Return to the Home Page of the Second Wisconsin

1861 September, The Second Wisconsin

To join our future comrades we struck tents across the Potomac on Aqueduct bridge and Maridian Hill near Washington City, marching five miles; here we remain until September 3rd, when in the evening the long roll beats and we fall in and march rapidly through Georgetown up the Potomac to Chain Bridge, seven miles. 

September 4, 1861, the Second and Fifth Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana Regiments were temporarily detached from King’s Brigade and assigned to Brig.-Gen. Wm. F. Smither’s command, and immediately crossing the river his division occupying a command in position, covering the approaches of Chain Bridge, distance marched, three miles. 

Cornelius Wheeler’s diaries

....of drill and soldierly bearing highly creditable to both officers and men. For three days previous to the Review at Bailey's Cross Roads, they marched out to the review ground, a distance of six miles, and went through the drill. Accustoming themselves to the part, they were in the greatest assembling of armed men the Western continent ever witnessed and it is stated that were highly complimented by Gen. McClellan for their soldierly bearing, being the only regiment that observed strict discipline and military etiquette while passing the General. Other regiments it is stated shouted, sang, threw  and made many other extravagant demonstrations but not a man of the 2d turned his head until the order to present arms was given and their conduct elicited special praise from the Washington papers.

A Soldier's Life in the 2nd Regiment
Decidedly the best war correspondence that has yet been printed is published by the Madison Journal of last Saturday consisting of extracts from about fifty different letters received from the boys of the Second by a Lieutenant at Madison who was wounded at Bull's Run. Written without any idea of their being published they give a perfect reflex of a soldier's life in camp much more accurately than carefully prepared correspondence. We extract liberally.

L.E.A. has the utmost confidence in the superiority of the 2nd regiment and the Randall Guards in particular. Hear Him:

"We have slept on the ground every night and it has rained every other night but we don't care for that, we are tough and can whip more Secesh than any other regiment in the army. We have done more picket duty than any other company in the regiment in the army, but we don't care for that; for when we have the Captain at our head we can climb the Missouri or swim the Allegheny Mountains. But to return, we are in tip-top fighting order and all Anxious for a fight and all we want to make our company complete is your presence.

E.R.C. after speaking of the present location and condition of the regiment writes in the following strain:
'It was indeed an unfortunate affair for us when you got shot but we hope to see you with us again. The next time we play ball, we will be able. to handle ourselves better. The boys all have great confidence in General McClellan and are anxious to try Secesh on again. If we only knew the man that gave you that unlucky hit we would give him a pass to the other side of Jordan mighty quick. Within three months time we will unfurl the American flag in the city of Richmond. This time we will send no boys to mill but go ourselves; and if Jeff Davis don't wish he had leave of absence you may take my head for a football. We all feel that the old sinner has no rights that white men are bound to respect. We propose to make short work of him now and the best thing he can do is to get some able advocate to plead his cause at the throne of Divine Grace, for there is no room for repentance here. He has stolen our money and attempted to overthrow the best government the world ever saw; and that, too, after it has nourished and protected him and gave him advantages that few countries afford. He has insulted the memory of Washington and of all the fathers of the republic. The voice of those illustrious dead who consecrated the first and best fruits of their immortal genius to the cause of liberty cries aloud from the portals of the tomb to their children's children to avenge them against him who now dares to disturb their repose. With their sacred influences and the god of Battles on our side, we are invincible and conquer we must. Years hence it will be no cause of regret to you that you suffered the hardships of war and that you bled in a cause so similar to that in which our revolutionary heroes were engaged. They fought to acquire liberty - you to keep the boon which they left you as a heritage."

S.E.S. among other things says: "Hard crackers are getting to be a great delicacy in this God forsaken land of Virginia, especially for the ragged Second, as the fighting Fifth calls us; but we will show them how to put on style when we get our new clothes. We are having some of the best times out on picket you ever saw.

H.A.S. writes thus: I am enjoying the best of health and better spirits. I have not been sick since I enlisted. The boys are all in good spirits and eager for a fight.

J.R.B. writes quite a long letter giving the scenes since the Bull Run affair. We make the following abstracts.

"Although we have war in the land yet we have had during the past week more rumors of war than anything else. About midnight every night some of our pickets will imagine they see a rebel army creeping through the shadowy bushes, and the result is that some fated stump or pig or cow tastes lead or at least gunpowder; but sometimes good luck makes it a rebel so the long roll beats, then turns out boys quick.

