Return to Home Page Second Wisconsin
The regiment was organized at Camp Sigel, Milwaukee, and was recruited among the German population of the State. Enlisted men were forwarded to camp and then assigned to companies, all of which were mustered into the United States service by the 26th of October. They remained at Camp Siegel until January 22d, 1862, when they left the State to report at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
They proceeded by way of Chicago, Quincy, and the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad, they arrived at Weston, Missouri, on the 26th of January, and remained two days. They then marched to Leavenworth City, where they were assigned to take part in the " Southwestern Expedition," projected by General Jim Lane, the troops for which were to concentrate at Fort Scott. The regiment marched 160 miles, to Fort Scott, where it remained till the 27th of May, when, the expedition having been abandoned, it marched by way of Humbolt, Kansas, and Indian Mission, to Spring River, and encamped until the 13th of June, when it moved to the vicinity of Baxter's Springs. While stationed here, frequent expeditions were sent out against the rebels, two of whose camps, at Cowskin Prairie, were attacked and destroyed. Here they were reinforced by two infantry regiments (Indian) and two cavalry regiments, with a battery of artillery, under Colonel William Wier, the whole of which was destined for an expedition into the Indian country. Colonel Wier being, the ranking officer, took command of the expedition; Colonel Salomon was assigned to the command of the First Brigade. The expedition commenced its march to Fort Gibson on the 28th of June. On the 3d of July, a force of rebel Indians was routed and dispersed. Several skirmishes with other predatory bands took place, resulting in success to the Union arms. The expedition arrived at Flat Rock Creek, fifteen miles from Fort Gibson, on the 9th of July.
The intemperate habits of Colonel Wier, rendered him entirely incompetent to command, and his orders entailed much needless hardship on the troops. He marched them without supplies or forage into the Indian country, leaving his communications in possession of the enemy. In consequence of this, at the request of the subordinate officers, Colonel Salomon arrested Colonel Wier, and took command of the expedition, and ordered it to fall back to Quawpaw Reserve, 80 miles from Fort Scott. While here, several skirmishes took place with the rebel Indians, under Stand Waite. After a short stay here, the march was resumed, and the command proceeded to Fort Scott, where it arrived on the 11th of August. Colonel Wier preferred charges of mutiny against Colonel Salomon and the officers who participated in the council which supported him in his arrest of Colonel Wier. Colonel Salomon was arrested, but, on an examination of the charges by General Blunt, that General immediately ordered his release, and dismissed all proceedings against him.
Colonel Salomon having been commissioned Brigadier General, Colonel Charles E. Salomon was appointed Colonel of the Ninth. Lieutenant Colonel Orff having resigned, Major Jacobi was promoted Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Herman Schleuter, Major.
An unsuccessful expedition into south western Missouri, after the rebel forces of Shelby and Rains, was undertaken, the regiment traveling three hundred and fifty miles, without meeting the enemy.
The "Army of the Frontier" was reorganized under General Blunt, and the Ninth Regiment was placed in the First Brigade, under Brigadier General Salomon. Leaving Fort Scott, the brigade marched to Sarcoxie, in Jasper County, Missouri, arriving there on the 22d of September. Here Colonel C. E. Salomon joined the regiment. On the 29th of September, Lieutenant Colonel Jacobi, with companies D, G, E and H, a section of artillery, and a squad of cavalry, was sent to reconnoiter the enemy's position at Newtonia, fifteen miles from Sarcoxie. Driving in their pickets, he found the enemy concealed behind a stone fence. Not being aware of their numbers, the four companies were ordered to charge upon their works. This was gallantly done, when a tremendous fire was opened on them, and they discovered that they were attacking a largely superior force. Many fell at the first fire, and the detachment retired towards where the artillery was stationed, pursued by the rebels. They fell back coolly, returning the fire the best they could, until the enemy turned their flanks, with the intention of surrounding them, when they hastily retreated. The infantry were subsequently overtaken in the woods, and nearly all of them captured.
The casualties were twenty-eight killed, and one hundred and sixty-seven prisoners, fifty-one of whom were wounded.
