Home Page Second Wisconsin
The Second Wisconsin
Letter from Charlie Dow
Camp Tillinghast, Va.
Feb. 1st, 1862
Friend Sam- On the margin on the Register I received from you last evening
I found the following; "Why don't you write to me?-Sam" well if that
is your request here goes.
If you will take the pains to imagine your humble servant acting Serg't of the
guard and at present seated in one corner of a log guard house which is warmed
by an old fashioned fire-place with about twenty of the boys around him dancing,
singing, playing cards, telling stories &c.&c., you will have my exact
position to a T.
Although we are comfortably situated in our log shanty, it is anything but
pleasant out of doors, either under foot or over head. Last night snow fell to
the depth of one inch and today the rain has fell to the depth of about two
inches. Now take this in connection with the mud we had to start with (about a
foot) and we have a mixture that a weak man cannot waddle through very easily.
By the way, speaking of mud reminds me of a little incident that happened last
Thursday and here it is. A certain corporal went to the city to see what few
sights there is to be seen there and in his wanderings about town, and before he
was ready to return to camp night overtook him and that too in a how came yer
eye out condition, but as luck would have it he came across an old chum who was
all right, spiritually speaking, and for short we will call him Ike. After a short
consultation they came to the conclusion that camp was the place for them and
for it they started. They got along finely as far as the river and even across
the river; but then came the pull back for two good miles were between them and
camp and the mud knee deep in places and the night as dark as a stack of black
cats. They had grouped their way along but a few rods when the corporal got
mired and in helping himself and being helped out of his dilemma, he lost one of
his boots in the mud and could not find it. They had gone but a few rods
farther when they came to a hut which was occupied by a negro. Now what do you
guess they done? Why just this; they made the "nig" pull one of his
boots off - which the corporal put on - and then take a lantern and light them to
camp at least one mile and a half, which he did and that too with only one boot
on, the other foot being bare. The corporal was a little the roughed looking
"seed" the next morning I ever saw and to all appearances he had more
load the night before than he could carry and undertook to draw it; for
evidently he had been down on all fours a good share of the time.
We have not done anything except guard duty for a long time, and all on account
of the mud. Drills have been entirely out of the question and as for Dress
Parades, they are getting to be among the things that were. The last one
we had was Jan. 14th.
We could not go on Picket when it was our turn, consequently the advance regiment
had to do our duty for us. Reason why- mud.
We are not like the little boy who cried "more mud" but directly
the opposite. Some people suppose we are suffering by the cold weather. Never
was one more mistaken.- I do not think the thermometer has indicated as low as
ten degrees above zero this winter; and as for the snow that has fell here, it
would not exceed three inches in depth on the level, all told. Last night was the
heaviest fall at any one time. We have plenty of blankets to keep warm
with and when our day's labor is done and the time comes to "turn in",
there is some of the gayest bed-making that could possibly be imagined.
The days of the "cutting bench" are nowhere in comparison. But with
all its faults (the bench), I love it still. Generally, about the time we get
fairly wrapped up in our U. S. Sheets, the buglers of the cavalry regiment
close by sound their "taps" which makes me think sometimes of the old song, "Toot away, you fifin' feller" &c. and after cracking a smile
to myself in remembrance of the days gone by, I drop into the arms of Morpheus
and only awake to consciousness at the sound of reveille in the morning.
"Turn out the guard! I'll see whether my order will be obeyed or not "
is the order of the officer of the day. Leave the sergeant in command. Whew! I
wonder what's up? I will let you know shortly. Well the thing is did and result
is two of the N.Y. 12th boys are safely quartered in our cottage on the Potomac.
They would dance and now they are paying the fiddler. They are good boys
undoubtedly but in hard luck. That's what the matter.
Since writing the above, I have had a talk with Private Marshall of Company
"B" who was one the prisoners taken at Bull Run and soon after
confined in one of the Hotels de Tobacco in Richmond and from him I learned the
He made good his escape from the prison which he was confined in on Christmas evening in company with another prisoner and after loitering round the
city for several days taking notes, he took "Westward, Ho" for a motto
and shaped his course accordingly.
The result was he traveled several days under different disguises - sometimes a
cattle buyer, sometimes a wood buyer, then an agent for some Southern firm and,
all times, a Yankee and bound to win. After perambulating about rebeldom to his
hearts content and had gathered all the information he could of the
"doings", he took another motto, which was Northward, Git! and after
considerable engineering and hard labor, he brought up in the position of a
soldier before Gen. Rosecrans, all O.K. The General detained him three or four
days as a "Tartar" but when he found out he was sound, he provided him
with a pass to Washington and even gave him some of Uncle Sam's filthy lucre for
the "Southern Scrip" which Marshall had, exchanging even up. Marshall
has been under the questioning process of Gen. McClellan for the past three days
but has now returned to camp.
He says there are no fortifications about Richmond whatever - not a cannon
mounted there - but at Centerville they have two hundred and sixty Siege guns
mounted and the fortifications in every position are very strong.
Home Again-Last week we chronicled the release of Willie H. Upham from his
imprisonment at Richmond; this week we have a more pleasing notice, that of his
return to Racine. He arrived on Monday and looks hearty as ever. From him we
learn what befell him after the time he was lost sight of on the battlefield, when
carried wounded by his comrades to the temporary hospital.
In about half an hour the rebels took possession of the building and placing a
guard over the wounded. They were left with their wounds undressed until Wednesday,
three days after the battle! Then a company of surgeons came down from Manassas,
dressed their wounds and they were carted to Manassas Junction, shipped in
cattle cars to Richmond being thirty-six hours on the way, crowded and almost
suffocating. On their arrival at Richmond they were placed in a Tobacco factory
from which, until released to return home, he and his fellow prisoners were never
permitted to leave. Mr. James Anderson of this city, who was also one of the
wounded, was in a building across the street yet during the whole six months they
never saw each but twice. Of course watched so closely they had no means of
ascertaining the feelings of the people.
As to rations they weren't of a kind to make them bilious. Breakfast, a slice of
bread and cup of coffee. Dinner, slice of bread, plates of rice and water. Supper,
a slice of bread and a cup of coffee. Beyond a slight stiffness, he has recovered
from his wound entirely and will return to post of duty when his furlough
expires being very desirous to renew some acquaintances he made in Richmond.
Young Lacy, who was among the wounded prisoners, will doubtless get a discharge.
His wound was quite severe; it leaves him lame from which, however, we trust he
will recover. Anderson is quite recovered, he was shot through the leg. Antle
Henry, it will be seen any Burlington correspondent, has got home once more.
As to the "Gallant Rifles" they are decidedly fat and saucy, the boys say and
from mere striplings with beardless pale faces have become sun burnt, hairy, well
disciplined veterans equal to any emergency and longing for a dash at Secesh.
George Bauman has come home to get volunteers to fill up the ranks. We doubt not
he will be able to find all the wants.
The Belgian Muskets
An Illinois Colonel (having been the recipient of
the same Belgian Muskets the that the 2nd Wisconsin first received) felt it his duty to
praise these double acting arms. Said he, "In platoon firing with the Belgian Musket,
I can tell what I can not with any other arm, and that is, how many pieces have been
fired." "How can you tell that?" "O, I count the men on the ground. It
never deceives me, It is fire and fall back, flat." "One of these
Belgian Muskets will kick like a mule, and burst with the greatest facility. Several
soldiers in our Illinois Regiments have been killed in this way. The bayonet, too, is a
novelty a soft-iron affair, apparently designed to coil around the enemy, as it is
introduced, thus taking him prisoner."
Collected by Frank Moore in the 1880s
A Lieutenant was promenading in full
uniform one day, and approaching a volunteer on sentry, who challenged him with,
"Halt! Who comes there?" The Lieutenant, with contempt in every lineament of his
face, expressed his ire with an indignant,
"Ass!" The sentrys reply, quick and apt,
came, "Advance, Ass, and give the countersign." Collected
by Frank Moore 1880s
HOME AGAIN-Last week we chronicled the release of Willie H.
