Home Page Second Wisconsin
FROM THE SECOND REGIMENT
Camp of Gibbon's Brigade
Opposite Fredericksburg, Va.,
Editors Patriot:- The glorious fourth
has found us still sunning ourselves on the green banks of the red Rappahannock.
Although the three departments, Mountain, Shenandoah and Rappahannock have been
consolidated and the command given to General Pope. We have not been called upon
to leave Fredericksburg and I cannot tell when we will be, but I hope it will
not be a great while, for it seems to me that we are needed somewhere else at
this particular time far more than we are needed here.
There has been some desperate fighting in front of
Richmond within the past week and I am fearful that little
Mack is contending against unequal numbers. We have heard the most depressing
rumors every day for some time and we did not know but that our army before
Richmond was utterly destroyed.
Notwithstanding our unshaken
confidence in McClellan's ability as a General, we were kept in a state of
feverish, breathless anxiety, fearing that he was being overpowered and it was
not till last evening that we could breather easily and to-day we have a
dispatch from McClelland him self stating that he is in good condition and as his
reinforcements have reached him, we feel comparatively safe. The heavy load that
it has lifted from our hearts is a great relief.
We can now enjoy our National birthday
for our banner is triumphant still on land and on sea and through the
bloody fields of Richmond are covered with the bodies of the honored dead, they
have died so gloriously that we can not mourn for them as lost. They are the
The President has called for 300,000
more troops and I wish to say a word to the people of Wisconsin on the subject.
I know that harvest hands will be scarce and for that reason farmers will use
their influence against filling up ranks with rapidity. This should not be.
There are a great many men in Wisconsin yet and now is the time for them to lend
their county a helping hand.
That there is work to be done should
keep no man at home. There are thousands who cannot possibly go to war and they
must work all the harder, besides I very much mistake the character and patriotism
of my countrywomen if they will not turn out and with their white hands reap,
bind, thrash and carry to market the wheat crop of 1862, if necessary, that the men
may go to war. Our revolutionary mothers did not shrink from toil and privation
and their fair daughters have not all degenerated. The women of Wisconsin are
loyal and grave, not afraid of the rain nor the sun and should it be necessary
for them to till the ground that their friends may go to the defense of the
old flag, their bright eyes will be all the brighter and the sun browned cheeks
more beautiful to those of us who live to return from the war.
At this critical moment when our
nation is struggling for existence against traitors at home and despots abroad,
when all the friends of earth and hell seem leagued against us, when nothing but
the uprising of the freemen of the North to a man can save us from the dark
abyss that is yawning before us, any man that can possibly leave home for a year
or two and will not is unworthy of being called an American; and any man that
will prevent another from enlisting because he fears he will lose a few bushels
of wheat or that his house will cost him more than it otherwise would is no
better than a traitor; and any man or woman that will not say to their best and
dearest friends "go and return not till our country is no longer in danger" is a
dishonor to the American name. But I close for a while to join in the sports of
Evening- We have had a grand time,
and I doubt not but that the people of Fredericksburg think the Yankees have
revived the Olympic games in their midst. They never before saw such rare sport.
We had foot races, horse races and mule races - the last named being the race of
races. The contests were between the different regiments of the brigade and
Generals King and Gibbon were both present. Everything passed off harmoniously.
The 7th and 6th were both ahead of us in swiftness of foot, but our mules could
not be beaten while the horses of the 19th won the day. I tried my fleetness in
the foot contests but my feet would not come up to time. The 7th have probably
had the greatest Varity of amusement to-day. The officers, being reduced for the
time being, and the privates, promoted, they have had everything their own way.
The officers had to police the
streets and one of them, being sick, was compelled to go to the surgeon and get
excused from duty. They also had a dress parade conducted entirely by the
Gibbon's brigade composed entirely
of western men is more lively by far that the other troops that are with us. We
have more music, more dancing, more athletic sports and more real fun and good
times than the eastern boys, and it is generally admitted that we are not bad on a
Still there is a noticeable
difference between each regiment of our brigade. The 2d is probably the hardest
set of boys, but good natured and easy to get along with. They wear an air of
fearless carelessness where ever found. The 6th is more stately and distant and
march to slower music that we do. The 7th puts on the least style and crow the
least; it is now the largest regiment in the brigade, and is well drilled. It is
the truest friend the 2d ever found. The 19th Indiana is an indifferent, don't
care regiment. They pride themselves on their fighting pluck - which is undoubtedly
good - more than their drill. As a brigade we get along finely together.
R. K. B.
From the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment
Camp Opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
July 4th 1862
EDITORS WITNESS:- The eighty-sixth
anniversary of our nation's independence was ushered in this morning. The day is
magnificent, the sky is clear, the breeze balmy and the dark clouds that have
lowered over us for the past week have entirely disappeared, and altogether it
is a beautiful day. Yet with all its splendor, with all its grandeur, one is
liable to have a feeling of sadness creep over him as memories of the past crowd
upon him. The past year has been the darkest of our existence and though the
government still exists, the footprints of progress are stained with blood. Yet
me thinks the waves of discord and the billows of adversity are about spent and
the dawn of peace, unity and prosperity is at hand; and the thousands who have so
ignorantly rebelled against the best government upon which the sun e'er shone
will soon, like the Prodigal Son, bowed down with a sense of their own guilt,
return to their first allegiance. All sigh for the once happy country we
possessed and long to see her as she was prior to the inauguration of this
fratricidal rebellion and for the sight are willing to exclaim:
"Turn back, turn back,
in thy flight
and make me a child again just for
This is a general holiday in camp,
save guard duties, and the boys are exempt from duty of any kind and permitted
to celebrate the day in any suitable manner.
A national salute was fired at
daybreak this morning and another will be fired at noon and evening.
The absorbing theme of conversation
here is Will McClellan's army be successful at Richmond? Many rumors and
reports reach us daily and as usual in such cases one contradicts the other.
Gen. Gibbons received a dispatch from Richmond last night to the effect that
"McClellan's reinforcements had reached him, he was satisfied." Why did
he not receive reinforcements a month ago? Time and again he has asked for more
men and when weary of soliciting aid from the government for which the lives of
his brave army are periled he valiantly tells the Secretary of War, 'With the
means at my disposal I shall do the best I can." I could pay him no higher
compliment than to ask the defamers of McClellan to read the account of the
first and second day's fighting before Richmond. In a hotly contested struggle
for ten hours against an army that numbered two to one. His brave men hold their
own and not only that but, by his wisdom and military sagacity, gain an
impregnable position and there at last accounts he heard the snarling pack at
bay. And now with the arrival of his fresh reinforcements Richmond's fate is
sealed "the writing on the wall" plainly foretells her doom. She must fall
and when she is ours like Crusoe on the deserted island he may proudly exclaim:
"I am monarch of all I survey
My right there is none to
Ere this reaches you, perhaps to day, Richmond
will be in the possession of McClellan. However he will suit his
actions to the occasion and will not by haste sacrifice the lives of his men but
taking advantage of circumstances "Strike while the iron's hot"
Gen. Rufus King of this division of
the army was appointed to take command of Gen. Fremont's corps, but I am
happy to say that he very respectfully declined preferring to remain in command
of his own division. This division would not be satisfied were he taken from us
and all hail his return with pleasure. Gen. Sigel, I understand, is selected in
his stead for that important command.
