Illinois Veterans Commission Honor Roll
Joseph Kimmel is not listed among indexes of Union soldiers in
regiments organized by the state of Illinois. One list that does
include him is the Illinois Veterans Commission Honor Roll.
The honor roll lists for Jackson County,
Illinois: Joseph Kimmel; buried in Zion Cemetery, Murphysboro
Township, Murphysboro, Illinois; Civil War, private, army, Company E,
81st Illinois Infantry, died September 20, 1921.
The honor roll is wrong about which
regiment Joseph served in. (It is also wrong about the location of
the cemetery he is buried in.) Carol Kimmel Allsup of San Jose,
California learned that there is no mention of Joseph Kimmel in the actual 81st Illinois
Infantry files. It turns out he did serve the Union, just not in a
regiment organized under a
specific state. Joseph Kimmel's pension record
was filed with his actual regiment, a federally organized troop --
Company A of the Mississippi Marine Brigade.
Carol Kimmel Allsup explained how
Joseph's service record was found:
Records reveal that on January 25, 1864, my great grandfather and possibly
some friends, traveled to Carbondale IL, from their farm homes in Somerset
Township, outside Murphysboro, Illinois to "join up" with the Mississippi
Marine Brigade. We will never know how he was placed in the 81st IL Inf.
I was fortunate to locate someone in Washington DC who could go directly to
the National Archives. The staff there had previously informed me that they
could not locate a record for Joseph in an IL regiment, and if they cannot
find a record with relative ease, the request is rejected, due to the
thousands of requests received each month.
BUT the records were there! In searching through the microfilm of the
federal pensioners index, the researcher suddenly came across a small card
that cried out to him. It listed my great grandfather as having served in a
regiment raised directly by the US Government for service aboard vessels on
the river. This unit was so obscure so as not to be in DYER'S COMPENDIUM, the
standard reference work for the Union Regiments in the Civil War. Likewise,
there was perhaps only a passing reference to the MMB in the Ken Burn's
series on the War.
Joseph Kimmel was a "river soldier", serving on the Monarch and then the
Switzerland. The objective of the MMB was to patrol up and down the
Mississippi River and it's tributaries looking for rebels on the river bank.
When rebels were located, the soldiers would deploy to land, as rebel cavalry
and raiders often fired upon Union shipping along the river.
In August 1864, the War Department terminated the command, and the troops
were removed and became a standard land-based fighting regiment, becoming at
that point the 1st Mississippi Marine Brigade, Co.A. My grandfather was
discharged then January 1865.
Inasmuch as most searches concentrate on the State Regiments, the search is
not successful for those who served in the MMB. Many genealogists or Civil
War "experts" don't know of it. Present day descendants looking for their
Grandpa, probably won't find his records, if he served with the MMB.
However, my researcher reports that the MMB kept very poor records, and that
many who had served, were not able to collect pensions as there was no record
of their service.
NOTE: The public has access to, and my researcher handled, the actual
documents in my great grandfather's file. At times the paper disintegrates
in one's hands. In 75 years, the records will in all likelihood be lost,
unless they are put on microfilm. There is no money from Congress for this