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Found 1 result

  1. In Chicago today, students attend the Frank W. Reilly Elementary School, named in honour of a gifted doctor; a talented writer; and a Shiloh veteran. Dr. Reilly's story intersects with the proud history of the 45th Illinois Infantry, also known as "the Galena Regiment," and the "Washburne Leadmine Regiment." When that unit finally mobilized sufficient numbers to muster into service in December 1861, the designated regimental surgeon, Francis Weaver, succumbed to illness: the 45th Illinois was left without a surgeon when it was sent to participate in the Operation against Fort Henry. And although heavily engaged as part of WHL Wallace's Brigade at Fort Donelson, the unit was fortunate to suffer only a handful of casualties (that were absorbed by existing medical staff.) Dr. Frank Reilly, twenty-five year old immigrant from Lancashire, England, volunteered for duty in his new home of Chicago in March 1862; was sent to Cairo before the end of the month; and reported for duty in Savannah Tennessee on April 1st, where he received assignment to the Leadmine Regiment (commanded by Colonel John Smith.) Ferried by steamer up the Tennessee River and put ashore at Pittsburg Landing, Surgeon Reilly rode out the final two miles and joined his unit April 2nd ...and immediately got to work treating the still-persisting cases acquired at Fort Donelson (mostly severe diarrhea and camp fever.) On the morning of Sunday, April 6th, there came the sound of gunfire from the direction of Sherman's Fifth Division; but because of not-infrequent eruptions of gunfire (including the discomforting sounds associated with the Picket Skirmish of April 4th) the crackling and popping was not deemed unusual: so breakfast was taken. At about 7:30 the first straggling, limping men appeared in the camp of the 45th Illinois: the sick, making their way best they could for the landing, having been turned out from Sherman's Division Hospital. Immediately after, the long roll trilled through the camps of C. Carroll Marsh's Brigade: the fighters moved forward; and support staff (including Surgeon Reilly) remained close, but in a gully to their rear (where surgical procedures commenced on the steady stream of arriving gunshot wounds.) Musicians-cum-stretcher bearers; ambulances; nurses and surgeons operated their gully-based hospital system as efficiently as possible... and relocated slightly north and east as that requirement arose. It was during one of the relocations of the surgical team, early in the afternoon, that Dr. Reilly was shot; the minie ball passed clear through the calf of his leg, grazing the bone. After stopping the bleeding, Surgeon Reilly joined the stream of men straggling towards Pittsburg Landing; after three hours of shuffling along on foot, he gained the waterfront and was taken aboard a paddle steamer; and that steamer evacuated its human cargo north. And Dr. Frank Reilly's experience with the 45th Illinois Infantry came to an end. Cheers Ozzy [References provided on request.]
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