Home Page Second Wisconsin
Oct 1, 1862
I cannot close my letter to you without spilling out a little portion of my
reflection concerning our chosen band of exile. I am strongly in favor of the
President's policy and I view his proclamation ascertaining to slave property as
so many constitutional peace offerings. I look upon his last proclamation
as a master stroke of statesmanship because it was well calculated to act as a dose
of Paregoric on the restless, wide-awake abolition faction of this country who I
fear would have sounded the trumpet to have their secret bloodthirsty reserve
rush forth from their dark subterranean dens and drag from the Presidential
chair the honest and venerable old man who sits in it, or demand of him the
overthrow of McClellan and the elevation of some demagogue best calculated to
carry out their selfish designs, if McClellan had not so fortunately and bravely
driven the enemy to his sacred soil.
Again if there is one drop of Christian sincerity in the breast of England she
will not longer keep pattering about the black stain on our constitution and
country. She will cease to sympathize with traitors, men who insist that God
intended Negro for slaves. She will no longer furnish such men with money, guns,
powder, blankets, spies and "iron clads."- She will cease to urge
France to a conjoint intervention in our domestic affairs for the sake of
humanity. And she will hail with delight the news of every northern national
McClellan is the idol of the army. He can say to the world that his heart is
larger and that his hand is heavier than that of any other living General. If
the abolition faction attempt to create and place in power a third military
force who will not be dictated to by the President nor guided by the
Constitution, McClellan, as the friend of the President,, the patriot of his
country and lover of equality, can say to his army, " Boys will you follow me and
fight with me in defense of the President and constitution of our country
against the rebels of the north and south wherever we meet them?" Such an answer
in the affirmative the ears of the nation never heard before then indeed the
full strength of the northern army would be felt.
No doubt the great conservative element of the country would join in and follow
the happy thousands. Our soldiers are not half so effective as they would be if
they were allowed to retaliate on the rebs in proportion to the atrocities
committed by them (rebs.) When not allowed to do so they become disgusted with
the war, loose faith in their officers and wish to be at home. And when about go
into battle, they dread the slow formalities and inconsistent humane observance
of our northern mode of warfare more than they do the bullets of their
opponents--let that be impressed on you mind.
If we used more of the bayonet and less of the bullet against the enemy we would
be more successful. All our "boys" would, having let loose their full
fighting force, feel more satisfied after the battle, and enter the next
with more courage and delight. I have observed that the temper of Americans is
well calculated to made excellent charges and it is pity to see so many of them
fall by the slow process of "load and fire at will," and also by
numerous formalities which are very often ill timed. The Celtic fire
predominates and burns brightly in the native American soldiers when the roar of
the cannon is most brisk and heavy. For this reason it would be wise to place
Americans having a large proportion of Celtic element in them as officers in the
regiments which are chiefly made up of Americans, Irish, French and even Scotch.
English and Germans will do together.
Officers of German and English extraction do not work well in regiments composed
of Americans, Irish and French because they differ too much in temperament. For
instance when regiment of Secesh is advancing close on one or ours, composed of Americans
and Irish and officered with men who are a little too Gothic or in other words a
little too slow and cautious, the regiment is anxious to charge on the approaching
enemy sooner than allow themselves to be flanked and die in cold blood but the
officer will not give the word charge and before our brave fellows can reload
they are outflanked and overpowered. This is too bad and should be avoided in
the organization of new regiments. All that I have said might be expressed in
one world but you may not understand it so well-in is the word "dash"
which means with us, courage, daring, determined, enterprising ,one who will do
what he says he will, or what he is told to do by his superior officers. When a
soldier performs a deed of daring, promptly he is said to possess
"dash" Our "Mack " is a dashing young fellow-so is
"Brick" Pomeroy or any other man who can clear the coast, dispel
sorrow and gloom and plant in their stead contentment and the sunshine of Hope -
read his "Valter."
Mellardy of our company was wounded on the 17th Sept. so was R. Fahy of
Corporal Harries of La Crosse, and several others that you did not know.
