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THIS regiment was organized at Camp Randall, Madison, and was mustered into the United States service on the 13th of July, 1861, and left the State July 26th for Washington.
They arrived at Washington on the 8th of August, and were assigned to the brigade of General King, and went into camp on with the brigade, the regiment, on the 3d of September, marched to Chain Bridge, where the Second and Fifth Wisconsin, and Nineteenth Indiana, crossed to the Virginia side, and were placed temporarily under command of General Smith, and were employed in the construction of fortifications, outpost duty, and the usual camp duties. During the month, the regiment was transferred from King's brigade, to that of General W. S. Hancock, in General Smith's division, and went into winter quarters at "Camp Griffin," near Lewinsville, where it remained, engaged in picket and outpost duty, until the 10th of March, 1862, when the brigade and division took part in the advance of McClellan against Manassas, proceeding as far as Fairfax Court House, and on the news of the evacuation of the rebel position, marched to Alexandria, and embarked in the famous Peninsula campaign of General McClellan, being part of the Fourth Army Corps, under General Keyes. They disembarked at Hampton, opposite Fortress Monroe, and on the 27th, the brigade made a reconnaissance in force, and drove the enemy, and camped within their lines. On the 4th of April, they advanced to Young's. Mills, driving the rebels before them, and on the 6th, Company F, Captain Bean, bad a brush with the enemy, routed him, and had one man wounded-Private Vreeland.
The command advanced opposite the enemy's fortifications, on Warwick River, near Lee's Mills, which was the centre of the enemy's line of works. An attack was made on a strong fort of the rebels, near Lee's Mills, on the 16th' in which the Fifth took no part, but afterwards took position in the rear of a battery, which had been posted opposite the fort., On the 24th, Charles L. Fourt, of Company K, was wounded while on picket, and on the 30th, Burton Millard, Commissary -Sergeant, was mortally wounded, and died the same day.
On the 3d of May, the rebels evacuated their works around Yorktown, and retreated towards Williamsburg. With the rest of the army, the Fifth marched, on the 4th, in pursuit of the enemy. The roads were almost impasse able, from the swampy character of the ground. At night, they bivouacked near Whittaker's plantation, three miles from Williamsburg. Next day, at eight o'clock, General Hooker commenced the battle of Williamsburg, on the left. At 10 o'clock, General Hancock's brigade was sent to the right, to make an attack on the enemy's left. With the Fifth Wisconsin in the advance, the brigade reached Queen's Creek, and found, on the opposite side, an earthwork. The Fifth Wisconsin was ordered to cross, and occupy the work, which was done. A second earth work about 800 yards from the first, was also found to be abandoned. These works proved to be within range of three similar works, which were filled with the enemy's infantry and sharpshooters, who opened a galling fire on the skirmishers thrown out by Colonel Cobb, which consisted of Companies A, E, and G, under command of Captain Bugh. Pursuant to orders, Colonel Cobb advanced four hundred yards from the main line, and sent forward Companies D and K, as support for his skirmish line, under Lieutenant Colonel Emery. The battery took position near some farm buildings, and opened on the enemy's works, and Colonel Cobb, with the other five companies, acted as Support, being covered by a slight elevation, his men lying down to avoid the enemy's shots. About half past four o'clock, the enemy opened fire on his Skirmish line, and soon advanced, the skirmishers slowly retiring. The battery immediately limbered up, and passed to the rear. The skirmishers checked the cavalry advance, and Colonel Cobb formed line of battle with his five companies, and opened fire on the advancing infantry. Here receiving an order to "fall back fighting," Colonel Cobb gradually withdrew from the shelter of the buildings,and became fully exposed to the enemy's fire. The skirmishers, under Lieutenant Colonel Emery, rejoined the regiment, and the whole fell back slowly and deliberately, fighting all the while, with as much coolness as if on ordinary duty. Having joined the main line of the brigade, General Hancock gave the order to fire and charge, which was followed by such a volley and rush, that the enemy were checked, and fled from the field in the wildest confusion, leaving one of their battle flags. For the coolness and bravery displayed, Colonel Cobb and the regiment were complimented by their superior officers, and on the 7th, General McClellan addressed the regiment as follows:
BATTLE OF WILLIAMSBURG.
"My lads, I have come to thank you for the bravery and discipline which you displayed the other day. On that day, you won laurels of which you may well be proud-not only you, but the army, the State, and the country to which you belong.
Through you we won the day, and
"Williamsburg " Shall be upon your banner. I cannot
thank you too much, and I am sure the reputation your gallantry
has already achieved, will always be maintained."
Captain Bugh, of Company G, was dangerously wounded in the thigh, and lay on the field till the enemy were driven back. His wound disabled him for further military service.
