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1861 November 

Nov 1861
The army teamster-Charley Roninson who is writing some very pleasant letters from Washington over the signture of Konemik, in the Green Bay Advocate gives the following sketch of the army teamster:

The army teamster is of a separate nationality from all the world. His costume is a pair of brown trowsers, a red flannel shirt, a military cap picked up from the debris of some encampment, and a canteen. He generally hails from Pennsylvania.
He drives with the inevitable single line, sits on the near wheel horse of mule and observes to the members of his team at shorty intervals through the day that if they don't hump and hey and go long he will send them to hell endways.
He never knows where he is going to and I have very grave doubts whether he has a clear idea where he came from. He lives in his wagon and his horses live beside it. He is at home wherever night overtakes him, unhiches his horses ties two of them to the rear box at the rear end and two at the fore end, eats his supper has a good comfortable swear at everything and everybody and goes to bed. He gets drunk singly by squads, by platoons and by companies.
I wanted twelve wagons the other day to haul ammunition and failed because the whole available train of thirty was having its tri-weekly drunk

Patriot War Correspondence

From the Second Regiment
A rainy day in camp

Fort Tillinghast, Arlington, Va., Nov. 2, 1861

I am seated in my tent upon a bundle of knapsacks and blankets keeping time with my pen to the music of the roaring wind and dashing rain without. It is one of the wild exciting stormy days that wakes a man up, puts life and strength in his nerves and makes him feel like a true son of the War God- Mars; or a fierce bald eagle ready and anxious to rush forth and battle with the stormy winds just for the glorious joy of warring. I love the storm. I was born upon the stormiest day of the stormiest month of all the year on the far off, eastern shore beaten rough and rocky pine crowned hills of New Brunswick; and from the time that I first heard the wind roaring in the groves of pine and hemlock or the river on whose banks I stood and watched the sea gulls and fish hawks dashing its white waves upon the rocky shore lashed into foamy fury by the energetic storm king until the present moment I have delighted to hear the mad wind howl and the rain dash in fury upon the roof whether of shingles or canvas.
The storm commenced about midnight and rose gradually higher and higher until the stakes that held the guy-ropes of our tent gave way and our house swayed to the wind and would have fallen had not the hand of man interfered. We righted our half-fallen mansion and again lay down and slept until roll call at which time we rose and though we did not go out answer to our names, we had to go to the cook-tent in order to get our breakfast. It is now 3 o'clock in the afternoon and still the storm is raging. We have remained in our tents all day reading, writing and chatting upon the various topics of the day. Stormy as I it was, the newsboys found their way into our camp and supplied us with papers in which we find the resignation of the brave old Gen. Scott who has led our victorious armies for so many years. It may be true and if so we have younger and more active men who can take his place. The cause of Liberty will not perish nor the tyrants prosper who are striking at the heart of our nation while such such men as McClellan and Fremont are left us. I doubt it not. Freedom shall triumph and we shall yet see in America what I have always hoped we would see- A Republic. The South may not be with us for no one can tell how or when this war will end but if we have only the wild young state of Wisconsin, let it be a Republic.
We have talked this matter over and a thousand other things since this stormy day dawned upon us but now we are differently occupied and all is still in our hitherto noisy and uproarious tent. I am driving the pen, as I before said, to the music of the storm. The sun has not shone upon us to-day but Moon sits at my right shining as brightly as he ever shines, for he is engaged writing poetry in which he excels. Williams is at my left reading a paper while beyond him Packard, noisy as a magpie when awake, is quietly napping; Brown has just come in (he has been bringing wood for the cooks,) and has not yet taken any fixed position; Dusten, a friend from the Seventh regiment and a man from Company C, with whom I am not acquainted, complete the picture. They occupy the only seats we have in our tent as we can only afford a few chairs for visitors. In this manner we pass away the time every rainy day; of course we get wet sometimes but that is nothing to the fun we have. We occupy our old ground behind Fort Tillinghast and I cannot even give a guess when we shall leave but we are tired of this place and anxious for a move.

R. K. B.

The following letter expresses grievances of which we have no personal knowledge and of which we can only speak as outrageous if true. The pledge given volunteers should be made good otherwise it will be very difficult keeping our ranks full. We give the letter that the facts may be brought out:

Arlington Heights, Nov. 3, '61
Editors of Patriot:- I am pleased in some respects to learn of the patriotism existing among the worthy sons of the famous little village of L--- in Wisconsin. There are some who staked their all in their country's defense when this wicked rebellion first broke out and are now in the Grand Army of the Potomac, devoting their all to crush out this rebellion that has already brought disgrace upon our national escutcheon. There are some of L---'s brave sons who have gone through not only troubled scenes and hardships of camp life and fatigues of long weary marches but they have gone through the bloody siege of Manassas, where they were obliged to contend against great odds. Shortly after these enlistment's another call was made and again the worthy sons of L-- rallied to their country's call.

