Friday, 30 November 2012 20:52 | Written by Complied by James Johnson
Governor's Proclamation of Thanksgiving
To the people of Wisconsin: amidst the manifold vicissitudes and calamities that have befallen and surrounded us threatening the life of our nation and the lives of so many of its heroic and noble sons, it particularly becomes us to turn with grateful hearts to the Supreme Being for the many blessings we have enjoyed and the afflictions we have been spared. The horrors and devastations of war, so fiercely raging around us, have not touched the border of out state; excepting the brave men who have rallied around our country's flag in this time of peril, our citizens have been allowed to pursue their peaceful avocations; our harvest, through not as abundant as Providence sometimes has pleased to grant us, has yet well compensated the labor bestowed upon it, and well filed our homes and barns the savage tribes upon our border settlements, so threatening at one time to our peace, have been quieted, and kept under surveillance. The great cause our nation, it is true has not triumphed yet over its enemies, but neither has it yet failed; the enemy has been driven from the soil of the Loyal states; our army has been reinforced by hundreds of thousands of brave, patriotic and noble men ready to do battle,and if necessary to die for the integrity of the Union; our resources and energies are unimpaired: we have reason to be hopeful for the future, and therefore thankful for the past. The loyalty, honor and patriotism of the state of Wisconsin have been nobly sustained by her brave sons upon every field of battle where they have been called to vindicate our national flag. The just pride which we feel in the bravery of out noble soldiers should fill our hearts with gratitude to almighty God, who has sustained them in their hour of trial. For these and other uncounted blessings which the infinite goodness of God has vouchsafed to us during the past year we should thank him from the depth of our hearts. and therefore and in accordance with a time honored custom, I do hereby appointment thursday, the 27th day of November, 1862, as a day of thanksgiving and rest and recommend to the people of this state on that day to abstain from secular labor, and to assemble at their usual places of worship to show their grateful hearts to the beneficent ruler of the Universe, and to pray for a speedy suppression of the rebellion, and for peace to our distracted country. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused (seal) the seal of state to be affixed this 31st day of October, 1862.
Edward Salomon, Governor. Edward Ilsley, Ass't Sect of State. Appleton Cresent, Saturday, November 22, 1862
Friday, 30 November 2012 20:32 | Written by James Johnson
An Overland Mail leaves here on Monday morning, for Shawano. Mr Stephens for two years past, acts as agent on this end of the route. He came through this week and reports the necessary repairs being done on the stations, road etc. Prepatory to a brisk winter work.
We learn also that as soon as the sleighing season opens, passengers will be ticketed to and from Appleton, Wis. during the winter for $15.00 or they will be ticketed to and from Chicago for $21.00.
Friday, 30 November 2012 18:53 | Written by Susan Johnson
There's often talk of 'what happened at home' . These several articles just begin to touch on the work done in the communities and include several perio sets of instructions for particular items if you wish to reproduce them. A final note, being an old lady, and occasionally watching PBS back in the day, I recall the discussions of the Victory Garden being a WWII phenom....read on :)
To the Women of Wisconsin It is only to show you an outlet for your labors that the Ladies' Soldiers Aid Society of Milwaukee takes the liberty of appealing to you. When your husbands, sons and brothers have offered their lives for their country, when every village and hamlet have given freely their best blood- can it be necessary to say to you that our beloved ones aqre needing your gifts and labors? We are sure not. When the patriotism of the whole country is absolutely irrepressible, it is only requisite to state simple facts to secure an immeditte and noble response. The Women of Milwaukee, nearly a year since, formed a Society for the aid of Military Hospitals in care of Sick and Wounded Soldiers. We have had many and large donations from the interior of the State, also occassional inquiries as to our being a State Society. Should there be formed throughout the State auxillary societies sending us every three months reports of their labors, we would publish them with ours. By such a system we might accomplish more, and be entitled to the name and offices of a State Society. Our association works through the Chicago, and occasionally through the St. Louis sanitary commissions, both being unpaid bureaux of the government, keeping