Friday, 24 May 2013 17:56 | Written by Edited by James Johnson
First Sergeant James Tyler of Co E, 14th Wisconsin
Thursday, 21, 1863 Vicksburg
The morning was fine and was very warm. The Firing did not become general till about 8 h A.M. neither side seamed to be in any hurry to open the Ball. E & H Co. were on fatigue in the night digging rifle pits. It looks now as if the intention was to seag Vicksburg. Rained quite a heavy shower about Noon and the after noon is cloudy. We have gained No advantage on the center as I can see. Firing continued Late to night.
Morning fine but there was a shower about 2 Oc P.M. The Reg was called to attention at 8 Oc A.M. to charge on the Rebs breast works the charge was Made at about 12 o'clock we gained nothing only To loose a good many men 1 killed and 12 wounded. I never suffered so much in all my life as I did Through the after noon I had to lay flat on the ground And not move to keep the Rebs from seeing me I Crept from under the fort after dark on my knees
Morning cloudy Jacob Williams and I lost the Reg and we were the most of the fore noon to find it Again. There was no fighting only by the sharp Shooters in the rifle pits and the artillery that was Pretty sharp all day. There is two of the wounded men of E. Co. still on the field where we charged Yesterday. There was two showers this after noon. Capt. Henry went and tried to get the wounded boys Off the field but the pickets would not let him out Oh the horrors of war.
The day was fine and very warm the fighting has been done by sharp shooters and Artillery and that Was not very heavy part of the day. The Reg did not have any thing to do to day. Sergeant Smith came In off the field he was not wounded as bad as was Thought for. Capt and 4 of the boys went to find Sergeant Stone and he was gone. I am acting Orderly Being the only non-commissioned officer but What was wounded in the Co. In charging on the Rebel breastworks, the loss of the 14 Reg was in Killed and wounded were 107 privates and officers.
Friday, 24 May 2013 17:00 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
From the 17th Wis. Infantry Correspondence of the Telegraph Camp of the 17th Regt. Vol. near Corinth Miss., Sept. 15th 1862
EDITORS OF THE TELEGRAPH:-It may interest some of your readers by giving them through your columns a brief account of a very interesting ceremony of the blessing, and presentation of a magnificent Irish flag to Co. B. Several old army officers who were present praised it very highly and pronounced it the most beautiful specimen of art they ever saw. It is certainly a beautiful flag to say the least. Capt. McDermott and Co. B. may well be proud of it. It was designed and executed by one of the best artists in the West. It is of the finest silk beautifully fringed with gold. Upon one side is the Harp of Erin and the Sunburst; upon the other the Round tower and Wolf dog also the Shamrock. On one side is inscribed the words, Faug a Ballac , on the other, Erin go Brah. The ceremony took place yesterday afternoon at four o'clock. Among the notables present were-Maj. Gen. Ord, Major Gen.McArthur, Brig Gen Allen and others. Col. Doram made a speech full of eloquence and patriotism. He was repeatedly interrupted with wild outbursts of applause. The Col. was followed by Capt Armstrong, Adjutant Plunket and others, all of whom spoke eloquently and to the point and were enthusiastically applauded. The presentation speech was made by the Rev. Napoleon Mignauld. Capt.McDermott's reply of Capt. McDermott. I regret that I have not a copy of the presentation speech by Rev. Napoleon Mignauld, Regimental Chaplain. CAPT. McDERMOTT: A REPLY "Reverend and Dear Sir, I accept this emblem under which every Irishman loves to fight. It is more dear to us on account of having received with it the benediction of heaven through your hands. We will guard it with religious zeal and patriotic devotion. It shall never be trailed in the dust until our arms are palsied and our hearts lie cold in death. You, my brave comrades, who have anxiously watched for the foe on picket, in trench and bivouac for the last six months subject to all the hardships inseparable from such a campaign does it not inspire you with patriotic enthusiasm to see the green flag flying over you! I know it does! Oh my brave comrades, look upon it, remember its historic associations, how often it has been borne to victory by our patriotic sires and how often the pirate red has palled before the sunburst of freedom. I will not allude to the many instances which history furnishes of heroic deeds performed under the shadow of the old flag. They are patent to every student of History. My brave comrades, do you not love this sacred emblem of liberty still more when it is born in defense of our adopted country, its constitution and its laws, (tremendous applause). I know you do! Oh my comrades, we should peril all to save those grand free institutions the down trodden nations Europe, and if we are whipped out by the enemies of freedom, the hall of liberty will not then have a resting under the sun. Then rally around the green flag in co-partnership with its younger but more robust sister of the stars and stripes, let their sprit stirring mingled colors lighten up our hearts, nerve our arms and send lightings through our blood. Then I know the men of the 17th will not stand playing long tom with the enemy! No, no! it will be one wild hurrah, charge and "hau wen un Deul faug a Ballac" And whether we live or die in this struggle they will undoubtedly be borne to victory, and our children will yet proudly point to those flags and say our fathers fought under those banners. Our men never were in better health than at present. There is not one sick in our hospital. We have just received orders to be ready at short notice to march. Yours very respectfully. Sergt. Eugene Harkins
"Your soul to the Devil, clear the road.
