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The Second Wisconsin and the Nineteenth Indiana break camp, recross the Potomac, and
pitch tents near the bridge called Camp Lyon, Oct. 2d. The Seventh Wisconsin Regiment
joins Gen. Kings Brigade, which now consists of the Second, Sixth and Seventh
Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana Regiments.
October 5th the brigade, being attached to
Gen. McDowells Division of the Army of the Potomac by orders of General McClellan,
break camp and via Georgetown, crosses the river again at Aqueduct bridge and goes into
camp at Fort Tillinghast or Arlington Heights, about a half mile west of Arlington House,
late residency of Gen. Robert E. Lee, commanding the Confederate army.
Among the many expedients adopted by sutlers to sell contraband liquors to soldiers, one
is exceedingly novel. They drop a couple of peaches into a bottle of whisky, and sell the
compound for "pickled peaches" A more irreverent expedient is to have a tin made
and painted like a hymn book and labeled "The Bosom Companion".
Milwaukee Sentinel, October, 1861
Ft. Tillinghast, Oct. 6th, 1861
Editors: Advocate-As you see by the above heading "The wandering 2d" have
changed their place of abode and are now encamped just outside the gates of Ft.
Tillinghast on the grounds recently occupied by the 35th Regt. N.Y. Volunteers.
grounds are beautifully laid out. The Company streets are as level as a parlor floor and
free from stumps, stubs, &c., showing that those who had once occupied it, had spent
days of hard labor in putting it in its present condition. Poor boys!-How we
"pitied" them as we took possession of the treasures left behind which consisted
of boards for our bunks, roughly made tables, chairs &c.-Well, we can say to them as
others have said to us when we were on the advance, "Go on, bully Boys, we hope soon
to follow you."
Our new Captain Ruby is the pride of the company; a warm hearted gentleman and a perfect
soldier, both qualities combined in one render him all we could wish or desire.
In the ranks he is very strict and the company maintains its good state of discipline
while out of them, he is a boy amongst us, sharing all our sports and pastimes with as much
zeal as the greatest boy in the company. A better man could not have been appointed
outside of the Company. Lieut. Parsons who has been in ill health for some time, I am
happy to say, is improving; the balance of the company enjoy their usual good health and a
gayer, light-hearted company full and running over with fun and frolic would be hard to
find and having perfect confidence in their leaders they are ready at any moment to march
to the battle field and rest assured when once there they will do their part with credit
to themselves and State.
We hear with feelings of pleasure that Racine intends sending still another company to
the field. Good for Racine and we hope that the young men left behind will rally promptly
around the old flag and should we ever meet the new company, we hope to see in their ranks
many of our old friends and school-mates.
The boys no longer look like beggars with well ventilated suits of clothing but present a
very neat tidy and soldier like appearance. Their new uniform consists of a handsome blue
frock coat, pants of the same, a high felt hat, blue cord and black plume; now if we only had
good rifles instead of sheet-iron muskets, we should be fitted out. Our company was with
Smith's Division the other day when the advance to Falls Church was made: no items of
I send you per Thos. Lyons, a Rifle Cannon ball, picked up by one of our boys on the
grounds when the late skirmish near Lewisville occurred. It was not taken from a Rebel
battery nor is it stained with blood but was "dropped" by some stray Secesh. It
will make a pretty play thing for the children, accept it and oblige.
Your Obt. Servant.
Patriot War Correspondence
from the Second Regiment
Fort Tillinghast, Arlington Heights, Va.,
October 6th, 1861
Nothing will make a soldier discontented quicker than inactivity and I think our officers
time to pitch our tents and get our household furniture collected and arranged in a
comfortable and tasteful manner, before they order another move, and then we strike our
tents and depart cheered on by the hope of seeing something new.
We left Camp Advance, from which place I last wrote on the first day of October, and there
was not a man in the Second but what went away with a cheerful heart for we had heard of
the arrival of the Seventh Wisconsin, and were anxious to see them. It came rather hard to
leave our traps behind, that we had been industriously gathering, and a
good share of our every day clothes and commence house keeping, as pioneers commence, when
we get to another stopping place.