trusty agents to visit hospitals, and see that our gifts are economically applied. We found after much and careful investigation, that more losses have occurred to the few contributions sent to specified regiments (unless sent by an individual agent ) than in all the others combined. Our regiments are so constantly changing their quarters, and transportation is often difficult, it is better for all to contribute to the general fund, and from it the wants of all can be supplied. Six weeks ago our supplies were abundant, no requirements were made by the hospital and army Surgeons that were not promptly answered. Now, everything is exhausted, and the demands grow more and more pressing. We have just received news of dreadful battles and thousands of wounded. Come, then, to the rescue, and come at once-fill up the empty store-houses- let there be no want. Our men are in the enemy's country, desolated by the march of great armies. The rebel farmers have become guerullas and bushwackers, neglect planting and tilling the soil, consequently there are no vegetables. You who have gardens, or a bit of ground around their dwellings, cultivate carefully all your Vegetables, and when ripe, put them up in air tight cans. Tomatoes and green corn can, in that way, be kept fresh. Piclkes made of cucumbers, onions and cabbages can be put up in kegs, or run barrels - Fruits of all kinds, and the wild berries now so abundant, can be saved for our sick men many ways - those who cannot preserve them can dry them- let not one be wasted. By doing these things, you can save the lives of hundreds of brave soldiers; and perhaps your own dearest one; for who amongst us women has not some of our own blood engaged in this terrible contest?- Other articles most requisite are shirts and drawers - socks, slippers of drugget or carpet, towels, hankerchiefs of all kinds, and even old India silk or gingham -bed ticks, sheets, pillow-cases and dressing gowns; all made the usual way. Wines and Cordials-farina, tapioca and corn starch, dried currants, prunes and currant jelly. Money is also in pressing demand to purchase near the hospitals, if possible, butter, eggs, fresh meat, vegetables and poultry. It is desirable that each article of clothing or, bedding, be marked or stamped with the name of the association or donor who sends. In all cases lists of the contents of each box should be attached to the center of the cover on the inside, and a duplicate mailed to the Secretary of the Association. We must protest against the packing of cans, jars or bottles in the same box with clothing or bedding. Small boxes should be generally used for such purposes; put a dozen in each box, fill it with straw or sawdust, bore two holesin each end and tie in rope handles. More particular directions seem unnecessary here but we will gladly furnish any help to those who desire it. The different Railroad Companies leading to Milwaukee have very liberally offered to carry all sanitary stores to this city. Each package must be marked "Hospital Stores, care of John Nazro & Co, Milwaukee," with the name of the town or Society by which it is sent. This will secure free transit. By order of the Board, Mrs. Joseph C. Colt, Cor. Sec'y Semi-Weekly Wisconsin Milwaukee, Friday, November 28, 1862
WISCONSIN WOMEN DURING THE CIVIL WAR AND THE U. S. SANITARY COMMISSION In 1863, Mrs. Livermore, of the NW Sanitary Commission out of Chicago, visited Wisconsin & Iowa in the early summer. Of an urban privileged background, she initially looked at women doing field work with ‘aversion’. Stopping to talk one day when her carriage broke down she approached them: "And so you are helping gather the harvest!".... "Yes, ma’am, the men have all gone to the war so that my man can’t hire help at any price and I told my girls we must turn and give him a lift with the harvesting." "You’re not German? You are surely one of my own countrywomen - American?" "Yes, ma’am, we moved here from Cattaragus Co., New York State, and we’ve done very well since we came....It came very hard on us to let the boys go, but we felt we’d no right to hinder ‘em. The country needed ‘em more’n we." ... "I tell mother," said Annie, standing erect with flashing eyes, "that as long as the country can’t get along without grain, nor the army fight without food, we’re serving the country just as much here in the harvest field as our boys are on the battlefield-....
Further conversation disclosed the fact that amid double labor in the house and field, these women found time for the manufacture of hospital supplies and had helped fill box after box with shirts and drawers, dried apples and pickles, currant wine and blackberry jam, to be forwarded to the poor fellows languishing in far-off Southern hospitals. My eyes were unsealed. The women in the harvest field were invested with a new and heroic interest and each hard-handed, brown, toiling woman was a heroine."
