"Captain James H. Stokes' unit was a unique one. It was formed and funded by the Chicago Board of Trade, which is the world's oldest futures and options exchange. When President Lincoln sent out his call for volunteers, the Chicago Board of Trade raised the $15,000 necessary to start the new battery of 156 men within 48 hours.
James H. Stokes, a graduate of West Point Military Academy, was elected and mustered as captain.
By December 20, 1862, Stokes' Chicago Board of Trade was attached to an even more unique group, the Pioneer Brigade, commanded by Captain St. Clair Morton, of the regular Army's engineering department. The Pioneer Brigade was formed by Maj. Gen. W.S. Rosecrans who detailed two men from each company of infantry in the Army of the Cumberland.
Captain Stokes' Chicago Board of Trade battery was almost all that stood between the hard-charging Confederates of Brigadier General Matthew Ector's Texans and the vital Nashville Pike and railroad only yards to Stokes' rear. Not holding this gap would be fatal to the Federal cause."
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