1862 June, The Second Wisconsin
From the 2d Regiment
General Augurs brigade take the cars for Fort Royal in the valley, and there is talk that a whole division will follow to support General Banks, for which purpose we lay at the point until June 2nd, when General Kings division march by way of Greenwich to Haymarket under a scorching hot sun, and the men straggle badly; camp at sunset, distance 12 miles.
June 3rd, rained in torrents all night. We are nearly drowned out , blankets, clothing all wet as water can make them; continues raining until the 5th. The division is here concentrated.
June 6th, at an early hour, we march out on the Warrenton pike and on through New Baltimore and camp, distance 13 miles. The Iron Brigade is now playing a game of hide and seek, making short and rapid marches back and forth over a strip of country for the sole purpose of keeping the enemy from slipping into Washington; at the same time the enemy scarcely keeps up in appearance, if anything he is playing with us about here and there as a kind of ruse, which has more or less of Confederate smartness in its makeup. We are not in the secret of the part we are expected to play, we take to the work right humbly and view the country around Warrenton with a relish that defies competition.
June 7, 1862 , found the brigade quiet in camp near the beautiful little town of
Warrenton, the capital of Fauquier County, Virginia. The town consists of a handsome
court house, a jail, a town hall, four churches, two academies (one for male and one for
female), several stores, two hotels, two printing offices and, previous to the beginning
of the war, 2,000 inhabitants. Here the women folk were somewhat haughty and arrogant at
us Lincoln chaps, and seemed to delight in taunting those of the soldiers who stood guard
over Gov. Smiths residence.
June 8th opened with a fine summer morning, many of the boys going to the Episcopal Church to hear a sermon by the resident rector, but before the text was read marching orders were received, services were abruptly broken up and each soldier repaired to his regiment. After a march of ten miles go into camp at Warrenton Junction.
June 9th brings to Elk Run, ten miles distant.
On the 10th we make ten miles under a heavy rain, camping to the right near Harwood Church.
On the 11th we reach Fredericksburg, after a march of 10 miles, and go into camp on the Lacy farm opposite the end of the city. Here orders were given to make ourselves comfortable, and we take advantage of the privileged and proceed to enjoy the short respite from a great deal of marching over pike roads. Previous to the war this Fredericksburg had a population of about 6,000 people.
June 13th, Second and a section of Battery L, First N. Y. Artillery and a squadron of cavalry cross the river to reconnoiter immediately southwest of the city, a distance of seven miles over the telegraph road, returning to camp without so much being permitted as to exchange the usual morning salutations with our enemies.
Cornelius Wheelers diary
Correspondence of the Sentinel
Dear Sentinel:- while McClellan was Driving the rebels from the Peninsula and Halleck was weaving a web around Corinth, stranger would have supposed from the quietude that reigned on the banks of the Rappahannock, the drills and parades, the reviews and inspections that McDowell was forming a camp of instruction. The in-coming of "contrabands," deserters, and flags of truce relieved us of the ennui and monotony of camp life and told us that the terrible God of war still ruled the fair valley beneath us. All were impatient for the word to advance and began to doubt that it would ever be given. The song:
Our flag shall wave to the Rio Grande,
that was sung with such enthusiasm on our march was heard no more.
that Gen. McClellan has crossed the Chickahominy but still no signs of moving.-
Camp Opposite Fredericksburg
I expected to post this at Catlett's, but the mail had closed. We arrived here today having made a circuit of 102 miles. Three times we have marched over the road between Catlett and Fredericksburg and each time it has been through a drenching rain. The freshets have destroyed the bridge over the Rappahannock and it must be reconstructed; but rumors are we march to-morrow for Richmond. May it prove the truth. You shall hear again soon from
From the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment
EDITORS WITNESS:-It is not with the view of furnishing you news that I
attempt writing you at this time, for important events are chronicled aboard as
soon as they occur and reach you before I could possibly advise you. As this
division of the army of the Potomac has as yet been in no engagement (the Second
once visited Manassas) my letters, I fear have been barren of interest yet there
may be a "good time coming," so I pray you "wait a little longer."
