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The Eighteenth Regiment was organized at Camp Trowbridge, Milwaukee, under the supervision of Colonel James S. Alban, early in the year 1862.
The companies constituting the regiment were recruited for the most part in the following localities:
|Company A Captain James P.
Fond du Lac county.
|Company F Captain Joseph W. Roberts, in Winnebago county.|
|Company B Captain Charles H. Jackson, in Green county.||Company G Captain John H. Compton, in Wood county.|
|Company C Captain Newton M. Layne, in Vernon county.||Company H Captain David H. Saxton, in Green Lake and Waushara counties.|
|Company D Captain George A. Fisk, in Monroe county.||Company I Captain William A. Coleman, in Columbia county.|
|Company E Captain William Bremmer, in Marathon and Portage counties.||Company K Captain William J. Kershaw, scattering throughout the State.|
During the winter the companies subsequently organized into the Eighteenth Regiment were quartered in the city of Milwaukee, mostly in vacant store buildings. During this time, there was little opportunity for company drill except in the manual of arms. In February the regiment was organized and went into barracks in Camp Towbridge, on the lake shore in Milwaukee. The snow was quite deep, rendering it impossible for the regiment to do much in the line of regimental and battalion drill. Considerable progress, however, was made in company drill, and the men became fairly proficient in the manual of arms and company maneuvers.
Its muster into the United States service was completed on the 15th of March. The regiment left the State on the 30th, with orders to report at St. Louis.
On Sunday, March 30, the regiment left Milwaukee, arriving at St. Louis the next day in the forenoon. Here it remained on the river levee some hours and then embarked on the packet John Warner and steamed down the river. The boat was laden with government supplies and the soldiers were crowded on the upper deck. Arriving at Cairo, the boat took its course up the Ohio River to Paducah, where the regiment disembarked and marched through the principal streets. Here the men saw the first evidence of real war. Stacked in two huge piles were some twenty thousand stand of arms, said to have been captured from the rebels at Fort Donelson. After an hour's march the regiment re-embarked and started up the Tennessee River toward its destination. The men had no definite knowledge as to where they were going, but there was a general impression that troops were being massed at some point on the river preparatory to a general engagement. The regiment had been equipped with Belgian muskets, which were very heavy and awkward, and on the levee at St. Louis forty rounds of cartridges had been distributed to each man. While passing up the river the boys got considerable practice shooting at loons and other objects.
On Saturday morning, April 5, the boat touched at Savannah, Tenn., and reported to General Grant, who had his headquarters at this point. The regiment was ordered to Pittsburg Landing, some ten miles further up the river, about noon, the regiment disembarked. This place was, like scores of other landings on the river, simply a landing place for boats. At the landing were one or two log cabins, which constituted the "place". This point had doubtless been selected as the nearest point on the river to Corinth, some twenty-three miles distant, where it was known that a rebel army was gathering. The river at this point runs almost directly north. At the time of disembarking many of the men were without rations. The regiment formed in line and marched back from the river in a southwesterly direction about two miles, going into camp near a small field known as "Spain Field", about one-half mile east of one of the roads leading from Pittsburg Landing to Corinth. During the late afternoon and evening, the regiment pitched its Sibley tents. The field which constituted the camp sloped toward the east and toward the river. The camp fronted west and toward Corinth. At the rear and easterly from the camp was a deep ravine, and beyond it was quite a steep rise covered with timber. In the front of the camp and along the west edge of the field ran diagonally toward the left of the regiment another ravine, quite deep and skirted with timber. This ravine was perhaps sixty or eighty rods distant from the extreme right of the regiment, with intervening timber. At the left of the regiment this ravine was somewhat deeper and ran within perhaps twenty rods of the extreme left of the regiment, where Company B was stationed.
They arrived at St. Louis on the evening of the 31st, and next day were ordered to proceed up the Tennessee River, to Pittsburg Landing. Arriving at the Landing about noon, of Saturday,April 5th, they were assigned to the command of General Prentiss which was then in the extreme advance, about four miles out on the Corinth road.
The Eighteenth Regiment formed part of Miller's brigade, which occupied the extreme left of Prentiss' division. On the extreme left of Miller's brigade was the Fifteenth Michigan, and next to it was the Eighteenth Wisconsin. Prentiss' division formed the extreme left of the Union army, and between it and the river was a gap of over a mile entirely unoccupied by troops except by Stuart's brigade, which was stationed nearly a mile from Prentiss' division, to the rear and toward the landing.
