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The Summer of 1861 after Bull Run
A few days after the battle and before the regiment had got out of its
difficulties in the way of reorganization, President Lincoln, Secretary of State Wm. H.
Seward and Gov. Randall visited camp. From the carriage the President and the secretary
made speeches, encouraging the men and promising both arms and clothing.
Capt. Gabe Bouck, standing near by took a private soldier, turned him around and
exposed the rent in his breeches from which protruded the flag of truce, and called the
presidents attention to the predicament the men were in, saying: "Lincoln, look
here. Here is a specimen of a soldier, give us good guns and respectable clothing and
there will be no trouble." He also showed the president the muskets. The
distinguished visitor promised to see the regiment healed. It was a short time after the
new field officers took command and the regiment began to pick up and improve; until the
27th day of August the regiment remained at Camp Cochran doing outpost duty and drilling,
and on that day were transferred from Shermans Brigade to one consisting on the
Fifth and Sixth Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana, under command of Gen Rufus King.
Statement of Geo. L. Hyde
Whereas some persons have tried to Report that Capt. McKee deserted his company and was in
Washington Sunday night after the battle at Manassas, I think proper to state a few facts
totally denying and disproving such report:
1st, Capt. McKee commanded his men with bravery, skill and fidelity; when a few of
his men seemed to falter at an early part of the conflict, his prompt and energetic course
brought them right and kept them so.
2d, When any one was wounded the Capt. detailed two to take him from the field.
3d, I was wounded early in the conflict but had an opportunity of learning from
others how things went.
4th, Our company was the last of the regiment to leave the field and the Captain was
with the company. They became somewhat divided in the retreat as a matter of course; in
our rapid and exhausting march with loss of sleep and lack of food, it is not strange that
some gave out by the way and others during the battle, but the larger part of the company
5th, In short Capt. McKee has the confidence and affection of his men and deserves
the applause of the community; and shame on the man who whispers a syllable against him
Geo. L Hyde
Lancaster, Aug. 6, 1861
The Colors of the 2d Regiment - The Retreat
From a private letter written to a Grant county friend now in this city, we learn that the
colors of the 2d Wisconsin Regiment came near falling into the hands of the enemy. After
being thrown into some confusion by the fire of the NY 69th upon their rear, the regiment
fell to a small hospital in the rear of the battle field, which was afterwards burned, and
there reformed in good order having no idea of retreating till Lieut. Col. Peck came
dashing past calling out for the boys to reach Washington as soon as possible and the best
way they could. This created something of a panic which was aggravated by a charge of the
rebel cavalry and the boys broke and run leaving the color bearer alone. One of the color
guard, Geo. L. Hyde of Lancaster, had been wounded by a ball which passed into the mouth
and through the neck, fortunately without severing a prominent vein or artery, and the
regular color bearer, James Gow of Lancaster, was helping him to a place of safety and the
flag was temporarily in the hands of a young man, Geo. Stephenson of Beetown, who found it
difficult to keep up with the rest and retain the flag and was charged upon by some
cavalry between whom and himself, however, he managed to place a fence. Seeing his danger
and the impending disgrace of the loss of their colors, Richard Carter, one of the
musicians who was a clerk in the Assembly last winter, and his brother, Geo. B. Carter,
threw away their instruments, gathered a rifle each and a few cartridges
and stood by the
flag. After four or five vain attempts to increase their number in the presence of the
enemy, they at last managed to rally some 15 of the men to beat back the horseman and get
away with the flag. Choosing Carter Captain pro tem., they marched on, some 2 or 3 miles,
to the vicinity of Centerville where Capt. Strong was found and afterwards, Captains McKee
and Stevens with a few men. About 60 in number, they marched though Centerville with
colors flying and were molested no more till they reached Arlington Heights. It will be
seen that the Second Regiment most narrowly and through the highest heroism, escaped the
loss of its standard,
We learn from Mr. Hyde that he was not one of the color guards, James Gow is Regimental
Color bearer and ranks as Sergeant, having the assistance and carried him away from any
danger of falling into the hands of the rebels; afterwards Gow hearing of the wounding of
his comrades, left flag in the hands of Stephenson and went to their assistance; being one
of the stoutest men in the ranks, he was able to do the work of two ordinary men in
helping the wounded.
On the afternoon of Monday, July 22d came the news of the disastrous reverse sustained by
our arms at Manassas. On the Wednesday following, within forty-eight hours afterwards,
Wisconsin had a fresh regiment of brave and hardy volunteers, numbering about 1,100 rank
and file on their way to the seat
of war. Four days later and yet another Wisconsin regiment departed, burning with
impatience to retrieve the honor of their country's flag and to avenge their brethren
slain at Manassas. Let the rebels rejoice while they may over the temporary success of
their arms. The loyal states are in no wise dispirited or cast down. Their confidence of
ultimate success, their determination to put down this rebellion, is only intensified by
recent events. The reverse may protract the contest somewhat, it may by encores, but the
result can only be to bring upon the authors of this wicked treason a more emphatic and
Personal "Outsider" the army correspondent
of the Wisconsin makes the following statement in regard to the action and prospects of certain
Wisconsin notables: It is said that an effort is making to have Gov. Randall made Minister
to Rome in place of Gen. King who, it is said, also vacates the appointment by accepting
the place of Brigadier General. Martin of Milwaukee is rejected as Indian agent for Utah
and Judge nominee M. Jackson is to be Consul to Quebec in place of the Mohawk Dutchman Mr.
Vinton. Col. Coon has resigned and the Governor has telegraphed to Edgar O'Connor to come
to Washington. It is understood that O'Connor will be offered the Col. or Lieut. Col. of
the 2d regiment. N.B. Van Slyke and D.C. Smith of Waupun went with me to New York, Mr.
Smith has been acting as commissary to the 18d regiment and is well liked. Gov. R. tours
with him a good spy glass for the use of the 8d regiment with which to reconnoiter from
Maryland Heights and Lieut. Daniels will keep it employed. The 8d regiment are in want of
a good many things which the Governor is going to supply and he intends, if possible, to
see all the Wisconsin regiments ere he goes home. I see the New York papers are beginning
to speak as they ought of the Wisconsin and other regiments who did the most
fighting but did not make a great fuss about it. There was some difficulty in the 2d
regiment before the battle on account of the position of the Col. and Lieut. Col. They
have both resigned and now. when all is over. I must say what all admit that they evinced
bravery under fire and that no cowardice stains the escutcheons of any of our men,
officers or privates.
Returned From the War: Mr.
Henderson. a member of A. J. Langworthy's company and who was in the Bull's Run battle, reached this city last evening. He gives a
good many interesting incidents relative to the events that transpired on that memorable
day. It was discovered, he says, that the bullets picked up on the field, as well as many
of the rebel's guns, were of Rebel manufacture, demonstrating the fact that the
secessionists have received supplies from the country which dictate slavery and very
likely have been preparing for a long time for the very wickedness in which they are now
engaged. We also learn through Mr. H. that Capt. Jack Langworthy will return to this city
in a day or two, being wounded by a ball just below the knee pan, which is pretty severe.