These last enlistment's have been accepted and the young patriots are at Arlington Heights nearly 1,500 miles from friends and relations. Some have left aged parents and others have left their dearest wives and little ones, some scarcely three months old. A year since, these worthy sons of L--- were enjoying all the pleasures of married life and who could at their leisure sit down with their loved ones and talk over things that had passed and gone and the bright hopes and prospects of the future. "What a change! Now L---'s  brave sons are cut off from all family intercourse and parental enjoyments and involved in one common war not knowing what moment they will be called upon to trudge through rivers of blood and to meet their brethren in one great bloody conflict. I would not infer, however, that all people are alike in respect to humanity for there are a few in all communities who haven't a heart as large as a peanut. I am sorry to say of those of our friends who plead for the young patriots of said town to enlist immediately and crush out this wicked rebellion, some said that if they hadn't a family to support they would certainly go. No sooner had these sentiments left their lips they were responded to by those who dare not risk their lives in this, our nation's hour of peril, in this wise "If you will enlist I will see that your families are properly cared for, they will never want as long as I have one red left. You need not borrow any trouble for as long as I have a house and home your families shall also." Well they began to believe that they were in human earnest. So after mature deliberation of matters and things, knowing well their wives and little ones would be cared for, and thinking all well, they hastened to enlist. No sooner had they arrived on the "sacred soil", pleas came for assistance for the soldiers wives- They hear of J. the P.M., abusing the wives of the departed merely for wanting her just dues from the P.O.; and one Mr. L, who, thinking himself quite shrewd and expert in law, took advantage of one of the soldiers wives who had no one to look to for assistance and used his learning to turn out of house and home one Mrs. P. This same L. was one of the first to put on patriotic airs- assuring the soldiers that their wives would never want and promising that so far as he could assist them in his profession, he would do so without charge. Such cunning reptiles are more poisonous than the Secesh fangs that seek the overthrow of the best government on earth.

And one J.M. O., one of the wealthiest of L---, keeper of a large dry goods grocery and medicine establishment, who was one of those sugar mouths who were to keep an eye out for the needy, refused to let one of the soldiers wives have a drop of medicine for her sick child.- She informed him that she would pay him as soon as her husband sent her some money from the war but through air of dignity was refused, although he had bound himself never to see her in want, saying that the fool had better remained at home and taken care of his own family.

"What a disgrace." The wife immediately repaired to the office of Dr. I and make known her wants, which was promptly replied to by administering to her wants and saying if she wanted any assistance at his hands, he would do all in his power to make her comfortable without pay. He had promised to divide to the last cent with them and that he meant live up to all agreements. What a contrast between the former and last named gent. However, among the many of L-----'s sons there are some who are gentlemen in every respect; among whom are Judge P., Dr. I and Mr. A. These latter named gents have done more than they ever agreed to do and have shown themselves worthy sons of Wisconsin and are deserving of a great deal of praise, and will long be remembered worth grateful recollections by the husbands of those women whom they have tendered their kind hospitalities from truly patriotic motives and, if these husbands should ever return, they will be doubly rewarded for their kindness.

Of these gents, soldiers do not ask for favors but do wish that they will not hear any more complaints and grievances from their abused wives and families. They wish, and sincerely hope, that their friends and once patriotic citizens of the beautiful and wealthy village of L-- will not cause such grievances among the wives and families of the far distant soldiers, who are winning laurels not only for themselves and their beloved and insulted county but for those of their friends who dare not take up arms and do battle. Friends, please do not stand idle with your unsoiled hands folded and witness these ladies cut and haul their own wood day after day and week after week as you have already done after urging their husbands to leave them in a state of utter helplessness promising and that surely to care for their wants; and also that you would furnish them with comfortable homes and wearing apparel. Please do your duty at home if you will not the bloody battlefield.


Oct. 30th cross the Potomac at Berlin and march to Lovettsville, VA. Seven miles. March to Purcellville. Eight miles. Nov. 3rd to Snickersville. Five miles.

Cornelius Wheeler’s diaries

Our Washington Correspondence
Washington, Nov. 4, 1861

The retiring of Gen. Scott and the accession of Gen. McClellan to the command of the armies of the United States had been so long regarded here as an inevitable event that it occasioned but little sensation. Indeed it is regarded as of little immediate practical moment since the former has for months been too infirm to discharge the duties of his position and the latter has been the General in fact.-- Still it seems to be expected that a new vigor will be infused into the campaign now that the young chief has no military superior to clog his movements. There is the utmost confidence in the ability energy and sagacity of Gen. McClellan and a brilliant career is predicted for him by these who know him best. The army, so far as I can learn, has the most entire confidence in him. He thus starts with a high prestige as well as an immense responsibility- time will soon tell how it will be sustained.

The publication of Adjutant General Thomas' report concerning Fremont is a breach of propriety, which cannot but be prejudicial to the public service and finds no justification save in error and malevolence. How it found the light remains to be determined but there are here, as well as at St. Louis, a corps of newspapers our respondent apparently employed to poison the public mind against Gen. Fremont thus rendering his overthrow speedily certain. That all his acts are just or that his course has been free from gross error no one pretends, but that he is responsible for all that is laid to his charge is quite as far from the truth. And the course of public events since the opening of the war shows that those in authority here are by no means in a position to sit in judgment upon his acts. Had a party inimical to Sec. Cameron been called upon at the late session Congress for a report upon his public conduct and taken the same course and secured the same kind of testimony that Gen. Thomas took in Fremont's case, if we can judge anything from the statements then current among public men here, a far worse case would have been made out; and had it been spread before the country; would have compelled his removal or resignation. But these charges were hushed and the clamor quieted under the plea of the extraordinary condition of the country which admitted of no personal crimination; and finally, under the facile and plastic hand of the corps of newspaper correspondents here (all patriotic and disinterested of course!)

The current was turned and all ran smoothly again; the Secretary was all right. Fremont, however, has committed an unpardonable sin in acting up to the doctrine of human equality affirmed in the Declaration Independence- there is no forgiveness for him; and Gen. Thomas' report is made public to make sure of the popular affirmation of the condemnation which has been pronounced upon him. Of Gen. Thomas himself there are apparently well authenticated reports of secession sympathies and the fact is publicly charged that he procured the appointment of four or five military assistants whose disloyalty was so patent that their nominations were rejected. They were, and are still, continued in position by him.