Upham from his imprisonment at Richmond; this week we have a more pleasing notice, that of
his return to Racine. He arrived on Monday and looks hearty as ever from him we learn what
befell him after the time he was lost sight of on the battle field when carried wounded by
his comrades to the temporary hospital. In about half an hour the rebels took possession
of the building and placing a guard over the wounded they were left with their wounds
undressed until Wednesday three days after the battle! Then a company of surgeons came
down from Manassas dressed their wounds and they were carted to Manassas Junction shipped
in cattle cars to Richmond being thirty-six hours on the way crowded and almost
suffocating. On their arrival at Richmond they were placed in a Tobacco factory, from
which until released to return home he and his fellow prisoners were permitted to leave.
Mr. James Anderson of this city who was also one of the wounded was in a brick building
across the street yet during the whole six months they never saw each other but twice. Of
course watched so closely they had no means of ascertaining the feeling of the people. As
to rations they weren't of a kind to make them bilious Breakfast a slice of bread and a
cup of coffee. Dinner slice of bread plate of rice and water. Supper a slice of bread and
a cup of coffee. Beyond a slight stiffness he has recovered from his wound entirely and
will return to a post of duty when his furlough expires being very desirous to renew some
acquaintances he made in Richmond Young Lacy who was among the wounded prisoners will
Doubtless get a discharge His wound was quite sever; it leave him lame from which however
we trust he will recover. Anderson is quite recovered was shot through the leg. Uncle
Henry, it will be seen by a Burlington correspondent has got home once more. As to the
"Gallant rifles" they are decidedly "fat and saucy" the boys say and
from mere striplings with beardless pale faces have become sun burnt, hairy, well
disciplined veterans equal to any emergency and longing for a dash at Secesh. George
Bauman has come home to get volunteers to fill up the ranks. We doubt not he will be able
to find all he wants.
Camp Tillinghast Va. Feb. 1st 1862
The Wisconsin Regiments that have gone forward to the seat of war now
number thirteen, besides the Artillery Batteries, all of which leave this week, these
regiments are scattered from Washington to Kansas and have always done credit to
themselves and their state. The 1st and the 10th are in Kentucky; the 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th,
6th, and 7th are on the Potomac; the 8th is at Cairo; the 11th and 12th are in Missouri;
the 13th started for Leavenworth, Kansas, last Saturday, and account of which will be
found in to-day's paper; the 9th is off for St. Louis. We have collected a few items of
news and annotate from correspondence, &c., concerning these regiments, which we give
This regiment which has passed through more hardships and suffered greater demoralization
than any other, is now thoroughly re-organized and in good condition. The men composing it
seem gifted with a peculiar faculty of "getting along" and supplying the larder.
One of the Generals, McDowell we believe, said of them, that " go to the furthest
federal picket, climb the tallest tree, and look abroad to the most distant hills, and the
sight of some of the 2d stealing corn would greet the eye."
"Bingen," in the LaCrosse Republican gives the following incidents illustrative
of their talents in foraging provisions for Thanksgiving day: "As I looked around
upon their will-filled table, groaning under the weight of turkeys, geese, chickens, pigs,
lamb, beef,&c., &c., I wondered how they obtained them, situated as they were in
an enemy's country, and remote from any market. But the mystery was all solved by a remark
of Colwell's, (in confidence of course,) that we go to market here after dark.' Do the 2d
steal? Who said they would steal? I have not-no, sir! that is an insinuation of your own,
Mr. Editor. I don't think they would exactly steal, but I do think that if it were not for
Blenker's brigade, (that Gen. McClellan keeps close by them to prevent the exercise of
their appropriating propensities) they would appropriate and bring into Maryland the whole
rebel army in two weeks, for they have already taken everything of a movable character
between Washington and Fairfax Court House, notwithstanding the constant vigilance of
William H. Upham, of Racine, Wis. has been nominated by the President a cadet at West
Point. At the battle of Bull Run young Upham was a private in the 2d Wisconsin regiment,
was shot through the breast and dangerously wounded. After lying two or three days on the
battle-field, he was thrown on a rebel cattle car and conveyed to Richmond, where he lay
for months in a tobacco house, suffering intensely, part of the time, from his wound... In
February last he was exchanged. While at Washington the President heard of him and sent
He went to the White House and the President asked him in regard to all the particulars of
his capture and imprisonment. At the conclusion of the interview, Mr. Lincoln asked for
his full name, and on parting with him said- "Young man you may hear from me
again." Young Upham thought no more of it and returned to Wisconsin, looking for and
seeking nothing from the favor of the President. His appointment will be a pleasant
surprise to him.
(Mr. Upham's son, William Upham, is a member
of the Second Wisconsin)
PROUD OF THEM-AN
-The La Crosse Light Guard, (Co. B), Second Wisconsin Regiment, is in the
greatest kind of luck, having been honored lately as but few companies ever were, At dress
parade a few days since, the Regiment was drawn up in line before the Arlington House,
Gen, McDowell's Headquarters, near Washington, and changed from the left to the right of
the Regiment, as a reward for being the best drilled and most energetic company in the
Division, It was a proud day for the La Crosse Boys, and our pen runs faster than usual as
we write this for we too are proud of this well merited promotion of an entire company,
most of whom we are glad to know as our personal friends. And there are many in La Crosse
who are as proud of them as ourself. When there is work to do, the Light Guard never have
murmured-never have forgot their duty-never have been other than gentle-men. If the
company should show themselves in La Crosse, we would just like to give birth to a hundred
echoes and make these grand old bluffs wonder who was cheering and what for. Capt. Colwell
as endeared himself to his men and proven that he means business, Very much of the
extraordinary promotion of the entire company is due to the skill and energy of Lieut J.D.
Wood, the favorite of all, who has been unremitting in his labors and has drilled the
company into its present state of discipline and perfection. Two hundred and seven cheers
for the Guard, Gen. McClellan, Capt. Colwell, Lieut, Wood and all the boys of the Light
Guard! this western timber is pretty good stuff after all!
Camp Tillinghast, Va.
Feb 3, 1862
The times upon which the nation has fallen are constantly bringing to light
new and important issues requiring, on the part of Congress, a degree of wisdom
and rationality never before so absolutely necessary since the days of the
Continental Congress. The latest and one of the most important questions brought
before Congress for consideration is what political status the land of Secessia
shall occupy when recovered from the domination of the rebel government.
A portion of Congress, luckily a minority, contend that the act of secession
destroys the constitutional rights of the states thus revolting, and that when
conquered by our advancing armies, they will have to be put back to the position
of Territories with territorial governments, thus debarring, for a length of time,
the citizens of those districts from the rights and privilege guaranteed to them
by their state government.
On the other hand, the President and his constitutional supporters and
advisers claim that when the rebellion is put down as this is a war for the
restoration of the old Union and not for subjugation, the insurgent states will
stand precisely as they did before the rebellion broke out and that those
returning to loyalty and allegiance to the Union will be entitled to all the
rights and immunities held by the citizens of those states before they were put
in abeyance by the act of secession.
This question, like the impracticable emancipation theory, is raised by that
body of factionists who seem determined to lose no opportunity to cripple and retard
the efforts of the Administration in its labor to restore peace and harmony
between the contending parties and, like that, is a direct effort to violate the
constitution and, in fact, secure the dissolution of the Union beyond a
The anti-Administration party have boldly unmasked themselves and declare
(see recent abolition speeches in the House) that rather than a restoration of
the Union with the rights recognized by the constitution an eternal dissolution
should be allowed.
That the adoption of this and the emancipation line of policy by the
Administration would at once ring the death knell of the Union cannot be doubted
for a moment by those who understand the feelings of the army and the citizens
of the loyal states. It would, at once, crush the Union sentiment know still to
exist in the revolted states. It would fall alike upon the loyal and the
disloyal and would at once change this war from a war for the restoration of the
Union to that of a war for the extermination of the South. Issue these
unconstitutional and unjust edicts and the South would be united as one man in
the determination to die rather than be conquered.---
It would place the prospect of an end of the war so far in the future that
England and France, already exhibiting strong indications of being determined to recognize
the southern Confederacy, would hesitate no longer but by armed intervention in
favor of the South close the unholy and fratricidal strife. Thus the dissolution
of the Union would be secured and all the treasure, the precious blood the
thousands of firesides made desolate--all, all would be sacrificed to satisfy the
unholy ambition of those who, for the sake of the Negro, stand ready to break down
the great bulwark of our strength - the constitution. Both would be
revolutionists. The rebels have violated the law. They must be punished by that
law or else, like them, we become law breakers.
