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1862 August, Seventh Wisconsin
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT
CAMP GIBBON, VA., AUG 6.
The following letter we find in a late number of the Berlin Courant, and as there are several items of interest, aside from what our regular correspondent has furnished us, although of a earlier date than our last issue contained, we make room for this:
Our Regiments that went out reconnoitering of which I spoke
heretofore, got back all safe. The 2d boys brought in one prisoner, a cavalry
man. His horse was shot from under him and he was captured while the balance of
the Secesh left in a hurry. They came right upon Gen. Gibbon and staff, eating
dinner, and fired into them. The 2d boys were near by, had their guns stacked,
and were washing their feet at a creek. None of our boys were hurt.
Day before yesterday Burnside landed at Aquia Creek with twenty-nine Regiments. They had been shoving them on here night and day ever since. I think they must be about all here by this time. We think we are to go to Richmond in a few days; though it may be we will stay here a week or two yet. - Burnside's men are camped near us. Our brigade is out reconnoitering. This is the third day of their absence.
The living is the worst part of soldiering. If we only received what we are entitled to we would do well enough. - Our living every day is mainly as follows; Bread, or when on march, hard crackers; coffee, every day; about once a month, tea; sugar, about two-thirds of a supply; ancient salt pork, bacon or ham - how cured, or where or when we know not; we only know it is not fit for a dog to eat much less for a soldier. I am satisfied one-half the deaths among the soldiers are caused by the kind of food they eat. Yet, thank God, all soldiers do not live quite as poor as we do. Their officers manage somehow to get vegetables for them and see that they are furnished their regular rations, when we never have been.
Aug. 9th.- Our brigade got in yesterday. They had a tough time out in Seceshdom. Brigadier General put them through about 25 miles the first day in the hot sun. Men fell by the way-side. About 30 of the 19th Indiana boys, 22 of the 2d Wisconsin, and six of ours were captured by the guerillas. Homer Loomis, of Company I, being among the number. He was from Boscobel. Hatch's Brigade (late Augur's) lost five or six fort horse teams. Our brigade had one or two skirmishes and killed one or two rebels. Hatch had one of this orderlies killed. - While the other regiments were keeping the Secesh in business, the Wisconsin and Indiana Cavalry went down to Frederick Hill Station west of Beaver Dam, destroyed one bridge and tore up two miles of railroad track. Lots of mules and horses were brought in when they returned. But I suppose our poor sick boys have been compelled to travel to Richmond before this time. God pity them! This country is full of guerrillas. Every man is one and the women are she devils. Every white man's hand is against us. We are watched by the citizens; news is carried and sent by them. The only way to do is to shoot or make prisoner of every white man we find. We are finding it out now. The people of the North can learn only by sad experience. They will find out who they are fighting, in the course of six months, I hope.
The contrabands are the only people here we can depend upon. They tell us where the Secesh are - never lie to us - wish us God speed - are are of great use to us. They leave here by car loads every day and go to Washington. - Where they go from there I know not Probably sent off on the Underground Rail Road.
I was sorry to see in a late Courant an article from the La Crosse Democrat speaking lightly of General King. We think there is no better General on earth than General King. A man who said a word against him here would have to "fight or climb."
Gen. King is a good soldier - understands his business - and is a MAN. All soldiers are not men, even if their position is a high one. Gen. King never puts on style. He is a plain common man and will listen to the complaint of a private as soon as he will to a Colonel. We like him above all men - will follow him to the end of the earth - and woe to those who oppose us!
It is very warm here. Have had no rain to amount to anything for three weeks. The crops are very poor. We have had plenty of blackberries. Apples are plenty but very poor, and just getting ripe. Peaches will be plenty soon.
FROM THE 7TH REGIMENT
CAMP GIBBON, AUG. 6TH, 1862
FRIEND PEASE: - As quite a long time has elapsed since I
wrote you, I thought I would send you a line or two this evening. by the way of
letting off some of the superabundance of joy I feel tonight on account of the
waking up of the Government as exhibited in the last call for 300,000 more men .
