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The men of this regiment were
recruited in June and July, 1862, and sent forward in squads to
Camp Randall. The regimental organization was completed, and the
regiment mustered into the United States service- the muster being
completed on the 23rd of August. The field officers of the regiment were
all promoted from the old regiments in the field. The Colonel, Bertine
Pinckney, of Rosendale, having formerly been the Lieutenant Colonel of
the Third Infantry, and Lieutenant Colonel Bertram, the Captain of
Company A of the same regiment; and Major Henry A. Starr, who was one of
the best drilled officers in the volunteer service, Captain of Company D
in the First Infantry - a officer of capacity, as well as of experience.
The officers were as follows:
Colonel - Bertine PINCKNEY.
Lieut. Colonel - Henry Bertram.
Surgeon - Chandler B. Chapman.
Major - Henry A. Starr.
1st Asst. Surgeon - Emanuel Munk.
Adjutant - Henry V. Morris.
2d Asst. Surgeon - M. A. Mosher.
Quartermaster - John A. Douglass.
Chaplain - Wm. H. Marble.
A - Aug. H. Pettibone. Wm. H.
Joe. M. Brackett.
B - Byron W. Telfair. Emory F.
Stone. Fred. A. Bird.
C - John McDermott. Chas. E.
Stevens. Jacob McLaughlin.
D - Almerin Gillett.
Geo. W. Barter.
Chas. B. Butler.
E - John
Chas. A. Menges.
F - Nelson Whitman. Albert H.
Blake. David W.
G - Edward G. Miller. Albert J.
Rockwell. James Ferguson.
H - Henry E. Strong. Geo. W.
Geo. W. Miller.
I - Wm. Harlocker.
Albert P. Hall.
K- Howard Vandagrift. Nathan
Sam'l P. Jackson.
On the 30th of August, the regiment left the State for St. Louis, where
they marched to Benton Barracks, which they found very filthy and
disagreeable. On the 6th of September they were ordered to take the cars
for Rolla, where they remained ten days. There they received their quota
of wagons and mules, all the mules being as wild as Indians, except one
in each team. The mule breaking process, and harnessing them into teams,
was, as usual, an exciting and ludicrous scene.
The 16th Regiment marched, with
the rest of their brigade, to Springfield, which place they reached on
the 24th, the distance being one hundred and thirty-five miles. There
were now nearly one hundred and fifty cases of sickness in the regiment.
The first severe march always proves too much for the strength of new
troops. They suffered much on this march for want of water, all they
found being sometimes only stagnant pond water. But at Waynesville an
excellent spring twenty feet in width, of clear cold water, rising up
constantly, gave them great pleasure.
The quartermaster, Lieutenant J. A. Douglas, was left sick at Lebanon,
and died on the 14th of October, universally esteemed by the regiment.
October 11th, the regiment marched for Cassville, sixty miles distant,
where Colonel Pinckney was placed in command of the brigade, and
Lieutenant Colonel Bertram, of the regiment. Not until about this time
were they furnished with good guns, or of a uniform kind. October 17th,
they commenced a march to attack the rebel camp at Cross Hollows,
Arkansas. When near the Missouri State line, twenty or thirty of the
Seventh Missouri Cavalry refused to cross the boundary into Arkansas,
claiming that they could not be compelled to leave the State. Companies
B, G, K, and E, of the Twentieth Wisconsin, were ordered forward, with
fixed bayonets, to compel them to go. The Missourians concluded that
prudence was the better part of valor, and marched on. In the afternoon
of this day they were in the presence of the enemy, and expected a
battle, but the rebels declined. In one part of their march, which
included crossing the Boston Mountains, they were thirty hours without
food, with only six hours of rest, and again they marched a whole day
without food. On the 24th, they reached Cross Hollows, which they
occupied without opposition, the enemy having fallen back; and,
remaining there until November 4th, they started on the march northward
to Wilson's Creek, having first held their election for State officers
at home. They encamped, near the Pea Ridge battle-ground, and on the
next day experienced a terrible hurricane, and reached their old camp
near Cassville, and on the 11th, joined Totten's command at Ozark.