CAMP OPPOSITE SHEPARDSTOWN
Oct. 2d, 1862
My Dear Father- No doubt your heart rejoiced at the news of our unquestionable
victory over the main body of the rebels on the banks of the Antietam- a creek
about two thirds the size of the La Crosse river. On the afternoon of the 16th
we forded the above named creek and went gloriously forward to the line of the
enemy which was about two miles ahead. Soon we halted and lay down for the night
which was dark. We were not long halted when bang, bang, went volley after
volley of musketry immediately in front and close to us. We supposed that our
sharpshooters fell into a rebel trap but it turned out to be a good joke on
secesh - they having shot each other through mistake. Nest morning at day break
and with a vigorous outburst of shot and shell they commenced another mistake
which, thank God, ended in the death of thousands of the poor rebel rabble who persistently
followed in the footsteps of the rich and cultivated political robbers who are,
as time will show, the direct and indirect agents of British national jealousy
sent or transported here for the purpose of destroying our national republican
prosperity, this is not all; but by the absence of McDowell and the magic
inspiring influence of McClellan's presence we blackened the heart and soul of
Lee, Jackson, Longstreet and Hill. The entire rebel army could not help being
smashed to pieces in the bed of the Potomac if we could but follow them up. You
may ask me why we could not follow them up? Because as the national recognized civilized
party was bound to respect a flag of truce which was presented us that the
rebels might bury their dead, did they do it? No. They fled and left their
putridhidious dead for us to inter. And these are the follows who claim to be
chivalrous! And who, by that dirty "tub of guts," England, are called
gentlemen. They are so gentle that they will not handle the corpse of their
fallen comrades. They are so Christian as to renounce the "corporal works
of mercy" on every battle field. It would not astonish me if the civilized
nations of the earth took Jeff. Davis and his principal companions and put them
to death for the shameful abuse of that universal sacred emblem a "flag of
When the battle was most fierce on the right of our line, I had occasion to go
with an ambulance beyond our artillery front to take off some wounded men.- When
there I met with some wounded rebels with whom I had brief conversation. One of
them, a captain, told me that at South Mountain Pass they run short of ammunition
and they were afraid that we would capture them at night. He said also that the
ammunition which they were using at present was captured at Harper's Ferry by
Jackson who immediately evacuated that place and came here to help Lee. All that
he told me turned out to be too true, notwithstanding the conflicting reports on
that bloody but glorious day.
When a battalion of any size enters battle, the enemy, very naturally, fire at the
centre of the mass hence the right and left wings are not so apt to suffer as
much as the centre. My company, being the right of the 2d Wis. ,did not suffer as
much as others because of the above cause. I know of no other. The resident was
From Capt. Rollins-We are permitted to copy the following extracts from a letter
received in this dity from Capt, Nat. Rollins, of the 2d Regiment, dated at camp
near Sharpsburg, October 5th. He says:
"The Republican Convention at Fond du Lac did well in endorsing
Lieut. Col. Bragg. He has proved himself a splendid man and, in congress, the Administration
will feel his support.
"I have just been called upon to make a report of the changes in my company
since the organization of the Regiment and having collected the facts, I can give
them to you. Killed in action, 11.
Died of wounds received in action, 8. Discharged for disability, 12. Transferred,
2. deserted, 2. Prisoners of war, mostly wounded, 27. Otherwise missing in
action, 1. Promoted in company, 1. Yotal loss, 64. Remaining on company rolls,
53, as follows: Absent, sick, 13. Detached service, (absent) 10. Absent in
hospitals, wounded, 10. Present, in all, with Regiment, 20. Of the 20 present there
are two sergeants, two corporals, and sixteen privates. I thought the above
might be interesting to you as you knew the company (The Randall Guards)
so well when in Madison.
"The regiment is small. Col. Fairchild is in Washington sick. Lieut. Col.
Allen is at home wounded. Two better officers never lived."
