WAR SENTIMENT IN THE COUNTY IN 1861 - REPONSE TO THE FIRST CALL FOR TROOPS - ACTION OF COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR THE RELIEF OF SOLDIERS' FAMILIES - RICHLAND COUNTY MEN IN THE FIFTH REGIMENT OF INFANTRY - THE SCOTT GUARDS - MUSICIANS IN SIXTH REGIMENT - COMPANIES D AND H, ELEVENTH REGIMENT COMPANY I, TWELFTH REGIMENT - THE TWENTY-FIFTH REGIMENT - THE THIRTY-SIXTH REGIMENT - THE FORTY-SIXTH REGIMENT - THE SIXTH WISCONSIN BATTERY - THE SECOND WISCONSIN CAVALRY, COMPANY F - FIELD AND STAFF OFFICERS
The mutterings of internal strife, which had engaged the attention of statesmen for some year prior to 1860, in that year began to take tangible shape, and the people came to realize that the settlement of the questions of state sovereignty and slavery extension could no longer be deferred by legislative compromises. The result of the presidential elections portended the abolition of slavery in the territories and all new states to be admitted thereafter; but in exactly what manner the decision in regard to state sovereignty should be made was a subject not agreed upon, even by national leaders at the North, where the dominant party disclosed its strength. The incoming national administration, in 1861, faced an unprecedented crisis in American history and apparently was uncertain how to proceed in the midst of the alarming dilemma that confronted it. A number of slave-holding states had passed ordinances of secession, thereby exercising a right that had been generally claimed and not seriously disputed since the adoption of the constitution, and those who desired the maintenance of the Union were vainly searching for a solution of the difficult problem. Able and patriotic statesmen, regardless of party affiliation, were giving their time and talents to the perplexing question, hoping to discover a pathway that would lead to a satisfactory adjustment of all differences-- when all plans were disarranged by the firing on Fort Sumter, and the administration was afforded a pretext, if not a justification, for waging a vigorous war of oppression. This overt act on the part of the South cleared the atmosphere for those who had advocated a policy of coercion, and to a large extent lessened the number of those who had talked of peaceable secession. But all were not of one mind. In Richland county, as elsewhere, there were those who denied the right and expediency of the government's action; but they were comparatively few in number, and owing to the heated condition of the public mind they were tile subjects of bitter denunciation, epithets and contemptuous opprobrium. However, it is not the purpose of this apparent digression to recall unpleasant memories or argue questions long since settled-but merely to describe conditions and record pertinent historical facts, before entering upon the proud record of Richland county during those dark days of internecine strife.
The news of the firing on Fort Sumter was followed in a few days by the President's call for 75,000 troops. Owing to the rapidity with which Wisconsin's quota was filled, no company from Richland county could be accepted. Only two men from the county had the honor of serving in the three months' service, and these were, Jesse S. Miller and William Worden. Enlistments and company organizations followed in rapid succession. The professional men, merchants, mechanics, fanner boys and laborers, all were imbued with the same spirit, and promptly laid aside their several vocations and joined in the supreme effort to preserve the union of the states. Gentlemen of the cloth laid aside their shepherds' crooks and went to the front in various capacities. During the four years of bloody warfare, Wisconsin met every call for troops in advance of the time limit, and Richland county was always among the first to respond with her quota.
And while the "boys" were at the front, the citizens at home were not idle, and the devoted mothers, wives, sisters and sweethearts, imbued with tile same spirit which had taken their loved ones from them, assisted in organizing relief associations. There was much outward show of sympathy and interest during the first few months, but by the following year, after the disasters of the Peninsular campaign, matters settled down to a war basis, and sentiment was banished in the interest of helpful needs. Public and private donations to the Federal cause were kept up until the final capitulation at Appomattox. The county government made such appropriations as seemed to them proper and right for the support of the families of those who volunteered; and of these matters we will treat first. The first action of the board of supervisors, in regard to the volunteers going to the front and those already gone, was at a special session held in July, 1861, when the fol1owing resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That the families of non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates, mustered into the service of the state or of the United States, in pursuance of any law of this state, being residents of this county, in addition to the pay provided for the rank of soldiers of the rank aforesaid, shall receive the sum of $4 for four months, to be paid only to the families that really need it; and that such appropriation be paid by the county treasurer upon the presentation of a certificate of a justice of the peace of said county, to the effect that the applicant is of the class above specified, and in need of such appropriation."
At its November session, the same year, the board, the time for which the previous resolution provided having expired, appointed a committee to make and report to them an order making an allowance to the families of the volunteers. In accordance with the above instructions, when the committee made its report, the board appropriated the sum of $2,500 to meet the expenses of the partial support of the families of the volunteers, to be applied under the direction of the board. It was also determined that it should be the duty of the town boards, when an application was made to them for relief, by the family of a volunteer in the United States service, to inquire into the case, and if necessary, to provide such aid and draw orders on the county treasurer, who was instructed to pay them. On January 13, 1862, the board of supervisors made the following order:
"That the families of non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates mustered into the service of the state or of the United States, being residents of this county at the time of their enlistment, in addition to the pay provided for soldiers of the rank aforesaid, receive from the county the sum of $1 per month during their service; that families having children under twelve years of age receive the sum of $1 per month for each child, in addition to the sum aforesaid, this allowance to date from November 20, 1861."
The board also passed resolutions defining how, when and where the applications for this relief shall be filed and paid, and rescinded any and all actions of previous boards of supervisors. At a special session of the board of supervisors, held March 4, 1862, the following resolution was adopted:
"Whereas -- There is no money in the treasury with which to redeem the orders issued to the families of volunteers, and whereas, the families are realizing but about one-half the amount therefrom, it is therefore:
"Resolved, That it is deemed for the best interests of all concerned that the act passed at the January session, for the relief of families of volunteers be, and the same is, hereby declared repealed."
The first man from Richland county that was killed in the Civi1 war was George Hamlin, This young man laid down a precious life on the altar of his country, at the battle of Pittsburg Landing, April 6, 1862, and was at the time a member of the Eleventh Illinois Infantry, although a resident of this county.
It would be impossible to trace the record of Richland county's valiant soldiers through the ranging fortunes of four years of bloody war; neither would space permit, should such be possible. Without disparagement to the heroic services of any, it shall be the purpose of this chapter to mention the organizations, which, as a whole, are more closely connected with Richland county than other military organizations. Reference is here made to the Fifth, Eleventh, Twelfth. Twenty-fifth, Thirty-sixth, and Forty-sixth Regiments of Wisconsin infantry, the Sixth Wisconsin battery of light artillery, and the Second Wisconsin Regiment of cavalry. While other regiments may have achieved equal honors on the bloody fields, it is morally certain that none surpassed those mentioned in the performance of stern duty. In almost every one of the regiments that left the state for active service in the field, were some of the brave boys of Richland county. The first company that was raised in the county exclusively, however, was the Scott Guards, who enlisted in the spring of 1861, when the first flush of patriotism burned throughout the land. This company was assigned to the Fifth Regiment and given the letter H as its designation. During its four years the company saw much active service, and the history of the gallant Fifth will not suffer by comparison.