Through rain and mud they moved on, and on the 22d reached their late
camp at Wilson's Creek, near the spot where the brave Lyon fell. Many of
the regiment visited his grave, each one carrying a stone to aid in
erecting a rude monument to the memory of the gallant hero. At this time
many of the regiment were sick, one hundred being in hospital at
Springfield, twelve miles away, under charge of the attentive and
skillful Dr. Chapman. November 22d, Colonel Pinckney left for
Springfield, sick. The regiment had, within two months and a half, moved
four hundred miles, and suffered much from forced marches and exposure,
and to this time twenty-five of their number had died. November 14th,
Colonel Pinckney was presented with a sword by the regiment. December
3rd, they again broke camp, and accompanied General Herron's forces to
effect a junction with General Blunt, who was then holding the enemy in
check at Cane Hill, Arkansas. By a forced march over a rough and
difficult country, they arrived in the vicinity of Fayetteville, on the
6th, having made the remarkable march of one hundred miles in three
days. During the summer and autumn of 1862, a series of battles occurred
on the "Frontier", which should here be described in their
BATTLE OF HONEY SPRINGS.
As a supply train was returning to Fort Scott, in the month of
July, they approached a heavy force of the enemy at Honey Springs, on
the Elk River, in the vicinity of Fort Gibson.
General Blunt was passing with his body guard, and concentrated all his
available forces to attack the rebels, July 17th. The troops here
engaged were the Second Colorado Infantry, First Kansas Colored, the
First, Second, and Third Indian Regiments, first battalion of the Sixth
Kansas Cavalry, one company of the Fourteenth Kansas, a few recruits
attached to the Fourth and Fifth Embryo Indian Regiments, and the first
battalion of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry, Companies B, G, H, 1,
and M, commanded by Major Calkins. These all numbered about 3,000 men.
The enemy's force was about 7,000.
General Blunt's army descended a long sloping prairie, but none of the
enemy could be seen, though it was known, from the smoke of an
occasional shot, that they were in position in the edge of a heavy wood.
The national forces advanced to meet them on the double quick. As they
descended the hill they charged into the timber. Lieutenant E. H. Ely
rallied his Indian company, and advanced under a heavy musketry fire. At
one time a portion of the Union artillery mistook our troops for the
rebels, and fired upon them. The Second Colorado, and the First Kansas
Colored Regiments, did the principal part of the fighting. The battle
continued four hours, from first to last, the enemy being defeated, with
a loss of two hundred killed and wounded, and eighty prisoners, while
the Federals lost sixty-five killed and wounded, and captured valuable
supplies and horses.
BATTLE OF NEWTONIA.
A force of 7,000 or 8,000 rebels, under General Cooper, had
collected at Newtonia, Missouri. In the afternoon of September 29th,
1862, Lieutenant Colonel Jacobi, under orders, marched to make a reconnaissance
of the enemy's numbers and position, having in command Companies D and G
of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry, a section of artillery, and a squadron
of cavalry, which were reinforced at evening by Companies E and H of the
Third Wisconsin, and the next morning by still other forces. As this
force approached Newtonia, on the 30th, about 3,000 rebels, concealed
behind stone fences and in a large stone barn, awaited their coming.
When they were within thirty paces of the concealed foe, the rebels rose
and fired upon them with deadly effect. The Unionists fell back in good
order, checking the advancing rebels by repeated and well-directed
volleys, our artillery also unlimbering as they receded, and pouring
their shots upon the exulting Confederate rates. But the enemy were
sufficient in number to flank our infantry on both sides, and take many
of them prisoners, the cavalry and artillery escaping by the fleetness
of their horses.
General Salomon hearing the cannonading some miles distance pressed his
forces toward Newtonia, arriving near the battle-field, says Major
Schlueter, at sunset. Awaiting the arrival of Colonel Hall with a force
by another route. and exchanging
a few shots at long range with the enemy, General Salomon moved back his
troops that night toward Sarcoxie, where they arrived next morning. In
the battle we lost twenty-five, killed, and one hundred and sixty-seven
prisoners, fifty-one of whom were wounded. October 3rd, preparations for
another, attack on Newtonia having been made, the Third Cavalry marched
with the first division for that place, and found it evacuated. Our
wounded, captured on the 30th, were found and removed to Sarcoxie.