I see a statement in some of your state papers that Gen. King is not popular with the soldiers of his brigade, but so far as I get any expression from familiar intercourse with the officers and privates of the Wisconsin regiments, he is universally popular. The brigade made a splendid appearance at review on Wednesday- Gen. McDowell complimented Gen. King highly on the appearance of the Wisconsin boys. A regiment of undisciplined cavalry was reviewed at the same fine.- They appeared finely, considering the time they had been in service- many of them, however, are poor horsemen judging from their management of their horses and will require much drilling before they will be fitted for effective service.

Ex-Gov.- now Col.- Baretow left here for home on Saturday having secured ample authority to raise and fully equip a regiment of cavalry in Wisconsin. The appartment hesitated about allowing the buying of horses but the Col. very properly insisted that a proper man for effective service- such men as Wisconsin can furnish -would desire to select and train his own horse and that horses better adapted to the service should be procured in Wisconsin than were furnished here by contractors; and he finally obtained the order for munitioning, clothing and equipping, save the arms, of a thousand men. I understand he requires nothing from the government until the men are mustered into service fully equipped, having obtained from private sources ample assistance to put his regiment on a war footing the expenses to be refunded after mustering in!

Horace T. Sanders of Racine also left here on Saturday with authority to raise a regiment of infantry; I suppose, however, subject to a commission by Gov. Randall.
Ex. Gov. Doty, superintendent of Indian affairs for Utah, has just left for the West, having been detained here in consultation with the Department as to the propriety of establishing a military force for the protection of the overland mail route and the frontier.

It is understood here that the California overland mail contract is in the hands of disloyal men and that at any time when an emergency arises, the secessionists can control it. Governor Doty has submitted a plan which is favorably entertained and still under consideration for raising a brigade of volunteers to be located along the mail route, to each of whom is to be granted a quarter section of land upon which he is to settle permanently, to be at all times in readiness to rally to the protection of the mail and the frontier when called. I have no doubt but some such plan would be attended with great permanent benefit and that the government will soon have to establish a force of loyal men upon this important thoroughfare to protect the communication by mail and telegraph. Gov. Doty is directed to ascertain and report upon the best means to secure the desired end after he shall have examined the ground and fully considered the subject.

Col. Mansfield, the efficient aid to Gov. Randall, and special commissioner in charge of the affairs of the Wisconsin regiments of King's brigade, has just obtained from the Government a large storehouse for the use of our State where all property belonging to the regiments or State can be stored free of charge.

The heavy rains of Friday and Saturday have so flooded the country that any immediate movement of the army will not take place though one is confidently expected soon. The storm has occasioned much uneasiness regarding the safety of the fleet sent to the Southern coast The occasional frosty nights and chilling winds make life in camp a little more severe and increase the anxiety for a Southern movement. I returned from camp on Wednesday with chills and fever occasioned by the exposure; but the soldiers make no complaint only in becoming a little nervous lest they shall be compelled to go into winter quarters without getting farther South. Two privates have been buried from the camp of the 6th Regiment within the last two weeks and a short time since a negro waiter in Co. A, 2d Reg, was shot dead by a corporal in fooling with a loaded gun. As a general thing, the health of the men is excellent.

Washington is thronged with people and the streets crowded with army wagons, ambulances, sutlers' wagons and carriages. Rents have doubled within two months and business was never so lively here as now. The war will change the aspect of the city and give new life to its dilapidated suburbs by infusing northern energy and characteristics and finally supplanting the barbarous system of slave labor by the industry of intelligent freemen.

Patriot War Correspondence
From the Second Regiment
McDowell's Division
Camp Tillinghast,
 Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 10, 1861

Editors Patriot:- McDowell, the man who fought the battle of Bull Run, or, rather, the General who commanded the federal troops engaged therein, is probably as brave a man as ever mounted a steed or drew a sword in freedom's holy cause. He is also a good General; and though he was superseded by McClellan when the battle was against him, he is still and deserves to be in command of one of the largest divisions of the Army of the Potomac.

In the condition that he was placed even the first Napoleon could not have been successful; and for one, I have great confidence in his ability as a General and am willing to follow him again into battle. He will retrieve the honor he lost through the treason and inactivity of others upon that long to be remembered 21st.

Yesterday there was a grand review of troops and McDonnell's division was gathered for the first time upon one field. Arrangements were made for such a review some time since but it was postponed on account of rainy weather and though the clouds were pretty thick and foretold rain in plain and unmistakable language when yesterday's sun arose it would not do to postpone it a second time unless it was absolutely necessary.

At 9 o'clock a.m. our regiment was paraded and joined our brigade. We marched forth to other brigades of our division upon the field of the general review about four miles from this place in the direction Fall's Church. We passed Ball's Cross Roads on our way out, occupied by the rebel pickets for some time after the battle of July 21st, but I am of the opinion that they will never again hold possession of that or any other point so near the Capitol- There were present at the review three brigades of Infantry, one of cavalry and three batteries of artillery, all belonging to McDowell's division, though I am not sure that the whole division was present. The field is a large one and when we marched to review by company in column, we presented a splendid appearance. If we could only meet the foe on the open field and fight them man for man, we would soon wipe out rebellion; but such is not the war of 1861. Both parties are fighting to win and take all the advantages they possibly can, so our chances of meeting the rebels on an open field, like the one upon which we were reviewed, are slim.

Gen. McDowell knows just what ought to be done on review, or in any other place, and if there is any mistake made by the subordinate officers, the shrill clarion voice of the General rises above the heavy tramp and noisy fife and drum to rectify it. May he live to be the honored leader of a victorious army that shall wipe out the last vestige of rebellion and bring peace and happiness to our suffering country.

We could have had a splendid review if the day had remained fair but the clouds that had been gathering and thickening all the fore part of the day began, about 2 p.m., to let fall water in abundance and we were obliged to beat a retreat for our quarters.