The war had been in progress several months before the regiment was ordered to the field, and the "before breakfast job" of the three months' men had been prolonged to nearly twice their term of service, and up to this date the Confederates had been successful on nearly every field. At this time an enlistment for three years' service meant more than a brief term of a few months. The first spontaneous out-burst had been succeeded by a candid and thoughtful consideration of the momentous task, with the record of past events pointing to possible failure. This was the condition of affairs when the gallant Fifth was raised in response to the President's call for troops. Amasa Cobb, of Mineral Point, accepted the colonelcy, and the second position went to Harvey W. Emery. The several companies of the regiment were ordered to rendezvous at Camp Randall during the latter part of June, and they, were mustered into the limited States service on July 13, 1861. The work of drilling and equipping the regiment had been well attended to, and by the time it was ordered to the field the discipline, drill and apparent efficiency of the regiment were alike creditable to the officers and the men. It is safe to assert that at least twenty commissioned officers of the regiment were killed or disabled in the service. The regiment lost one hundred and sixty-nine men, killed in battle or died of wounds; while the number who died from disease and accidents, or were incapacitated, either by wounds or ill-health, for further service, amounted to over five hundred. The regiment when mustered in was fully a thousand strong, hence the casualties equaled at least sixty-five per cent of the number of men entering the service with the organization of the regiment.
The active service of the Fifth began in the army operating in Virginia, under Gen. Geo. B. McClellan. It would be interesting to follow the regiment through its wonderfully active career of nearly four years at the front, but a brief resume' of events must suffice. It participated in about twenty hard-fought battles, some of which were the most disastrous in the annals of the war. To reach these various scenes of carnage in different states, it traveled thousands of miles on weary marches, through rain and snow and mud; in intense heat, or equally uncomfortable cold; wading streams, climbing and descend mountains, each soldier carrying, in full equipment, some sixty pounds of baggage. It is estimated that in ordinary warfare, a soldier is under fire in skirmishing, and other desultory fighting, at least five ties to each general engagement in which he participates; hence a record of battles is no fair estimate as to a soldier's active service.
The Fifth fought under McClellan in Virginia and Maryland; under Meade in Pennsylvania, in the final Richmond campaign under Grant, and thence on the memorable pursuit to Appomattox Court House. In the battle at Marye's Heights it headed the famous charge which carried a part of the almost impregnable fortress at Fredericksburg. Greeley says, "Braver men never smiled on death than those who climbed Marye's Hill on that fatal day." The one gleam of success in - that gallant but disastrous fight was the capture by the Fifth Wisconsin of a Confederate battery. All else was failure where "we bad reason for sorrow but none for shame." The regiment was hotly engaged before Richmond in the spring and early summer of 1864, and on July 12 was moved to Washington, where it took position in the fortifications near Fort Stephenson. On that day, the three years' term of service having expired, the men volunteered to remain so long as their services were necessary for the defense of the national capital. A large number had re-enlisted for three years more, and, the enemy having retreated, the regiment left Washington on July 16, en route for Wisconsin, to be formally mustered out of service. The Richland county contingent of the regiment reached home, and a grand ovation was tendered it. A vast outpouring of citizens met the soldier boys, but the veterans, after more than three years' absence, were anxious to meet loved ones around the home firesides, and so dispersed to their several homes to enjoy a respite in the quiet pursuits of civil life. The regiment was later reorganized and reported at Washington and there resumed the routine of camp life until the beginning of the thrilling events in the campaign of 1865. It participated in the battles, marches and skirmishes of the Petersburg campaign, and was among the first to enter the beleaguered city. Continuing the triumphal march to Appomattox, fighting its way as enemies confronted it, the surrender of the Confederate army put a fitting finale to the record of the preceding years.
A very interesting account of the organization and movements of the Scott Guards has been prepared by Gilbert L. Laws, now of Lincoln, Neb., and is inserted here.
The first Richland county company was1argely enrolled by Amasa Hoskins in March and April of 1861. The name, Scott Guards, was selected because of the popularity of the then ideal great American general, Winfield Scott. Amasa Hoskins was entitled to the captaincy of the company, but an attack of granulated eyelids prevented him from entering the military service in any capacity at that time. The non-commissioned officers elected by the company and commissioned by Colonel Cobb were George W. Bell, first; John McMurtry, second; Alphens Robinson, third; Gilbert Laws, fourth, and Eugene C. Hungerford, fifth sergeants. The eight corporals cannot now be named from memory. Robert C. Hawkins was elected captain, George D. Sybrand was appointed first lieutenant and Jeremiah J. Turner was commissioned second lieutenant. Lieutenant Turner joined the company with a squad of farmer boys from Viola and vicinity, containing some of the best material in the company.
The organization of the company was recognized by state authority, and rendezvoused at Richland Center for the election of officers and for drill. On June 2, the company was ordered to report at Camp Randall, Madison, Wisconsin, where it was assigned to the Fifth Regiment of Wisconsin volunteer infantry and designated as "H" Company, forming the right center of the regiment. It was a pleasing announcement to the entire company that Amasa Cobb was to be colonel. July 13.1861, the regiment was mustered into United States service and July 26 was ordered to Washington, remaining while en route a few days each in Harrisburg, Penn., and in Baltimore, Md., reaching Washington, August 8, 1861, when it was assigned to Gen. King's brigade and went into camp on Meridian Hill. September 3, King's Brigade was ordered across the Potomac at Chain Bridge, to Camp Griffen, where the winter of 1861-62 was spent in constructing clay forts, and in drill.
A few incidents in the life of the company from leaving home to the conclusion of the Battle of 'Wil1ianlsburg may be of interest, some amusing, some pathetic.
The company was generously and gratuitously entertained by the patriotic people of Richland Center. Feasts were prepared and "in merriment and dances the boys passed the time away." The halls where meetings were held were decorated with the pictures of prospective heroes, crowned and encircled with wreaths of immortelles and each soldier boy had a buttonaire of roses pinned on his unsoldierly coat or jacket. Under such inspiring influences that swel1ing of the heart was felt that never could be felt again. Each boy was willing to swear allegiance to the flag and was ready to accept the implements of warfare placed in his hands and with them to make a promise to emulate the spirit of the Spartan mothers, who exhorted their sons to return carrying their shields in victory, or upon them in defeat.
On the day of departure from Richland Center to Lone Rock the procession was triumphal, long lines of teams, loaded with soldiers, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, and sweethearts, stirred by varying emotions, incident to youth and age, the silent father, the tearful mother, the boy who thought a tear stained a cheek no more than a drop of rain on a flower. At the parting a mother left her only son to my care and as the train started, lifted her face to heaven in silent prayer, for" the safe return of Edward, a prayer that was never answered except in dreams. Her boy, the drummer boy of Ute regiment, died alone in a tent, from what cause no one knows or ever knew.