I will close this by giving an extract of a letter from Gov. Sprague of Rhode
Island in reply to an invitation to the late New England Dinner at the Astor
House in New York. "I trust," says he "that we shall not forget
that this rebellion is based upon a mistake; that the masses of the South have
been deceived by reckless and ambitious men touching our sentiments and
purposes. It should be our object while vigorously prosecuting the war to give
the lie to and not substantiate the statements by which thousands on thousands
of honest men of the South have been misled.
Let us see to it that when the war is ended the Southern people shall blame
their own leaders for having confirmed the stories these leaders have circulated
in reference to our motives."
This seems to me to be the only sound principle on which to prosecute this
war. The abolitionists are trying to defeat this by endeavoring to turn it into
a different channel by the adoption of a "Higher Law than the
Constitution" --The constitutional element of the country is largely in the
majority . Let it manifest its power, by the casting aside all petty jealousies,
all the bickering of party and give the Administration their undivided support
and all will yet be well.
From the Potomac----
(Before we give a very interesting letter written by H.
B. Beardsley of the
Light Guard to his mother in this city who has kindly given us the privilege of making
it public. It will repay perusal.)
Camp Tillinghast, Va.,
Feb. 3. 1862
Dear Mother and Sister: I should have written this letter last night, but I
waited to hear the story of Mr. Marshall of our company who has just returned
from Richmond. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Bull Run. He escaped from
the prison the 25th of December - three days before Bob Burns and companions were
released. He had heard so much about being released that he thought of it as an
idle dream and seized upon the first opportunity to escape. He managed to gain
the confidence of the sentinel whom he had been to work at some time. The
sentinel had such confidence in Marshall that he would let him out occasionally
and finally would let him go across the street to a saloon and get liquor. He
finally succeeded in getting the sentinel drunk and made good his escape. He
stopped in Richmond three weeks, managed to get citizen's clothes and went around
the city as he pleased; saw everything that was worth seeing and studied the
military advantages of the place which he says amount to nothing, for it would
take too much of their forces to protect it situated as it is -part of the city
in the valley by the James river and a part on the hill and so chopped up by
ravines back that it would take a thousand guns to protect it against any
considerable force. They only have two parks of artillery mounted and only four
or five hundred well soldiers - just enough to guard the prisoners, &c.
Marshall left Richmond the 14th of January. By the way, I will tell how he
fared while there. He stopped at a Union house - he told me the name of the man
but did not wish me to write it (one of the first families of the city) - and
fared sumptuously every day. He says there are many Union people in the city who
are yet cautious about saying much but not so much so as they were in the
When Marshall left, a passport was given him by a trader who advised him to
strike for Western Virginia. He took the Virginia Central Railroad and came to
Jackson river, the terminus of the road, and took the stage to White Sulphur
Springs, forty-five miles, and then came the tug of war - he had to foot it one
hundred and twenty miles. It rained and snowed all the time till he got through
to our lines. He had to wade creeks and swim the larger streams, traveling
nights and sleeping days.
He had to come some fine dodges and was shot at three times by pickets but
fortunately escaped all harm except that he came near dying from fatigue. I
should like to give you his story verbatim but it is too long so you must be
content with what I write.
The country through which Marshall passed after leaving the railroad was
desolate, the whirlwind of war had passed over and spread desolation all around.
He reached our lines the 21st. inst. and was received into the bosom of those
braves who have fought the battles of Western Virginia. Rosencranz took him under
his care for four days at Charleston on the Knawha river ninety miles from its
junction with the Ohio. He took the boat then and arrived in Wheeling on the
28th, stopped over night and came to Pittsburg and by rail to Washington. He
brought dispatches from Rosencranz to McClellan with whom he stopped two days
and related his story which was of no small importance to the general.
Mr. Marshall arrived in camp on Sunday at noon and was greeted with cheers
such as the Light Guard know how to give. He is truly the hero of the company.
The narrow escapes, privations and fatigues he has endured with the important
information he brings place him high on the roll of fame gained in this war.
I will state here that Mr. Marshall was among the first settlers of La Crosse,
was clerk in the New England House one year and then went up Black River as a
lumber clerk where he has been most of the time since. He is about five feet six
inches tall, well built, hair a shade or two darker than mine and black whiskers,
gray eyes; broad high forehead, sharp nose and smart enough to get away from
almost any secesh - a first rate judge of human nature.
The weather still continues bad - snow, rain, sleet, thaw, mud with out end.
Mr. Marshall requests me to state the current prices in Richmond: Salt is 50
cents per pound, and families are not allowed to have more than two pounds at
any one time; flour in $14 per barrel; boots $25 to $30 per pair; common tea
$4.50 to 45 per pound; coffee, bacon and woolen goods are not to be had for any
price; butter is 80 cents per pound; no medicines there; pork 35 cents per
pound, &c. No money in circulation but shin-plasters and they are in great
abundance in denominations from five cents to twenty dollars
Camp Tillinghast, Va.,
February 3rd, 1862
The subject that is now demanding the greatest consideration at the hands of
Congress and the leading men of the country is the proper disposition of the Negro
question. Already there is a large body of Mr. Lincoln's former supporters
arraying themselves against the line of policy heretofore pursued by him - that of
leaving slavery to be disposed of by military necessities and the course of
events. By following this policy, there is no doubt that the border states were
saved to the Union. By this policy was achieved the greatest of our victories
over the Jeff. Davis confederacy - an undivided public sentiment in the North .-
With the disaffection of the large constitutional element of the border states
and a divided North, all hopes of a reconstruction of the Union would indeed have
been futile. Both of these are liable, at this late day, to be accomplished by the
misguided zeal of the emancipationists. And herein, now that the national
currency question, is in a fair way of being satisfactorily arranged and our
foreign relations placed on a safe footing by the settlement of the Trent affair
is our greatest danger. Mr. Stevens, member from the Lancaster (Pa.) district,
undoubtedly one of the ablest men of the present Congress, chairman of the
committee of ways-means, in a speech the other day in favor of emancipation, used
the following language; "If an effectual course is not pursued," (That
is to say if emancipation is not immediately proclaimed,) "for fear of
offending the border state friends, better submit at once and if we cannot save
our honor, save at least the lives and treasure of the nation. If those in
authority will not awake to their responsibility and use the stern energy for
the public safety, let the people speak and teach them that this is a responsible
government in which the rulers are but the servants of the people."
Just imagine the joy with which Jeff Davis and his minions read that. They
see in it the hoped for division in the public sentiment of the North. They see
in it the alienation of the border states and not without strong ground for such
a hope either as the following remarks of Mr. Dunlap of Ky. of the House in a
speech against the adoption of the emancipation policy will show. After stating
that slavery was not the immediate, of the approximate principle that caused this
rebellion, but rather the unholy spirit of ambition -the insatiable thirst for
power possessed by the rebels which led them to seek power else where than in
the Federal Government when the balance of power was in favor of the North. He
went on to speak against the issue of an edict of emancipation. Said he:
"The language used by members in their speeches tended to place the
President and his acts in a false, if not a childish position. Efforts had been
made - he hoped without evil intent - to interfere with the relations of Kentucky to
the Federal Government. If they made this a war of emancipation, a great portion
of the army would lay down its arms. He spoke with kindness. He did not appeal
to the sympathies of any man. He appealed to that immutable, to that eternal
principal of justice that ought to stimulate the human heart." He said:-
Let us remain quietly with our institutions. They do not disturb you, so don't
you disturb them. He had been taught that the Constitution was a holy thing
because it constituted the basis upon which the country could be saved. Then he
would say - don't destroy the basis because if you do, down goes the whole fabric.
He who would have them violate one portion of the Constitution was as bad as him
who tore the whole of it to pieces. Traitorous sentiments might have be felt in
the heart but, till they were developed, there was no treason. Kentucky pleads for
peace and quiet and when her borders were assailed, then it was Kentucky showed
its Minion heart. He opposed the emancipation of slaves on the one hand and
emancipation of slaves and arming of the same on the other- An emancipation war
would bring about a second war in the country, for such a law could only be
executed by military force. He appealed to them to stand by the law the
constitution and justice."
