Sunday, 07 April 2013 18:03 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
There is on exhibition at the store of Messrs Tiffany & Co. a beautiful flag which has been procured for the celebrated Iron Brigade of the First Army Corps Army of the Potomac. The flag is an regulation size and made of heavy dark blue silk. It is embellished by a handsome "vignette" of an eagle shield and scroll, motto "E Pluribus Unum", the same as on the ten dollar Treasury note. The names of the principal battles in which the brigade had been engaged are handsomely worked each on a separate scroll. The vignette, the scroll work and the name of each regiment composing the brigade, the Second, Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin, Nineteenth Indiana and Twenty-fourth Michigan, are all worked in, the designing is most exquisitely done. A rich and heavy border adds to and completes the effect. The staff is mounted with a massive silver spear head. The flag has been manufactured by Messrs. Tiffany & Co. under the supervision of W. K. Selleck, Esq., Military Agent of Wisconsin and is the gift of number of gentlemen from the States of Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. It is a fit and elegant tribute to the heroism of one the most glorious organizations in the entire army. - N.Y. Times, May 17th '63
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 00:24 | Written by Cornelius Wheeler’s diary
April 29th, about midnight, the Iron Brigade moves down to the river and lay a bridge at Fitzhugh Crossing, Sixth Wisconsin and Twenty forth Michigan in advance, followed closely by the Second, Seventh and Nineteenth Indiana, all at double quick. When the boats were filled they were quickly pulled over the stream under a galling fire from the enemy, gaining the banks in less than twenty minutes, two hundred rebels being taken prisoner, twenty-nine killed, after which Battery B crosses over, takes position between the bridges, where we entrench and remain here several days, subject to a good deal of shelling.
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 00:16 | Written by Edited by James Johnson
THE VOICE OF THE IRON BRIGADE Copperhead Slanders rebuked
No Peace Until the Rebellion is Crushed
Resolution adopted unanimously by the Brigade composed of the 2d, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin Regiments and the 19th Indiana and 24th Michigan Regiments Volunteers.
WHEREAS, Certain evil minded persons about the army and at home have circulated basely slanderous reports concern the Army of the Potomac, and with pain and regret we have noticed a resulting demoralization of his army; and reports put in circulation by a set of Northern traitors to advance their wicked designs lay to our charge the imputation that we are in favor of peace on any terms; therefore for the purpose of refuting such slanders alike insulting to our character as soldiers or citizens.
We of the 4th Brigade 1st Division 1st Army Corps,
1st. That we denounce such reports and declare emphatically that there are no men to be found in the ranks who would not blush at dishonorable or inglorious peace, and who would not rather sacrifice their all for the maintenance of the Constitution and the integrity of the Union and for the crushing out of this rebellion.
2d. That wearying as the profession of a soldier may be and much as we long for the society of our families and the endearments of home, we feel it our duty to carry this war to the bitter end; and whatever the consequence to ourselves may be, the Army of the Potomac will be true to its flag and not desire peace till the last armed rebel has vanished from our soil.
3d. That we warn our friends at home to beware of traitors in their own midst - wolves in sheep clothing - and never forget that the first duty of a good citizen is the maintenance of his rightful Government, with subordination of all lesser personal, political, or social interest, to the great common cause. The blood of thousands of our friends and comrades already sacrificed upon the altar of our country should incite all to emulate cheerfully their glorious example which calls upon you to fill the thinned rank of our army which never will submit to inglorious peace.
4th. That it is our sincere belief that the safety of our country lies in rallying around the government in a hearty co-operation of all for a vigorous prosecution of the war and a stern resolution to fight until the last rebel in arms is subdued and the Stars and Stripes are again floating over every inch of territory belonging to the United States; and we invite our friends at home to join with us in the motto: "High the flag of our country - death to traitors, south, north, east or west."
5th. That we fully endorse the spirit of the last congressional militia law and are in favor of enforcing the same throughout all States and parts of States now under the control of our government. The grumblers and fault finders at home, the heroes of the quill, and the thundering public orators - after having seen the fruitlessness of the attempt to crush the rebellion with their long range guns may thus have the opportunity to show their metal to correct errors and to prove their oft pledged devotion to the Union in shouldering the musket and joining their brethren in arms. Let it be understood that in the present struggle no neutrality can be permitted, and that men must either fight, pay, or emigrate.