At Camp Randall the regiment was clothed in salt-and-pepper suits furnished by the state and was armed with made-over Harper's Ferry flint-lock muskets for the use of percussion-caps. To the boy who had never seen a hundred men in one line, "marking time," swinging out and back one hundred pairs of stogy boots, the sight was a wonder and was the first lesson in the methods and cost of war. In Camp Randall the roar of a thousand men eating at the same time and at the same table was an astonishment and it seemed that the state would soon be bankrupted in feeding and clothing them. But the added Sixth Regiment, 1,000 strong, soon after, caused little comment, so soon does humanity adapt itself to changed conditions.
The regiment on dress parade at sun-down, under command of regimental and line officers, accompanied by the playing of a fine band, was a pleasure always looked forward to by the soldiers and was witnessed with admiration by many of the citizens of the capital city.
The muster of the regiment was completed July I3, 1861. At the conclusion of this ceremonial, Major Larrabee, always fond of the dramatic and spectacular, had the national and the state flags brought out, and holding them aloft, improvised an oath of duty and loyalty to both and, kneeling, concluded, "To the faithful performance of these obligations I swear," and the regiment kneeling, responded as one man, "We swear." Two or three soldiers of other companies refused to muster and be sworn in and were drummed out of camp in disgrace.
The regiment received a continued ovation through city and country wherever the coming was known, committees waiting till late in the night with coffee, cakes, pies al1d other more substantial refreshments. At Cleveland, Ohio, the regiment was fed at daylight by a committee of ladies of that city. The city of Baltimore, Maryland, was reached not long after the Fifteenth Massachusetts had been assaulted in the streets by a mob. The march of the Fifth Wisconsin through that city was solemn and silent on the part of both citizens and soldiers. A pistol shot fired outside the ranks caused a quickened step and a tight grip on the old muskets, as not a cartridge was carried by the company. The United States had none to furnish. Reaching Monument Square, Colonel Cobb gave the order to 'Uncover" and the regiment marched past Washington's Monument, caps in hand.
Near Camp Griffen the enemy was encamped in force and the picket lines were not far apart, a relief of the cavalry pickets being always in sight, m daylight. One very dark and rainy night a detail for picket duty was made from Company H, Youngs Parfrey being one of the number. He was placed behind an old shop, on an outpost, at a crossroads and near the cavalry videttes of the enemy. Notwithstanding the fact that he was rather under weight and height Youngs Parfrey could carry a heavier load and bring a mall to a "ha1t' quicker than any other man in his company, if not in the regiment. There was no weakness in his heart, limbs or voice. On this occasion the command to "halt" was not obeyed and Youngs fired. A sound like the gallop of a cavalryman went down the long lane where two or three more shots were fired. The long roll was heard in camp and the army of the Potomac was under arms for action. A belated old cow ran down the lane to visit her peace-loving family.
Company H bore a conspicuous part in the historic event, an account of which is given in our school readers, viz., the arrangement for execution of Private Scott for sleeping at his post. Company H was detailed to guard three sides of the hollow square prepared for the execution. Twenty thousand soldiers were in witness. The prisoner was placed in the open side of the square, bound and dressed for burial. The firing squad was placed, arms at a shoulder, to be fol1owed by the order. "Make ready; take aim; fire!" The solemn silence of twenty thousand men under such expectancy mounted to the sublime. A messenger on foaming steed rode over the hill to the officers in command. "A pardon for Scott," was the instinctive shout that broke the silence and twenty thousand caps were tossed high in air.
On Christmas Dav in the athletic contests ordered by General Hancock, the Fifth won a majority of the prizes from twenty competing regiments, and Adam Bell of Company H easi1y won the races.
In March, 1862, Wm. H. Bennett and another member of Company H ran both picket lines and paid all the money both had for admission to the mansion and grounds at Mount Vernon where they viewed the marble sarcopl1agi in the open vault, marked in touching simplicity, "Washington" and "Martha, consort of Washington."
The kindly old gentleman in charge was very uneasy lest the presence of blue coats should be discovered and bloodshed follow on ground held sacred by both armies.
On the Peninsula, at Gaines' Mills, the Third Vermont was ordered to charge the enemies works across Warwick river. To do this they had to loosen their belts and hold their cartridge boxes and guns over their heads to keep them dry. In this position they were shot down at short range by the enemy in rifle pits. A heavy gun that had done its deadly work, for days before, was trained on the dam across the river. After taps, Colonel Cobb went quietly around asking for a few volunteers, only a few were wanted, to charge across the dam into the muzzle of that gun and into the rifle pits of the enemy. William M. Barnes was the volunteer from Company H, but fortunately the sacrifice was not demanded. The charge was made but the enemy had gone. The next day and, the following day, May 5, 1862, the battle of Williamsburg was fought. The Fifth Regiment under Colonel Cobb made a historic record in that battle and was highly complimented by General McClellan on the field a few days later. In that battle, its first, Company H had four killed and six wounded, the killed being Edwin Austin, Henry. M. Johnson, George W. Moore, and Henry E. Walker. The wounded were Captain r. c. Hawkins, G. L. Laws, J. D. Jones, Wm. Sandmeyer, Jonathan spry and wm. Smith. As the company was falling back, firing, Alfred Morden was found behind a saw log left in the wheat field where the battle was fought. When informed that the enemy was approaching and that he would either have to move on or be captured, he cast one eye over the log, remarked that his gun was spiked, and started in haste for standing timber. The relator was wounded soon after, and while lying on his back in the mud up to, and into his ears, Matthew Lawless came in with three prisoners whom he had "surrounded," remarking as he passed, "Look here, Gib, I've got 'em." Nathaniel Kenyon soon came along, complaining that his "hoof'" (he had a lame foot) would keep him from ever becoming a hero in battle. Lawless and Kenyon were both lost and their places of burial are not known.
Colonel Cobb will always hold a warm place in the hearts of Richland county people. He was honest, as a legislator; as a soldier, he was brave, and as a man he was kind to his fellow man. Captain John G. Clark, quarter-master of the Fifth and afterward provost marshal of the congressional district, deserves a laudatory chapter in the military history of Wisconsin. Lieutenant Jeremiah J. Turner was the industrious officer in command of Company H. prior to the battle of Williamsburg. He was always ready, willing and well-informed and died at the post of duty at Fredericksburg with McMurtry, Robinson, Hoyt and nearly every commissioned and non-commissioned officer of the company. What is said hereafter in regard to two comrades is not meant to make unfavorable comparison with the record of any soldier-boy of Company H because each should be given a record of deeds of kindness and acts of bravery, William H. Bennett and Alphens H. Robinson were nearer and dearer to me because of previous fellowship and association.
