Dozens From Oak Creek Township Fought In Civil War – Part One
Friday, 11 May 2012 23:11 | Written by civilwarwisconsin
By Tom Mueller
Editor’s Note: This series of articles on Oak Creek first appeared in the Oak Creek Patch and was written by local author and historian Tom Mueller. He previously wrote about the men whose names adorn the city's American Legion and VFW posts. Mueller has written about the Ultimate Sacrifice for nearly 30 years, starting with a trip to his uncle's grave in France in 1984. He has authored three books – The Wisconsin 3,800, about those like his uncle who are buried overseas or MIA from World War II; Heart of the Century, about the Korean War and other news and domestic life in the years 1949 to 1951, and Building the Bridges to Victory, about his father’s combat engineer unit in Europe in the final months of World War II.This Civil War series, along with Mueller's articles about the men on the American Legion and VFW posts, will be part of his comprehensive book about the Ultimate Sacrifice and Wisconsin men and women, coming out in 2013. Mueller has lived in Oak Creek since 1978 and also had a relative in the Civil War only three generations ago: Cpl. Moritz Ganser of Roxbury in Dane County, who served in the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment in 1864 and 1865, fighting mostly in Louisiana and Alabama. He urges other families to consider that their own tree could include such a war veteran if their family was in America at that time.
Dozens from Oak Creek Fought in Civil War – Part One
Nine decades before Oak Creek became a city, dozens of its young men served in the Civil War, with roughly half being killed or wounded in battle or dying of diseases in faraway places like Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia. The year 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of when large numbers of men marched out of Oak Creek Township and into the war. Two would die in Tennessee only four months later, and seven more would be wounded in the same battle, one case eventually proving fatal.
The youngest Oak Creek soldier to die during the entire war was 17, according to the few records that are available. The oldest was 43; one of that man's sons served in the famed Iron Brigade and was wounded three times.
Oak Creek Township consisted of modern-day Oak Creek and South Milwaukee. White pioneers had arrived in the late 1830s and 1840s, at a time when Native Americans hunted and fished in the area. Wisconsin became a state in 1848, South Milwaukee incorporated as a village in 1892 and a city a few years later, and Oak Creek did not become a city until 1955.
A total of 38 men from the township served in Company K of the 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, according to "Wisconsin Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865," an invaluable research book that has been put online by the Wisconsin Historical Society. One of them joined in 1864, so the number from Oak Creek when the company went into the war in 1862 was 37.
The dead included two cousins – Frederick Fowle of Company K, in 1863 of wounds received in the Tennessee battle, and Royal Fowle, an artilleryman in another unit who died of disease in 1864 in Louisville, Ky.
Disease was an equal-opportunity killer of Union soldiers and Confederates in the war; many units lost more men to illness than in battles.Frederick was the son of Frederick Fowle Sr. and Electra Rawson, while Royal was the son of John Fowle Jr. and Lavina Fowle, according to Judy Balestrieri, a descendant of the Fowle clan and a mainstay of the South Milwaukee Historical Society. They were grandsons of John Fowle Sr., who was one of the first pioneers of the area and built two sawmills on the waterway that was named Oak Creek. The soldiers' uncle, Horace Fowle (son of John Sr. and Sarah Dibley Fowle), built a Queen Anne Victorian home in 1892 that everyone today knows as the clubhouse in Grant Park.
Other local men in Company K shared last names – Edward and Kendrick Day, and John and Adam Hafer of Oak Creek, plus several pairs from Milwaukee – but it is lost to history precisely how they were related.
More men from Oak Creek served mainly in the 1st Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment and the 35th Regiment, according to the state historical group, although a few also wound up in other units.
One neighborhood that dozens of motorists drive through every hour in the heart of Oak Creek sent at least three young men into the war, one of whom was wounded and captured in the famous battle at Chickamauga, Ga., plus another died a year later of disease. The story also will include information about a little cemetery on S. Howell Avenue - which even more motorists drive past every hour - that is the final resting spot of a second veteran who was wounded and taken prisoner at Chickamauga.
- Other Oak Creek deaths in the war, including one soldier who enlisted only a week after the fighting began in 1861 and battled at renowned places like Antitetam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, and fell at Spotsylvania, Va., days after the hideous Battle of the Wilderness.