In ever increasing numbers, beginning in the decades before Statehood, families streamed into the Old Northwest - into Wisconsin. While women and children were equally instrumental in settling the new lands, they did not vote nor were counted in places of power. They were not in the casualty lists nor generally lauded in glorious terms. They did, however, contribute to victory in this conflict and, even more than in the oft mentioned Second World War, changed the potential of their lives. There were about 367,000 women in the state at the beginning of the war, about 17,500 of which were employed (apx. 4.4%). Occupations, roughly broken down, show about 12,500 as servants/housekeepers, 2800 in some sort of sewing/millenary occupation, 1650 teachers, 400 laundresses and under 200 nurses. Those that had anything to do with manufacturing (773) had about 100 in the lumber/furniture manufacture areas and the rest in the clothing grouping. By 1870 there were apx. 509,000 women with 25,000 employed (apx. 4.9%). Their occupations modified to about 16,000 in service, 3300 in sewing, 3000 in teaching, 1400 farmers, under 300 laundresses and less than 100 nurses. The big change was 3967 in commercial/industrial pursuits. Manufacturing saw them in substantial numbers in men’s clothing, lumber, woolen/carpet manufacture. There were now over 500 in lumber and furniture manufacturer and more in diverse areas such as paper mills, cheese factories and book binderies as well as being represented in occupations such as peddlers, steamboat employees, bookkeepers, grocers, selling/trading agricultural implements and clerking in stores - previously men’s domains. (figures culled from 1860/70 census). These changes came about both by choice and adversity. Women who wished to work had broader opportunities due to the scarcity of male labor. As will be noted, sewing was one of the mainstays of female employment. While tailoring had been a particularly male enclave, general sewing and dressmaking had been fairly well left to women and Elias Howe’s patent of a home sewing machine in 1849, along with the variations that followed, made it possible to be self-and family- supporting beyond impoverished status. To make a man’s shirt by hand required approximately 14 hours 20 minutes while manufacture by machine took around 1 hour 16 minutes. Women with these machines could use their opportunity to contract with the state to provide garments and complete their contract in a time period that would allow enough profit to support their family. There are stories of women going to great lengths to get a machine, in one case living only on bread and molasses for months to try and pay for one. The opportunity to make one’s way when one’s husband was injured, ill or deceased arose from efforts of the Aid societies that had been set up to help the soldier’s wives and widows and the families who were suffering due to their loss or, in some cases, simply having no monies due to the troops not being paid for months. The monies collected thorough contributions and raised at fairs kept many families together and one of the organizers, Mrs. Colt, went to Washington and approached the Quartermaster General for a share of the contracts for army clothing to be made available to soldiers families. She secured material for 12,000 garments and this allowed the families to work with the industrial aid department rather than having to rely on charity, starve or lose their homes. This branch of the aid structure arranged for wives to apply for this work and widows and families with many children received preference and 475 women were put to work. From the state Quartermaster-General, they further received the opportunity to contract for 1094 pairs of army trousers. The ladies of the aid societies who were able to work as volunteers cut the fabrics to be contracted out and had a team of ‘inspectors’ to make sure the work that was turned in was done well. The Milwaukee & Prairie du Chien RR gave them free transportation from Milwaukee to Madison for the weekly transfer. While one often hears of the privations of Southerners, it is seldom noted that those of moderate to little income suffered hard times in the North - especially in rural and frontier areas and especially during the first years of the war. If coffee was available it was often roasted with dandelion root or completely bypassed for a beverage made of parched corn or rye; luxuries left the table. For the soldiers family, along with what he could save and send back from his $13 per month, his wife was allowed $5. per month by the state along with $2. per child. When volunteers were not paid for 6 months at a time, the state allowance, if a dependant knew how to claim it, was all that was available. Families were turned out of their houses for tax arrears and in some counties, women were required to declare themselves paupers before any assistance was available. Mortgages were foreclosed and if families were lucky a friend would let them build a shanty against their house or barn to keep out of the weather.