Up to that time we had been only having the romance of war. But here came, in a little, the stern reality We got delightfully wet and muddy before we arrived at our encampments; but it was a great satisfaction to know that 30,000 or 40,000 others were in the same fix for Gen. Porter's division was being reviewed at the same time away to our right and the rain has no respect for persons here in old Virginia.
Such tramps are a good thing for us. I would be willing to get drenched as often as once a week if I could have the opportunity of seeing something new every time, for camp life is so very tedious in such times as these when there is no picketing to be done and no dangers to brave.


Letter from E.P. Kellogg, 
Company C, 
2d Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers.

We take the liberty of copying the following from a private letter from E.P. Kellogg of Boscobel, formerly a printer in this office and a gentleman in whom we have great confidence as to moral worth and sound judgment. He is a good writer as will be seen:
Camp Tillinghast, Va.,
November 12, 1861

Mr. J.C. Cover: - Dear Sir: Your very welcome brace of letters were duly received and I owe our apology for needing to be reminded of my obligation. The languor and weakness which followed my trifling illness made exertion of any kind so difficult that I have somewhat neglected the claims of my correspondents, of whom, by the way, I have very few.

Well, I have had, as you remark, some schooling in the only institution for saving the county are perhaps ought to be able to Judge what will be the end of all this but opportunities for forming intelligent and fair judgments are, in fact, as scarce to us who are in the midst of the conflict than they are to you who quietly read the telegraph column twelve hundred miles away.

Some ideas have, of course, been forced upon my attention, but they can hardly aspire to the dignity of being styled opinions or Judgments.- they are impressions merely, which the future is quite as likely to falsify as to verify.

One of the most prominent of these is the conviction of the utter inadequacy of the militia or volunteers system as a means of national defense. In spite of all the evils- many of them real, no doubt- which the sage founders of our government saw in a standing army, I hope the wisdom of the present generation will leave to its successors a permanent force of not less than two hundred thousand well-trained and thoroughly equipped troops. If you could go through and survey the mass of citizens gathered within ten miles of this place and see the ill-trained, worse organized and abominably officered host, which we pompously style our Grand Army, I think you would go away under the same "impression", however absurd you may think it now. The simple fact that a rebellion has grown to such enormous dimensions under the very eyes of the government after being hatched in its Capitol, is almost a demonstration of this point.

Another "impression" of mine is that the present struggle is going to be a long one. I do not look for my discharge until the 11th of June 1864. The measures of the administration are slow- it seems to me unaccountably so. Here we have been nearly six months within sound of the enemy's guns and most of the time even within hearing of his drums, and no movement has been made save one unconscionable blunder and now there is no hope of an advance movement this fall and we must retire to our barracks and play the dandy soldier for six months to come unless, indeed, they transport us southward in the track of the fleet which is not probable. In the meantime what are the enemy doing? Growing weaker? Not at all- however it may be in the future, the great rebellion has yet become self-consuming. I suppose our leaders know their business but it is evident that they believe in the Festina center policy. There is only one thing that can shorten this conflict to a six or twelve months campaign and that is the concession of points by the government, which the people of the North would never ratify.

In regard to emancipation, either by confiscation or otherwise, there must of course be a diversity of opinion. All sensible men will admit that the removal of the one great stumbling block in the way of our national progress is an end most devoutly to be desired but the practicability of setting it aside in the way talked of by the radicals of the North is a point not quite so clear. Great social changes are not generally best effected by revolution. The rebels might very reasonably object to coming under the dominion of a new constitution while they are very clearly in the wrong in resisting the authority of the one they helped to make. However, no one would be better pleased than myself if the abolition of slavery should be one of the results of this war but my impression is that, at the best, that result will be remote and not immediate. I am not of a very sanguine temperament you know. Nature did not fashion me for a radical.

In short, I think that the administration is right and Fremont wrong. But then, as I said at the start, this is only a sort of prejudice and if events prove that unconditional emancipation at the present time is good policy, I should be very happy to see that prejudice confounded. Still, I would not try it if I were President. We don't want to buy any elephants just now. Would not the question of the disposal of the Negroes after their emancipation be rather difficult? For many reasons they could not be armed against their masters, as you seem to be in favor of doing. They would eventually become government paupers and we have quite enough of them now in Governors' chairs, Government offices and not a few of them wearing shoulder straps and riding Government horses and loyal soldiers.

No, we can cut but one Gordian Knot at a time. If you give us more we shall have to cut them all and perhaps cut our fingers if not our sl???   ats.

Our Washington  Correspondence
Washington, Nov 18, 1861

The success of the expedition to South Carolina has occasioned much rejoicing among loyal citizens and created an eagerness among our troops to march southward. The general expectation, however, is that no immediate movement by land will be made here, farther than a gradual pushing forward of the federal lines as the rebels shall withdraw to strengthen their southern defenses. No general engagement with the rebels in Virginia can be brought about save by attacking the enemy in their entrenchments which are known to be formidable both at Manassas and Centreville, and aggressive movements will, for the present, be confined to the coast and the western divisions of the army. Still no preparations are yet being made for winter quarters for the army on the other side of the Potomac, which favors the idea that it is not decided to retain it in this vicinity for any length of time. In most of the camps stoves have been introduced in the officers quarters and the soldiers have erected temporary fireplaces of brick to make them comfortable during the cold storms and chilling winds which assail them. Winter quarters are being provided for the regiments on this side of the river.