Mr. H has been sent back to drill the men in the Seventh Regiment-
Milfree Democrat, 2d.
Gen. Irwin Mc Dowell and his Army
This gallant officer is a native of Ohio and about forty-five years of age and is, we
believe, a grandson of the Major Joseph McDowell who distinguished himself in the battle
of King's Mountain in the Revolutionary war. Young McDowell became a cadet 1834 at West
Point Military Academy and was appointed a brevet Second Lieutenant of the First Artillery
in 1839. He was made an Assistant Instructor of Infantry tactics in the military
Academy in the latter part of 1841, and then served as Adjutant till October. 1845, mean
while having been advanced to a First Lieutenancy in October, 1849. From October 1845 to
May 1847, he acted as aid to Gen. Wood, and was made brevet Captain "for Gallant and
meritorious conduct in the battle of Buena Vista, 23d February, 1847; and was appointed
Assistance Adjutant General in May, 1847 with the rank of Captain. His great activity and
admirable adaptation to command led to his selection and appointment as a Brigadier
General in the regular army and being placed in command of the division which for several
weeks has been posted on around Arlington Heights.
A powerful built man six feet three inches in height, he has spent nearly all his
daylight hours in the saddle constantly visiting every part of his lines and personally
superintending the erection of forts and works of defense. On the 16th inst. he received
orders to advance on Manassas
and with a well appointed army of about fifty five thousand
men, of whom some 2,000 were regulars, he commenced his march. Gen. Scoll went over the
Potomac in person to see the army take-up
its line of march and remarked to a friend.
"This is no child's play; our troops have been honorably eager to move, but they will
find that they have work before them" And so they have found it.
On Thursday afternoon last, the 18th inst. according the latest most reliable
accounts, Gen. McDowell's advance, while pushing forward with a view to getting a force
Junction so as to turn General Beauregard's
flank, were fired upon as they
approached Bull's Run, three miles this side of Manassas, where was a masked battery on
the opposite side of the stream. Capt. Ayres, with his battery of light artillery and
regulars, was at once ordered up and obeyed with most remarkable promptitude. He placed
his battery in position with incredible quickness and replied to the Rebels by an
incessant firing for 30 minutes. The Rebels were then reinforced by five additional
regiments supposed to have been sent up from Manassas. Junction. Gen. Tyler immediately
dispatched a messenger to General McDowell at Centerville for reinforcements The Rebels,
on being reinforced, charged upon our lines with fixed bayonets. Their charge was most
gallantly received by the New York 69th and 71st Regiments who drove them back with severe
loss. Fifteen on our side were killed and fifty-three severely wounded. A number more were
slightly wounded. Deserters who have arrived in the Federal camp say that the loss was 22
killed and 90 wounded.
For the Herald.
Panic: Causes and Effects.
We have been defeated. It is impossible to deter the
people of the United States, whether versed in war or not, from looking into the cause of
such disaster. Not only human governments but divine must be canvassed by such people as
we. If the policy and purpose of heaven in allowing Adam and Eve to go through the garden
of Eden without a heavy guard of angels to protect them have not escaped the criticism and
comment of common minds, certainly neither Lincoln, Scott or McDowell should expect
greater courtesy. But what a panic!
If General Greeley retreats and discloses the white feather, and imposes on the Tribune
the penance of half an hour's run at least; and Gen. Scott owns his weakness and confesses
himself to be the pet of newspaper editors. Away with newspapers, railroads and
telegraphs! they give such momentum and velocity to an event that it strikes down the
nation alone; we have felt a paralytic shock and can hardly stand the recoil of our own
machinery. The stoical Russian and enigmatic Austrian would have been incapable of such a
world renowned panic. Turning, America, flushed with hope and courage, was massed together
at Manassas as never was before. He knew all things and could do all things; he could
create a locomotive out of a box stove, could carry a printing press on his back and
publish bulletins and shoot bullets at the same moment. The beams of Divine Intelligence
were draw to to a focus in that army of McDowell's, nothing that man had ever done but
that some in the army knew. When all the world around them perished, fruits of the world's
experience and knowledge would have been preserved in living Encyclopedia. There was
cultivated intellect, versatile genius and judgment matured in practical life to a degree
unknown among the armies of Caesar or Napoleon; but there was the acute sensibility,
vaguely termed animal magnetism, highly developed; the mysterious power of sympathy
causing every part to vibrate at the same instant with the same emotion. The world
has come back, by a new route, to the precincts of the forgotten heathen deity, Pan. It
was his sport to frighten and scatter the bravest armies; Caesar says he scattered his
army once, and he has played the same prank with General McDowell. Greeley has caught the
contagion and spiked his own guns, and even General Scott falls down before the god and
apologizes. The highest degrees of cultivation or the lowest depths of ignorance and
superstition, though for different reasons, furnish the best conditions for a panic. The
vivacious and susceptible French, 15,000 strong, saw the ghosts of murdered Austrians at
Solferino charging upon them with black horses and bloody banners, to drag them down to
Hades, and they fled like cattle from the goblins of their own excited and overwrought
brains. Gideon defeated one of the largest armies of antiquity by the aid of panic. Let us
all be men again. Gen. Scott's fame had not suffered had he sanctioned McDowell's attack.
That General was not contented with a victory, but determined to annihilate the Southern
Confederacy at a blow. An hour's more work and he will build for himself a monument
grander than any in American history. For all that I can see, the same disaster might have
happened under like motives, and not the meanest motives either, if Gen. Scott had trained
his volunteers on the Potomac till their hairs were gray. The drilling theory is good, but
it lacks one lesson which can only be taught at such a school as Bull's Run. It is not a
part of camp education to put hot shot and shell into our volunteers, to inure them to the
horrors of war. We have now an army that will not run. "Forward to Richmond"
might have proven a success had there been no blunder in carrying out the plan. A great
blunder almost always initiates a war among a people accustomed to peace. Hull, an
experienced veteran, had to surrender his army at Detroit to awaken the nation from
its, security in 1812. But the panic will reform the army provided the innovations are not
made under its influence.
Some persons, influenced by the fight, are in favor of surrendering the entire army
to West Point cadets. The regulars displayed no more courage or order in this stampede
than the volunteers. General McDowell, who made the principal blunder, was a graduate from
West Point. The only regiment that retreated in good order was Colonel Blenker's New York
Volunteers. It would be disastrous to subject volunteers to the social inferiority which
exists between the regular officer and his men. Volunteers do not enter into war for a
livelihood. The strength of a despotism is in its files of machine-soldiers; the strength
of our country, as long as it is free, must be in its
volunteers, called from the pursuits of peace, to return to them as soon as the war is
over. Governor Yates, of Illinois, I think, has adopted the best policy to obtain the
greatest amount of force from a given number of men. Though he is by law the Commander in
Chief of the volunteers in his own state, he commissions no field or company officers not
freely and first chosen by the regiment or company itself, either from its own ranks or
out of them. Other things being equal, such an officer would have a hold on the confidence
and attachment of the men, which he could not have if appointed. He would be bound to the
men that honored him by personal as well as official ties. Is the conduct of Governor
Randall's appointees in the late battle to be accounted for on the ground of personal
cowardice? Not at all. Those officers would have headed their regiments gallantly in such
a charge as was made at Martinsburg, and even in fierce conflicts; but the terrible panic
reduced every officer, for the time being, to the condition of a private. It cashiered
them all on the spot. The officer now has no authority but such as is based upon the
affections of his men and their confidence in his abilities and courage.