Bennett offered a liberal reward for help to carry me off the field at Williamsburg, but all were too fatigued to aid. Robinson, at Fredericksburg, said to his comrades "Boys, they have given me my long furlough. Send this to '"Joe," and this to Gib (an ivory-clasped diary), and this to mother Tenney." The last was a woman of sainted memory, around whose table we had often broken bread together. The living monument of hearts and hands the old soldiers of Richland have organized and sustained, the W. H. Bennett Post, Grand Army of the Republic, will in very nature soon be naught but a fading memory.
To me the dearest memories of earth are of Richland county and its people, the scenes of my earlier activities, my boyish hopes and joys, and loves and fears. When in the hospital, racked with pain and delirious with fever, the most pleasing thought and the fondest recollections were of shady groves and pleasant associates, of river front with growing pines, the stream of pure cold water that poured from a spout at the southwest corner of the old frame-house, which is now to me the "dead home" at Laws' Ferry.
At the time of the breaking out of the Civil war, Wm. J. Waggoner was a member of the Richland Center brass band. A call for musicians had been issued by the government and this band proposed to enlist. Consequently they all went to Madison with Company H of the Fifth Wisconsin Regiment expecting to serve in that regiment; but they were too late and were assigned to the Sixth Regiment. Most of the members, not wishing to be separated from their friends in Company H, returned home. Those who remained and formed the nucleus of a band were Wm. J. Waggoner, s. C. Hyatt, V. L. Benjamin, Sydney Rose and David T. Lindley. The other members were recruited from Appleton Menasha and Oshkosh. The first four remained with the Sixth Regiment until April, 1862, when they were mustered out by a general order dispensing with regimental brass bands. The time of their enlistment was spent around Washington and Alexandria contributing to the pleasure and comfort of the regiment in such ways as they could. As the period of this army service, nine months, preceded the spring campaign of 1862, no active service in the field was experienced by these men and at that time the sentiment prevailed that hostilities would not last long once active warfare began, so they returned home.
The Eleventh Regiment of infantry was principally raised in the southwestern part of the state, and was organized at Camp Randall in October, 1861. Company D was from Richland county, was organized in September, and was mustered into the service of the United States with Jesse S. Miller as captain. Company H of the same regiment was partly raised in this county, and marching shoulder to shoulder with their comrades of Company D, passed through the same experiences and participated in all the honor due to the gallant Eleventh, a braver regiment than which never left the Badger State. The first engagement of any note in which the regiment participated, was at Bayou Cache, July 7, 1862, when Companies D, G, H and I, held in check a vastly superior force of Confederates until the arrival of reinforcements. In the Vicksburg campaign, at Anderson Hill, near Port Gibson, Miss., the regiment encountered the enemy, and after a warm engagement the Confederates were driven back in dire confusion. It took part in the battle of Champion's Hill, and the following day cut off the retreat of the "boys in gray" at Black River Bridge, where there was a warm contest, the regiment taking upward of a thousand prisoners and regimental stand of colors as trophies of its valor. It took its place in the trenches before Vicksburg and participated in the terrible and fatal charge made on May 22. Immediately after the fall of Vicksburg, the regiment received marching orders and started for Jackson, taking a prominent part in the "second Teche campaign," and going as far as Opelousas. Three-fourths of the regiment having re-enlisted as veterans, they were relieved from duty in February, 1864, and allowed to return home on a furlough of thirty days. Returning to the front, the regiment took part in the various expeditions in northern Mississippi and Alabama, and always received the commendation of its commanders for good and efficient service. Company D passed through many vicissitudes in its career with the regiment, losing many officers by death and disability, and Henry Toms, who entered the service as a corporal, came back as captain of the company.
The Twelfth Regiment of infantry was organized in the state of Wisconsin, at large, in October, 1861, to serve three years. Company I was from Richland county, and the regiment left Madison, January 11, 1862, with orders to report at Weston, Missouri. It participated in all the engagements that led up to the siege of Vicksburg and was in at the submission of that Confederate stronghold, the reduction of which has been called "the crowning glory of the war in the valley of the Mississippi." In January, 1864, six hundred and sixty-seven men were present with the regiment, and of these, six hundred and two had been in the service upwards of two years, the remaining sixty-five having joined by enlistment since its organization. Five hundred and twenty of those whose term of service permitted, re-enlisted, and were again mustered into the service for three years, while of the others, forty-eight promised to re-enlist on the expiration of two years from their respective dates of enrollment. The regiment accompanied the celebrated Meridian expedition under the command of General Sherman, and took part in the action of Bolton, Miss., with a loss of three killed and four wounded. After enjoying a furlough home, in May, 1864, the regiment joined the forces of Sherman at Ackworth, Ga., and participated in the Atlanta campaign. It captured the first skirmish line of the enemy in front of Kenesaw Mountain, and was constantly employed in picket and fatigue duty, with frequent engagements with the enemy, during the remainder of the month, sustaining a loss of thirty-four men in killed, wounded and missing. On July 5, the regiment advanced towards Nickajack Creek, driving the enemy from a strong line of rifle pits, and forcing him across the stream to his main works. In the action before Atlanta, on July 21, it captured forty-eight prisoners and five hundred stands of arms, sustaining a loss during the day of one hundred and fifty-four in killed, wounded and missing. The loss to the regiment in the engagement of the following day was thirty-four in killed and wounded, but on the morning of the 23rd the ground in its front was almost literally covered with Confederate dead and wounded. In the battle of July 28 the regiment lost nineteen, killed and wounded, and at Jonesboro it was engaged, but sustained only a slight loss. After participating in the movements around Atlanta, it took its way with the rest of Sherman's forces in that unparalleled march to the sea, then up through the Carolinas, and it was mustered out on July 16, 1865. It suffered, while in the service, a loss of fifty-nine killed in action, thirty-two who died of wounds, and two hundred and two of disease.
A more detailed account of the Richland county Company, prepared by Captain Van s. Bennett, now of Rockton Vernon county, of Company I, is here inserted.
On Sept. 5, 1861, Governor Randall issued a commission to Van S. Bennett empowering him to organize a company for the military service. Hartwell L. Turner, then the leading citizen of Viola, co-operated with him and they together enlisted men and organized "The Wisconsin Union Riflemen," reporting at Camp Randall, Madison, for duty on October 28, 1861, and were mustered into the United States volunteer army on the same day and assigned to the Twelfth Regiment of infantry as Company I, officered as follows: Captain, Hartwell L. Turner; first lieutenant, Van s. Bennett; second lieutenant, Jerome S. Tinker.
A majority of the members of the Company were residents of Viola and vicinity, though Lieutenant Tinker and eight or ten others were from Viroqua.