Four o'clock p.m.
The cars have just arrived with
later intelligence from Richmond. After the most desperate fighting for several
days McClellan's position is now one of entire security, high and healthy and
supported by the gun boats. It is represented as one of the bloodiest battles on
record, the killed and wounded on both sides being forty-five thousand, besides
Stonewall Jackson, the greatest and
decidedly the most desperate leader, of the rebels has bit the dust as admitted by
Richmond papers. Gen Barnwell Rhett is also killed. He was one of the leaders in
"Secessia." Our loss is stated to be 15,000 whilst that of the enemy is
computed at 30,000. Gen Stuart, another light in rebellion, is also reported
killed. Gen. Marauder has also fallen . No general of our army is killed, though
several officers are reported wounded and prisoners. Gen. McCall of the
Pennsylvania Reserve is among the wounded prisoners.
His brigade fought bravely and
suffered severely. You will get more important news before this reaches you.
Yours &c., LABRICK
"The Amenities of the Present War"
The following is an extract of a letter publishes by the New York
Times. It is written from McDowell's Corps, July 6th. The entire reliability of the writer
is vouched for:
A certain Capt. Mansfield is acting as Provost Marshall and Military Governor of
Fredericksburg. He is a member of one of the Wisconsin regiments, and protégé of Gen.
Rufus King. Within the last ten days he has been advised that a rebel mail was on the
point of starting for Richmond from the bitterly rebellious city, and yet, he
said "let it
go." The Thirtieth Regiment Virginia Volunteers and First Virginia Battery (160 strong) was
in Longstreet's Division, and which suffered severely in the recent actions, are both from
Fredericksburg, and there are but two families in that ancient city which can now claim to
be loyal, (I refer, of course, to old residents, and not recent comers traveling in the
wake of our army.) Within ten days, and since being advised of the battles before
Richmond, a wagon gathering up stores, bundles, packages, from house to house, clothing,
lemons, oranges, sugar, medical stores, and other comforts, was suffered by him to collect
these articles, and the leave unmolested for Richmond, Two men were arrested, arms in
hand, loaded, they being in citizen's dress, mounted, in the highway somewhere beyond
Fredericksburg, by our pickets and brought in. - The next day they were discharged without
even being required to take the oath of allegiance, and their horses, if not their arms,
and I understand both, restored to them. An officer of the Brooklyn 14th had occasion to
step into and use a privy in the yard of a citizen, who met him as he came out, and
accosted and insulted him outrageously, yet dared not retort because he had infringed upon
a general order in his strait, which provides that none shall enter a private residence or
grounds without special instructions. - On the strength of this encroachment, a guard
was demanded and obtained to patrol in front of this cesspool, whose owner is an open,
avowed, bitter Secessionist, and hates the very sight of the dammed
A hospital has recently been opened at the North end of the city, in which there are over
two hundred patients. This hospital is a spacious, stone building, formerly a clothing
works or mill, but wholly unprotected by shade, and fronting on the dry dusty street. Near
by lives a Mrs. Owens, whose sons, to the number of three, are in the rebel service, and
no doubt her heart is with them. The trim shrubbery, the inviting shade of the thick
clustering trees, the refreshing verdure of the long sloping lawn in front, no doubt
looked pleasant and attractive to the few convalescents who were able to drag their
feeble, trembling limbs across the road, through the gate, up the gravel walk, where they
sought to fill their canteens with the cool clear water from the deep well within the
yard. They were met by the virago owning the place, and were repelled with epithets worthy
of habitués on Catherine Street Market. They were neither permitted to fill their canteens
nor rest themselves in the shade, but ordered to leave and keep clear of the premises.
After this she was furnished by Captain Mansfield with a guard, who was instructed to
shoot these bold and daring hospital patients, plethoric with disease, riotous and
jubilant with calomel and Epsom salts, if they dared to enter upon these premises again
without permission - qualified , perhaps, by saying if they could not be kept out any
other way. That these things ought to be known cannot be denied; and yet it would be worth
my commission to make it public and assume its responsibility myself; and yet these things
are discouraging to those who have taken their lives in their hands and gone forth to
fight the battles of their country and find themselves oppressed, while rebels are
protected and succored by us, their property guarded by our soldiers, while their owners
are in arms fighting against us. It puts me out of Patience to think about it.
The Capt. Mansfield referred to, is
Capt. Mansfield of Portage City, commanding a company in the Second Regiment. His conduct
is a disgrace to the State, which has fortunately sent but few such men into the service.
(end of the same article in a Kenosha paper reprinting the above)
---- The Capt. Mansfield referred to, is Capt. John Mansfield of Portage City, commanding
a Company of the 2d Reg. and formerly Postmaster of this City.
He has since been placed under arrest, for tampering with the rebels, and if the above
account is correct, he is a disgrace to the State and should be drummed out of the ranks,
but we are induced to believe that a portion of the blame, should be placed upon the
General commanding. It seems to us that no provost marshal would dare to commit such
outrages, unless he was carrying out the general orders of his superiors.
If Gen. King's head quarters are at Fredericksburg, as we understand them to be, he is
equally to blame with Capt. Mansfield for allowing such scandalous and traitorous conduct
to continue, until outside pressure effects a reform.
(end of article in, yet, a third paper)
Capt. John Mansfield who was appointed Provost Marshal of Fredericksburg by Gen. Ruffs
King is under arrest in Washington charged with aiding and comforting the rebels to the
injury and inconvenience of loyal men in that vicinity. Capt. Mansfield is from Portage
City, and was formerly from Kenosha, his predilections were of the Old Whig Party, and he
was postmaster there in Tyler times. What John has done to require his arrest we cannot
imagine. Probably it will end in smoke.
Letter from Capt Gibson
"C" 2d. Wis. Reg.
Camp 2d Wis. Vols.
July 8th 1862
FRIEND COVER:- I suppose the
majority of members of companies and officers from old Grant have left you to
hear of them from some place dated "sacred Soil" but I, being neutral,
have previously delayed, but somehow or other I feel as though it is my turn. In
fact I am now so situated as to assure the fathers of Old Grant their sons are
true blue; especially the members of Co. "C," which your humble servant
has the honor to command.
All that appears to be the matter
now is the 2d is aching for a fight. But I take it for granted after perusing
to-day's papers that our brave Gen. McClellan is doing the very best of work
before Richmond. I take it for granted, owing to the many letters you receive
from this point, that you have been efficiently informed as to the situation of
Fredericksburg therefore I will omit that part.