6th. That we recognize in the present administration the government de facto, and cheerfully endorse it to any subsequent one in all acts or measures having for their object a vigorous prosecution of the war and the effectual crushing out of this rebellion.
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 20:57 | Written by Complied by James Johnson
February 1863 WAR CORRESPONDENCE - 2D REGIMENT WE HAVE RECEIVED A LETTER FROM OUR OLD CORRESPONDENT IN CO. E. DATED BELL PLAIN, VA., FEB 17.
AS IT IS QUITE LONG WE ARE OBLIGED TO OMIT THE FIRST PART AFTER SPEAKING OF THE WEATHER, HIS OFFICERS, &C., HE PROCEEDS: The "old Second still lives."
We now turn out something over two muskets. The reputation of the "Iron Brigade" is still above par in army circles. We were unfortunate enough to be rear guard in the late fruitless effort at another demonstration against Fredericksburg, which is one of the most unenviable positions in which a regiment can be placed although it is considered a post of honor. The storm (more severe than any which I ever experienced) commenced the first day. The roads were never worse and men and teams suffered fearfully. The first night, from being compelled to wait, the movements of artillery, teams, &c., which stuck in the mud in advance, it was 12 o'clock at night when we camped, the rain falling in torrents, accompanied by a severe Nor'easter. The storm continued three days which put an effectual check upon any further movement at that time. The troops were ordered to return and take up their old positions. It was some time, however, before all the artillery, wagon, &c., could be got back, so bad were the roads, which for miles were completely blocked up with army wagons, artillery, dead mules and horses. T'was a sad failure to say the least, and venture the assertion that government lost as much by it in men, (through desertion, sickness, &c,) and material, and that esprit-d'-corps, so essential to success, as when we failed to take impregnable batteries at the point of the bayonet in Burnside's first attempt on Fredericksburg.
Since then we have been doing picket and fatigue duty - such as building "corduroy roads, bridges, docks, &c.", so that the men are on duty almost every day. Some changes have taken place in the command of the 2d.. Lieut. Col. Allen is now Col. of the 5th, and Maj. Stevens in now Lieut. Col. with Capt Mansfield,-"G" Co., Portage City Light Guard, as Major. We now have a Brigade band composed mostly of the old members of the 2d's Band that was discharged last summer. They met with a most hearty welcome from the boys who had never forgiven our venerable Uncle Samuel for depriving us of the only source of pleasure ever afforded them. The present band is a good one, and under the direction of their gentlemanly leader, Mr. Fischal, discourses most excellent music.
The last "grand movement" of the 2d, was a foraging expedition down the Potomac, in company with the 6th Wis, under command of Col. Fairchild, the plan of the expedition was this: the 2d and 6th Wis, and the 7th Ind. (not in our brigade) were to take transports at the landing not more than half a mile from the camp, sail down the river and canal in Northumberland Co., where, at Heathsville, the county seat, we were to meet and act in conjunction with a force of cavalry , who were to have taken the overland route. Thursday, the 12th, the infantry force embarked - the 2d and 6th on the Alice Price, and the 7th Ind. on the Edwin Lewis. T'was 4 o'clock P.M. before we left the dock and steamed down the river. Our picket line (the left of which rests on the river about three miles from point of embarkation,) waspassed, and from that point to the mouth of the Potomac, the country is in the possession of the rebels. By 10 o'clock the second day, having run up what is known as Cove Creek, we effected a landing at a point about 3 miles from where it empties into the Potomac. I will state here that the boat with the 7th Ind. on board failed to land and returned without accomplishing anything and our force was consequently much weakened. "E" Co. was first ordered to land and instantly pushed out into the country picking up horses, mules, forage and suspicious looking citizens and not returning to the boat until late in the evening, having captured 26 mules, six horses, four thousand lbs. bacon, ham shoulders, &c., not a bad day's work for a company of 11 privates, 6 non-commissioned officers and one 2d Lieut. The remainder of the force in the meantime having marched to Heathsville and although behind time some three or four hours the cavalry we were to have met there had not arrived; neither did they arrive at all having been badly frightened soon after leaving our picket lines by indications of the presence of a large force of the enemy's cavalry in the vicinity.