We had scarcely pitched our tents, after our arrival at Camp Lyon e're the sound of fife
and drum announced the arrival of the Seventh. They marched by us in the best of style and
encamped between us and the Sixth. We are all in Gen. King's Brigade and I hope we will
maintain the honor of Wisconsin in camp and in the field.
Camp Lyon is on the East side of the Potomac and I think in the state of Maryland. The
river is narrow and rapid and goes foaming and dashing along in wild fury between two high
and rocky walls that have for countless ages guarded its noisy march toward the sea.
During our stay at this romantic place we had the grandest kind of times for the Seventh
and Second have been on the best of terms and as the boys say, "they will run
together and stick to each other like brothers," but we were not allowed to remain
long in a place so far from danger; in fact, it was no place for soldiers, so our Brigade
was ordered again into Virginia and yesterday we packed up for another move as cheerfully
as if we had occupied that ground for a year. We had not been at Camp Lyon long enough to
gather as much extra luggage as we generally do, but we had been supplied with blue coats
all around which completed our new uniforms and as the day was very hot, we were obliged to
reduce the weight of our knapsacks and leave many things upon the ground that we would
gladly have taken with us.
We started about noon with the sun beating down upon us with terrible heat. There was not
the slightest breeze to be felt. It was the hottest day I have experienced since the 21st
of July and though we had not more than ten miles to march, many were obliged to fall out
of the ranks and remain behind till the cool of the day- your correspondent being one of
the number. There was but one occurrence, to my knowledge, worth relating and that I
will give to show the heartlessness of some men. While I was lying in the shade the
Seventh passed me and my brother, seeing me, fell out also and waited for me until I had
rested and was ready to march but we had not proceeded far before we came to some of our
friends of both the Second and Seventh and my brother learned that one of his tentmates, who
was just coming down with the measles and whom he supposed to be in the ambulance, had been
compelled to walk either by the ignorance of inhumanity of the surgeon and while we were
talking over the affair the sick man came up with us. He was quite sick and we determined
to wait until the wagons came along and get him a chance to ride. The first and second
teamsters refused to take him in, but the third, being more of a man, allowed him to ride.
The wagon master, however, who was riding in the same wagon when he learned that he
measles, swore he should not ride but as he was too much of a coward to ride with a man who
had the measles, he could go afoot. He belonged to the Nineteenth Indiana and if he is a
specimen of the men that compose the regiment, they will be a sorry set to go into the
We arrived at this place about sunset, but our tents did not reach us till long after dark
so we did not pitch them until this morning but now our city is built and we are enjoying
a rest after the fatiguing march of yesterday- It is quite cool again to-day and we know
how to prize and enjoy it. I cannot tell how long we will remain here- It may be a month
and it may not be twenty-four hours.
We are in McDowell's division and when there is any fighting to be done we will probably
have a hand it it.
Head Quarters, 2d Reg., Wis. Vol.
Ft. Tillinghast, Oct. 10, 1861
Eds.: Advocate-In the life of a soldier on active duty there are many changes- When I last wrote to you I guess it was from Camp Advance, Chain Bridge, since then we
rejoined King's Brigade and went over the other side --stayed there three days and then
came where we are now. I really have nothing much to say and am only writing to keep open
communication. You inflicted a very severe punishment by not sending the Advocate this
week, I suppose it was because I have not been a very good correspondent of late but it is
very difficult to find anything to write about.
Yesterday we had our Brigade reviewed by Gen. Mcdowell; we were marched to the field about
10:25 AM and drawn up in line of battle, the 6th Wisconsin and 10th Indiana and behind them
the 2d and 7th Wisconsin.
Gen. McDowell first reviewed us in line of battle, in rear upon order; then the columns
were formed and we were marched in review, passed the Staff and returned to our post where
our arms were inspected by the Aides and our clothes by the General. To us such things are
of little interest, we would rather be going to a fight; we do not want any unnecessary
parade but I suppose it is necessary. We would rather be anywhere but in King's Brigade;
we want a fighting man and then we would add another laurel to the wreath that we have
already dearly won and we would show the secessionists that our defeat at Bull Run and the
loss of our grave comrades has inspired us with fresh vigor; they may whip the 2d but to
make them believe it is the hardest work.