The rebel force engaged was Ewell's crack brigade, of which the Fifth North Carolina was nearly annihilated.
The casualties were: Killed or died of wounds, fifteen; Wounded, sixty.
The rebels evacuated Williamsburg on the night of the 5th of May. Smith's division marched to Cumberland Landing on the 9th and was assigned to Franklin's Sixth Corps, and marched to the Chickahominy and encamped on the 24th of May, near Gaines' Mill, where the regiment was engaged, till June 26th, in building roads, bridges, &e. On that day, Porter was driven back by the enemy, and on the evening of the 27th, the pickets of the Fifth Wisconsin were driven in. Hancock's brigade held a strong, position, very annoying to the enemy, and this was an attempt to drive him from it. The brigade soon formed line of battle, just below the crest of a hill, on which they lay down, and when the enemy appeared on the hill, they poured in a staggering fire, at the same time that the artillery opened. The fight lasted about an hour, when the rebels were routed. This is known as the battle of Golden's Farm.
The casualties in the Fifth, as officially reported, were: Wounded, fourteen.
The next day, McClellan began his famous "change of base," in which Smith's division formed the rear guard of the Grand Army, being under fire at Savage Station, and the Fifth Wisconsin, with Hancock's brigade, were among the last to cross White Oak Swamp bridge, where five of Company F, were taken prisoners. The brigade was also under fire at the battle of Malvern Hill, but suffered no loss and went into camp near Harrison's Landing, where it remained until the final evacuation of the Peninsula, on the 16th of August. Arriving at Alexandria on the 29th, Franklin's corps marched toward Manassas, but did not reach General Pope in time to afford any assistance, and returned to Alexandria, where it remained until the 6th of September.
Major Larrabee resigned on the, 25th of July, and Captain Behrens was appointed Major. In the movement to check the progress of General Lee in Maryland the regiment was in the reserve when Slocum's division drove the enemy from Crampton's Gap, on the 14th.
They were present at the battle of Antietam, Franklin's corps reinforcing Generals Hooker and Sumner. Smith's division being in support of artillery, the regiment lay on the ground nearly all day, under the terrible fire of the enemy, with little loss. Colonel Cobb was in command of the brigade. After a fruitless attempt to intercept Stewart's cavalry, on his celebrated raid around McClellan's army, they rejoined the army at Falmouth, and on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th of December, participated in the battle of Fredericksburg, though not much exposed.
Here Corporal H. Pigg, of Company B, and Corporal Amos W., Miller and John Duncan, of Company H, were wounded, and William Lyon, of Company D, was mortally, wounded.
The regiment went into winter quarters at White Oak Church, near Belle Plain. Colonel Cobb being elected to Congress, resigned his position, and Lieutenant Colonel T. S. Allen, of the Second, was appointed Colonel of the Fifth.
On the death of Lieutenant Colonel Emery in October, Captain T. B. Catlin, of Company D, was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, Major Behrens resigned on the 26th of December, and Captain. M. Wheeler was appointed Major. Colonel Allen reported for duty on the 26th of January, Lieutenant Colonel Catlin having command of the regiment in the meantime.
The "Light Division " was organized from the Sixth Corps, in February, 1863, by General Pratt, including the Fifth Regiment which was intended to march, and be ready to undertake reconnaissance's and movements which 'required great activity, unencumbered by the usual impedimenta. This 'Light Division" remained in camp at Belle Plain until April 28th, when it moved to the Rappahannock, crossed on pontoons, and took position before the enemy, below Fredericksburg, and on the 2d of May, while skirmishing, lost First Lieutenant, John McMurtry, of Company H, who was mortally wounded by rebel sharpshooters. Moving up to the city, the Sixth Corps took position in front of the enemy's fortifications on the heights. On the 3d of May, the "Light Division " was ordered to stormed the enemy's position on Marye's Heights, where, in December, General Burnside lost 5,000 men in a similar attempt, which had given the place the name of "the Slaughter Pen." The "Light Division," commanded by Colonel Burnham, of the Sixth Maine, moved to obey the orders. The right wing of the Fifth, Companies A, B, F, H and I were to lead the storming party, under Colonel Allen. The Sixth Maine and Thirty-first New York were placed in the rear of the right wing of the Fifth, and the left wing of the Fifth in rear of the Thirty-first. The plan of the charge and arrangement of the troops was made by Colonel Allen. The enemy's works consisted of a battery in front on the heights above, with a battery on the left, and two other batteries on the right, which could pour a terrible cross fire into the attacking force. In front of the right wing was a gentle slope, on ascending which, the force became fully exposed to the fire of the enemy, and at about 450 yards in front of their starting point was a stone wall or fence forming one side of a cross road, behind which the enemy had placed a regiment or two of sharp-shooters. Beyond the wall, the hill rose very steep, on top of which was the battery and rifle-pits which the Light Division were ordered to take. Two regiments were to advance up a road to the right, in order to draw the fire of the enemy while the charge was being made.