THE SANITARY COMMISSION When Lincoln’s first call for volunteers went out in April of 1861, The Women’s Central Association of Relief was formed in New York. It was the first step towards the organization of the United States Sanitary Commission, one of several large aid organizations established in the North. The government, from Lincoln on down, initially felt it was the "fifth wheel to the coach," but let them proceed in organizing a Commission that eventually did what the government could not - fill in serving the provision of needful materials when bureaucracy broke down but always as a supplement to what official channels did. The Sanitary Commission sent medical inspectors to the army to advise on conditions and solutions to promote good health, established soup depots, put trained nurses into hospitals, developed hospital cars for trains to make transport of the wounded as comfortable and effective as possible. Another section of the Commission dealt with relief, setting up 12 branch depots in large cities to gather supplies. It set up lodges for sick soldiers and advisory agencies to help with legal matters - claims, back-pay, pensions - and it printed a hospital directory. Through its battlefield relief section it supplied thousands of dollars of sanitary supplies to those in the field. The administrative positions of this organization were held by men of note but most of the work was done by women volunteers. The Chicago branch became the channel through which supplies from Wisconsin flowed. The response to providing comforts to the troops was overwhelming but sometimes misdirected as what seemed to be a good idea (havelocks, for instance) were actually close to useless. As what was necessary became clear, contributions became more meaningful. Requests for specifically required materials, such as hospital wear, slippers, linen batting, bandages, etc. were sent out from headquarters and passed along to member chapters where "socials" to provided thegoods were held. As the war progressed, the organization began to take on a more formal structure which allowed for divisions that could address specific areas of need. By 1863, a local organization would have a president, 5 vice presidents, a secretary and treasurer as well as a committee of cutting and another on packing. The president would preside at meetings and take on the duties of purchasing agent in consultation with the other officers. She would be responsible for preparing the plan for the coming month. The vice-presidents were responsible for filling in for the President, if necessary, recruiting and consulting on special areas of interest and efficiency. The secretary-treasurer kept the books and kept up any necessary correspondence. The cutters cut the materials for sewing according to approved patterns and were responsible for having sufficient work ready for the work meetings and the packers were responsible for inventorying all outgoing materials, making arrangements for destinations and making sure of correct labeling. The weekly meetings could find lint being scraped (one method of preparation was to lay a plate bottom upward on a table or in the lap and scrape linen pieces with a case-knife to break down the fibers to provide fluffy absorbent material for medical use - and easier method was to ravel the thread) or bandages being sewn and rolled, ready for use. The society also provided quilts and blankets, many with cheerful messages and the name of the maker sewn in for the edification of the recipient. An illustration of the sentiments is as follows:
For the gay and happy soldier We’re contented as a dove, But the man who will not enlist Never can gain our love.
If rebels attack you, do run with the quilt And safe to some fortress convey it; For o’er the gaunt body of some old secesh We did not intend to display it.
"Twas made for brave boys, who went from the West; And swiftly the fair fingers flew, While each stitch, as it went to its place in the quilt, Was a smothered "God bless you, boys," too.
There were also comfort bags or ‘housewives’, often referred to as ‘hussys’, that would give a soldier a small case with needles, thread, buttons, yarn, a darning needle and a few pins. If a lady wished, she could make pockets for small extras - cayenne pepper, quinine or a package of medical supplies. One Wisconsin aid society received 500 letters of thanks for the 2300 bags it sent out. There were also knitted socks and mittens - including the famous Wisconsin mittens that had a separate forefinger so they could be used to shoot. Initially, it was hoped and planned that the packages would go to your ‘own’ troops - as some soldiers sent back complaints that people above them kept all the good things they were being told were being sent and, in any case, the packages being sent to Chicago were repacked for sending to the front there, it became accepted that whatever the ladies were preparing, it would go to the place of most need - front, hospital or prison. As was expressed by a Mrs. Teale of Allen’s Grove, "In the light of war, I view every loyal soldier as my brother," Another area of aid work was the provision of fresh fruit and vegetables to the soldiers - scurvy had reared it’s head. An appeal went out in March, 1863, and particularity in Wisconsin and Iowa, where the drought the previous summer and a subsequent winter rot had not been as destructive as elsewhere, it was answered in wagon loads of materials from most every home, no matter how humble. Overall, in the Northwest states, even considering the recent statehood and small population, Wisconsin’s contributions totaled second in volume with 8,896 packages sent (Illinois had 12,112) and $10,958.64 in funds raised.
Sanitary Commission Projects To The Ladies of Racine Under Clothing Wanted For the Sick and Wounded By the following card from the Sanitary Commission at Washington it will be seen that there was at the commencement of this month a great deficiency in linen for the sick then in the hospitals. The disastrous results for the attack of Manassas Junction will fill all the hospitals to overflowing with brave men who have fallen in defending their country’s flag. Our own gallant 2nd Regiment was there on that deadly 23d and we know not how many of our own brothers and sons are wounded or have fallen. At this moment the wounded may be suffering for the want of clean linen. That want must be instantly supplied if it exists and provided for in advance it it does not. A letter is in circulation for the signatures of those who contributed to the 4th of July fund authorizing the committee of arrangements to use so much of the balance on hand for the purchase of the materials for making such articles as are needed by the sick and wounded in the hospitals. As soon as the materials are purchased, the ladies of Racine will meet and organize for the purpose of making the necessary garments. The ladies will find all necessary direction in Mr.Olmstead’s circular.