We fear we shall have to remain here on the reserve though there are many who would prefer
to see us behind the batteries they command.
Since we have been back from Bull Run, we have been called the "Ragged Second" a
title of which we were rather proud; Regiments that came fresh to Washington were fitted
out entirely and we were passed over and not only that we were pushed ahead in work on
picket duty. When we went to Chain Bridge we heard that Gen. Smith had been told that we were demoralized but when we passed his
head-quarters on our departure how said he would rather see all the rest of the regiments
go than us. Our pickets were never driven in and we never raised a false alarm, (nor shot
a cow, thinking it a cavalry man, as did the 5th) but the General thought we had one great
weakness, which was foraging beyond our lines. The following is an
incident:- One of
his aids was sent out to reconnoiter and when he returned the General asked what he saw,
he replied that he had been as far past the outpost as he dared and in looking ahead he
saw some soldiers about 1.5 mile farther; "That will do " said the General,
"I know they must be the 2d Wisconsin;" the aide replied they were. And to our
minds and mouths there was no doubt of it; for the next day secession geese and chickens
played a conspicuous part in our rations.
Well to return to my story last week, we got our new uniforms-,blue frock coats, blue pants
and the regulation hat, feather, &c. and I can assure you that the 2d was a pretty
good looking regiment and one of which Wisconsin may be justly proud and for the
"Ruby Tigers", of course, I can say but little as modesty demands silence, but if
ever they appeared to advantage it was then. The night before, the Captain expressed a wish
that every man should make the best appearance he could and every one seemed to do his
best. Gen. McDowell remarked to King that it was a very good company. Capt. Ruby has
served in the ranks and the boys all like him first rate; I don't mind saying I
took a day in sight-seeing. It was the first time I had been over a mile from camp since our
arrival in Washington and it really did me good to have a day to myself in which I could
go and come as I pleased. It took some smooth talking to obtain a pass; but I was amply
rewarded for my pain in the long walk I took during the day. I had been on guard the day
before and got only an hour's sleep during the night so I was not in first rate trim for a
ramble but for fear I might not get another chance, I concluded to improve the opportunity
Leaving our encampment on the outskirts of the grand and beautiful forest that
Arlington Heights, I took a road leading directly to the valley of the Potomac. The morning
mist had not yet cleared away and it was impossible to see any great distance through it
but it was not thick enough to obscure the sun, and his bright rays falling upon the
countless dew drops that hung upon the trees made the old forest sparkle.
Arlington Heights is one of the loveliest places in Virginia and probably in America and
is the only place I have seen on this side of the Potomac on the line of our
fortifications that has escaped to any considerable extent the ravages of war. This is the
only forest that has been spared, all others, no matter how beautiful, have been cut down
and this has suffered much though it still stands in its glorious majesty. In the center
of the forest and on the highest point of elevation covered by it is situated the
Arlington House- at present the head quarters of Major General McDowell and Brigadier
After proceeding about a mile and a half I emerged from the forest and descended to the
level plain or bottom that here extends along the river and turning abruptly to the right
set out on a rapid walk for Alexandria, for it was yet too foggy to obtain any distant
views and I could improve the cool of the day by increasing my step and see all that could
be seen on my return. At Fort Albany there are two roads leading to Alexandria and as I
could take but one I turned to the left leaving the right hand road for my return. From
that place to Alexandria, a distance of about six miles, my road led me alternately over
bluffs and through valleys and deep ravines; and to the right and left on every commanding
position I could see the gaping mouths of cannon from forts and earth works there erected.