Forming in line, as arranged, the right wing of the Fifth lay for three hours, protected by the slope of the ground, before orders were received to charge. The men were rather serious, for they felt it to be an almost hopeless task, where so many had killed before.
Colonel Allen to change the current of feeling, addressed his men, saying-
"Boy's! You see those heights!
You have got to take them!
You think you cannot do it; but you can!
You will do it!
When the order 'Forward' is given, you will start at double quick - you will not fire a gun - you will not stop until you get the order to halt!
"You will never get that order!"
At last came the command "Forward", and every man advanced with undaunted bravery up that sheltering slope and into the deadly fire which met them when about one hundred yards from the stone wall or fence. Then it came with terrible, fury and effect from musketry behind the wall and rifle-pits above, in front, and from batteries on all the crests of the hills from rifles in houses and rifle-pits on the right flank. Shot, shell and canister tore through the ranks of the gallant storming party, but without stopping to return a shot, the band of heroes rushed on, surmounted the stone wall, where they bayoneted some of the foe, and scattering the others like chaff, clambered up the steep pitch and into the enemy's works at the top, and were soon in possession of the famous washington Battery of New Orleans, whose commander surrendered his sword to Colonel Allen, at the same time complimenting him for his daring and the bravery of his men. The column which was to charge the batteries on the right, failed to reach them, and the Light Division proceeded to secure them, capturing in all nine guns, several hundred prisoners, and many small arms. The battery on the left was taken by a Vermont brigade.
The casualties in the Fifth were three commissioned officers and forty-one enlisted killed or mortally wounded, eight commissioned officers and eighty-four enlisted men wounded, and twenty-three missing, out of a force of about four hundred men.
The list of killed and wounded in this assault on Marye's Hill, which has justly been considered as one of the most gallant acts of the war, shows the desperate character of the enterprise. The brave men who lost their lives in this attempt, where thousands failed but a few months before, are worthy of a monument enduring as the granite hills, and those who suffered and languished from wounds received in the undertaking are entitled to our warmest sympathies, and, with those who came off unscathed, will receive the grateful homage of the present and future generations for the gallantry and devotion which they there displayed in the effort to conquer and wipe out the rebellion.
We here insert a diagram of the battle-field, drawn by an officer who was present at the assault, and visited the spot after the close of the war, for the purpose of getting a correct view of the situation:
Without rest or refreshments, or going back to care for the killed and wounded, the "Light Division" were ordered to march with the Sixth Corps at once, to Chancellorville. During the evening the enemy retook possession of the Heights so dearly won, and followed up the Sixth Corps, which, at Salem Church, had Lee's army in their front, and Jackson and Long-street on their flank and rear. The enemy's fire slackened against Hooker, during the 3d and 4th, his attention being devoted to Sedgwick's Sixth Corps, who were fighting three times their number. No relief came, and nothing was left but to cross the river. In order to do this the 5th Wisconsin and Sixty-first Pennsylvania, under Colonel Allen, moved to the right and went to the assistance of Brooks' and Howe's divisions, who were fighting to open a way to Banks' Ford. They succeeded, the Fifth losing several men in a few minutes. Arriving at the Ford, the Fifth was detailed as rear guard, and the Sixth Corps crossed in safety, on the 5th. The Light Division returned to their old camp, and were soon after broken up; the Fifth Wisconsin, and Sixth Maine, being assigned to the Third brigade under Brigadier General David A. Russell, First Division, Sixth Army Corps.
The casualties on the 4th of May, were: Wounded fourteen and seven missing
It having been ascertained that General Lee was moving towards Pennsylvania, the Sixth Corps was again put in motion, and marched rapidly through Virginia, reaching Gettysburg, Pa., on the 2d day of July, having marched all the previous night.
Quinter, Military History of Wisconsin, 1866
THE MARCH OF THE SIXTH
BY J. S. ANDERSON.
If you should place your left hand with the fingers extended, on a map of the state of Pennsylvania, drawn upon a scale of six miles to an inch, with the second finger pointing Northwesterly to the village of Gettysburg and about two inches from it, you would have a good idea of the situation of the several corps of the Army of the Potomac on the last day of June, 1863, by letting each finger nail resent an army corps, the index finger representing the lst and 11th Corps together with two corps near the knuckles of the middle fingers, while the thumb would represent the 6th Corps away off to the right near Manchester, Md., ready to make a forced march to Baltimore, in case the rebels should make a sudden dash towards that city as it was rumored they intended doing. We, of the 6th Corps, had been marching steadily to the North every day since we broke camp near Acquia Creek, Va., nearly two weeks before.