The above extracts show the rock upon which the politicians of the Abolition
school are driving the Government - There is but one course to be pursued, to ward
off this danger and secure the restoration of the Union. The mighty Union
element of the country must rally around the Administration of Mr. Lincoln
presenting in the future that mighty bulwark of strength which has thus far
given dignity and existence to it. To save the Union the overwhelming
conservative strength of the North must be exhibited. The emancipationists must
be forced to take a back seat. Emancipation means separation in the future -
Nothing can result from it but a bloody and lengthy war with a final recognition
of the southern confederacy.
The theory on which this war is prosecuted is a theory assuming the existence
of an usurped tyranny in certain portions of the union; which keeps in
a large portion of the war to be the termination of this tyranny by utterly
conquering and extermination those maintaining it. Wherever slavery interferes
with this, slavery must be got out of the way, just as we disposed of the
right to property, citizenship, life and liberty but as an existing constitutional
right, however disagreeable it may be, we are bound to recognize when in the
possession of loyal people. Emancipation affects the loyal and the disloyal
alike and will, beside dividing the public sentiment of the North, paralyzing our
strength by sowing the seeds of discord in the mighty army now rallied to the defense
of the Union, will effectually crush and obliterate the large Union sentiment
claimed still to exist in the very heart of the revolted states. The only
salvation for the country now is the constitution. Let the Administration adhere
to the requirements of that instrument and we are safe. Violate that and the
Union is forever gone.
Yesterday it snowed nearly all day; the snow is from three to four inches
deep. It opened up pleasant this morning with fair prospects of a thaw.
I suppose you will be pleased to to read a little history of our tent and
tent mates since we came to Washington. As it has been the most fortunate for
promotions of any tent in the company, I think it is worth of notice. There have
been two promotions from our tent - two sergeants, one of whom is an orderly in a
New York battery. I will not omit the two deserters from our tent - McCoy and
They first deserted from Fort Ridgeley, Minnesota and joined our company at
Madison; and after the battle of Bull Run they they deserted from us while we
were at Fort Corcoran. McCoy made good his escape but Brown was not so
fortunate; he was caught by an officer of the company he first deserted from,
tried and sent to the Dry Tortugas for five years. The commissioned officers are
James C. Wood, our Second Lieutenant, and John S. Marsh, who received his
commission from the Governor of Minnesota on the 20th of January as First
Lieutenant in the First Regiment of Minnesota. But the poor fellow is now lying
here in the hospital with the inflammatory rheumatism bad off, though he is not
considered dangerous. We first had eight in our tent but the number has now
dwindled down to three, Easterbrook, Frank Forrest and myself. Marshall is now
stopping with us. Except the two deserters, we have not yet had a coward in our
tent - all were good soldiers, ready and willing to do every duty imposed upon them
without a murmur.
McClellan is making preparations for a general forward movement as soon as
the roads became passable. We are to have patent tents, just large enough for
three and made in three pieces so we might have them to protect us from
the fogs, dews and rains. This economy will save a large train of army wagons and
undoubtedly many lives. Some think it is McClellan's intention to besiege
Centerville but that is impossible for it is too strongly fortified and would
take more force than we could judiciously spare. Beauregard had fortified the
place with twenty-six forts and commands every available point. It is not policy
to attack such strong positions when there are weaker ones nearer the vitals of
the Confederate Government.
Henry B. Beardsley
For the Democrat
Correspondence of the Daily
from the Second Regiment
Camp Tillinghast, Virginia
February 9th, 1862
EDITORS: GAZETTE:- The past five weeks have been very disagreeable for camp
life - nothing but rain and mud. The roads have been in a very bad condition and
they are not much better now. I do not know in what way things will shape if
this state of affairs continue much longer; but then it cannot last long. If it
does, it will be necessary for us to purchase a scow to cross the road to visit
our friends in the 7th.
They are a noble body of men and will do good service in the field when once
they have the opportunity. If the roads were smooth I do not think that the army
would remain here many days. The troops are healthy, in good spirits and eager
for an opportunity to meet the rebels on soil of their own choosing. The story
would soon be told. The army of the Potomac has been encamped on and near its
banks for six long months with nothing to arouse them except, now and then, the
announcement of a victory over the rebels by some other division of the army or
the navy- Late there has been nothing of any importance transpired at this point
worthy of notice except the capture of a few rebels. Sunday last, the 2d, Col.
Harris of the 2d Virginia cavalry and his escort came to our lines under a flag
of truce bearing dispatches from Gen. A. T. Johnson commanding the rebel army at
Centerville to Gen. McClellan. The colonel was brought blindfolded to the
Arlington House and the dispatches sent to headquarters. What the nature of them
was I am unable to say; as it has not been made public. The answer, in all
probability, has been sent back though nothing is known respecting it.
The news from Tennessee and the west is very encouraging and has created a
lively feeling in the different camps on the Potomac. Friday last, a detachment
of Cameron dragoons, on a scouting expedition, proceeded out beyond Fairfax Court
House, surprising and taking prisoners 13 rebel cavalry men. During the exchange
of shots, a captain and sergeant of the dragoons were wounded.
Georgetown is a famous place, being a hot-bed of rattle headed, rabid
secessionists. The city of Washington also contains many disloyal inhabitants.
The state of Maryland needs only a defeat of the federal army to show her
sentiment. But the time for defeats has passed by. It is now our turn for
victories. The farmers who reside here are very scattering and those that are
here, the most awkward ignorant and superstitious class of human beings that ever
inhabited any civilized country. It is a mystery how they can live here. White
beans would not grow in the part of Virginia that I have seen. I would prefer a
few feet of land on Mongolia Bluffs to a section of land here.
The health of our regiment is very good but few are in the hospital. There
has been much said through the columns of the newspapers of the demoralization
of the 2d regiment. If those correspondents would attend to their own affairs
and let the 2d alone, there would not be such a bitter animosity between us as
there is at present.-
Our officers I think are equally as good in military knowledge as any in the
brigade, if they do not excel them which I think they do.
To our friends I would say that we should be happy to hear from them as often
as convenient. Today is rather chilly and cloudy, the drums are beating for roll
call and I must close.
E. T. W.
A few minutes, before the Assembly met this morning, an interested crowd were
examining a pair of shoes which were presented to the State Historical Society
by Captain David McKee of the Second Regiment. The shoes were procured for the
Second Regiment by a certain "State Agent" whose name is very
prudently erased from the label. By an incision in the sole of the shoe, it is
shown that the center of the sole is composed of pine wood; the leather around
the heel is of the poorest and thinnest possible quality.-
Between the leather of the heel is placed a very substantial looking
piece of brown paper. In the inspired words of Jo. Mills, the poet of the
They are composed of paper and wood,
And leather thrice split, not half so good;
All whipped together with Spaulding's glue.
May the Union be stronger than a soldier's shoe.
Think of making a forced march of twenty or thirty miles through rain and mud
with these touching tributes of Northern patriotism clinging to your feet.-
The initials of the name of the State
Ag't alluded to in the foregoing is
"Napoleon Bonaparte Van Slyck"- the man who sold the Madison city
bonds. That interesting individual don't seem to appreciate the attentions of
the Assembly judging from the following communication which he sent to it:
To the Hon. Speaker of the Assembly:
Sir:- The body over which you preside, having occupied so much time upon the
shoe question, the "State Agent" who made the purchase deems it his duty
to relieve the anxiety of the gentlemen - who seem to have no more substantial
work to perform - by making to your house assembled, a statement of facts, before a
hundred times the cost of the shoes is incurred by the legislature upon the
They are briefly as follows:
A short time after Capt. McKee "advanced on Washington", Col.
O'Connor of the Second Wisconsin Regiment and "the State agent" tried
to procure a few cases of good shoes for his men. So great has been the demand
immediately after the flight from Manassas that but one dealer in Washington had
any shoes for sale by the case.
The Colonel and "the Agent" accordingly elected two cases of what
appeared to be a tolerable good article - the best in the store - and were to pay,
I think seven shillings per pair for 120 pairs.