The stumps and fallen trees that cover the hill-sides alone are sufficient to obstruct the
march of an army while the positions of the forts are so well chosen and so strong within
themselves that a hundred men can defend any one of them against twenty times their
number. This line of fortifications extends from Chain Bridge to Alexandria, a distance
probable of 12 or 15 miles and I am sure that fifty thousand men can now hold Washington
against two hundred thousand.- There are but few encampments now along this line of forts;
only troops enough to defend them in case of an attack remain as a reserve force while the
greater part of the army of the Potomac has advanced some distance into the enemy's
country. Gen. McClellan seems inclined to hold every foot of ground he gets possession of
and he is abundantly able to do it therefore he is ready to advance.
I arrived in Alexandria about 10 o'clock A. O. M. and as I had but little business to
I spent a few hours in rambling through the streets of the dirty city where the brave
Ellsworth met his death. I was not favorable impressed with appearance of this Southern
city it being- New Orleans excepted- the filthiest I have seen North or South. It is
situated in a very fine place and might be one of the fairest cities in America if the
inhabitants had a little more energy, but as it now is its only redeeming qualification is
the beautiful trees that line its streets.
On my return I took a somewhat different route and gathered a few chestnuts and persimmons
though they are very scarce in these parts. I did not strike my old track until I reached
Fort Albany, from which place I obtained a very good view of the surrounding country the
Potomac and Washington. My regiment and brigade were drilling on the plain and
looked well from the point from which I beheld them.
When I arrived at camp I was tired enough and sleepy enough but I had had a very good
Life in Camp--A journal of Six Days
Fort Tillinghast, Arlington Heights, Va., Oct, 18, 1861
In order that our friends in Wisconsin may know something of the life we lead and the
times we have here in the old Dominion, I will give you a journal of events for a few days
although I find it very difficult to journalize in a manner interesting and instructive. I
cannot find a better time nor a better place to commence than the present so I have stolen
a few moments from my other duties, laid aside my gun and accouterments, although they might
be improved in appearance by a little more labor, toil not down the things that are before
We had orders last night when on dress parade to be ready for brigade review at
1 o'clock pm
today by Lieut. Col. Fairchild, he expressed the wish that we would come onto the parade
ground with everything in perfect order and I am sure he will not have occasion to find
fault with us for we have been at work ever since reveille, cleaning our guns, brightening
our brass, brushing our clothes, blacking our shoes, &c., that we may look as well, to
say the least, as any other regiment in King's Brigade. we took pride in the name of the
"ragged Second" which was given us when we were ragged and well deserved the
name but now we have good clothes and take pride in looking well although we don't deny
the old name yet.
It will soon be time for us to fall in. Every one is busy. Our village looks like a
collection of bee hives with the bees all busily at work.-
If it had remained fair we would not have had much work to do but as it rained all night
we were compelled to give our guns another thorough cleaning for they had gathered rust
both on the inside and outside and would not do at all for review- but there goes the drum,
the boys are falling into ranks, I must away.
After review, -We have had a grand time- The Colonel was well pleased with our neatness and
good appearance and said he only asked us to march as well as we looked when the eyes of
the great ones behold us. Our uniform is of deep blue cloth with the army regulation
hat and plume and when you add to that a white glove for every hand, you have our dress in
full, though we wear as ornaments our knapsacks, haversacks and canteens, besides our guns
Thus to the sound of fife and drum we marched away through the magnificent grove that
surrounds the Arlington House to the review ground on the plain near the Potomac in sight
of the Capitol City of America.
There were present Gen. McDowell, Gen. King, Secretary Seward and others of the Cabinet and
Prince De Joinville with his suite.
They rode along in front of our lines and expressed their satisfaction with our
loud enough to be heard in the ranks and though the Prince spoke in French, his remarks
were not lost for we have men among us who understand that language. After a good long
review we were dismissed and marched back to camp. The day has been cool and we have enjoyed it even though we have had to work pretty
hard. We have no dress parade to night.
Saturday, Oct. 19th- It has been a rainy disagreeable day. I have been on company police
duty, my business being with three or four to sweep our street and remove all the filth and
dirt from our grounds that had accumulated since yesterday. Our tents are kept free from
dirt and our street as smooth and neat as a side walk. Each company in the regiment attends to policing its own grounds and besides, we have a
general or regimental police that attends to the general grounds and the main streets of
our city. These police are appointed every day and by that means we keep our encampment in
a state of cleanliness far exceeding many cities that I have heretofore visited while the
health of our regiment is preserved. We have but little sickness among us and have had but
one death by sickness since going into camp and that was of our Sergeant Major who died a
few days since.