They reached the headquarters of General Prentiss about dark. A few tents, some baggage, but no provisions were brought up. Four days' rations had been served out at St. Louis, of which a few hard crackers remained. The men were thus without rations, and after putting up tents to better themselves, they went supperless to bed. They were without rations from noon of Saturday till after the close of the fight on the 6th, except such as they received from the Illinois regiment on their right. Soon after reaching camp, one hundred men were detailed to go on picket duty, about a mile to the front, under the command of Captain Fisk. The division of General Prentiss consisted of the brigades of Colonel Peabody and Colonel Miller, to the latter of which the Eighteenth was attached.
When the regiment went into camp on the afternoon of the 5th the men had no thought of an enemy being nearer than Corinth. The picket line that night was stationed less than half a mile in advance. That night the men made their bed for the first time in their army experience on the ground, and retired with no more expectation of an attack than they had in their barracks in Milwaukee. During the night occasional shots were heard in the direction of Corinth, but nothing was thought of the firing until early morning, when it became more frequent and soon continuous on the right, single shots giving way to volleys.
Captain Fisk, with his command, had returned but a short time before, and reported no signs of the enemy. The firing soon became so heavy as to induce General Prentiss to send forward the balance of the Twenty-first Missouri, in support of the pickets of that regiment. It was subsequently ascertained that the enemy had marched up during the night, to within two miles of the Union lines. The usual precautions being neglected by the commanding General, they were able to approach thus to our lines without being observed, no enemy being supposed to be within ten miles of the position.
Before the men had finished their breakfast the long roll sounded and the regiment fell into line for its baptismal fire. The regiment was formed about half way between its tents and the ravine and skirting timber in front. In the front of Peabody's brigade, constituting the right of Prentiss' division, skirmishers had been thrown out along the Corinth road, and these first engaged the enemy about 5 o'clock in the morning. This skirmish line was being driven back before the main body of the rebel army, and the battle soon raged along the entire line of Prentiss' division about 40 rods in advance of the camps.
After getting in line the Eighteenth remained some thirty minutes or more before it was attacked, throwing out a skirmish line across the ravine in front and then withdrawing it.
Meantime, the Fifteenth Michigan, being without ammunition, was withdrawn from the field, passing to the rear and joining McClernand's division on the right of Prentiss. This left the Eighteenth Wisconsin on the extreme left of Prentiss' division, with the wide gap before mentioned on its left. The enemy evidently knew our position better than we did ourselves, and it was their plan to pass our left flank and throw themselves between our troops and the river, which their superior numbers on the first day of the fight enabled them to do. This plan was pushed with vigor all of the first day of the fight. In carrying out this plan of attack, after driving in our skirmish line on the right of Prentiss' division, the enemy spread out along our line to the left, massing regiment after regiment on the front of the Eighteenth under cover of the timber and the ravine, by reason of which their movements were unobserved and they were able to approach within thirty or forty rods of our line without being seen.
The ground in front was broken by ravines, which enabled the enemy to advance his main force under cover. The Twenty-first Missouri, with the pickets of the Sixteenth Wisconsin, were soon driven into the lines, and almost simultaneously, the enemy appeared, marching in three lines of battle.
The rebel troops massed in front of the Eighteenth was Chalmers' brigade consisting of five Mississippi regiments. A member of Company B, which occupied the extreme left of the Eighteenth, stood where, by reason of a deep depression in the bank of the ravine, he could see the rebel troops passing along the ravine to the left. He says that he saw rank after rank of troops passing along the ravine to the left, so that when the enemy opened fire on the regiment from the timber and brow of the ravine, they had already turned its left flank. In the meantime, the enemy had pressed in on the right of the regiment, under cover of the timber, and were passing around its right flank. This left the regiment exposed to a fire from the front and also to an enfilading fire from both flanks. There the regiment stood in the open field as if on dress parade, with its tents for a background, exposed to a merciless fire from the brow of the ravine in front and also both flanks. If the regiment had been lined up on the brow of the ravine in front or taken position on the ridge to the rear, instead of in the open field, the advantage would have been in its favor. But its officers knew nothing of war or its stratagems, and apparently had no thought of availing themselves of the natural advantages which the contour of the field presented. If the regiment had been drawn up for the special purpose of giving the enemy all the natural advantages the field presented, and placing our troops in the most dangerous and exposed position, the plan could not have been better carried out. This is not said for the purpose of placing any blame on the officers, who got themselves for the most part killed off or captured before the battle was through. These officers were among the bravest, but they knew nothing of war.