J.H.C. says: "The boys all long for another fight with Old Secesh. I was
in sight of them the other day and helped arrest one secesh farmer last week. His daughter took on awfully and wanted I should shoot her"

R.F.B. says: "Give my best wishes to all the friends of freedom in Madison. Stir up the boys, so that Wisconsin may fill up her regiments without drafting. I received a letter from my brother yesterday. Good for him - he has enlisted."

J.D. writes: "Secesh are getting bold, but we will soon give them a lesson they will not forget. McClellan is the boy that suits me. There is fire in his eye, and I think he will give them fits."

B.M. expresses himself thus: "We have finally got settled down in old Virginia once more and are ready to give the cowardly traitors what they deserve. We got our pay yesterday and you had better believe we will not eat any sheet iron crackers for awhile."

F.W. waxes warm as follows: "We expect to whip the rebels before long. I don't think it will be another Bull Run. I know it will not as long as there is a Wisconsin boy left to hold up that glorious old flag for which our forefathers have fought and bled that this land night be free and their children have a home. Shall a mess of bigoted Southerners upset this glorious Union, which has stood so firm so long a time? Never! They shall quail before us like cowards and yelp like young pups!"

H.R.M. speaks thus confidently: "The Secesh are not far off. We will have a warm time here soon; but we will clean them out."

N.R. writes that John Grover of Co.H, was accidentally shot in the thigh on evening of the 16th; the wound was a bad one and he has been sent to the Georgetown Hospital.

T.B. expresses a great desire to see the Lieut back and says: "The boys are all in good spirits, and are all ready for another fight."

J.W. discourses thus; "Good health and excellent spirits prevail throughout the regiment and we are more anxious than ever not to have another Bull Run affair but to drive the enemy from Bull Run in more disorder than they did us. The 5th and 6th regiments think that we are wonderful hard cases and style us the rowdy Second. They sometimes call us the Ragged Second as we still wear our old State clothes and they are dressed up in their Regular U.S. uniforms. But let them go on with their abuse, our new clothes are now received and though they may call us rowdies, we will show them that we can do our duty."

S.W.D.says: "We have what we call a dress parade every night about two o'clock, caused by picket firing.

J.M.E. gives the following account of things: "You will see by the heading of this that we are again on the sacred soil of Virginia. We have had some good times since you left and also some pretty tough ones. When we first crossed chain bridge it seems like a perfect wilderness and now we have a Fort as large as Fort Corcoran and another one containing four or five acres besides about ten or twenty thousand men. There is not much prospect of a fight just at present, but we never know anything about it until we are within hearing of the enemy's guns. We have either been working on the Fort or on picket duty every day since we have been over here. I have been on sight of the rebel pickets."

H.C.A. writes a long letter, giving full particulars of events since the Bull run affair most of which are familiar to our readers He says: "We are all well or nearly all, as there are but three or four sick. Capt. Randolph and Lieut. Rollins, are well, and seem to be in good spirits; in fact all the Company are in good spirits; in fact all the Company are in good spirits - especially to-day as we got paid off. We are but a short distance from the enemy and have an alarm almost every night"

J.H.S. writes thus: "We are now in a low green valley on the old Virginia shore in daily anticipation of a call from Lord Jeff, and in view of this we have been under arms almost without cessation since we crossed the Potomac. We are all, I think, if possible, more anxious to meet Secesh than we were previous to the Bull Run. We are on picket duty nearly all the time and that suits us, for the peaches are not all gone yet, and green corn and potatoes are quite plenty, and we live well."

J.E.N. writes thus: "You are aware that we have a new Lieut. Colonel. I suppose you are well acquainted with him. He attends to his regular business--up and dressed every time, and we believe when the time comes to try his mettle, he will stand fire.

W.S.C. writes: "We have to do some scouting once in a while to take a look at our neighbors 'Secesh. We like to look at them once in a while, but we would like to shoot at them better."

D.M.B. says: "We have got out tents on this side of the river, and have got settled. We are enjoying ourselves first rate and to make us feel happy we have got our pay, but a few of the boys had got in debt $12 or $13 to the sutlers and they did not care much about seeing him."