The panic suddenly disclosed the moral gulf between the field officers and their men which
otherwise had never been discovered. The lowest subaltern who was personally acquainted
with the men and bound to them by personal ties, that knew the master and feeble spirits
under his charge, would have more favor in such crisis than all the colonels and
sub-colonels that Gov. Randall can coin from his exhaustless mint at Madison.
Of course, regular troops are governed to some extent on different principles. It is said that Col. Peck would have been the choice of his
regiment, if left to a vote. I believe that had he received that honor from the regiment
he never would have forsaken them in the hour of their deadly peril. Cursed be the tongue
that would have bidden farewell to the dying heroes in the wood of Manassas if they had
elevated him to the command and given him their confidence. It might have been so, but it
is not probable. Why did not the Captains fly too? There were Captains there, some, if not
all, who were bound to their men by ties which not horses, nothing but death, could have
sundered. Had Wisconsin Regiments chosen their own officers, we should not have heard of
their dining at hotels and their men lunching at depots on what they could get, on their
way to the seat of
war. We should not have heard a correspondent of the 4th Regiment complaining that the
officers were attending to their wives and daughters and the correspondent left to take
care of the men as best he could. Gen. McClellan is driving such drones out of Washington;
if he would drive many of them home he would deserve the thanks of the country.
I can imagine how a man who was known to be possessed of superior military knowledge,
might honorably accept an appointment from the Governor, to command a regiment which had
not chosen him. But a man who would seek or accept such an appointment over men, many of
whom he knows to be his equals and superiors in qualifications, cannot look those men
squarely in the face, without feeling some of the sensations of a sheep-stealing dog,
unless he has less sense of shame than that animal. In how much better position would he
stand for service, if he was called by the commissioned officers to command?
Governor Randall has virtues and, doubtless, patriotism; but there were some offices
which he should have bestowed on volunteers alone; I mean that of Quarter Master and
Commissary of regiments. It is true that the Governor was besieged by a swarm of political
aspirants, without number, beginning or end, and rapacious enough to have gulped down all
the offices that the God of war would have needed in the last battle of Armageddon. It is
said that in some of the regiments there were more than a hundred educated men of all
professions, of business tact, and practical knowledge. What right had any civilian to ask
for these offices that mainly required such qualifications. Gov. Randall ought to have
regarded such requests as an insult to the volunteers, and called up a regiment of them at
double quick, and ordered them to boot such mercenaries out of Madison. The howl of their
disappointments would have trumpeted his fame throughout the State. Every father and
mother who has a son there would have
lauded him ever. But the volunteer lost caste as soon as he undertook the vulgar task of
carrying a musket to fight for his country; he sunk below executive notice. The generous
lion was starved and snubbed, and his food and his honors given to Jackals. It was a cruel
judgment that deemed those men only fit for cannon fodder, while the honors and emoluments
of the service have been conferred on men, pledged to do a like favor for the Governor. If
the Second Regiment cannot select proper field officers for itself, let it suffer. If Gov.
Randall will let them alone, the commissioned officers will do it. Three months' men from
other States refuse to re-enlist because they are more afraid of officers appointed by
Governor's who have axes to grind than of Jeff Davis or Lee. How long shall political
demagogues traffic in these brave men like cattle, and drive them to Jeff Davis slaughter
yard at Manassas, and then desert them!
be gratifying to the public to learn that a sister of Belknap Fuqua of Capt. McKee's
Company has received a letter from him stating that he was wounded at the Bull Run battle
and taken prisoner; that his wound was not dangerous but is getting better fast and that
he will soon be ready for service again if released. He denies being dead, as reported by
the papers, and his word is said to be as good as any other man's word in company C.,
Second Regiment. There are also hopes that David Strong of same company is not among the
lost but that
he is a prisoner and may live through the war to return to his grieved parents. The
accounts of the escape of Waldorf and his two companions which we publish this week will
be found highly interesting.
The Captain that was Sun Struck
A war correspondent of the Janesville Republican, writing from
Arlington, speaks of the Janesville Captain that was found behind a big tree, sun struck,
Respecting the officers of this regiment, our Colonel resigned as soon as he got back
to Washington from the battle and he was the first one back. Our Captain was very brave
before we went into the field; he drew out his sword, pulled out his pistol and said
"woe be to the man that flinches" When we got up in front of the rebels, on the
first charge our Captain put up his sword and pistol, got down on his knees, put his arms
over his head and said "Shoot, Janesville Company, shoot, rally, boys, rally"
and that was the last time I saw him until we were on the retreat, then I found him behind
a big tree. I asked him what he was doing there? He said he was sun struck. I went and
left him there and that was the last time I saw him. I have found out since that he got a
horse on the road and put right straight for Washington. I have not seen him to this day.
The nigger that waits on him was in our camp the other day, and says the Captain pretends
to be very sick. He says the Captain asks where we are going to move to next. The nigger
told him that we was going out to fight again; the Captain says "Oh, Joe rub my
Capt. Bouck Vindicated
A card is published in the Oshkosh Northwestern signed by
seventy-two members of Capt. Bouck's company, in the Second Regiment, pronouncing false
all reports that Capt. Bouck's conduct at the battle of Manassas was cowardly and
unsoldierlike. It states that he was one of the last to leave the field and that he did
good service in the action with a musket which he picked up. The company are entirely
satisfied with their captain.
The Second Regiment
Gov. Randall gives the most flattering
account of the bravery and general good conduct of the men of the Second Wisconsin
Regiment in the late battle and since. They occupy a proud position in the estimation of
military men in and about Washington. Gen. Sherman, under whose command they fought at the
battle of Bull's Run, speaks of them in the most complimentary manner. A few days ago,
Gen. Sherman was desirous of having two hundred picked men for the performance of some
special service with him, and after looking through his Brigade, he took the entire number
from the Wisconsin Second. This is something more substantial then a mere compliment of
words. It is a practical illustration of confidence, of an unmistakable character. This
regiment stands among the first of all the troops about Washington. It must be gratifying
to every citizen of Wisconsin to learn that our State is represented in the war by such
brave and patriotic men. All our regiments are receiving the same exalted position with
the Second wherever they are seen.
Powell of the Janesville volunteers writes a letter to his wife which is published in the Gazette.
"I was almost taken prisoner by the rebels but my legs were too long for them
and I left. I was separated from my company for two days. The enemy could not fool 'Old
Pap'. I shot the man who was guarding me. He had taken my gun from me, but I had a pistol
in my shirt pocket which he did not find. When he turned the back I gave him a charge and
then let my old legs go. These legs of mine won't let the body be abused in such times. I
walked thirty five miles, that night, through the woods all the way."
