Return to Home Page Second Wisconsin
4th Cavalry (also 4th Inf.)
The Fourth Regiment was organized at Camp Utley, Racine, in June, 1861, mustered into the United States service on the 9th of July, and left the State July 15th, for Baltimore, Md.
A Military Wedding!
Our "Married" column this week contains the brief announcement that Hymen still contests with Mars for the position of "first in the hearts of the people."
In this instance, at least, Hymen won and many there were present to reinforce in his triumph.
Lake Michigan's placid waters have seldom witnessed a more beautiful spectacle than that present last Sabbath morning. Before 8 o'clock the grove on the borders of the Lake east of the camp was alive with visitors; soon the steady tramp of soldiers was heard and the "Ripon Rifles" (known in the 4th Regiment as Company B") under the command of Orderly Sergeant Baker appeared on the ground and formed in hollow square. In a few moments the bridal party made their appearance - Captain O.H. LaGarange and his fair bride, Miss Jennie Stowell, of Hastings, Min.; Maj. F.A. Boardman acting as groomsman and Miss Parker of Washington, bridesmaid. We shall not attempt to give the names of
the fair ladies present; it is enough to say that Racine, proverbial for her "youth and beauty," was well represented. Although it was the hour for preparing for the battalion drill, many of the Captain's brother officers had slipped away from camp duties to witness the ceremony which was impressively
performed by the Chaplain of the Regiment Rev. A. C. Barry.
After the ceremony and the congratulations of friends had been exchanged, Capt. La G. invited his "Boys" to meet him at his tent after "Battalion Drill" when Jennie would be happy to share with them some of the inevitable "Bride's Cake" This invitation was prefaced with a neat little speech as pithy as it was brief: "boys" said the Captain "I hear that some of you have been a little disposed to grumble at my apparent neglect of you of late; but place yourselves in my position, and would you have done any different? The response was perfectly satisfactory and with many kind wishes for the happiness and
prosperity of the newly wedded pair the audience adjourned the the Camp Ground to witness the "battalion drill" then in progress.
The 3d and 4th called for-last Saturday night
Gov. Randall received a dispatch directing the 3d and 4th regiments to proceed immediately to Williamsport, by way of Elmira and Chambersburg, and report to Maj. Gen. Patterson.
The regiment proceeded by the way of Elmira, N. Y. On arriving at Corning, the railroad officials refused to run the train to Elmira, when Colonel Paine seized a locomotive, and took the cars through to that place with engineers from the regiment.
They reached Harrisburg on the evening of the next day. Here Colonel Paine heard of the disaster at Bull Run on the 2lst of July. Borrowing smooth-bore muskets for his regiment, be proceeded to Baltimore, where he arrived on the 23d, and was supplied with efficient arms. The Fourth was detailed to guard the railroads near Baltimore, in which duty it was engaged until the 4th of November, when Colonel Paine, with the Fourth and a battery and small cavalry force, embarked on an expedition to the eastern shore of Virginia, where they remained, encountering some severe marching through the mud and flooded roads, under the command of General Lockwood, until the 9th of December, when Colonel Paine returned to Baltimore with his force.
On the 19th of February, the regiment proceeded to Fortress Monroe, thence to Newport News, where it went into camp, awaiting the movement of General Butler's expedition to Ship Island, which they bad been ordered to join. On the 5th of March, they embarked on a transport, passed under the fire of the rebel battery of Sewall's Point, and proceeded to Ship Island, under the command of General Williams, where they arrived on the 13th, having suffered severely from the confinement on ship board, by which disease was engendered, and several deaths occurred. They landed on the western end of the island, near the neck, and encamped. Ship Island is a desert strip of sand lying in the vicinity of Mississippi Sound, on the north shore of the Gulf of Mexico. Here was gathered the fleet of Captain Farragut the mortar boats of Captain Porter, and the army of General Butler. This force was designed to operate against New Orleans.