Things begin to assume the shape they ought to have worn one year ago and which, if they had, the war would now have been over, and now as the question of drafting is settled and as "Old Honesty "seems terribly in earnest the men will be forthcoming, and secesh wiped out in a very short time after the new levies get into the field and our superannuated old ma, or daddy. (England.) together with Johnny Frog, see that this universal! Yankee nation is "some pumpkins" yet! if one half of it has "seceshed."
Our Brigade is now out, having been gone two days on an expedition down to the Va. Central R.R. to tear up tracks, burn bridges and sundry other devilment for the purpose of letting old "Stonewall" know that "we are about." Whilst, for the last forty hours, there has been a constant stream of soldiers pouring into this vicinity from the Potomac. - twenty eight regiments in all or about 20,00 men of Gen. Burnside's Corps de Armee, - the heroes of Roanoke, New Bern &c. Which fact, taken in connection with the advance of Gen. Pope's main army from Warrenton, means that ere long we of the 7th will have our prayers answered in one particular at least; that is, of advancing on Richmond
How long before this will happen, I know not, but your humble servant has hope and faith both, that the time is short. It we do and it our luck to meet the enemy. You will hear from us.
Under the programme of General Pope's there is a new life infused into the men; they at last think they will have a chance to do something towards accomplishing the purpose for which they enlisted and not spend the period of their enlistment in dress parades, reviews and guarding secesh property and it also looks as if we were going to have a change of Generals. God grant it may be so!
And that our connection with McDowell's Corps do Armee had ended, and that General Burnside will take us in hand.
The numbering of the days of this rebellion is in the hands of the people at home; its very hours are in their keeping; its duration, its cost in treasure and blood, is with them every hour, is fraught with life and death to their brothers, fathers, and sons now in the field, and no doubt but a war with England or France, or both, hangs upon the issues of the next ninety days.
I hope Marquette will not be so laggard in enlisting men as to make it necessary to double the number that she will have to draft, but that in fact she will furnish her quota for both calls. By voluntary enlistment. surely no man whose age and ability would lay him liable to a draft will run the risk of one when he had every inducement of interest and honor to urge him to volunteer.
The bounty first, and the present pay to families as well as the soldier is a special act or law. They run the risk of losing the $5 per month for their families, and the $13 per month to themselves and only receiving $11 per mouth for their pay. Whilst I can assure them that as drafted militia they will have anything but a pleasant time among the volunteers, who although they're very good boys in their way have as supreme contempt for a drafted man as an "Old Salt " for a marine and would take as much delight in showing it.
There is still another reason for enlisting and that too in some of the old regiments: The additional bounty, old friends and acquaintances, and under officers with who you are acquainted. So that if there is any one that should read this and conclude to enlist in some one of the nineteen old regiments, all he, or they, have to do is to go to Madison to the Adjutant General who is authorized to enlist them for any company, in any regiment they may choose, and forward them to it. Surely no man who duty or interest dictates that he should join the army, by enlisting rather than risk a draft, will hesitate for a moment what to do.
But I must close this having already spun it out to a length not intended when I begun it, promising that, should I trouble you again, I will give you something more interesting.
From the 7th Regiment
Headquarters 7th Regiment, Gibbon's Brigade, King's Division
Fredericksburg, Aug. 9, 1862
In my last letter to the Spectator there was an error which I
wish to correct in this to wit: in regard to the number of enlisted men in the regiment.
I stated that 592 ration were issued. This mistake was caused by a visit in
Jasper Vosburg's wagon to the bakery in Falmouth and the numbers of loaves
issued for the Seventh Regiment that day being taken for the general number of rations
issued Co. C, being then on guard in Fredericksburg, and many other details being
out on special duties. As near as I can find out the number will show as follows
24 detailed for Artillery service; 8 on the western gunboats (two of who A. S.