EQUAL TO THE BEST TROOPS IN ANY ARMY IN THE WORLD
The Special Order of Gen Gibbon given below, embodying a very high compliment to
our Wisconsin troops in the Army of the Potomac from Gen. McClellan was enclosed
to Gov. Salomon in a letter from Col. Fairchild and Major Stevens to the Governor,
recommending certain promotions in the 2d regiment.
In this connection it may be observed that the 24th Michigan Regiment has been
added to Gibbon's Brigade:
Headquarters Gibbon's Brigade
Near Sharpsburg, MD
October 7th, 1862
SPECIAL ORDERS NO.-
It is with great gratification that the Brigadier General Commanding announces
to the Wisconsin troops the following endorsement upon a letter to His
Excellency the Governor of Wisconsin.
His greatest pride will always be to know that such encomiums from such a source
are always merited:
"I beg to add to this endorsement the expression of my great admiration of
the conduct of the three Wisconsin Regiments in Gen. Gibbon's Brigade. I have
seen them under fire acting in a manner that reflects the greatest possible
credit and honor upon themselves and their State.
THEY ARE EQUAL TO THE BEST TROOPS IN ANY AMY IN THE WORLD:
(Signed,) Gen. B. McClellan
By command of Brig. Gen. Gibbon
(Signed,) J.P. Wood, Ass't Adj't. Gen.
Oct. 10th, the 24th Regiment of Michigan,
Col. Henry Morrow, fresh from home, joins the brigade.
Letter to Lucius Fairchild 1862
A letter from Major Thomas Allen to Lucius
Fairchild after his wounding at Brawners Farm:
Madison Wis., Oct. 13 1862
My hand is sorer than ever and I am mad as H-ll. Pieces of the ball have been working out,
and I have no quiet night or day.
I write to call attention to our paroled prisoners, some of whom are now here. Having men
away from Columbus, Ohio where they say an attempt was made to make them do duty in
violation of their parole. They ought to be exchanged forthwith. We also have some forty
who were taken at Bull Run in 1861. They are scattered about. Some here and some in St.
Louis and some at Prairie Du Chien. They have been over looked and attention of the War
Department and of General Gibbon ought to be called to the matter. By attending to this
some sixty or seventy men may be added to the effective force of the "Second".
I have not seen Mary and I am not in humor to see any women.
Among the men who ought to be exchanged are Sergt. Dexter of "A" Co, Sergt.
Wendrey of "K" Co, and Davis of "H" Co.
T. J. Allen
The following letter from Col. Fairchild to Mr. Yates, of this city will be
read with interest by the many friends of the young man in this city:
HEAD QUARTERS 2D WIS. VOLUNTEERS
NEAR SHARPSBURG, MD, Oct. 13, 1862
Dear Sir: You have lost a son who has fallen in the ranks of this regiment while
gravely fighting for his country.
I wish to add my testimony that John was a good soldier and a good man. At the
battle of South Mountain, his Captain was badly wounded and I left him command of
his company. He gallantly led them through that fight and the fearful battle of Antietam
doing his duty nobly and fell while cheering on his men on the 17th of
September. You may well be proud of his memory as we are. None among the many
brave men of the 2d have behaved better than did your son.
No man can fall in a better cause.
I am , very truly yours
Col., 2d Wis. Vols.
To James Yates, Esq,
Headquarters, 2d. Wis. Vol.
Near Sharpsburg. Md. Oct. 14th.
Friend Cober: - After arriving at the camp of the Second Regiment after my visit
to Lancaster, to my sorrow and deep regret, I was officially informed of the
death of Corp. Michael Cook, John St. John and Martin J. Barnhisell of Co. C.
They died recently of their wounds in hospital at Washington D.C.
Co. C. now musters in ranks for duty 22 men, apparently in good spirits. A great
many of the soldiers who were slightly wounded are daily returning. Among the
ones who have recovered from their wounds, and returned to Company are
Sergt. J. Glow, Alpheus Currant, S. M. Train and W. F. Bouldin and we expect more
The Enemy was in Frederick city yesterday. I have not learned what they
accomplished. The remnant of Co. C is just waiting for the well known command of
Gen. B. McC, which is always "Forward march."