The army is kept in the best possible condition for immediate and effective service by daily brigade and battalion drills and weekly reviews by divisions by the commanding General. The soldiers and officers are now becoming so accustomed to the habits and dangers of military life as almost entirely to have thrown off that nervous sensibility and keen apprehension so profile of disaster in camp and among reconnoitering parties in the earlier part of the campaign and the business of war- its hardships and blood and carnage- are now contemplated with a steadfastness of nerve and coolness of mind in remarkable contrast with that manifested at the outset when quaking sentinels found an enemy in every bush and reconnoitering parties would meet in deadly conflict without determining whether they were friends or foes. Coupled with this, however, there is also an increasing wantonness of character and recklessness of life among the soldiery that ill accords with habits of civil life and which bodes no good to society when the soldier shall have returned from the war.

Many a young man who returns unscathed by rebel bullets and unmarked by disease will find his moral sensibilities blunted and his heart calloused by the habits and associations of the "tented field."

A few hours ride over the territory now occupied by the belligerent forces exhibits the realities of war as none can appreciate them from a distance. The desolate and despoiled farm houses, fenceless farms, broken hedges and barren fields stand out in melancholy contrast with the naturally beautiful face of the country while glistening bayonets, threatening cannon and whitened tents occupy every eminence and hill side and martial airs and clanging sabers of galloping horsemen continually remind you of military array. It is interesting to behold the grand displays of the marshaled hosts which are continually occurring under the direction of the commanding General. It is seldom in the history of a civilian that he is permitted to see twenty or thirty thousand armed men, marching in all the panoply of war with attending horsemen and well appointed batteries of artillery. But it is painful to reflect that in this enlightened age and country these things should be rendered necessary to secure the blessings of freedom and put down the aggressions of slavery.

The Wisconsin regiments are now in fine condition and make a most creditable appearance having all save a portion of the 7th received their blue uniforms. There has been some sickness and several deaths since my last but as a general thing our men stand it better than those from other states either from the better regulations of their officers or from their better adaptation to the service. Still there are weekly discharges of disabled and weakened soldiers and many deaths by disease. Last week three died from the 7th, and one from the 6th. One of the former died from small pox and two from typhoid fever. The wife of Sergeant Williams, of Company I, 7th Regiment (from Waushara County, I believe,) died in camp, of typhoid fever on Sunday morning the 10th inst. She was sick but eight days. The camp of the soldier is no place for a woman either to live or to die in. Patriotism and love for her kindred may induce a woman to surrender the comforts and quiet of home for the privations and hardships of the camp; but it is no place for her and in nine cases out of ten she will be more an inconvenience than an advantage either as a nurse or a "laundress".

Lieut. Col. Sweet of the 6th has been confined to his quarters for some days with premonitions of typhoid fever but he is now better and it is hoped he will soon be out again.

Col. Cutler is as the boys say "tough as a billed owl" and never disabled either by hardship or misfortune he has been acting Brigadier General for a few days past in the absence of Gen. King who has been to New York. Dr. Chapman, Brigade Surgeon, has been sick for some time but has still continued the discharge of his arduous duties until to-day when he has yielded to necessity and the recommendation of his friends and obtained leave of absence to recruit. He leaves for home to-morrow and bears with him the good wishes of the entire Brigade.
Col. Vandor has not yet resigned but does not pretend to command his Regiment or even visit them. It is the unanimous wish of the officers of the Regiment that Lieut. Col. Robinson should have command. He is a most efficient and popular officer. The Regiment has sustained a great present loss in the disability of Adjutant Cook who is still confined to his quarters from the fracture of his ankle and who will be unable for weeks to come to mount his horse.

A Laugh Over.- The Second Regiment had considerable of a laugh this morning over a report which they heard had reached Wisconsin, in the shape that we had been attacked in Baltimore, and that what were not killed were taken prisoners. It is very easy to believe it, but such an one as this is too humbuggery to believe. Tell your good folks that we of the Second Regiment don't believe a word of it, nor do we want you to. It isn't our style to be taken prisoners, especially by a mob.
Milwaukee Sentinel, Nov. 15, 1861

Patriot War Correspondence
From the Second Regiment
The Grand Review-Are the Families of Volunteers Allowed to Suffer?
Fort Tillinghast, Arlington, Va., Nov. 21, '61

We have been having a lively time of late for the grandest review ever witnessed in America came off yesterday and as we had been preparing for it for several days previous we were kept pretty busy. The ground chosen for the review is at the foot of Munson's Hill about six miles from our encampment; and thither we of King's brigade repaired on the morning of Monday the 18th to have a division review preparatory to the grander one that was soon to follow. When we reached the field where was not another regiment to be seen so we stacked arms, unsung knapsacks and "took the world easy" until the arrival of the other brigades of Gen. McDowell's division which was not until sometime after noon.

We then formed column and marched in-review but had hardly got once around the field ere we received a report to the effect that we were attacked in front and already a whole regiment of our troops prisoners.

"Then there was mounting in hot haste the steed
The mustering squadron and the clattering car
Went pouring forward with impetuous speed."

But the trifling affair of a skirmish between the pickets of the opposing armies did not render it necessary that our cavalry and artillery which dashed away in such rapid haste should arm them in the ranks of war.

We remained on the field till nearly dark and were then marched back to camp but we did not learn the true cause of the alarm until the next day.

One of our pickets was wounded and our men who drove back the rebels found some blood on a stick. A small affair to make such a fuss about.

We returned to the field again on Tuesday for the purpose of clearing away some trees and rubbish that would be in our way if left where they were but got back to camp before sunset. Wednesday, the 20th of November, found us hardly astir. We ate breakfast before it was light and reached the field before any other brigade. But soon the troops began to pour in in all directions and by 12 o'clock there were assembled 80 or 90 regiments of infantry, 9 regiments of cavalry and 20 batteries artillery, taking, in all, not less than 70 or 75,000 men. Here were also many thousand spectators. It was probably the largest assemblage of people ever known in the Old Dominion. Gen. McClellan and staff with the President, Secretaries Seward and Cameron and a line retinue of officers of lower grade arrived on the field some time in the forepart of the afternoon and dashed rapidly around the field in front of each brigade. Most of the troops cheered with all the power they had as the General on whom is turned the eyes of a closely observing world as well as those of an anxious nation; at King's brigade composed of the Second, Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin and the Ninetieth Indiana regiments stood motionless and save no shout but seemed to say by their silence, "wait till we win a great victory, wait." Gen. McClellan has proved himself to be what we hope he is, a great General. 