Forty-five years ago the country from which these men were drawn, was very sparsely settled and where now it would be the work of only a few hours to organize two or three full regiments, were the same conditions existing, not a hundred men could be found, so that six or seven weeks of diligent effort were necessary to enlist and assemble the minimum number of men to complete the organization.
Such time as could be spared from the work of organization was given to the study of tactics and instruction in company drill. The men were all eager to learn, however, and bent every energy while in cantonment to become efficient in drill, tactics and discipline, succeeding so well as to occupy a place in the first rank in the regiment for attainment in these soldierly qualities.
During the first part of January, 1862, the company in common with the whole regiment, were busily employed all day, every day, in completing preparations for removal from the state to take a place at the front before the enemy. Every man, officer or private soldier knew we were to move very soon and there seemed to be the general feeling that it would be to the Army of the Potomac, but instead it was to western Missouri and soon afterward to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and from there to Fort Scott, Lawrence and Fort Riley, at each of which posts, the command remained for a short time. Late in May orders were received to return to Leavenworth where the regiment was embarked on steamboats and transported to Columbus, Kentucky. The summer of 1862 as well as the fall and early winter were spent in camp, garrison and railroad guard duty. While there was no fighting beyond a very few slight skirmishes in which no one was injured, the duty was severe and somewhat irksome. Its uneventfulness was probably its most objectionable feature to a great majority of both officers and men.
In May, 1863, the command was moved to the vicinity of Vicksburg, and on the 11th of June took possession, on the battle line in rear of the great fortress. Immediately after the fall of the city, even before the Confederate arms were all stacked, the command was hurried to the rear as far as Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi, to give battle to the Confederate General Johnston in the hope of destroying his army which had been threatening General Grant's rear since the investment of Vicksburg. General Sherman attacked General Johnston as soon as his advance division could get into line in front of Jackson and as fast as a command, however, small, could reach the front the battle was extended by so much, but the destruction of an army under so skilled a man as General Johnston was not easily accomplished, and though badly beaten and severely crippled, the enemy escaped leaving the dead and wounded on the field, while most of the camp and garrison equipage fell into General Sherman's hands. The remainder of 1863 was employed by the Twelfth Regiment in assisting to rid the Mississippi valley of guerilla commands between Memphis and New Orleans.
In February and March, 1864, the Twelfth took part in the Meridian expedition, and for thirty-one consecutive days Company I was on the march and on some of the days the company was moving twenty hours. Late in March the regiment was returned to the state on veteran furlough for thirty days. At the expiration of this holiday, the command joined Sherman's army in the Atlanta campaign after which "it marched to the sea," up the coast to Washington, was sent to Louisville, Kentucky, and from there to Madison, Wisconsin, where it was disbanded July 16, 1865, after three years and nine months of active and strenuous service. The company marched during its term of service 3918 miles on foot, 2950 miles on steamboat and 2506 miles by rail, a total of 9374 miles. Was not the title, "The Marching Twelfth," well earned? Every march, fatigue duty, skirmish or battle in which the regiment was engaged, Co. "I" participated.
The company had three captains. Hartwell L. Turner, from September 30, 1861, to April 12, 1862; Van S. Bennett, from April 12, 1862, to November 7, 1864; Francis Hoyt, from January 6, 1865, to July 16, 1865.
Three first lieutenants, Van s. Bennett, from September 30, 1861, to April 12, 1862; Francis Hoyt, from April 12, 1862, to January 6, 1865; Eli McVey, from January 6, 1865, to July 16, 1865.
Four second lieutenants, Jerome S. Tinker, from October 7, 1861, to March 20, 1862; Levi M. Brese, from March 20, 1862, to July 30, 1863; Salma Rogers, from July 30, 1863, to November 1, 1864; Irvin Gribble, from February 11, 1865, to July 16, 1865.
The total number of men belonging to the company from first to last was two hundred and thirty-three of which number, seven were killed in action, seven died of wounds received in action and twenty-five died of disease, three men were discharged because of wounds received in action and fifteen for disability.
The Twenty-fifth Regiment of infantry was composed in part of Richland county troops, one company being gathered entirely from this county. This regiment was enlisted in southwestern Wisconsin counties and was organized at Camp Salomon, La Crosse. On September 19, it left the state with orders to report to Gen. John Pope, St. Paul, Minn., to aid in suppressing the Indian difficulties in that state. After contributing to the preservation of tranquility among the settlers, and suppressing the festive red-skin, it returned to the state and went into quarters at Camp Randall, where it arrived December 18, 1862. It left there February 17, 1863, for Cairo, whence it was taken to Columbus, Ky., and from there to join the army in the vicinity of Vicksburg. There it remained, taking a hand in the trials and labors of that sanguinary siege, losing many a man from the diseases incident to that swampy ground. After the fall of that stronghold it received marching orders and proceeded to Helena, Ark., where it was employed principally in provost duty, until February 1, 1864, when it embarked and proceeded down the Mississippi, landing on the following day at Vicksburg. It joined in the celebrated Meridian expedition, under command of General Sherman, and in March again returned to Vicksburg. On May 9, 1864, the regiment joined Sherman's army at Resaca, Ga., and during the remainder of the Atlanta campaign the Twenty-fifth was almost constantly under fire, being on the advance ninety-seven days. It fought at Kenesaw Mountain, Decatur, Atlanta on July 28, and was present at Jonesboro and Lovejoy Station. It then moved with Sherman to the sea, up through the Caroling campaign, then by the way of Richmond to Washington, where it was mustered out on June 7, 1865.
The Thirty-sixth Regiment, Wisconsin volunteer infantry, was organized in the state of Wisconsin at large, in February and March, 1864, to serve three years, and after participating in all the battles of the Army of the Potomac and James, and adding fresh laurels to the wreath of Wisconsin, it was mustered out July 12, 1865. Richland county furnished a number of men for companies A and H of this regiment. A criterion of the trials of the regiment is the losses incurred while in the front, and these are given by the official records as follows: Killed, seventy-nine; died of wounds, forty-seven' died of disease, one hundred and seventy; and mustered out from physical debility and wounds, two hundred and fourteen.
The Forty-sixth Regiment of Wisconsin volunteer infantry was enlisted in March, 1865, for one year. It was organized at Camp Randall, in Madison, and was mustered out at Nashville, Tenn., on Sept. 27, 1865, by order of the war department. It was made up of companies from various counties in southern Wisconsin, Richland county furnishing one whole company (H). It was moved to Alabama, and on April 24 Colonel Lovell was placed in command of the post at Athens and the railroad defenses to Decatur, Lieutenant-Colonel Smedley assuming command of the regiment, detachments of which were stationed at various points along the line of the Nashville & Decatur Railroad. They were engaged in this duty until the latter part of September, when they moved to Nashville, Tenn., and were mustered out as stated above.
