Events from the Past

Knights Ferry, 1999

Fellow Black Hat's
WOW The first event of the year has came and gone and what an event it was:1 I am very proud of all those who attend. You ALL did well new men and old (no offense Gramps).
Congratulations to Sgt. Book and Cpl. Severson on their promotions. I am sure that they will due the Company proud.
I think that we were all surprised when the company drove up to the Manteca Police Range and saw our brothers from the "Old Sixth" waiting for us. At least I was, and I know for a fact that Lt. Rollins was:  What a grand time the live shoot was. Many shots were taken at the glorious banner and when all was said and done (and out) the flag that the Lt.'s poor old mother worked on was torn to ribbons  well sort of.
On Saturday morning the colors were unveiled an we took the field of battle and you could almost sense the fear in the rebels as the Black Hate moved foz w rd across the field of battle. All were happy to hear the crowd say things such as,"hey! how come their flag is the only one with holes in it?" and "they must be shooting real bullets.'" I was proud to follow that flag into battle and an the flag bearers were shot dead I was on
of those to lift the banner of the 2nd aloft until I was wounded slightly.
I think it's a good time to mention that our brave drummer Brian Gilbert was the one who, taking it upon himself and without thought to injury, raced with our colors from the field to prevent their capture.
All in all, it WAS a great event and I was VERY pleased with the performance of the Randall Guards' I hope to see you all in the field with our sister regiment down south In April. Until then, keep your powder dry and your bayonets fixed.
1st Sgt. Thomas Muller

Company H, 2nd Wisconsin Vols.
McDowell's Corps, King's Division
Gibbon's BLACK HAT Brigade
Army of the Potomac

First Blood at Knight's Ferry
The recent battle at Knights Perry took a toll on the man of the 42nd Wisconsin. The troops were mustered early Saturday morning with full intention of getting bloody against the rebels that were invading the valley. While not all of the 42nd was able to get to this location we who were there mustered ourselves up with the 2d Wisconsin and had support from the 69th NY.
That morning started with full promise of getting in and kicking rebel butt, but when we were advancing on the rebel hold territory there broke out some deployment confusion among our troops. Taking the order to clear the brush as  appeared in direct conflict to what the Colonel had in mind. It seemed to us he would rather have the 20th Maine as his front than have the area cleared with a skirmish.
Being ordered to assemble to the rear, we did. As we made our way through the wilderness along the river bank our right flank was being shot away by South Carolina sharpshooters. Those fellas from South Carolina dogged us all day long' It would have been better if the Colonel had let us flank the right of the column and go after those boys from S.C.!
After rounding the old mill and getting into the open it was a workout.

Up hill. Down hill, you'd expect we were chasing chickens back home.

Still, there were those damn sharpshooters picking off the men of the 42nd from the high ground. For about forty minutes without a break we moved as ordered, taken hits and pushing forward, it felt as if the world stood still and hell was never going to leave, then it got quiet.
We were then able to regroup and rest a bit before making another attack on the rebel held position along the river. Firing from across the river at the Rebs held high ground did little to relieve the hail of bullets thrown at us as we crossed the covered bridge and exited out of the other side. Being ordered into a low area with rocks as cover the 42nd got separated from the 2nd as we entered the area under a hail of cross fire. The 42nd held a position close to the road and maintained a stalemate with the Rebs across from our position.

The fighting was fierce, rebels were inching their way closer to our position and we were taking casualties left and right. Then hell open her mighty gates!
Rebels were coming in from five different points on the compass. I had never seen so many Johnny rebels in one location before and it was frightening I got grazed in the head sometime during the cross fire, don't remember much. Happened to come to hours later and made my way back to camp.
I found out we took heavy losses and lost a couple to capture.
That night did little to relieve the aches gained from the days fighting. Two thirds of the company was hospitalized that evening with the good news that a, good third returned to active service the next day, although physically beat, moral was high.
Sunday saw almost a repeat of Saturday's engagement. The attempt as skirmishers though the woods was weaker due the losses sustained from the prior day and we no longer had support of the 69th NY. I felt as if it was going to take forever to get around the mill again and flush out the rebels. Through all push we could gather, the 42nd made it to the field on the east side of the covered bridge, but not without a great cost to the 42d.

At two thirds strength we saw this battle to it's end, with a Union victory.
In retrospect all Union units took a beating, and took it hard. Many soldiers were hospitalized from any additional action that had taken place later that same day. The numbers were down. Those of the 42nd have now been tested and survived, have gained knowledge not taught in schools and will be there when called upon for by Lincoln and the United States.
Most humbly,

1st. Sgt. Dave Mascitelli
42d Wisconsin

The Bridige is Safe
Once again I smile with pride! With our friends from the 42d and 6th we won yet the biggest unit on the field.? Can it be only a year later?  The sound of the people cheering us through the bridge on Saturday rings in my ears yet and we didn't even run that fast this year. And how about that flag!
I want to thank the "old Sixth", the 42d Wis. I Mike Wagner of the 14th Ind. (who incidentally may join us again and is looking into another live shoot in the Valley), and all of the now lads who joined our ranks Saturday and Sunday. We were huge Saturday!