E.H. speaks thus kindly of Lieut. Meredith. All the letters express great sympathy for that officer, and a strong desire to see him back with them. We copy this as a fair specimen of the good feeling for the lieutenant, that pervades the entire lot of letters: "We are now pleasantly and comfortably in camp at present and in good spirits; and we are all very anxious to see your phix once more, I have been afraid you would not be able to join our company again. I hope your arm is getting better. I know that if we could we would any of us relieve you from pain and bear it cheerfully. When I speak of myself, I speak of the company; they are all perfectly crazy to have you back again. I do not think there is any prospect of a battle at present. We have erected a pretty substantial fort on the hill in advance of Chain Bridge. I hope to see you back in time to lead us into the next battle, when I hope we will have a glorious victory. I wonder what kind of name the Second has in Madison. We have a very good one in adjoining regiments with the exception of the Fifth, which calls us the ragged Second. We played a good joke on them the other day. We took a private and dressed him so as to resemble a Secesh as much as possible and then made believe he was a prisoner and let him go near the camp of the 5th. There was a scattering for him, I can tell you, but when they discovered the cheat they looked rather cheap"

J.K. goes off in the following style: "We are a hard looking set of boys at present - dirty ragged pants is our uniform; but the material inside of them is as good as it ever was. We are pretty close to Old "Secesh," and have to get out of bed in a hurry sometimes in the rain. The boys are all in good spirits and want to pitching Old Secesh."

H.C.W. gives the realities of a soldier's life thus: "We have been trying some of the realities of soldiering the past week - working on for days and sleeping in the open air-nights; but we are good for all such things. Our company goes out on picket this afternoon. This picketing is a grand old business; for there is lots of green corn and sweet potatoes where we go and the Second knows how to get them."

L.O.I. gives some idea of what they are doing: Since we left camp Kalorama, we have had no tents but had to sleep in some brush huts which we have made. We have been at work on a fort which we call Fort Smith and it is now finished so that I think the rebels will meet a warm reception if they come within range of the thirty-two pounders that are pointed in every direction. I will also tell you that it is a general thing to be called out in the  night and stand in line of battle for two or three hours because the pickets are firing nearly the whole night. A couple of nights since we had to stand out in the rain until we were wet entirely through. We did not feel well the next morning but we are all right now for yesterday we got our tents and were paid off so that we have everything we want except our new clothes; and we think we shall have them in a few days so the 5th and 6th will have no cause for calling us the "ragged Second."

Prison life in Richmond

The Tobacco Houses - Experience of 1,500 Union Prisoners in Them during the Past Nine Mouths - An Authentic and interesting Narrative.

From the New York Times
Last Saturday there came down to Fortress Monroe from Richmond some 380 of our military rank and file and 20 officers - the last of 1,500 national prisoners who have spent the majority of the past nine months of their lives in the rebel Capital. Very few of these released prisoners have yet reached New York; but from some of those who have we obtain various items of information about  the life of our Northern prisoners in Richmond after the battle of Manassas and so all the way down to that at Donelson.

Lieut. J.M. Grumman of the Brooklyn Fourteenth Regiment has given us most of the material on which the following abstract is founded. We know the Lieutenant and we know his authority to be reliable, He was taken prisoner when acting as officer of a detachment of pickets at Falls Church Virginia on the 18th of November last; and from that time to the present has had his experiences in the Richmond tobacco warehouse life. There are now so many of such War prisoners that by a change of names and a slight alteration the following account might stand for scores of other cases.

How they were taken
Lieut. Grummen and his men formed an outermost picket at Falls' Church, separated from communication during the day with the rest of the line of sentinels by a gap of considerable distance which was only guarded at night. A detachment of Virginia Cavalry under Col. Fitz Hugh Lee, one pleasant afternoon, bore down upon them and cut them off from their retreat and after a spirited little engagement in which a Rebel trooper was killed and fort of the Union pickets wounded, Lieut. Grumman surrendered. The cavalry, without more ado, took him with Sergeant J. McNeil (wounded in two places) and Wm. M. Campbell (a brave Brooklyn boy) only 19 but as cool as a cucumber) with Clinton Pettit (wounded) Nathaniel Lyon, Daniel McCanley.

On To Richmond
The ten above mentioned prisoners were taken to Centreville and thence to Manassas where they were kept all night and their overcoats stolen from them. Lieut. G. made such an indignant remonstrance, however that most of the coats were returned by an order from rebel headquarters.

On their way, as they neared Manassas, they were saluted by some of the rebels with such speeches as "Yanks, there's Bull Run! Did you ever hear of Bull Run, Yanks?" A secession flag was also brought out and the bearer of it planted himself close along the road so that the prisoners would have to pass in its shadow. Lieut. G. pulled out his handkerchief and fiercely blew his nose as a salutation to the fluttering ensign.

At Manassas the men were placed in the common guard-house among the rebels. At day light the next morning, one of the Union prisoners found his pocket cut and the contents gone; another had his watch stolen and another was minus his overcoat.
The next day, by the cars, they reached Richmond - saluted by the crowd with an ironclad "What d'ye come down here for?" as they were marched along the street to the prison.