Geo. F. Sanders, of the same company, writes that the men fought well "although
Capt. Ely and Ensign Dodge became exhausted after entering the field.
.....We are new reorganizing and at the next battle, we intend to do the whipping. We
are all feeling as well as can be expected and are as anxious for a fight as before."
A correspondent of the Milwaukee Sentinel says
"The Wisconsin Regiment was the last body off the field, and their run was
caused by the rebel cavalry. Had they been less brave, their loss in prisoners would have
been greater, as they remained in squads and charged upon the cavalry every time they
approached. The retreating column also had to contend against a raking fire of
The same writer says
"A regiment of them (the rebels) were fired into and scattered. They were
dressed precisely like the Maine troops and one of them yelling out - "We are Union
troops". The firing ceased until they had plenty of time to rally and re-form.
Never before was there a battle when raw troops, nearly all of whom there saw their first
battle, had so much to contend against as men and under the lead of a master spirit, one
who could have directed and led where they would have followed, wonders would have been
the result of the day.
The Washington Star relates the following:
"Dr. J. H. Irwin, surgeon of the Second Wisconsin regiment, was chased by one of the
Black Horse Cavalry, who fired when within ten feet of the surgeon, at the same time
shouting - "Surrender you d-d Abolition scoundrel!" The ball grazed the head of
Dr. I., who at the same time made a big leap into a clump of woods. The trooper rode
around to head him off but his opponent meantime had managed to load his rifle, and when
the trooper next appeared, shot him through the chest. He fell sideways, the saddle
turning with him and the frightened horse galloped off with its dead or wounded rider
dangling by the stirrups!
An Incident in Camp of Second Regiment
The following incident is recorded by
the Washington correspondent of the Milwaukee Wisconsin as
having taken place while visiting the camp of the Second Wisconsin Regiment. While on the
ground, President Lincoln, Secretary Seward and Gen. Sherman drove up in an open carriage.
Shouts went up and in half a minute the boys were all assembled around the carriage. The
President made a sort of lackadaisical speech to them; said that they had done well in the
fight and though not as successful as he could wish, he hoped for better luck next time.
"Abraham, we will give you the men, do give us better officers" said Lieut. M.
Lain of the Janesville company. 'We are ready to fight, but for God's sake, give us
officers who know something to command us.' said Capt. David McKee and the men gave a
unanimous cheer. Lincoln hesitated and said "here is your General" pointing to
Sherman "and if your officers do not suit you, make your wants known to him."
The horses, at the cheer that these remarks elicited got restive, but Secretary Seward
arose and said: "The Wisconsin Regiment did nobly in the late fight and so well is
the President pleased with their gallantry that he has to day accepted the Seventh and
Eighth Regiments from your State."
An Escape from the Enemy.
Statement of Edward P. Doherty, Company A, Seventy-first Regiment who was captured at Bull
Run, Sunday, July 21st and who Escaped from the Enemy on the Friday Night following
"On Friday they commenced removing the prisoners and wounded, among them Captain
Gordon of the Eleventh Massachusetts; Lieut. Hamlin, Scott Life Guard, and all the
noncommissioned officers, leaving instructions with us to be prepared to follow the
ambulances containing the wounded who had undergone operations on Saturday. In the
meantime, Captain Allen of the Eleventh Massachusetts, disguised as a private and wounded
prisoner a Wisconsin boy, named Waldorf and myself planned an escape which was
successfully accomplished between 5 and 10 P.M. Friday night. We ran the guard and crawled
on our hands and feet our of hearing distance of the sentinels; proceeded in a north-east
direction until 3:1/2 am; met two pickets of the enemy in a small tent on the main road,
which we had to cross to accomplish our escape; the pickets cowed at our appearance and
hid behind a tree and we backed some one hundred feet with sticks pointed in the direction
of the pickets and then turned and ran about two miles, keeping a little to the north. At
2pm, not knowing where we were, we determined to approach a house and inquire. We met two
women at the gate and told them we belonged to the Fourth Alabama Regiment. They asked for
Messrs. Grey, of that Regiment - if we knew them and a number of others, all of whom, we
told them, were shot at Bull Run. They asked where we came from and where were our arms.
These questions we evaded and asked them to show us the way to Centerville, which they
did. We took an opposite direction and at 4 P.M. halted at another house where an old man
came out and asked if we were soldiers. We replied in the affirmative and added that we
belonged to the Fourth Alabama regiment and been picking blackberries and strayed away
from camp. He then said "Are you the regiment that is waiting for
artillery?" I replied the same. "Then boys" said he "you are stationed
at Ball's Mill, three miles from here (pointing in the direction of Leesburg), half way
from here to Leesburg." He then said, "Were you in the Fight Sunday?"
" Yes" "I am glad boys you escaped from the slaughter. These d-d
Yankees, I would like to see every man of them strung up I never could bear them. I will
send Edward to show you the way to the main road" We thanked him and left. At 5 P.M.,
came to a railroad. I saw a little boy and girl and asked them what road it was. They
replied they did not know but if we would go to the house, Jeff. would tell us. After some
further inquiries, without getting any information, we crossed the track and took to the
woods and continued our march until 6pm, when we saw a house standing alone in the bushes.
We determined to go there and get something to eat. Arriving at the gate we inquired if
they had something to sell us. They said they had and we lost no time in investing in 50
cents worth of hoe cake and milk. While we were devouring these (to us) luxuries, a
horseman galloped up to the door and the lady of the house called the man with whom we
were conversing "Cousin George" (his name is Edwards.)
We suspected something wrong and took a precipitate leave down the hill and continued our
march. Half an hour after leaving this house, we crossed the main road and crossed the
field in order to reach a wood which we suspected was a forest but which turned out to be
nothing but a small thicket. Soon after crossing the thicket, we spied eight mounted
troopers, at full speed, passing along the road some fifteen yards ahead; not supposing
they were in search of us we continued on our way when upon looking round, they halted at
the foot of the hill and were looking in all directions; at last they saw us and commanded
us to halt and come back. This we had no desire to do and, knowing the fence along the
road to be impassible on horseback, we thought our chances of escape were good. We
accordingly ran and they fired, one or two of them dismounting simultaneously with the
discharge of the other's guns to let the rails of the fence down in order that they might
pursue up into the woods.