From the 2d Regiment
Our ancient "Auntie'" Jones, alias Metcalf, now doing his country honor in the 2d Wis. regiment, near Fredericksburg. Writes us a letter detailing the situation of affairs their way. He says most of the boys have secured to themselves a contraband to "tote" their knapsacks and do their cooking, &c.
The one Jones has displeases him by persisting in carrying his knapsack on his head instead of strapping it on his shoulders. The Boys are greatly pleased with their new possessions and hope that government will permit them to keep them.-
Letter from Charlie Dow
The following from our ancient fellow-soldier and fellow-printer Serg't Dow is so like the boy that it carries right back a year when Bull-Ran along together into the jaws of rebels who treated us roughly. Dow was shot plum through his tongue and neck the ball going between the neck-bone and main artery passing lengthwise through the tongue taking out two lower teeth, and going on seeking who else it might shoot somebody. It was considered by Surgeons one of the most remarkable escapes known in this war. Whew! what a night that was! We followed the ambulance Charlie was in six miles bathing his mouth with water filtered from a bloody brook, and had no kind of an idea he would ever with another letter.
Camp Opposite Fredericksburg June 22, 1862
Friend Sam:-do you want a blast from my bugle to-day? Well I don't know whether you do er not, but I am bound to blow it I don't sell a clam. I have just been to dinner, and now I am laying astride a board which I am using for a desk, and my little cotton house is doing me proud in keeping off the rays of a very scorching sun.
I imagine I present about the same appearance that Jonah did when the whale found him a stranger and took him in; but then I ain't no Jonah or whale. In fact I don't know of there being but one of the lst mentioned articles in the Union Army and he is down near Richmond under the special charge of one McClellan, who is making a tour through the the south this season, and I understand he is to exhibit the critter at Richmond in a few days, when it is my private opinion somebody will get whaled. I have seen a part of him, and if you will allow, me to Judge, I should say he is a "big thing." I don't suppose a recitation of what we have been doing and where we-have been for the past month would be any more interesting to you than it is to us for we have not accomplished anything consequently I will pass it by.
This place seems to be the one allotted us for "three years or during the war,' for every time we take a scoot out into the country we are sure to return hereafter an absence of a few days. this may be a strategically point, but I "don't see it" except that it is a good place to watch (on a bluff,) but it is a poor place to Prey, and as we think more of the latter than we do the former, we are anxious to leave camp, to go we care not where, but would prefer going where the army had not been, for there we can find just what we like, hoe-cake and honey, &c. that "and so forth" means a great many things too numerous to mention and can't be drawn from the Quartermaster's even with a requisition.
Judging from present prospects, our "onward to Richmond" move will be made about next Christmas - perhaps not till New Year's. "Twill depend altogether on how soon the SLIDING comes; that is all they are waiting for, I believe. Then the programme will be, we shall slide in, while the rebels slide out of Richmond. I suppose you are all anxious to have this war progress faster, or have us, in the language of McClellan, "push the enemy to the wall." Well, I would admit that it would be a good thing for you who have to foot the bill, to have the war ended, but having no particular interest in that part of the programme, I go for the extension of the war, and I would say to the POWERS THAT BE, make it just as long as you can, for it is seldom that we get a good thing, and we have got it, let us keep it.
Is is not every year that we have a war, especially one where private soldiers get thirteen dollars per month and officers receive pay in proportion, and all for doing NOTHING. Just 'go on' with your warring. I can do as heavy sitting around as any man on the public works, and I shall not leave the job till they cut the pay down to less than six dollars, for I can earn that amount at this time of year, chewing tobacco and spitting on onion beds, which is a new patent for killing bugs on vines. There is no news in this part of the army worth reciting.
The boys are quite well, in fact, I might with propriety say, they are tough. As for your humble servant, he is quite unwell, and does not expect to live from one end to the other.