Your friend, Alf, bring now at Norfolk
or Portsmouth making union speeches renders him unable to send you his valuable
sheets at present but he informs me by letter that he will soon return.
Another fourth of July has elapsed and we are still engaged with Uncle Sam.
Gibbon's Brigade celebrated the memorable day by mule racing, horse racing and
foot racing, Gen. King was present.
I have no camp news to interest you therefore I will inform you of news we
have learned from the famous Army of the Potomac, adding my opinion as to when
this war will end. Before I proceed in war news, I presume some of the
friends of the members of Co. "C" may be anxious to learn as to how
the new set of officers run the machine and how the boys like the change.
I am satisfied that in Capt. D. McKee still commanded the company, it would
be more satisfactorily from the fact the boys know him to be a gallant officer.
I am now about to make a small boast, namely that not a member of Co. C has
committed himself so as to be liable to court martial while other companies in
the regiment will average from four to six every month; this will tell that
these are composed of the very best material.
I have had one deserter since the promotion of Capt. McKee, but I claim it a
military necessity he should leave somehow; from the fact he was the only
unworthy member of Company C. His name is F. Buermaster, a German.
As to the series of battles up to Monday eve, we doubt if the history of any
nation ever recorded greater evidence of bravery and endurance than is presented
in the bloody encounter of seven days fighting. The secesh army have displayed a
valor worthy of a better cause than in which they are engaged; but it is now apparent
that their forces are far superior to ours and therefore they are enabled to
relieve their divisions much more rapidly than McClellan could be reinforced.
Such heroic bravery continued for an entire week, (and the 2d lying in camp). It
has truly vindicated the credit which has been awarded to the army of the Potomac,
that no nation ever had in the field a better disciplined body of troops than
McClellan has in his entire command and it has been proved that no army ever
possessed a better corps of officers than command the troops that are now in the
We understand that in all the movements made by McClellan there was a coolness
of action displayed by all the troop which looks almost impossible to believe;
but it is nevertheless true. the change of position had the appearance of a
retreat; no doubt it will be termed as a retreat abroad but such in the reality
is not the case. Secesh, no doubt, feel not only in the loss they have sustained
(so much greater than was suffered by our army) but also the great advantage of
Gen. McClellan's new base of operation. In obtaining that base the rebels, I
learn, followed in the rear and day by day attacked our army but in every
encounter until it reached the James River, our troops turned upon them and beat
the back. As they approached the river, we learn, our gunboats were there, ready to
take part in the battle and commenced to fire on the enemy whilst the weary
troops could recruit their exhausted energies and secure the position which they
had thus gained.
The Richmond papers, I understand, admits that the battle exceeds any yet
fought; and that in the movements made by our army they turned on the rebel
forces and amid cheers they beat back the rebel front. (Bully for the Yanks) It
appears that in every direction the most hearty applause is awarded to our
gallant Gen., from not a single source do we hear aught but praise; he is
evidently more than ever endeared to his soldiers who have been thus enabled to
test the estimation in which he was held by them as to his generalship.
The result of seven days fighting may possibly require some delay in
reorganizing the regiments and brigades of McClellan's army with some of which
terrible havoc was made. But there is no doubt that our reinforcements sent on
will have reached McClellan and he will most likely be ready to make a forward
movement earlier than secesh will be prepared to receive him.
The immense numbers of wounded which are now to be added to the vast hospital
at Richmond, (we learn had already become full) will of itself be one of the
most terrible afflictions which secesh will have to suffer; whist our brave boys,
except those who may have fallen on the field or in the hands of the enemy, are
being sent off in vessels fitted up for that occasion and placed in charge, or in
the vicinity, of their friends in every quarter of the country from which they
I am your friend
from Col. Lucius Fairchild of the 2nd Wis
written near Fredericksburg, July ''62
"We have ... a big half bull dog named McClellan
stolen from a secesh. He attends all drills ... is always at Dress Parade, sometimes
marches up and down in front of the Regiment with the band and always marches to the
center with his Officers and up to the Colonel.
All this is done with becoming gravity.
FROM KING'S DIVISION -REBEL SAVAGERY-
We have been shown a private letter from King's Division still opposite
Fredericksburg dated July 9th. The writer says it is the impression there that they
would not move any great distance this summer. The boys say "a place
in McDowell's corps is nearly equal to a life insurance."
The writer gives a description of a horrid specimen of rebel's fiendish
mutilation of the dead. He says:
"This evening I saw a sight which I shall remember as I live - it was the
dried skeleton of a soldier quartered by some southern devil. The left arm had
been sawed off just above the elbow and the ribs cut with a knife close in the
heart. The ribs on the left side still remained. The body had been cut in two
below the ribs. A quarter of the skull on the right side of the head had been
sawed out probably taken for "an ornament" An attempt had been made to
split the body by sawing it up to the back bone, A string had been inserted
through a small hole in the skull by which the poor fellow had been hung up to
dry. The ears had been cut off and some of the teeth knocked out. The flesh had
dried on the bones except on the skull and so their work was done.. I may be
served in the same way some time but I think a few of the traitors will have to
From the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment
Camp Opposite Fredericksburg, Va
July 10, 1862
Dear Witness:- The excessive hot weather with which we have been blessed
since the 4th still continues and its effects upon all is plainly discernable.
The clouds are as brass and although all nature, both animal and vegetable,
beseechingly call for rain, the faith of Elijah, I fear, is wanting and our prayers
thus far have amounted to --nothing.
There is much sickness in camp though I think the number at the hospital is
on the decrease. Yet all seem contented and, save inactivity and the weather, few
murmur. The patience of Job would have been severely taxed under similar
circumstances. We lay all day in the hot camp not being permitted to leave it
without a pass from the Brigadier and nothing to do - the games in camp having
become stale -surely patience has ceased to be a virtue.
On the evening of the 4th the soldiers of this brigade had quite a gala time.
Many games of sport were indulged in and all seemed willing to make it a day of
general festivity and hilarity. The ceremonies of the day closed with a grand
mule race and to be appreciated it must have been seen. Every one that could
procure a mule did so and no less than twenty of the stupid creatures were
entered for the race.
The men of the Second, Sixth and Seventh Wisconsin and Nineteenth Indiana were
present. The circle was formed, the judges took their stand, the band played several national airs and the preparations for the sport began. The riders
mounted the mules,, were brought to the stand from which they were to start. The
officers of the different regiments were present and had contributed a purse of
money to be given to the lucky winner of the race. The drum taps the signal for
starting and then the fun begins.
