Horace was happily involved with his family and farm in
Illinois when war broke out in 1861.
That fall, President Lincoln called for troops.
was no hesitation on the part of either the father or the
sons, to making the sacrifice…the two oldest-Horace and
Albert then and there changed their pruning hooks for the
Autobiography p. 135
Horace Sr. continued farming, but beginning in the
summer of 1862 the call came: war Department Secretary
Stanton asked for 3 year volunteers including cavalry units.
Horace and others sought recruits for three regiments but
only one could be raised. The result was the 14th Illinois
Cavalry, formed in January 1863. Horace Capron, then
in his 59th year, was named its Colonel. "
the contest for the command of the regiment Col. Capron won.
The war Governor Richard Yates, preferred him to Jenkins or
Hancock." Maj. Henry C. Connelly, Journal
Ill. Hist. Soc. Jan. 1913 v. 5 #4, page 458.
Horace’s three sons: Horace Jr., Albert and Osmond
eventually joined him in the regiment. The family
would pay a high price for their dedication.
Horace Capron during the Civil War
Illinois saw service from , Kentucky through Indiana, Ohio,
Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, into Georgia
March 1863 the regiment was sent to Kentucky to repulse
raids by Confederate cavalry. In July 1863 it pursued
from Kentucky into Indiana and Ohio. These
Confederates were known and feared for their guerilla
fighting tactics—and their dashing leader, John Hunt Morgan.
July 26, 1863 the 14th Ill. participated in Morgan’s
capture. (He later escaped.)
Horace Capron, Jr. was killed in February 1864. In
July 1864 the 14th
Ill. joined General Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign under General
George Stoneman. Stoneman's campaign, known as
Stoneman's Raid or the Battle of Sunshine Church was a
military disaster. In the aftermath, Albert was captured,
and Horace and Osmond barely escaped.
Horace Capron was injured when his horse fell in late 1864.
He was released from service for medical reasons in January
1865. Controversy followed him. There were
allegations he kept some Confederate mules and horse for his
own use. These charges were never proven, and he was
for promotion, Horace Capron was brevetted to the rank of
Brigadier General in 1867, retroactive to march 1865.
The Price of War
|Horace Capron lost much
during the war. Not only was his oldest son,
Horace jr., kill, but Albert served time in a
Charleston prison of war camp. Osmond received a
disability discharge, and may also have been in a
second and third [Albert and Osmond] returned to
me...with constitutions impaired from the exposures
of the services and imprisonments in Rebel prisons."
Horace Capron Autobiography, p.
Horace Capron's wife,
Margaret, was unable to manage the farm. Horace's
autobiography suggests that hired help took
advantage of her lack of farming experience.
By the end of the war his beloved herd of Devon
cattle and farm had been all but destroyed.
Horace had to start over, again, at the age of sixty.