I would defer to the Top Kick for the numbers , but wow what a show. I can't wait until Roaring Camp to see those numbers again!
One thing that we have to work on very strongly is our alignments. I know that the ground where we were was terrible and more prone to guerrilla& fighting, but we are Gibbon's men and we need to maneuver just a bit better. I have been reading a bit of material from 1862 and the boys maneuvered even at South Mountain an if they were on Parade. So, Gentlemen (theres that word Gramps.) be ready for drill and lots of it. I suspect that the Col. will have some instore for us and you know what that means-our pride is at stake here. We will be the best, there is no question in my mind.
For the next events and the rest this year, IF YOU NEED LOANER GUN contact your Corporals. These are currently Corp. Severson (congratulations) and Corp. (Elect. should ranks grow or Dave have to leave as he will in Aug.) Travis Kilbourne. I am too busy to deal with that at the opening of events.

If you have loaner gear, also contact these guys as they will keep track of the equipment. Remember, it is first come first serve with the newest members getting priority.
Training will be handled by Sgt. Book, this includes Safety and Scott's If you are a new member and have questions about this, ask Rick.

Rick will be given all of the walkons for this training as well. Please do not bug Rick with other items, he is too busy for that as I am for gear.
Sgt. Mueller will be incharge of the unit functions. If you have any other questions about what is happening, or schedule then you am to direct your questions to Jeff. He in responsible for getting you to where you need to be and when.
I am the Grand Lord Overseer and will not be bothered by your petty needs! Seriously, for the next event I am the coordinator and may not be in camp except for drill. I will always drill with you. Even when you guys duck out I cause it is too hot, just remember who will be out there. I guess someone's Got set the example.
I want to give a special thank to Dick Jones and Ban Cantu for working with me to find a site to shoot up our grand flag, thanks to all of the new guys who shared the loaner rifles and stretcher duty, and a special note to Jonathan whose brogans hurt him and was shamed enough by me to go out and bust his arse in stretcher duty (thanks) in the last battle. Remember, hurtin' brogans are no excuse to leave your brothers out in the field alms.
We also are going to need to buy ammo before the middle of the mouth. There will be a price increase and this needs to be beat. Fortunately, the money is looking good.
One final note, I have been experiencing costs in the loaning out of my rifles and gear. I am now going to start charging $10 per weekend for the use of the rifles. Sorry, but I can't support you all, even though I would if I could. Somehow, we need to pay for cleaning fluid and broken parts and wear and tear on my personal gear. This is the only way that I can figure to do it. If you are required to share a rifle, you will share the costs and responsibilities with whomever you share. This is my own personal charge and no money will be given to the unit, this only goes into cost recovery for damage to my own gear.
Gentlemen (that word again')! Thank, you for a great start and a most wonderful event this year, things can only get better' Break Ranks - MARCH

On to Richmond
Lt. Nat Rollins

Co. H, 2d Wisconsi

Company H in Madison, Wisconsin
For the "Return of the Second Wisconsin" as they did in 1864
they did again May 1998 in Madison, WI

Company H,
Return of the Second to Madison 1998

Dear Editor,

This letter is to express my most sincere appreciation to the citizens of your Fair City of Madison, the Citizens of Dane County and all others who turned out in full force to welcome home our battered remains of the Old Second.

I left in the Summer of ’61 under the command of the late Captain Randolph for Washington City. It was with high and stout hearts that we entered to protect our fair banner against those who traitors who might disgrace her glorious folds. We were very young just those three short years ago. Like many of our boys I was caught up in the adventure of it all.

Even after the first Bull Run we still didn’t quite understand our endeavor.

But as we lived through the blood baths of Gainsville, Second Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam through Gettysburg and into the Wilderness, we learned that the casual adventure was more than any of us would have ever imagined.

If we had, would we still have gone? Perhaps. Our Company Street was long in the beginning, a hundred able bodied men, the best sons Wisconsin had to offer. Today our ranks thinned by rebel shot and shell numbered just 17.
Many of those Wisconsin sons were left on the Virginia countryside, in testament to the seriousness of our endeavor.
We and your sons of the 6th and 7th as well as our brethren in the 19th Indiana and 24th Michigan showed that Western Boys were willing to fight and die for our beliefs, personified as the Iron Brigade of the West!

When I arrived in Madison, the depot was quite bustling, the city’s fair maids turned out to see the battered remains of our once gallant regiment. Though our numbers smaller, your citizens welcomed us home equal to that as if we all were present, and perhaps were. You visited our camp at Camp Randall, not by the tens, not by the hundreds, but I am sure by the thousands.