The Prison Buildings
There were three large warehouses for pressing and storing tobacco each about 35 by 75 feet on the ground and two of then three stories and one of them four stories high. In one of these, in the second story, was the place of durance for the officers to the number of fifty or sixty and for some ten stewards beside these latter being Union privates detailed to help cook &c. among the officers. All the other buildings and apartments were occupied by the privates.

The rooms were generally the whole width and depth of the building. Through the middle of a room would be a row of tobacco presses and fixings making a sort of semi partition . In the officers prison there was water and closet partitioned off at the end.

The officers were kept rigidly confined in their prison most of them never being allowed to go out in the open air at all. All this was not so bad; however as the special case of the condition of Col. Wood of the Fourteenth Brooklyn regiment. He was sent to the county Jail as a hostage and was kept there three months among felons, Negroes &c. altogether a disgrace and scandal to even the secession authorities.

They appear to have become conscious of it themselves; for about three weeks ago they changed his quarters and, as all are aware, the Colonel is now released and home at the North.

A Day's Routine
About 8 o'clock the rebel officer of the guard would come in and go through the roll call of the prisoners who as, their names were called off, would pass along to a separate part of the room.

Life was quite monotonous. The two meals of the day, reading the papers, a few minutes down in the yard, songs, carving rings or toys, listening to some yarn spinner &c. were about all that could be called in requisition to make the weary days pass along.

The nights were the longest sometime as if by common consent everything would subside and while they sat around the fires after the lights were put out each would appear to busy himself with the silent musings of his own heart. But these quiet hours were not frequent.

All winter the men have only been allowed two meals a day. The afternoon meal, or dinner, consisted of soup with rice &c. and half of a small loaf of bread. The meal the next morning for breakfast would be the beef cold from the previous day's soup and another half loaf of bread.

This diet continued throughout without any variation. Coffee was unknown and tea was very rare, Potatoes and other vegetables could had by those with money.
The officers had three meals a day. Although the fare was limited and plain, it was perhaps all the better for the men as they had no out-door exercise at all, they could not dissipate with liquors late hours or the like. As a general thing there was no great complaint about the quality of the beef or bread.

Number of Prisoners
Probably 1,500 Union prisoners have been held in Richmond the current winter. Some 200 of these were in the hospitals. These have all been thinned off from time to time by release and by deaths until this last batch of 400 that came down the James River last Saturday, cleaned them out altogether as far as the Northern military prisoners were concerned.

Virginia Unionists
Quite a sprinkling of the inmates of the tobacco houses were (and those are about all now there) loyal citizens of Virginia itself or as the Southern prints would call them "disloyal Southerners". These numbered perhaps from 150 to 200 and they were the most unhappy and dejected of all the prisoners. So far there has been no exchange or release for them.

Prison Amusements
The monotony of life in the tobacco houses would be varied with getting up mock trials, debates&c. and sometimes with practical jokes. About New Year's they got up the play of Rob Roy, which was performed with very good appointments, dresses &c., young man (as in Shakespeare's own day) taking the part of the principal female character. This play went off well, being presented to an audience of between 400 and 500 prisoners, many of them invalids who were able to come in from the hospital apartments. The programme of the play on this occasion had the announcement  at  the bottom- "front seats reserved for cripples." It is said that the actors acquitted themselves very well, and that the play and kindred amusements helped to make the Christmas and New Year holidays pass off very pleasantly to many a poor fellow who might eitherwise have been down hearted enough. During the day, to while away the time, some played euchre, whist, seven-up, or other games at cards; others, chess and others, checkers or backgammon. Some employed themselves at cutting rings or other little fancy articles out of bones taken from the prison beef. Others read the Richmond papers which were brought in regularly. Of course they saw none of the Northern papers. When any one received a letter from home he was the envied man of the day.

They formed, partly for amusement and partly for a police among themselves, a "Prison Association," with regular officers, constables, &c. The seal of this Association was ingeniously and appropriately designed of a ring of lice chasing each other around with the motto, "Bite and be d-d!" Congressman Ely from his rank was elected President of this Society. 

At Night
In the prisons of the men, candles were furnished and the officers prison was lighted with gas. The early afternoon meal made the evening very long. The men occupied them with talk, arguments, social games, and with fighting, over and over again, the battle of Bull Run and other engagements.

At 9.5 o'clock, the lights were withdrawn from the men's prisons and the gas turned off from that of the officers. Then they would gather around the stove, (they had plenty of fuel,) and often pass away hour after hour in singing "America" the "Star-Spangled Banner," and "Fight for the Union," and in telling stories and sometimes in religion, exercises, hymns, &c.