Here the Fourth was brigade in the Second Brigade,
General Williams commanding. They succeeded in embarking on the 15th of April, on the
sail-vessel Great Republic, and were towed to the Southwest Pass, near which they
remained, within hearing of the bombardment of the rebel Forts St. Phillip and Jackson,
until the 26th, when the Great Republic proceeded, in tow of a steamier, to the rear of
Fort St.Phillip. Farragut's fleet had passed the forts on the 23d, and proceeded up the
river to New Orleans. On the 28th, Companies E and G, of the Fourth, with part of the
Twenty-first Indiana under Major Boardman, were sent ashore to cut off the retreat of the
rebels. After rowing and dragging their boats ten or twelve miles which Major Boardman
took his turn at pulling the oar, they succeeded in effecting a landing, when the rebels,
finding themselves surrounded, surrendered the forts on the 29th.
The rest of the regiment returned on the Great Republic to the Southwest Pass, where they were transferred, except Companies I and K, to the smaller transport Diana, and again started up the river, passing the captured forts, and stopping at Quarantine to take on the two companies which bad been sent out under Major Boardman, and next day, joining the forces of General Butler, proceeded to the City of New Orleans, and took formal possession. Companies I and K soon rejoined the regiment, which remained at quarters in the Custom House until the 8th of May, when six companies started with an expedition up the river, under General Williams, landing and reaching Fourier Station, on the Jackson Railroad, where they destroyed the track and bridges. Continuing on, they reached Baton Rouge on the 12th, and took possession of the place. On the 19th, they proceeded to Vicksburg, skirmished with the enemy at Warrenton, where Sergeant Major Chittenden, and Private E. R. Perry, of Company A, were wounded, being the first casualties of the regiment. Remained at Vicksburg one week, when the fleet sailed down the river, abandoning the expedition. In passing Grand Gulf, the transport was fired on,when the gunboat conveying it shelled the town, and a party, under Major Boardman, went ashore to capture the battery, but was unsuccessful, and the regiment returned to Baton Rouge, where it remained till the 17th of June. Colonel Paine was here placed under arrest by General William for declining to obey an order for the return of fugitive slaves, when found in the camp.
They took part in the second expedition to Vicksburg,
June 17th, and, landing at Grand Gulf, Colonel Paine engaged the enemy, destroyed their
camps, and burnt the town, by order of General Butler. Landing on the point opposite
Vicksburg, the Fourth remained during the bombardment by Captain Farragut, engaged in
fatigue duty and "foraging for contrabands" to be employed in digging Butler's
famous canal or "cut-off."
This expedition was also destined to be a failure. On
the 14th of July, the gunboat Tyler encountered the rebel ram Arkansas, in the Yazoo
River. During the combat, a shell from the ram exploded on
the Tyler, killing six men of the Fourth Wisconsin, who bad been detached with others to
act as sharpshooters on the Tyler and wounded six others.
The expedition was abandoned on the 24th of July, and the troops returned to Baton Rouge, where they were attacked, on the 5th of August, by the rebel General Breckenridge, who was signally defeated. The Fourth Wisconsin being in reserve, suffered no loss, although the battle was a very severe one. General Williams was killed, and Colonel Paine was released from arrest, and placed in command of the post. He was ordered by General Butler, to remove the State Library and statue of Washington, in the State Capitol, and burn the town, and return to New Orleans with his troops. The order was complied with, except the destruction of the town, and the troops reached Carrolton, eight miles above New Orleans, on the 22d of August, where they remained engaged in repairing the fortifications, and n garrison duty.
On the 8th of September, the Fourth formed art of an
expedition which attacked six hundred guerillas near Bonnie Carrie Point, routed them,
killing 8, wounding as many more, and taking thirty prisoners, and 250 horses. On the 19th
of December, the Fourth, with the exception of Company G, under Major Boardman, again:
moved up the river, and took position at Baton Rouge. Company G, was detached for heavy
artillery duty, and did not rejoin the Fourth until the 22d July, 1863. The regiment was
assigned to a brigade under Colonel Paine, in General Emory's. division, and in February,
1863, moved to Bayou Plaquemine, on the west side of the river, where an important
reconnaissance Of the enemy's position was accomplished by Major Boardman. Colonel Paine
having been commissioned as Brigadier General, on the 17th of March, Lieutenant Colonel
Bean was appointed Colonel of the Fourth, Major Boardman, was appointed Lieutenant
Colonel, and Captain Bailey, Major. The brigade returned to Baton Rouge on the 6th of
March, and on the 13th, took part in the first demonstration of General Banks, on Port
Hudson. They marched to a point near the place where they witnessed the bombardment by
Captain Farragnt, and the destruction of the United States steamer Mississippi, after
which the expedition was ordered to return to Baton Rouge.