Sanitary Commission Washington D. C. Treasury Building, July 3, 1861 The following articles which cannot be provided at present by government are immediately needed by the volunteers in hospital: Cotton bed-shirts, one and a half yards long; two breadths of unbleached muslin, one yard wide; open at bottom; length of sleeve three-fourth yard; length of arm-hole twelve inches; length of collar twenty inches; length of slit in front one yard; fastened with four tapes. Loose drawers, one and a quarter yards long with a breadth of one yard wide, muslin, in each leg a hem and drawing-string round the waist and bottom of each leg; length from waist to crotch on the back twenty-two inches; and in front eighteen inches with three buttons and three buttonholes.
Soft slippers of different sizes.
Towels and handkerchiefs.
Abdominal or body bandages; material, thick flannel; length, one and one-half to one and three-quarter yards to overlap in front; width ten to thirteen inches with narrow gores at the hips 3.5 inches and two inches wide at the bottom with three broad tapes on each attached upon or above the gores.
The articles, if conveyed free of charge to this office will be acknowledged and accounted for and used where the need of them is most pressing. Direct to: Sanitary Commission, Treasury Building, Washington. Fred Law Olmstead, Resident Secretary
Wisconsin Mittens Mittens for the Soldiers. - Our soldiers will stand as much in need of mittens as stockings this winter. A frost bitten finger will disable them for real service as much as a frostbitten foot. Now is the time, ladies, to knit mittens for the Volunteers, and have them ready against the time they are called for. The best mitten for the soldier is that which has one finger and a thumb, and the directions for knitting these is as follows. Cast twenty stitches on each needle, knit twenty-five rows of ribbing, and twenty rows plain. Then take up the twenty stitches that are upon one needle and knit sixteen rows backward and forward. This is for the beginning of the thumb. Then take these twenty stitches on three needles and knit round for sixteen rows, after which narrow gradually till thumb is finished. Take up twenty stitches at the lower part of the thumb. There will be sixty stitches on the three needles. Knit twenty rows. Take the twenty stitches nearest the thumb, join them on three needles, and knit twenty-two rows. Then narrow gradually until the finger is finished. Take the remaining twenty stitches on three needles and knit twenty-two rows. Narrow gradually till finished. Milwaukee Sentinel, Nov 15, 1861
A liscense to get married costs ten cents. We believe, however, that there is no charge upon a liscense to die. Rebels take notice. Louisville Journal
Saturday, 22 September 2012 21:57 | Written by edited James Johnson
Camp, 2d Wis. Vols. Battlefield of Sharpsburg, Md. Sept. 21st 1762 (ed: that is a 19c typo) Dear Father: The first opportunity offering, I avail to write a long letter of our doings in Maryland. I doubt not but what the telegraph has informed you of our brilliant victories of Sunday and Wednesday last. They were indeed victories that this country may well be proud of. The newspapers have doubtless given you the meager accounts of the fights of Gainesville and of Manassas. I cannot say that our cause was very much benefited in those three days struggle - but of the part that the Wisconsin troops took, I believe was performed with honor to themselves and the state. In the battle at Gainesville, our Brigade suffered most terribly, with a loss of 720 killed and wounded. Our noble and brave little Col. O'Connor was killed while he was cheering on his men to greater exertions. His last words to his men as they gathered around him were "boys, you've nobly done your part - stick to the old flag - fight and if needs be die for it. - He was buried close by the field of battle and his place marked. In this battle our brigade was under fire one hour and ten minutes. My company suffered a loss of three killed and twelve wounded. Our boys done well and showed themselves capable of performing wonders. A braver nobler set of men never held a musket." We left the Gainesville battlefield at 2 o'clock Friday morning leaving our wounded to fall into the hands of the enemy and our dead on the field unburied. It was hard to fall back to Manassas thus but there was no help for it. On Friday we marched to the old Bull Run battlefield where, a year ago, a great battle had been fought, the results of which are undoubtedly familiar to all the world. During Friday, while the fresh troops were in battle, we were under the fire of the enemy's artillery. It seemed rather hard to lay flat on one's belly and hear those missiles drop and burst all around you. Friday morning our regiment was consolidated with the 7th Wis., under command of Lieut. Col. Fairchild - making a regiment about 500 strong. On Saturday our division was marched up to engage the