All start - and such a start - some running ,other trotting and not a few of the
same stupid animals walking and persuasion of their chagrinned riders could
induce them to increased speed. Others with shouts, yells, kicks, and thumps
were hurrying on. Every mule had a rider when the race start was made, not so
when the "home stretch" was reached. Many were rider less and came
jugging along in an approved style of their own. The discomfited riders were to
be seen picking themselves up in different parts of the ring and same savagely
walking around giving vent to their feelings by heaping curses upon the mules
where stationed the riders mounted and the drum signaled all to start. Amid the
"noise and confusion" away they go (except those that didn't) some
flew the track, others broke through the wall of human beings around the circle,
others became tired and lagged down, some threw themselves and others came
around at breakneck speed. A third trial was to be made and after the necessary
preliminaries the signal for starting was again given and again they go (with
the same exceptions) with about the same results. Not a few of the boys got
wounded in the skirmish and lame men were quite numerous. The next performance
was a horse race which passed off very well and with more favorable results than
the mule contest. The exercises of the day were to conclude with a foot race and
the judge gave notice that this performance came next in the programme and soon
the contestants for this purse were off - not like "arrows shot from the
bow," but at a "right smart" gait. The purses were given to the
lucky winners and all returned to camp well satisfied with the novel
On the day of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, John Adams, one
of the illustrious "signers" and subsequently President of the United
States, wrote to a that friend "The deed is done. America is free. Future
generations will remember this day. You and I may not live to see much of the
good this word will produce yet, Sir, the 4th of July will be celebrated as long
as time exists; not as a day of prayer but with music, dances, the thunders of
artillery , games of sport, &c.; it will be a general holiday - American's
gala day. Unborn millions with patriotism and pride will suitable celebrate the
He wrote with the foresight of a prophet and through the country is now
struggling with a mighty rebellion still the 4th of July is remembered and
appropriately celebrated all along the lines of the union army now before Richmond for several days. Both armies seem to be resting. McClellan has
advanced his army towards the city and though the rebels may desperately contest
his entrance into Richmond he will sooner or later visit them
HEADQUARTERS, THIRD ARMY CORPS
July, 13, 1862
FRIEND BRICK: - 'Tis 4 o'clock, PM and a telegram, originating from the
headquarter of General Pope has just reached us which reads as follows:
"All the hospital stores, extra tents, extra baggage &c., will
immediately be forwarded to Alexandria and rations sufficient for ten days for
the Army of Virginia will be prepared by dawn tomorrow! No excuse will be
accepted from Division and Brigade commanders for the prompt execution of this
order all must be in readiness to move at a hour's notice!"
May I suggest that this "order" comes with good grace from our new commander?
It is received enthusiastically. all are jubilant! for where are we be going
with "ten days rations" other than in the direction of Richmond? We
are sanguine that "E'er to-morrow's sun shall set" we will be traversing the turnpike leading from this place to
Gordonsville - thence
to the ultimately doomed capital of the so-called Southern confederacy. It is
evident from this order - promulgated at such an early period after assuming
command -that Pope is the right man in the right place.
If I mistake not it must be plain to every unprejudiced looker on in Venice
that the time for which we have so long and weariedly labored to the detriment
of the "public crib" - in preparing to reap the harvest is now at
hand. And I fancy by our many equalizing readers will hail the news of the movement
of the "army of Virginia" with a kindly greeting.
Renewed vigor now thrills the mind of every man amid the ranks of the great
mass of dense columns of troops that lie between Warrenton and Fredericksburg;
and with light hearts; and eager but steady tread they will soon be wending
their course toward the spot where glorious victory awaits them!
"Brick," I am confident you cannot imagine the sensation created
among us by this telegram! for before the battle of Bull Run we had the utmost
confidence in every man that mingled with us in "Union uniform".
McDowell was received with cheers at all times - even when we were drawn up in
"battle line" to receive and return the deadly "fire " for
the first time! From that day forward our confidence in him has been shaky and
not without cause. The long weary months we have been under his command gave us
ample time and good opportunity to study and learn to our satisfaction his many
Not only at Bull Run has he betrayed himself by proving recreant to trust we
tendered him; but at Fredericksburg and Front Royal! and now that we have great
confidence and "orders to forward!" - every eye gleams with delight!
every heart beats high in anticipation of a favored moment that they may have at
least one more opportunity to manifest their love of country.
I am free, (as are many others,) to acknowledge that since my enlistment many
days have passed gloriously in camp; for it seemed our destiny to idly wear away
our time of enlistment; while other Western comrades in arms were manifesting a
heroism unparalleled since the infancy of the Republic.
But to-day, all seems bright! - there are apparently no cares to molest our
thoughts; methinks we can peer through the maze and behold a golden future
awaiting us! Some are singing while busily engaged in packing up-
"God bless the whole caboodle
Hail Columbia, Yankee doodle!"
Relative to the late call for 300,00 additional troops; I have only to say
that the patriotism with which the whole North and West were more or less imbued
some fifteen months since has apparently "died out". I am indeed sorry
that the energy displayed by Northern journals for the encouragement of
enlistments do not meet with warm response. Now is the time to try the pluck of
those single young men who helped to swell the ranks of fancy military companies
in time of peace and paraded under the motto - "where duty calls there you'll
find us!". The time is now, young men, if you wish to sail under the above
motto again; for surely "duty calls you;" as the present war is no
romance but a stern reality!
So married men remain and pursue your honest avocations, but exert yourself
to induce the single ones to come and help us, ere "drafts" will be issued.
The Railroad between Washington and Gordonsville is actually lined with
trains going towards the latter place, loaded with forage and subsistence.
The weather, to-day is exceedingly warm - warmer that last year at this time.
For the Mauston Star.
Home again. My last epistle to the Star, if my memory serves me correctly, was
dated somewhere in Northern Central Pennsylvania. (which letter we have never
seen. ED.) On the 7th of July, I left that locality and passing through the
beautiful town of Elmira, along the banks of Seneca Lake and through the very
garden of New York. At ten PM I arrived at Rochester. It is useless for me to
attempt to describe the beauty of the county between Elmira and Rochester. all
have heard of its wonderful fertility.
On the morning of the 8th I was stirring at an early hour, 41/2 A.M. and
during the succeeding three hours I showed my pedestrian qualities to good
advantage and enjoyed a pretty thorough view of the out-door beauty of that
city. I found but few large splendid residences but a great many small, neat and
tasteful dwellings. The indications were that the great mass of the people of
Rochester were in a comfortable condition. They certainly evince a great deal of
taste in the adornment of their houses with shrubbery.
At 7:35, the iron horse started for Albany where we arrived at 3.5 P.M. 229
miles in eight hours! Of course, our route lay through a succession of thriving
towns, villages and cities. The country is fertile and the crops looked good with
the exception of corn which was very backward.