The Sixth Battery of Wisconsin light artillery was composed almost entirely of soldiers recruited from the southern tiers of townships in Sauk and Richland counties, and the northern tier of townships of Iowa county. This country lies on both sides of the Wisconsin river and the places from which the Richland county men were most largely drawn were Lone Rock, Sextonville, Richland City, Bear Creek and Orion, although there were some from Ithaca, Buena Vista, and some other points. Two of the captains of the battery, Henry Dillon and Thomas R. Hood, one first lieutenant, Albert S. Sweet, and two second lieutenants, Sylvester E. Sweet and Lucius N. Kuler, were from Lone Rock, Richland county. Sergeant Byron W. Tilfair, also of Lone Rock, originally belonging to the Sixth Battery, was promoted, August, 1862, to be captain of Company B, Twentieth Regiment. The battery was mustered into service at Racine, October 2, 1861, and remained at Camp Atley, until the following spring, when it reported at St. Louis, arriving there on March 16, 1862, and three days later, started for southeastern Missouri. It arrived at New Madrid, and reported to General Pope on the 21st and was employed in fortification building, and after the surrender of Island No. 10, in garrison duty, until moved, the latter part of May, to the vicinity of Corinth, where it was placed in reserve and employed in the construction of earth-works. On October 3, 1862, the battery was brought under fire for the first time. From the official report of Capt. Henry Dillon, dated October 15, 1862, the following excerpts are taken: "Friday morning, the 3rd inst. I left camp, southeast of Corinth, between three and four o'clock, pursuant to orders, and marched to Corinth, forming in battery with the reserve forces, under Brigadier-General Sullivan, north of town. In the afternoon *** moved farther out on the road, where the battle was then raging. I was here brought under the enemy's fire, and had two men wounded, *** I occupied two or three different positions during the night. Early in the morning I took a position on the brow of a hill, north of a bastion occupied by the first Missouri artillery, and to the right of Davis' division. I was supported on the right by the Tenth Iowa, and on the left by the Eighteenth Ohio. *** Being then but a few hundred yards distant, I opened on them with shell and canister with good effect, though it scarcely checked their progress. Once, when within less than one hundred yards of our guns, they wavered for an instant, and I hoped to repel them; but on emerging from the woods they had deployed a column to the left, which had by this time so far gained our right flank as to pour in upon us a destructive enfilade fire, seeing which they again rallied and came forward. They were close upon our guns before our left support opened upon them, and many of my cannoneers were by this time either killed or wounded and the rest had already been driven from their guns at the point of the bayonet. *** I succeeded in safely removing from the field all except the pieces and one limber. *** Throughout the action the conduct of my men was uniformly good, each doing his whole duty, --doing his best."
In this action Captain Dillon had his horse shot under him, and Lieut. D. T. Noyes was killed. Of the loss of five killed and twenty-one wounded in this action, Richland county shared heavily: Gilbert L. Thomas of Lone Rock, was killed and Corp. Stephen A. Ferris, of Orion, Herman Demmer, Christian Berger, Peter J. Walport, of Sextonville, Philip J. Seiders, Menzo Tennant, Henry J. Bayness (Byness), William H. Piper, of Lone Rock, and Daniel Goodwin, of Richland City, were wounded. Several of the latter died later, as a result of their wounds. After the battle of Corinth the battery was stationed at Grand Junction, Davis' Mills, Moscow, Lumpkins Mills, Holly Springs, La Fayette and finally took a position near Memphis where it remained until March, 1863. It joined the expedition which threatened Ft. Pemberton and in April marched to Port Gibson, but did not participate in the battle. The battery did good service at Champion Hills. The following autumn the Sixth was attached to the First Brigade, and transferred to the Fifteenth Army Corps under General Sherman. It passed some time in movements in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee and arrived at Chattanooga November 20, 1863, after a march of nearly two hundred and fifty miles. It took part in movement on Missionary Ridge, November 25, under the command of Brigadier-General John E. Smith, and in the pursuit of the enemy to Graysville, Ga. During the winter the battery was re-equipped with twelve-pounder Napoleon guns, and supplied with horses, and the organization strengthened by the addition of fifty-three recruits. Many of the veterans whose term of enlistment had expired in 1864, re-enlisted. These changes were followed by some transfers of equipment to the Twelfth Wisconsin Battery, and the November following, the Sixth was assigned to the Reserve Artillery. January 7, 1865, the battery was transferred to the Reserve Garrison Artillery of the Department of the Cumberland and furnished details for provost guard. The battery was ordered to Madison at the close of hostilities and was mustered out July 3, 1865, having at that time a numerical strength of one hundred and ninety-seven. Its original strength was one hundred and fifty-seven, the number of names enrolled during the war, two hundred and forty-two, to which thirty-four re-enlistments make a total of two hundred and seventy-six. Of these the loss by death, either upon the field or from wounds and disease, was twenty-nine.
SIXTH BATTERY WISCONSIN LIGHT ARTILLERY.
Officers-Captains: Henry Dillon, Lone Rock, Enl. Sept. 9, '61; Sr. 1st Lieut., Sept. 10, '61; Capt., Sept. 24, '61; M. O. Oct. 10, '64, term exp. Thomas R. Hood, Lone Rock, Enl. Sept. 9, '61; Jr. 1st Lieut., Sept. 24, '61; Capt., Nov. 4, '64; M. O., Oct. 10, 1864, term exp.; re-com. Capt. res. May 17, '65. James G. Simpson, Spring Green, Enl. Sept. 9, '61; Q. M. Sergt. Jr. 2nd Lieut., Oct. 17, '62; Sr. 2nd Lieut., Aug. 13, '63; Capt., May 31, '65; M. O. July 3, '65.
Senior First Lieutenants: Samuel F. Clark, Prairie du Sac, Enl. Sept. 12, '61; Sr. 1st Lieut., Sept. 24, '61; M. O. Oct. 10, '64, term exp. John Jenawein, Prairie du Sac, Enl. Sept. 20, '61; Sergt.; Jr. 2nd Lieut., Aug. 14, '63; Sr. 1st Lieut., Dec. 6, '64; M. O. July 3, '65.
Junior First Lieutenant: Alba S. Sweet, Lone Rock, Enl. Sept. 10, '61; Vet. Corp. Sergt., 1st Sergt.; Jr. 1st Lieut., Dec. 6, '64; M. O. July 3, '65.
Senior Second Lieutenants: John W. Fancher, Prairie du Sac, Enl. Sept. 12, '61; Sr. 2nd Lieut., Sept. 24, '61; Disch. Aug. 13, '63, disability. Sylvester E. Sweet, Lone Rock, Enl. Sept. 10, '61; Vet., Corp., Q.M. Sergt., Jr. 2nd Lieut., Dec. 6, '64; Sr. 2nd Lieut., May 31, '65; M. O. July 3, '65.