- More than 80,000 men from Wisconsin served in the war, a remarkable number from a place that had a population of only 775,000 and had been a state for only 13 years, according to the 1997 book “Wisconsin in the Civil War,” by Frank L. Klement. More than 11,000 died in battle, from wounds or from rampant illnesses.
The state's Sesquicentennial Commission is organizing current observances "to honor the legacy, service and sacrifice of Wisconsin's citizen-soldiers as well as the people left at home who raised money and provided food, animals, clothing and other goods to support the war effort."
Friday, 06 April 2012 13:59 | Written by David Goodrich James
Among the many regiments that marched away from the State of Wisconsin, following the "Stars and Stripes," the most beautiful flag that was ever kissed by the dews of heaven, keeping step to the weird, wild music of the fife and drum; leaving their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sweethearts, and, what was harder still, their wives and prattling babes behind, and resolutely setting their faces toward the march, the comfortless bivouac, the hospital and the field of carnage and of death, were the Fourteenth, Sixteenth and Eightieth Regiments of Infantry. They were made up of companies from all parts of the State, and of men from every walk of life, they were composed of men who had enlisted, not as mercenaries of soldiers of fortune, who fight foe fame, plunder or empire, but as volunteers in the grand army of their beloved Republic; to fight, and die if need be, for a great principle, and to preserve a priceless heritage for their posterity. They had laid aside their robes of peace and put on the habiliments of war. They had set their faces toward the foe, and you could see written upon those faces a grim determination to win the war upon which those faces a grim determination to win the war upon which they were entering. Our great captain, Grant, did but express the feeling of his men when he uttered those determined words: "We will fight it out on this line of it takes all summer."
What an ovation we received from the loyal people of our State as we marched away! How little we, in fact, knew of what was in store for us here, and of the test to which we would be subjected in a few short days!
Brevetted Captain, David Goodrich James, formerly a member of Sixteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
Saturday, 31 December 2011 23:15 | Written by Compiled and Edited by Jeremy Johnson
We have received from Mrs. Sinclair, Mrs Burroughs, Mrs. A.F. Pratt, Mrs. Goodspeed, the Misses Hibbard and others, articles of clothing for the invalid soldiers in the hospital, for which they merit the heartfelt gratitude of its inmates.
Ladies accept our thanks for your kind and liberal donations of these timely articles.
B. O. REYNOLDS, Surgeon of 3rd Cavalry
New Year's Ball.- A new year's ball will be given at the Johnstown Center House, Wednesday evening, New Years night. For a long time this has been one of the established ceremonies of New Years, until a first rate dance is expected at "the center" as regularily as New Years Day comes around. Mr. Young, the proprietor of the house, will have a large and pleasant party.
Cavalry Horses.- The Chicago Journal says that Capt. Porter, assistant quartermaster, has opened the bids to furnish 1,000 horses for Daniels' cavalry regiment at Kenosha. Rhere were a large number of bids, ranging as high as $110. Most of them were offered to take the contract at $95. The bid of Z. G. Sherman, for $81.75 was founf to be the lowest and thecontract was let accordingly.
If horses can be furnished for $81.75 why in the world does the Government allow its agents to pay as high as $105 to $110.
Turkey Shooting.- G. Fritz proposes an entertainment at his saloon for New Years, in the shape of a turkey shoot, using his air gun for the weapon.
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 01:41 | Written by civilwarwisconsin
National Endowment for the Humanities in conjunction with the American Library Association, has awarded a grant to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum at Madison for a library-based initiative called “Making Sense of the American Civil War.” WVM was selected to administer a statewide reading and discussion program for libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions. The museum is tasked with selecting four sites for the 2012-2013 calendar year to host a series of five sessions where participants discuss books by Geraldine Brooks, James McPherson, and an anthology edited by Edward L. Ayers. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum will be the repository for 100 copies of each of these books, to be disseminated throughout the stage to host institutions. The WVM said it looks forward to working with the host institutions and scholars to facilitate life--long learning among Wisconsin’s citizens.
Thursday, 01 December 2011 02:06 | Written by Compiled and Edited by Jeremy Johnson
A great pressure is made upon the War Department by Members of Congress to have the army bakery removed from the basement of the Capitol. The objection to it can be none other than the perfume of freshly baked bread. It will cost from $30,000 to $50,000 to erect a new bakery, and to introduce into it gas and other conveniences indispensably necessary to the punctual product of the enormous quantity of loaves daily dealt out to the army.