enemy's centre - our brigade taking possession of an orchard and supporting Gibbon's Battery. Here our Brigade was freed to undergo the terrors of a thorough rain of cannon balls, shells and canister. Our loss in this engagement was 250, that is from the brigade, in killed and wounded. The brigade held its position until late at night covering the retreat of our forces to Centreville, where we were relieved by some of Smith's division. In the forenoon I had been detailed with a squad of twenty men to go to the field of Gainesville and have all the dead buried, but I had scarcely reached the field when the enemy's skirmishers opened on us, and a battery sent a shell or two near us, when we fell back receiving orders to await until the field was cleared - a thing which proved out of the question on Saturday. On Saturday our Brigade marched to Fairfax thence to Upton's Hill, where we remained a week, when we started for Maryland. Our march to Frederick was a hard one and considering what our men had already undergone, it was a wonder how they held out. At Frederick we overtook the Secesh and followed them to the South Mountains. Our Brigade was formed on the turnpike to the right and left and at dark, after having under gone the terrors of an artillery duel, we marched up and opened on the enemy at the foot of the mountain. Previous to reaching the mountain, a shell from the enemy's battery burst in our regiment, killing seven and wounding five. As usual with Jackson, his forces were behind a stone fence and in a ravine at that. After being under fire for some time our Regiment made a wheel giving us a clear range on the secesh behind the fence.- Here our boys piled them up in heaps most awful to speak of. The most of the Secesh appeared to be struck in the head. Gen. Robert Lee, son of the rebel general R. E. Lee, was killed beside several Col's and Majors on their side. We withdrew about 10 o'clock at night. During the time that Gen. Hooker had drove the enemy on the right, General Reno had run them on the left, giving us, after three hours contest, possession of the field. In this engagement our Brigade suffered a loss of over 400. My company had five wounded as follows: Corporal W. A. Nelson, A. T. Budlong, B. F. Knowlton, G. W. Williams and Geo. Gilbert. In this battle, as in the former, our men behaved most gallantly and nobly held their ground. The next morning (Monday) we commenced the pursuit of the enemy, after capturing a large number of prisoners. Both Monday and Tuesday we were occupied in cannonading and pushing forward close upon the heels of the retreating foes. Tuesday evening we came upon their lines and lay down without supper, in sight of the enemy, and directly under their guns. During the night, heavy skirmishing and continual cannonading was kit up. At daylight our brigade was forded forward to open for the enemy. We were marching in division front, and had reached a clump of woods when the enemy opened with a battery on us, but a shell burst in a division of the 6th Regiment, killing several and wounding a number - how many I know not. We passed through the woods into an open field and through a corn field with 6th Regiment on the right, and a N.Y. regiment on the left.-We slowly crawled up through the corn field while Gibbon's Battery was throwing canister and shell into the enemy. After passing through the corn field into the open field, the enemy was discovered to be in great force on our right and left, leaving their centre almost open, Cos. I and A had the first shot at the foe, and soon the 6th Reg't., 7th and 19th Ind, and the N.Y. regiments opened upon them. Then commenced the shower of Bullets - volley upon volley was poured in by the contending parties. It seemed as if it were a perfect rain of hail. In all battles I have not seen the like. I thought the battle of the 28th bad enough, but this day's battle seemed most horrible. Soon our regiment charged directly on the first company giving us a cross fire on the enemy. Major Allen was wounded and had to leave the field. Captain Ely of Co. D then took command. Our men were falling fast - our ranks were thinned when it seemed that we had scarce forty men left to defend our colors. All around me, men were falling - some begging to be carried off the field - others giving their last request to some comrade. For once, while standing there with but six of my own company left, with the bullets flying all around me and man after man dropping here and there, I thought of the awful carnage - of this dastardly work of taking the lives of human beings. The N.Y. Brooklyn boys came up and with a cheer our boys turned to them and asked them forward. With a hurrah they rushed through our ranks and opened on the enemy, our boys joining with them. But it seemed as if the Secesh rose from the ground - for of a sudden a whole brigade of fresh rebels rose and poured in on our distracted men volley upon volley of Minnie balls. Then, and