Hoag of Co. I, and Mark Wilson of Co. E were slightly
scalded by the explosion of the Mound City when on the celebrated expedition up
the White River, Ark.); 15 in the construction corps; 3 at Brigade Headquarters;
4 nurses in Hospitals; 84 absent sick, Louis Brown, Hiram Colby and Jasper
Vosburg of Co. I are teamsters (the latter was favorable mentioned in you local
columns, when the Northwestern tigers went through Berlin, last year. He has not
yet given that good mother any cause to blush. Steady and reliable as his elders
in his duty he deserves honorable mention as much as a Colonel or General.) The
number may lack of two or three, 926, including sick or those as above stated on
detached duty. 747 was the number stated to be in camp by the Colonel. The Seventh
is a larger regiment in numbers than any in the Brigade. Although deaths and missing may
reduce the preceding figures somewhat still it is very near correct. Private
David Thorngate of Co. I, a very exemplary and worthy man, a steady and obedient
soldier respected by his comrades, died in the hospital at Alexandria on the 10th
inst.; no report was sent to the regiment of his death and the way his brother
learned of his decease was through a newspaper which accidentally found its way
into camp. Hercules ought to arise from his grave to clean out the General
Hospitals around Washington. Mr. Thorngate has three brothers in the Army, one of
whom, Mr. Henry Thorngate, is a Color Corporal in the Seventh. Another brother is
in the West and participated in the battle of Pea Ridge, Ark.
The orders of Gen. Pope and the proofs of earnestness of the Government in conduct in the war has cheered up the boys a good deal. We can notice already marked change in the treatment accorded to traitors in this vicinity. Let all the people say Amen and sustain the President in the new policy forced by circumstances upon him and another year will terminate the struggle. There was much conservatism in the army last Spring. There is none now. You might as well make up your mind first as last that to end this war you must neither protect the lives of guerrillas or the property of traitors, it will be time enough to discuss the status of the Negro when you've determined that of the traitors. The saying that their are any loyal people South is mixed. Those who were once are not much so now.
The quality of their patriotism is not strained of the if's and but's and which abound in the vernacular of the day. They must be purified by fire or the existence of the once glorious American Union will become a thing of the past.
Young men at home! You must come and sustain the "rowdies," as the London Times calls the soldiers in the field or your county is lost. Consider well your duty.
On the 5th inst, this brigade made a reconnaissance to Fredericksball Station on the Virginia Central Railroad, burned the depot, a bridge and a tobacco warehouse and torn up the track for two miles near that place. The whole brigade together with the Regular and Rhode Island Batteries and the Third Indiana Cavalry and Harris Light Cavalry started at 1 o'clock A. M. crossed the river and were several miles out to Fredericksburg by daylight. The Sixth Wisconsin Regiment, Col. Cutler, took road to the right while the main body advanced on the Richmond telegraph road. The morning star greeted us in full glory as we started with a light step, did we tread our way, we knew on whither, but all were eager, hopeful and determined. Towards ten o'clock, how ever, the haughty day
"Filled his blue urn with fire."
and it was almost too much for human nature to bear. Men fell
out and laid by the roadside, unable to ride, while the doctors rode backward and
forward filling the ambulances and loading down the teams quarreling with each
other and with the officers of the line. But they all did their best. Finally
the boys could hardly be induced to move. Strong men reeled and staggered, scarce
able to see their way. After a temporary halt, they started under the promise of
rest at a stream ahead a half a mile upon reaching whichm all bathed their heads,
feet and wrists and it was with difficulty many were persuaded not to strip and
bathe in the water. But quickly the sound of cannonading two miles ahead brought
every one to his feet. Forming and loading was but short work and we pressed
forward at a quick pace. Half a mile this side of Thornburg, two companies of the
Seventh marched up a side road to guard against an attack in the rear. Upon
reaching the skirmish ground we formed in line on the road and awaited orders.