Junior Second Lieutenants: Daniel T. Noyes, Spring Green, Enl. Sept. 19, '61; Jr. 2nd Lieut., Sept. 24, '61; killed Oct. 4, '62, Corinth, Miss. Lucius N. Keeler, Lone Rock, Enl. Sept. 23, '61; Vet., Sergt., 1st Sergt.; Jr. 2nd Lieut., June 13, '65; M. O. July 3, '65.
Surgeon: Clarkson Miller, Geneva, Surg., June 6, '62; Res. Jan. 16, '64.
Buglers: Oliver J. Burnham, Lone Rock, Bugler, Sept. 23, '61; M. O. Oct. 10, '64, term exp. William A. Burnham, Lone Rock, Bugler, Dec. 28, '63; M. O. July 3, '65. Addison W. Day, Reedsburg, Vet., Bugler, Sept. 18, '61; M. O. July 3, '65.
Number mustered into the service 249 Number died of disease 19 Number killed 8 Number wounded 29
The Second Wisconsin Regiment of volunteer cavalry, containing Richland county men, principally in Company F, was organized from the state at large at Camp Washburn, Milwaukee, from December 3, 1861, to March 12, 1862, to serve three years. On the expiration of their term of service the original members (except veterans) were mustered out, and the organization, composed of veterans and recruits, was retained in service until November 15, 1865, when it was mustered out in accordance with orders from the war department. The greatest number of the Richland county men were mustered into Company F, and this company was commanded originally by Charles M. Palmer, with Roswell R. Hamilton and Marquis F. Cutting as first and second lieutenants, respectively. This company was recruited, in nearly equal proportions, from Richland county, Dane county (near Madison), and Iowa county. About one hundred members were enrolled at its organization, in December, 1861, at Madison, but one hundred and seventy-five had been enrolled by subsequent enlistments, before the close of the war, in 1865. Richland county contributed fifty-eight of the whole number as follows: Edwin Berry, Albert Brewer, Joseph M. Craigo, George W. Craigo, John S. Cress, Daniel W. Dodge, Coleman Dupee, Truman Duvall, Nathan Eliot, Wm. M. Fogo, Frederick Wolfgang, Alvarado Goodman, Roswell R. Hamilton (chosen lieutenant before enlistment), Simon Harris, Daniel Hoskin, Rufus Howe, John J. Jaffray, Henry Jaffray, James F. Johns, Thomas D. Kanouse, Jacob F. Karas, Robert Keppert, Wm. T. Kinney, Frank Kregar, John M. Long, Wm. H. Mack, Albert Mapes, John McCain, Wm. McCain, Henry Meyers, Henry Moll, Wm. Noble, Wm. T. Oens, Wm. O'Haver, Jason M. Pelton, Nicholas W. Pelton, John P. Pool, Elisha w. Poynter, Frank M. Poynter (transferred from Company L), Amos Puff, James Ripperdan, Aaron Sharp, Wm. Sparrow, John Stambaugh, Ansel L. Standish, John L. Sweet, Wm. H. Thayer, Linas Thompson, Barret Titsworth, James H. Waggoner, Samuel Wallace, Newton D. Ward, Thomas Warches, Orange S. Welton, James N. Weller, Thomas H. Weller, Wm. J. Weldy, Alonzo L. Whitcomb, James Williams. Seven of those men died in field or hospital of diseases contracted in the service, as follows: Alvarado Goodman, John J. Jaffray, John M. Long, Henry Moll, N. W. Pelton, James Ripperdan, Thomas H. Weller. Twenty-two were discharged for disabilities incurred in the service, as follows: Berry, Geo. W. Craigo, Dodge, Dupee, Fogo, Harris, Hoskin, Howe, Kanouse, Kinney (re-enlisted afterward), Meyers, Oens, J. M. Pelton, E. w. Poynter, Puff, Stambaugh, Thompson, Titsworth, Warches, Weldy, Whitcomb and Williams. Of the entire enlistment in the company, three were killed in action and five were taken prisoners.
At the organization of the company Nicholas W. Pelton was chosen commissary sergeant and James H. Waggoner third sergeant. Waggoner was promoted to sergeant-major of the regiment on November 13, '62, and to second lieutenant of Company E on May 1, '63. Frank M. Poynter, made a corporal some time after the organization, was promoted to sergeant, to second lieutenant, to first lieutenant, and to captain, and was mustered out with the remnant of the company, as captain, November 15, 1865. Others of the Richland contingent who served, for shorter or longer periods, in the course of their enlistment, as non-commissioned offers, were: O. S. Welton as corporal and quartermaster sergeant and Howe, Kinney, Wm. McCain, Ripperdan, Sweet and J. N. Weller as corporals.
After a couple of months of drill at Madison Company F went into rendezvous with the eleven other companies of the Second Regiment at Cold Springs, near Milwaukee. Cadwallader C. Washburn of La Crosse was the first colonel. He had been and was afterwards a member of Congress from Wisconsin, serving ten years in all, and later was governor of the state for one term. Thomas Stephens of Dodgeville, a former English soldier and a noted broadswordsman, was the lieutenant colonel, and was promoted to colonel on August 1, 1862, on the promotion of Colonel Washburn to be brigadier-general. The latter afterwards became a major-general. The regiment's initiation into actual warfare was during the siege of Vicksburg, Miss., beginning in May, 1863. After occupying various positions and participating in numerous foraging and other expeditions and several skirmishes, a detachment of two hundred and eighty men had a sharp engagement with the enemy near Yazoo City, losing five killed, nine wounded and twenty-five missing. The movements of cavalry regiments are very difficult to follow, owing to the detached duty they are called on to perform; but, briefly state, the movements of the regiment and of the two battalions which included Company F, were from rendezvous in Milwaukee to camp of instruction, Benton Barracks, St. Louis, Mo., where it was equipped with horses, and remained till midsummer. It was then put into active service in the field, making its first march-after having then been transported up the Missouri to Jefferson City-across the Ozark mountains to Springfield, a country then filled with "bush-whackers" and small bodies of the rebel troops. From Springfield two battalions of the regiment which included Company F went out to join a large body of Union troops in a sally through Missouri and Arkansas, to Helena. The enemy was frequently encountered, in small and larger bodies, and always successfully routed, with numerous captures. The boys of the Second cavalry did their part. From Helena, after several months of intermitting activity and idleness-during which period a larger number of brave men died from malaria and exposure than from the enemy's bullets-the two battalions were sent up the Mississippi to Memphis, where they remained six months or more, taking part in important sallies and skirmishes; then and thence they were sent down the river, with thousands more, to the aid of Grant before Vicksburg. After the surrender the two battalions were stationed at Red Bone, seventeen miles out of Vicksburg, and remained there, discharging such duties as were asked of them, till the spring of 1865, when, joined by the other battalion, the regiment was dispatched into Texas, where it continued in service of some kind till after the close of the war. It can be said of the Second that it never faltered when duty called, nor hesitated to follow when led by its officers. It was engaged in the campaigns in Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and lost during its campaigns: Killed in action, sixteen; died of wounds, four; died of disease, two hundred and sixty-five; died of accidents, eight; and a large loss by reason of discharges for disability. It (or, more accurately speaking, the little then left of it) was finally returned to Wisconsin and was mustered out of the service on November 15, 1865.
