The 24th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
was organized in mid to late 1862 in the city of Milwaukee and the
surrounding areas, under the direction of Lieutenant Colonel Herman L.
Page. The regiment then went into camp at Camp Sigel, in Milwaukee. The
regiment was mustered into service on 21 August, 1862. Page having
resigned a day after the muster in
Charles H. Larrabee was appointed
Colonel, and on 5 September the regiment left Wisconsin bound for
The 24th reached Jeffersonville, Indiana on the
7th, and stayed three days before being ordered to Cincinnati, Ohio.
They crossed the Ohio on 11 September, and went into camp near
Covington, Kentucky. The regiment then marched to Louisville, where they
arrived on 20 September. At Louisville they were assigned to the Thirty
- Seventh Brigade, under Colonel Gruesel, of the Eleventh Division,
under General Phillip Sheridan.
The 24th participated in the advance to
Perryville, where they were lightly engaged. The brigade was ordered
forward in the afternoon, but the 24th remained in reserve to guard an
artillery battery. Later that day, the 24th was ordered forward, with
which they responded with a cheer, and engaged the enemy's right. The
rebels broke and the 24th gave pursuit until the rebels were finally out
of range. The regiment behaved with great coolness, this being their
first battle. James W. Hazel was the regiment's only casualty, he being
On 11 October, the 24th joined in the pursuit
of the rebel forces, which was abandoned on the 15th. The twenty -
second of November found the 24th crossing the Cumberland River and
camping at Mill Creek, near Nashville. The division of Phil Sheridan was
now part of the newly formed right wing under General Alexander McCook,
with the army commander now being William S. Rosecrans.
The 24th left Mill Creek on 27 December, now
under the command of Major Elisha C. Hibbard, the brigade under Joshua
W. Sill, and took part in the Battle of Stones River, in which they were
heavily engaged on the 30th and 31st. On the 30th, the regiment advanced
in support of an artillery battery, and suffered some loss due to the
enemy's batterys. The regiment lay on arms all night, and, having been
ordered not to build fires, suffered greatly from the cold. On the 31st,
Sheridan's division found itself on the left flank of the right wing.
The enemy, attacking in the early morning, had rolled up the division of
Johnson, and was doing the same to Davis' division, who was formed on
the right of Sheridan. The battle having now come to Sheridan, he
prepared to received the rebel onslaught. The 24th was formed on the
extreme right flank of the brigade. The regiment to the right of the
24th having fell back from the pressure of the attack, the 24th was left
with it's flank exposed. The 1st Louisiana came charging up the hill
toward the 24th. Having not been in so tight a situation before, the
24th broke and fell back. Major Hibbard tried to retire by companies,
but the order was lost in the confusion. The 24th reformed next to the
Blanton house, and, finally calmed, did good service in conducting a
fighting withdrawal with the rest of Sheridan's division, along with
other hastily assembled units trying to stop the rebel horde. The
brigade now being under Gruesel (Sill having been killed) the brigade
was ordered to guard the supply trains, which were being harassed by
rebel cavalry. During the remainder of the battle, the 24th was not
actively engaged. The regiment suffered losses of 19 killed, 57 wounded,
and 98 captured or missing, for a total of 174.
After Stones River, the regiment was placed in
the First Brigade, under General Lytle, and the Third Division, under
Sheridan. The division formed part of the 20th Army Corps, under McCook.
The regiment participated in the Tullahoma
campaign (23 June - 3 July), which resulted in the evacuation of
Chattanooga by the Confederates. Rosecrans ordered a pursuit, and, in
doing so, spread his army over a wide area. After discovering how near
Bragg and his army was, he ordered a concentration around Gordon's Mill
and Chickamauga Creek. The 24th, along with the rest of McCook's Corps,
suffered terribly from hard marching, bad roads, and short rations.
On 19 September, the 24th, now under the
command of Lieutenant Colonel Theodore S. West (Hibbard had resigned),
the regiment, along with the brigade, had been left to guard the extreme
right of the line. At night, the brigade fell back 200 yards.
On 20 September, the brigade moved down the
Chattanooga road to Lee's Hill, and formed to the rear of the Widow
Glenn's house. The brigade then moved further down the road, and formed
a line under fire from the enemy. Here the 24th fought for a half hour,
before the Confederates made a push upon the left flank of the brigade.
