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Private Cornelius Burns served in Company D, 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  He was from Camargo, Douglas County, Illinois and joined the regiment on June 14, 1861 at age 24.  Originally, he was from Burks County, Pennsylvania, a farmer, single and was 5’ 8” with brown hair and gray eyes.  His complexion was registered as ‘light’.

He joined the army at Tuscola, Illinois for a period of 3 years.  He was mustered in on June 28, 1861 at Springfield, Illinois (the home of President Lincoln).  He re-enlisted as a veteran on February 27, 1864 at Ooltowah, Tennessee by Lieutenant Coxe.  He mustered out of the army on December 16, 1865 at San Antonio Texas with the rest of his regiment.  

The regiment was engaged in the following battles/campaigns:  Siege of Corinth, Perryville, Stones River (Murfreesboro), Tullahoma Campaign, Chickamauga, Atlanta Campaign [Buzzard’s Roost Gap, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, Peachtree Creek, Jonesborough] Spring Hill, Franklin and Nashville. The regimental history is located at:

Private Burns was slightly wounded in his right leg during the war that caused him to limp in later life. After the war he went back to being a farmer in Illinois and some time in the late 1880s came out to Washington State and settled near Castle Rock as a farmer. In 1903 he started to receive a Gov't pension of $24 a month for his war wounds and rheumatism. He did not apply for a pension until August 7, 1890.  His wife, Harriette, applied for widow’s benefits on December 20, 1893 following his October 23, 1893 death from pneumonia. He was buried with full military honors by the C.S. Hamilton GAR Post No. 113, located in Powell WA. Private Burns is interred at Whittle and Hubbard Cemetery in Castle Rock.

The C-1863 Photo of Private Burns is courtesy of the Western Washington Civil War Round table Society.