Northwest Quiz: Illinois and the Civil War

Illinois played a major role in helping to ensure a Union victory during the Civil War. Test your knowledge of our region’s Civil War connections.

As we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we can be proud of the many ways Illinois helped to ensure a northern victory; only New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio contributed more soldiers. This is especially remarkable given the fact that Illinois was settled primarily by southerners.

Because of its access to major rivers and railroads, its Chicago factories and rich farmland, Illinois was a major provider of weaponry, train cars, food, clothing and other supplies that proved critical to Union success. Many Illinois women distinguished themselves in extraordinary support roles, such as Chicago socialites who organized major fundraisers, and nurses who set up and ran hospitals near battlefields; some ladies even wore uniforms and fought.

Both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant called Illinois “home” at the time they were called into national service, and each was instrumental in preserving the one nation under God that we cherish today. Grant also ushered the nation through the fragile peace of post-war Reconstruction, extending a gracious attitude toward the South, after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. Test your knowledge about our state’s many connections to this bloody chapter of U.S. history. No Peeking! Answers are below.

1. About how many soldiers did IL contribute to the Union Army?
a. 5,000 b. 10,000 c. 100,000 d. 250,000

2. Chicago, then population 109,000, contributed about how many of them?
a. 6,000 b. 16,000 c. 26,000 d. 36,000

3. Chicagoan George Frederick Root wrote a song that became the Union’s favorite anthem and the Lincoln-Johnson ticket’s 1864 campaign theme song. What was it?
a. “God Save the South” b. “Battle Cry of Freedom” c. “Lorena” d. “Yankee Doodle”

4. Which Illinois city was home to an important Union supply base guarded by Camp Defiance?
a. Aurora b. Joliet c. Cairo d. Rock Island

5. Why were Illinois’ 150 regimental units numbered 7 to 157?
a. Because 7 was considered a lucky number
b. Because Illinois regiments 1-6 served in the Mexican War
c. Because boasting 157 units made IL feel superior to WI

6. Which was not an IL military prison for Confederate soldiers?
a. Alton Military Prison
b. Camp Butler Military Prison, Springfield
c. Camp Douglas Military Prison, Chicago
d. Camp Grant Military Prison, Rockford
e. Rock Island Barracks Military Prison

7. Which of these IL women was Chief of Nursing under Gen. U.S. Grant, set up more than 300 hospitals, and, after the war, became an attorney who fought for veteran and nurse pensions?
a. Jennie Irene Hodgers, Belvidere
b. Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke, Galesburg
c. Susan Cox, Knox County
d. Lizzie Aiken, Peoria

8. Which of these Illinois women pretended to be a man so she could fight alongside Union soldiers?
a. Jennie Irene Hodgers, Belvidere
b. Mary Ann Ball Bickerdyke, Galesburg
c. Susan Cox, Knox County
d. Lizzie Aiken, Peoria

9. About how many Illinois Civil War soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for acts of bravery and heroism?
a. 10 b. 50 c. 75 d. 100

10. What did Lincoln’s executive order, the Emancipation Proclamation, do?
a. Legally freed slaves in the 10 rebel states
b. Made ending slavery an official war goal
c. a & b
d. None of the above

11. Which Civil War general from Illinois turned the tide of victory for the Union and accepted the surrender of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on April 9, 1865, at the Appomattox, Va., Court House?
a. Ulysses S. Grant b. John A. McClernand c. Richard J. Oglesby d. John M. Schofield

12. What Dundee, IL, resident was head of Union Intelligence Services and foiled an assassination attempt against Lincoln?
a. Ulysses S. Grant b. Allan Pinkerton c. Richard J. Oglesby d. John M. Schofield

13. What major event occurred the week after the surrender at Appomattox?
a. The attack on Fort Sumter b. Lincoln’s assassination
c. The Battle of Gettysburg d. The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation

14. Which Illinois Civil War general is credited with effectively destroying the Ku Klux Klan in 1871?
a. U.S. Grant b. John A. McClernand c. Richard J. Oglesby d. John M. Schofield

15. After the war, residents of Galena, Ill., were so grateful to General Grant that they:
a. Sent him to Europe b. Built him a new home
c. Gave him $50,000 d. Bought him a beer



Quiz Answers:

Learn more about Illinois during the Civil War at, a website maintained by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Find a comprehensive calendar of daily sesquicentennial events, a detailed war timeline, a list of Illinois regiments by county, profiles of interesting people and links to many other resources. There are other good sites as well, including, which helps you to find your ancestor soldiers, and, maintained by Northern Illinois University.

1. d
2. c
3. b
4. c
5. b
6. d
7. b
8. a
9. d
10. c
11. a
12. b
13. b
14. a
15. b