The Colonel was to get the shoes next day and pay for them, reserving the
privilege of changing any that did not suit. My opinion is that the shoe
afterwards delivered was not the article purchased, if they were when compared
with two dollars, (the cost of army shoes in Wisconsin,) the price would not
warrant a good shoe even in appearance. The article proved a cheat but answered
a temporary purpose for which they were bought.
Under similar circumstances, and with a knowledge of the quality, I would make
a like purchase again rather than see the sore-footed men go barefoot. If nothing
more serious than the expenditure of about an hundred dollars for wooden shoes
demands the attention of our representatives, Wisconsin may be well be
congratulated. Unpaid shoemakers at home are looking to the Legislature for
something with a better bottom.- Leave the spigot and stop the bung, else go
through with the usual farce of an investigating committee by which means those
who talk most and pay the least taxes, if any, can increase their winter's fund.
Thousands of dollars are being lost to the State by this trifling with small
matters that cannot now be bettered while the greater interests are neglected.
N.B. Van Slyck,
The Agent who purchased the shoes.
Letter from Mr. Van Slyke.
Publishers: State Journal:-
As a matter of justice, I request the publication of the following
communication, it having been refused a place of record beside the resolutions
of the Legislature pertaining to the same subject.
To the Hon Speaker of the Assembly:
Sir:- the body over which you preside having occupied so much time upon the
shoe question the "State Agent" who made the purchase deems it his duty
to relieve the anxiety of the gentlemen-who seem to have no more substantial
to perform-by making to your house assembled a statement of facts before a
hundred times the cost of the shoes is incurred by the Legislature upon the
subject. They are briefly as follows:
A short time after Capt. McKee "advanced on Washington," Col. O'Connor, of the Second Wisconsin regiment and the State agent," tried to
procure a few cases of good shoes for his men. So great had been the demand
immediately after the flight from Manassas that but one dealer in Washington had
any shoes for sale by the case.
The Colonel and "the Agent" accordingly selected two cases of
what appeared to be a tolerable good article-the best in the store-and were to
pay, I think seven shillings per pair for 120 pair.
The colonel was to get the shoes next day and pay for them,
privilege of changing any that did not suit.- My opinion is that the shoe
afterwards delivered was not the article purchased, if they were when compared
with two dollars, (the cost of army shoes in Wisconsin) the price would not
warrant a good shoe even in appearance. The article proved a cheat but answered a
temporary purpose for which they were bought.
Under similar circumstances, and with a knowledge of the quality I would make a like purchase again, rather than see the sore-footed men
go barefoot. If
nothing more serious than the expenditure of about an hundred dollars for wooden
shoes demands the attention of our representatives Wisconsin may well be
congratulated.-Unpaid shoemakers at home are looking to the Legislature for
something with a better bottom. Leave the spigot and stop the bung else go
through with the usual farce of an investigating committee by which means those
who talk most and pay least taxes, if any can increase their winter's fund.Thousands
of dollars are being lost so the State by this trifling with small
matters that cannot now be bettered while the greater interests are neglected.
N.B. van Slyke,
The Agent who purchased the shoes
Camp Tillinghast, Va.
The Democrat came to hand last night full of good things as usual. Of course,
it is impossible among so many good things not to find now and then one of a
different nature. In the case of The Democrat, the publication of marriage
notices is opening the eyes of the boys, filing them with no little uneasiness.
They had fondly and trustingly hoped that the girls they had left behind them
would wait till they returned from the war covered with honor, before taking to
themselves a partner for life. Certainly the warm tear, the gentle but earnest
pressure of the hand, the low but musical sigh which accompanied the Good Bys as
the Light Guard bade adieu for a time to La Crosse and its inhabitants promised
that much. But alas! how ruthlessly are those bright hopes being dispelled by the
fair creatures. While some of the boys grow desperate when they see such convincing
proofs of the old saying about out of sight, out of mind and go off
muttering "can such things be" and not not excite our special wonder, others
take it much more philosophically, solacing themselves with the following line
"Oh, frailty thy name is woman!"
I just sent you these lines as a hint to the girls not to be in a hurry as
the Light Guard will in a short time have filled their mission of war. Then
there will a fine opportunity of getting Men - full grown and made out of the
right kind of stuff for husbands. Let them remember, that future generations
will read of, and bless the names of, the heroes of '62 and to have their history
linked in with these, they have but to wait a little longer.
The "broken backed" expedition, as the secession press pleased
themselves by calling that of Burnside, has been heard from giving a most
glorious account of itself. The success of Burnside, Thomas and Foote, following
each other in such quick succession is but the harbinger of the good time
coming. Their effect upon the army of the Potomac, cannot fail of being of great
benefit and if an opportunity is given them. (and there undoubtedly will be
shortly) to meet the enemy the deeds of bravery enacted on those fields will be
more than rivaled.
In the battle of Roanoke Island, one of the old Light Guard, H. D. Jarvis
participated. We feel a great deal of anxiety as to his fate as the newspaper
account from Southern sources represent that the regiment in which he holds the
position of 2d Lieutenant - 24th Mass. - was badly cut up. One thing is certain
more gallant high minded and honorable gentleman and soldier than him took part
in that engagement. In losing him, the Light Guard lost one of its best members
and the warm wishes of his old comrades have followed him to his enlarged and
more useful fields of labor.
The weather since my last has been as fickle and uncertain as the veriest
coquette. Rain and snow, sunshine and mud all mixed together in glorious
confusion. The present day has been one of the finest of the season - a bona fide
May day with one important exception - a rather too free a distribution of diluted
There is a bright and a dark side to life so there must be to this letter.
About a week ago Capt Colwell was summoned to Washington by the sickness of his
family. Soon after we learned that his two little children had been attacked by
disease and to-night Postmaster Clark brought the saddening news that one of the
little ones had taken its flight from earth to Heaven and that Mrs. Colwell was
very low with typhoid fever. While yet gathering to himself the rich harvest
furnished by the battle of Roanoke Isl. and the Angel of Death could find time
to stoop and pluck from the family circle the little one whose sunny innocence
it seems to should be able to protect it from such a fate. There is a heavy
weight upon the hearts of the Light Guard, to-night and many prayers will ascend
to the throne of Grace that the sacrifice already taken from our beloved Captain's
household may be as much of the cup of sorrow as he shall be called upon to
drink of at this time and that his remaining child and his gentle and
affectionate lady may be restored the enjoyment of health and happiness. God
chasteneth these whom he lovedth.
Out of great sorrow there cometh perfect peace.
From the Second Regiment
(Extract from a private letter from Rom Dolan to a friend in this
Camp Tillinghast, Va.
Feb, 16th 1862
I have just returned from three days of picket duty and I feel somewhat wary.
A march of 10 miles through mud a foot deep is, I can assure you, enough to make
one weary especially to march through the "Sacred Soil." It sticks as
bad as the seven year-itch. Did you ever spend a winter in Virginia? If not,
for God's sake, never do. If the soil is sacred, us boys ought to be, for
occasionally we are literally masked with it. The weather, though I wish I could
tell you how many changes we have in a day: Get up in the morning, it will be raining; get breakfast and it will be snowing; about one o'clock, mix in a little
hail then a little frost - out comes the sun and oh! such a puddle. Grand place
for young ducks, this is. Here is our whole division, I might truly say, mired -
to move, even a ten pound field piece in out of the question. Well, this has got
to dry up soon and when it does I can assure you there will a lively time in the
vicinity of Centerville and Manassas.
I know it must be hard on the armies to live. Factory is worth 15 cents a
yard. Hold on, now, us boys down here will soon jerk a supply of the raw material
from old Secesh in a style which will amaze you folks up in Wisconsin. It took some time for "Little Mac" to get
ready and now treason has to take
just such cuffs as he chooses to give and in just such spots as his masterly
head sees fit.
Having just come in, I have not heard the news, but the news hereafter will all
be good, as far as battles are concerned. I wonder how old Jeff appreciates
such taps as Foote, Thomas and Burnside treat him to? The boys are screaming out
"Fort Donelson is taken and old Floyd with 15,000 troops!"
