Captain Alexander Walker Geddes

Company "A" 118th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

By Allan M. Geddes, Mediapolis, Iowa


Captain Alexander Walker Geddes
Company A, 118th Illinois Volunteer Infantry


Alexander Walker Geddes was born in 1830 in Fannettsburg, PA and came to Illinois by covered wagon in 1836 with his parents Thomas & Rebecca Geddes. They settled on their farm two miles northwest of Fountain Green, Illinois.

There were five boys and three girls in the family with another girl dying before they left Pennsylvania. His parents were very active in the young community and beside politics they help establish the Presbyterian Church in Fountain Green.

A.W. Geddes grew up here and when President Lincoln first called for volunteers for the Civil War A.W. and two of his brothers enlisted. He went through training and saw some minor action and was promoted to Captain. He was sent home to Fountain Green, Illinois to recruit and start training "A" Company of the 118th Volunteer Infantry. Other companies were raised in towns around there. Another younger brother Cyrus M. Geddes joined "A" Company in Fountain Green. They moved out to Camp Butler near Springfield, Illinois for more training before being sent south for the Vicksburg Campaign.

My father Allen G. Geddes told me he talked to a Civil War Veteran who was with Company "A", 118th Illinois Volunteer Infanitry about 1905 and he told what happened on May 16, 1863. This Veteran stated that the 118th met strong Confederate opposition that day and were driven back some distance. Upon stopping the Confederate advance, they were ordered to counter attack at once. This Veteran told my Dad that Capt. A.W. Geddes at once gave the order to charge and they were successful in their charge however Capt. Alexander Walker Geddes and Lt. Thomas White were killed in this counter attack.

One very strange thing happened, probably only in the Civil War, but Private Cyrus M. Geddes helped bury his brother A.W. Geddes. He took the saber of his brother A.W. Geddes to the Commanding Officer Col. John G. Fonda of the 118th and ask for permission to send the sabre home to his father Thomas Geddes. Col. Fonda told him his request was denied and he should strap on the saber as he was now Company Commander of "A" Company replacing his brother. Capt. Cyrus M. Geddes survived the rest of the war, came home and later moved to El Dorado, Kansas and spent the rest of his life there.


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