We have not drill any today on account of the rain and as tomorrow is regimental
inspection day we have spent all our spare time (those of us on police) fixing up- for in
rainy weather guns will rust almost as fast as they can be cleaned, so we have our hands
The Second Regiment is one of the oldest now in the field and for that reason it is
necessary that we put on some "style," for it would not do to be outdone by
other and younger regiments.
Lieut. Col. Fairchild will do all in his power for the honor of the Second and the
glorious State of Wisconsin. Sunday, Oct. 20- Regimental inspection came off at 9 o'clock, a.m. and lasted about an
hour. I was so unfortunate as to be detailed on guard so when inspection was over instead of
having the remainder of the day to myself I had to take my post with the other
unfortunates and guard the encampment during the next twenty-four hours. Guard duty is not unpleasant in
pleasant weather, and as the day was remarkably fine we had a splendid time. The night was somewhat cool, but when we were not on post, we built up a rousing fire near
the guard house and passed the time away in singing, dancing, story telling and sleeping;
when on post we have but little guarding to do here as we are not the advanced guard of
the Grand Army and I could find little else to do than watch the silver moon, so high and
beautiful, as she glided so smoothly and majestically along the sky. If the moon could
always shine at night I would be willing to stand guard every other day for I find no time
for meditation so good as when the earth is made bright and glorious by her rays. I think
every person in the world can well afford to spend one hour each moonlight night in gazing
upon the beauties of Nature. More than half of the loveliness of the earth and sky are
seldom, if ever, seen by a majority of the human race.
I came near forgetting to mention the fact that the Randall Guard Company H, of the Second
regiment, this morning presented a splendid Surgeon's sword to Dr. Lewis in honor of his
bravery and humanity at the battle of July 21st. It was an honor of which the
Dr. is, and
well may be, proud. He is a true soldier and deserves the soldier's esteem.
Monday, Oct 21:- Having been on guard yesterday and last night I was excused from duty
during the forenoon of to-day and was not yet up at reveille which, beats at 6 o'clock, to
answer to my name at roll call and came near losing my breakfast but as I did not go
to sleep until 4, I valued two hours sleep more than my morning rations. The remainder of
the forenoon I spent in mending, washing &c. Every man is his own tailor and his own washer woman in camp, in fact, we are now able turn
our hands to anything.
We had a brigade drill this afternoon which lasted from 1 until near 5 o'clock. Gen King
was the only high officer present and it was not necessary that we should put on as much
dignity and style as on some other occasions. After returning to camp we took a breathing spell of about five minutes and then came
dress parade after which we could do as we pleased until roll call came again at 8 o'clock
when we must all be present. I spent the time visiting my friends in the Seventh.- roll
has been called and the tap of the drum will soon announce the hour of night when every
light, according to army regulations, must be put out and the soldier retire to rest.
Tuesday, Oct. 22- Although it was clear and cold last night at bed time it was raining
pleasantly- not storming when I awoke this morning. Sometime during the night news was received of a battle or skirmish at Leesburg, in which
Col. Baker of the California regiment was killed and orders were issued for us to be all
ready to march at ten minutes notice but we have no preparations to make. We received
these same orders nearly two weeks ago and we are therefore all ready and when we are
ordered to march can be off in a moment. We have had no drill of any kind to day, not even dress parade, on account of the rain.
was one of the regimental police but had nothing to do. We had our regular roll call at
which we all had to be present and that was the extent of our duties. It is evening now and raining still. My tent mates and myself, with one or two others of
our company, have been reading and discussing upon the merits of Gerrit Smith's
"Religion or Reason" We all have different opinions upon every question that
arises. But our argument is over and it is time for me to lay by my pen.Oct. 28, Morning- Reveille at 6 o'clock aroused every man in camp and though it was still
raining slightly we all dashed out into the street to answer to our names.