We had a hard march of twenty miles on the 30th of June starting at 4 A. M. and had camped on both sides of the Baltimore Pike about 2 p.m.. Rested the balance of that day and all that night. There was a sort of understanding that Stuarts Cavalry were raiding somewhere in that section and our business was to guard the right flank of the army and be ready to go to the relief of Washington, Baltimore, Harrisburg or even Philadelphia, all of these cities being supposed to be in danger from a sudden dash of the enemy.
All day of July Ist, we lay under temporary shelters, the hot sun casting its rays upon us as we lay on our blankets, in the in the improvised shades, blessing the good fortune that afforded us the chance for rest after the many days of continuous marching.
The day passed on in this way and just after sunset, when we had disposed of our coffee and hard tack and were sitting around enjoying the cool of the evening twilight, some of us saw a mounted officer come galloping down the pike from the West.
His horse was covered with dust and foam, its flanks bloody from continued spuring. He drew rein as he neared us and shouted, "Where is Corps Headquarters?" "Over there," we answered and pointed to a little knoll about forty rods distant where he could see the Headquarters flag, waving in the twilight, He struck spurs to his horse and dashed in that direction, leaped from the saddle and rushed into the tent.
In a moment more, all was hurry and confusion, the bugles sounded the assembly, and orderlies and staff officers were rushing in all directions to the headquarters of the several brigades, whose bugles again sounded the call, and officers rushed out shouting to the men "pack up, pack up and fall in". In an incredibly short space of time the men were in line, knapsacks and accoutrements on, ready for the march. Of course we were curious to know what all this meant. It was always a mystery to me, how news traveled through the ranks of an army.
In a few minutes we learned that a battle had been began at a place called Gettysburg. That General Reynolds, who commanded the lst Corps, had been killed. That the Wisconsin regiments had been in action and been badly cut up. That Colonel Fairchild had been badly wounded, Colonel Stevenson killed and that many of the men from our state had been killed and wounded. That our forces there had been fighting against odds, and were compelled to give ground. That we were to join the rest of the army at Gettysburg, where a great battle was to be fought, and where we would be needed. "Gettysburg. Where is Gettysburg?" "Thirty-two miles away." "Thirty-five miles away," was the answer, for the divisions were scattered over more than two miles of ground.
Our first division soon took up the line of march and plodded on for about half an hour when the word came from the rear, "Halt!" Somebody had blundered and the wrong road and had gone two or three miles out of the way. We had taken on four or five extra miles to the thirty-two or thirty-five we were expected to travel before we reached the battle field. "Countermarch by file left," and back we went over the fields and finally we filed on to the pike we supposed, began swinging along toward Gettysburg to help our comraades.
It seems however, that General Sedgwick on hearing of the battle, issued orders to Taneytown where was Army Headquaters, and it was upon the Taneytown road, we marched until well on towards morning, a line of direction widely from the point of our ultimate destination. General Wright says "during the night and some time after crossing the Baltimore and Gettysburg Pike other orders were received. changing the destination of the corps and directing the marches to Gettysburg."
We had thus lost valuable time and added several miles to the distance we must necessarily travel. The head of the column was turned to make a cross-cut to reach the Baltimore and Gettysburg Pike again. According to the statement of Captain T. W. Hyde of the 7th Maine, (afterwards Brigadier General) then serving on the staff of General Sedgwick, this occurred about three oclock in the morning and we had been marching since nine oclock the night before. Captain Hyde was at Taneytown which was Army Headquarters and was inrstrusted by General Meade with orders directing corps on Gettysburg. His statement is that he met the corps on Taneytown Road about 3 oclock in the morning, and that the corps had made a "a cross-cut of a few miles to the Baltimore Pike," Those "few miles" made many added weary foot-steps, before the night fell.
The night was cool, the road smooth and clear and we marched silently and swiftly along. Suddenly from away towards the head of the column was heard the strains of a band, breaking through the stillness of the night. The men caught the cadence of the music and fell into the marching step.
The band was playing the "Old John Brown" Battle Hymn, and as they reached the chorus, first a score of voices, joined the words to the music, then a hundred, then a thousand, and soon ten thousand voices rolled out the battle song,
"Glory, Glory Hallelujah,
His soul is marching on,"
All night long we marched in this way. The bands of music alternating with the shrill fifes and rattling drums, then for a time we plodded on in silence with the mechanical route step. Then the music of the band would throw us marching step, and "tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys went marching" until the grey dawn of July 2d, found us far on the way.