I wonder if was to see just how your relatives might be getting on down south. Never have I seen such a keen interest in our daily lives. Even after hours, the parade ground had to be cleared of visiting dignitaries and public so that we might get some rest before the Grand Review that you held in our honor. The day of the Grand Review broke warm and pleasant. The troops were fed and drilled for one last times. After the noon meal we formed and were given speeches by those who have followed our exploits. The drums beat, and out the gates of Camp Randall we marched. Many a boy was hailed by fair maidens as we passed in review. Many a boy returned the calls with a doff of his battered black hat. As we promenaded on to the Capitol Square thousands of joyous cheering voices arose into the air lifting up into the heavens above, calling to attention those lads who no longer marched with us, but in the ranks of St. Peter. We passed in review, once again with Col. Fairchild in the lead, albeit minus limb, but were for a moment as we were before, young.

As we were ordered into the square, flowers were thrown at our feet by fair young lasses and the beautiful ladies of the city pinned upon our breast a ribbon of white, a token of Wisconsin’s pride.

We were serenaded and given speeches by many a dignitary including Col. Fairchild himself on demand of the boys.

Perhaps the most touching moment occurred when Governor Lewis, while in mid speech proclaimed "and the heavens wept", and with that a spate of rain with large wet drops fell upon the shoulders of all present. I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that there was nary a dry eye among the lads.

For it was then that we knew those not within ranks were present at least in spirit in the heavens above. That evening with much feasting and festivities your citizens once again returned to Camp Randall en masse. Once again the provost had to chase you away in the wee hours. I felt as soldiers of Sparta or Rome must have felt upon their return from battles ancient. May this cruel war soon be behind us and all of the sons of Wisconsin return safely to hearth and home, and to their wives and sweethearts.

I extend my hearty thanks to the Citizens of Madison City, Dane County and the Great State of Wisconsin

Forever Forward!

Cpl. William McIntosh
2d Wisconsin Vol.s, Co. "H"
(a.k.a. Steven Bechtold, Co "H", SWIA)

Fort Point-Event
As the sun rose high in the East and the early morning fog began to burn off,
a formidable building began to emerge, it was Fort Point. Company "H" was
drawn up in line outside the Sally Port for a bit of morning drill.

That over it was time to post the guards seeing how we were the Guard for the fort that day. Officer of the guard was Lt. Bechtold with Sgt. Dunwoody in charge of guard rotation with Cpl. Biagi as his assistant. In line that day were the
following men : Lt. Bechtold, Sgt Dunwoody, Cpl Biagi, Pvts. Galvin, Jehle,
Kilbourne F. , Kilbourne T. , Poole, and Willadsen. We were aided that day by
reinforcements from the 42nd Wisconsin.

Drill continued all day as did the changing of the guard. I am happy to report that the guard was not needed to stop any riots that are becoming more frequent in SanFransico these days. At 5pm the colors were lowered and Company "H" was honored by being allowed to lower and fold the colors of Fort Point. After supper we all bedded down for the night. And as the sun set over the bay, we all wondered when this war would be over and when we could all go home to Wisconsin and Dane County.

Sgt. Jeff Dunwoody
Company H
2nd Wisconsin Vols.
Black Hat Brigade
Army of the Potomac

The picture was taken at Casa de Fruita and has elements of the 2d Wis. Co H, 42d Wis, and 69th NYV Co B.  Lt.  Dave Mascitelli is the Sgt. Mjr. of the 42d. Brian Gilbert is the drummer and the Sgt. is Jeff Dunwoody.

jason_1.jpg (77921 bytes) Click to see First photos of the Company Fall 1997
Wow! What an experience!

Well, Gettysburg was billed as the largest gathering of the Blue and Gray since the Civil War and it certainly lived up to all expectations, Despite having over 400 Blackhats, the entire event was just plain awesome! Between the marching, dusty trails, heat, humidity, crummy camp ground and the ticks, I have a lot more respect for the men who donned the Blue Frockcoat and the Blackhat for their country. I know that I would have been one of the stragglers so commonly referred to in the books (Scalawag!-sb.). My black hat goes off to those men who served their country with distinction that we portmy. I would also like to say that our Second Wisconsin Infantry comrades are superb men. We could not have picked a finer organization to belong to (You’re tellin’ me!-sb.). For those of you in the know, I also developed an appreciation for period drawers - some serious chaffing was taking place (need some salve!!!-sb.) Talk about penguin walks! Whew! I would like to let those of you who were unable to attend, that some of us managed to do some sight seeing let me say it was eerie to and very touching to see Culps Hill at sunset, with the entrenchments plainly visible. There was no trail to take you there, but having to march through the high grass and bushes and then seeing the monument to the 6th Wisconsin with a real Blackhat that someone had placed upon it sitting there. The sun was barely cutting through the trees and casting light on the monument while other places were dark. I can only say that the hair stood up on the back of my neck. According to a local who took Jason, Jeff and Scott there, that individual hat his been there for a few months, no one touching it.

Pvt. Rich Biagi, President, Co. H