But On was the word. At 41/4 we were again in motion down the bank of the
Hudson River and at 10 P.M. were snugly ensconced at Lovejoy's Hotel in New
York, the great commercial center of the western Hemisphere. In many places along the Hudson the scenery did not equal the Mississippi but in the vicinity
of West Point it was truly magnificent. Considerable of the distance along this
road is graded in the river and across low wet-flats rendering the road liable
to overflow during high water. The bold nature of the shore compels the road to
run thus or else back in the country.
It would be worse than useless for me to attempt to describe in an ordinary
letter what I saw in New York during the three days I spent there. Of course I
visited the greatest work of modern times - the central Park. I cannot fully describe
it but will say it is 2.5 miles long by 1/2 mile wide, and contains over 700
acres of land. It is diversified by hill and dale, rock and lake and is adorned
by fine carriage ways and graveled walks; its hollows are spanned by beautiful
bridges of marble, granite, brown stone, iron and cedar in the rustic form.
Where trees and shrubbery are wanting, they have been set out and where they were
scattered in wild profusion they have been properly trimmed. Throughout the park
are scattered by the wayside settees and on the hill tops and prominences an
abundance of rustic summer houses, villas and towers.
In this park is located the old receiving reservoir containing 40 acres of
water and the new reservoir with a capacity of 160 acres of water 40 feet deep.
The latter is a splendid work costing near $2,000,000. Its gates and
distributing pipes were open to inspection. The latter are seven in number and
are each four feet in diameter.
But I must leave New York. For near three days I rambled amongst its marble
and brown-stone palaces, its workshops, its marts of commerce and its shipping.
It is 13 years since I had seen it before. In many respects it had changed and
in many it seemed as familiar to me as through my visit was of a more recent
Sunday morning found me in Baltimore. This can take the palm as the the
cleanest city in the Union. The streets look as though they were carefully swept
to their very centre. In fact, I saw many persons engaged thus in keeping it
clean. If the people of the city of Baltimore are as cleanly in doors as they
are out of doors the city is full of model housewives.
Monday I was in Frederick and Tuesday in Annapolis. The first is in a fertile
country and contains 8,000 inhabitants. With the people the Third Wisconsin
regiment are especial favorites and the Third is called by Gen Banks "his
All speak highly of Banks. The soldiers in the hospital at Frederick seem to be
well cared for. They had no complaints to make in answer to my inquiries. The
hospitals are kept scrupulously neat and clean. It was my good fortune to here
meet Surgeon Baxter of La Crosse with whom I was acquainted.
At Annapolis I met Dr. H. O. Crane of Oshkosh late Senator. The Doctor is a whole
souled, earnest man and I vouch for it that he will do all in his power to save
the lives and limbs of the men who fall to his charge. He tells me that the men
who come there from McClellan's army manifest all the symptoms of being
overworked and underfed and also of having suffered a great deal from exposure.
They doubtless have sufficient to eat, such as it is, but it is not of a kind or
quality designed to keep the system physically in a good condition or the blood
full of vitality. The men recuperate very slowly and where amputation is
necessary the chances are against the patients recovery.
Since I left Washington things have changed materially. We have met a check.
God in his providence will turn it to our good. The nation demands more vigorous
prosecution of the war. The President sys we shall have it. The nigger question
The Government is to use them - arm them if necessary.
The contrabands are to be free - the slaves of rebels are to be free if they
can run away. Slavery is to be worn out by friction, abrasion and confiscation .
Our armies are to subsist off from the enemy. It is to be hoped that we have got
most through playing war, and that we are to have war in good earnest. Let it
come. The aching of my bones tells me that the next few days are pregnant with important
(War correspondence-2d Regiment.)
Camp of 2D Wisconsin
Opposite Fredericksburg, Va.
July 22d, 1862
Mr. Editor: - A very pleasing affair came off before our ground last evening,
an attempted description of which I send you thinking that an insertion of it in
the columns of your paper might interest some of your many readers. It was the
delivering of an address of those of the released prisoners of our regiment now
present, to Mr. Joseph M. Humphries, late of Richmond. the address was read by
one of their number who introduced Mr. Humphries. It was as follows:
Joseph M. Humphries, Esq.- Sir:
You have been invited to meet us here this evening in order that the soldiers
of the Second Wisconsin Regiment may look upon you and thank you for the
kindness you displayed to us, their comrades in arms, during our imprisonment in Richmond.
We have felt that this happy occasion must not pass without an attempt on our
part to express those grateful emotions with which your conduct inspired us
during our captivity and which we now most gladly acknowledge.
We can never forget, Sir, the feeling of gloom and desolation with which
almost a year ago we entered the city of Richmond, there to undergo a cruel
imprisonment far from home and friends, insulted by the taunts and jeers of armed
traitors; and leaving behind us the shadows of defeat and disgrace resting upon
the National arms; diminishing the luster of that glorious ensign we had sworn
to uphold. Doubt resting over the fate of friends and brothers in arms; the
Capitol almost at the mercy of the foe; unknowing yet that the Nation had armed
itself to avenge the blood of Manassas. What could we expect save a return from captivity
under the conditions of an ignominious peace. But soon those clouds were lifted
and the tokens of the great reaction were wafted to us on every breeze from the
North. We ceased to despair of the Republic then too, we began to receive those
kind attentions which proved to us that there in the very domicile of treason
lived a band of loyal and generous hearted men who in spite of all obstacles,
kept burning the sacred fire of Liberty and who waited and waited with aching
but hopeful hearts for the day which should usher in again the authority of the
We recognize you, Sir, as one of the foremost of that patriotic band and we
take the liberty to express the hope that the Government will recognize in a
suitable way the great sacrifice you have made in its behalf. but we would not
speak of this. You revived our hopes, cheered us with your sympathy, did every
thing that lay in the power of man to add to our comfort; and for all of this, in
the presence of our regiment, we come to thank you from our hearts and
congratulate you on your escape from the traitors."
When ended, Mr. Humphries occupied the stand and made a most eloquent speech.
The deep interest manifested was only interrupted by the plaudits of the crowd.
He portrayed the trials, miseries and affections of the Union men of Richmond, -
himself not the foremost of that patriotic band and mentioned John Minor Botts,
and others whom I forget, just not as men worthy of that name and who could never
be forced to yield an iota of their patriotism and who are now in imprisonment
at Salisbury, North Carolina where one of his brothers, als, is imprisoned; - of
the increased barbarous treatment of Union prisoners in Richmond since secesh
has been driven to such desperation; - the blood thirsty hate manifested by all
classes for the Yankees, - the "Hessians," the "Mudsills,"
&c.,-repeated some of their favorite expressions, which caused a good deal
of merriment for the boys; for instance in speaking of the invasion of their
sacred soil they say it was by those "Lincoln hirelings, to murder our
"Why", said Mr. Humphries, "I have seen more real gentlemen in this very
brigade of Wisconsin and Indiana troops that can be mustered in all the southern
army." He said it was no flattery to assert that they were all gentlemen
for he had mixed with all in the brigade and had been treated with courtesy and
kindness by officers and privates and regarding "hirelings" said he,
"I have known as much as $1,500 being offered for a substitute in Richmond.
