Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
FIELDS, JAMES H., a well-known citizen of Springfield, Ill., and a veteran of the Civil War, has spent most of his life in the vicinity where he now lives. He was born in Sangamon County, July 4, 1847, a son of Earl and Paulina (Southwick) Fields, the former born in Connecticut, in 1796, and the latter born in New York. The father was a drummer in the Mexican War and later located in Sangamon County. As he died when his son James H. was a small child, the latter knows little of his ancestors. Paulina Southwick's parents came to Illinois from New York at an early day, her father being Jesse Southwick, the grandfather of Major Southwick, now a prominent citizen of Springfield, and who served as Major of the One Hundred Fourteenth Illinois Infantry during the Civil War.
When nine years of age James H. Fields began working on a farm and has followed that occupation all his life. He had practically no educational advantages, as at the time he was able and ready to enter school he enlisted in the Civil War. He has lived in Sangamon County all his life except for a short time spent in the West and during his service in the army. He enlisted, in June, 1862, at Springfield, in Company A, Tenth Illinois Cavalry, under Captain Elkins, and served until June, 1863, when he was discharged from the hospital. He remained at home until December, 1863, when he reenlisted at Springfield in the same company, and served to the end of the war. He participated in the Battle of Sabine River, where General Steele destroyed many wagons and threw them into the river to prevent their falling into the hands of the enemy. Mr. Fields served as orderly for General Ross in the Yazoo Pass expedition, and took part in skirmishes at Little Rock, Helena, and numerous other engagements, also participated in many foraging expeditions and had many narrow escapes. He endured countless hardships and, while on the road to Camden, Miss., spent two days under fire and for several days was without food. He took part in the Camden expedition, and helped to recapture a cannon that had been taken by the enemy at Prairie Grove, Mo. Mr. Fields was one of the members of the notably brave and well-trained Western Department that accomplished so much in defense of the Union cause, and who endured so much in the way of danger and hardship without complaint. He won a very good record and acquitted himself most creditably.
Mr. Fields was married, in Springfield, in 1885, to Miss Katie Hayes, a native of Springfield, whose parents were prominent in Sangamon County. One child was born of this marriage, William C., now living on a farm in Kansas. Mr. Fields deals quite extensively in real estate and has met with fair success in all his enterprises. A member of one of the old families in Sangamon County, he enjoys the good-will and esteem of all who know him, and performs his duty as a citizen in as worthy a manner as he did when a soldier. He is a member of the Christian Church, and has been a Republican in politics since old enough to vote, and is also a prominent member of the G. A. R.