Their loss was not felt for although our cavalry in this division is probably as good as any in the field, it isn't what it should be; in fact, our cavalry is the most ineffective arm of the service. At Heathsville we broke up a conscript meeting and made several valuable captures. At night "E" Co. was on picket. Having more horses and mules than we could take back on the boat early in the morning of the second day, volunteers to the number of thirty were called for to take the extra stock to camp by land -a most hazardous undertaking, as you will acknowledge when you consider that the distance to be traced was near ninety miles and that through an enemy's country, "E" Co. being on picket was only represented by one man, Geo. E. Smith, who, having been on duty away from the co., was on hand and made one of the party. At day break the cavalcade started under the command of Lieut. Daily, "B " Co., LaCrosse L. G. It was a daring feat and the well wishes of those who remained for the safe arrival of each and all were given with many a sad foreboding. What the Col. thought of it may be implied from this: When asked why he didn't send more that one commissioned officer with the troop he remarked, "I thought one was enough to be captured!" Those who remained embarked in the afternoon of the second day with all the horses, mules, bacon, &c., the boat could carry and the next day, at night, found us at our quarters. The second day after our arrival the land force reached camp having, by judicious management, eluded the enemy's cavalry at every point and bringing with them an additional number of horses and mules besides making some very important captures of rebel officers. Many interesting incidents are related by the boys-hair breadth escapes, romantic adventures, first experiences at bareback mule-riding &c., but for fear of trespassing too much on you space will mention but one. The first day out from Heathsville, through information received from a conscript who had for some time been making it his headquarters in the woods thus eluding the authorities whose business it was to enforce the conscript act,- they became apprised of their near proximity to the house of a Col. Claybrook - noted secessionist and a man prominent for his exertions in enforcing that act and consequently no special favorite with its victims. Determined upon his capture; Lieut Daily disposed his men so as to surround the home before approaching close enough to alarm the inmates and then gradually closing in; thus effectually preventing an escape. On arriving at the door and before the Lieut. could dismount, the party were suddenly confronted by a specimen of female chivalry as represented in the indignant persons of the old lady and two remarkably fine looking daughters - the most beautiful of which demanded, with revolver leveled, what was wanted. The Lieut., respectfully touching his cap, (a tribute to the youth and beauty of the fair secessionist ) replied that it was the Col. they were in quest of, begging them not to alarm themselves assuring them that Union soldiers never war upon women. With pistol still pointed she then asked - What 's your name, sir?" The Lieut., who had dismounted in the meantime, replied: "My name is Lt. Daily, 2d Wis. Vol. "O!" then exclaimed the young lady with a good deal less asperity "so you are Wisconsin men. I thought you were eastern troops", at the same time dropping the pistol by her side and assuming her own proper character of the refined and accomplished lady. She then informed the Lieut. that the Col. was not in and gave them permission to search the house which they did but no Col. was to be found. I mention this as it is only one of the many tributes paid to the superiority of western troops. The expedition was most successful as the result will show.
We captured ninety- eight horses and mules, several thousand pounds of bacon, ham, &., broke up a gang of smugglers, burned a rebel schooner and returned without the loss of a man. This letter is much longer that was at first intended abut I will strive to avoid a repetition of the offence. Members of "E" Co with the Reg. are all well and on duty . The health of the Reg. is good Yours W. S. R.
Another description of the adventure.
February 1863 (Correspondence of the Journal and Courier.) From the 6th Regiment Near Belle Plain Landing, Va. Feb. 16, 1863
Mr. Editor: A foraging expedition, composed of the 6th and 2d regiments, under command of Col. Fairchild's of the latter regiment lately most agreeably interrupted the routine of camp life in winter quarters here upon the Potomac. On the 12th inst., the necessary orders having been received, we quickly found ourselves in light marching order, on board the steamer Alice Price, formerly flagship of Gen. Burnside, and en route upon our enterprise. Tis true we were a little too crowded for comfort, the weather rather cool, the accommodations for sleeping and cooking our "java" very limited, as we afterwards discovered, for a pleasure excursion still, remembering that we during 19 months service, have become accustomed to all kinks of weather as well as frequent lengthy and fatiguing marches ever on foot, and now for once riding upon a journey, we could well afford to regard only the bright side of affairs and be fully prepared to enjoy the novelty of our situation gliding swiftly along upon the broad and grand old Potomac viewing the numerous vessels going in every direction, and points of importance and interest, many of us viewing them for the first time. At night 30 miles down the river we lay to until morning, and then after a few hours ride passing Port Lookout and obtaining a glimpse of Chesapeake bay we put into one of the numerous creeks or bayous along the shore