On the 3d of April, General Paine's brigade left Baton Rouge to take part in the Teche Expedition, proceeding by way of New Orleans, Algiers, and by railroad to Berwick Bay, which they crossed on the 9th, and camped near Berwick City. On the llth, the march commenced and the enemy's fortifications were reached just beyond Pattersonville, at Bisland's plantation, on Bayou Teche. Wetzel's and Paine's brigades were in advance in two lines of battle, the latter forming the second line, when the enemy opened fire with artillery in the afternoon, which was replied to. The Fourth was on the right of Paine's brigade, and companies B and E, were thrown out as skirmishers. The whole force was on the south side of the Teche, a deep narrow bayou, navigable for large steamers. After the artillery duel, the Fourth was posted for the night, at a sugar house, near the Bayou. Colonel Bean posted five companies two hundred yards in advance, and placed forty picked marksmen on the banks of the bayou, to look out for the rebel gunboat Diana, and to silence her guns. During the night the advance line was attacked by the enemy's cavalry, who were repulsed, Company B, under Captain Carter, keeping a largely superior force at bay, and yielding on no part of his line. In the morning, the cavalry again attacked the skirmishers under Captain Moore, of Company E, but were driven back by the heroic bravery of the Captain and his command. The ground in front of the enemy was crossed by deep plantation ditches, nearly parallel
with the line of works. These ditches formed admirable cover for the infantry supports of the artillery. The Fourth took position two hundred yards in advance of the army in these ditches, the front covered by their skirmishers. The battle opened by an artillery fire from the works, the gunboat Diana, the light artillery, and a battery on the other side of the bayou. This was replied to until about noon, when the enemy's fire ceased. In the afternoon, Gooding's brigade was sent across the bayou, and the contest raged with great vigor. The Fourth Wisconsin in the ditches, were effectually protected, although a tremendous fire had swept over them. Generals Paine and Wetzel, had formed a plan to charge on the works in the afternoon, with their brigades, but it was prevented by orders from General Banks. At night the regiment threw out pickets, with the expectation of a renewal of the battle in the morning. During the night, however, it was ascertained that the enemy had abandoned the works, which were entered soon after daylight by the Fourth, followed by the rest of Paine's brigade.
The casualties in this battle at Bisland seven killed and six wounded.
The enemy were pursued, and the army reached
Opelousas on the 20th, where the Fourth was ordered to forage for horses and equipment,
and mount themselves, which was done, and they went in pursuit of a battalion of Texas
The regiment was temporarily transferred to General Dwight's brigade, and proceeded to Alexandria, where, on a scouting excursion, they captured Dick Taylor's rear guard, on the 10th of May. The regiment also acted as rear guard to the army on its march to the Mississippi. On the 26th, they arrived at Port Hudson, put aside their horses, and joined their old brigade. Company C, being detailed as body guard to General Banks.
On the 27th of May, eight companies of the Fourth took part in the first assault on Port Hudson. The Fourth was in General Paine's brigade in rear of the brigade of General Dwight. The latter soon obliqued from General Paine's front which placed the Fourth Wisconsin in the advance, led by Colonel Bean. The rebels had filled the intervening ground with obstructions and availed themselves of thickets, trees, fallen timber, ridges and ravines, and also of rifle pits and breastworks of earth and logs, by means of which, they were enabled to pour in a terrible fire, retreating rapidly from point to point, occasionally using their light artillery. The regiment pushed forward rapidly over hills, logs, and fallen trees, and through brush, ravines and tree tops, until they drove the enemy into their works, capturing many prisoners. They reached a ridge within two hundred yards of their works. The assault had failed in other parts of the line, and the enemy was able to concentrate his fire on General Paine's brigade. In fifteen minutes from the time of occupying the ridge, our artillery was answering the guns in the enemy's works. This position was retained till the surrender. On gaining this ridge, the Fourth Wisconsin men soon silenced every gun of the enemy which was within range. From this time till the 14th of June, there was by day and night, a constant fire of artillery and sharpshooters. On the 29th of May, Colonel Bean was instantly killed by a sharpshooter.