Symbols of the Flag The Green Field The green field indicates a flag of Republican sympathies. Many earlier flags had the sunburst or harp on a blue field. In 1798 the green field and harp were used together and remained so until the beginning of the 20th Century when the British began to use it for recruiting for World War I. This greatly offended many and the usage dropped off. The Harp of Erin Henry the VIII made the harp the Irish National symbol in the 16th Century. It had been a standard in the halls of Kings for millennia and is forever symbolic. The Sunburst The sunburst is based in the Framalocht (14-18th C.) It was used by nationalists from the first half of the 19th century when it was expected The Shamrock The Wolfhound Erin Go Braugh Faug A Ballach
Friday, 10 May 2013 17:10 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
The correspondent of the Chicago Times, writing from Washington, has the following about western troops: In this connection permit me to speak a word in praise of the western troops. None have a more brilliant report than they. They were the first to cross the river and have stood their grounds at all points with a fortitude and power of end ice that had never been surpassed. An instance was conspicuous at the meeting below Fredericksburg. At the lower crossing, the one made by the first corps the resistance was so obstinate as to call for an exhibition of valor of the part of our troops deserving of the highest commendation The enemy lined the south bank of the river with sharpshooters so securely posted in rifle-pits as to baffle all attempts to dislodge them made from the north side. From their sheltered position they were enabled to pour upon our pontoons such a galling fire that it was impossible to proceed with the construction of the bridge at that point and the engineer corps was obliged to fall back. At this repulse the first brigade of Wadsworth division was ordered up for the day. The pontoon boats were thrown into the water and quickly filled with the picked regiment from the brigade-the 24th Michigan Col. H. A. Morrow and the 6th Wisconsin, Col. Bragg, who proceeded across the river in these open boats under a most murderous fire, and charging up the banks on the south side, cleared the rifle-pits, capturing about one hundred prisoners and driving the remainder of the rebel force in the wildest confusion back across the fields. These western men can not be too highly complimented on the gallantry displayed on this occasion. It was largely owing to their invincible courage that we succeeded in making the crossing at that point. Indeed our bridges could not have been laid had the opposite bank not been cleared and there appeared no other way of clearing that bank but by this hazardous and daring adventure. The regiments that performed this perilous duty suffered considerably in killed and wounded. On the right of our line above Fredericksburg equal valor was shown by these sturdy western men. The 20th Indiana was singled out by Birney for his advance guard when he pushed his column so far beyond the plank road on Saturday and were even preferred as skirmishers, to the famous Berdan Sharpshooters. the 3d and 5th Michigan were among the best of Birney's troops as he had sid himself in my hearing. they have both suffered severely in the recent battles the former having. its Colonel (Pierce, from Grand Rapids) wounded though slightly and the latter its Lieutenant colonel commanding the regiment-E. T. Sherlock of Detroit-killed. In nearly every army corps there were representatives from some of the western states principally Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and I have yet to learn of a single instance in which any of them failed to distinguish themselves Ripon
Friday, 10 May 2013 17:04 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
Camp Wadsworth, Va. May 8th, 1863 EDITORS REPUBLIC:-I am aware that in writing home from the army we are to apt to fall to the error of praising those regiments and brigades of which we are members to the disgust of persons more interested in other troops and perhaps to our own friends even. Although a person may guard against this habit in writing doubt not you can discover much self praise which he at the time was unconscious of indulging in. I would never admit however that the Wisconsin troops in this portion of the army had received more credit than was due them at the hands of any one. they simply ask what they have earned, and that the honor of a movement shall not be taken from them and given other troops by partial reporters, as has bet done in one or two instances heretofore. I design to give a brief account of the crossing the Rappahannock at the beginning of the campaign under Gen. Hooker. the 1st army corps was to cross four miles below Fredericksburg and hold the enemy there, while Gen. Hooker with the greater portion of the army crossed about five miles above the city and turned the enemy's flank. Our operations were therefore on the left. At the break of day on the morning of April 29th, we had reached the river where we were to cross, but only a few of the pontoons had been launched and the bridge was not begun. As soon as it was light enough for the enemy's sharp shooters to see across the river and while our pontoons were being unloaded they opened on us sharply, wounding some of the horses of the pontoon train setting them to rearing, plunging and running, which added to the disagreeable sensation that invariable comes over men at the opening of a battle. The 6th. reg. moved by the flank and filed towards the river behind a stone wall, but as the wall ran perpendicularly to the river it afforded but little protection, and after the 24th Michigan had fired a volley across which was too much at random to take good effect both regiments were withdrawn a few rods, it being too hot where we were for so large a force when the river prevented out advancing.