between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers known by the natives as the neck, and landing 3 mile from Heathsville, Northumberland county. Leaving a guard for the boat we at once started for town placing men at every house to guard against surprise and prevent the inhabitants from communicating with any "reb" that might be in the neighborhood, Posting pickets to keep citizens from leaving we stacked arms in the square a neighboring mill with the adjacent fences affording us a fine opportunity to make up for the luxury we could not obtain upon the boat. Dinner over and our pipes lighted we began to explore the town. totally unlike most Virginia town there was not that marked appearance of thrift and decay. Everything was as quiet at Sunday-houses and stores except two of the latter being closed whose few contents speedily found their way to our pockets and haversacks. Citizens in formed us that they knew of our intended visit almost as soon as we did, and inconsequence many left especially officers on furlough and those looking up conscripts Resting awhile we returned to our landing and found contrabands busily engaged in transferring from ox-carts their own personal effects and the fine old hams and bacon once the property of kind and indulgent masters now food for Yankees. The next morning the good work continued but very much on the increase horse and mules bacon and negroes arriving in such abundance that we soon had all our boat could carry. Then the negroes, without a thought of grief of their loved masters, started the cattle home, while the yokes and carts were thrown into the water. one of our boys in going to a house, was attacked by three large dogs, and like a good soldier showed fight bringing one dog down at the expense of bending his gun barrel he shot dead the 2d and with a shortened on the left sent the third howling away.-One lady was foolish enough to come to look after several of her servants, and together with several farmers so green as to come with bridles after some splendid horses we had on board, were obliged to return with the assurance that they were taking a quick passage to Yankee land. Several conscripts who had been hiding from their own men came and talked with us and admitted that we gave them a better insight than they before enjoyed in reference to war. One old lady who had two sons in the rebel army said she had been twice burnt out of house and home by the Yankees, but still did not hate them so fiercely as many southerns profess, yet immediately added that if we molested anything about her premises she would shoot us as she would a chicken. It is estimated we brought away from 50 to 60 head of horses and mules, four tons of bacon, two hales of cotton, one box of shoes one wagon, and innumerable smaller articles of value besides the contrabands and their effects. Expeditions were sent out to capture two schooners, but as they were high on beach they were burned, We could have filled two or three schooners with corn and bacon, but for want of transportation left them . The negroes were invaluable in piloting us from place to place, and informing us of the names wealth and proclivities of their masters and in loading our cargo. In return for their service we take them away from comfortable homes and kind friends, but so spiced with servitude that they resist all entreaties to remain. On our return we examined many places where forage may be obtained at another time, and report says we shall have the opportunity.; We also made some important arrests of citizens engaged in smuggling medicines and in aiding to the best of their ability the rebellion. On the 16th we were back, but a very perceptible change was manifest in the light marching order of every soldier, and a good reason existed for in every blanket was a fine old ham or shoulder. Many indulged to luxury of a chair or pail., others struggling under such dainties as turkey, duck, chicken, &c. With good rations in our shanties e now look back with profound satisfaction upon our forage, and flatter ourselves that the 6th and 2d Wis. are some on a steal. L.A. K.
From the 6th Regiment Near Belle Plain Va.
A Raid Down the Potomac Editors Republic:-An expedition composed of the 6th and 2d Wisconsin Regiments, having for its chief object, the breaking up of a system of smuggling which has been carried on during the rebellion across the Potomac and Chesapeake bay, is worthy of mention in your columns, as another example of the efficiency of the troops which Wisconsin has proudly sent to the war. The expedition was conducted by Col. L. Fairchild's of the 2d Wisconsin Regiment, and Lient. col. E. S. Bragg of the 6th, and started on Thursday the 12th inst. in light marching order and with six days rations. We proceeded immediately to the landing where the Steamer Alice Price was waiting to convey us to the mouth of the Potomac. It was the first time that we had ever had the pleasure of riding on this beautiful river, and notwithstanding the boat was much crowded its Captain was a lively interesting gentleman, and we all made up our minds to enjoy the rip. After the freight is all on, and a few mules, that show themselves by no means destitute of the full amount of stubbornness natural with the race, are lead, and pushed, and backed, and carried on board we start. there is noting particularly grand in the scenery on either side, but the Virginia bank has the alternate appearance of an extensive tract of deserted worn out land, and thick growth of small pines. An occasional plantation but feebly relieves its dull monotony, for the buildings are usually of the same style one large dwelling adorned with half a dozen negro shanties. As we approach the Chesapeake however, the country appears better, as the inhabitants seem to