Our ranks were considerably thinned by the heat. Then we changed our line to
the rear of a cornfield ready to relive the Second Regiment, which supported the
cavalry and artillery. On the right of the road, posted on a low rising ridge in
a wheat field, lay a battery which commanded the ravine on both sides of which
lay Thornburg, a village of no pretension as it consists only of three dwelling
houses and their respective Negro quarters, a mill, milldam and a dammed lot of
rock through which the Ta river, a tributary of the Anna and the Pumunky runs.
The rebels soon skedaddled. The explosion of shells over their dwelling seems to
have astonished the natives. As it was impossible for the cavalry to charge
through the woods after them without the support of infantry and as the boys
were too much fatigued to chase cavalry, we halted till the next morning. In the
afternoon the stragglers caught up those who were too much exhausted to walk in
the ambulances and those able to walk were brought up by the rear guard.
After resting the men, led by General John Gibbons, when all begin to admire, made a charge on an ice house and broke open the door with something. The ice was a great service. Ducks, chickens and small hogs subsequently suffered a serious loss of life. Green corn and apples together with butter, sugar, syrup and other groceries from a secessionist store evidently intended for the supper of the secession forces at the place were promiscuously and thoroughly appropriated, confiscated and digested by the troops. Some added to their supplies by drawing, (not from the commissary who yields nothing but adamantine crackers and candles, salt pork; and in lieu thereof, salt beef,) but from the ground by the roots, potatoes, Yes, drawer potatoes noble and delicious esculent .- You, citizen, smile, but you just live three months without them and you'll not try to cast contumely on the noble staple of the Emerald Isle.
We slept on our arms that night and next morning pressed on the road leading us along the line between Spotsylvania and Caroline counties. After advancing eight or ten miles the head of the column came in view of the enemy when the cavalry charged and Stuart's rebel cavalry skedaddle. Meanwhile the Sixth were at their work braking up communication with Richmond at Frederickshall Station. One of the rebel horse, who no doubt was a Union horse at heart, came back with us of his own accord. The Colonel's son, a dashing and gallant young man who busied himself all day in supplying the men with water, showed his skill and horsemanship in chasing another horse, assisted by Dr. Brainard, of Waupaca, but they were only successful in producing amusement of them selves and the troops.
Hearing that a body of rebel cavalry from Bowling Green were attacking our rear, the column hastened back to find that they lad captured many prisoners from each regiment, one of whom, Homer E. Loomis of Hustisford or Princeton, Wis belonging to Co. G - They did not capture any teams from this brigade but did from Hatch's (formerly Augur's) and killed an orderly sergeant of a New York regiment. Gen. Gibbons ,with the third Indiana Cavalry, and some pieces of artillery overtook them near Ny River and captured two pieces of artillery from them and killed several, they did not trouble us any more.
The Seventh could hear the cannonading but being a rear guard could not participate. The sharpshooters behaved well. We camped on the ground just as a cloud of dust caused by the skedaddle of the rebel force obscured a corner of the horizon to the east. Nest day we changed our direction via Spotsylvania Court House to the bank of the same steam in a southwesterly course and halted await the arrival of the Sixth Regiment, Harris Light Cavalry. Toward dusk we started for Fredericksburg and camped six miles from that place.
Next morning (the 8th) we reached Fredericksburg to find ourselves astonished by questions from troops we knew not but had heard of frequently but who might as well not be mentioned now. We are to march this evening hence this hurried scrawl. Hoping yet to furnish you better and more glorious news, I remain,
Yours truly W. D. W.
We find the following in the State Journal of the 24th inst, and it undoubtedly refers to William Britten of Platteville:-
The New York Tribune's account of Gen. McDowell's advance on Fredericksburg says that "Private Britton of the 7 Wisconsin who had rendered efficient service as a scout for Gen. King, had his leg broken by an accidental shot while in front. Mr. Britten was one of the first in Grant County to volunteer last spring, and having seen service in the Mexican War took charge for some time of the Second Grant County Company, now in the 3d regiment. The company did not exactly like his ways and not electing him to any office, he returned home. Subsequently he enlisted in Company C of the 7th Regiment and was granted a furlough to raise another company. Not getting men enough before his regiment was ordered off, he was obliged to go with it; the company was after wards filled up and is now in the 10th regiment. Britton was admirably fitted for scouting purposes he would have made a good company officer. He has a wife and family.