In the officers' prison, among other good fellows, was a gentleman named Isaac W. Hart, (Old Hart,) Quartermaster of the Twentieth Indiana Regiment who did a good deal to make Richmond prison life endurable, with his cheerfulness, and singing a song composed by himself to inspire his fellow prisoners. While they were all sitting there around the stove, perhaps, thinking of home by the dim light of the fire if nothing else was offered, Mr. Hart would strike up his song, and sing verse after verse and all the prisoners would come in strong on the chorus:

"Roll on roll on sweet moments roll on,
And let the poor prisoner go home."

Then there was another contribution to the life and genuine goodness of the time in the presence of Lieut. B.F. Hancock of the Nineteenth Indiana, a perfect specimen of the Western Hoosier, full of dry fun and helping much to keep the blue demon away from the door.

Shot at the Windows
At first for some weeks, the southerners on sentry duty made nothing of watching for an excuse to pop off one on the "Yanks" at the windows of the tobacco buildings. The feeling was very bitter and some of them gloried in the chance of murder. Some six or eight of the prisoners were thusly smite, two of them killed.
This was under Capt. Todd. When Major Gibbs came into command he put a peremptory stop to this cruelty.

Some kind hearted intelligent Southerners would, at times, visit the prisons and talk appropriately to the men. But most of the visitors conveyed very much the idea of the usual form of a menagerie show being reversed and the animals going around to take a look at the men. On Sunday there would always be a great crowd gathered in front of the tobacco houses, stupidly looking up, hour after hour at the windows.
The Georgians appear to have been the most generous and manly. Instances of friendship, candor and hospitality from the Southerners toward the prisoners existed to a small extent; but as a general rule the treatment was ignorant and showed any other qualities but those of "chivalry" over the misfortunes of a foe.

The infamous Captain Todd
The one who, from the universal testimony of all the prisoners, appears by his conduct to have aroused them to the highest of desperation was Captain (or Major) Todd, the brother of Mrs. Lincoln. He was the rebel officer in supervision of the prisons. From all sides come stories of the acts of this sneaking, savage, cowardly scoundrel who seems fitted by nature for the position of a plantation overseer, that is if those attributes would vie him for such a post. Todd wanted no better amusement than to come into the prisons of a forenoon and kick the helpless, crippled and wounded prisoners for no cause whatever except his own disposition.
His conduct was so dastardly that he was superseded by the Jeff Davis Government and Major Gibbs was put in charge of all the Richmond prisons. He was very strict but he had a human heart. Captain Goodwin is now in command; he is stern but a gentleman.

Rebel arms and appearance
It seems to be unquestionable that the secession forces in Virginia are very deficiently armed. One whole regiment at Richmond had nothing but the old flint lock muskets and the same sort were common among all the soldiers that could be seen, There are evidences also of the lack of caps, bullets and ammunition, generally the rig of the soldiers is unprofessional to a degree that would make any old martinet drill officer go half crazy with disgust.

All the talk of the Richmond and other Southern papers about the high-strung readiness of the Southern solders to dare wounds, starvation and death for the protection of their homes and liberties appears to be sheer nonsense as applied in the rank and file of the great body of whom it is plain that they are dull, slow, ignorant and without any spirit of their own to push them into the contest. Of course, there are a few who are fierce and determined enough but they are exceptional cases. The great body of the soldiers are more than sluggish - they are the roughly callous and impassive about the war.

They can hardly be said to have any uniform to any regiment; their clothes are poor and the same regiment has every variety of rig. There is no military esprit among the men. The sentinels never salute the officers when the latter pass.

They have little idea of obedience or decorum and dissipate at once all notion of their fighting "to the death" against the National Government or indeed fighting at all any longer than compelled by the false stimulus of the secession leaders.

The money that passed in the rebel regions the past few months is mostly of the kind called shinplasters "Good for fifteen cents at some oyster house or five cents for milk" are specimens of the kind of circulation medium that goes by the handout in Richmond. Still the trouble is not so great from this sort of money as might at first be supposed if it goes for food or personals there without difficulty and, of course, it goes in the Richmond bar-rooms. A popular drinking place of that city counting up the proceeds after a day and night, finds them to consist of great heaps of there brownish yellowish and a few whitish shinplasters.

When the prisoners had any money forwarded to them in gold or treasury notes of Northern backed bills, they would generally exchange it for these shinplasters. We have, as we write this, just been looking at quite a stock of the stuff which one of the released men had on hand last Thursday when the order came for the prisoners to be given up and sent down to Chesapeake Bay. As he had no further use for it to make purchases in Richmond, he kept it and brought it home for curiosity.

The inmates of the tobacco house heard for the first time of their release on the 18th instant. They were not all anticipating anything of the sort and the news set them wild with joy There was little sleeping that night as may be supposed.

