Civil War Wiki
56th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry
Illinois state flag
Active February 27, 1862 to August 12, 1865
Country United States
Allegiance Union
Branch Infantry
Engagements Battle of Corinth
Battle of Champion's Hill
Battle of Big Black River
Siege of Vicksburg
March to the Sea
Battle of Bentonville

The 56th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.


The 56th Illinois Infantry was organized at Shawneetown, Illinois and mustered into Federal service on February 27, 1862.

The regiment was mustered out on August 12, 1865.

Total strength and casualties[]

The regiment suffered 2 officers and 25 enlisted men who were killed in action or mortally wounded and 14 officers and 348 enlisted men who died of disease, for a total of 389 fatalities.[1]

The General Lyon disaster[]

On March 17, 1865, just 23 days from the end of the war, a contingent of discharged soldiers from the regiment, including 12 officers and 195 enlisted men, were returning home on the steamer General Lyon when the ship caught fire in heavy seas. The fire spread quickly through the ship killing most of those on board, including all but three of the contingent - a tragic and bitter end to the war for the 56th Infantry Regiment and the families of the victims.


  • Colonel Robert Kirkham - resigned on June 26, 1862.
  • Colonel William R. Brown - resigned August 31, 1862.
  • Colonel Green B. Raum - mustered out March 3, 1865.[2]

See also[]

  • List of Illinois Civil War Units
  • Illinois in the American Civil War


  1. The Civil War Archive website after Dyer, Frederick Henry. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. 3 vols. New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1959.
  2. Illinois in the Civil War website after Illinois Adjutant General's muster rolls