The men of the Eighteenth Wisconsin met their advance without flinching, notwithstanding the disadvantage of being a raw regiment without adequate drill and discipline. Prentiss' division opened fire along the whole line, but the enemy, in overwhelming numbers, pressed on, and by 8 o'clock, succeeded in turning the right flank of the division, and regiment after regiment, on the right, fell back, in order to avoid certain capture. The Eighteenth held its ground until the enemy, by means of a ravine on its left, succeeded in turning that flank, and concentrated their fire upon them, when they too, slowly retired. Here Acting Adjutant Coleman fell, severely wounded, and was carried from the field by Lieutenant Potter, of Company A.
The Eighteenth fell back, in good order, to a ravine, about twenty rods to the rear. Here the regiment stopped, and poured in a well directed fire on the enemy, who was then in the camp, temporarily checking them. In crossing the ravine, the regiment was exposed to a raking fire from the rebels on the flank and front; they therefore moved up the opposite hill, where they joined the main line, and with it, fell back. From this time the fighting became irregular. Availing themselves of the shelter of trees, the loading and firing was independent of orders. As the enemy pressed them in front, or got in on their flanks, the forces of General Prentiss would retire. Parts of companies were detached, and became mixed with other regiments. After fighting in this desultory manner about seven hours, that portion of the regiment which was together, was nearly surrounded by the enemy, who approached in front and on both flanks, pouring in a tremendous cross fire, in which Colonel Alban was shot through the body, and Major Crain fell dead, with eight wounds on his person. In the confusion caused by this heavy loss, and before they could think of retreat, the enemy was among them, taking prisoners, and firing almost in their faces. The fighting of the regiment was over, and nothing was left but to escape being captured. They broke in squads, and retreated as best they could. The official reports show 174 men missing, the most of whom were taken prisoners. The Colonel and Major were killed, Lieutenant Colonel Beall and Acting Adjutant Coleman were both severely wounded, Captain Compton, of Company G, was killed, and Captain Millard, of Company A, Lieutenant Jackson, of Company B, Captain Layne, of Company C, Captain Fisk and Lieutenant D. W. C. Wilson of Company D, Captain Bremmer, of Company E, Lieutenant Stokes, of Company F, Captain Saxton and Lieutenant Woodworth, of Company H, and Lieutenants Ford and Southmayd, of Company I, were among the prisoners taken by the enemy. These officers, with the enlisted men taken, spent many weary months in rebel prisons, and many of them died there.
(G.S. Martin's Description) As the result of this exposed position, after a few volleys the regiment retreated to the ridge in the rear of the camp, leaving many of its number killed and wounded on the field and its camp in the possession of the enemy. The rebels came up out of the ravine with a yell and immediately fell to plundering the camp. This very nearly cost them all the advantage they had gained, for the Eighteenth had established a new line on the ridge, and poured in a galling fire on the exuberant enemy. Here some severe fighting ensued, but the position could not be maintained by our troops, for the enemy seemed to be in such force on this part of the field that they had no difficulty in engaging our front and at the same time closing in on our flanks, necessitating retreat or capture.
Slowly and stubbornly the men gave way before the heavy rebel lines, obstinately resisting their advances through scattering trees, until they found a new position about three-quarters of a mile from their first line, in a washed-out road in a small grove that has since been known as the "Hornet's Nest", on account of the severe fighting and terrible execution in the enemy's ranks here inflicted. The brave men who held that position against fearful odds for many hours rendered a service that cannot be properly estimated, because the rebels there checked in their advance would have been invaluable to their comrades, who had already turned the left flank of our army and were pressing on toward the landing, which they failed to reach because of their weakened lines and diminished numbers. Three times the rebel brigades charged this Hornets' Nest position and three times were driven back. Then sixty-two pieces of artillery were brought up, making a line a quarter of a mile long, being placed as near together as they could be worked, and ordered to fire at will, and the terrible carnage that followed made it impossible long to endure the storm of lead and iron that came from those guns. Words are inadequate to properly picture the resulting scene. Smoke enshrouded alike friend and foe with one vast pall. Neither side could see the other. Guns were aimed at sound rather than at objects. This position was maintained till about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, when it was found that the enemy had reached a position to our rear, and our troops abandoned their stronghold only to find themselves surrounded; and at 5:30 o'clock in the afternoon about twenty-two hundred of Prentiss' division were captured, among whom were nearly two hundred of the Eighteenth. Among the commissioned officers of the Eighteenth captured at this point were:
|Captain James P. Millard, commanding Co. A||1st Lieut. Thomas A. Jackson, commanding Co. B.|
|Captain Newton M. Layne, commanding Co. C.||1st Lieut. George Stokes, commanding Co. F.|
|Captain George Fisk, commanding Co. D.||First Lieutenant Ira H. Ford, commanding Co. I.|
|Captain William Bremmer, commanding Co. E.||First Lieutenant D. W. C. Wilson, of Co. D.|
|Captain D. H. Saxton, commanding Co. H.||First Lieutenant S. D. Woodworth, of Co. H.|
Second Lieutenant O. A. Southmayd, of Co. I.