Bright and early were they all up the next morning the 19th. In the dusk of the morning, at 5 o'clock, they were marched down in squads to the Richmond wharf, 380 men and 20 officers; and there under charge of four Secesh deputies they went on board the Southern tug William Alison and started about 8 o'clock down the James River - for home.

They came down the river within ten miles of Newport News but here they were unfortunately detained all the rest of the day and all night, the men crowed and sleeping doubled together like slaves in the middle passage. Many, however, were too happy to sleep. They sang exuberant songs and hymns all the night long; dwelling on the patriotic allusions with emphasis. But early on the morning of the 20th (and a joyous celebration of the day it made for them) the hired national boat Express, with the Stars and Stripes flying over her, arrived and took them off. It was worth going a couple of hundred miles to see the sight that was presented when the unbent soldiers first caught the look of the flag and it drew closer and closer to them. Such cheering, such joy and many a manly tear that could not be suppressed; and then to raise them to the highest, all of a sudden, when they got aboard the Express and started off down the Chesapeake, a fine military band that had been sent up by one of the regiments drummed and blared out with great energy the tune of Yankee Doodle!

At 10 o'clock that forenoon (20th) they all arrived safe and sound under the massive defenses of Fort Monroe - 400 happy liberated souls!

How A Wisconsin Boy became a Lieutenant in the Regular Army-
The Second Regiment correspondent of the Milwaukee Sentinel has the following:
Did I ever tell you how a Wisconsin boy, a Sergeant, worked his way into the Regular army? I think not but I will. I refer to lieutenant Potter of Oshkosh - He enlisted in Captain Bouck's company and was promoted to Sergeant. While we were at Chain Bridge, Gen. McClellan visited the camp and was accompanied by Secretary Cameron and Mr. and Mrs. Gov. Curtis of Pennsylvania. With Mrs.Curtis Potter was acquainted; so when the carriage stopped he made his way through the crowd and told her what he wanted. Mrs. Curtis turned to the Secretary and asked?
"Mr. Cameron, did you ever do me a favor?"
"No, I never did , " was his reply.
"Then I want you to now."
"It is granted without the asking," was the gallant reply.
"Then you will appoint Mr. Potter a Lieutenant in the regular army?"
"I will."
Soon after Potter called upon the Secretary in his office. Mr. Cameron turned to his head clerk and said:
"Fill out a commission for Potter"
"There are no Second Lieutenant vacancies," said the clerk.
"Then give him a First Lieutenancy"
"There is but one vacancy. Come in next week and I will give it to you."
"No sir," said the Secretary sternly, for he knew if laid over till next week that would be the last of the matter. "Do it now as Lt. Potter will wait."
Lt. Potter did wait and when he left the office it was with a First
Lieutenancy in the U.S. Army in his pocket and soon after he was sent home recruiting for the regular army.

From the Second Regiment-
We have been favored with a copy of a private letter from J. White of the Randall Guards in the Second Regiment with permission to copy the whole or such portions as we might think proper. The letter principally relates to the battle of Manassas, but gives little that we have not already published in substance.
The following in regard to Charley Brown of Oregon in this county will be of interest to his friends and acquaintances: "there are five of our company prisoners at Richmond. We lost none of the field. I have taken much pains to ascertain the full particulars in reference to Charley Brown and with all my investigation I am sorry to say that I am unable to give you such a favorable result as I could wish to and as you would wish to receive. Mr. Edgar Thorpe of the Janesville Co. received a letter from James Brown making inquiries after his brother but his health is so poor that he is unable to answer it. The last that any of the Janesville boys saw of Charley, he was wounded in the hip and laying under the fence out of the way of the bullets. Sergeant Lee of the Janesville Co. says he saw a fellow when he was returning home who said that he saw Charley and was helping him off the field when a ball struck him in the back of the head and he expired at his side. Who this fellow was, the Sergeant does not know. He asked him to describe Charley and he says he described him exactly. He said further that he knew Charley himself. You have this statement just as I got it. Lamentable as it may be, I could but feel it my duty to give you the true statement and if, hereafter, it may be found to be faulty, I hope there will be no blame laid to me, for it is the only information I can give of him.
If this should prove to be correct, bear in mind that he fell on the field while nobly defending the stars and stripes. His loss can be felt nowhere more than in his own company and every one who know him will feel the loss of a true and noble friend."
The letter in speaking of the new Colonel says "he seems to be afflicted with some disease of the throat which injures his voice."