Like the pines and oaks of the Northwest they stand silently in the sunshine but will they not shout in fierce glee when the sky is made dark by the storm? 

After they had made the rounds they took their station upon a small knoll and then commenced the review, which lasted about five hours.

It was probably a grand thing but I could not see much of it and my knapsack endeavored to make me think it was not so grand after all.

As we were the first to reach the field in the morning, we were also the last leave it at night and did not reach Fort Tillinghast until late hour. We are now having a bit of a rest.

We of Company H have received intelligence to the effect that the family of our man who was captured at Bull Run and is now a prisoner in Richmond has been turned out of doors and is now in a destitute and suffering condition. This speaks highly of the people of Lodi, where the family is or has been living. If people have no more patriotism than that they had better go South at once. We made up a purse and sent to the relief of said family but I hope such things will be looked to by the people, and also by the state authorities for the families of volunteers should not be allowed to suffer.

Letter from the Hon. Mr. Ely, Prisoner at Richmond to the Hon. Thaddeus Stevens.
The following copy of a letter recently written by the Hon. Mr. Ely to the Hon. Thaddeus Stevens will be read with deep interest:
Richmond, Nov. 25, 1861

Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, House of Representatives:-

Dear Sir:- It is publicly known that I was arrested by the Confederate troops near Manassas on the 21st of July last and brought to Richmond as a prisoner of war where I have been detained in close confinement ever since. Throughout my imprisonment, now exceeding four months, I have endeavored to deport myself in such manner as neither my friends nor my own Government would have cause to regret.
My object in troubling you at this time, however, as you are about entering upon your laborious duties in the House is not one of personal consideration to myself but to call your attention to the condition of our private soldiers now held here as prisoners of war. The Confederates have now in their possession and in actual imprisonment 2,961 officers, non-commissioned officers and privates aside from those on parole as I learn from reliable sources; 1,710 of these officers and privates are still at Richmond confined in loathsome tobacco factories converted into prisons and the remainder have been distributed to different localities in North and South Carolina, Louisiana and Alabama.
Included among this number are several hundred three months' troops whose term of enlistment had in fact expired before the battle of Bull Run who left their homes and families upon the first call of their country to defend the capital and the flag. These men have been imprisoned already more than four months in the confident hope that some arrangement would be made to secure their release or provide at least for their destitute condition. They have suffered like true soldiers with a patient self-sacrifice of almost every personal comfort until the poor fellows are nearly disheartened.
Could you have witnessed with me today five hundred of these troops as they were preparing to depart for Tuscaloosa in Alabama there still to be imprisoned. I think, Sir, it would have roused the sympathies of your generous nature. A large portion of these men were, as you are no doubt aware, taken prisoners in midsummer when the weather was exceedingly hot and were dressed in clothing suitable to the season and not only that but great numbers had thrown off their coats on going into battle and were brought here in their shirt sleeves They had no change of clothing for months. I have seen them without shoes, socks, shirts, coats, hats or caps and in several instances with only drawers for pants- pale and haggard from long confinement.

In this condition hundreds have been sent South to other prisons exposed to the gaze of the curious and excited crowds.

Separated as they have been from their friends and embarrassed by the uncertainty and danger of transmitting means in the present state of affairs they have been substantially cut off from all private resources for relief. The winter is already upon them and the necessity for clothing and blankets, especially for the prisoners in this latitude, appeals but too earnestly to a generous Government in whose defense they have taken up arms.
If no measures are contemplated which are likely soon to lead to the release of prisoners these men should be supplied with needful clothing without delay; and I know the Administration too well to suppose for a moment that it will suffer brave men after fighting the battles of there country and falling unfortunately into the enemy's hands to continue incarcerated in Southern States destitute of the comforts of life.
The officers of the United States Army, my associate and prisoners of war at whose request I address this communication to you are unacquainted with the views of the Government upon the subject of an exchange of prisoners, now some what strongly urged in different sections of the North, but what ever they may be, they feel assured, with myself, that they will not be unduly neglected by their Government and are content, with myself, to remain in imprisonment so long as it promotes the best interests of our country.
Very truly your friend
Albred Ely

Our Washington Correspondence
The arrest of the Rebel Commissioners-The Grand Review-Freed and the Administration-A Difference of Opinion-Will Gen. McClellan advance?-Whisky among t5he Soldiers -Health of our Volunteers.
Washington, Nov. 25, 1861

No event since the Bull Run disaster has caused a deeper sensation here than the arrest of the rebel commissioners Clidell and Mason and though the act is in accordance with the plainest principles of international law yet there seemed for a time to be a great apprehension that it would cause a rupture with England and many of the leading newspapers strengthened the feeling by ill advised comments and assumptions that it was a violation of their flag, though justifiable under the circumstances. Ever the heads of departments were to some degree fearful of consequences until quieted by judicial authority and assured by consultation with eminent jurists among whom, I understand, was one from Wisconsin, Lord Lyons, the British minister however has maintained a commendable reserve and by no expression betrayed his views upon the subject. It would undoubtedly be most gratifying to the sagacious autocrat of France if England could be precipitated into a controversy with the United States and there are not wanting those in this county who would welcome such an event. The consequences of such a conflict no one can foretell but they would be felt throughout the world for good or evil and could only work disaster to England.