At the point of this surrender and near the "Hornets' Nest" the National Commission of the Shiloh Battlefield has placed an iron tablet containing this inscription:
|"Eighteenth Wisconsin Infantry, Miller's Brigade, Army of the Tennessee. About 200 of this regiment were engaged here under General Prentiss from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 6, 1862, when they attempted to retire, but were captured with Prentiss at 5:30 p.m."|
The casualties among the officers of the regiment during the first day's fight were: Lieutenant George Walbridge, Company E wounded during the first attack, and also Lieutenants Thomas J. Potter, Company A, and S. D. Woodworth, Company I, wounded later in the day. Captain John H. Compton, of Company G, was killed while rallying his men. About 1 o'clock while gallantly encouraging his boys in the Hornets' Nest, Colonel Alban was shot from his horse by a sharpshooter, dying the following day. A few minutes after, Lieutenant-Colonel Beal, who had gone afoot on the firing line to tell of the colonel's wound and assume command, fell with a ball through his leg; and about this time Acting Adjutant Edward Coleman was severely wounded. Just before surrender, Major Crane while seated upon his horse, fell pierced by eight bullets from a volley of rebel flankers.
In falling back from the first line of attack, the regiment, owing to its lack of training in regimental movements, became somewhat disorganized, and portions of it became detached from the main body. These detached portions did good service during the first day in other commands, principally in General Hurlbut's division. On the second day of the fight about two hundred and fifty of the regiment were gathered by a few remaining officers and formed into a battalion, and acted as a support of a battery. Early in the morning of the second day they advanced with Buell's force and drove the enemy before them, reaching their old camp in the afternoon about 4 o'clock. During the evening other parts of the regiment came in, so that there were about five hundred men in camp, together with the wounded that had been picked up on the field. The regiment went into the battle about nine hundred strong. During the following summer it mustered about three hundred men fit for duty.
Adjutant General Gaylord, of Wisconsin, in his report, says of the Eighteenth Wisconsin; "The terrible list of casualties shows that on this blood-stained field they sustained the reputation of Wisconsin soldiers." And Governor Harvey, who lost is life looking after the Wisconsin sick and wounded on this field, writing from the battlefield shortly after the battle, says: "Many regiments of that fight may well covet the impression which the Eighteenth Wisconsin left, of personal bravery, of heroic daring and determined endurance."
On account of the disorganized condition of the regiment after the battle, owing to the loss of all its field officers, including the acting adjutant and most of the company officers, the reports of the killed and wounded in this battle are very imperfect, and it is impossible at this late day to obtain an absolutely correct list. It is more than probable that some who were reported "missing" were killed and buried on the field without identification. Several of those captured, and who died soon after in rebel prisons, were doubtless wounded, but the fact never reported. The mortality in the regiment shortly after the battle was great, twenty-nine having died during the months of April and May.
On Monday, about 250 of the Eighteenth were gathered by the few remaining officers, and formed into a battalion, and acted as support of a battery, with other regiments. Early in the morning, they advanced with Buell's forces, who drove the rebels before them, and reached their old camp about four in the afternoon. Here they remained, while the rest of the troops pushed forward in pursuit of the enemy. During the evening, the stragglers came in, so that there was nearly 500 men in camp.