The general health of camp is good.
G. W. Gibson
Co. C, 2d Wis. Vol.
Nov. 4th being the day for general
election in Wisconsin, polls were opened at each company's headquarters, and
vote. Gen. Gibbon being assigned to command Rickert's Division, Col. Morrow, of
the 24th Michigan, assumes command of the Brigade.
In the afternoon we march to
Bloomfield, four miles.
On my return to the army, I
found Gen. McClellan had fulfilled his promise by assigning to my brigade a new western
regiment- the 24th Michigan - Col. H. A. Morrow - and on the 16th I inspected it. In a
letter, dated that day, I said: "I reviewed my new regiment this afternoon and was
very much pleased with its appearance. From its bearing I have no doubt it will not be
long before it will be a worthy member of the 'Black Hats.'"
LETTER FROM NORMAN EASTMAN
Washington, D. C., Oct. 17, '62
M. M. Pomeroy, Esq,-
Dear Sire:- There is but little of interest to write about of a public nature.
All is thought to be quiet on the Potomac unless Gen. Stuart is preparing for
another raid. I fancy there was a great deal of commotion when it was found that
Stuart was in Pennsylvania. 'Oh, that we had a few such dashing Generals in our
ranks' is the exclamation on many lips.
But, to local matters. A letter received from the 2d Regiment a few days since
informed me that they were on the bank of the Potomac opposite Shepardstown but
were under orders to be ready with 100 rounds of ammunition and five days
rations for a movement. The brigade (Gibbon's) has been reinforced by the
addition of a Michigan Regiment of 1,100 men. The boys are glad that their
new comrades are Western men. Col. Fairchild as returned to his regiment much
improved in health.
Milo Pitkin who has been with me for five weeks has retuned to the Hospital and
is on duty there. It is doubtful if he is again fit for hard service. Long
marches in the hot sun and over dusty roads has ruined thousands of our men.
Lieut. Sherwood, formerly of the 2d, but now of the Pennsylvania cavalry is
stopping in the city making out the pay rolls for his regiment. He looks well.
Private Sloan of Co. B. has returned to his regiment. Frank Chapman is on duty
at the Grace St. Hospital in Philadelphia.- Robert Scott and James
Blakeslee are still quartered at Annapolis, but are at present on a visit
to this city looking after their knapsacks and other traps.- the boys look
finely and as hearty as bucks. They footed it from Annapolis to Washington.
Jacob Markle is in Judiciary Square Hospital in this city. He is improving and
doing finely. C.D. Clark is at the Emory Hospital. I saw him on Sunday last. His
wound has become a bad one, his hand and wrist are very much swollen. He will
undoubtedly lose his right hand. Poor fellow it made me feel bad to sit and look
at him and think that he had got to go through the world minus his right hand. I
am sorry to say that Emory Hospital is not one of the best in the city.
Laverty, the tailor, is now in the city, having returned from prison life in
Richmond. So much changed was he that I hardly knew him when he came to see me.
His recollections of Richmond are not pleasant.
The Capitol which was used temporarily for a hospital is now vacated and being
cleaned and got in readiness for the next session of Congress. As a hospital it
was most miserably managed.-
Speculation - that is the trouble; steal - that is the word. Are the pickings good?
What is the chance for stealings? These question are often asked by office
seekers in Washington.
Hospital stewards get's all pay but if the surgeon is a rascal the two combined
make a handsome thing in running a hospital. Some of them are closely watched
To-day was the day for paying out small change at the Treasury - $15 a read.
Various are the dodges resorted to to get a large pile. As high as $50 were
offered to a man if he would procure $2,000 worth of them. The next payment is
next Wednesday when $30,000 will be exchanged to accommodate the people.