If it is so, you have heard of if before this, but look for Savannah next or
They will have a merry time of it at Columbus. My eyes were quite sore foe a
short spell but I am as well as ever now.
Tom H. Dolan
Camp Tillinghast, Va.
Feb, 17, 1862
Picket duty is truly said to be one of the most
important and dangerous
duties connected with a soldier's life. It has its dangers and also its
pleasures; but the amount of enjoyment - real genuine mirth - that such duties give
rise to is only known to old stagers like the 2nd.-
They have become accustomed to its dangers and its hardships and now, while on
such service, they labor how they shall while properly performing their duty,
extract the most fun from the circumstances surrounding them, rain or shine, it's
all the same to them. If the elements combine to make it disagreeable, they get
up a counter irritation by combining to make it pleasant and they generally succeed.
The morning of the 14th was ushered in by a rain storm. An order from
Headquarters informed the commandant of the 2nd that his regiment was to do
picket duty for 48 hours, commencing at 12 AM. of that day. The prospect was
gloomy but the boys fell into the ranks without a murmur and soon the march of
eight miles through the deep mud and soaking rain had commenced. Four hours of
steady plodding brought us in sight of the advanced line of the Army of the
Potomac. Before us lies the object of our march, the picket line. To the front of
us, to the right of us - to the left of us, can be seen the blue smoke of the
picket's fire as it rises toward the Clouds.-
Now we are close to our journey's end. The picket upon the nearest posts can
be seen upon their lonely watch. Now we halt, having reached our reserve. The
reserve presents quite a cheerful look, not withstanding the rain. Not less than
a dozen bough huts are here built after the old aboriginal style with their
narrow entrance way, pine bough floors and huge roaring fire in the centre snugly
ensconced in among the broad topped pine trees composing what is known here as
the Big Pine Woods."
The relief is detailed and sent out to relieve the old picket; the remainder
being held in reserve are ordered to "break ranks."
This is done with a will and now commences the preparation for passing the
time pleasantly. Huge chunks of wood and, now and then, stray rail are brought in
to replenish the fire. Haversacks are inspected, chunks of meat and bread are
brought forth and the inner man bountifully supplied by these substantials in the
eating line. Then there come the general filling of pipes, getting in comfortable
positions,&c. then come the trial of wit, the lively and patriotic songs-
Well, Brick, there is no use in trying. I had thought of writing you a
description of picket duty in general and that of the 2nd on the, 14th and 15th
in particular. But the attempt is a failure. The news has just reached camp of
the glorious successes achieved by the Union forces at Fort Donelson in Tennessee
by Curtis at Springfield in Mo. and by Sherman and Dupont at Savannah
and we are in a state of excitement not to be described. My thoughts are on
anything but picket duty. I have a severe attack of Fort Donelson on the brain
and just took some medicine from a black bottle said to be, by those who have
tried it, to be good for such diseases but it has not helped me a bit.
Another prescription of the contents of the black bottle has convinced me
that picketing is humbug that Forts are big things, that the American Eagle is a
confounded big bird and that its recent screeches will give the British Lion an
idea that it ain't the biggest toad in the puddle after all. Just engage me a
partner for a 4th July Ball in La Crosse. Hip hurrah for the Union-
McClellan-Abe Lincoln the 2nd the Light Guard, and everybody. Fort
Donald-al-al-son s-s-s big thing
Feb 18 How it Looks to the Secesh
Our correspondent in the 2nd Wis. regiment sends us the following letter
which he found in a deserted house beyond Manassas. The letter was written by
rebel brigadier general to his wife just after the fall of Fort Donelson:
Feb. 18 1862
My dear Wife:
It seems there is no end yet to the disasters
attending our arms. It is known
here that Fort Donelson is taken and a portion of our forces, but the papers of
tomorrow will give you better information than I have now.
It is really very sad and we shall be hardly pressed to hold our other
Indeed, it may be that we shall have to abandon all our strongholds that we
now hold to concentrate our army. I think we can hold Manassas but may be forced
to fall back even there to defend some other point. This is only my own
speculation written under the influence of very depressing news, and in a few
days we may have gained victories that will restore our status. but I feel bound
to express my sentiments freely to you. I do not want you at Bentsville if our
army has to fall back from Centerville. I want you to go to Lynchburg and stay
there: I think that a safe place. But I will talk over this matter more in
detail when I see you and I only write now that you might hold yourselves in
readiness and not be taken by surprise. I have no sort of information on the
subject that you have not. I am only speculating on the bad aspect our affairs
I saw Congress organized to-day, all seemed resolved to conquer our
independence at any hazard. Many persons are arriving in the city to witness the
inauguration on Saturday; but for the sad news, it would be a grand day; but we
must keep our courage up; times are not half so gloomy as they were many times
during the revolution.
Mrs. Goode is here and enquired particularly after you . The Hotel is so
crowed that there is not much comfort here. I much prefer being in camp.
I cannot now say when I shall be at home, but hope to be soon. I am almost
sorry I wrote you so sadly about our affairs but could not avoid expressing myself
freely to you.
Your affectionate husband,
Fort Tillinghast, Va., Feb.20, 1862
The boys have been in receipt of a good
many presents from home of late. We have had pies, cakes. roast chickens,
pickles, preserves, jelly, —and, oh! such a nice lot of good things, that were
we to try our best, we could not think of words that would express the high
gratification and delight we are in.—Girls, we are all in love with you,
—only wait till we get home, and then—oh! dear! A great many of the boys
have received Valentines, and such pretty things were never intended for any
body but the soldiers.
One of our boys got a Valentine, and he
was so overjoyed at the receipt of the green rose, and the lines engraven
thereon, that he has become shockingly sick, and is now moaning over an
incessant pain in the head. Another one of the boys received a needle-book, and
in it found a “forget-me-not.” I heard him the other day urging the 1st
Lieutenant to intercede to get him a discharge, as he had more pressing business
at home. The Sergeants and Corporals are generally ahead in receipt of pretty
little “bille-daux,”—though between Sam Smith, Geo. Legate and Willie
Noble it is about even. Corp’l Meuser gets a good share of the favorites, as
well as Private Mougher. Take it all in all, Co. “I” can boast a good share
from the Misses, and unless the “Home Guards” do better than they have done,
I imagine that we are sure to carry off the prize.
A day or two since, “Wemyss”,
“Bailey”, and old “Judge” were seen enjoying themselves by cracking a
few bottles of Champagne, and luckily for poor me, I chanced to drop in,
consequently I had a taste Taking the very high price of this article into
consideration, it seemed evident that the young gentlemen were going it
“rather steep,”- but that made no difference, knowing that it was equitable
to “go it while young,” and leave old age to the future. But we all done our
might, and drank the sparkling beverage with all gusto imaginable. Old
“Briley” walked as straight as a Deacon, while “Wemyss” and “Judge”
“turned in,” and were soon lost in the arms of
Morpheus, probably dreaming of the popping
of corks, and the foaming nectar, imagining the array of Champagne bottles quite
large, considering that $2.50 per bottle was in price, (an outrage,)
and the drink a source of exquisite pain,
From the Second Wis Regiment
Camp Tillinghast, Virginia
February 21st, 1862
At the request of your faithful correspondent the JUDGE, I
have been induced to
try my hand at "writing for the press," and here with submit a few
sentences which you are at liberty to print or burn as you please. I do not expect
to entertain your readers as pleasantly as the Judge has done but will endeavor
to keep them posted of our whereabouts and matters and things generally in camp.
The successive Union victories of the past week has made the army of the
Potomac quite jubilant. This grand catalogue of victories for the Union cause
must effectually dampen the ardor of the rebellious States.
Everywhere the Union arms are closing around this unholy rebellion - and it
seems as if but a little while longer and the war is at an end. Our flag proudly
waves at Port Royal, Dansville, Prestonburn, Somerset, Roanoke Island and Forts
Henry and Donelson, while Savannah is destined to receive it as a herald of
peace, - and it would not surprise us, if in less than a month, Charleston paid her
homage to the old flag, which, scarce a year since, it dared to trample in the
dust. Verily the work goes bravely on.
