Join us a Joseph Wheeler, Foreman of Camp Butler discusses with us the its rich history and its current mission. Camp Butler National Cemetery is located in Sangamon County near Riverton, Ill., and occupies a portion of what was the second-largest military training camp in Illinois during the Civil War.
In 1861 the current Training Camp Yates in the Springfield area was not going to be sufficient to train the surge of incoming troops after the defeat of Bull Run and the President Lincoln’s call for 500,000 more men. The original camp was on the banks of Clear Lake but with the logistics of troops and supplies it was decided to move the camp closer to the railway. In Dec of 1861 the camp was moved to the current location. This new location with the railway so close provided for an easier time to receive troops and supplies. In Feb of 1862 the first prisoners were transported to Camp Butler from the fall of FT. Donelson. Two Thousand Confederate troops were the first prisoners to be held at Camp Butler, this number would group to over ten-thousand troops by the end of the war. The last confederate troops left in Feb 1863 leaving 866 buried there.