I was derailed with two others to carry water for the cooks which is about the hardest day
duty we have, our springs being a long way away. I have carried up two pails and am now
taking a rest. Evening-It cleared away about noon so we had our regular drill and dress parade this
All is quiet along our lines according to latest reports and though it is more than three
months since the battle of Bull Run and we have been looking for and expecting a battle
ever since, we seem to be as far from it as ever yet we know not how soon it may come.
From the Second Regiment
(Correspondence of the State Journal)
Camp Tillinghast, Va.,
Oct. 19, 1861
Dear Journal- It is possible that letters from the various camps of the Wisconsin Regiments
are getting to be something of a bore not only to the people but to the newspapers at
home. They are however a matter of a great deal of amusement to the soldiers here, who
thus hear of exploits dangers and privations of which they would be entirely ignorant, did
they not see them blazoned through the columns of the press. It is true that in the heat
of battle or in a skirmish along a line of pickets there is some danger but one of the
Wisconsin troops have been much exposed since they made their celebrated "advance on
Washington" from Bull Run neither has the field for personal exploits been opened to
any extent along the lines of any of our regiments and, as to privations, true we have no
feather beds, no close rooms and suffocating air tight stoves, no cushioned chairs or sofas
and no mothers and sisters to sew buttons on our shirts and dish out for us nice viands
and delicacies and frequently no milk to drink in our coffee. It is true also that our
tents often leak, that we are compelled to stand out in the rain and cold night and day on
many occasions and that our marches sometimes are very fatiguing.
But if any of our friends at home could see how hearty the men are, with what alacrity and
cheerfulness they spring out in the morning and respond to every call for work or drill,
how they enjoy and waste Uncle Sam's ration, and the fun and music they have after retreat
at night, they would undoubtedly cease to worry themselves; mothers would sleep easier and
rejoice over the fact that their sons had the manhood to face a little prospective danger
and with such courage, alacrity and good spirits.
Of course, we have in all our regiments a few faint hearted ones who made a mistake when
they supposed they would ever make soldiers and who trouble their friends continually with
the most dismal picture of affairs and a few vain ones who take pride in depicting the
imaginary evils they suffer or may suffer and these few men have imposed on some of the
editors and correspondents at home and have succeeded in exciting an immense amount of
sympathy for the poor soldier and particularly for the "poor unfortunate
Now, with your permission, I wish to say that so far as the Second is concerned, it never was
in better condition than at present; there never was greater harmony among the officers
and men never was discipline so well enforced; never did the men attend to their duty so
well; never were their arms and clothing in such fine order, never were they braver and
confident and never were they so proud of themselves and of their state as they are now.
To be sure this was not always so- Once we were hungered and now they are feeding us
well, we were strangers and they took us in; we were naked and they have now
A month ago we were such a regiment in appearance that Flagstaff would not have marched
with us through occasionally now we defy even the regulars to excel us in dress appearance or
I do not make these remarks in a boasting sprit for too much of this has been exhibited on
too many occasions.
Reality places the Second right with the people of Wisconsin and partly to reply to an
article which appeared in a late number of the Journal in which there were sundry
misrepresentations and I am sorry to say unjust reflections upon the officers of the
Reg't. History will probably do justice to them but it may not be until the sod has closed
over them. It is my opinion that newspapers should be very careful in admitting into their
columns aspersions upon the character of officers unless they are manifestly and
notoriously true. An officer's character is dear to him and a disappointed or disaffected
and irresponsible private should not be permitted to hold it entirely in his own hands by
an abuse of the liberty of the press. On this subject the army regulations are clear.
It is easy to charge a man with cowardice and the very charge by an unknown person and
with no proof might fasten an indelible stigma on the reputation of a brave man. I believe
this has been done in the case of one or two of the officers of the "Second."
For instance the charge against Capt. Ely of cowardice at Bull Run, is extremely unjust
and untrue to my certain knowledge as he was one of the last to leave the ground. And as
to his company which has been represented in so pitiable a plight, it is sufficient to say
that it is in better condition morally and in discipline and good order than ever.