- The 14th Brooklyn reg. were sent forward in line as skirmishers and took shelter behind some timber on the bank, but the enemy who were well concealed could not be driven from his position by this force. Our batteries opened on them but they were determined not to be shelled out. Two hours or more had passed and yet it was impossible for the engineers to approach the water to commence the bridge. We lay quietly observing how unsuccessful were out attempts until it become evident that some other plan had to be adopted or we should never cross. Soon Gen. Reynolds rode up and after a few minutes consultation Col. Bragg called his officers together and informed that Gen. R. had designated the 6th reg. to cross the river in boats and charge up the steep bank on the opposite side. It was adopted as the last resort and no one who knew by experience the accuracy and determination of the enemy we were fighting doubted for a moment that the blood of many would mingle with the slow current of the disputed stream; I confess that I never saw anything that appeared so much like certain death as this movement did. As the boys took off their knapsacks and haversacks and piled them up so as to have nothing about them that would impede their rapid moment they replied "We shall not need this baggage any longer" there will be two knapsacks for every man that returns, " &c. I do not believe one of them desired to remain behind however. They felt that it was necessary to be done and that they were as able to do it as any one. The preliminaries were arranged carefully so that there might be as little confusion as possible. The boats or pontoons would hold about one of out companies and the men were ordered to lie down in the bottoms of the boats except four good men in each boat who would row it across. The 24th Michigan was to follow us immediately, and as many cross with us as could get in the boats. We moved forward in line until with a few rods of the river, when the order was given "By the right of companies-to the front double quick march!" On we marched with a badger" yell, down the bank, over the Brooklyn skirmishers to the water's edge, plunged into the boats until we lay about three deep and pushed off. The scene of wild excitement which then ran high is indescribable. If enactors will carry its impression through life, but can never convey if to other "Whiz" whiz" spat" spat" their bullets struck around us. Our men rose in the boats and fired. The other regiments of the brigade which had followed us to the bank kept up an incessant roar of musketry. I never saw soldiers so enthusiastic before. The Col. of the 24th Michigan crossed over with co. "A" and could hardly keep himself in the boat he was so impatient to reach the opposite shore Bodley Jones stood on the edge of the boat cheering at the top of his voice, and I half expected to see him fall into the river and drown. There was but one of the regiment I think who was lost in the river. A little fellow of co. "K" was seen tipping forward. A stream of blood rushing from his temple over his face showed where he as struck He sank but did not rise! Before we reached the shore the shaggy bucked butternuts began to climb for the top of the rugged bank but some came rolling down. As soon as the boats touched the shore the men sprang from them and scrambled up the steep hill every man for himself and rebel. After reaching the summit there was a large open plain before us, and we beheld the enemy fleeing before us in every direction. col. Bragg found it difficult to rally all his men here they were so impatient for the chase. Many laughable incidents took place.- Wm. Palmer of co. "A" well known for his ready sarcasm and joking proclivities amusing the whole regiment by undertaking to chase a rebel down. He gained on him at every step and finally caught him. The regiment forward to a large brick house and from its roof our flag was swung at the retreating foe. it was said that we took as many prisoners as equaled our own numbers that crossed in the boats first- Little Charlie Kellogg brought in a large burly fellow about twice his own size. The scene which I have been so long describing from the time that we moved forward in line toward the river until we reached the brick house was performed in less than fifteen minutes. The grandest fifteen minutes of our lives worth one's life to enjoy. Gen Wadsworth sprang into a boat and swam his horse across holding on by the bridle. As he rode up the reg. he said: Col. Bragg, I thank you and your gallant regiment for their noble conduct today. We remained here until the 2d of May when our corps moved to the right and joined Gen. Hooker's forces there but were not in the engagement. You are aware that we returned tor the side of the river again but our confidence in Gen. Hooker which was unbounded is yet unshaken. the regiment list in crossing below but five killed and ten wounded James Whitty of Co. "A" who was wounded at South Mountain received another wound here. I find I have occupied considerable space. but I am sure the material is sufficient for a much longer and more concise letter. We would hail with satisfaction an order to attack the enemy again to-day. Your Truly H. J. H.