.....Standing behind him they elicited the warmest expressions of admiration for their proficiency in drill and their soldierly appearance and old army officers were astonished that in so short a time so large a number of well disciplined soldiers could have been gathered from civil life. Every regiment and brigade marched well and it required an educated and experienced military eye to discriminate who did the best. The divisions of Gen. McDowell and Gen. Porter having been specially commended for proficiency in drill by an order of Gen. McClellan, much interest was manifested to see them and doubt expressed whether they could appear better than those already passed but when last of all they appeared, the universal verdict ratified the commendation. As Gen. King's brigade approached and the gallant Second appeared, Gen. McDowell remarked to Gen. McClellan, "Here comes our Second and every man marched by with martial pride, not a head being turned to right or left and nothing, save perhaps the turn of the foot, indicated that they were not veterans in the service.
No State was better represented on that field than our own Wisconsin and even our latest regiments found no superiors from other states either in personal or general military appearance. When such soldiers can be so soon called into existence from civil life the argument for heavy standing armies loses much of its force and strength.
The course of Gen. Halleck in Missouri in regard to the slaves is believed to have been prompted by the same necessity which was the prime cause of Fremont's overthrow, viz.: to conciliate the "Union saving" slave element of the South. It will, however, prove only a tub to the whale and longer delay the final consummation of the suppression of the slaveholders rebellion. You do not believe that Fremont's proclamation of freedom had anything to do with his removal and therein you differ from the common opinion here. The slavery advocates claim and the friends of freedom concede that but for that, Fremont would to day have been in favor and the commander of the Western army. You also deem an expression of opinion adverse to the policy of the Administration as an evidence of disloyalty and opposition to the Government when you cannot but know that the course of the Administration is shaped by the popular sentiment and that it is prepared to go just as far in circumscribing slavery as the people will sustain it. A tame and servile submission to and acquiescence in the measures and policy of the Administration instead of a free and faithful expression of honest sentiment is calculated to mislead and betray the government into a course which will bring disaster and final overthrow. Mr. Lincoln, hold with Fremont and could he believe that the people are generally prepared to sustain him, he would gladly commit the administration to a decided opposition to slavery and paralyze the arm of rebellion by striking at the root of the evil and putting in force the policy of John Cochlane. But while professed republicans in the free states are hesitating and only here and there a leading mind, more frequently Democrats are bold enough to avow the real truth that slavery is the cause of this infamous rebellion and that every blow at that iniquitous system is a blow at the traitors, it could barely be expected that the Administration will strike out freely and unhesitatingly. No administration and no political leader or aspirant will venture to go beyond the popular sentiment and the only way to get them up to it is to utter it freely and fully. This cry of conservation which now going along the lines of the Republican ranks- this demanding of, or quietly assenting to, the overthrow of every one who dares to exercise his authority against the slave power which is in rebellion against the Government will paralyze the people and result in the ascendancy of another party who not only will acknowledge the right but will dare to defend it regardless of demagogues and venal politicians.
Extensive preparations are now being made for erecting winter quarters for the part of the army on this side of the Potomac but no movement is on foot to house the immense host over the river. At the time of the review it was generally believed that an advance movement was immediately to be made and there was not a few who saw in the careful preparations of ball cartridges and full equipment's of the men an advance instead of a review. but all have returned to their old quarters and nothing now indicates a forward movement.
The payment of the volunteers which took place last week was the occasion of some disorder among the men who had been for two months on short allowance for money. It was also the harvest time for sutlers, itinerant peddlers and gamblers. Whiskey, the great curse of the soldier, was in many camps freely used and was the occasion of much difficulty.-
Hundreds are undergoing sentences of court martial for disorders then committed. No regiments suffer less from these causes than the Wisconsin; but it has been found necessary  to publish stringent orders against gambling in the camps in order  to protect the unwary and inexperienced against the villains who gamble for a profession and who assume the garb of soldiers to secure a position that will enable them to fleece the innocent of their hard earned funds. Col. Cutler of the Sixth, after publishing a prohibitory order last week, made an address to his regiment warning them of the danger of the pernicious habit and  admonishing them by the love they bore for their kindred and friends and for the honor of themselves and their regiment to abstain from it. His remarks were received with hearty cheers from the companies after they had returned to their quarters and will be productive of much good as the men have the highest regard for their gallant commander whose glory and pride are the men under his command. In the Seventh Regiment, Capt. Giles company sent home over $2,000 of their two month pay, which shows prudence and character worthy the state from whence they came.
There have been two deaths in the 7th since my last viz. Private Heliker of Company C, of typhoid fever. Private Atwood also of Company C was not expected to live on Saturday. The deaths in this Regiment exceed that of the others but whether from want of proper care on the part of the surgeons or from unavoidable circumstances it would be difficult to determine. The erection of a Brigade Hospital, which is now completed, it is hoped, will obviate some of the difficulties hitherto existing in taking care of the sick and increase the chances of recovery. Lieut. col. Sweet of the 6th is now rapidly recovering from a violent attack of fever and will soon be fit for duty.