Since writing the above and on yesterday afternoon we had a grand Brigade Review and Drill
in which all the Wisconsin regiments took part together with the 19th Indiana. The palm
was unanimously awarded to the "Second " for appearance and drill. Gen.McDowell
and the Prince de Joinville sent their compliments to the regiment last evening thro. Gen.
King, expressing in the strongest terms their admiration surprise and pleasure. Every man
came out in shining colors with brass polished, shoes blacked and with white gloves. The
latter part was entirely voluntary on the part of the men among whom exists a remarkable
esprit de corps.
As to news, it will be old by the time it reaches you. Gen. McClellan is the idol of the
army. The 5th is near Lewisville, Col. Cobb has recovered and is in command of his
regiment. Col. O'Connor is still, much to our regret, unable to use his voice. Lieut. Col.
Fairchild is winning golden opinions from the men.
The 2d Regiment wants 200 men to fill vacancies. Captains Mansfield and Stevens will
muster them in and send them forward. You will hear of a big fight soon unless the
continue to fall back.
Oct. 20th break camp at 1 P.M. March through Keedysville in a heavy
rain storm. Distance 12 miles.
A pleasant Affair in the Second Regiment
Arlington Heights, Va., Oct. 21, 1861
Dear Journal:-Two or three days ago the hearts in the Second Regiment bounded with delight
at the announcement: "Dr. Lewis is in camp!" Probably there
is not a man on earth whose advent among
as would produce more emotions of joy than our kind and heroic Surgeon whose
skill and untiring labors for the health and comfort of the Regiment had
endeared him to every man of every rank before our reverses at Bull Run and
whose deeds of valor and humanity of that battle field and among the wounded
patriots at Manassas and Richmond have filled so many hearts with gratitude. And
the hand shakings and "God-bless-yous" that were extended him were
essential proofs of our appreciation of his great worth. To any man not totally
interested in our welfare and devoted to us, the attentions he received must have
been tedious; but the Doctor took much pleasure in delivering all messages sent
from home to our soldiers and in relating all matters of interest, etc..
Yesterday morning, the Doctor was greatly surprised to see the Randall Guards in
all the brightest beauty of their uniforms, and with countenances of delighted
gratitude halt in front of the Surgeon's tent, and call for "Dr.
Lewis!"- The Doctor appeared, was saluted by the company and Capt. Randolph
addressed him as follows:
Dr. Lewis:- Our misfortunes have made us plain-dealing men; and when we tell you
that your presence now creates emotions of pain as well as pleasure you will
understand us; for we think of you still as a prisoner.
You now see in us a regiment of soldiers who are envied because of their
soldierly attainments and who are complimented by our greatest General and other
officers who favor but few. This same regiment you and I remember as ragged,
hungry and weary, sustaining a part in terrible battle that gave a proud name to
Wisconsin Soldiers and taught us by its disasters on whom to depend. First of
all the sad recollections of that terrible day was the fate of our dead and
wounded comrades; and when the story of your absence and heroism was told us it
came as a great relief to the monotony of our camp life and our misgivings in
regard to the future.
As a slight token of our appreciation
of your actions, then, the Randall Guards give you this sword and belt, only
regretting that the conditions of your parole prevent us from presenting you a
saber to be wielded by you in the defense of our country for which you have
evinced so great devotion.
Hereupon Capt. Randolph handed the Doctor an elegant Surgeon's sword. The doctor
received it with perfect grace and replied.
"Fellow Soldiers:-The unexpected reception of that gift so burdened and
hallowed with the awful memories of that terrible field, touches my heart. I can
truly say that this is the proudest moment of my life.
"A few week's ago on a beautiful Sunday morning like this, while the church
bells were ringing through the clear air of our Wisconsin home, summoning our
friends, brothers, sisters, fathers and mothers to the house of God for worship, we
were being led by the sound of the booming cannon to be butchered on that battle
field; where, if all were brave, the Second Wisconsin were heroes.