The casualties in the
regiment, from May 27th to June 2d, were sixteen killed and fifty-four wounded.
The death of Colonel Bean, was deeply felt in the regiment, and also among his numerous friends and acquaintances in Wisconsin. He was a man of ability and character, and was highly respected by those who knew him.
On the 1st of June, the regiment was relieved from duty at the front, and took part in Colonel Grierson's cavalry expedition to Clinton, where our forces were repulsed with severe loss.
The casualties in the
Fourth Wisconsin, were one killed, nine wounded.
For meritorious service, Major Joseph Bailey was promoted as Colonel of the regiment, by General Banks. The Governor,however, had appointed Lieutenant Colonel Boardman as Colonel. There being a conflict in this arrangement, the Governor commissioned Major Bailey as Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Webster P. Moore as Major. These commissions were all to rank from June 3d. The muster of Lieutenant Colonel Bailey as Colonel, by order of General Banks, being declared illegal by the War Department, the matter was thus disposed of.
On the 14th of June, another assault on the enemy's works at Port Hudson was made. General Paine's division occupied the centre. The Fourth Wisconsin and Eighth New Hampshire were placed in the advance as skirmishers. They were to be followed by three Massachusetts regiments, with hand grenades to throw into the enemy's works, and bags of cotton to fill the ditch to enable the infantry to charge up to the enemy's works. The assault was covered by a heavy artillery fire. The skirmishers dashed up to the rebel works, on the double quick, the enemy all the time pouring in a terrible fire. Men were falling at every step, but those unhurt passed gallantly on, until they reached the breastworks, and attempted to Scale them, some went over, either dead or prisoners; most fell under the works, killed or wounded. The few that were left, sought protection behind stumps and swelled of ground. The supports, seeing the fate of the skirmishers, refused to go forward. While urging on these men to the support, of those in advance, General Paine was struck by a rifle bullet, in the leg, just after daylight, and fell among a large number of dead and wounded, about fifteen rod's from the enemy's works. The slight ridges of the field, which
had formerly been cultivated, protected him from the fire of the enemy, which broke out with great fury Whenever the intolerable heat compelled him to move. Efforts were made to rescue him, but the rebel fire prevented it. A private of the One Hundred and Thirty-third New York, named Patrick Cohen, tossed him a canteen of water, taken from a dead soldier, which General Paine thinks saved his life. At night he was removed, and subsequently was sent to the Hotel Dieu, in New Orleans, where his leg was amputated. During this assault, the regiment was under the command of Major W. P. Moore, Lieutenant Colonel Boardman being absent, sick, and Colonel Bailey was on duty on General Banks' staff.
The casualties in the assault on the 14th of June were 39 killed or died of wounds, 70 wounded and 31 missing.
The regiment went into action with 220 men. Many of the missing were captured inside the fort, having jumped over the works, under the idea that they were to be followed by their supports. Many of those captured succeeded in escaping before the capitulation. Corporal Isaac Earl, of Company D, before escaping, informed himself very thoroughly, of the whole plan of the enemy's works, and when be reported at headquarters, gave much valuable information to the commanding General. Corporal Earl, for conspicuous gallantry during the siege, was promoted on the spot, as Second Lieutenant of Company A. Sergeant Knowles, of Company G, who was orderly on General T. W. Sherman's staff, was promoted to Second Lieutenant, for gallant conduct in rescuing his fallen General, on the 27th of May.
After the assault of the 14th of June, the Fourth
remained in the vicinity of Port Hudson, while General Banks was endeavoring to perfect a
plan for the capture of the place. The success of General Grant in the capture of
Vicksburg, compelled the surrender of Port Hudson, on the 8th of July. The Fourth
Wisconsin returned to its old camping ground, on the 25th of July, where it remained for
some time. Here the fragments of the shattered regiment were gathered, and it was found to
number five hundred and seventy-four men.
By special orders of the War Department, the Fourth Regiment, on the 1st of September,1863 was changed to a cavalry regiment, and thereafter, was known as the Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry.
We shall leave the balance of the history of the Fourth to be completed under the head of cavalry organizations.
Quiner, Military History of Wisconsin, 1866