We are a group of dedicated living historians who's mission is to bring to life, the memory of those who fought to preserve the Union during the Civil War. We are based in Alton, Illinois.
The original and recreated
Alton Jaeger Guards
The Alton Jaeger Company or Alton Jaeger Guards as it came to be known was organized in 1853, initially with 61 members, comprised of German and Swiss immigrants living in Alton, Illinois.
In 1861, the company was commanded by Swiss born Captain, and later Colonel, John Kuhn. The company marched with 75 men accompanied by their band to Springfield to muster in with the 9th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Arriving in Springfield, they were considered to be one of the finest militia units in the state, being fully uniformed and very well drilled.
The men initially enlisted for 3 months service, which was nearly unbearable service, as they were never issued blankets or clothing, and had only their arms. Many men became ill, and died of disease while stationed in Cairo, Illinois for those 3 months. When the 3 months was over, some of the Jaegers, discouraged, went home. Most of the Jaegers however, along with the other remaining men from the other Alton companies would comprise Company A, 9th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
The men of Alton Jaeger Guards would serve with distinction for the duration of the war, and suffered catastrophic casualties. the 9th Illinois Volunteers had the highest casualty rate of any Illinois unit, and earned the nickname "The Bloody Ninth".
After their enlistments were up, John Kuhn and a small fraction of the men he left with, returned home to Alton.
The re-created Alton Jaeger Guards Company was founded at the beginning of 2019, comprised of living historians, interpreters and reenactors from various time periods. Our goal is to bring the memory of the "Boys of 61'" to life.
Although the majority of our members come from the St. Louis Area, we have members all over the Midwest. We are always looking for new members, so if you are interested in getting involved please check out the Join Us page!
We are a very fast growing group with over 40 men mustered in within a few months. We attend local events and do historical interpretations in addition to attending "Campaigner style" events. We attend events all over the Midwest, South and East, and often on real battle fields.
In addition, as our focus in on men from Southern Illinois, we also participate in local parades, cemetery and memorial ceremonies, as well as smaller local living history style events to help better educate our local citizens about their own history.
If you would like any more information on who we are or what we do please feel free to contact us, using the links on our page. If you'd like us to support your event, or help with a ceremony or parade, please do not hesitate to reach out. Although we may not always be able to do every event we are invited to, we will make every consideration possible.
"The company was 'disorganized' amid the smoke and carnage of battle and by the diseases and casualties incident to war, but left a name that will ever be honored." - Alton Telegraph (1878)