Mrs. Edwin O. Brewster, whose husband was killed at Gainesville, is now engaged
in the good work of taking care of the Wisconsin sick.
he works under the joint patronage of Miss Dix and the Wisconsin Soldiers Aid
Society.- there is work here to do. There were, last week, over 700 sick and
wounded Wisconsin soldiers in the hospitals of Washington, Georgetown and
Alexandria, over 100 in Baltimore, and enough more in Philadelphia, Annapolis, Frederick,
and other places to make over 1,000 sick and wounded men - mostly wounded - in
hospitals from five regiments.
Well might G.eneral McClellan say they were equal to the best soldiers in the
world. They have made their mark, but they have not done. The small handful left
is worth, in battle, ten times their number of new men.
Yours in haste,
FROM THE 2D WIS REGIMENT
Camp, 2d Wis. Vol's
Oct, 23, 1862
For a month past the Brigade has been under marching order but as yet we see no
signs of a move to the opposite side of the Potomac. By our latest budget of
news from the McClellan headquarters, we learn that no move is in Contemplation
and the opinion is prevalent that the Rebel army must first centre around Gordonsville,
before the army of the Potomac follows in pursuit. Lee is reported as safely ensconced
with his main force at Gordonsville and that but a mall force of the Stuart
Cavalry are in our front that occasionally a regiment of infantry appears about Winchester
merely as a reconnaissance to observe our movements and blindfold our Generals
at the same time concentrating a force sufficient to cope with the Potomac army.
The idea had that the rebels would give battle at Winchester on the advance of
the Union forces may be discarded as the rebel could not possibly hold Winchester
any length of time against our advancing masses. Gordonsville becomes the only
point of safety but even that point can be flanked. In fact there is no point
between the Potomac and Richmond, but but what our forces could flank them.
Should a battle occur any where in the vicinity of Gordonsville, which is very
likely, it will prove a greater contest than any of the previous battles fought
in either Maryland or Virginia. The Rebels will desperately contest the advance
of our forces on the key of Richmond and our paramount object will, and must be,
to have sufficient force and that force ably managed by a general fully up to
his rank in every way capable and willing to ask his men in fair stand up fight.
If all the national troops were of the stamp of the western troops there would
be no reverses to our arms. This is saying a great deal for the western boys,
but you have yet to hear of an instance where the brave heroes of the west have
not nobly stood up to their work. The battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Gordonsville,
I,uka, Rich Mountain and Antietam are but records of their valor and endurance.
The President's late Proclamation receives the favor of the greater part of the
army. Many of the officers were disposed to consider it untimely, yet believed
it proper to acquiesce and a policy, if pursued by the government, which
would cripple the foe. For my part, I have but little faith in proclamations and
believe that nothing is to be gained by the issue of such a document and hold
that by the bayonet, and in that only, is peace to be insured to this distracted
But a little time intervenes between now and Election and as the Soldiers are to
vote, suppose you folks give us the necessary tickets. Blanks & c., have been
received from the State government. As yet, we know not the names of the rival
candidates except the congressional nominations. Col. Bragg of the 6th reg., the
nomiated for Congress in Forth District, has received a leave of absence and gone
home. Tt is the opinion of your correspondent that the officers of the army in
nomination had better remain with their commands that their presence at home
will not be the means of securing additional votes. If the people believe them
capable they will elect them and whatever they might do will not better their
case in the least. We of the 3d district are for Cobb to the backbone and
believe the Col. just the man for the place. When Simpson improves in his habits
and cuts loose from the cut throat demagogues known to be in that district, then
we will consider his case. The man may be good enough and able and having all
the qualifications necessary for a representative but the company he keeps
is enough to eternally d----m any man. I admire a Democrat but have yet to be
convinced of sincerity of a certain clique of the old party who are now clamorous
in their support of M. Simpson. If they are sincere in their perturbed support
of the war, I can't see. it. On this point I am to be posted and actions
only will convince me of their determination to be honest and true patriots. Let
our friends at home understand that the army reads and, as a general thing, are as well
posted on what is going on in the several States as if they were there in person
and can judge for themselves of the ability of the man to represent their
district either in Congress or the State Legislature.