In the meantime, we had gained the wood and found another fence surrounding it. This fence
was equally as wide as the first one. They galloped off to the edge of the woods where we
should have to pass to make our escape and surrounded the woods. Here they dismounted took
down the rails and entered the bushes and commenced their search. In the meantime we had
run back to where we entered the brush and hid under two large elm trees. Capt. Allen
clipping the branches in order that we might pull them down over us with more facility, it
was perhaps five minutes before they reached this portion of the thicket and these trees
being so much exposed they concluded no person was there and went away to the other end of
the woods but soon returned and on passing one of these trees, one of the horses ridden by
one of our pursuers grazed my right leg with his hoof and so close were they upon us, that
we overhead all their conversation. During this, some twelve or fifteen of the inhabitants
of Milford turned out with their guns and pistols to assist the troopers to find the
Yankees, and an order was given by an old man in citizen's dress for the horsemen to
follow up in the next woods, with orders to the men who had come together to look in all
the bushes and to turn over all the old logs and to leave nothing undone which they might
suppose would tend to our capture. Here, one of them reckoned the Yankee had got away;
another said that if they were in those woods, they would give us a right warning and they
commenced discharging their guns into the bushes in every direction, but happily did not
aim in the direction of our tree.
In about an hour, the old man returned and ordered a boy of about eighteen years of
age to remain beside us on a log with instructions to fire at us the moment he saw us.
"Even", said he, "if you do miss them." It was now 9 P.M. and the long
prayed for darkness came to our rescue and helped to cover our retreat. For nearly another
hour, the old wretch kept prowling about the woods and finally went away. At about 11
o'clock we were so exhausted that we fell asleep and rested until twelve when Allen
crawled over to me and said "They haven't got us yet." I had dreamed during my
short slumber that I was a captive and he had some difficulty in persuading me to the
contrary. Being reassured, I rose from my retreat and as we emerged from beneath the
branches which had just saved our lives, we beheld the youth who two hours before had been
placed to watch for us. He was in a deep slumber and had his gun grasped between his arms
in a horizontal position. I drew my knife to dispatch him but Capt. Allen prevented me.
We then retraced our steps for nearly a mile and a half and struck over for the Potomac,
which we reached at 4 1/2 o'clock Sunday morning, having kept up a quick and double quick
step all along the road. Having reached the Potomac, we sat down to rest, but we were
hardly seated before we saw a man on horseback approaching us by the road. He wadded his
horse past us as though he was unaware of our presence until he reached the corner of a
fence surrounding a corn field when he put spurs to his horse and went up the hill at full
speed. We suspected something in this movement and looking for shallow water but finding
none, we immediately plunged into the stream and swam the river. When within twenty feet
of the opposite shore, we heard firing and cries of "Come back" and, on turning
round, we saw ten or fifteen men in their shirt sleeves ordering us back and firing
several shots at us. Of course we did not obey this command but started off at a good pace
into what we supposed was Maryland. We had not gone far before we came to another steam
which we waded.
We afterwards ascertained that we had crossed Edward's Island, about seventeen miles from
Washington. Before losing sight of our pursuers, Capt. Allen showed his pistol and shook
it in defiance of them. This was the only weapon, with the exception of the knife, we had
among us. This was about half past five Sunday morning. Finding ourselves among friends,
we walked five miles to Great Falls where we laid down and rested till noon. On waking, we
resumed our march and reached the arsenal at nine at night, where we found our picket
guard of Second Vermont Regiment. They received us kindly, provided us with supper and
furnished us with a bed. The next morning, we all hurried on to Washington and telegraphed
our safe arrival to our friends. I may here state that on Wednesday, I visited the field
of battle on horseback in company with Capt. White of the Virginia cavalry. I saw there
numbers of our comrades unburied, principally in the uniform of the Fourteenth Brooklyn
and Ellsworth's Zouaves. I asked the reason; the reply was they had not yet reached them.
The smell was very offensive. I galloped up to count their numbers but was obliged to turn
back on this account. I counted fourteen of the Fourteenth regiment in one spot. We were
uniformly treated with kindness by both soldiers and people. There remained, in hospitals
and tents which were erected for the wounded at the time of my leaving, about 240, all
doing very well and are, I presume, by this time removed to Richmond.
A Flag for the Rifles:-
On Monday evening there was an immense assemblage at Titus Hall to witness the
presentation of a beautiful silk flag by the young ladies of Racine to the Belle City
Rifles. The mother and sisters of the young soldiers were there and as they beheld their
sons and brother marching in to the music of the Bugle Band, their faces lighted up with
the true spirit of patriotism even though the tears would force their way down their
checks. These meetings are indeed solemn and the quietness and earnestness of the audience
make it evident that the whole community appreciate the fact.
The flag presented is made of blue silk with painted devices and scrolls containing
mottoes and the name of the company, fringed with silver and attached to a spear-pointed
standard to which are also attached heavy cord and tassels. It has been made by the the
young ladies of this city and as a specimen of their good taste and handiwork, to say
nothing of their patriotism. It is highly worthy of praise and commendation. The flag was
presented by Senator Doolittle in an appropriate
address and was accepted by Capt. Strong with a response evincing much soldierly
determination as well as manly feeling. A committee of the young ladies came forward upon
the platform with the flag and the whole scene was quite impressive.
An address to the volunteers was then delivered by Mr. J.G. McMynn. His remarks were
very appropriate and were listened to with the closest attention. He inculcated
temperance, patience, fortitude, generosity and faith in the right. There was a high moral
tone to his remarks which could not fail to have a deep influence upon the minds of the
A brief poem addressed to the company was recited by Rev. Dr. Park and music at intervals
was given by the band. H.T. Sanders Esq. was called out and made an eloquent speech. He
thought there should be but one sentiment "The flag of our country and death to
We have not space for a full report of the speeches or we should give them at length
as they were worthy of publication and perusal. Honor the Brave!
Racine is Proud of her Boys.
In pursuance of Mayor Northrop's call for a Public Meeting, a large number of our citizens
convened at Titus' Hall on Thursday evening, Aug 1st.
Hon. Wm. E. Wording was chosen Chairman of the meeting and John B. Adams, Secretary.
Mayor Northrop then stated the object of the meeting to be to give expression to the
feelings of this community with reference to the action of the troops from this State and
especially the company from our County known and the "Belle City Rifles" in the
late engagement at Bull's Run; also to receive the report of the "Volunteer Fund
Committee" of this city and also take into consideration the forming of another
volunteer company in this city and county.
Mayor Northrop continued with a few eloquent remarks in relation to the present
obligations of this community. On motion, the Chairman appointed Hon. Wm. P. Lyon, Mayor
Northrop and Rev. Dr. Park as a Committee to present resolutions to the meeting. Pending
the report of the committee on resolutions, the Chairman made some pertinent and forcible
remarks upon the present condition of our country. The Committee on Resolutions, which on
motion were adopted: "Resolved, That in the recent battle at Bull's Run, although it
resulted in the defeat of the Federal army, our troops displayed great courage and
demonstrated that under competent officers, and fighting upon equal terms, they are more
than a match for their adversaries and that from all sources of information within our
reach, we are satisfied that the Second Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers fought in that
action with unsurpassed bravery and have done honor to our State. Resolved, That the
conduct of the officers and members of the Belle City Rifles, who only three months ago
left the peaceful pursuits of civil life and went forth from our midst at the call of
their county to fight her battles and who, in that engagement, did fight with the steady
courage of veteran troops, commands our warmest admiration; that they are an honor to our
city and State and that their heroism, thus manifested, affords a sure guaranty that their
country may safely rely upon them in every emergency.
