Friday, 14 September 2012 00:47 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
A few prisoners were taken by us, and after the fight was over a corporal of one of the regiments, with a guard, was sent to the rear with orders to turn them over at Gen. McClellan's Headquarters. Finding the house to which he was directed, he entered and wandering through the hall looking for someone to whom to turn over his prisoners, he came to an open door which he entered, and there found an officer seated writing, who turned on the intruder apparently somewhat annoyed at the interruption, and asked: "What do you want?" At once the corporal recognized Gen. McClellan. "I have some prisoners. General, I am ordered to turn over to you." "Who are you and where do you come from?" The corporal mentioned his regiment, at which McClellan at once exhibited interest, saying "Ah, you belong to Gibbon's Brigade. You had some heavy fighting up there tonight." "Yes sir, but I think we gave them as good as the sent." "Indeed you did," said McClellan, "you made a splendid fight." the corporal, green as he may have been on some military matters, must have been a youth of some considerable coolness, for with a smile, he said, "Well, General, that's the was we boys calculate to fight under a general like you." Many officers I know would have treated such an exhibition of familiarity with coldness. McClellan got up out of his chair, took the corporal by the hand and said with feeling, "My man, if I can get that kind of feeling amongst the men of this army, I can whip Lee without any trouble at all," The corporal returned to his regiment, proudly told his story and in a few minutes the report was circulated all through the Brigade that McClellan had taken an enlisted man by the hand and complimented him on the way his brigade had behaved in the fight! By such bearing as this is the confidence of soldiers won. John Gibbons
Friday, 14 September 2012 00:40 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
The following is the report of Capt. Callis who was in command of the 7th REGIMENT AT THE BATTLE OF SEPT. 14TH Headquarters 7th Regiment Wis. Vols., Frank A. Haskell, A. D. C. and A. A., Gen. Gibbon's Brigade
Sir:-I have the honor to report the part taken by the 7th Regiment of Wisconsin volunteers in the action of the 14th of Sept., at South Mountain Md. About five o'clock p.m., the 7th Regiment Wis. Vols., formed in line of battle on the north side of the turnpike at or near Middletown. Our left resting on the pike, skirmishers were thrown out in advance of us and soon encountered the skirmishers of the enemy; a sharp skirmish fire ensued; the regiment then broke by the right of companies to the front and advanced, keeping one hundred paces in rear of the line of skirmishers; we advanced in this way through a cornfield for half a mile and came out into an open field; here the skirmishers met such a sharp fire from the sharpshooters of the enemy that if was difficult for them to advance further the open field affording no shelter or protection against the sharp fire from the front; the regiment then formed in line of battle, and advanced our left touching the pike, our right extending north to the edge of a dense belt of woods on the slope of the Mountain; the enemy opened a destructive enfilading fire from a stone fence on our left at short range, which drew the fire from our regiment to the left; we kept advancing and firing until another enfilading fire from the woods on our right, and a direct fire from behind a stone fence in our front showed our close proximity to the enemy's line of battle. Our men returned the fire with great vigor; the 6th Wis. Reg't. was then in line in our rear, some fifty paces. Col. Bragg, seeing the destructive fire under which we were fighting, double quicked the 6th Wis Reg. to our right and opened on the enemy, thereby drawing the enfilading fire hitherto secured by us from the woods on our right. Col. Fairchild of the 2d Wis Reg. at this junction was a little to our rear, and left of the pike. He also seeing our perilous condition brought his regiment forward on our left and commenced a fire that saved us from further annoyance; the left thus leaving us to contend against a direct fire from behind a stone fence in our front. The firing was kept up without ceasing until after 9o'clock at night when our ammunition became exhausted. The fact was made known to Gen. Gibbon; his answer was hold the ground at the point of bayonet; our men were ordered to lie down; the cartridges were then taken from the boxes of the dead and wounded and distributed among the men who were destitute of of ammunition. I then gave them orders to load and lie down, and reserved their fire for close range; the enemy seeming to know our condition, commenced advancing on us in line, whereupon I ordered the regiment to rise up fix bayonets and charge on the advancing column. Our regiment had not advanced more than twenty feet when we fired; this broke the enemy's lines and they retired in great confusion. Our loss was heavy in killed and wounded. The aggregate of killed wounded and missing was about one hundred and forty-seven; the regiment went into action with three hundred and seventy-five muskets; the officers and men of the regiment all fought well, doing their whole duty; about half past 10 o'clock the regiment was relieved by part of Gen. Gorman's Brigade, the 15th Massachusetts Regt.