So far as my memory, serves me this was the only march of that character where the 6th Corps used music on the route. Occasionally when passing through a city, the bands would play, but I have no recollection that we ever used music to march by when simply on the route. Whoever was responsible for it, it was certainly a happy inspiration and helped the men wonderfully. We pushed on all night at a wonderful pace, and my recollection is that we rested but once, or at the most twice, during the whole night, and then simply by sitting by the roadside for a few moments.
In the early morning, we filed into some fields by the road side and were ordered to make coffee, but the time allowed was so short that more than half of the men were unable to get coffee made and resumed the march without it. On and on we went, one weary mile following another and as the sun mounted upward, the heated rays came down with oppressive force.
About 11 oclock we reached that part of the pike over which the troops in advance of us had passed with their artillery and trains, the day and night previous and the road was covered with dust three or four inches deep, which rose in great clouds and nearly stifled us. There was no music and no singing now, we were fast reaching the limit of human endurance. Men reeled and staggered along as if they were drunken. Ever and anon a rifle or musket would fall clattering on the stony pike, as the man who carried it collapsed and sank ina quivering heap in the midst of the roadway. He would be seized and dragged to the roadside, his musket laid beside him and his comrades would resume their places in the ranks and struggle on.
There was much to inspire the men in their dogged resolution to push on, for by this time we could hear the sullen roar of the artillery engaged in battle ahead of us, and we knew that the largest corps in the Army of the Potomac was sorely needed. Then, too, we had passed out of Maryland into Pennsylvania, and we were in the land of our friends. As we marched past the farm houses we could see a starry flag hung out and the women in the porch would look at the exhausted, dust covered men, with pitying sympathetic eyes. as the column struggled on.
They stripped their houses of food and drink to pass it out to the weary and hungry men.
One incident that I shall never forget. At a large farm house stood near the pike with rare thoughtfulness the people had brought out a number of tubs and pails and placed them along the side of the road. An old man and a boy were busy drawing water from the well and a portly matron and two handsome girls were keeping the tubs and pails filled with cool sweet water. Their faces were flushed and they trembled with the exertion. I said to the lady, "Madam, that work is very hard on you." She said, "God bless you, I dont feel it. I have two boys somewhere among you and I would not want them or their friends to pass their mothers house without at least a cup of cold -water." I passed on, I trust she met her boys and that they lived to be a comfort to her in her old age. I do not think she and her girls ever realized how their acts, and the acts of others like them, nerved the men of the Army of the Potomac to stand in the breach at Gettysburg.
About one o"clock, or a little after, we came to what appeared to be the divide where the land began to slope toward Gettysburg. The rumble of the cannonade became plainer, and faraway where the green of the trees met the skyline we could see the white puffs stand out in the blue sky, indicating where the shells were bursting above the trees, on the crest of the hills.
The sight acted on the men of the 6th Corps as the spur acts on the jaded horse. Every man quickened his step and we pushed on down the miles of descent yet to be covered before we could reach the battlefield. The country was spread out before us like a vast panorama, and as we came nearer we could see the army occupied a position almost in a semicircle with one flank resting on a small mountain, which we learned afterwards was Culps Hill, and the other on a larger elevation which we later knew by the name of Little Round Top. We went on and on until it seemed as though the road would never end, or as if the hills receded from us as fast as we were able to approach them. At last we began to descend into what seemed to be a valley lying behind the circle of hills on which our army lay.
As we came nearer, our practised ears could detect the continuous roll of musketry amid the pauses of the artillery, nearer yet and we could see a stream of wounded men coming down the slopes from the hills. We left the pike and struck across the fields towards Little Round Top which the rebels were trying to reach and which our comrades of the Third and Fifth corps were defending with strenuous courage and energy. We arrived on the field of Gettysburg at a critical moment. Sickles had been driven back, broken and in disorder, from the Peach Orchard. The rebels had pierced our lines and were struggling to maintain a hold upon Round Top. The leading brigade of the 6th Corps marching column never halted but went right into action from the line of march.
The Second Brigade turned to the right and strengthened the broken lines at once. The rebels saw the reenforcement and withdrew their attack.
The men of the 6th Corps marched forty-two miles in nineteen hours to the help of their comrades and went directly into battle.
Wheatons and Fustiss Brigades of the Third Divison were in the lead and went into action between divisions of the 5th Corps. The 139 Pennsylvania Regiment of the former, losing twenty, and the 37th Massachusetts, of the latter, 47 men killed, wounded and missing. Bartletts Brigade of the lst Division went into action with them. Neills brigade was sent to the right of the line and took part in the action there. Torberts brigade of Jersey troops, was sent to the center, and went into line with the lst Corps under General Newton. Torbert states that he arrived on the field of battle with but twenly-five men missing from his brigade and that these joined the ranks before morning.
