Short Biography

(From Council for Secular Humanism)

The Peoria Years With His Brother Ebon Clark Ingersoll

About_Biography_Peoria_Years_picRobert set up a law practice in the growing town of Peoria, Illinois. The law practice prospered. Both brothers became active in local politics.

In 1862 Robert Ingersoll raised the 11th Illinois Cavalry Regiment and was awarded the rank of Colonel. Ingersoll’s regiment fought with distinction in the Battle of Shiloh. Soon after, Ingersoll was captured. As was sometimes done with officers early in the war, Ingersoll was paroled: allowed to go free on condition that he not fight again.

Ingersoll built a reputation for oratory during and after the war. In 1867 he was appointed the first Attorney General of Illinois. It was the first – and last – public office Ingersoll would ever hold. Ingersoll’s speechmaking played a vital role in his brother Ebon’s successful congressional campaign. In 1868 he was considered for the state’s Republican gubernatorial nomination, but passed over when he would not agree to make fewer speeches on controversial subjects, from women’s rights to religion.