8th Infantry Illinois National Guard Association


The Lineage and Honors of the 178th Infantry have a special place in military history. That history is the record and stories of the unitís birth, record of service and military honors.

The beginnings of the lineage of the 178th can be traced back to the 16th Battalion, Illinois State Militia organized in 1873. Companies A and B of the 16th were organized 31 March and 1 April 1878 in Chicago. In addition, the Clark County Guards of Marshall and Cumberland County Guards of Greenup were also assigned to this battalion. Contemporary historical records do not make my reference to activities prior to this time. It is significant in the life of any organization to remember other stories and written histories even though they may not be in the official record in Washington, D.C.

There are stories and references that elements of the 178th can be traced back to the 1870's with the formation of a "colored " militia organization, Hannibal Guard (1871). These men were not federally recognized or supported by the state. Their recognition came from their neighborhoods in the city of Chicago.

In 1873 the Cadet organization was formed as other members from other states joined bringing new ideas. Where the previous organization had been local this one had a broader vision. It is from these groupings that men came to be a part of the 16th Battalion. And so the birthday of our unit dates to 1878 when it was formally recognized.