I have the honor, Sir, to be your most obedient servant, John B. Callis, Capt. Command'g. 7th Regt. Wis. Vols.
Tuesday, 11 September 2012 23:57 | Written by compiled by James Johnson
A GLORIOUS RECORD Correspondence of the Milwaukee Sentinel Washington, Sept. 11, 1862
On Saturday, August 9th, King's division, consisting of Hatch's, Doubleday's, Patrick's and Gibbon's Brigades, was at Fredericksburg, where it has been stationed some six or seven weeks, guarding the line of the Rappahannock river. The brigades were thus composed: Hatch's - 3d regiment Berdan Sharpshooters, 14th New York militia, 22d, 24th and 13th New York volunteers. Doubleday's - 56th Pennsylvania, 76th and 95th New York volunteers. Patrick's - 20th New York militia, 21st 3d and 35 New York volunteers. Gibbon's - 2d, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Volunteers, and 19th Indiana. Attached to the division were four batteries of artillery, viz: Company B, 4th United States Artillery; Company D, Rhode Island; Company I, New Hampshire; and Company L, 1st New York - in all 24 pieces. 12 Napoleon 12-Pounders, six 24-pounders howitzers and six rifled 3-inch ordnance guns. On the afternoon of the 9th a telegraphic order was received from Gen. Pope, directing the Division to join him at Cedar Mountain, 43 miles distant, where a severe battle was fought on the same day, between Jackson's forces and the corps of General Banks. The leading brigades were put in motion the same evening, the others followed at daylight, and the whole division effected its junction with the forces of Gen. Pope on the evening of the 11th. From the 11th to the 18th the division remained in position around the base of Cedar Mountain there being occasional skirmishing in front along the line of the Rapidan, with the outposts and pickets of the enemy. On the 18th it was ascertained that Gens. Longstreet and Jackson with a force variously reported at from 100,000 to 150,000 men were advancing to attack Pope who had not over 50,000. It was decided that Pope's army should fall back beyond the Rappahannock and there await reinforcements known to be coming up. The movement commenced the same evening. King's division marched early Tuesday morning, August 19th, and by nightfall reached the Rappahannock. On Wednesday they were placed in position on the north bank of the river, Very early on Thursday morning, the enemy who had followed up closely, opened fire from the south bank of the river. Our batteries promptly replied and the artillery duel continued at intervals, for three successive days. The division was drawn up by brigades, within supporting distance of the batteries, and a small force of the enemy's cavalry and infantry who had ventured to cross the river, was driven back with loss, by the skirmishers of the 2d and 6th Wisconsin and other regiments. On Saturday came the news of the enemy's raid in our rear and the capture, or destruction of a part of our train at Catlett's. The train of King's division escaped; the guards attached to it having gallantly repulsed three separate attacks of the enemy's cavalry. In consequence of the enemy's movement, Pope's army moved from the Rappahannock to Warrenton, where they arrived on the evening of the 23d. On the 25th, the division advanced to the Sulphur Springs, seven miles to watch the fords of the Rappahannock and the movements of Jackson's forces on the south side of the river. Here they remained until the 28th under fire much of the time and having one or two sharp skirmishes with the enemy's advance. On Thursday, the 28th, it being evident that the great body of the enemy had passed round our right and was threatening our rear, Pope's army was ordered back towards Manassas. King's division was directed to move through Warrenton to Gainesville, and thence towards Centerville. Late in the afternoon when the leading brigade (Hatch's) had for three or four miles beyond Gainesville, Gibbon's Brigade following on the same road fell in with, and was attacked by, a superior force - infantry and artillery - of the enemy forming as was afterwards ascertained the right wing of Jackson's corps. The brigade was instantly deployed in line of battle, the 6th Wisconsin on the right, next the 7th, the 2d and the 19th Indiana. Campbell's artillery, placed in position opened fire very effectively on the enemy. Doubleday's brigade was ordered up to Gibbon's support while Hatch was recalled and Patrick hurried up to position on the right and left. Meantime the fire of the enemy both artillery and infantry became