Resolved, That we deeply sympathize with the parents and families of those of our
young men who have fallen in battle; yet we rejoice to know that they died as only
patriots and heroes die and that high upon the roll of fame, their names are inscribed
with those who have sacrifice their lives for their country. "Peace to their ashes!
Honor to their memory!"
Resolved, That our late defeat, deeply as we deplore it, is no cause for
discouragement but should prompt us to still greater effort and yet larger sacrifices to
defend our government and preserve our free institutions.
Resolved, That it is the duty of Racine County to furnish another company of volunteers
for the war; that a committee be appointed by the Mayor to adopt and carryout the
necessary measures to accomplish this object and we pledge to those who shall be charged
with this duty, our earnest co-operation and assistance."
The "Volunteer Fund Committee", by its Chairman, H.G. Winslow Esq., then made
the subjoined report which was adopted. On motion, the Secretary was directed to furnish
copies of this report and of the proceedings of this meeting to each of our city papers
for publication. Following the receiving of a letter from a member of the "Belle City
Rifles' the meeting adjourned.
W.E. Wording, Chairman
John B. Adams, Secretary
Aug 3d, '61
Miss Mahala Fuqua
Madam, I just saw your brother, Belknap, in the hospital among the U.S. soldiers taken
here. He is slightly wounded, and will be about in a few days; is, as he says, most kindly
Rev. C.B. Marshall,
of Vicksburg, Miss.
Fort Corcoran, Aug. 3d, 1861
Messrs., Editors: - Since I last wrote, the excitement occasioned by our first, but great,
adventure has almost entirely subsided, and every thing in our camp has resumed its
regular course except that our reverse has imparted a new stimulus to military operations,
offensive and defensive. The earth walls of Fort Corcoran have been made higher. Thousands
of sturdy men have been employed in felling trees for miles around and thus rendering a
approach to Washington, except by the regular traveled highway, impossible. The trees lie
promiscuously hither and thither, the branches of one intersecting those of another.
In addition to this, at every little distance, there are breastworks of earth thrown up to
shield infantry from the attack of the enemy. The other day I made a visit to Fort Albany,
which overlooks the Potomac, about two miles down the river from here and commands the
Capitol. I found the same active military preparations going on there and noticed that the
ax of the woodsman had been as industriously employed there as here. I could not but sigh
as I passed up the road which runs to the right of the fort to observe that even a fine
orchard, laden with green apples, had not been spared. What a strong analogy was here
presented to those brave but unfortunate men who had just been cut down in the spring time
of life, in the vigor and freshness of their manhood, from many of whom we had expected a
long and useful career in the path of duty; but such is war, -,it strikes its blow at the
hearty and strong.
From our present encampment we have a fine view of the city. The Capitol, with its
unfinished dome, towers majestically above every thing else. A fine view of the White
House and of our unfinished national monument is also presented while the Potomac, which
forms a dividing line between loyalty and rebellion, rolls quietly along at our feet. From
our present position in every direction, as far as the eye can reach, on the hill top and
in the valleys, are to be seen encampments from every loyal State in the Union while the
innumerable peddler wagons, with which they are besieged, give them an aspect commercial
as well as military. All along the different roads also are to be seen soldiers trudging
along from one regiment to another, anxiously seeking the one in which old acquaintances
are supposed to be enlisted. No one who never has tried it can imagine how eagerly the
soldier looks up any one he ever saw before - in many instances those whom he would hardly
have recognized at home, such is the sympathy and oneness of feeling and sentiment which
our present life engenders, and the hope of finding old friends is one reason why the
soldier wishes to be continually shifting his position and never is content to settle down
in one place for any length of time.
Various are the expedients to relieve the monotony of camp life. In the day time,
beside our regular drills, card playing, letter writing, story telling, swimming, joking,
and with the lymphatic, sleeping, occupy the greater part of the day. In the evening may
be seen our boys in groups around some fiddle and jig dancer or getting sentimental over
some love song.
Lieut. Collins, since Capt. Randolph and Lieut. Meredith were wounded, is cock of the
roost. He has been very kind to me, and I like him very well. He conducted himself bravely
on the battle field and is a patriotic and well meaning man. Lieut. Meredith was very cool
and collected on the battle field and he inspired a feeling of confidence in his men which
added much to their efficiency as soldiers. The boys have been very loud in their praise
of Lieut. Martin Short; he seemed to be more at home than the rest of us. Capt. Randolph
fought unflinchingly, also at the head of his men, leading them into the thickest of the
fight until he was wounded and obliged to be assisted from the field. Both the Capt. and
Lieut. are now in Washington and I am informed they are doing finely. Several of our boys
who are wounded, I am informed, have got a furlough to go home and recruit until they are
able to perform military duty. Our friend Everett was disabled by a ball striking his gun
and knocking it against his arm which, for the time, entirely benumbed it, and
caused him to believe that a bullet had penetrated his arm. He was for several days
entirely deprived of the use of his arm. On his retreat, Everett and Joe Dean, one of our
boys, came across Geo. Beck, who first enlisted in the Hickory Guard, and found that he
was wounded in the leg. They helped him along for quite a distance to a piece of wood when
he refused their assistance and told them to go back and fight and got out his knife and
commenced cutting a staff. The boys were willing and would have conducted him to a place
of safety. This is the last account we have of poor George and we fear that he fell a
victim to Southern ferocity.
George was a manly fellow somewhat eccentric, but well liked by his comrades. The other
day, that is the day before yesterday, Gov. Randall presented a flag to our regiment which
was sent by the ladies of Madison. We were paraded out on that occasion and listened to
quite a little speech from his Excellency, of which I shall only give you a synopsis. It
was in substance this: Soldiers, in selecting the field officers of this regiment I made a
mistake, as our late unfortunate battle shows. There have been a series of blunders, one
blunder leading to another, but they shall be corrected. You acted bravely on the fields
of battle. You had no news paper reporters to follow in your wake but the officers who had
command of you say you acted nobly and when Gen. Sherman's report is published you will
find a good account given of you.
The Governor was sorry to hear that there had been a spirit of insubordination in the
regiment, but said that there would be no more. That subordination on the part of men to
their officers, and on the part of officers to their superior officers, was necessary to
all successful military operation. The Governor then said that he had something better to
tell us and then informed us that O'Connor would be our next Colonel; that he had not seen
active service in the field, as we had, but that he had commanded forces on the frontier
and had conducted himself with credit to himself and his men; and that in him we would
find an able and efficient commander. He then presented the Sergeant with a beautiful flag
told was the gift of the ladies of Madison, with the eagle and stars, our national emblem,
on one side, and the coat of arms of our state on the other. The Governor closed by
admonishing us to let whiskey alone. He said that it would unman us forever and that in it
we had an enemy more to be feared than the rebels. Our Adjutant (like Dean) responded in a
neat speech, as neat I supposed it, for I couldn't hear a word of it. (Lieut. Rollins
pronounced it a failure.) We were then dismissed after giving nine cheers for the Governor
and three for the ladies of Madison.
