepared when Governor Richard Yates received this message: "Washington, April 15, 1861, His Excellency Richard Yates: Call made on you by tonight's mail for six regiments of militia for immediate service - - Simon Cameron, Secretary of War."

There were no available efficient, armed, and organized militia companies in the State. Within five days volunteers in excess of Illinois's quota had reported for service. A week later, in a letter from Bement, dated April 23rd, Dr. Elam Bodman, who later volunteered his own services, wrote, "We are surely in critical and trying times. The great trial of our beloved country is surely at hand. May God give us a happy deliverance. There is terrible excitement here. Volunteers are turning out freely."

Response throughout Piatt County was overwhelming. Based on the 1860 census, Illinois sent 100 volunteers for each 742 inhabitants, while Piatt County had 100 men for each 580 citizens. Bement Township did even better by sending 100 soldiers for each 465 people.

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The Civil War proved a great burden to many Illinois families. Over 60% of the Bement Township volunteers were from the farm. Those left behind were hard pressed to get the work done. The need for food for civilians and soldiers was great.

As a matter of survival, women and children took to the fields to maintain family farms. Women without farm responsibilities found new opportunities. The enlistment of store clerks and others provided openings for educated women. Many participated in military assistance through sewing bees, food drives, and medical collections.

Women like Mrs. Sarah Bryant often took the lead in organizing voluntary associations, in order to provide for those left without support. Events were organized to raise funds for relief. Women worked with church groups, as well as these new organizations to establish charitable societies to provide for one another.
HM NumberHMFU3
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Year Placed2009
Placed ByState Bank of Bement
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 4th, 2014 at 9:13pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 365669 N 4420451
Decimal Degrees39.92351667, -88.57191667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 55.411', W 88° 34.315'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 55' 24.66" N, 88° 34' 18.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 100-198 E Wilson St, Bement IL 61813, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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