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Military State Agents - RG 502 | Illinois State Archives

Name: Military State Agents - RG 502

Historical Note:

In 1865 the General Assembly authorized the Governor to appoint six military state agents to promote the interests of Illinois volunteers serving in the army. This law gave the Governor power to assign duties to the agents and remove them at will. All such men were to be commissioned and report monthly to the Adjutant General of Illinois (L. 1865, p. 126).

In all nine men served as agents at one time or another. Each one held the rank of honorary colonel, the first appointees being commissioned on March 1, 1865. Their duty stations were Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee; New Bern, North Carolina; and Washington, D.C. At these places the agents inspected army hospitals in order to aid Illinois soldiers in any way possible, such as improving their diet, securing discharges for those unable to continue in the service, and seeing that they were paid. Agents also visited armies in the field to correct any problems that existed there (Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Containing Reports for the Years 1861-66, rev. ed., I [Springfield, 1900], pp. 107-124).

The General Assembly also requested the Governor to appoint a special agent to collect all monies due the State of Illinois from the federal government for war services (L. 1865, p. 135). To execute this mandate, the Governor picked one of the military state agents and sent him to Washington. There he not only collected claims for the State of Illinois but also settled claims of Illinois soldiers against the federal government. This agent operated a Washington office until December 31, 1868 (Reports Made to the General Assembly of Illinois. . . 1869, I [Springfield, 1869], pp. 18-19). In 1869 the General Assembly repealed the legislation creating the military state agents (L. 1869, p. 42). The Adjutant General then assumed responsibility for unsettled war claims.

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