From the Second Regiment
A letter to the Milwaukee Sentinel from a soldier in the Second Wisconsin Regiment dated September 3d says:
"during the week we have been receiving our first installment of clothing from the Government. It amounts to two shirts, two pair drawers, one pair shoes, two pair socks, one blanket, with a dark blue uniform entire - hat, coat and pants, (The latter we have not got - only in expectation.)
*** the Fifth has received its uniform and it is very neat. The coat is frock cut, and the whole affair
substantial, and looks more like wear than the botched up affairs gotten up by the Wisconsin tailors seemingly for no other reason than to swindle the State, and see how bad they could make a regiment look. Our present suit is in no very fine condition, and I do not know how to describe it any better than by telling something that actually occurred last evening. President Lincoln and Secretary Seward came up to Camp Kalorama to witness the parade of the Wisconsin Regiment. As a consequence, a large number of ladies were present. The parties in the carriages drove up in the rear of the regiment as we were drawn up in line but very suddenly the ladies began to blush furiously when the teams as suddenly drove to the front of the line. Bad as the suit looks we can barely be ashamed of it for it has been to Bull Run and everywhere bears the credit of of having behaved itself there. Still we shall wear the new duds when they come nor grumble much at it.

War news is contraband. It is death to go babbling to you what the army is doing when it is going to move and what point it will strike at first. So if you  may excuse me from making any such exposure of my body on that account.

As to the number of troops in and about Washington I suppose there is no harm telling that so I will put the number down as "slathers" -in other words there are "slathers" of them. Camps rise up here there and everywhere by night and by day and more troops are coming all the time.

A day since, 210,000 loaves of bread were issued by the commissary Department as one day's rations for the troops in this immediate vicinity. Each soldier gets a loaf, and if that doesn't make "slathers" I don't know what does.
A regiment of real live bona fide French Zoo-Zoos, right up and down Johnny Chapeaus, has just come in and settled down in sight of us. 

There are funny looking creatures with their faces closely shaved, their hair closely cropped and head covered with a red turban. 

The dress is red white and yellow, green and grizzly and every other color and the pants look like a bag with a hole cut in the bottom through which both feet are stuck. By looking at them I can imagine something about ladies running gear, and that is about all. They are lively as crickets, fly around, swing their arms as if they were pendulums to clocks with springs broken, smoke in the ranks when drilling and pay no attention to drill whatever; nearly all saw service in the Crimean war and, as they are Frenchmen, will no doubt fight better than they drill and be a strong arm of whatever brigade they are attached to"

Letter from the Second Regiment
Camp of the 2d Wis. Reg't
Saturday, Sept. 7th, 1861

Editors Journal: -My promise to keep you informed of the doings of our Regiment I fear has not been well fulfilled but you know enough of us to know the reason. About ten days ago we were ordered to move our camp from Fort Corcoran and cross the river and join Gen. King's Brigade. It seemed to us like another of our many misfortunes to leave the "sacred river" for we had been there since the battle of Manassas and unlike many other regiment had staid there when things looked the darkest. Our stay however at our new camp was a short one for on Tuesday night last we received orders to leave our tents and baggage and proceed at once in light marching order to Chain Bridge where an attack was anticipated before morning; it did not come and we enjoyed a refreshing sleep in the rain for three hours. All day we were under arms and at night crossed the bridge once more into Virginia and bivouacked in a ravine about 1.5 miles from the river.

There is a large force about here of infantry and artillery and entrenchment's are being hastily thrown up as an attack is hourly expected on our position. Near us is the 5th Wisconsin, two Vermont Regiments, one from Maine, two from New York and Col. Baker's California Regiment. Not withstanding our large force not a tent is to be seen and all of our principal movements are made at night.

Something great is going on and none but our general officers seem to manage this time. The utmost confidence is placed in Gen. McClellan by all and he can often be seen riding, with his body guard bar behind, along our line.
A good story is told of the General, when riding at full speed upon approaching the bridge where he never slackens his pace was stopped by a officer and his attention called to the sign on each end warning all persons of a fine for fast driving and prohibiting the use of firearms. The General looks at the huge columbards located at the bridge, worked his eagle eye and inquired what regiment the officer belonged. When told the Wisconsin Second he said he had heard of them before and left.
The mail has just arrived and to the uninitiated the eagerness with which soldiers look for letters would be surprising and could the friends of the disappointed ones see their faces after the mail has been distribute they would write much offener.
A Vermont boy when handed a letter after carefully reading the superscription takes out a huge jack-knife, opens it, reads and comments on each sentence to his less fortunate comrade.