BATTLE OF CANE HILL.
November 27th, 1862, the first division of the Army of the Frontier - in
the first brigade of which was the Ninth Wisconsin Infantry - marched
southward across the Ozark Mountains, and on the 28th, approached Cane
Hill, Arkansas. There the advance engaged the enemy, and drove him back
ten miles, with considerable slaughter on both sides. Six companies of
the Third Wisconsin Cavalry were participants in the strife, and the
Ninth Wisconsin Infantry were present in the rear of our advancing
column, though too far from the retreating enemy to be actively engaged.
General Salomon and a portion of his brigade, took part in the
engagement. The Twentieth Wisconsin was in General Herron's force, which
at that time was on the march to join that of General Blunt's, at Cane
Hill; this fact, with the gathering of forces by the rebel General
Hindman, was preparing the way for a greater battle. On the 29th, the
Ninth Infantry, with the first brigade, went back to Rhea's Mills, took
possession, and ran them for the purposes of bread for the men and feed
for their animals.
BATTLE OF PRAIRIE GROVE.
At two o'clock on the morning of December 7th, the reveille sounded, and
at three the first brigade marched to join the Federal forces at Cane
Hill. But during the forenoon it was ascertained that the rebel Hindman
and his men had effected a flank movement, and were on the march toward
Rhea's Mills. General Blunt moved toward them from
the west, while General Herron approached from the north with the second
and third divisions of the army, and commenced the battle at ten in the
The rebels numbered 26,000, with twenty-two pieces of artillery under
Hindman and his four division commanders, Rains, Marmaduke, Frost, and
Parsons. General Herron had 7,000 men, with twenty-four pieces of
cannon, and General Blunt five thousand with twenty-four pieces. The
rebels had a strong position. They were on a wooded height, with large
open fields in front and on their left. They were able to obtain a
perfect knowledge of all our movements, and could mass their forces on
any point we might attack. After considerable battling, General Herron
directed all his artillery, at once, against the nearest of the enemy's
guns, and silenced it in two minutes. He then tried another and another
in the same way, till eight or nine of the most troublesome were
abandoned by their possessors. When General Blunt's forces reached the
field, at two in the afternoon, General Herron was nearly out-flanked by
the numerous enemy, his batteries nearly ready to fall, and his men
almost exhausted. General Blunt immediately marched his forces across
the open plain, pushing the rebels inch by inch, till they reached the
woods, where our troops charged upon them. On the crest of that wooded
hill, for four hours, hung in perilous uncertainty that terrible conflict.
But when Herron's men knew that Blunt's were on the way they were
inspired with new bravery and power. At night an armistice was agreed
upon, and in the morning it was found that the enemy had fled.
The Wisconsin troops engaged were, one battalion of the Second Cavalry,
under Major Miller; five squadrons of the Third Wisconsin Cavalry, and
two howitzers, under Major Calkins; and the Twentieth Infantry, under
Major Starr, Lieutenant Colonel Bertram having command of the brigade.
The Ninth Wisconsin, for the most part, had charge of trains.
Early in the battle the Twentieth Wisconsin were ordered to storm the
height beyond them.
They advanced in line, at the double quick, one hundred-rods, until they
were brought face to face with the rebels. The regiment now halted,
fired two rounds, and commenced to ascend the bill. The whole slope
was covered with underbrush, and they advanced with great difficulty;
but pressing on, in as good a line as possible, they soon stood before a
rebel battery of six guns; they halted, fired a volley, rushed over the
rail fence between them and it, and captured the battery. The brave
Major Starr led the regiment in this charge. The men raised an exulting
cheer at their success, Sergeant Teal raised the stars and stripes over
one of the pieces, and the regiment was wild with enthusiasm. They still
pressed on up to the rebel lines. The right of the regiment had advanced
to within thirty feet of the rebels when they opened on it a tremendous
cross fire. Against such a storm of bullets men could not stand, and the
right wing gave way. On the left the fire was also galling, but not so
severe. By the daring energy of the officers the men were rallied and
brought to the work again. Nobly they fought, but could not succeed. A
heavy column of rebel infantry was seen advancing rapidly on the right;
a minute more and the Twentieth would have been surrounded. No course
was left but to retreat, and that at once, which was done. As they fell
back, five regiments of the rebels were pouring their fire upon them,
and pursued them so closely that they were compelled to abandon the
captured Battery, partially destroying it as they left. Afterward, it is
said, this same battery was entirely disabled, the horses killed, and
gun-carriages broken to pieces, by our Parrott guns, at the distance of
more than a mile. The Twentieth retired across an open field to a fence
and reformed, and remained until the firing ceased for the day. After
this, the Thirty-seventh Illinois and Twenty-sixth Indiana prepared to
make a charge. They had seen war at Pea Ridge, and were considered to be
two of the finest regiments of the "Army of the Frontier."