exceedingly hot. The sixth Wisconsin advancing in line of battle under this fire coolly and steadily was halted by its heroic Colonel Cutler at the proper distance dressed on the centre and then deliberately opened its fire. On the left the Nineteenth Indiana and the Second Wisconsin engaged at close quarters and admirably led were making fearful havoc in the enemy's ranks. The Seventh Wisconsin, moving up into position between the Sixth and Second and being partially masked by the latter, first obliqued to the left and then finding itself exposed to a flank as well as front fire, first silenced the last then under its gallant colonel's orders, changed front forward on its left company as coolly as if on drill and crossing its fire with that of the Second and Nineteenth, effectually checked the threatening advance of the enemy's line. In this way for an hour and a half and until it grew so dark that it was no longer possible to distinguish objects, the fierce fight continued. The enemy made repeated and desperate attempts to dislodge Gibbon's brigade but in every instance their advancing columns melting away under the withering fire of a steady front were compelled themselves to fall back. Night at length brought an end to the conflict and each side became occupied in gathering up the dead and wounded. Gibbon's brigade on whom a brunt of the action had fallen, suffered ruefully. Col. O'Connor of the Second, Major May, of the Nineteenth were mortally hurt. Col. Cutler of the Sixth ,?d. Robinson, Lieut. Col. Hamilton and Mmajor Bill of the Seventh and Major Allen of the Second, all received severe wounds. The proportion of killed and wounded among the officers was unusually large showing how gallant an example they had set to their men. The total list of casualties in the brigade, 782 killed wounded and missing, told how bravely they had stood their ground and defied the utmost efforts of the enemy. Lieut. Col. Hamilton, shot through both thighs, his horse wounded under him and falling dead at last on the field, remained with his regiment an hour after he was hit and until, in obedience to orders, he withdrew it from the ground and posted it in line along the road by which the column had been marching. So far as is known, not an officer or man of the command flinched from his post or failed on his duty. Tried by the severe ordeal of battle, the brigade has justified its high reputation and proved worthy representative of Wisconsin and Indiana. It was nine o'clock before the firing ceased. Then came the question of what next is to be done? The enemy, in greatly superior force, barred the way by which the division was advancing. The only alternative was to deflect to the right, to join the bulk of Pope's army in the vicinity of Manassas. This indeed involved the painful yet unavoidable necessity of leaving behind our killed and wounded. These latter were placed in charge of Dr. Ward, of the 2d and Dr. Green, of the 19th Indiana, and made as comfortable as our means permitted. Soon after midnight the division took up its silent march toward Manassas, and effected, unmolested, the desired junction. Early on Friday morning (Aug. 29) several divisions of Pope's army, including King's, were put in motion towards the battle field of Bull Run and became engaged at various intervals during the day and in various positions with different corps of the enemy. It was rather a series of conflicts between isolated divisions or of conflicts between isolated divisions of corps, than a great battle between two contending armies. Whether from imperfections of original plan, misunderstanding of order; or failure from causes unknown of some Divisions or Corps to take up, in season, the places assigned to them, the result of Friday's fight was inconclusive. King's division bore its part and was in its place during the day though not so seriously engaged as on the day preceding. Both sides slept on their arms anticipating a renewal of the contest in the morning. With the dawn of Saturday (Aug. 30), active movements commenced. The morning was mainly occupied on both sides in shifting the positions of different corps, placing artillery in eligible points and reconnoitering each other's lines and operation. Beyond the discharge of an occasional gun, little occurred to show that two large armies lay in immediate proximity to each other, watching the opportunity to fall on. Midday, indeed had passed and the afternoon was well advanced before the battle was fairly joined; but when it did commence it was in bloody earnest. For