The balance of the corps was held in reserve, and were moved to different points as appeared to be necessary and used in strengthening the line at various points of the line of battle, the larger part being placed the extreme left under the command of Major General Wright. The corps, although mostly held in reserve, was nearly all within line of fire and every division lost a few men, the entire loss of the corps being two hundred and twelve killed and wounded and thirty missing. After the battle the entire corps followed in pursuit of the enemy as far as Fairfield Pass but did not attack in force, although several times the rear guards came in touch and there was some lively skirmishing and a number of prisoners were taken.
I find no mention anywhere in any of the reports of Corps or Division commanders, of the fact, that immediately upon starting out on the march from Manchester at 9 o clock in the evening previous, a mistake was made by which we were compelled to march some distance before reaching the Taneytown road, thus increasing the length of our march as near as I can estimate, a distance between three and four miles more. The reports of the different corps and division commanders estimate the length of the march made by the 6th Corps, as from thirty-two to thirty-six miles. It is possible that the mistake made by taking a wrong road at the beginning of the march was confined entirely to the lst Division, as I find a statement that the 2nd Division in which was General Neills brigade, did not start for Gettysburg until about one oclock A.M..
My estimate is that we must have added to the direct distance between Manchester and Gettysburg, which I am informed is thirty-five miles, as follows, by error in taking the wrong road at the start one and one-half miles and back making three miles, and be marching two sides of a triangle on the Taneytown road and thence across to the Baltimore Pike at least four miles more, making the entire march forty-two miles instead of thirty-six as mentioned in the official reports.
Gen.Wright in his report on the Gettysburg Battle says: "Great credit is due to officers and men for the excellent spirit manifested by them all. The fatiguing and extraordinary march accomplished in reaching the Battle-field and it is the more creditable as they had already almost unprecedented marches, and were to some extent ex rest."
Report to Fifth Wisconsin Association 1904
They were placed as a reserve in the rear of the left of General Meade's line of battle, where they remained without becoming actually engaged, although exposed to the artillery fire on the 3d: The Fifth sustained no loss. The Sixth Corps went in pursuit of the enemy, and skirmished with his rear guard, but he escaped, and the regiment proceeded with the army to Warrenton, and a few days after, was ordered to New York City to aid the United States Provost Marshal in, executing the draft, quartering at Governor's Island, and performing duty in the city four' days, and was afterwards stationed in detached companies at Albany, and other places up the river.
Reuniting at Governor's Island, on the 17th of October, they arrived at Fairfax Station on the 20th, and rejoined the Third Brigade, First Division, Sixth Corps.
On the 7th of November, they took a prominent part in the charge on the enemy's works at Rappahannock Station. When General Lee returned from the pursuit of Meade, in October, he left a Strong outpost at Rappahannock Station and Kelly's Ford. On the morning of the 7th, the Sixth Corps marched to Rappahannock Station, and on examination of the enemy's works., General Russell remarked that he "had two regiments in his brigade that could take those works!" He received permission to make the attempt. At once ordering up the Fifth Wisconsin and Sixth Maine, he deployed the whole of the latter regiment as skirmishers at short intervals, and ordered the Fifth to support the line closely, and take the works in front. They advanced at double quick, with orders to rely entirely on the bayonet until the works were reached. With a yell they rushed forward, over smooth rolling ground, and then across a low flat in front of the works, covered with stumps and crossed by deep ravines and ditches filled with water. Onward they went, while the rebel shell, canister, and musketry, cut through their ranks.
When the Fifth arrived at the works, it was about dark, and very difficult to distinguish between friend and foe. Our men fired their pieces and crossed bayonets. The right of the line was driven back, but soon regained the lost ground. Getting possession of the centre redoubt, our men turned their fire towards the flanks, which cleared the way for the whole line to take possession.
The first man in the redoubt was Sergant Goodwin, of Company A, who with assistance, turned a gun upon the enemy, and when he was about firing, was shot through the heart. Just as the men were going over into the centre redoubt, and taking possession, Colonel Allen was struck by a bullet which shattered his left hand so badly as to render him unfit for duty. The day was won, but at a Severe loss to the regiment. Major Wheeler was mortally wounded, and Captains Walker and Ordway, were killed. The enemy attempted to escape by a pontoon bridge above, but they were met by such a concentrated fire on the bridge, that they were glad to surrender. Eight regiments were captured, with their colors and arms, and seven pieces of artillery. The casualties at Rappahannock Station, on the 7th of November, as officially reported, were:
Killed: twelve, Died of Wounds: Four, Wounded: Thirty-two
On the death of Major Wheeler, Captain Enoch Totten, of Company F, was appointed Major. The enemy were pursued as far as Brandy Station, where the regiment went into camp until the 24th of November, when they took part in the fruitless expedition to Mine Run, being in the engagement at Locust Grove, when they had two men wounded, (names not reported,) and returned to winter quarters at Brandy Station, and engaged in camp and drill duty, and in a few reconnaissance's and short expeditions, until the opening of the campaign of 1864.
