Wednesday, 04 July 2012 02:48 | Written by Edited by James Johnson
FROM THE SECOND REGIMENT Opposite Fredericksburg, Va., July 4d 1862
Editors Patriot:- The glorious fourth has found us still sunning ourselves on the green banks of the red Rappahannock. Although the three departments, Mountain, Shenandoah and Rappahannock have been consolidated and the command given to General Pope. We have not been called upon to leave Fredericksburg and I cannot tell when we will be, but I hope it will not be a great while, for it seems to me that we are needed somewhere else at this particular time far more than we are needed here. There has been some desperate fighting in front of Richmond within the past week and I am fearful that little Mack is contending against unequal numbers. We have heard the most depressing rumors every day for some time and we did not know but that our army before Richmond was utterly destroyed. Notwithstanding our unshaken confidence in McClellan's ability as a General, we were kept in a state of feverish, breathless anxiety, fearing that he was being overpowered and it was not till last evening that we could breather easily and to-day we have a dispatch from McClelland him self stating that he is in good condition and as his reinforcements have reached him, we feel comparatively safe. The heavy load that it has lifted from our hearts is a great relief. We can now enjoy our National birthday for our banner is triumphant still on land and on sea and through the bloody fields of Richmond are covered with the bodies of the honored dead, they have died so gloriously that we can not mourn for them as lost. They are the living dead! The President has called for 300,000 more troops and I wish to say a word to the people of Wisconsin on the subject. I know that harvest hands will be scarce and for that reason farmers will use their influence against filling up ranks with rapidity. This should not be. There are a great many men in Wisconsin yet and now is the time for them to lend their county a helping hand. That there is work to be done should keep no man at home. There are thousands who cannot possibly go to war and they must work all the harder, besides I very much mistake the character and patriotism of my countrywomen if they will not turn out and with their white hands reap, bind, thrash and carry to market the wheat crop of 1862, if necessary, that the men may go to war. Our revolutionary mothers did not shrink from toil and privation and their fair daughters have not all degenerated. The women of Wisconsin are loyal and grave, not afraid of the rain nor the sun and should it be necessary for them to till the ground that their friends may go to the defense of the old flag, their bright eyes will be all the brighter and the sun browned cheeks more beautiful to those of us who live to return from the war. At this critical moment when our nation is struggling for existence against traitors at home and despots abroad, when all the friends of earth and hell seem leagued against us, when nothing but the uprising of the freemen of the North to a man can save us from the dark abyss that is yawning before us, any man that can possibly leave home for a year or two and will not is unworthy of being called an American; and any man that will prevent another from enlisting because he fears he will lose a few bushels of wheat or that his house will cost him more than it otherwise would is no better than a traitor; and any man or woman that will not say to their best and dearest friends "go and return not till our country is no longer in danger" is a dishonor to the American name. But I close for a while to join in the sports of the day. Evening- We have had a grand time, and I doubt not but that the people of Fredericksburg think the Yankees have revived the Olympic games in their midst. They never before saw such rare sport. We had foot races, horse races and mule races - the last named being the race of races. The contests were between the different regiments of the brigade and Generals King and Gibbon were both present. Everything passed off harmoniously. The 7th and 6th were both ahead of us in swiftness of foot, but our mules could not be beaten while the horses of the 19th won the day. I tried my fleetness in the foot contests but my feet would not come up to time. The 7th have probably had the greatest Varity of amusement to-day. The officers, being reduced for the time being, and the privates, promoted, they have had everything their own way. The officers had to police the streets and one of them, being sick, was compelled to go to the surgeon and get excused from duty. They also had a dress parade conducted entirely by the privates. Gibbon's brigade composed entirely of western men is more lively by far that the other troops that are with us. We have more music, more dancing, more athletic sports and more real fun and good times than the eastern boys, and it is generally admitted that we are not bad on a march. Still there is a noticeable difference between each regiment of our brigade. The 2d is probably the hardest set of boys, but good natured and easy to get along with. They wear an air of fearless carelessness where ever found. The 6th is more stately and distant and march to slower music that we do. The 7th puts on the least style and crow the least; it is now the largest regiment in the brigade, and is well drilled. It is the truest friend the 2d ever found. The 19th Indiana is an indifferent, don't care regiment. They pride themselves on their fighting pluck - which is undoubtedly good - more than their drill. As a brigade we get along finely together.
Friday, 22 June 2012 16:58 | Written by Leander Stillwell
After the evacuation of Corinth, Pittsburg Landing continued to be our base of supplies and commissary stores were wagoned from there to the various places where our troops were stationed. And it happened, while the regiment was at Bethel, that I was one of a party of about a hundred men detailed to serve as guards for a wagon train destined for the Landing and return to Bethel with army rations. There was at the Landing at this time, serving as guards for the government stores, a regiment of infantry. There were only a few of them visible, and they looked pale and emaciated, and much like dead men on their feet. I asked one of them what regiment was stationed there and he told me it was the 14th Wisconsin Infantry.