several hours the roar of artillery and rattle of musketry was fearful and incessant without perceptible advantage on either side. At five o'clock the fire was at its height the thunder of the cannon continuous and the infantry volleys one unbroken peal. It was about this time that the left, pressed by superior numbers, began slowly to give ground. King's division was in this part of the field and gallantly maintained the reputation they had so bravely won two days before. Gradually, regiment after regiment, brigade after brigade withdrew from the fire and pressed, some in order, some in confusion, to the rear. Gibbon's brigade formed in two lines, undismayed by the unfavorable aspect of the battle presented its steady front to the enemy, only falling back when ordered to do so as their flanks became exposed by the retiring of their supports on the right and left - They fell back, as they had advanced, in perfect order; no break in the ranks, no panic among officers or men. The 6th Wisconsin, the very last to retire, marched slowly and steadily to the rear; faced to the front again as they reached their new position, and saluted the approaching enemy with three cheers and a rattling volley. Every Wisconsin man who heard those cheers, felt his heart thrill with pride for the gallant fellows who gave them. The giving way of the left wing decided the second battle for Bull Run against us. The whole army took up its march for Centreville. But it was a retreat, not a rout. Our exhausted troops fell back slowly and sullenly. Gibbon's brigade covered the rear, not leaving the field till after nine o'clock at night; gathering up the stragglers, as they marched; preventing confusion and showing so steady a line that the enemy made no attempt to molest them. On the 31st, the division took up ground in rear of Centreville, and two days afterwards, with the rest of the army, fell back to the lines around Washington. This brief narrative would not be complete with a statement of the loss sustained by the division during the three memorable days, August 28th, 29th and 30th. It is as follows, in killed wounded and missing there being very few of the latter:
The effective strength of the division when it went into action on the afternoon of the 28th was about 8500. The loss, therefore, was very nearly one-third of the whole force engaged and that of Gibbon's brigade, almost forty percent. These figures tell their own story. Well may Wisconsin feel proud of her gallant sons of the Second, Sixth and Seventh regiments. Their names belong to the roll of our country's heroes. BADGER
Thursday, 06 September 2012 19:13 | Written by Edited James Johnson
Oct. 10th, the 24th Regiment of Michigan, Col. Henry Morrow, fresh from home, joins the brigade. Cornelius Wheeler’s diaries
On my return to the army, I found Gen. McClellan had fulfilled his promise by assigning to my brigade a new western regiment- the 24th Michigan - Col. H. A. Morrow - and on the 16th I inspected it. In a letter, dated that day, I said: "I reviewed my new regiment this afternoon and was very much pleased with its appearance. From its bearing I have no doubt it will not be long before it will be a worthy member of the 'Black Hats.'" John Gibbons
Thursday, 06 September 2012 19:10 | Written by Gen. B. McClellan
EQUAL TO THE BEST TROOPS IN ANY ARMY IN THE WORLD
The Special Order of Gen Gibbon given below, embodying a very high compliment to our Wisconsin troops in the Army of the Potomac from Gen. McClellan was enclosed to Gov. Salomon in a letter from Col. Fairchild and Major Stevens to the Governor, recommending certain promotions in the 2d regiment. In this connection it may be observed that the 24th Michigan Regiment has been added to Gibbon's Brigade: Headquarters Gibbon's Brigade Near Sharpsburg, MD October 7th, 1862
SPECIAL ORDERS NO.- It is with great gratification that the Brigadier General Commanding announces to the Wisconsin troops the following endorsement upon a letter to His Excellency the Governor of Wisconsin. His greatest pride will always be to know that such encomiums from such a source are always merited: "I beg to add to this endorsement the expression of my great admiration of the conduct of the three Wisconsin Regiments in Gen. Gibbon's Brigade. I have seen them under fire acting in a manner that reflects the greatest possible credit and honor upon themselves and their State. THEY ARE EQUAL TO THE BEST TROOPS IN ANY ARMY IN THE WORLD: (Signed,) Gen. B. McClellan By command of Brig. Gen. Gibbon (Signed,) J.P. Wood, Ass't Adj't. Gen.