The insubordination alluded to by the Governor was simply this: Lieut. Col. Peck had
resigned and thrown up his commission; likewise Col. Coon his. Some of our Captains and
Lieutenant's were wounded and the boys were indignant at the cowardice of Gen. Tyler, our
Brigadier General. The boys felt disheartened, for in addition to this, our guns have
proved to be of a very inferior quality and in no respect equal to those of the enemy.
Accordingly, a petition was drawn up and signed by the several members of the companies
asking the governor either to disband the regiments or take us back to Wisconsin and
reorganize us. The petition was signed by a good many of the boys of our company; but on
second reflection, concluded to abandon this idea. I refused to have anything to do with
it from the start. I cannot see anything like insubordination in it, for the petition was
couched in respectful language with nothing like menace or threat in it and the boys are
as loyal today as they ever have been, obliged to endure, in consequence of the cowardice
and inefficiency of officers. In regard to the whisky part of his Excellency's speech, I
apprehend that it was suggested to his mind by the fact that a man in one of the New York
regiments became intoxicated and murdered a woman by the name of Mary Butler, while
passing through Alexandria - he was tried and hung. But I never found a more steady set of
men in my life than the 2nd Wisconsin regiment And, but equip us with good weapons and we
can take all h--ll.
We expect to go to Harper's Ferry soon - how soon I cannot tell - Lieut. R. says he has
been so informed, but not officially; and also that the Wisconsin regiments are to be
formed in one Brigade under Gen. King.
Your, truly, Edward R. Chipman
Waldorf's Escape from the
Fort Corcoran, August 3
Dear Parents:-Having recovered somewhat from my late tramp, I once more write a few lines
to let you know how we are getting along. My arm is healing as fast as possible. I will
now tell you how I came to be taken prisoner by the rebels, and of my escape from them. I
had been unusually ill since the fight on the 18th and was not well on the morning of the
21st when we marched to the scene of action. We formed in line of battle to protect
Sherman's battery. After marching some ten miles, we stopped until 10 o'clock when we were
ordered across the run to assist General Hunter; we were marched over on double-quick
time, the distance being about a mile and a half; we were formed in line of battle and
marched towards the enemy with cannon balls flying over our heads thick and fast. When
close enough, we halted and fired two or three rounds into the enemy's ranks, doing great
damage, when we were ordered to retreat. By this time I was so near exhausted that I could
not keep up with our regiment and fell in with another regiment that was coming up. I
fired five or six rounds with them, when they were ordered to retreat; I tried to retreat
with them but failed to keep up and had to fall in with the next that came along. I fired
two rounds with them and was priming my gun for the third when a musket ball struck me in
the arm and knocked my gun out of my hand.
I picked it up with the other hand and walked off from the battle ground; came to
the hospital where our wounded were and stopped. I did not know that our side had
retreated and thought that we were perfectly safe, but the first we know, the rebel
cavalry came up and took us prisoners. There were about 270 wounded and I don't know how
many that were not, for they were taken away that night, with the exception of a few that
were left to take care of the wounded. I hope that it may never be my lot to get into the
hospital with the wounded again; the groans of the wounded and dying were too horrible to
relate. There was thirty died while I was there. We were all well taken care of; the
ladies came in and brought chicken and a great many other nice things for the wounded; I
stayed there until the next Friday night when myself and two others, Capt. Allen of Mass.
11th and E.P. Dougherty of N.Y. 71st, made our escape. We managed to get by the guard
about 10 o'clock with out being seen and traveled all of that night without stopping to
rest; we stopped about two hours and pushed on again in the morning had to keep in the
woods for we dare not be seen; we got along without any trouble until 5 o'clock, Saturday
evening, when we got staryed out and thought that we would venture up to a house and get
something to eat. Having found a house in the woods, we thought we would try, so we went
in and asked for some bread and milk. There was one man and two or three women in the
house who told us that we could have some bread and milk, but they had no bread baked but
would make corn dodgers for us; the dodger was soon ready and we went to work like so many
hungry dogs. While we were eating, a young man rode up to the house and held some
conversation with the man of the house. He then started off through the woods when we
began to "smell a rat'. We swallowed our grub as quick as possible and started but
had not gone more than a half a mile before they were after us; we were in an open field
at this time and they ordered us to halt, but we took to our heels and got into a piece of
woods, which we soon passed through, and found five or six men waiting for us who gave us
chase. We took a different course and got out of sight and soon came into another piece of
timber; at this time it was beginning to get dark and we hid under an oak tree; our
pursuers followed us, and at one time came so close that their horses came near treading
on the man's legs that lay by my side. We looked out and saw a woman standing at the
corner of the woods with a gun in her hands, watching for us; they hunted for about an
hour after dark and gave up the chase. We stayed there until about 1 0'clock when we
crawled out and made for the Potomac river, which we reached about day-light, and after a
considerable trouble, we found a fording place. We were now about 20 miles from
Washington. We stayed with our picket guards on Sunday night and arrived at out camp on
Monday about 10 o'clock where I found the boys all safe and glad enough to see me. We had
travelled, in all, somewhere near 70 miles and was pretty near used up.
Your affectionate son,
From the Second Regiment
Reporters and Journals on the War.
Fort Corcoran, August 4, 1861
I have received a number of journals within the last
few days, from different places is the North, besides some Washington papers that were
brought by newsboys into our camp, and I find them teeming with false reports, false
alarms, and what is worse, valuluable information for the rebels, at least. I am surprised
and vexed to think we have such fools and rascals among us, and would be glad to hear the
order issued by the War department to take, and condemn as spies, every reporter found in
our camp or at Washington. I would without hesitation help shoot every one of them.
One reporter is, as Gen. Scott has truly said, worse than twenty spies; and when they
become as thick as grasshoppers in a meadow, their unmanly proceedings are hard to be
born. Not a movement can be made, nor an advantageous position occupied by our troops, but
they are immediately noted by a thousand and one reporters, and as quickly as possible the
news is borne by as many papers all over the country - South as well as North. The rebel
Generals have but to take up a Northern paper in order to learn all about us- our
position, numbers and condition are all laid down and they have but to read. If there is a
weak point in our fortifications or a chance for the rebels to make an attack upon - I
care not though it were Washington itself - it is accurately and minutely pointed out; and
I do believe that in case of battle, they would tell, if they knew enough, the exact point
at which we intended to make the attack. In short, reporters are the greatest enemy we
have to contend against; they hover around us like tantalizing imps; they call us fools
when we advance and cowards when we retreat; they compare us to mules, to sheep, to
frightened pigeons or anything that comes into their foolish heads. They abuse us every
way - call us everything but men and soldiers.