The list of killed, and those who died of wounds, show 25 killed and 93 wounded.and one hundred and seventy-four taken prisoners. The following lists of those who were killed or died of wounds and of the wounded in this battle, are somewhat larger than the official report, showing that the number of killed, including those who died of wounds, was forty-one, and that the number of wounded was ninety-three. These lists have been compiled from the Adjutant General's reports and from lists appearing in Quiner's and Love's histories of Wisconsin troops in the Rebellion, and from information gathered from members of the regiment:
List of Killed and Those Who Died of Wounds. Total 41
Field OfficersColonel James S. Alban and Major Josiah W. Crane
Co. ACorporal Marcenus Gurnee, Privates Cephus A. Whitmore, Thomas Leeman and Marshall Caffeen
Co. BPrivates Hiram E. Bailey and William Spencer (Redmond McGuire was shot by his guard in prison at Tuscaloosa, Ala., April 10)
Co. CPrivates William Kettle, Norris W. Saxton, Samuel Sager and Samuel Fish
Co. DPrivates George Hicks and Milton M. Stewart
Co. ECorp. John E. Field, Privates Clifton G. Merrill, Reuben Edminster, George W. Evans and Isaac Levisee
Co. FPrivates Otis A Cotton, Robert McWilliams, Hartley Onderdonk, Henry I. Jenkins and Ambrose Felto.
Co. GCaptain John H. Compton, Private A. M. Coon
Co. HPrivates Edward B. Ballou, Joseph H. Garlap, Solomon Mansfield, Clark P. Walker and Eugene Gay
Co. ISergeant Rensler Cronk, Corporal Thomas Laskey, Privates Morris C. Cook, George W. Hillman, John Louth, Benjamin W. Shaver, Alfred Q. Edson and John Topp
Co. KJefferson Kingsley
Wounded. Total 93
Field OfficersLieutenant Colonel Beal and Acting Adjutant Edward Coleman
Co. ALieutenant Thomas J. Potter, Corporal C. C. Whitney, Privates D. C. Bailey, Richard H. Heart, Leander Depuy, Ludwig Hulzer, J. Kocher, Alf. Losey, O.R. Norris and G. W. Sparks
Co. BPrivates E. Combs and F.M. Bailey
Co. CPrivates H. Clary, W.W. Dikeman, John Kickpatrick, Hiram Moody, Pattrick Moody, Laughlin Quinn, Benjamin F. Rants, J.J. Swain and Augustus Singer
Co. DCorporal John Williams, Privates Ephraim Croker, Henry Beach, Hugh C. Wilson, John D. Jewell, Thomas Stevenson, C. N. Sprout, John Gary, Charles Molla, Ezra Hankabout and Andrew Elickson
Co. ECapt. William Bremmer, Lieut. George Walbridge, Corp. Orrin Clough, Privates Albert Taylor, Walter Whittiker, S.R. Hayner, George S. Martin Jr., William H. Sherwin, John Harris, John Kinney and Ed. L. Kent
Co. FPrivates George Durr, Ambrose Felton, D.M. Wilson, James M. Stanton, George Gould, James W. Samphier, Eli R. Northam, Napoleon Whitman and Homer K. Nichols
Co. GPrivates Stephen H. Snyder, A.G. Loomis, Joseph Bullock, John S. Eaton and Edward Durkee.
Co. HLieutenant S.D. Woodworth, Sergeant Albert Gates, Privates John C. Horton, E.T. Chamberlain, Edwin Potts, Sameul Bixby, John Cary, B.W. Coates, F. Decell, Gideon F. Devore, A.F. Dowd, Zadock K. Mallory and Abram Devore
Co. ISergeant Samuel C. Alban, Privates Cornelius Devere, S.W.M. Smith, E.M. Haight, W. Miller, Duncan McCloud, Peter Calahan, James Leitch, Oliver Gunderson, Albert Turck, Frederick Everson, Adrastus Cook, Ferdinand Benta, John N. James, S. Bennett, S. Langdon, George Dexter and William H. Ferguson
Co. KPrivates Ferdinando Councilman, William P. Green and William Lowe
The Eighteenth remained in camp for several days after the battle, when it was visited by Governor Harvey, who immediately appointed Captain Gabriel Bouck, of the Second Wisconsin, as Colonel of the regiment. Captain Jackson, of Company B, being the senior Captain present, assumed command until Colonel Bouck reported for duty on the 12th of May.
About the 1st of May, the Eighteenth moved forward towards Corinth, with the division of General McKean to which it had been assigned, and took part in the operations before that place which resulted in its evacuation by the enemy on the 29th of May. The regiment suffered severely from sickness, so that the command was very much reduced. On the 4th of June, they marched about a mile south of Corinth and encamped with the Sixth Division. Here they were engaged in picket and garrison duty, and acquiring proficiency in drill under the able superintendence of Colonel Bouck.