They advanced up the hill in excellent order, but were also repulsed.
In this terrible charge made by the Twentieth, it was scarcely twenty
minutes from the time the first man fell till they withdrew, but in that
brief time fifty-one of their number were killed, one hundred and fifty
wounded, and eight missing - nearly one half of the whole number
Colonel Bertram, in his official report of the battle, says of the
Twentieth Wisconsin, the officers and men behaved nobly, and stood fire
like veterans. The gallant behavior of Major Starr, and of the adjutant,
Lieutenant Henry V. Morris, was also noticed, and their cool and prompt
manner of executing orders commended. General Herron wrote to Governor
Salomon, "I congratulate you, and the State, on the glorious
conduct of the Twentieth Wisconsin Infantry in the great battle of
Prairie. Grove." The Ninth Infantry, at night, escorted a train to
Fayetteville, and at two o'clock the. next morning were ordered upon the
battle-field again, having marched forty-five miles in thirty-two hours.
Captain John McDermott, of Company C, and Lieutenant Thomas Bintliff, of
Company I, were killed in this fearful charge of the Twentieth
Wisconsin. Captain McDermott fell bearing the colors of the regiment,
which he had seized when the color bearer was shot. The Captain was a
warm-hearted, earnest man, and as brave as the bravest. Lieutenant
Bintliff was a Methodist clergyman, from Beetown, Grant County. He was a
fine musician, and a genial, kind man. He was an excellent officer, did
everything well, and was universally beloved. A fellow-officer of his
says, "He died as he lived, a noble specimen of what I consider the
highest type of manhood, a Christian soldier." Captain John W.
Weber, of Company E, was severely wounded, and soon died. Lieutenant
Colonel Bertram had a horse shot under him, and received a slight
contusion of the thigh. Captains A. Gillett and H. C. Strong, and
Lieutenants Jackson, Bird, Butler, Blake, Ferguson Root, and Miller,
were wounded. George M. Reckerman, of Company G, fell, pierced by eight
balls. On the 9th the dead received a soldier's burial.
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
In these marches and conflicts,
Wisconsin troops repeatedly passed over the battle-ground of Pea Ridge,
though it appears that no troops from that State were in the battle.
There was fought, March 6th and 7th, 1862, one of the most severe
battles of the war. The Union force was 16,500, and the Confederate, by
their own estimate, from 30,000 to 35,000. The leading Union commanders
were Generals, Curtis, Sigel, Asboth, Davis, and Colonel Carr - the last
four having each a division. The rebel commanders were Price, Van Dorn,
McCulloch, and McIntosh. The Federals were at first surrounded and
repulsed, but the day was saved,
in great part, by the genius and bravery of Sigel. There McIntosh, who
was a cultivated man, and is said to have grieved because he found
himself in such bad company among the rebels, was slain; and there the
notorious Ben. McCulloch fell, mortally wounded, declaring with the most
horrid oaths, as he was borne from the field, that he would not die,
that he was not born to be killed by a Yankee. But he died!
After the battle of Prairie Grove, the Ninth Infantry again became
employed in flour and bread making at Rhea's Mills, then in a raid on
Van Buren, then in a chase after Marmaduke, then in foraging
expeditions, marches and countermarches, incident to the border warfare,
with which they had become very familiar. Toward summer they came to
Forsyth, Missouri, and to Springfield, and the 8th of July to St. Louis.