The 36th Illinois, holding that flank, fell back, in turn exposing the
left flank of the 24th. The two left companies of the 24th were swung
over to stop the rebels. "The pressure on the 24th Wisconsin was
almost unbearable," as author Peter Cozzens puts it. After
resisting against the overwhelming numbers of the enemy, the 24th
finally fell back and, with their brigade, reformed 400 yards to the
rear. They then joined in the retreat of the army from Chickamauga
Creek. During the withdrawal, Lieutenant Colonel West was captured. The
24th suffered casualties of 8 killed, 73 wounded, and 29 captured or
missing, for a total of 110.
During the following siege of Chattanooga, the
24th, under the command of Major Carl von Baumbach, and the brigade
under the command of Colonel Sherman of the 88th Illinois, took part in
the famous charge up Missionary Ridge. Advancing at the double quick,
the 24th, along with the rest of the brigade, succeeded in taking the
first set of rifle pits from the enemy. They then continued the ascent
up Missionary Ridge, taking advantage of the rough ground, and finally
pushed the enemy from their works, routing and scattering them in all
directions. Adjutant Arthur Macarthur later received the Medal of Honor
for carrying the colors of the 24th and planting them on top of the
enemy's works at a crucial time in the battle. He receives special
mention in Baumbach's report. The 24th lost 4 men killed and 33 men
wounded, for a total of 37.
Baumbach resigned on 28 November, and Macarthur
was appointed Major. He commanded the regiment until West's return in
the Atlanta Campaign.
After Chattanooga, the 20th and 21st Corps were
disbanded, and the 4th Corps was organized. Sheridan's division was part
of this newly formed Corps.
Only three days after the victory at
Chattanooga, the 24th was preparing rations again as it had been
selected as one of the units to go to the relief of General Burnside in
Knoxville, which was under siege by James Longstreet's
Confederates. On the afternoon of the 28th, the march commenced. After a
long march of 130 miles, the 24th reached Knoxville on 7 December. The
24th pursued Longstreet's defeated rebels in East Tennessee for a time,
participating in skirmishes and marching in dismal weather. Near
Dandridge, the 24th was engaged when it charged upon an enemy battery
and forced it to make a quick retreat. Returning to Knoxville, they
marched to Loudon, where they remained until the start of General
William T. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign.
Sherman retained command of the brigade, but
Sheridan, having been transferred east, was replaced by General John
Newton in command of the division. The new 4th Corps commander was
Oliver O. Howard. Lieutenant Colonel West had returned from captivity
and had taken command of the 24th.
On 9 May, 1864, the 24th was involved in the
attack upon Rocky Face Ridge near Dalton, Georgia, and succeeded in
carrying the crest. On the morning of the 13 May, it was realized that
the enemy had abandoned his position and had fallen back to Resaca. The
army was immediately ordered to move forward. In the Battle of Resaca,
the 24th, with the rest of the brigade, advanced 300 yards to an open
field, where they met the enemy. The 24th advanced admirably, gaining a
position that could shield them from the enemy's fire. During the
advance, the 24th had become separated from the rest of the brigade,
save the 15th Missouri and the 36th Illinois. They then advanced again,
this time to the crest of the ridge, where they engaged the enemy for
two hours before, ammunition expended, they withdrew. Lieutenant Colonel
West was wounded in this battle, and command again went to Macarthur.
The Confederates evacuated Resaca on the night
of 15 May, and the Federal army pursued. On the 17th, the 24th relieved
the 36th Illinois on the skirmish line. The 24th advanced until they met
the enemy near Pleasant Hill. The fire becoming very hot, the whole
brigade had to be deployed. They fought until dark brought a close to
hostilities. The 24th then marched to Adairsville and then Kingston, and
then reaching Dallas on the night of the 25 May.