The statement above is not entirely correct. Mr. Britten was
for a time a Lieutenant in Capt Limbocker's Company but for some trouble growing
out of some officiousness of his, he at once resigned his commission, leaving the
men to better satisfy themselves with another officer.
P.S. We learn by the Herald of yesterday that Mr.Britten has had his leg amputated. Unfortunate.
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT
CAMP GIBBON, NEAR SLAUGHTER'S
MOUNTAIN, VA., AUG 14.
DEAR RECORD:- Since your reader last heard from me, through
your columns, I have passed through another section of Virginia, than what I have recently traveled. On the 10th inst., at two P.M., we were ordered to march
to join General Pope's Command, in the valley of Virginia. We marched that day
20 miles and forded the Rappahannock river at Elk Run Ford and camped at ten
P.M. with orders to march at two A. M. Pursuant to orders, at two o'clock, the
11th, we were again on the march filled with expectation that soon we would have
that privilege for which we left our homes and our loved ones, that of battling
with Southern traitors on the field of carnage and blood. We marched that day
twenty-four miles and camped about two miles from the battle field of Saturday
and Sunday; and when we camped at night were cautioned that the next day's fight
we would get all we wished for, that being what Jackson said we would get as soon
as the armistice for burying the dead terminated which he had extended twelve
hours longer than was first agreed upon for the simple reason that he wanted to
get the cover of darkness to skedaddle, an opportunity which they improved,
leaving some of their dead unburied which shows their haste to leave. Those left
by them unburied had their hands crossed on their breast and slips of paper
pinned to their clothes with their name Company and Regiment marked on them.
That night we camped. We were within shelling distance of the enemy and expected that the ball would open as soon as daylight; but instead of this; march again. It was a blessing we seem to he highly favored with and when I say a change in the programme would be desirable, I think I speak wearily the mind of the Regiment, We would like to do something for our country in putting down the rebellion - as to an old adage "I supposed we must wait our day," which may soon come - and in the day of battle may we show ourselves men of valor and undaunted courage, and grace, with honor, the State that sent us forth. For my part, I have no reason to think they will give to those in command over them that support which they will expect of them.
To-day we passed review by Generals Pope and McDowell. Everything passed off quietly and in order, and from the strict observance of the troops by both Generals as they rode along the lines very slowly, I could not help but notice the joyous expression that lit up the faces of both Generals as the troops spoke more than words for the confidence in both. General Pope is to all appearance a man of firmness and the right man in the right place. The commands here are McDowell, Siegel and Banks. Siegel's command again moved to the front. Last night all seemed to denote a general engagement at no distant day.
The country here is devasted, scarcely a vistage of anything being left, all seeming to share one common fate. However mutton makes its appearance in camp quite plentifully and is quite palatable after feasting for days together on hard bread and coffee, but we were tough and hearty as men need be.
On review to-day, our regiment (the 7th) was highly complimented for their splendid marching by division; our reviews have been by Brigade before. The marching of companies by division was new to most regiments but we have practiced marching by division, which we found to day to be of service to us.
One thing we have sincerely to regret is the Colonel Robinson, on account of ill health, has had to leave the command of the regiment. He has followed us in a wagon fitted up for him until, since we arrived here when he was obliged to leave us with many regrets on his part and truly many on ours. May God bless the means used for his recovery so that he may again lead us to victory. The command now devolves on Lieutenant Colonel Hamilton who is trying to do all he can to fill the place of Colonel Robinson.