The Eighteenth was assigned to the Second Brigade, commanded by Colonel Oliver, and on the evening of the 18th of July, proceeded with the brigade to Bolivar, Tenn., for the purpose of reinforcing the forces at that point. Here they remained without engaging the enemy until the 16th of August, when they returned to Corinth and encamped, again engaging in picket duty.
On the 17th of September, the regiment marched with McArthur's division to the vicinity of Iuka, with the forces under General Ord, to cooperate with General Rosecrans in an attack on General Price. General Hamilton met and defeated the rebel General on the 19th, before General Ord could reach the designated position. That General therefore immediately ordered his troops to return to Corinth without encountering the enemy in force.
On the 1st of October, the Eighteenth, with the Fourteenth Wisconsin, was ordered to reinforce the Fifteenth Michigan, stationed at Chewalla, to watch the enemy who was there advancing in force. In the morning it was ascertained that the rebels were making a circuit which would cut off their retreat, Colonel Oliver therefore ordered his force to fall back within four miles of Corinth. At night the Eighteenth was ordered to the left about a mile to guard a bridge across the Tuscumbia. In the morning, the enemy had possession of the Chewalla road, and orders were received for Colonel Bouck to destroy the bridge and return to camp near Corinth by the most feasible route. This was done, and the regiment, by a bye road, reached the line of the defenses, closely followed by the enemy. Rejoining the division, they were soon after ordered to support a brigade about half a mile in front engaged in holding the rebels in check. In endeavoring to find this brigade, the regiment came upon the advancing rebel line of battle, which opened upon them with a full volley. This was replied to by the Eighteenth, and the men ordered to lie down but the enemy fired low and many of the regiment were hit. The enemy being in great force, the regiment fell back, rejoining the brigade and division which subsequently retired to the interior defenses, where they remained in position during the night. In the morning the division was moved to a position upon the left, where all attack was apprehended, but where but little fighting was done on the second day. The rebels commenced their retreat from Corinth soon after noon and pursuit was made by the Sixth Division and other forces, in which the Eighteenth took part. After pursuing the enemy as far as Ripley, the troops returned to Corinth.
Those killed and died of wounds were numbered at 5; those wounded at 21.
Accompanying the forces of General Grant, which were ordered to concentrate at Grand Junction, the Eighteenth left Corinth with three divisions of the left wing of the army under Brigadier General Charles S. Hamilton, on the 2d of November. They reached Grand Junction on the 5th, and remained until the 28th, when the southward movement was commenced. They had proceeded as far as Yocona, forty-eight miles south of Holly Springs, when the news of the destruction of Grant's supplies at the latter place, compelled a retrograde movement, and the Sixth Division of General McArthur, encamped at Moscow, Tenn, where it engaged in railroad guard duty until the 10th of January, 1863. At Moscow, the line officers who were captured at Pittsburg Landing, having been exchanged, rejoined the regiment, and assumed command of their respective companies.
On the 10th of January, the Eighteenth, with the division of General McArthur, marched to Memphis, where they embarked on transports and proceeded to Young'S Point, near Vicksburg, arriving there on the 24th. There the regiment engaged in fatigue duty in repairing and building the levee, the order to protect troops below, and furnished occasional details to work on the canal in front of Vicksburg. On the 9th of February, the Eighteenth, with the Second Brigade of McArthur's division, commanded by General Ransom, proceeded to Lake Providence, seventy miles up the river, and encamped on the banks of the lake, about four miles from the town. Here they engaged in the work of cutting the canal from the river to the lake, and cleaning the obstructions from Bayou Baxter, and remained till about the 20th of April, when they moved down the river and encamped at Millikin's Bend, from whence they proceeded by way of Richmond, Smith's Plantation and Perkins' Landing to Grand Gulf, thence they marched to Raymond and reported to General McPherson on the 13th of May, and joined the the attack on Jackson. The Eighteethth had been assigned to the First Brigade commanded by Colonel Sanborn, in General Crocker's division in the Seventeenth Army Corps. They formed in line of battle, and with the division gallantly charged upon the enemy, and leaving the city after a severe contest, drove him from the field, leaving the city in possession of our forces. Passing over the rebel works they found them deserted. The casualties as officially reported, were 6 killed or died of wounds and 16 wounded.