This was the one I had seen at Benton Barracks and admired so much on account of the splendid appearance of the men. I mentioned this to the soldier, and expressed to him my surprise to now see them in such bad shape. He went on to tell me that the men suffered fearfully from the change of climate, the water, and their altered conditions in general that they had nearly all been prostrated by camp diarrhea and at that time there were not more than a hundred men in the regiment fit for duty, and even those were not much better that shadows of their former selves. And judging from the few men that were visible, the soldier told the plain, unvarnished truth. Our regiment and the 14th Wisconsin soon drifted apart, and I never saw it again. But as a matter of history, I will say that it made a excellent and distinguished record during the war.
Friday, 08 June 2012 17:56 | Written by Fred Beseler
Co C, 1st WI Volunteer Heavy Artillery
Edwin Ferris Underwood was born March 28, 1828 in Herkimer County, New York, the son of Chester Bucknam Underwood and Susan Stetson. He married Permela Margaret Van Slyke on June 3, 1847 in Oneida County, New York. They moved west to Wisconsin in 1852. Edwin began farming in Dodge County, Wisconsin upon his arrival to Wisconsin. He continued farming and with his family consisting of 5 children. Edwin was 36 years old when he answered the call to join his comrades in the Civil War. General Orders Number 21, issued September 14, 1864 called to the men of Wisconsin to recruit eight additional companies to complete the regimental organization. Edwin was assigned to Company G. They were assigned duty as part of the 4th Brigade, De Russy's division, 22nd Army Corps. Edwin was stationed at Fort Ellsworth, a fortification constructed west of Alexandria, Virginia. It was one of the defenses of Washington, D.C. during the Civil War. Fort Ellsworth was built in 1861 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. It was only in use during the Civil War and was dismantled in 1865, at the close of the Civil War. Although only in war a relatively short period of time, the war took its toll on Edwin. He completely lost hearing in his right ear from Heavy Artillery fire. He also suffered from debilitating dysentery and rheumatism for the remainder of his life. Many friends and neighbors helped him on his farm until he became to infirmed to do farm work and had to sell the farm. By 1887, his eye sight began to fail. In 1902, his wife passed away. Unable to take care of himself due to Senile Debility, he moved in with his daughter, Nellie. In 1914, he became completely blind. On March 11, 1919, Edwin passed away at the age of 91 years. He is buried in the Union Cemetery in Lebanon, Dodge County, WI..
Friday, 08 June 2012 17:47 | Written by Fred Beseler
Co I, 26th WI Infantry
John William Duessing was born in October 1837 in Sadow, Mecklenburg, Germany. He eventually settled in Centerville, WI. John volunteered for duty in the Civil War on 21 August 1862 as a Corporal, eventually was made Sergeant. His unit was part of the Sigel Regiment and saw action at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg (they lost 252 men), Resaca, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, and Peach Tree Creek, Georgia to name a few.
In 1864 they were assigned to General Sherman's army for the drive to Atlanta after which they participated in the famous March to the Sea. John had become very ill and suffered for the rest of his life from the effects. He was mustered out on 13 June 1865 at the age of 26. There was always confusion over the spelling of his last name and he is listed as Dzing, Diefsing and Dusing for example. Returning to Centerville he married Mary Wunsch on 5 December 1866 and farmed there for many years. The couple had nine children. After 20 years he finally received a pension of $15 a month. John died of throat cancer on 22 July 1909 and is buried at St. John's Cemetery in Centerville.
Friday, 08 June 2012 17:38 | Written by Fred Beseler
Co E, 45th WI Infantry
Minor S. Rice died at the age of 89 on Friday, May 14, 1939 in Ogdensburg, Wisconsin. He was born in Russell, New York 20 April 1848. In 1855 the family settled in Little Wolf township, Waupaca county and, there being no local schools, Minor attended to his studies in St. Lawrence township until, at the age of 13, he was compelled to give up schooling and help on the family farm. Minor ran away and enlisted in Company E of the 42nd Wisconsin on 24 August 1864. He refused a $2,000 offer to go in as a substitute, preferring instead to go for himself. His company was sent to Springfield, IL where they remained until the spring of 1865. While there, he was selected to be part of a detachment assigned to conduct prisoners to Nashville, TN, however, the Battle of Nashville had been fought and finding the place overrun with wounded, they were sent to Governor's Island, New York. Enroute he contracted black measles which he attempted to conceal lest he be sent back to Camp Butler. On his arrival his illness was detected and he spent some time in a pesthouse before being placed in a hospital with others suffering the same fate. He remained there for two months! At the close of the war he returned to Madison where he received his discharge in June 1865. Minor was married in 1868 and eventually became the father of nine children.
He was a farmer for over fifty years. Upon the death of his first wife, he married again in Waupaca. Minor Rice was a member of the James A. Garfield Post 21 of the Grand Army of the Republic where he was one of the remaining three veterans in the post at the time of his death. Minor is buried in Park Cemetery in Ogdensburg, Wisconsin.