Now" said he "who are the hirelings?" He complimented Harris
the 14th Brooklyn and the 2d Wisconsin saying that with those bodies of
gentlemen he would almost defy all creation.
I need not here mention the grand exploit of day before yesterday near
Gordonsville, by a detachment of Harris' Cavalry under the guidance of Mr.
Humphries. You have heard, or will hear most probably, ere this reaches you, full
But, Sir, I find I am extending my remarks too far. Iit is impossible for me to
give you an idea of this master piece of all patriotic speeches or of its effect
upon the boys who are all loud in their praises of him and who trust that he may
be amply rewarded for his efforts in behalf of our country.
Three times three and a "tiger" greeted him when he had ended his
Hoping to be pardoned for all that is amiss in this communication both to you, Sir, and your readers.
I remain Respectfully Yours,
"One of the Boys"
Offering with tail to it
We insert the following communication among
the "locals" as the author evidently intended to LOCALIZE his remarks:
To the "Home Guards" of Oshkosh" -
BRAVE MEN: - While our hearts teem with gratitude towards you, and our lips offer praises
for the very heroic and gallant manner in which you volunteered to "stay at
home" to protect our sweethearts in our absence, and defend our firesides from the
ruthless invasion of an enemy who must be now not over two thousand miles away. And
suffering, as you must have suffered, all the comforts of home - sacrificing all the
pleasures of camp life - the delicious and savory dishes of pork and corned horse, coffee
untainted with milk, and hard bread, the pleasures of a long march through the mud, the
dust or the refreshing rain and the delightful warm breezes of a summers day -
thermometer 90 degrees in the shade - the delights of camp life "Opposite
Fredericksburg" - the week after week of glorious inactivity, lying in tents,
capturing flies, or tickling a sleeping comrades ear with a straw - the dress parades -
the company drills in "heavy" marching order. Your feelings on sacrificing this
last luxury, is fully appreciated by us.
We say, that while our hearts teem with
gratitude, &c., in consideration of the many sacrifices you have made, we beg to
assure you that we are now quite willing to relieve you of any further anxiety and care on
your part, in regard to OUR wives and sweethearts, which you so magnanimously and
disinterestedly assumed; and the arduous task of such vigilant watchfulness of our home
institutions generally, and request that you will now, one and all, come join our happy
throng (Uncle Sams Army of Yankees) and rush to the defense of your country, at good
old Abrahams call, and partake of the soldiers privilege -carrying a knapsack,
weighing only thirty pounds, buckling on your cartridge box and bayonet sheath, toting
round a haversack filled, on a march, with Uncle Samuels choicest delicacies, cast
iron crackers and flesh of swine, and last, but not least, an Austrian Rifle - You must
have suffered terribly for more than a year past. The Lord knows we DO pity you from the
bottom of our hearts. Now we are happy indeed to know that there is and opportunity to
"spread yourselves." Quit ye like men, be strong - and we, as in duty bound,
will always say "Bully for you."
One of Co. E, 2nd Wis..
The Northwestern, July, 1862
Fredericksburg, Va, July 25th
Having nothing in particular to occupy our time
to-day the thought occurred to us that your readers might be glad to hear from this
portion of the army of Virginia.
Our regiment is now on the "War path" in
search of whom they may devour.
I am sorry to say that our return from Washington was
just too late to join them in their grand march. They left camp yesterday morning at 5
o'clock and crossed the river. The two o'clock train brought us back in time to find our
camp deserted except by those that were unable by sickness to join in the expedition.
The appointment of Gen'l Pope to the command of the army of Virginia is
hailed with joy by every man in this department. It has given now life to the
troops and the vigor of the army which was almost extinct under the old
arrangements has been kindled anew and every man feels that he has a duty to
perform and that the time has come for him to wake up and shake off the dust and
go out to the aid of our grave brothers who have been murdered by squads during
the last twelve months. This is the sprit that should have been kept up in times
gone by by but why has it not been done? We leave others to whisper the answer
out of the hearing of "starry epaulets!" Every man feels that in Gen'l
Pope we have a general, and a fighting general, that is not afraid of bringing on
a general engagement, but would glory in such a result. His orders are
explicit and to the point. Traitors to our Government cannot live where they are
carried into effect! Every man caught disobeying these orders will be severely
dealt with, a home in the federal forts or worse punishment awaits them. We see
no more sentries pacing their lonely beat around "secesh" property -
this is a trait that is now numbered among the things that were in times of
A loyal man's protection is the "starry banner" hung out; the
traitor's is where we are to get our provisions and forage. The crops in Virginia
are good and ripe and there is but very little doubt that the stubbornness of
many of the Virginians in their secession proclivities will cause a great many
thousands of bushels of grain, thousands of heads of cattle, horses, mules, sheep,
swine etc to fall into the hands of the advancing Union army for their subsistence
and maintenance while carrying on the war upon fair Virginia's soil.
A large amount of crops have been harvested within our lines by Contrabands
under military authority and still there is a great chance for reaping a good
harvest. In this vicinity, the fields were well filled perhaps with the
calculation that the rebel army would harvest it. Where are their harvest hands?
The Northern harvesters drove them out of the field and took the job themselves
just for exercise.
I am informed that a through renovation is going on in Fredericksburg just at
the present time in the way of administering the oath of allegiance to all who
wish to take it and give security for doping it, while all who refuse to take
it are to be sent outside of the lines or to prison and be treated as enemies to
the Government. Many of the most prominent traitors have been arrested within
the last few days and imprisoned. This is as it should be: our authorities have
been altogether too lenient with the rebels in this city -- allowing them to
insult and abuse our men at their pleasure.
It is quite time that they should be brought to a realizing sense of the
destiny that awaits all rebels.
Gen'l Pop's Headquarters are in Washington at present as he is endeavoring to
find out where the scattered fragments of the army are, that he may get them
together when he will take his place at the head of the army and show the Virginians
how he done in the West in the early part of the the campaign.
You have seen the accounts of the daring exploits of the Harris Light Cavalry
into the rebel lines. This cavalry belongs to our Division and their very daring
feats are perhaps a fair illustration of what the Infantry of the Division will
do if they get a chance. With Gen'l King at the head, we think we have one of the
best divisions in the service.
I have been in Washington for the last two or three weeks and have had a
chance to see the uprising of the North since the new call for troops.
New regiments are coming in every day. The south bank of the Potomac
is completely covered with new camps while the sick in hospital in the vicinity
of the city are hurrying off to their regiments that they may have a hand in the
coming strife. Aside from the arrival of troops the city is very dull. Gossip
all turns on the future plans for Gen's Halleck and Pope.