The 24th next came before Kennesaw Mountain,
and they took part in the fruitless assaults against the rebel works on
27 June. The army then evacuated it's position before Kennesaw and
marched through Marietta. They eventually moved and bivouacked on the
north bank of the Chattahoochee River. They crossed Peach Tree Creek on
the night of the 19th., and participated in the battle of Peach Tree
Creek the next day. The 24th repulsed every enemy assault that was
directed against them. The 24th then moved and took up positions in
front of Atlanta. On the night of 25 August, they left their works for a
move to the right. On 1 September, the 24th was put to work destroying
part of the Macon Railroad until the evening, when they were ordered to
march to the right. The Federal force ran into the rebels north of
Jonesboro, where a brisk fight ensued, with no clear victor. The next
day, 2 September, the rebels evacuated Atlanta, and on the 8th, the 24th
marched victoriously into the city. The casualties for the 24th during
the Atlanta Campaign are, roughly, 99 total.
After resting in Atlanta for most of September,
the 24th was ordered to move to Chattanooga, where they performed guard
duty until they were again called upon to prepare rations and get ready
to move out. The brigade had been chosen as one of the units to go and
stop Hood's rebels, who were invading Tennessee in order to try and draw
Sherman and his army out of Georgia.
The regiment was still under the command of Major Macarthur,
but the brigade was now commanded by Emerson Opdyke of the 125th Ohio,
and the army under John Schofield.
On 1 November, the 24th left Chattanooga and
the next day arrived in Athens, Alabama. They entered Pulaski, Tennessee
on 5 November, where they were on guard duty and instructed to build
fortifications. The movement northward commenced on 22 November. On the
24th, they camped at Columbia, Tennessee, and on the 25th, made a reconnaissance
in which they developed the enemy's lines within two miles of town.
Twenty - eight November found the 24th withdrawing across Duck River,
burning a bridge to impede the rebel advance. The next day, the 24th
reached the town of Spring Hill, just ahead of rebel cavalry. At 4
o'clock on the morning of 30 November, the 24th, with the rest of the
brigade, took up the march toward Franklin, the brigade acting as rear
guard for the army. After continued skirmishing throughout the morning,
the brigade entered Franklin shortly after noon, very tired. They formed
a reserve line behind the center of the Federal position.
The Confederates attacked in overwhelming
numbers around 4:30, and succeeded in routing the division under George
D. Wagner, which was placed 300 yards in front of the main Federal line.
The men of this division came streaming through the center of the line,
carrying some of the troops in the front line with them. The assault now
succeeded in breaking the center of the Federal lines. Schofield's army
was now in danger of being pinned up against the Harpeth River and
defeated in detail. Opdyke, resting with his brigade, saw the line in
front of him break. He immediately ordered a counter charge. The 24th,
with the rest of the brigade, and with two other regiments, surged
forward, meeting the Confederates in ferocious hand to hand combat that
centered around the Carter House. The brigade stopped the rebel charge
dead in it's tracks. Close fighting continued until 11 o' clock at
night, as the Confederates tried time and again to force the stubborn
24th and their comrades back, but they would not budge. The 24th, with
the rest of Schofield's army, crossed the Harpeth River and retreated to
Nashville. In the counter charge, Macarthur was wounded, and command
came upon Captain Edwin B. Parsons. The 24th suffered casualties of 2
killed, 17 wounded, and 7 captured or missing.
Reaching Nashville the morning of 1 December,
the 24th bivouacked. On 15 December, the 24th, under Captain Charles
Hartung, advanced with their comrades and carried the first set of rebel
works. And on the 16th, the 24th advanced again, pushing back the enemy
skirmish line but going no further. They were then relieved and went to
the rear. The 24th suffered light casualties in these two days, with a
total of 1 killed and 2 wounded.
The 24th subsequently took part in the pursuit
of Hood's defeated army, passing through Lexington, Alabama on 29
December. They crossed the Elk River on 3 January, and reached
Huntsville, Alabama on the 5th. Here they went into winter quarters.
On 28 March, 1865, the 24th left Huntsville by
rail bound for East Tennessee to cooperate with Grant's Eastern Campaign,
and arrived at Bull's Gap on 31 March. They proceeded east until the
town of Blue Springs, where they were ordered to repair a railroad. On
19 April, the 24th Wisconsin returned to Bull's Gap, and from there
commenced the trip to Nashville, getting there on 24 April. Here they
remained until their muster out on 10 June, 1865.