It is true they will give a regiment, or an officer, a puff for $50 or $100 and then they
will puff the particular regiment, officer, or state that has been foolish enough to bribe
them by slandering every one and everything else. It is an easy matter and a very nice
affair for them to get upon some eminence that
overlooks a battle-field, as they would upon the stage of a first class theatre, and call
men cowards who are engaged
in battle. "Away with the boaster who never joins in
action but, like the cormorant, hovers over the field to feast upon the wounded and
the dying" It may not be impossible for reporters to tell the truth, but, of
late, they have shown themselves very deficient in truth-telling, for when men say that
the recent battle at Bull's Run was lost by the cowardice of men or officers; that we were
panic-stricken and had no cause to retreat; that Gen. McDowell was drunk; that twenty
thousand men could take and burn the capitol; that the army in and about Washington
perfectly disorganized and demoralized; and all these reports have appeared in print.- let
me use plain Language - they lie.
When reporters become wise enough to keep out of camp, and newspaper publishers leave
military matters to military men, then, and not til then, may we look for a speedy
termination of this war. For the present, we have reason to fear the reporter's steel.
Private Co. H., Sec. Reg., Wis. Vol.
Honorable Mention of Surgeon Lewis
Col. Wilcox, in a letter to his wife, dated "General Hospital, Richmond, August
5th", which is published in the Detroit Free Press, makes
the following honorable mention of Dr. Lewis of the Wisconsin Second.
"We were allowed to keep this room to ourselves
until the arrival of Captain and Mrs. Rickett, with our friend and fellow, Captain Dr.
Lewis, to whose kind care and attention I shall ever feel myself indebted. The doctor
belongs to the Second Wisconsin Regiment.
He is one of the Best surgeons and kindest men I ever met. Both Captain Rickett and
myself owe him everything. The first two days, we were attracted by his devoted labors to
the wounded; he himself driving an ambulance, bringing in the wounded night and day in a
pouring rain, neglecting neither their men nor ours."
Shanghai Chandler and Dr. Lewis-
"Shanghai" Chandler of the Second Wisconsin ,writer to the Portage Register,
from Fort Corcoran.
"God bless Surgeon Lewis! he is here on his parole of honor that he would divulge
nothing he knew of rebel forces or actions; but he brought as joyful tidings as could come
to this camp. He says every Wisconsin boy he saw was as manful a prisoner as they proved
themselves soldiers; that he didn't see a prisoner from Wisconsin who was not suffering
more to march through Virginia with a victorious army than from any of their wounds.
Surgeon Lewis might have got away, he don't say he might but we all know it. He is as
brave a man as ever went into battle; and no mother ever had more kind and tender feelings
than he evinced toward our soldiers of every rank, in all our camp, in our marches and
after our terrible bartle. In our marches, he was continually up and down our line on his
big bay horse and wherever he could spy a soldier exhausted, would contrive to relieve
him. I have seen him take soldier's guns and carry them to some stout soldier and in a
persuasive manner say - there is a poor fellow tired out back here, wouldn't you carry his
gun for him a little while? And I have seen him pick up men in his arms and help them into
wagons in the train, and hasten from one sun struck man to another, administering all the
relief in his power! When he met me this morning, he grabbed me in a manner most fatherly
and said - God bless your picture. I was told by one of our wounded men that he saw you
lying dead and I hunted the whole length of our line, up the road and both sides of it, to
find your mortal body but never doubted till this minute, that Old Secesh had buried you!
Nay, nay, Dr. Lewis, the wounded soldier doubtless saw me laid out in the road pretty
dead, but after the rebels had ran over me, stepped on me and scraped their toes against
me, I resurrected myself and went past the fence (where rebels lay dead and dying with
dead Christians and dying patriots) and drank about two spoonfuls
of whiskey from a dead
rebel's canteen, by the aid of which, with some more from Divine, Providence, I still live.
From the Second
Correspondent to the
Good Fighting Material. - I notice the
Washington papers pronounce the Second Wisconsin a splendid set of fighting men. I will
give you an illustration, allowing you to draw your own inference. On Wednesday night
three of the boys went down town. Going into a saloon to drink, they met a crowd of
fifteen of the Rhode Island Regiment. The latter have been flattered so much that they
began boasting over the superior qualities of their crowd.- Wisconsin couldn't stand that
and began boasting too. The result was a row, in which Rhode Island got most effectually
cleaned out. When left they were laying about very loose in large quantities. - Splendid
fighting material! That is no name for it.
About Poisoning, - Most of our boys are a little
afraid about getting poisoned. They have heard stories of secessionists putting arsenic in
the food and drink, and when any man comes into camp to sell lemonade or milk they make
him drink some of it before they will touch a drop. No poisoned stuff has yet been
discovered, and I pity the fellow who refuses to drink the stuff he is peddling.
Milwaukee Sentinel, August 4, 1861
THE DEAD BROUGHT TO
The following remarkable incident
occurred in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.
When the war first broke out, a young man who resided in the above village joined a
company commanded by Captain Tom Allen, which was afterwards incorporated in the Second
Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers, and was present at the disastrous battle of Bull Run.
The intelligence came back to his family at Dodgeville that he was slain upon the
battle-field, and his body left to be cared for by the enemy. The news nearly killed his
affectionate mother, and she, with the remainder of those relatives who had been nearly
related to him, wore mourning for him who had poured out his blood and sacrificed his
young life for his country.
The gnawing grief had preyed upon these loving hearts for many months, until they learned
to view it with a species of resignation. What could then depict their unspeakable
astonishment and joy, when he walked into the house, hearty and well! His story is briefly
told thus: He had been left severely wounded, with many others, upon the battle-field.
After the engagement was over, and his friends had retreated in confusion, a company of
secessionists came where they were lying, and actually bayoneted his wounded companions
before his eyes. They even went so far as to stab the bodies of senseless corpses, lest
there be some spark of life left in them! A man came to where he was lying on the ground
and raised his ensanguined weapon for the fatal thrust, which he fully expected would end
his mortal career. He closed his eyes, fairly sick with the horrid emotion, and waited to
receive his fate. His enemy hesitated. He lowered his musket, and finally raised him
carefully up and gave him water from his canteen. He was afterwards removed to the
hospitals of Richmond, where he received careful treatment and at last was exchanged and
allowed to return home.
Collected by Frank Moore, 1889
LETTER FROM THE
Fort Corcoran, Aug., 19, '61
Your correspondent "C" may be too modest to inform
you of what transpired
to-day in company "K", so at the risk of making him blush, I will chronicle what
is more especially his duty.
W. A. Hopkins, Second Liutenant of
Company "K", having resigned to accept a Captaincy in a New York company, Charles
C. Messervey, so well known in Milwaukee, was duly elected to fill the vacancy, and
transpired vivet arms from Co. B for that purpose. Other officers in our Regiment are
sought to fill staff appointments, but it is doubtless, as yet, whether any of them will
leave their present commands.
I see, as the opinions of those who saw the Second Regiment on the battle ground, men,
too, of all others most capable of judging, are being expressed, that we are getting our
share of the praise, and less of the blame that was first meted out to us. Beside, a
reaction is taking place in relation to certain regiments who had paid reporters on the
field, lauding them without stint and without truth.
The whole matter will likely result in justice being awarded where it is due, which is all
any of the parties concerned ought to ask. Hastily, Co. K
Milwaukee Sentinel, August '61