"Fellow soldiers, if I have done aught to cause you to cherish toward me
feelings of esteem and affection, God giving me time and opportunity, I will
endeavor to prove myself to the end not undeserving; and when this war is over
our cause nobly sustained and we have returned to our homes, it will be enough
to say for us all, dead patriots and live heroes, that we belonged to the Second
Wisconsin Regiment and that you were of the Randall Guard of that Regiment. To
the officers of this company and to you Capt. Randolph, words cannot express the
grateful feelings of my heart. Noble soldiers! brave companions! tried friends!
as you have honored me so may you always be honored by a grateful country and
your tried friends! as you have honored me, so may you always be honored by a
grateful country and your tried men."
At the conclusion of the brief and comparatively unpretending ceremony, quite a
crowd of officers and men had congregated who complained slightly of not being
allowed to know of the affair to the end that the whole regiment might have
participated. The commonest remark among the soldiers was "how I would like
to go into battle with that man for a Colonel!"
"We have a full
blue suit, a fine black hat nicely trimmed with bugle and plate and ostrich feathers; and
you can only distinguish our boys from the regulars, by their good looks."
Letter to the Mineral Point Tribune, Oct. 22, 1861
Letters from the Army
Washington army letters are generally considered contraband so far as publishing
them in newspapers is concerned. The sons, brothers and friends of all, in all
parts of the country are writing from the seat of war about the same terrible
account of affairs respecting the misconduct of officers, dry nurses &c. We
have solicited for publication the following extracts from a private letter
written by an intelligent soldier, serving in a Wisconsin regiment. He writes to
a friend residing here the following among other things:-
" I am told that in one of the Wisconsin regiments there are two hundred on
the sick list and others are perhaps faring as badly. Sergeant Major Griswold of
the Second Wisconsin sleeps his last sleep and Capt. McKee of your place will
probably follow him ere this reaches you. But where now are Gov. Randall's
boasted state agents who were appointed especially to look after the sick?
Drinking and loafing about the city while our men are dying without even the
presence of a friend.
One captain told me today that he first intimation he had that one of his men
was dangerously sick was the notice in the papers that he was dead. Gov. Randall
wrote a fine article- certainly a readable one- on the sending out of State agents
but where are the good Americans? I venture to say that not one of them has ever
seen a single friend of yours or mine when sick. I venture to say that they have
been seen one hundred times in the
Oct. 27th pass through Pleasant Valley, crossing South
Mountain at Crampton's Gap, through Burkittsville and Petersville in Middle Valley toward
the Potomac. Eight miles.
Oct. 30th cross the Potomac at Berlin and march to Lovettsville,
VA. Seven miles. March to Purcellville. Eight miles. Nov. 3rd to Snickersville. Five
Headquarters, 2d Regt, Wis. Vol.,
Ft. Tillinghast, Va., Oct. 31
Capt J.W. Ruby:- Dear Sir:- Permit us, members of Company F, 2d Regiment Wis.
Volunteers, lately under you command, to address you a few lines expressive of
our feelings towards you for your untiring labors in your behalf.
From the first moment you became our Captain you endeared yourself to us by your
evident determination to make us a superior Company and while your discipline
was exceedingly strict, your conduct has ever been so gentlemanly and so excepted
from anything like overbearance or partiality that, this has only been a means of
winning our high regards instead of engendering hostile and bitter
feelings as is too frequently the case. Everything that you could do,
consistently you have done most willingly, prompted by those higher motives that
inspire only superior officers. Your career with us has been one of flattering
success as our rapid improvement so abundantly testifies. We recognize in
you an experienced officer one who knows his duty thoroughly and who never fails
to perform it; who is peculiarly adapted to command and who never fears to meet
an enemy; in short, one who has been tried and never been found wanting.
But our hearts are sad and we are indignant for persons unacquainted with your
merits and instigated only by selfish motives have affected your removal. Most
deeply do we regret that you have to leave us, but let us assure you that you
have won a place our heats from which you will never be removed while there are
any left beating in Company F.
May your high qualifications yet call you to positions of greater responsibility
but amid all the varied duties of your life we hope to be now and then kindly
remembered by our much esteemed friend.
We wish you well, but Reluctantly say farewell.
J. M. Mann