The field and staff officers of the various regiments, in which Richland county was represented, were subject to frequent change, there being resignations, discharges and deaths. A number of resignations were due to promotions to higher rank in the same or other organizations, and the places thus made vacant were filled by promotions. A number of line officers were chosen from among Richland county soldiers, and usually promotions were made from the companies where the vacancies occurred. Some of the Richland county officers are given more extended mention on other pages of this volume, but it will be eminently appropriate to mention a few of them here.
Major Jesse S. Miller first entered the service as a private in Company K, of the First Regiment of volunteer infantry, three months' troops, and served during the term of enlistment. When the Eleventh Regiment was recruited for the three years' service he was mustered in as captain of Company D, in which capacity he served until July 8, 1863, when he was promoted to be major of the regiment. He remained in the service until the cessation of hostilities and was mustered out as major, June 11, 1865. Some years after the close of the war he removed to Omaha, Neb., where he now resides, a prominent attorney and influential citizen.
James S. Robinson enlisted September 12, 1861, as sergeant in Company D, of the Eleventh Wisconsin infantry, and served until November 18, 1864, when he was mustered out on account of the expiration of his term of enlistment. He participate din the arduous service of his regiment and was wounded at the battle of Black River Bridge. On July 10, 1864, he was promoted to sergeant-major of the regiment.
Major W. H. Joslin was born in Ypsilanti, Mich., September 5, 1829. He came with his parents to Wisconsin, but did not come to Richland county until 1848, which was one year after the family had settled on Ash creek. In 1853 Mr. Joslin settled in the town of Henrietta, and engaged in farming until 1858, in which year he was elected sheriff of the county. He then removed to Richland Center and served the people in the capacity mentioned above, one term, when he again resumed farming. In August, 1862, enthused with patriotism, he raised a company of men, in the recruiting of which he was assisted by Judge James H. Miner, Mr. Joslin was chosen captain of the company, and in September it was mustered into service as Company B of the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin Regiment of volunteer infantry. One year later he was promoted to major, which rank he held until June, 1865, when he was mustered out of service and by brevet was given the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Returning from service he again engaged in farming, and in 1868 was elected county treasurer, in which position he served two consecutive terms, after which he returned to the farm and also followed milling at Bowen's Mills. In 1880 he represented his district in the Assembly, and beginning in January, 1882, he was for several years assistant superintendent of public property at Madison. He has also served in other important official positions, a full account of which is given in the biographical department of this volume. He is now living in retirement in Richland Center.
John Fitzgerald entered the service on August 7, 1862, as a private in Company B of the Twenty-fifth Wisconsin infantry. On September 5, following, he was made quartermaster-sergeant, and served as such until October 6, 1863, when he was promoted to adjutant of the regiment. He then served in that capacity until he was mustered out on June 7, 1865.
William H. Downs was born near Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1819, and had only such opportunities for education as the new country afforded at that time; but these he improved to the best advantage. He made choice of the carpenter and joiner's trace as his occupation, and in early life he settled at Bellefontaine, Ohio, and resided there while he remained in that state. In 1855 he came to this county with his family and located at Richland Center, taking an active part in all the improvements and interests of the growing village. When the war of the rebellion was inaugurated and a call was made by President Lincoln for volunteers to preserve the Union, Mr. Downs enrolled his name to defend the flag of the nation. He was assigned to the Twenty-fifth Regiment of infantry, in which he soon received the appointment of quartermaster, in which capacity he served about three years, much to his own credit and the general satisfaction of the regiment, showing excellent qualification for the office. In the second year of the war he consented that his only son should enroll his name as a volunteer and the latter was received as a drummer; but his career was only a few months, and he died in camp quite suddenly from disease. The loss of his only son and the long exposures of camp were obviously preying upon his health and constitution, and it was necessary to seek for rest and some recuperative process to sustain life, so Mr. Downs accordingly returned to his home. But he never seemed to regain that strength of body and vivacity of mind which were so peculiar to him in former years, and he died on November 5, 1877. For some years he held the office of postmaster in Richland Center, and soon after his return from the army he was elected justice of the peace, not more by the sympathies of his fellow citizens than a conviction of his unquestioned integrity and qualifications for the discharge of the duties of the office, which he held until his decease. In the several relations of life Mr. Downs was much esteemed.
Capt. Roswell r. Hamilton was born in Madison county, N.Y., in 1826, and resided in his native state until twenty-one years old, when he came to Rock county, Wis., and worked upon a farm. In 1854 he came to Richland county, and in the following year settled in Richland Center, where he was afterward elected town treasurer. In September, 1861, he enlisted in Company f, of the Second Wisconsin cavalry, and was mustered into service in January, 1862. He received a wound in the hand at Augusta, Ark., in June, 1862, but continued in the service with his regiment until February 6, 1865, when he was mustered out, his injury unfitting him for further military duty. In 1881 he moved to his farm on section 13, town of Dayton, where he spent the remainder of his life.
In some reminiscences of the war given by Col. J. s. Miller, Company D, Eleventh Regiment, now of Omaha, Nebraska, the following hitherto unpublished excerpt is taken:
"After our repulse at Vicksburg on May 22, I was detailed by order of General Grant and put in charge of the works of attack of the Fourteenth Division, Thirteenth Army Corps, commanded by General E. a. Carr and personally superintended their construction, being on duty night and day for the entire forty-eight days, only taking sleep or rest as I could catch it for one hour at a time or less, and was complimented by General Grant in person for efficient service in having the best constructed works on the entire line, notwithstanding it was the most difficult ground over which to approach and confronted by the strongest fortifications occupied by the enemy and it was on this point where the pickets on both sides were so close together before the surrender that they conversed together during nights and I had the honor of being the first to meet the Confederate officers and arrange for the location of their off-pickets not to interfere with our work, they being convinced it was only a matter of time when they must surrender, all of which is matter of history."
Did space permit, it would be a pleasure to include the names and service of the "men who bore the guns," many of whom performed feats of daring and services of incalculable value to the cause, prompted wholly by the innate desire for national preservation, and without the hope of official reward. Some even declined promotion, on the conscientious ground that they would then be serving for the emoluments and honors of office, while the charge would be groundless if the salary remained at thirteen dollars a month! Such conduct as that, it seems, should be a sufficient refutation of the latter-day doctrine that greed is the only incentive to human exertion. There were representatives of Richland county in nearly every regiment organized in Southwestern Wisconsin, either by original enlistment, transfer or promotion, and wherever they were, and by whatever organization they were known, the famous Badgers always performed their duty, and reflected honor upon themselves and credit upon the noble state which they represented.
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