During the winter, 204 veterans reenlisted. This was not a sufficient number to make the Fifth a veteran regiment. The reenlisted veterans came home on furlough, returning in time for the spring campaign.
On the 4th of May, the regiment left camp, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Catlin, Colonel Allen being, on detached duty at Washington, and took part in the celebrated Wilderness campaign. They crossed the Rapidan at Germania Ford, marched eighteen miles and bivouacked. The correspondence in regard to the operations of the Fifth Regiment in the battles of the Wilderness, is very meager, and we avail ourselves of the report of the Adjutant General, as affording the best information of its movements. They followed the movements of the Sixth Corps, which are described in the chapter on general military operations.
On the morning of the 5th, with the brigade and division, the regiment moved forward into line of battle. The right wing was deployed as skirmishers, under Major Totten, to the right of the line, and the engagement soon became general. A heavy force of the rebels forced back a, portion of the line on the left of the regiment. In doing so, the rebel flank was exposed, which was taken advantage of by Companies D and G, under command of Captains White and Hilton, who attacked and captured the entire. Twenty-fifth Virginia Regiment, with its colors. The right, under Major Totten, was heavily engaged in skirmishing all day, while the left wing fought in the brigade line, the whole regiment losing heavily The fight was continued next day, with a loss of thirty-eight in killed and wounded. At one. time during the night, the enemy,turned the right flank of the Sixth Corps, and was forcing back a portion of the Third Brigade, when the regiment, under Major Totten, came to the rescue, and in a gallant manner, checked the rebels, and held the position, until the division came up. On the 7th, a new line of battle was formed, to the left, about four miles from Chancellorville, and awaited the enemy, who did not attack. On the 8th, they advanced to Spottsylvania Court House, and fought in rifle pits all the afternoon, and also all day on the 9th. On the 10th, they were engaged on the skirmish line and in the rifle pits until near night, when they charged, and took a rebel. battery and rifle pits, but were unsupported by the rear line, and compelled to fall back under a flank fire, the regiment losing heavily.
Shot down tree from the Wilderness
On the11th, the regiment was under command of Captain Kempf, of Company C, Lieutenant Colonel Catlin being off duty, on account of disability, and Major Totten being wounded, who had been in command of the regiment since the 6th of May.
Accompanying the movements of the Sixth Corps, the regiment took an active part in the operations of the campaign. After leaving the vicinity of Spottsylvania, they engaged in destroying the Virginia Central Railroad, with occasional skirmishing as they advanced, and arrived at Cold Harbor about the lst of June, somewhat exhausted from the hardships of the campaign, and suffering for clothing and other supplies. This did not deter them from joining in a charge on the enemy's works at Cold Harbor, and capturing the entrenchment's, with a number of prisoners., They remained at this place, constantly exposed to the enemy's fire, until the 12th, when, with the rest of the Sixth Corps, they marched to and crossed the James River, and took their position in the trenches before Petersburg. In the charge of the 22d, they participated, capturing a portion of the enemy's works, and on the 29th, moved to Reams' Station, on the Welden Railroad, ten miles south of Petersburg, where they were occupied in fatigue and picket duty, until the 11th of July.
CASUALTIES IN MAY AND JUNE.
Killed or died of wounds: Forty-eight, Wounded: One Hundred-Forty-two
The Fifth accompanied the movement of the Sixth Corps to Washington, to assist in the defense of that city, arriving on the 12th, on which day, the three years term of the non-veterans having expired, they volunteered for the defense of the Capitol. The danger having passed, they left Washington on the 16th, for Wisconsin, and arrived at Madison on the 22d, where they received a hearty welcome from the State authorities, and were finally mustered out on the 3d of August. Thus ended the service of the original Fifth Regiment.
Reenlisted veterans and recruits were organized into an INDEPENDENT BATTALION, of three companies, under command of Charles W. Kempf, of Company A. Company B, was, commanded by Captain Jacob H. Cook, and Company C' by' Captain, M.L. Butterfield. On the 13th of July, they moved with the Sixth Corps, to the Shenandoah Valley, in pursuit of the enemy, participated in the engagement at Snicker's Gap, on the 18th-returned to Washington-on the 26th, proceeded to Harper's Ferry, and joining in the movements of the Sixth Corps, participate in the action-at Charleston, having one man wounded.