A Californian tears open letters, throws away the envelope, devours the contents and says nothing. A soldier of our regiment, after reading his letter, talks of the price of wheat, the new regiments at home and who may be our new Colonel. Wisconsin soldiers stand well in the estimation of all here and I have been amused to hear our boys tell the ragged Pennsylvania soldiers what our State had done for us and the interest our Governor took in our welfare. Our Governor is always represented as a fighting man and one fellow wondered if he looked anything like Hoeman.

I have just had an improvement added to my brush tent - two rails and a gatepost for a floor which is considered very aristocratic here.

I have just been notified to take my company and report to the field officer of the day to go on picket so I must have to close. Before you receive this perhaps there will have been a battle and we all hope that if we have a victory it will be such a one that it will not take two columns of a journal to prove it a success.


The following account of the adventure of Captain W. E. Strong, of the Second Regiment of Wisconsin volunteers, was given by that officer in an official report to Maj.Larrabe, dated Camp Advance, September 7, 1861.
"In pursuance of your order of yesterday, I proceeded to examine the woods to the right of our exterior line, for the purpose of satisfying yourself whether the line should be extended. The last picket was stationed about four hundred yards from the river - being our outpost on our right exterior line - leaving a dense thicket of pine undergrowth between it and the river. From my means of observation up to that time, I had concluded that our pickets were not sufficiently advanced in that direction, as this space was wholly unoccupied. At least I thought the ground should be examined; and in this you were pleased to fully concur.

You desired me to make a minute examination of the ground , and be ready to report when you should return, at three o'clock P.M. of that day. Accordingly, after dinner, I passed along the line until I reached the extreme outpost on the right, which consisted of Lieut. Dodge, Corp. Manderson, and three privates, and then proceeded along over very rough and densely wooded ground to the river. I soon ascertained that these physical obstacles were so great that no body of troops could, in this direction, turn our right flank and there was no necessity of extending our pickets. I then concluded to return; and for the purpose of avoiding the dense undergrowth, I turned back on a line about a hundred rods in advance on the direction of our line of pickets. As I was passing through a thicket, I was surrounded by six rebel soldiers - four infantry and two cavalry. The footmen were badly dressed and poorly armed. Seeing I was caught, I thought it best to surrender at once. So I said, "Gentlemen, you have me." I was asked various questions as to who I was, where I was going, what regiment I belonged to, &c., all of which I refused to answer. One of the footmen said, "Let's hang the d---d Yankee scoundrel," and pointed to a convenient limb. Another man said, "No, let's take him to the camp, and then hang him.' One of the cavalrymen, who seemed to be the leader, said, 'We'll take him to camp.' They then marched me through an open place - two in front, two in the rear, and a cavalryman on each side of me. I was armed with two revolvers and my sword.

After going some twenty rods the Sergeant on my right , noticing my pistols, ordered me to give them up, together with my sword. I said, 'Certainly, gentlemen,' and immediately halted. As I stopped, they all fled past me, and of course, were in front. We were at this time in an open part of the woods, but about sixty yards to the rear was a thicket of undergrowth. Thus everything was in my favor; I was quick of foot, and a passable shot; yet the design of escape was not formed until I brought my pistol pouches round to the front part of my body, and my hands touched the stocks. The grasping of the pistols suggested the thought of cocking them as I drew them out. This I did; and the moment I got command of them, I shot down two footmen nearest me - about sixty feet off - one with each hand. I immediately turned and ran towards the thicket in the rear. The confusion of my captors was apparently so great, that I had nearly reached cover before shots were fired at me. One ball passed through my left cheek, passing out of my mouth. Another one, a musket ball, passed through my canteen. Immediately upon this volley, the two cavalrymen separated - one on my left and the other on my right - to cut off my retreat. The remaining two footmen charged directly towards me; I turned, when the horsemen got up, and fired three or four shots, but the balls flew wild. I ran on, got over a small knoll, and nearly regained one of our pickets, when I was headed off by both the mounted men. The Sergeant called out to me to halt and surrender; I gave no reply, but fired and ran in the opposite direction. He pursued and overtook me; I turned, took good aim, pulled the trigger, but the cap snapped. At this time his carbine was unslung, and he was holding it with both hands on the left side of his horse. He fired at my breast without raising the piece to his shoulder, and the shot passed from the right side of my coat, through it and my shirt, to the left, just grazing the skin; the piece was so near as to burn the cloth out the size of one's hand. I was, however, uninjured at this time, save the shot through my cheek. I then fired at him again, and brought him to the ground, hanging by his foot in the left stirrup, and the horse galloping towards the camp. I saw no more of the other horseman, nor of the footmen, but running on soon came to our own pickets uninjured, save the shot through my cheek, but otherwise much exhausted from my exertions."

September, second part