One or two more bold strikes and Jeff Davis and his legions will lay aside
the sword, and prepare to receive a merited punishment. Everywhere the Union
troops are in motion except on the Potomac where rests an impatient army, hourly
expecting the word to march on Centreville - a place claimed to be well fortified
and capable of resisting a force of a hundred thousand men but like Forts Henry
and Donelson can be overpowered by the well equipped, drilled and disciplined
troops of the army of the Potomac. It is predicted that the rebels will evacuate
both Centreville and Manassas and fall back to the protection of Richmond, but I
am inclined to the opinion that they will never give up these points until
forced by overpowering numbers.
They are now driven almost to desperation, and will fight with a
determination to make the best of a bad scrape. That the flower of the rebel
army is along the Potomac is apparent and that desertions from its ranks are numerous
is evident from the number arriving almost daily within our lines. They are
poorly clothed and from all accounts rations are running short and laying idle
for so long a time with the reckless care of themselves so becoming the southern
chivalry that a contracted disease has thinned their ranks to a great extent.
If the present good weather continues the roads will soon be passable for
artillery and the hopes of this army may be fully realized. This grand army of a
hundred and fifty thousand has an account to settle with these rascals and the account
can only be settled by the use of projectiles and the brandishing of their
150,000 bayonets near the centre of gravity. The hopes of this army will be
fully realized when they can follow close on the heels of secesh, fully into the
heart of the city of Richmond, the present hell-hole of rebellion.
The burial of a private soldier belonging to the 7th Regiment has cause
considerable comment from the fact that it was so slovenishly done. The box (a
thing not worthy the name of coffin) was made of half-inch basswood boards, and
in the handling of it from the wagon to the grave, it busted and on its being
lowered into the grave, large sized rocks were allowed to roll down upon it smashing
the lid and in this condition was it covered, the mound built and the comrades of
the departed one left, having paid a careless tribute to the memory of one of the
defenders of the Stars and Stripes. But there were those eye witnesses of this
disgraceful scene that thought it fit to do more. A young lady belonging to the
Head Quarters, whose generosity and noble heart prompted her to pluck some green
bushes and set them around the grave, while a couple of young men from the Second,
at her command, placed a head and boot-board at the grave, - thus marking the
spot where one one of the sons of the Badger State sleeps his last sleep.
Stephen McHugh of Co. G. of this Regiment died a week ago today and was
buried on Sunday. He was a printer by trade and a brother of Wm. McHugh who died
in you place a couple weeks since. He was sick for some time, and the attendance
at his funeral was very large. He was much respected by all who knew him.
Company "I" took up a collection of $45 and presented it to the
Postmaster of the Regiment for the purpose of buying him a horse. He is always
faithful in the delivery of the mail and very accommodating to the boys. The
mail that goes from this regiment is a large one and for a man to carry it to
Washington and receive the mail matter daily is no slight job, to say the least.
So many changes have taken place in Co. "I" that I here present the
names of those composing the non-commissioned staff of the Company.
1st Sarg't O. W. Sanford, 2d Sarg't Wm. Noble, 3d Sarg't J. Gregory, 4th
Serg't Geo. H. Legate, 5th Sarg't R. Guldiey
1st. Cor'l., Wm. Meuser, 2d Cor'l Wm. A. Nelson, 3d Cor'l Thos. Maloney, 4th
Cor'l Cor. Wheeler, 5th Cor'l Sam'l W. Smith, 6th Cor'l, Wm. Grant, 7th Cor'l
Nicholas Gelb, 8th Cor'l Henry Curry.
Privates Leonard Tregea and Phillip Lawrence have been discharged from the
service of the U.S. on a Surgeon's certificate and will leave for home on Monday
The boys have been in receipt of a good many
presents from home of late. We have had pies, cakes. roast chickens, pickles, preserves,
jelly, and, oh! such a nice lot of good things, that were we to try our best, we
could not think of words that would express the high gratification and delight we are
in.Girls, we are all in love with you, only wait till we get home, and
thenoh! dear! A great many of the boys have received Valentines, and such pretty
things were never intended for any body but the soldiers.
One of our boys got a Valentine, and he was so
overjoyed at the receipt of the green rose, and the lines engraved thereon, that he has
become shockingly sick, and is now moaning over an incessant pain in the head. Another one
of the boys received a needle-book, and in it found a forget-me-not. I heard
him the other day urging the 1st Lieutenant to intercede to get him a discharge, as he had
more pressing business at home. The Sergeants and Corporals are generally ahead in receipt
of pretty little bille-daux,though between Sam Smith, Geo. Legate and
Willie Noble it is about even. Corpl Meuser gets a good share of the favorites, as
well as Private Mougher. Take it all in all, Co. I can boast a good share from
the Misses, and unless the Home Guards do better than they have done, I
imagine that we are sure to carry off the prize.
A day or two since, Wemyss,
Bailey, and old Judge were seen enjoying themselves by cracking a
few bottles of Champagne, and luckily for poor me, I chanced to drop in, consequently I
had a taste Taking the very high price of this article into consideration, it seemed
evident that the young gentlemen were going it rather steep,- but that made no
difference, knowing that it was equitable to go it while young, and leave old
age to the future. But we all done our might, and drank the sparkling beverage with all
gusto imaginable. Old Briley walked as straight as a Deacon, while
Wemyss and Judge turned in, and were soon lost in the
arms of morpheus, probably dreaming of the popping of corks, and the foaming nectar,
imagining the array of Champagne bottles quite large, considering that $2.50 per bottle
was in price, (an outrage,) and the drink a source of exquisite pain, hardly endurable.
The boys are all in good health enjoying themselves as well as circumstances
will permit. There is no chance for drilling and with exception of the daily
inspections we are entirely free to frolic and come the "gymnastic" as
best pleases our fancy.
Yours now and forever,
From the Second Regiment
Headquarters 2d Reg. Wis. Vols.
Camp Tillinghast, Va. Feb. 22, '62
Dear Sir:- Having observed through the
newspapers that an unfavorable
impression exists at home in relation to your purchase of shoes for this
regiment last summer, we voluntarily take this occasion to state that under the
circumstances then existing, your action met with our decided approval.
Our necessities were pressing and there was no time for delay. The shoes,
though many of them were defective, were the best that could be obtained in Washington
and although costing much less than those afterwards supplied by the Government,
did equal, if not better, service.
Instead of blaming you for this transaction, the regiment feels under
obligation to you, not for this service alone, but for other marks of kindness and
consideration shown by you in your official and private capacity.
To N.B. Van Slyke, Esq.
E. O'Connor, Col. 2d Wis Vols.
T. S Allen, Maj. 2d Wis. Vols.
From the Second Regiment.
"Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts
no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the
attachment."- Washington's Farewell Address
"March on, march on since we are up in arms;
If not to fight with foreign enemies
Yet to beat down these rebels here at home"
Arlington, February 22, 1862
The weather in Virginia still continues disagreeable it rains every second or
third day and the roads are almost impassable. This, the birth day of our
country's greatest benefactor, has been very unpleasant but notwithstanding the
rain and mud, our brigade was assembled at the Arlington House to listen to the
Farewell Address of the first President of the Republic - it being the request of
the present President that the address should be read in the hearing of the vast
army that has rallied around the old flag to maintain that liberty and uphold
that Government for which Washington and the noble souls of his day labored so
faithfully to establish.
After the address was read, Gen. King made us a short speech - the first I have
heard him make. He is not a talking man but when he does speak, he speaks to the
point. His speech was very short but stirring and he closed by proposing three
cheers for the winners of the late victories in the west and south - which were
People must begin to see by this time that Gen. McClellan has not been as
inactive as he been supposed. We have done nothing as yet here on the Potomac,
save the victory of Gen Lander near Romney, and that is hardly noticed, being
hidden by others more glorious, but we are ready and when the time shall have
arrived for us to strike, I think we will wipe out the stain of the Bull Run
defeat that now hangs like a cloud above the Army of the Potomac. The roads are
awful but if the reports are true that the rebels are leaving Manassas, we will,
in all probability, push on after them even if we are obliged to drag our
artillery by hand through the deep mud. We must not be behind the Army of the
West. We can move in spite of all obstacles if it is necessary and if it is
necessary we will have orders to that effect.