Yours, &c., Stephen Durkee
Death of Lewis Spease
Mr. Cover:- Mr. Lewis Spease, a private of Co. F, 7th Reg't Wis Vols., died yesterday morning at the Carver General Hospital in this city. He had been sick with typhoid fever from which he had recovered but was quite weak from its effects to which was added chronic diarrhea. The surgeon of 4h hospital thought a change of scene would be beneficial to him and therefore had his discharge papers all made out and yesterday he was to have started home to his fiends in Grant County. Will you please publish this for the benefit of this friends.
Yours truly, Norman Eastman
Secy. Wis Soldiers Aid Society Washington Aug 15, 1862
List of causalities in Co. F 7th Regiment W. V. in the engagements of the 28th and 30th;
KILLED: Sergt. Lewis W Stephens, dead, (doubtful;) Corp'l
Edward S. McDowell, dead, (doubtful;) Corp'l, Wm. N. Miles, dead; Privates Harry
Ketner, and Herbert Roberts, both dead.
WOUNDED: Capt. John B. Callis, in thigh slightly; 1st Sergt. Alex. R. McCartney, in left leg above the knee, seriously; Corp'l. C. Giles Parker in left hand and left side, seriously; Corp'l Wm A. Smith in right leg, slightly; Corpl' Frances A. Boynton, right leg, seriously Privates Corydon B. Bishop, right thigh, slightly; Geo. Eustice, left hand, slightly; Perry Gilbert, Left shoulder, slightly; Wm H. Miles, right arm, seriously; John Marlow, through the nose into the mouth, seriously; Newton McPhail, right breast and left arm, fatallly, Julius B. Nicerson, right shoulder, seriously; Danford Rector, in the head, scalp wound serious, but not dangerous; Wm. R. Ray, in the head, very seriously; Lyman Carrier, left shoulder, seriously; John Lepla,, in the head, very seriously.
Missing.- Privates Henry Ruphee, supposed to be killed since returned; Edward F. McDowell, supposed to be killed since returned, Thos. Kee, supposed to be a prisoner since paroled.
From the 7th Regiment
List of killed and Wounded
We are permitted to extract the following from a letter from
Wm Hayes of Co. I, 7th Regt to his grandfather, Mr. W. Vender of this city. The
writer was but 15 year old when he enlisted yet he seems to take a fighting as
naturally as a duck to water. His father was a Lieutant, the the British army, and
the boy is evidently a chip of the old block. Although wounded, he seems crazy
to get into an other battle. He was doubtless one of those Wisconsin boys who
cried because ordered to fall back before they had fought enough
Camp near Centreville, Aug 31, 1862
I have been in two great battles and am not killed yet. On the evening of the 28th inst. we had a desperate fight. We whipped the rebels yesterday the 30th inst. The fight commenced on Bull Run about 11 o'clock A.M. and lasted till dark. The enemy outflanked us on the left by superior numbers and last night we retreated to Centreville. I was slightly wounded in the head in the first battle but the wound is nearly healed now. We lost, in killed and wounded, 25 men. In the two battles the men fell on both sides like grass before the scythe. I never liked anything better than to stand right up among the bullets and shells and give it to the rebels. Almost every officer in our brigade is either killed or wounded. We lost out of our regiment two hundred and fifty men. The 2nd and 7th regiments are now merged to one. I send you a list of the killed and wounded in Company I as far as reported..
KILLED:-Edison Terrill, Thornton Currey, Joseph Hurd.
WOUNDED.- Capt. Jas. Walther, Lieut. Bird, Sergt. Byron Cole, Wm. D. Williams, Webster Maxon, Wm. Mitchell, Francis Whitcomb, Stephen Wilkins, Geo. Williams, Byron Williams, James Jones, Norman Whitney, Wm. Hayes, Jas. Rossell, Ames Ware, Geo. Robertson, Halsey Currey , Lewis Weldon.
From the Beloit Company in the 6th Regiment - 3 Killed and 7 Wounded