Early next morning they started for Vicksburg, and on the 16th, took part in the battle of Champion Hills. About noon the brigade formed into line on the right wing, changing position several times, and repeatedly charging upon the enemy. The Eighteenth was in the reserve and was not actively engaged although exposed to a severe fire. The casualties as officially reported, were 1 killed and 5 wounded. The battle lasted for about three hours, and was severely contested. About 3 o'clock P.M. the enemy commenced retreating, followed by our troops in pursuit. With the rest of McPherson's Seventeenth Corps, the Eighteenth Regiment crossed the Black River on a floating bridge on the 18th, and proceeded to the rear of Vicksburg, and took position with its division, in front of the enemy's fortifications, about one and a half miles distant.
The Eigthteenth did not take part in the assault on the 2nd of May, but acted as sharpshooters to hold a position in front of a rebel fort and cover the advance of the assaulting column, by silencing the enemy's guns, which was done very effectually. The casualties were 9 killed or dying of wounds and 7 wounded.
On the 26th of May, the brigade took part in a reconnaissance between the Black and Yazoo rivers, and after capturing a large amount of property, destroying several mills, and otherwise accomplishing the object of the expedition, they returned to their duties in the trenches before Vicksburg. Here they remained chiefly engaged in skirmish duty until the surrender, of the city on the 4th of July. They remained in the city engaged in guard and provost duty most of the time, until the llth of September, when they moved with the division which was now commanded by General Smith, to Helena, with a view to reinforce General Steele. General Sherman had received orders to reinforce General Rosencrans at Chattanooga. This Corps, the Fifteenth, accordingly left Vicksburg, and moved by transports to Memphis. The division of General Mower, to which the Eighth Wisconsin was attached, being on special duty when the Fifteenth Corps left Vicksburg, General Sherman was permitted to exchange Mower's division for that of General J. E. Smith, of the Seventeenth Corp which was then at Helena, there being an urgent necessity for haste in the reinforcing of General Rosecrans. Smith's division was accordingly ordered to Memphis, from which it proceeded by rail to Corinth. General Sherman attempted to make the railroads available for the transportation of his Corps, but the case becoming so urgent, General Grant sent orders for him to cut loose from the railroads and make a forced march to Brideport. This was done, and his forces marching by the way of Dixon, Florence, Fayetteville and Winchester, reached Bridgeport on the 15th of November, and Chattanooga on the 19th. The regiment marched 250 miles on this expedition, passed in through Northern Mississippi and Alabama and Southern Tennessee.
With the Army of the Cumberland, with which the corps of General Sherman was connected, the Eighteenth crossed the Tennessee River on the 24th, and took part in the attack on Mission Ridge, and subsequently joined in the pursuit of the enemy as far as Ringgold, Ga., returning to Chattanooga on the 28th.
On the 3d of December, they went to Bridgeport, and were employed in guard duty a few days, then they marched, on the 21st of December, by way of Larkinsville and Woodville, to Huntsville, Ala., where they were engaged in guard, outpost and provost duty, until the 1st of May, 1864.
On the 4th of January, 1864, Colonel Bouck resigned. Lieutenant Colonel Beall resigned on the 3d of August, 1863, but no appointment was made to fill the position, until the resignation of Colonel Bouck, when Major Charles H. Jackson was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain J. P. Millard was appointed Major. From the lst of May till June 19th, the regiment was engaged in guard duty at Whitesburg, Ala.
Leaving Whitesburg, the regiment was transferred to Alltoona, on the line of the Western and Atlantic railroad, ninety miles south of Chattanooga, where it arrived on the 13th of July. Companies F and I were ordered to guard a railroad bridge, two miles south of the town, the other companies being occupied in camp and garrison duty in Allatoona, which duty they performed until the 22d of August, when they marched to Chattanooga, thence into Eastern Tennessee, in pursuit of the rebel General Wheeler, who was on his raid against Sherman's communications. Returning, they encamped at Cowan, Tenn., until the 19th of September, guarding the railroad at various points, when they were ordered to rejoin their brigade at Allatoona.
