Saturday, October 18, 2014

Colonel Caleb James Dilworth.

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Caleb James Dilworth.

Birth: Apr. 8, 1827, Mount Pleasant (Jefferson County, Ohio.
Death: Feb. 3, 1900, Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska.

Wife: Emily O. Phelps Dilworth (1835 - 1910).

Children: William A. Dilworth.

Burial: Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska.

Illinois Eighty-Fifth, Infantry Regimental History.

COLONEL CALEB J. DILWORTH was born near Mount Pleasant, Jefferson county, Ohio, April 8, 1827. His parents, Abram  Rankin Dilworth and Martha Stanton Judkins, were of old Quaker stock. They removed to Indiana, and soon after to Illinois. They were living near Canton, in Fulton county, at the time of the  Black Hawk war, and took refuge with friends in Canton when  there was an Indian alarm. An elder brother, Rankin, graduated from the military academy at West Point in the class of 1844, and died from wounds received at the battle of Monterey in the  war with Mexico. A half brother, William H. Evans, was quartermaster of the Eighty-fifth during the last year of its service.

Colonel Dilworth read law with General Leonard F. Ross, of  Lewistown, and was admitted to the bar in 1848. In the fall of 1853 he married Miss Emily Phelps, daughter of William and Caroline Phelps, of Lewistown, Ill., the only issue of such marriage being a son, William A., now practicing law in Omaha, Neb.

In 1862 the subject of this sketch was practicing law in Havana, Ill., and assisted in recruiting the Eighty-fifth, and at the  organization of the regiment was commissioned lieutenant colonel. He served in that capacity until Colonel Moore resigned,  when he was promoted to be colonel. He commanded the regiment from June 14, 1863, until June 27, 1864, when, in the midst of  the indescribable turmoil of battle at Kennesaw mountain, Georgia, the command of the brigade devolved upon him through the  death of his seniors.

It was his plucky decision that held the ground wrested from the enemy, although his corps and army commanders doubted its possibility. At Peach Tree creek his brigade forced a crossing of that stream, although defended by largely superior numbers, fighting the battle out alone with the  Third brigade, and winning for himself and his command the  highest commendations of his superiors. He continued in command of the brigade until wounded by a gun shot at the battle of Jonesboro, Ga., the ball passing entirely through his neck.

Recovering from his wound, he was hastening to the front to rejoin  his command when, upon his arrival at Chattanooga, he found  that communication with Sherman's army had been severed. He  reported to General Thomas for duty and was appointed to the  command of the post at Cleveland, Tenn., a position which he held with credit to himself until the post was discontinued. He was  then assigned to command at Covington, Ky., where he remained until the close of the war. He was commissioned brevet brigadier  general March 13, and was mustered out of the service June 5,  1865.

After returning to Illinois he practiced law at Lewistown until  the autumn of 1870, when he removed to Lincoln, Neb., where he resumed the practice of his profession. He was elected state's  attorney in 1874 and served two terms. In 1878 he was elected  attorney general, holding the office for two terms, and in 1892 he  was elected department commander of the Grand Army of the Republic of Nebraska and served one term.

As a soldier he was enterprising and fearless; he won merited distinction at the bar. He had retired from active professional life and was residing in Omaha, where he died on Saturday, Feb ruary 3, 1900. His remains were taken to Lincoln and buried in  Wyuka cemetery on the Monday following, past department com manders acting as pall-bearers, while department officers conducted the services.

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