Remained in Charleston, performing picket and guard duty, until the 19th of September, when they moved forward, and took part in the battle of Cedar Creek, losing four killed and eleven wounded, and afterwards, with the brigade, went to Winchester, in the performance of garrison duty.
The casualties in September and October, as reported, were: Killed: Five
On the muster out of service of the "Old Fifth," Governor Lewis authorized its reorganization,and recommissioned Colonel Allen as the Colonel. Under his supervision, seven companies were rapidly recruited, organized and mustered into the United States service, and left the State on the 2d of October, to join the battalion at Winchester.
The seven companies arrived at Washington, received arms, and were sent to Alexandria, where they remained, doing provost guard duty, until the 20th of October, when they proceeded by way of Martinsburg and Winchester to Cedar Creek, where they joined the Battalion and forces under General Sheridan, and remain at that place until the. 1st of December, Colonel Allen being put in command of the brigade. With the Sixth Corps, they rejoined the forces of General Grant in the trenches before Petersburg on the 4th of December, where they remained until the 5th of February, 1865, when they took part in the extension of the lines at Dabiiey's Mills, on Hatcher's Run, suffering little loss in that engagernent, being held in the reserve. Riley C. Tryon, Company G, and Charles Berringer, Company C, were wounded.
On the 25tb of March, 1865, the regiment participated in the general skirmish along the whole line, and succeeded in driving in the, rebel outpost then in front.
Killed: One, Wounded: Five.
In the charge on the enemy's works at Petersburg, April 2d, the Fifth Wisconsin and Thirty-seventh Massachusetts, led by Colonel Allen, were in the extreme front, supported by two lines in the rear. At 4, A. M., the signal for the charge was given, and the colors of the Fifth were the first planted on the enemy's works, that regiment being the first to enter the captured works of Petersburg. Colonel Allen led a portion of the regiment two miles through the abandoned lines of the enemy to the South Side Railroad. By 8, A. M., the troops were reassembled, marched six miles to the left inside of the late rebel works, capturing many prisoners, then back to the right, where the regiment was engaged in skirmishing till night. The losses as officially reported were:
Killed: Eight, Wounded: Seventy-one, Died of wounds: nine
The loss of the regiment was about one-tenth of that suffered by the whole corps, consisting of fifty regiments.
On the afternoon of April 3d, they joined in the pursuit of Lee, marching with great rapidity by day and night, The Sixth Corps encountered General Ewell's forces at "Little Sailors' Creek," on the 7th. The lines were hurriedly formed, and they pushed forward at a double quick, the regiment marching with unbroken line through a swamp waist deep, under the fire of the enemy's musketry. They moved to the brow of a hill, where the enemy was discovered but a' few paces distant, admirably posted, and fighting,with the energy of despair. The regiment was in an extremely hazardous position, being subjected to a severe flank and cross fire. Colonel Allen rode in advance of the line as calmly as though danger was unknown. Company G, Captain Henry Curran, and Company C, Lieutenant Evan R. Jones, were deployed as skirmishers. Lieutenant General Ewell and staff, surrendered to Six men of the skirmishers, under command of Sergeant Cameron, Company A, who was promoted Lieutenant on the field, for his gallantry. The action of the regiment elicited high encomiums from the corps, division, and brigade commanders.
The following were the casualties in the action of April 7th, as officially reported:
Killed: Sixteen, Wounded: Seventy-nine, Died of wounds: three
The pursuit was continued until the 9th, when Lee surrendered. On the 10th, the regiment commenced its return, and reached Burkib's Station on the evening of the 13th, encamped till the 23d, and marched to Danville, arriving there on the 27th, left Danville, May 3d, by rail, arrived at Wilson's Station, May 4th, and May 18th, marched for Richmond, which they reached on the 20th. On the 24th, left Richmond, for Washington, where they arrived on the 2d of June, after a long and tedious march. . Left Washington, June 6th, and arrived at Madison, June 20th, and were soon after mustered out, thus closing the record of the "Fighting Fifth."
Colonel Allen was brevetted Brigadier General for gallant and meritorious services during the war.
Regimental Statistics.- Original strength,1,058. Gain-by recruits in 1863,
210, in 1864, 684, in 1865, 25; by substitutes, 50; by draft in
1865 1 25; by veteran reenlistments, 204;
Losses-deaths, 285; missing, 4; desertion, 105;
transferred, 33; discharged,
405; mustered out, 1, 424.
Quiner, Military History of Wisconsin, 1866