Colonel Pinckney leaving the command of the Twentieth, on account of ill
health, Lieutenant Colonel Bertram was promoted to the colonelcy,
December 10th, and Major Starr to the lieutenant colonelcy, the same
After this battle, the Twentieth Wisconsin remained in camp at Prairie
Grove until the 27th of December, when they accompanied a force of
12,000 of our troops, with thirty-six guns; upon a reconnaissance to Van
Buren, on the Arkansas River, but found no enemy. Shortly after this the
regiment marched back into Missouri, and spent the balance of the winter
there, moving from place to place in the south-western part of the
While camped at Mountain Grove, on the 14th of March, this regiment, and
the Second Wisconsin Cavalry, adopted a series of patriotic resolutions,
strongly denouncing northern opponents of the Federal prosecution of the
war, and expressing the most devoted love for the country. The Twentieth
adopted them unanimously, after being requested by Colonel Bertram not
to vote affirmatively unless they cordially indorsed them. On the 31st
of March, the regiment went into camp at Lake Springs, near Rolla.
During their six months' absence from Rolla, they had marched 1,100
miles, and lost, of officers and men, two hundred and forty-six
including the discharged and wounded
who had died. Of those who were still in the regiment, one hundred and
thirty-one were absent, sick, and but four hundred and thirty-nine were
present and fit for duty.
June 3rd, they marched to Rolla, and took the cars for St. Louis, and
the next morning embarked on the steamer Empress, for Young's Point, in
Louisiana, a short distance above Vicksburg. They landed there on the
10th, and moved over the peninsula to the river below Vicksburg, crossed
the river, and took position in the trenches on the left of the line of
the investing force. Here they lay, doing their proportion of picket
duty, till the city surrendered. On the 5th of July, General Herron's
division moved inside of the rebel works.
The wounded of the Twentieth Infantry in the battle of Prairie Grove, as
officially published, were as follows : Company A-2d, Lieut. S.
P. Jackson, Corp. S. Smith, Privates E. W. Blake, W. Brownell, W. Heines,
A. Huddleston, P. Dean, W. Morrison, G Pettengill, H. E. Thompson, H.
Underwood, M. J. Paine, E. W. Hestleroth, G. B. Shaffer, Jerry Brandon. Company
B-Lt. F. A. Bird, Privates,
C. M. Atwood, J. Davolt, S. R. Ewing, H. Hineman, J. Holden, G. Hoffman,
R. M. Jacks, E. Lewis, P. C. Pool, H. Pine, M. Simpkins, C. M. Welton,
J. Gray. Company C_--Sergt. K. Smith, Corps. J. M. Reynolds, S.
Livingston, Privates J. Ewing, S. Fitzgerald, J. Hammond, A. Houghtaling,
A. Norton, A. S. Richards, J. Watkins. Company D-Capt. A.
Gillette, Lt. C. B. Butler, Sergt. E. E. Ellis, Corps. F. Swinger, S.
Doane, Privates F. E. Garner, J. Girsenheimer, C. Pagel, G. H. Phillips,
C G. Read, J. L. Rockwell, S. D. Stevens, B. J. Thompson, D. Tool, H. C.
Wood. Company E--Lt. F. Kuzel, Sergt. H. Sommers, Prs. G. Janish,
C. Rettig, H. Mueller, W. Tank, L. Zanener, W. Bandle, H. Volkman, W.
Hahn, W. Wodke Company F-Lt. A. H. Blake, Sergt. W. E. Marshall,
Corp. J. T. Paine, Privates S. Paine, J. Harris, R. Russel, E. Holmes,
J. Wagner, G. Lamb.
Company G-Lt J. Furguson, Sergts. O. S. Phillips. W. Scott,
Corps. T. Parr, D. S. Burbank, Privates A. Hazlewood, D. Foley, M. W.
O'Kean, S. G. Lockwood, F. Larson, W. Brandt.
