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James Morris Chase

James Morris Chase, son of Rev. James Morris (class of '27) and Salina Ann (Venable) Chase, was born October 17, 1839, at Macomb, Illinois. He pursued his preparatory studies in the schools of his native town, and entered college at the beginning of Freshman Fall term, August 24, 1860.  He remained with us until February, 1861, when he left and went to Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, where he remained one year. 

In September, 1862, he enlisted as a private in the Seventy-eighth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, which belonged to the Second Brigade, Second Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, commanded by Major-General Jeff. C. Davis, of Indiana. The first general engagement in which the regiment participated was the battle of Chickamauga, at which he was taken prisoner on September 21, 1863. He was sent directly from the field to Richmond, Virginia, where he was first confined in a prison called Scott Block, then transferred to the Pemberton, and thence to Libby prison, where he remained till January 1, 1864.

These prisons had formerly been occupied as tobacco warehouses, but they were comfortable quarters in comparison to Belle Isle, where he was next sent. Here there was no shelter of any kind, only the clouds above and frozen sand beneath; it being in the midst of the winter season, there was intense suffering among the prisoners. 

On March 15, 1864, he was started for Andersonville, Georgia, where he arrived on March 25, being ten days on the railroad.  The stockade at this place comprised seventeen acres of ground, and contained sixteen hundred prisoners when he arrived there, which number was increased to thirty-two hundred on April 1, 1864.

The increase in the number of prisoners was so rapid that the capacity of the stockade was enlarged so that it comprised twenty-seven acres, and on June 1, 1864, contained thirty-six thousand prisoners. It is needless to dwell upon the privations and sufferings at Andersonville. He was confined there until September 10, 1864, when the place was abandoned, part of the prisoners being sent to Savannah, Georgia, and the remainder to Florence, South Carolina. He was among those who were sent to Savannah, Georgia, where they were kept in an open field surrounded by a guard. Here, he says, they were treated very kindly, many people coming to see them, some out of mere curiosity, while others brought acceptable baskets of provisions, the first token of kindness received since being a prisoner.

He remained here only one month, when he was sent to Millin, Georgia, where he was confined in a stockade similar to the one at Andersonville, remaining there until an exchange was effected on November 10, 1864; he had thus been a prisoner for almost fourteen months, and been an inmate of all the principal Southern prisons. He then went home on a furlough, remaining until March 10, 1865, when he rejoined his regiment at Goldsborough, North Carolina, which he found sadly decimated, as most of the battles in which it participated occurred during his long term of imprisonment. He was mustered out of the Service at the close of the war, on June 25, 1865.

He returned immediately to his former home at Macomb, Illinois, where he has continued to reside up to the present time, being engaged in farming and brickmaking, in which pursuits he has been very successful.

His religious preferences are Presbyterian. In politics, he is a Democrat.

He was married March 16, 1881, to Miss May A. Smith, of Macomb, Illinois. They
have no children.

Source:  "Memorialia of the Class of '64 in Dartmouth College" compiled by John C. Webster, Shepard & Johnston, Printers, 1884, Chicago 

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