For the Democrat
Camp Tillinghast, Va.
Feb. 25, 1862
Harrah for the La Crosse orator at the jubilee over the Fort
Whoever he may be, I would advise him to enlist at once as shoulder straps
with a star in the centre would certainly adorn his coat in a short time.
Virginia is a remarkable State; its soil is curiously thrown together and
wonderfully adapted to making mud; its inhabitants are a strange sort of people,
in the main being a lazy, ignorant set, having no mind of their own, blindly
following the lead of a set of politicians who have more brains but less honesty
than themselves; and to crown the whole, it's some on wind. Till yesterday we
have remained in blissful ignorance of what could be done in the wind line in
this part of the Old Dominion. Yesterday the wind got on a bender, and the antics
it kicked up were of the most vigorous kind. Our camp, with the others, had to
suffer. Tents were blown down; some were literally torn to pieces; tent poles
were upset; trees were blown down; in short it swayed things generally. I never
saw so severe a wind. However there was one good thing about it. The mud
disappeared from before it at a most unexampled rate, and to-day we have been
able to resume pedestrian's without danger to life.
The weather has been the finest, to-day, of the last two months. For the first
time during that time the sun has shone clear and bright for one day. With this
improvement in the weather and roads, the speculations of an advance by the Army
of the Potomac are being revived by the boys, the opinion being general that this
portion of the mighty army will soon be allowed an opportunity to exhibit their
valor and fighting qualities. The boys are ready and whenever their General
gives the command of "forward" it will be done with a will. By the way,
it will not be out of place here to say that the Army of the Potomac, to do the
work he has allotted to it, it will be done as successfully as were those of
Burnside, Grant, Foote and others.
By the papers I see that the 22d was observed in the most enthusiastic manner
in all the loyal states. By extracts from Southern papers, I also see that there
was one of the most stupendous farces they would ever saw enacted in Richmond, the
so-called capitol of the so-called Southern Confederacy. I allude of course to
the inauguration of Jefferson Davis as President and Alexander H. Stevens as
Vice-President of that institution. There was also another farce enacted that
day, the particulars of which have been left to be described by your
correspondent. According to orders from Headquarters there was to be a reading
of Washington's Farewell address at the head of each regiment. The intention of
those issuing the order undoubtedly was good but the manner in which it was
executed in Gen. King's Brigade was a most contemptible failure. To begin with,
the day opened with a rain storm. At half past 8 o'clock the 2d formed into line
of battle in six inches of mud preparatory to starting for Headquarters where
the show was to take place. After wading nearly there, we were met by an orderly
who informed Col. Fairchild that the "thing" had been put off till half
past two. Waded back to quarters, swearing a little if not more. Half past ten
formed line again and again, commenced the wading process, which, after a half
hour's work, brought us in front of the Arlington House.
Now commences the real farce. The Brigade was formed into a hollow square on
a side hill, with a pitch of one foot in three and there we had to stand for one
hour exerting every nerve to keep from sliding suddenly to bottom, while the
address was being read, one word of which we could not hear. After the reading,
Gen. King made a speech and as he has strong lungs we could occasionally hear a
word. You can better judge than I describe the feelings of the boys as they
returned to camp.
To-day the Light Guard had the pleasure of taking a La Crosser, J. C. Coombs
by the hand. His reception was a cordial one and the gusto with which the boys
asked and he answered questions about matters and things in La Crosse and its
inhabitants both fair and the contrary was a scene-worth seeing.
Capt. Colwell is still in Washington with his family. I am pleased to be able
to write that his lady is in a fair way of a speedy recovery.
The boys are all well.
Printer's Supper- The printers of the 2d regiment celebrated Franklin's
birthday by a supper toasts and other proceedings in camp on the Potomac. twenty-five
"practicals" were present, and addresses were made by Major Allen,
Capt. McKee, Capt. La Flieche, Lieut. Wood, Sergeant Barry and Lieut. Col. Fairchild.-
Letters were read from Brig. Gen King and Chas. D. Robinson editor of the
Green Bay Advocate and a member of General King's staff.
From the Light Guard
Head-Quarters 2nd Reg't. Wis. Vol.
Camp Tillinghast, Va.
Feb.. 27th 1862
Messrs Editors-- Some weeks have elapsed since writing you; but a few incidents
worthy of note have transpired.
The weather has greatly improved the roads are becoming hard again; and (Brick,
don't imagine I am about to express any of McClellan's places) not a doubt now
exists but there will be something did in this quarter! King's Brigade were
ordered this afternoon to headquarters- the banner residence of the rebel Lee,
now occupied by McDowell. Hosts of distinguished citizens were present - ladies
and gentlemen. A brigade drill and other military movements was bad, after which
the 2nd Wis was chosen from the brigade to parade in front of McDowell's
quarters. The number of compliments they received would fill a page. An order
was then read telling the brigade to prepare two days rations and be ready to
march within two hours notice. Officers are not allowed to carry fire arms! The
different quarter-masters were ordered to procure the French tents. They are so
arranged that three persons can sleep in them and made very conveniently out of
three separate pieces each man carrying one third of his tent. Madam Rumor says
our destination is up the Potomac at or near Harpers Ferry. Probably you are not aware that the 2nd
Wisconsin have furnished some ten men for the Mississippi Gun Boats two from Company B.
They started for Cairo a week ago.
It might be well to tell you here that the rivalry between the Fox Lake
Company and L. C. L. G. while at Camp Randall, Madison, Wis, as to which should
have the right or first position in the Regiment and which the former succeeded
in obtaining and held ever since, was to-day, by order of Gen. McDowell, given to
the L. C. L. G. Therefore we now have the position of honor in the regiment and
proud we are of it, you may well imagine. (Ask Serg't P.C. Dunn)
We were honored yesterday and to-day with a visit from your worthy townsman,
J. Comes, Esq., and right glad we all were to see him. He will be remembered by
the Light Guard. He starts East for his spring stock to-night. Success to him, we
Capt. Colwell returned to camp today. He has been absent to the city for near
two weeks. No doubt you are aware of the death of one of his children. Mrs.
Colwell has been quite ill but has greatly improved of late. The Captain has
also been sick, probably from the incessant watching during the sickness of his
family. He returns to Washington to night. Lieuts Hughes and Wood, with the
remainder of the company (except Dr. Bunnell who has had the small pox but is
now free from danger) are well and hearty and prospering
P.S. we are now armed with Austrian rifles.
Hip, hip hurrah for the Star Spangled Banner: the American Eagle
anything and everybody! The Light Guard are victorious! Merit and right have triumphed!
The fact is Brick our correspondent feels so exhilarated that he can hardly contain
himself long enough to pen the good news! At dress parade this morning an order was read
placing the Light Guard upon the right of the Regiment. After being euchred out of that
position by some little technicality, Col. E. O'Connor has been obliged to give it to us
on account of fitness. This is a compliment to the Guard of which they may well feel
proud; and I know that our friends in far off La Crosse will join with us. This order
tells the whole story of the nine months the Guard has spent in camp. It speaks volumes
for the members of the Guard. The boys said, when they were put upon the left at Camp
Randall, Madison, that when they returned from the war it would be on the right of the
Regiment. The 2d is a bully Regiment and the La Crosse Light Guard is the bully company of
a bully regiment. There was another order issued at the same time with the above of a
cheering nature which was to be prepared to move at ten minutes notice with two days
rations. This last order sounds more like business than anything that has happened lately.
When we move but four baggage wagons accompany the Regiment. Each officer is required to
reduce his baggage so that it can be contained in a common satchel or valise. The men
carry their all on their back in addition to which each man carries the half of his tent
or shelter as they are called. They are a kind of French concern about the size of a
common dog kennel and about as comfortable I should judge.. However I guess they are
better than no cover at all. We tried the canopy of Heaven for a cover at one time for
about three weeks and my word for it its a leaky concern. any port in a storm will I
presume hold good in the tent business. Where we are going I have not the remotest idea.
As soon as I know your readers shall be informed of it. If fighting is contemplated, the
1st company the La Crosse Light Guard will do its duty as it ever has. You can bet on them
every time and run no risk. It's raining!
Wonderful ain't it? Badger