be wealthier and to have been less disturbed by the war. Just at dusk a shrill whistle called us on deck, and we perceived a low dark something on the water, which resembles an eastern shed, except that it has a smoke stack, A little nearer and some frowning "war dogs" reveal the fact that it is a Gunboat guarding the Potomac, and that friend and foe must obtain permission ere they can pass. We went but little further that night and cast anchor, and as the question whether it would be possible to sleep on board had been discussed and decided in the negative when we first took passage, the boys had nothing to do but commence the night amusements which were, to sing tell stories keep every one awake who tried to sleep and snore. The Captain of the boat aided materially in keeping them interested and did not become vexed even, at finding himself locked in his room and having to climb through the window and come around on the side of the vessel but declared that he had been in almost every state in the Union except Wisconsin and now he was going there &c. On Friday morning we proceeded in the same course till opposite Northumberland county where we turned into Cone river, which is a small stream and difficult to navigate except by those accustomed to it, there by facilitating the business of smuggling which is carried on extensively in that vicinity. We soon come to an old wharf which is nearly dilapidated by time, but it is just the place where we desire to stop and the boat is moored and we step upon the sacred soil once more. We spy a plantation and a fine large dwelling in the distance, which bears evidence of the repose of wealth.-Capt. Mansfield with a guard is sent to the residence and soon returns with its owner Dr. J. Smith, as a political prisoner, guilty of smuggling goods for the use of rebels in arms. the doctor is a young man, wealthy and a zealous rebel; to go into the army was the only thing which he seemed unwilling to do for his ideal confederacy and this he avoided by obtaining license to preach. He had probably been more effective however in the capacity of a smuggler which he preferred. The expedition now starts for the town of Heathsville, which is about three miles off leaving a guard at the boat and one at each house on the road side, with orders to allow no one to leave the premises. The town is a small dull deserted one with but few inhabitants to welcome us or be surprised at our coming. We returned to the boat that night and slept on the river bank Saturday forenoon everything is as lively and brisk as a commercial mart; scouting parties are returning with horses and mules for a raid a part of our programme, understand. Contrabands are flocking in by scores some the families and household furniture ox teams and hauling in bacon and hams a great amount of which has been discovered in a storehouse and the boat is being loaded ready for our return. At this stage of proceedings however, something unusually interesting took place.
Dr. Smith had been allowed to go to his house for some purpose previous to his departure for Washington and we were a little surprised to see the guard returning with him accompanied by a young lady. It was the Doctor's sister. She had come to make a plea for her or her brother property, and there was a curiosity to know how she would succeed. They made straightway for the cabin where they found Col. Fairchild's and immediately the court opened. The attack was strong and skillful, but the Colonel was equal to the emergency and kept in view the fact that he was acting for the Government that sent him. She seemed to understand that we were going to take her slaves whether they wished to go or not; but the Colonel assured her that he did not ask them to leave and that if she could induce them to remain she might do so. She went out to converse with them, and as she hastened through the crowd towards one stalwart African holding a horse here, and another unloading bacon there, it was easy to see that he felt uneasy and wished that "missus" was almost anywhere else. They were evidently attached to their young mistress and she evidently knew how to awaken their attachment, and after she had rehearse to them the "kindness which she had always shown them, and how well she had and would care for them"
And asked the appealing question how John do you wish to go and leave us; The poor victim of cursed avarice and the custom of ages faltered and tried to say no. Why should he say otherwise?
Has he ever had a taste of liberty to sharpen his desire or appreciation of it? Has not everything that would tend to uproot the deep settled and only principle of his education, that he is a slave and in his proper sphere, been careful kept from his reach?
Yet but one of those to whom she put this question answered in the negative and he finally persuaded turned his reluctant steps to go back and continue his faithful servitude. He stopped to look back for the last time on the boat which was to carry off his colored friends That moment he was lost to his mistress, He felt keenly that he had relaxed his hold on freedom which he had just felt within his grasp and turning from his young mistress he came back to the boat it was not that he loved mistress less but that he loved freedom more. The young lady was escorted home safely by the guard and after burning some boats which had been used for smuggling, we started for home, where we arrived Sunday evening. Aside from the contrabands, the expedition brought away from the enemy about sixty horses and mules, 15,000 lbs of bacon and hams, two bales of cotton, one case of shoes, and will be considered one of the most effective and successful raids of the war. Yours truly. H. J. H.
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