Company H-Capt. H. C. Strong, Lt. G. W. Miller, Corp. E. M. Lull,
Privates A. Nass, F. Cruger, B. Smith, L. St. George, David Weber. Company
I-Corps. John Stoek, E. Sprague, C. W. Snider, G. W. Day, Privates
M. Bitney, G. C. Johnson, C. R. Saddleback, M. J. Whiteside, Wm. Waddle,
J. Woodhouse, A. M. Barnum, E. Hulthcroft, B. Peasley. Company K-1st Lt.
N. Cole, Sergt J. Blackstone, Corps. F. Rinses, W. Nagues, J. M. Hunter,
Privates M. Aaron, J. W. Hamilton, H. Herbig, E. Hager, B. F. Hickman,
M. H. Judd, G. Otto, 1). W. Plopper, J. Shaffer S. Smith, J. Sullivan,
The Twentieth Regiment reached
Vicksburg about the 10th of June and took position in the left division
of the line. June 3rd, Captain Gillett with twelve men of Companies B
and D, advanced carefully to within four rods of the rebel rifle-pits
and killed one and captured thirteen of the enemy. for this service
General Herron appointed Captain Gillett inspector general of his
They were sent too late to take part in the battles around Vicksburg,
but bore an honorable part in the siege.
After the surrender of that fortress, their division (General Herron's
was ordered to reinforce General Banks, at Port Hudson; but the
surrender of the enemy there rendered the movement unnecessary, and they
engaged at once in the expedition to Yazoo City, where they captured
sixty or more straggling rebels, besides a company of forty or more
commanded by an officer, who voluntarily surrendered to Captain Miller
and ten men occupying Yazoo City as provost guard until the 21st, they
that returned to Vicksburg. Two days later they embarked for Port Hudson
where they remained, suffering much from sickness until 13th when they
embarked for Carrollton, Louisiana, and September 5th accompanied an
expedition to Morganizia, in that State. The following day at ten
o'clock in the evening while out with their brigade. on the Simmsport
Road the enemy suddenly opened fire upon them in ambuscade, causing them
to fall back in the darkness seven miles to Grossetete Bayou. They
returned on the 7th, to Morganzia, with a loss of one man killed.
This "movement" as a feint to compel Dick Taylor to divide his
forces, and thus it enable General Franklin to occupy Opelousas without
serious opposition. They next embarked for the mouth of tile Red river
where they were engaged until October 9th when they returned to and
prepared for a winter campaign They were now to thirteenth army Corps,
And with It went to tile Rio Grand.
This regiment the Twentieth Iowa were crowded upon the steamer Thomas A.
Scott and on the afternoon of the 26th dropped down below New Orleans to
the head of the passes and awaited the arrival of the balance of the
At two in the afternoon of the 27th, they crossed the bar and the
twenty-seven vessels composing the fleet stood out to sea. On the night
of the 29th they encountered a violent storm which continued through the
30th. At sunset Nov. 1st, they dropped anchor off Brazos Santiago. The
Scott was soon afterwards ordered to the mouth of the Rio Grande, where
on the 3rd, Colonel Bertram attempted to land his brigade.
Starting in small boats with one hundred men he got through the surf,
losing two men of the Twentieth Iowa and two sailors drowned. It being
found impracticable to land the brigade, the ship, on the next day,
joined the fleet, when the men took a light-draught boat, crossed the
Brazos bar safely, and at dark, landed. During the voyage religious
services were held every morning on the Scott, conducted by the Chaplain
of the Twentieth Wisconsin. They were seasons of interest to all on
On the 9th of November, the regiment arrived at Brownsville. The rebel
General Bee, with 300 men fled at the approach of the Federals burning a
large amount of cotton and the soldiers' barracks. The citizens welcomed
the union troops cordially. Here the regiment was employed in the
performance of fatigue garrison and picket duty at Fort Brown and in
preventing the shipping of cotton and the smuggling of English goods
into the country, English cloth and horseshoes, and many other articles
from Great Britain were seen here. They were landed at Matamoras, Mexico
and passed across the river as opportunity offered.
The English merchants at Matamoras were doing an immense business. On
the 12th of January the regiment with the Ninety-fourth Illinois, and a
battery, crossed the deep and rapid, but narrow, Rio Grande, to
Matamoras in Mexico, under command of Colonel Bertram who was ordered by
General Herron to protect Mr. Pierce, the United States Consul there,
and assist in the removal of property belonging to American citizens.