After the surrender of Atlanta, the rebel General Hood attempted a raid on Sherman's railroad communications. Crossing the Chattahoochie, he struck the Atlanta Railroad at Big Shanty, and commenced its destruction. On reaching Resaca, he sent back General French, with a large force, to attack Allatoona and capture the immense stores at that point. General Sherman had signaled, from the station on Kennesaw Mountains for General Corse, who was at Rome, to reinforce the garrison at Allatoona, and directed him to hold it at all hazards, until a force could be sent to its relief. General Corse promptly responded, with a brigade of infantry, on the 4th of October. Before daylight,next morning the pickets were driven in. The Eighteenth Wisconsin was ordered under arms, and deployed as skirmishers. Daylight developed the batteries of the enemy, about 1,200 yards south of the defenses. An artillery duel immediately commenced and continued until about 10 o'clock, when the enemy's skirmishers made their appearance on the right and rear. A flag was sent by the enemy, demanding the surrender of the place, to prevent further effusion of blood, which was promptly refused.
The rebels then advanced to the attack, charging repeatedly upon the works, but were repelled in all their attempts. The battle raged furiously, and it was with great difficulty that the position was held. Some of the rebels reached the first line of rifle pits, but the fire was so hot that they could neither advance nor retreat, they therefore sheltered themselves as best they could, until the fire slackened, when they crawled off and retreated in all directions. Finding all their efforts to capture the place unavailing, the enemy finally retired, leaving at least 1,500 of his killed and wounded on the field.
The three companies: E, F and I, of the Eighteenth, stationed in a blockhouse near the railroad bridge, two miles south, were attacked in the morning, after declining to surrender. The garrison numbered eighty men. This small force withstood the attacks of the regiment of infantry which was left to reduce their stronghold, and it was not until dark, and the heavy artillery had been brought to bear on them, and their blockhouse was set on fire, that the brave garrison consented to surrender. They were under the command of Captain McIntyre, of Company I.
On the reenlistment of the Eighteenth, at Huntsville, in the winter and spring of 1864, it was found impossible to grant them the stipulated furlough; they therefore remained on duty during the summer and fall. At this battle, some forty-five of the enlisted veterans of companies E, F and I, were taken prisoners, and instead of returning to their loved ones at home, were doomed to languish, and many to die, in the loathsome prison pens of the South.
We list the killed and wounded, and those taken prisoners, believing that their heroic self denial, and their consequent sufferings as prisoners of war, entitle them to a place upon the military records of the State.
The following is the official count of killed, wounded and missing: Wounded or died of wounds, 4; Wounded,11; Prisoners, 78. After the battle of Allatoona, the non-veterans and recruits were assigned to the Ninety-third Illinois, and accompanied General Sherman on his march to Savannah and Goldsboro. Lewis Jackson, of Company H, is reported killed at Fayetteville, N. C.
The veterans were furloughed on the 28th of November. Reassembling at Milwaukee on the 28th of December, they reached Nashville on the llth of January.
On the commencement of his grand march, General Sherman had directed that such of the members of the regiments, in his command, as were on furlough, and all recruits, should report to General Steadman, at Chattanooga, and there be organized into a Provisional Division, and be sent to their several organizations on the reception of the news of his arrival on the sea coast.
On the arrival of the veterans of the Eighteenth at Chattanooga, on the 5th of January, they were assigned to the First Brigade, First Provisional Division, Fifteenth Army Corps, and embarked at Nashville, proceeding down the Cumberland and up the Ohio, to Cincinnati, thence by rail to Pittsburg and Baltimore, where they embarked on steamers on the 2d of February, and arrived at Beaufort, N. C. On the 8th, they took cars to Newbern, where they encamped till the last of March, when they joined the forces of General Sherman, at Goldsboro, and rejoined their comrades in the First Brigade, Third Division, Fifteenth Army Corps. They accompanied the subsequent movements of General Sherman to Raleigh, from whence, after the surrender of Johnston, they moved with the Fifteenth Corps, by way of Richmond, to Washington, where they took part in the Grand Review, after which they proceeded to Louisville, and were mustered out on the 18th of July, and reached Madison on the 29th where they were publicly received, and disbanded.
Regimental Statistics: Original Strength, 962. Gain by recruits in 1863, 619; in 1864, 103; in 1865, 34; by substitutes, 28; by draft in 1864, 200; in 1865, 71; by veteran reenlistments, 178; total, 1,673.
Loss by death, 220; missing, 78; deserted, 208; transferred, 23; discharged, 265; mustered out, 843.
G. S. Martin,(Courtesy of Fred Cook) - see 16th Wisconsin (italic copy)
Quiner, Military History of Wisconsin, 1866 (non-italic copy)