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1863 January, The Second Wisconsin

La Crosse Weekly Democrat
"Town and Country," 
Tuesday, January 13th, 1863
 "Found -- the late remains of Col. E. O'Connor of the 2d Wisconsin Regiment
have been found and buried in the Congressional Cemetery at Washington. Col.
O'Connor was an able and distinguished officer."  (Note: This notice
published some four months following the fight at Brawner Farm, August 28th,
1862. Col. O'Connor's remains were later removed to Arlington National

Thanks to Fred Beseler, La Crosse
Co. B

Near Belle Plain, Va
Jan. 19, 1863

Now that the "Army of the Potomac is again on the move it may not be amiss to dwell for a moment upon the probable result of its earnest endeavors - Would to Heaven the impressions that swell impetuously within the bosoms of at least two-thirds of those composing this vast army with skin to victory. Nay; we'll not linger on this all absorbing topic. You can judge from the foregoing, however, that out faith is plighted? How vain it is, while we have such a Cabinet as heralds its power unmolested and is maintained and doted on by the most enlightened denizens that ever graced a continent.
"To indulge in the illusions of hopes"

The army of the Potomc have built excellent winter quarters, the soldiers have been allowed to labor incessantly for near two weeks and as soon as they were comfortably ensconced within their rude but comfortable log domiciles, giving ample time too for the enemy to form anew their base and fortify - they are ushered forth to lie upon mother earth in the most severe weather. If a winter campaign was intended, why did not our government embrace the golden opportunity offered during the most beautiful weather that ever greeted a lover of nature - the past six weeks? We are still enraptured with the solitary hope that McClellan is soon to be ushered among  us! Should such an event fail to be recorded in history, never will we be able to proclaim to the world that our arms have succeeded in making good their only desire, a reunion of all the States!

On the 17th inst,. the Printers of the 2nd Wis Vol. assembled to do honor to the memory of Benjamin Franklin- the Printer, Statesman and Philosopher.
It was the 157th anniversary of the birthday of that once noble patriot! 

It is the Second Festival (At Fort Tillinghast a year ago) that the disciples of Faust of this Regiment has given. One year ago there were 36 printers in the 2nd and now there remains only 14. Quite a number of invited guests were present among whom were Col. Fairchild, Major Stevens, Adjutant Dean and Quartermaster Ruggles of the 2nd Reg't and the jovial Brigade Surgeon, Dr. Ward, all of whom participated in the hilarious, as well as more serene, incidents of the evening.

Everything passed off to the entire gratification of all present and the occasion will long be remembered by the participants. It would be useless to make note of more than the following,  as I fear your space will not admit. This was prepared and read by Lieut G. M. Woodward ,of Co. "B", is worthy of record. 

It is however, only an extract from a Poem composing twenty-five stanzas.

"T'was thus we met one year ago-
How like a dream has past!
Where frowned upon the frowning foe,
The guns of Tillinghast.
Look round you, craftsmen! where are they 
Whose places then were filled-
Who mingled with us voices gay?
The voices DEATH has stilled!

Go! follow o'er Virginia's soil
The "Second's" glorious band,
As thro' the miry roads they foil
And thro' the burning sand,
and mark them with the heat o'ercome.
And from their burdens sore,
They drop with fever stricken home-
They to march no more. 

Go seek them where in van or fight,
The "Second's" flag is seen,
Mid flaming bands and bayonets bright,
With bursting shell between
Where Gainesville sees the traitors break,
Before the leaden rain,
And where the thunderous echos make
Manassas reel again

Where up the mountain's side is borne
Their column on the foe,
And where "Antietam's" fields of corn,
The fiery conflict show;
On every field without a fear, 
The Printer-soldier's stood!
They hold their country's honor dear,
And stayed it with their blood!

O, sweetly Natures mourner's keep,
Their vigils o'er the sod,
And screen them where they calmly sleep,
Within their last a bode!
Let every zephyr breathing by,
Each alien footstep chide,
Take up their dirge and with a sigh,
Tell how they nobly died.

And craftsmen, mid this merry din,
Give them a gentle thought.
With feelings warmed and deepened in,
The light from memory caught, 
And vow while we have life and breath,
To keep afresh their fame-
To average their early honored death,
Upon the "Giant Shame,"

Oh, glorious art which bides in one,
All other arts beside,
And all the tilts thro into that run
The schemes which men have tried
The brightened hopes the lofty plights
Imagination climbs
Around her unable form united
The logic of the times

Oft as the sun his splendor shows
Oft as in gloom he sets
With tidings of the world life goes,
To banish vain regrets
To lift the darkness from all eyes
Open wide the doors of hope
And lead mankind by gentle tine
Up wisdom's highest slope.

And we her children we who left
Her at the Nations call,
To fight for flag by treason rift.
For country, home, all souls
We'll not forget her cherished claim,
E'en in the midst of war,
But sing and toast her honored game,
and sound her praise afar

So fellow craftsmen here to night,
We'll have a famous bout!
Bring in the wine in beakers bright,
And anxious care turn out
What seek we now of wars alarms,
What seek we of the fight!
Midst eloquence and music's charms,
We'll have a bout to-night!

We would wish to add that your paper -- the cheerful medium comes regularly to hand and whether amid the battle's strife or in our quarters rips with comfort, it comes greeting and is indeed a welcome companion.


Jan. 20th, 1863. Up to this day we were in winter quarters at Belle Plaine. Gen. Burnside attempts a winter campaign, and today we break camp and march up the Rappahannock towards Banksford, a cold wind blowing from the northeast with rain since sunset. We are all wet, and stop for the remainder of the night, without fire or shelter on a barren ridge. 

Jan. 21st, remain with the trains near Stoneman's Switch on the Aqua Creek and Fredericksburg Railroad. 

Jan. 23rd, a council of war was held, campaign abandoned. 

Jan 24th return to our winter quarters at Belle Plaine, but marching through mud and rain about forty miles. The campaign is termed Burnside's Stuck in the Mud.

February 1863