Colonel Cortina, a Mexican officer with a small army had become engaged
in a civil broil with the authorities of Matamoras and in the night
attacked the town
In a short time an exciting battle was raging in the streets in the
heart of the city. The federals advanced with the stars and stripes
flying, and the bands playing "Yankee Doodle" and "Rally
Round the Flag, Boys." The Twentieth was detailed to guard the
residence of the Consul during the fight. Each of the belligerents
sought the aid of the Yankees against the other. The women thanked God
at their approach. Colonel Bertram, however, in accordance with his
instructions, took no part in the fray. For the skillful manner in which
he performed his delicate task, he was afterwards complimented in all
order by Major General Herron. General Banks, also, says that the duty
could not have been entrusted to better hands to execute. The consul and three army
wagonloads of gold and silver were escorted across to Brownsville for
safety. All returned to the American side on the 14th, and the Twentieth
returned to Fort Brown.
For years, a kind of guerilla
warfare had been waged along both sides of the Rio Grande, in which
Mexicans, Texans and Indians had taken a part, -the Mexican, a cross
between the Indian and Negro, and the Texan, an outlaw, who had fled
from civilization to save his head. The Poorer Mexicans lived in houses of cane and straw that resembled
cow sheds rather than human
dwellings. Many of them obtained a livelihood by selling wood which
they transported on the backs of poor, wretched, little, lean donkeys,
the crooked limbs of the wood being adjusted to the animal's ribs.
Hay was carried in the same way, and also upon carts drawn by oxen
hitched together at the horns,-oxen poorer than Pharaoh's lean kind.
Half naked Mexicans harnessed themselves to barrels in which they drew
water about the streets for the citizens. The common dress was of
leather - horse hide
tanned with the hair on being preferred as most genteel. Deer-skin jackets, hats
with enormous brims, belts with concealed knives, and red sashes, constituted
some of the articles of clothing seem in the streets of
Brownsville. During their stay of eight
months, the regiment enjoyed excellent health. The water of the Rio Grand
was more healthful than any they had drank except that of the
Mississippi, since leaving Missouri. They built an icehouse, and
cleaned the filthy streets of Brownsville. Only five deaths occurred in
the regiment while they remained.
A army church was formed in the brigade. The third article of their creed
expressed their unyielding love of Country. Patriotism and religion
were entwined together about the hearts of these frontier soldiers.
Divine service was held daily for four months in the Episcopal Church.
Two hundred and fifty of the brigade, representing sixteen
denominations, united with the army church, of whom eighty were of the
Twentieth Wisconsin. Of those, twenty were new converts. The church was filled with
soldiers every night, and Chaplain Walters says that better-behaved
audiences never met. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered
from time to time. All sectarian feelings were buried, and the union was
thoroughly Christian. The religious element in the regiment predominated
from this time to the close of the war. Hymnbooks, testaments, religious
tracts and newspapers were the common literature of the soldiers. The
officers paid respect to the religious services, and cooperated with the
chaplain in his labors for the good of the men.
In July, 1864, military
movements at other points rendered it expedient to withdraw from the Rio
Grande. On the 28th of that month all the troops left Brownsville,
taking their sick, all their munitions of war and two thousand
refugees. On the first of August the fleet left Brazos Santiago for New
Orleans, the Twentieth Wisconsin embarking with the commanding General
as his escort. They reached Carrollton on the 5th, debarked and on the
next day went into camp on the Shell road. On the 7th, they embarked on the same boat to join
Farragut's expedition against the forts commanding
Mobile. Four days afterward they landed and took position at Navy
Cove, four miles
from Fort Morgan, where they took part in the investment and reduction of
that stronghold. They were situated on a belt of sand
two-thirds of mile wide washed on one side by the Gulf of Mexico, and on
the other by Mobile Bay, Fort Morgan being at one end. On the 23rd, the
fort surrendered and the Twentieth Wisconsin and an Iowa regiment
received the garrison of six hundred men as prisoners of war were
afterwards actively employed in building Bridges and repairing railroads
and telegraph lines. In September they rafted 50,000 feet of lumber down
Fish River, and had a light, skirmish with the enemy. They remained near
Mobile until December 14th, when they sailed with other troops to
Pascagoula, Mississippi, and landed on the following day pushing their
horses overboard, and compelling them to swim ashore. The rebel cavalry guarding the
place fled at their approach. Colonel Bertram immediately moved his
command into the country towards Mobile. On Sunday, the 18th at two in
the afternoon, while halted upon Franklin Creek, near the state line of
Alabama, heavy firing was heard along was in line in three The picket
line. The Twentieth was in line in three minutes and at once
double-quicked to the stream, crossed the bridge, and joined in a fight.