not till then, did it seem that the old brigade would give way. But alas! it slowly, gradually fell back till it passed through a column of fresh Union troops who marched forward to meet the exultant foe. Lt. Sanford of my company had fell, wounded in the head- his brains partly protruding when I had him put in a blanket and carried to the rear. Lt. Hill of Co. C was also wounded and carried to the rear, as also was Lt. Jones of Co. A. Our men what could served the wounded. As many as possible rallied around the old Colors and as soon as we reached the woods, a column was formed to stop stragglers coming from the field. My Orderly Sergeant, Wm. Noble, (and a braver man never shouldered a musket) stuck by the colors, and done his whole duty. He has been all to me and his course and manly bearing has taught me to love the man. For his noble conduct he deserves an honorable promotion. I had Lt. Sanford carried to the hospital but the doctors gave him up. He is now at Keedysville under the care of Geo. H. Legate. He is about the same and as yet unable to speak - at times out of his head. The Surgeons all agree that he cannot live. I have sent, by telegraph, for some of his relations to come to him. In this battle I had wounded: C. Schloser, badly; William Virgen, badly; N. Geib, slight; H. Coates, slight; Samuel Whitehead, slight; Jerome F. Johnson, slight. During the balance of the day we lay in the open field and at night again under - went the tunes of a cannonading. This battle, all day the enemy being driven at all points. The number killed and wounded in our Brigade was over 400. In the four battles, our Brigade has suffered a loss of over 1,700 killed and wounded. What the loss can be to our Army I cannot tell but it must be great. The rebels have certainly, in this last battle, lost two to our one. The rebels under the cover of a flag of truce to bury their dead (which they failed to do) retreated across the river leaving their wounded in our hands. But on the Virginia side, they run into the old Dutchman Sigel and undertook to cross back when they were met by our force and brought to a stand still. As the thing now stands Secesh are in a bad fix and likely to be annihilated. Their whole army is here and the thing must decide the fate of our government. It is either Confederacy or no Confederacy. Maryland and Pennsylvania are safe enough. In the fights of Maryland we must have captured at least 12,000 of their army. Our late battle field is an awful spectacle - only our own troops have been buried. The Wisconsin boys were nicely interred and a fence built around their graves - the place marked &c., If you should pass over that field you would never go over another. The dead so disfigured - swollen and black as ebony. It would seem out of the question for human beings to be treated so, but be it said - war has its evils. My letter is growing too lengthy and perhaps you will say a tiresome job to read it but I have tried to give you a hurried sketch of our doings in Virginia and Maryland knowing that you would naturally enough want to hear something from me. Heretofore I have had no chance to write you for the great Pope had deprived us of that privilege and now the gallant Mac, says write. Strange to say I have passed through all these battles with out getting a scratch. My Lieutenants are both gone. I am comparatively alone with twelve or fourteen men, and I assure you I feel lonesome - and at times moan, pine for old Wisconsin. I have seen so much, passed through such terrible fields of strife, that my heart is sickened against war. I would gladly grasp the old "Stick" and pick the types "as of yore" but I came here to perform a part and that part, whatever it may be, I shall cheerfully perform to the end. Our regiment, after receiving some of its absent duty men, is now 110 strong - it is all we can muster. Col. Fairchild has gone to Washington sick. Capt. Stevens of Co. A. is in command. I shall enclose a list of causalities of my company and of absentees & which you will please furnish the Mineral Point papers to publish. Present my compliments to all enquiring friends. Let me hear from you soon. Geo. H
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 02:00 | Written by John Gibbon
Everything now seemed to have settled down into comparative quiet, and I rode over to that part of the field lying to the left and behind the cornfield in which such a desperate struggle had taken place. near the edge of the cornfield at its S.E. corner I met Gen. Geo. H. Gordon, with the remnant of his brigade formed there, I suppose, after he came out of action. My attention was attracted to him and to his command first because he was a class-mate and second because in talking with him, I learned that he had in his brigade a Wisconsin regiment (the 3rd) of whose conduct in battle he seemed as proud as I was of my three regiments from the same state (2d, 6th, and 7th) John Gibbons Commander Iron Brigade