Our regiment is considerably reduced in numbers from what it was when we started from Arlington Heights, last spring, but I think what there are left of us are made of the "real old stuff." I don't think it would be safe for any such diseases such as cholera, small pox, or typhoid fever to attack us single handed. Perhaps take the three combined they might make us SICK - nothing more; for nothing short of a Minnie can kill us, or we would have been dead ere this.
We are having some very warm weather, but how warm I cannot say, for I have not seen a thermometer since I left Wisconsin, but if I remember aright as to their length and which way the mercury runs, I should think it would take one about three feet long to indicate the weather here.
When you want any more bugling from me just let me know.
From the Second Regiment
A BULLETIN FROM THE VALLEY OF THE SHENANDOAH
'You will burn the bridge at Port Republic without delay
"You will approach the bridge at
Port Republic from the East side. Hold
"After crossing the bridge at Port Republic, burn it behind you.
" To the Provost Marshal:-Send all of your command at Fredericksburg to
spare to my assistance immediately.
"To the Provost Marshal: -
You will have all of you command at
Fredericksburg to-morrow, as I will be down from Washington with some ladies to
The foregoing I copy from the Philadelphia Enquirer and though it is but but a device at the head of an advertisement for the purpose of attracting attention, it is a good illustration of the present condition of affairs upon the Rappahannock and in the valley of the Shenandoah. We have altogether too many "Major Generals commanding" for the amount of troops commanded and the reason that Stonewall Jackson has been so successful in baffling pursuit and outgeneraling the Generals sent against him is there are too many heads to our army, and when we see an order like the following which concludes the "bulletin for the Valley of the Shenandoah we may look for movements more telling than we have had:
"Until further orders the army of the Shenandoah will report to Major
Since my letter from the south of the Rappahannock on our way, as I then hoped,
to Richmond, we have marched over a good many miles of Virginia turnpike and
through some bye, but unluckily for us, not forbidden paths.
R. K. B.
DEAN AT HOME.-We learn from Capt Ryland who has just returned from the East that he traveled part of the way returning with Adjutant C. K. Dean of the 2nd Wisconsin on his way to visit his family and home at Boscobel. Dean was a prisoner for some weeks, at Richmond but lately released. His account of what came under his eye during his short stay at Richmond among the secesh is reported as amusing and highly interesting. We hope Adjutant Dean will call down this way among his hosts of friends before leaving, and read us a volume of his experience.
A letter from Adjutant Dean to the Grant County Herald states that Frank Noble and John M. Vantassel of Co. G. who were enlisted by Lt. Hill in Brant Co. have been missing since the 21st of April. the regiment had stopped for the night while on the march from Catlett's Station at Elk Run and Noble and Vantassel "deployed" for some straw to sleep on and probably fetched up in the jaws of some rebel scouts as they have not been heard of since. They were good boys we knew him well, and there is no probability that they deserted. Bad joke on the boys.
The Wisconsin 2d, 5th, 6th and 7th
A correspondent from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, writing from "Headquarters Third Brigade, King's division, McDowell's Corps, Catlett's Station, Va., speaks as follows of the condition of our regiments:
As many of our readers are especially interested in the Wisconsin regiments,
I will give you briefly a few items relating to them. The 2d, 6th and 7th went
on no expedition down their river as was announced frequently in your city.
Their destination at one time was the Peninsula, but it was subsequently
changed, and they were sent to the front. The 5th Wisconsin is the only one of
your regiments before the battlements of Yorktown and they have already been in
the advance during several severe skirmishes conducting themselves bravely, of
Assistant Adjutant General Lieut Frank A. Haskell,
Brigade Commissary Lieut. John Drum,
Brigade Quartermaster Lieut I. N. Mason
Brigade Surgeon Dr. J. McNulty
Aids-de-Camp Lieut Nat. Rollins,
Lieut. Mason has just been appointed to his present position which entitles
him to the rank of Captain. A prompt energetic business man, he is just the man
for Quartermaster and has earned his present promotion. The staff officers
perform their duties promptly and accurately and the headquarters of Col.
Cutler's brigade is as pleasant a place to live as I have found in any camp on
the line of my travels.