General Granger said it was the quickest time he ever saw made by a
whole regiment. The rebels were routed after a brisk skirmish. One man
of the Twentieth was dangerously wounded.
On Christmas day, the regiment embarked on a immense raft of lumber,
which they had put into the stream at a saw mill and floated on it
thirty miles down the Dog River, through hostile
country with no protection against sharpshooters and guerrillas along the banks, except breastworks
of cotton bales on one, side of the raft,
and of sweet potatoes on the other. They reached the confluence of
the Dog and Pascagoula rivers, with their lumber in safety. Remaining
in the vicinity of Pascagoula until February 1st, 1865, they then returned to
their old camp at Navy Cove near Mobile. At Pascagoula, Colonel
Bertram commanded the military district, and Lieutenant Colonel Starr,
the brigade to which the Twentieth belonged, and Major A. H. Pettibone,
the regiment. All distinguished themselves as officers, and had the
unbounded confidence of their commanding general.
On the 8th of March the regiment with the entire brigade, moved out five
miles toward Mobile and encamped until the 17th when the march was
resumed up the peninsula. On the 22d, they crossed Fish River at daylight
on pontoon bridges and encamped to await the arrival of the whole army.
On the 25th the march was resumed and a number of horses were killed by
torpedoes planted in the road by the rebels.
On the 27th they went into position before 'Spanish Fort, and at four in
the afternoon, advanced within short range of rebels.
Companies A, and B were deployed as skirmishers. Captain Stone, of
Company B, led them bravely, and fell, mortally wounded. He was a noble
and patriotic young officer, and died greatly lamented. The regiment
held their line all night, and for several days were on duty almost
constantly until they were nearly exhausted, losing four killed and
wounded. In the afternoon of the 31st, the rebels shelled them
furiously. The regiment was alternately a day in the trenches and then
in the rifle-pits in front, and were located on the extreme left of the
line. Mobile soon after surrendered, in the reduction of which the
regiment were engaged so long, and performed so important a part. On the
21st of April they moved to Blakely. On the 5th of May, the order was
received announcing the cessation of hostilities east of the Mississippi.
On the next day the regiment crossed the bay, and encamped four miles
from Mobile, on the Shell Road, expecting soon to be mustered out. In
June the regiment was sent to Galveston, Texas, and four weeks after,
July 14th, were mustered out, and embarked for
home. They reached Madison, July 30th, where they received their pay and
were disbanded. They returned with four hundred and seventy-five
enlisted men and left eighty-four recruits at Galveston, with the
Thirty-fifth Wisconsin. Their loss during the war was five hundred, a large proportion of them having been discharged for disability. They
traveled by rail and water, and on foot seven thousand miles. For their
good conduct and courage, while under his General Granger in a letter to
Governor Lewis at the time they were mustered out, praised the regiment
in the strongest terms. The muster-out roster, as given by the General,
was as follows
Colonel- A. Starr.
Surgeon-Marks A. Mosher
William W. York.
||Phineas J. Clawson
||Frederick A. Bird
||Moritz E. Evez
||Edgar E. Ellis
||William H. Farnsworth
||Cyrus C. Rice
||Albert J. Rockwell
||George W. Miller
||Alonzo E. Cheeney
||David B. Arthur
||Samuel B. Jackson
REGIMENTAL STATISTICS. -Original strength, 990. Gain:- by recruits in
1863, 12; in 1864, 120; in 1865, 6; Substitute 1 ; total,, 1,129. Loss:
by death, 227; desertion, 41 transfer, 115 ; discharge, 222 ;