Our boys are all out with the regiment so I know nothing about them, but,
judging from the past when there was any marching to be done, they always felt
well. They must certainly feel first rate this time.
The weather is very fine. Rather warn occasionally but we have got used to
Very respectfully submitted
Orange Court House
Little transpired worthy of note until July 24th, when the
Second Regiment of the Iron Brigade, with their pet Battery B, Fourth U. S. Artillery, and
a part of the Third Indiana Cavalry, under the command of General Gibbon, marched toward
Gordonsville. At night we bivouacked near Chancellorsville. The next day we proceeded on
the plank road until about 3 P.M.
When within four miles of Orange Court House, learning the enemy are in force, we
halt for the night. The day following we move forward. A company of rebel cavalry several
times charge upon the rear guard, but were handsomely repulsed without loss.
Orange Court House
On the 24th of July, the brigade left this place upon a reconnaissance toward Orange Court
House, to ascertain the force of the enemy then gathering on General Pope's front. The
command encountered the rebel pickets on the 26th, a mile from Orange Court House. A
skirmish with the enemy's cavalry ensued, in which the rebels were routed, and a few
prisoners captured, when, the object of the expedition being accomplished, a return was
Wisconsin in the War, Love, 1866
At night we go into camp in Wilderness, reach camp on the 27th, after having
marched over eighty miles to ascertain the purpose of the rebels gathered in the vicinity
of Gordonsville. On the 29th our camp is moved to escape malaria that is prevalent along
this river this season of the year.
Headquarters 3d Army Corps
Army of Va., July 28, 1862
Friend "Brick": - We are now are Warrenton
- the most beautiful village it has ever been my fortune to gaze upon. Here dwell the elite
of Fauquier county; 2,500 inhabitants were happily resting here, when the anticipated cry
"to arms," aroused the stern and fiery farmer, and caused in more refined a
languor for the absentees - the mothers, wives, daughters and sweet ones are now
apparently harassed indescribably, as regiment after regiment of blue uniforms - each with
the "old flag" unfurled to greet the balmy breeze - pass, marching to the
various airs that thrill the souls of our country's volunteers, as well as loyal denizens.
The ladies, notwithstanding they rank with the fiery
Southerners, are courteous in the
extreme, and very social, agreeable in conversation - all having unbounded confidence,
however, in the ultimate success of their "arms!"
The streets of Warrenton are all Macadamized
and extensive stone sidewalks (they have an
excellent city council, or had) greet the pedestrian. All the walks are densely shaded
with different species of forest trees. Four magnificent churches, a stupendous Court
House, two enormous hotels, with two printing offices, are sufficient evidence to an
unprejudiced itinerant - particularly in the South - that Warrenton is at the top-most
round on the ladder of renown. On all sides, and adjacent to town, are extensive
plantations, where waves the golden harvest - a very sea of promised plenty. Many of the
crops are being reaped by us and forwarded to the advance forces now in front of Jackson's
Army, who are still at Gordonsville. Would that I could send you some pears, apricots,
plums and apples that are now ripe, and other delicious luxuries. Vegetables of all kinds
are abundant, and since the new orders, promulgated by Gen. Pope, all the troops are
abundantly supplied with scurvy preventatives.
By the energetic exertions of Halleck, Pope and McClellan, the hosts of molestations of
our country's good, now within our very midst, will soon be other than rife. The orders
requiring all males to take the oath of allegiance or go beyond the outposts, will be
administered to-morrow. It has caused quite an excitement among the business men.- Some
openly avow their intention not to take the oath. The last order - not to allow the troops
to guard rebel property - we rejoice at; but the enemy - oh, how it is met by them! Upon
my work, "Brick", it is provoking. McDowell has guards from the 9th N.Y.S.M.
stationed at a number of residences of avowed secessionists; but, thank fortune, Pope will
be here to-morrow, and I am in hopes McDowell will rue his course.
A large Female Seminary, conducted by the Baptist Society, has been fitted up for Gen.
Pope's headquarters. A portion of his staff arrived to-day. Gen. King's Division is still
at Fredericksburg, doing good service, as you may know by the papers. Capt. Mansfield of
Co. G, of the Second Wisconsin Regiment, lately acting as Provost Marshall at
Fredericksburg and vicinity, was arrested for treason and is now in durance vile at
Washington. From what is rumored hereabouts, it will certainly go hard with him.
No day passes without the arrival of troops, fresh from home scenes; and they are not
privileged to remain here, as Pope pushes them forward to strengthen the commands of
Banks, Siegel and Hatch, who are endeavoring to entrap Jackson, the most brilliant General
in the Southern cause, and who is, at this early day, held up by the citizens of this
place, as their favorite for the next President of the Confederacy!
While speaking of Presidents, it might not be amiss
to remark that no other man in this country might be brought forward for the next
Presidency of the United States, than Geo. B. McClellan, if it was desired to receive the
unanimous vote of the Northern Army. He is (if there ever was such a thing) worshipped by
the entire army - save McDowell. Hon. Mr. Chandler, of Michigan, should be visited by some
military authority, and to be requested to either take the oath of allegiance or driven
from within our lines, as he is considered by the troops of the most foul-mouthed enemy of
our country. - He dislikes McClellan because the latter declines , or is not in favor of
The White Sulfur Springs, of which all are conversant, is but seven miles distant from
here. I have not visited them, as yet, but, unless a move is made soon, I shall do so, and
then acquaint you with them and their surroundings.
As Ever, Hawkeye
Letters from Soldiers
--What those think who have seen.
Some days the letters we receive from soldiers are so numerous that we
cant afford time to read them except hastily yet many such letters are designed
for publication. We have not the space for a tenth part of all received for
print. We only wish they could appear in order to let our home readers know the
views of the soldiers upon some of the issues discussed in bar-rooms and on
street corners by idlers we own to having much curiosity to learn what the soldiers
think of matters down in Dixie; for after this time home theories and political
vagaries and blind prejudices are not to rule the county as in times gone by.
Stern facts and foundation principles are to form public opinion while the
lights and shades seen and felt in the South are to furnish the arguments. Most
anxious have we been to know whether the anti-slavery teachings will stand every
test from all the stand points upon which the human mind can dwell. We have
claimed they would and cited the history of ages beside, as well, the laws of
nature governing human conduct. The letters received from soldiers with one
accord represent slavery as "The sum of all villainies," and that the
poor whites in slaveholding regions are all we ever represented them being, the
mere refuse of God's creation while the northern born citizens of the South have
fallen to a level with the lowest rebels and slaves the exceptions being so few
as to scarcely merit notice. Were our letters thus representing things written
entirely by men of our radical stamp we might still doubt but many of them come
from democrats - men who left Grant County for the war in the firm belief that the
country may be restored as it was and stand half slave, half free; men who held
that the war was a joint stock job of abolitionists and pro-slavery madness men
who at giving a parting farewell of starting for the war said "Cover you
will hear from me just opinions of the domestic institutions of the south."