It is doubtful whether Adjutant Cook of the 7th will be able to do duty again for some months as the fracture of his ankle cannot be repaired without time and care 


From the Second Regiment
Thanksgiving Day in Camp

Since I have occupied so much space with the affairs of the regiments I will confined myself to that subject alone and speak of the Fifth as I found it occupying one of the outposts of the Army of the Potomac in Virginia.
Through the efforts of Major Larabee, whose aspirations looked forward to the command of a Brigade, the Regiment was detached from the Brigade of Gen. King to which it was the almost unanimous wish of the officers and men to continue attached and put into Gen. Hancock's Brigade and separated from its comrades from Wisconsin. Its present position is an honorable, a laborious and a dangerous one but this forms no part of the objections to the detachment from its Wisconsin associates. It was both natural and reasonable that the men should prefer to remain with the Brigade from their own State and fight under and side by side with their acquaintances. I am led to refer to this matter more particularly from noticing in a copy of the Wisconsin picked up in the camp of the 6th on Saturday, a most villainous, infamous and malicious letter concerning the 5th Regiment, intended and well calculated to create difficulty and sow seeds of discord. It is aimed at Col. Cobb and worthy only of a most malignant personal and political enemy who would willingly injure the public service to gratify partisan feeling or personal malice. It purports to have been written Nov. 1st but only appears in the paper of Nov. 22d It was ante-dated undoubtedly to prevent suspicion of its author. I know of but one man here who could write it. But one end could be accomplished by it, and but one motive could have dictated it - Evil and malice.- It magnifies but two officers in the Regiment, Major Larabee and Capt. Clark, and it disparages Col. Cobb and Lieut. Col. Emery and charges them by implication with cowardice, weakness and imbecility. I cannot believe that either of the former would authorize so gross and wanton an attack upon their superior officers yet it is a significant fact that, if successful, it would place them in command and thus gratify an ambition which, though laudable in itself, is disgraceful when accomplished by corrupt means. If the end aimed at by the writer could be accomplished viz.: the overthrow of Cobb and Emery and he says, as if by authority, that a powerful influence will be brought to bear for that purpose, Major Larabee will succeed the former and Capt. Clark, as senior Capt. in the Regiment, would become Lieutenant Colonel!

It the statements of the writer (who pretends to be in the confidence of the superior officers of the brigade) are to be railed upon, a deep plot, an infamous political intrigue is on foot to destroy the usefulness of two of the best officers yet sent from our State, two as brave, honest, amateur men as live; men above petty and dishonorable schemes of intrigue and who would dispose stolen honors and scorn, less wear them. Col. Cobb and Lieut. Col. Emery are too well known to be injured in Wisconsin by malicious attacks of anonymous newspaper correspondents; they need no defense at home but when these articles find currency in a Wisconsin newspaper and that paper is sent back here to operate on the minds of stranger and those having responsible public connection with these gentlemen the case is different. Gen. Hancock and the officers of his brigade cannot know these parties arrayed by this writer in hostility against each other as we know then; and there fore the intrigue which the correspondent says is on foot may gain important strength and the minds of good men be poisoned against meritorious officers and work injustice to them and injury to the public service.
The effort undoubtedly is to prejudice the mind of Gen. Hancock against Col. Cobb and Lieut. Col. Emery and the fact that they, and nearly all the regiment, save Messrs. Larrabee and Clark destined to remain with Gen. King's brigade, is to be made the basis upon which to work. I have visited the regiment in their present camp on two occasions within a month. And so far as I can learn from observation and conversation with officers and men I find the best of feeling towards Cols. Cobb and Emery and the utmost confidence between them and Gen. Hancock. Some of the men have thought Gen. H. unnecessarily awards his brigade but all accord to him courage, ability and military sagacity and neither col. Cobb nor Lieut. Col. Emery have manifested the least ill-feeling toward him or in any manner intimated want of respect for him or any jealousy of any subordinate or superior officer and they would quite as likely have intimated to be as to any other person such a feeling if it existed. I regret exceedingly that any attempt should be made to engender bitterness among or towards officers from our State. I know there is no disposition to detract from Mr. Larabee or Mr. Clark any merit or withhold from them any desired honor or preferment of account of Political differences of for any other cause and I hope it will not be found that they have been less magnanimous then those from whom they have derived their present honorable position. I do not know the writer of this infamous letter in the Wisconsin but I can guess and if he persists in his attempts to sow dissension and create discord in our ranks while arrayed against and in the face of a common enemy, he ought not only to be forbidden within the lines of the army, but he should be abridged of freedom altogether and find a lodgment with the prisoners at the old capitol building.
Private Green of Company I and Corporal Davis of Company F, died in the camp of the Fifth of Friday and Saturday last of remittent fever. Private Garfield of Company E, and another private whose name was not given me were buried from the Sixth last week. There seems to be a singularly fatal tendency of the diseases of the camps. A kind of remittent fever ending with typhoid is prevalent and finishes its course very speedily and fatally.
Lient. Col. Sweet has recovered from has attack and is again reported for duty. Major Bragg and Adjutant Haskell both endure the exposures of camp life finely and the regiment now has a full staff on duty.
Col. Berdan's regiment of sharpshooters is now full and is encamped just out of the city. It is pronounced the best regiment of men yet received into the service here. Gov. Randall, accompanied by Major Larabee, visited them on Saturday when they were reviewed and exhibited the greatest proficiency in their new avocation. To the honor of our state, it should be stated that here, as elsewhere, our Wisconsin men bear the palm for appearance, discipline and character. Col. Berdan remarked to Governor Randall that the Wisconsin company was by far the best in his fine regiment; and stated that since their enlistment not a man of them had been drunk or in the guard house; a compliment that few companies in the service can claim and one that can only be appreciated by those who have witnessed the tendency among the soldiers in all the camps to throw off restraint and occasionally "have a time".

Congress commenced its session at 12 o'clock to day; both houses were full and proceeded directly to business. The galleries were crowded to overflowing and all anticipate an interesting and exciting session. The "irrepressible nigger" will still prove the bone of contention and the question will be fully discussed whether it is best to leave slavery in the rebel states to abide the result of the rebellion or whether it shall be protected and preserved intact by the Government for the benefit of the rebels when they shall have laid down their arms. We shall see what we shall see.


December 1861