Our regiment has just been supplied with new clothing throughout and each man
looks as neat and tidy as you please to have one appear. We find the overcoat a
very necessary article and are in hopes to get our winter supply before a move
is made. These cold nights our shelter tents and single Army Blanket prove of
but little account and a general cry is made for overcoats.
The following promotions have been made in company "I" on
recommendations of Capt. Otis, for general good conduct and gallantry on the
Sarg't W. Noble to be 2d Lieut., vis. Sanford deceased.
Sarg't Geo. H. Legate, to be orderly Sarg't, vis. Noble promoted.
Corp'l Cornelius Wheeler to be Sarg't
Privates Joseph O. Williams, and Thomas H. Rowland to be corporals - all to rank
from the 16th of October 1862.
Lieut Sanford was buried at Sharpsburg. His brother arrived here last week but
immediately left for Washington. He will take the remains of the Lieut. to
Warren on his return home.
From a letter just received from Washington, I learn that our wounded are doing
well and that the sick are about the same. The 2d will be able to take into the
next fight 190 men. Co. "I" will have twenty-four.
Norfolk, Va., Oct 29th, 1862
DEAR BRICK:- Yours of the 23d inst,.
was received to day with tickets enclosed. I receive your sterling paper
regularly and I assure you it is amusing to a man down in Dixie to read the
proceedings of two of the conventions that were held in your city. One fugled by
Hon. (?) H. D. Barr-(e) on, the other by Resolution Rodolf and Chase (he must
have been named after Col. Stoddard chased him), A. Stevens, three of the most
miserable low - lived puppies that disgraced any community except three or four
at Eau Claire.
I have received letters from home stating that the Breckinridge thieves were
going to try to clean me out of the army. Let the dirty wretches try it on
and when they get through they will learn though the grates of Fort Warren that
I am yet here and they where they should have been years ago. Do any of them
remember of loaning eight square California gold pieces each worth $49 to
merchants in your city that belonged to Government for a day or two, and
expected and received $50 therefore? I have seen them do it.
You must feel awful bad, Brick, to be read out of the company of such men and by
such men as Rodolf and Stevens. Well, don't feel bad, but go up North a little
further and let Barron, Old Young, Galloway, Gray, Safford and Hugssen read you
out again and if it don't improve your chances for all things earthly, and
heavenly too, one hundred per cent, then may I forget the teachings of the
lamented Douglas, and that Honest Old Abe is President.
Hell is nearly full of such men sitting
in the same pew with Benedict Arnold and, as Benedict is fond of company, he will
slide along and make room for all that I have mentioned. - They'll go there sure.
We are going to help Uncle Abraham out of this little difficulty and then settle
up some political matters at home.
Gen. King and Staff dined with us today.
The General is looking and feeling first rate.
HEADQUARTERS, 2D WIS. VOLS.
Oct. 31st, 1862
FRIEND BRICK: Your note with tickets was received a day or two since. -
Stoddard will get almost, if not all, the vote of company B. I
sincerely hope he may be elected. Allow me to say that I think you have taken
the right position. Stick 'o it and give Rudolph, Stevens & C. their
To-day Rublee of the Madison Journal was in camp peddling Republican ticket. The
brave soldiers are of great consideration just now. Bosh! The old political
organizations are as corrupt as anything can be and unless they're broken up,
root and branch and a new set of men with a new set of principles, of which
honesty shall be one of the component parts, our country will soon be one of the
institution that were- the last Congress came near killing the nation. Another
such and we are gone.
I want to see the 6th district do its part in establishing a new state of things
politically and in my opinion the election of T. B. Stoddard to Congress will do
it. As I said before, he will get the vote of the soldiers hailing from La
Crosse. They know him to be an honest upright man who, if elected, will work for
country, not party.
Thomas Spence certainly did a wise thing when he declined the nomination of the
secession Democracy.(?) Rudolf Stevens and all who affiliate with them have no
friends among the soldiers.
Yesterday Hooker's corps moved over into Virginia. Burnside arrived over the day
before. Our brigade is now encamped about six miles out from the river in the
direction of Snicker's force. I do not anticipate a further forward movement for