Well they have often written to us never varying in
spirt and experience.
One says "I have caught the soul of old John Brown and fear I shall have
trouble if God permits my return for the the highest station I shall seek will
be that of conductor upon the underground railroad." Another, "I have got to
be an abolitionist, anything less would be treason contradicting all the lights
of reason and observation in this infernal slavery stricken region beneath the
shadows of Mount Vernon." another "I suppose you want to know my
present views of slavery; I am still of opinion there was no cause for war and,
that by mutual forbearance, the day of dissolution might have been postponed;
still slavery is tyranny and incompatible with a democratic form of government.
It cannot and ought not survive this war not can the country ever stand again
with slavery. "
"Slavery is rebellion against human nature and you need never fear
that you and I will quarrel about it again as in time past for I am prepared to
go with you or even beyond. I supposed the army is a unit in this view though my
knowledge extends to but a small circle" Another "I came to this
natural Paradise but now slavery doomed Sodom with all my prejudices against
freeing these blacks, thinking to use the Herald as my medium to combat the
principles of yourself and Jo. Mills; but this is impossible, for I have been
unable to find any argument in favor of keeping these people in slavery, the
effect of which is to place the poorer classes of whites in a state of dangerous
ignorance which has at last led them into physical as well as mental bondage in
which condition they are molded into any wares that their masters see fit, just
as the potter moulds his clay. Slavery must be death to all things about it,
except what God causes to grow from the earth for there has never been any life
hero to the intellect and the very souls of people have long been dead to all
that is humane. Nor can I see any means of improving these people considering
their prejudices against freedom, against education and against such art of civil
life as make a people industrious and happy.
The only remedy is a terrible
one-annihilation. No other can avail never. I do not suppose any process of the
Union Army will amount to this but such is the state of feeling between the
highly intelligent few and the ignorant many with the condition of color and the
prejudices of cast-superadded to these, the numerous hatreds and that
irremediable between the loyal and disloyal factions, that the work of
annihilation must go on until each class suffers degradation and becomes
indifferent to life, character, honor. Then cometh a long dreary waste as in
Egypt, Greece, Rome and other slavery destroyed governments of old. The upper
classes of the South must lose their influence over the masses; and then what is
to hinder all the consequences I have briefly told. Already those people cannot
be rescued with reason, kindness or mercy; so blinded are they and so prejudiced
that only bullets and bayonets can govern them. And when relieved of these they
will fall upon and devour their respective enemies -each of the five or a dozen
enemies being against the other and all held worthy of examination."
And such eloquent philosophic language comes to us very often written
the soil whereon lie the ruins of a power which has ruled this country for an
age but which at last has pulled down the house upon itself and, too, written by
men with whom we have so often reasoned, almost against hope, that they would ever
believe and join us in framing the remedy. But wherein our logic failed these visible
have taught a lesson that must reach the heart as well as understanding. Oh, could
such things have been seen and known twenty years ago, what rivers of blood and
billions of treasure might have been saved!
Treatment of our wounded &c.,
We do not give credence to the statement of every prisoner in the hands of
the rebels as to their treatment of our wounded prisoners. Out there is a class
of evidence which we cannot but deem conclusive. Col. Wilcox of the 1st Michigan
Regiment who was taken prisoner at Bull Run is a gentleman of known character.
His predilections were originally with the South - as he was a democrat of the
most decided school. His manners, his position, his rank, his connections were all
of a cast to constrain the rebels to treat him better than they meted out of
ordinary prisoners. Yet at his reception in Detroit, Colonel Wilcox gave a
narrative of his experience as a prisoner in rebellion which more than confirms
all the barbarities alleged to have been practiced. The inhumanity of forbidding
or rather preventing our Surgeons attending upon our wounded is more like the
war policy of an Algerian corsair.
We fear that before this war is over it must
become one of extermination. The bitterness hourly increases. Pope's severe
order since he has been at the head of the Army of Virginia are cordially
approved both by the army and the people. The rebels retaliate by still more
severe orders and thus it proceeds to the last extremity. The savage treatment
of our wounded has gradually educated the public mind of the North to the
necessity of waging such a war as no one can contemplate without a shudder. On
this point Colonel (now general) Wilcox thus spoke. Every word should be
"Well, the rebels have in this war violated every rule of civilized war. In the
first place the surgeons who were captured were deprived of their boxes of
instruments and were not allowed to use them. Then they were reduced to the
position of stewards and dressers in the hospitals. In many instances, our
wounded who had fallen into their hands were grossly neglected. Our surgeons
were refused permission to attend to their sufferings and the brave men forced
to lie without the least assistance from rebel surgeons. As a proof of this I
give you the case of Lieut. Mauch of the First whose leg was not dressed for two
weeks. Every operation was performed by Confederate Surgeons and students. In
the next place prisoners of war were treated like animals.
Out of thirteen months confinement, I have had nine months of close confinement
- this confinement was of the most aggravating nature. I was subject, while passing through the streets, to insults, mocking and jeers of the rebel
soldiers as well as the idle mob. Many confined in prisons were shot at from the
streets for no other offence than looking out of the windows upon the beautiful
heavens. At the time I now speak the message of the President of the rebel
confederacy is going the rounds of the newspapers. Such is their barbarous
warfare. While it would have been easy to procure for us buildings and yards, we
were shut up in close rooms and not allowed the common air to breathe. When we
reached Charleston we expected to go down to the steamer and be sent on our way;
but we were marched to the common jail, crowded in like so many cattle, without
beds to lie upon, without chairs to sit upon, without water to cleanse our bodies,
without knives and forks with which to partake of our food, like animals and
convicts we were turned out into the yard to wash our faces with murderers
robbers and men who had committed all sorts of evil crime. We were soon after
removed to Castle Pinkney. It was the only place they could confine us in they
From Castle Pinckney we were removed back to Charleston Jail and were put in
prison as hostages for the privates; I ask you if this was right. Held there as
hostages they had no right to treat us as criminals. Let any man who has the
least sympathy for the Southern confederacy ask himself how he would like it.
were sent to Charleston jail with 150 prisoners and found 150 already there. -
The kind man in charge of the jail reported to Richmond that there was no more
room - that it was already filled. The government answered that it was the only
place they had and there we remained. - Some time after, we were sent back to be
exchanged, but the exchange was not then effected; it was put off. I can only
denounce it as a mean transaction. Simply, in the suspicion of Howell Cobb, the
negotiations for an exchange were broken off. We very well know what the trouble
was. The southern Confederacy knew the people of Michigan valued us and they had
schemes to effect.
They desired to inaugurate the guerrilla system of warfare. This more than
anything else probably has led to our long detention. - When we traveled, we traveled
on the railways under orders not to be allowed to leave the cars under any
circumstance what ever and this in a Southern clime where we were subject to