Sunday, 07 April 2013 18:09 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
Correspondence of the Sentinel
Camp Near Fredericksburg Va. In our experience of nearly two years that "when it rains, we march," and when on the 20th of April we broke camp marching to and bivouacking about eight P.M. near the Rappahannock, the rain and mud bespattered us in regular Virginia style. Thoughts of home and speculations on the issue of the morrow had hardly expired undue the influence of sleep when we were ordered to fall in. It was about 11:30, the night dark and cold.- The pontoons were rumbling over the corduroy road and troops on either side of us were ready to march. We marched slowly and in silence now, watching for the boats to pass; and then falling out, literally to put our shoulder to the wheel! Thus we advanced, the stillness of the night being broken occasionally, the increasing mist and steady murmuring of waters, the distinct report of a rifle and the mosquito, like hum of a bullet, told us were filing on the banks of the Rappahannock and in the presence of the enemy. Hardly had the grey mists which curtained the river and its banks been dispelled by the approaching day when the enemy opened fire on our ranks. To a part of the First Brigade of our division (Wadsworth's) was given the task of driving the enemy from the river and placing the boats in a position to cross, but after about three hours desultory firing, assisted by a battery they failed and, leaving their boats on terra firma and their accoutrements! behind, - ran. The 14th Brooklyn, however, of this Brigade fought manfully. During this time, the "Iron Brigade" were lying close under the bank of the river in order in which they charged thus; 24th Mich. 7th, 6th, and 2d Wis. and 19th Ind. and were greeted every now and then by the enemy's sharpshooters losing a few from their fire. It had been said ,early to the morning, that the Iron Brigade were to lead the way across the river but when about nine o'clock the order came for the 2d, and 7th regiments to follow the 24th Mich. and our two Regiment's knew, on arriving at the river's brink, that any of our troops had crossed or that it was the intention to cross immediately. This sad blundering, the reasonability of which rests with those staff officers who gave the orders, cost the 6th two or three killed and wounded. Being myself in the second line of the Brigade, the 2d and 7th, can I only speak directly of their movements advancing at the double quick and deploying into line of battle as we went. We arrived at the river the moment a company of the 6th had landed with bullets whistling, hurrahs, yells, and cries of the Boat! The Boat! and Forward! our fellow simultaneously with the 6th Mich. rushed on and crossed and in a second, like hounds slipped from their leashes, were hunting the rebs from their rifle pits in every direction; and in ten minutes all was over. The enemy fought bravely and well, yielding only when our bayonets were at their hearts. In this affair the enemy's loss was 29 killed, nearly 200 wounded and 200 prisoners; our loss was much less, about 50 killed and wounded. The 7th lost three commissioned officers, two killed and one severely wounded. Of the fighting that has taken place on the Rappahannock these past ten days this is the only one in which the "Iron Brigade" has been actively engaged and though this is small in comparison with others yet the dash and eclat which characterize it makes it well worthy of mentioning and shows that the esprit du corps of the Iron Brigade is still at its meridian. The spectators were loud in their praises and pronounced it brilliant. An old moustache, always careful of not be lauding the feats of others, will tell you "It was a pretty good affair." Though should any one attempt to gather light from Headquarters, he would hardly be able to tell whether anything was accomplished by any Regiments save the 24th Michigan, 6th Wisconsin and 14th Brooklyn, palmam qui merit ferat.- with the exception of about one company of the 6th, the crossing was simultaneous so far as could be and Col. Fairchild was one of the first to organize his regiment and deploy his skirmishers, a precaution very necessary at this time as the enemy's skirmishers were closing in, in one long semicircle and our position was not one of absolute security. Entrenching ourselves we remained here until the 2d of May; we then marched down to the U.S. ford, and on the 3d took position near Chancellorsville, where we again entrenched ourselves, behind breast works and abattis remained until 3 o'clock P.M. on the 6th of May, when our army fell back from its position and we took up our line of march to our present camp. Such is a brief outline of the operations of the "Iron Brigade" since the 20th of April. Wisconsin