STATE MILITIA

As a result of the growing membership and interest of the men in the Sixteenth, they were admitted into the Illinois State Militia. This recognized unit remained for a number of years, until the Legislature felt that they were no longer able to maintain a "colored unit,' thus dropping the Sixteenth from its military roster in 1882. In 1883 it was reorganized within the Illinois State Militia at Chicago as the Chicago Light Infantry. This group was commanded by Captain Alexander Brown of Chicago with 1st LT Charles L. Wells and 2 LT Enos Bond. Records for this unit in 1884 reflect attendance at Annual Training of 75 enlisted men. The Chicago Light Infantry was disbanded in 1887.

These courageous men refused to give up on themselves and their neighborhoods and to become discouraged. Their efforts and determination did not go in vain. Under the able leadership of john R. Marshall, J.C. Buckner, J. Bish and J. Jordan, yet another organization was formed in the Illinois State Militia at Chicago, known m the Ninth Infantry Battalion. On 5 May 1890 it gained recognition. This group of men would ultimately become the nucleus of the Eight Illinois Volunteer Regiment (Infantry).

As the ranks of the Ninth Battalion grew, they applied to Governor Joe Fifer for admission into the state guard, but he refused their request on the grounds that there was not enough money in the state treasury for an appropriation to be made for the Ninth Battalion.

The colored Illinoisans did not take "no" for an answer. In 1894 they placed Maj. J.C. Buckner in nomination as a state representative and in November of the same year elected him from the Sixth District of Illinois of the Legislature. Subsequently, Major and Representative Buckner framed a resolution which became a law, creating a vacancy in the state militia and making an appropriation for the same. The Ninth again made application for admission to the state guard to Gov. John P. Altgeld, then governor of the state, who was impressed with and friendly to the scheme. He endorsed the movement, giving it his earnest efforts and support and then by executive order the Ninth Battalion of Chicago became the Ninth Battalion of Illinois National Guard on 4 November 1895. 'Ihis battalion was commanded by Major John C. Buckner with Captain John R. Marshall, Adolf Thomas, Charles L. Hunt and Robert R. Jackson as letter company Commanders. Unit strength was 18 officers and 407 enlisted men.

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