Ninety Eighth [98th] Illinois Infantry
In April 2022, while doing my investigation into the Pickett’s Mill battlefield eagle, I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Josh K. Headlee, the Curator/Historic Preservation Specialist Parks, Recreation and Historic Sites Division, with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Josh was one of the representatives at the Pickett’s Mill State Park who helped with identification of the ground recovered eagle by Tommy Carter and Hubert Rackley in 1963.
After our initial meeting, Josh and I struck up a conversation about my book and the work I had done and what I was now doing in identifying flagstaff finials used during the War Between the States. Josh was kind enough to purchase my book as were others that day. Our conversation began to revolve around the fact that Josh’s family lived in Illinois, and that Josh is a descendent of a Union soldier.
When I later received payment in the mail for the book he purchased, Josh wrote a note telling me that his parents were in possession of an original national flag and flagstaff, including the finial of the 98th Illinois regiment. Josh said his mother was a direct descendent of a member of “Wilder’s Brigade.” My first thought was, “yeah right.” Josh stated the flag was hanging on a wall at his parents house. I was immediately excited to hear such information, and I called Josh asking Josh if he would, “grease the skids” for me to talk to his parents, and let me attempt to obtain pictures of the pieces. To this, Josh agreed.
A day or two later, or possibly the same day, [I wasn’t going to let that lead go away to long] I was able to contact Josh Headlee’s mother, Ms. C.J. Headlee in Illinois, then Josh’s father, I learned between the two, the flag was purchased after a museum or historical society sold the pieces off after a deaccession. I also learned that Ms. Headlee is the great-great grand daughter of John D. Moseley of Company A, 98th Illinois Infantry. The Headlee’s furnished the two images of the flag and the flagstaff finial for the regiment.
When a real Civil War buff hears the regiment, 98th Illinois, one usually knows that regiment was an element of the famous, “Wilder’s Brigade.” The 98th Illinois was organized at Centralia, Illinois in September 1862, and the regiment was converted to mounted infantry in March 1862, after John Wilder returned from Confederate captivity early in the war after being taken prisoner and exchanged.
I learned that John D. Moseley was a 6’1” light haired 21 year old farmer from Clay City, Illinois when Moseley was mustered into Federal service in September 1862. John stayed with the regiment, so official records report, until he was mustered out of service as a Private in June 1865, in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1880, according to military pension records, John D. Moseley became a invalid, and passing away in May 1921. Moseley is buried in Travis Cemetery near Clay City, Illinois.
Family lore, or maybe from official reports I was not able to find, states, while under the command of Captain Turner of Company A, John D. Moseley was assigned duty as a scout for the Union Army from January 1, 1864 until April 1, 1864. This would have been at a time before the spring offensive was undertaken by the Union Army in May 1864. No doubt, if this information is valid, John was making his way around the mountains of north Georgia into Dalton, Ringgold, Resaca, Snake Creek, and Nick-a-Jack gaps, and other such places, gathering intelligence information to be furnished to his superiors for the upcoming offensive. Rocky Face ridge was the first obstacle in Georgia for the Union army in May 1864.
Josh K. Headlee, and family for information, and images.