The cannonade indicating a serious engagement, General Salomon marched his command towards Newtonia, but failing to receive reinforcements, he returned to Sarcoxie, the Ninth marching nearly all night. On the 3d of October another advance was made on Newtonia, which was evacuated by the rebels. The wounded men of the regiment, captured on the 30th, were recovered and sent to Sarcoxie. From this time till the 29tb of November, the regiment was engaged in marching to various points in Arkansas, without coming to an engagement with the enemy. On that day the First Brigade arrived at Rheas' Mills, occupying and working them until the 7th of December, when the brigade joined the main force, under General Blunt, at Cane Hill. Here it was found the enemy had gained the rear, and was advancing on Rheas' Mills, when the Ninth was ordered back to protect the trains. The rebel General Hindman was advancing with 30,0'00 men against General Blunt, who found lie was unable to meet him with his small force of 10,000 men, and bad, therefore, sent to General Herron, at Wilson's Creek, for aid. By forced marches, that General came up with the enemy at Prairie Grove, near Fayetteville, Ark., and engaged and defeated him on the 7th of December. General Blunt arrived on the field during the fight, with a force of artillery and infantry,and by his energy, contributed materially to the victorious result. The Ninth reached the ground the day after the battle. On the 10th of December, the Ninth returned to Rheas' Mills, and resumed its former occupation of making flour and supplying bread. A raid was made to Van Buren, Ark., the regiment marching 60 miles in two days, and returning to Rheas' Mills. From this time till the 20th of February, the regiment was engaged in marching to various points, performing a sort of patrol duty, when they went into winter quarters at Stahl's Creek, 36 miles west of Springfield, Mo. Here the paroled men, captured at Newtonia, rejoined the regiment. With the exception of a short time at Carrollton, Ark., the regiment was stationed at different points in Missouri, engaged in guard duty, and on foraging parties in the vicinity of Rolla and Springfield, until the 8th of July. On that day they moved, by railroad, to St. Louis, where they were engaged in guard duty until the 12th of September, 1863, when they proceeded down the river to Helena, Ark., where they remained until the 10th of October. They then marched to Little Rock, and went into winter quarters, about the lst of November. In January, 1864, two hundred and thirty members of the regiment reenlisted, two companies of which, C and K, returned to Wisconsin on furlough, early in February.
On its arrival at Little Rock, the Ninth was assigned to the First Brigade, First Division, Seventh Army Corps, under General Steele. The winter was spent in the performance of fatigue and guard duty, work on fortifications, and Company E was detailed to serve as artillery.
General Steele being ordered to cooperate in the Red River expedition, the Ninth participated in the movement, being assigned to the First Brigade, Brigadier General Rice, Third Division, Brigadier General Salomon. Leaving Little Rock on the 23d of March, nothing of importance occurred until the 1st of April. General Rice's brigade was placed in the rear, with orders to guard the supply and pontoon trains. While thus engaged, the rear guard was attacked near Gendry's Creek, by General Shelby, but be was repulsed by the Twenty-ninth Iowa and Fiftieth Indiana, and a section of Vogel's battery, Company E, Ninth Wisconsin. A second attack, near the junction of the Camden roads, was also repulsed. On the 3d, General Rice's brigade camped at Elkins' Ford, of the Little Missouri, remaining till the 6th, when the forces moved forward, and on the 10th, Rice's brigade, on the left, was again engaged in a severe skirmish, driving the enemy from one position to another until dark, and on the llth, compelled him to abandon his works. On the 14th, Rice's brigade was sent forward to occupy a position, in order to prevent the enemy from reaching Camden before our forces, and camped near White Oak Creek, 18 miles from Camden. On the 15th, Marmaduke's forces were encountered near the junction of the Washington and Camden road, when a spirited engagement ensued, in which the enemy was driven back, and in the evening, the brigade of General Rice entered Camden. From the 16th to the 23d, the Ninth was detailed to guard the pontoon bridge across the Washita River. News was received of the failure of the Red River expedition,and General Steele set about to return to Little Rock. The enemy had succeeded in getting into his rear, and capturing his supply trains. Leaving Camden on the 26th, nothing of importance occurred until the Saline Bottom was reached, on the 29th. Here considerable skirmishing occurred, which indicated that a battle would ensue before a crossing of the river could be effected. General Salomon's division occupied the post of rear guard, to protect the army in its crossing at Jenkins' Ferry.
The First Brigade, General Rice, was sent out to keep the enemy in check. Finding, the rebels in great force, the brigade was heavily reinforced in the morning. General Kirby Smith was in command of the rebel army, which was estimated at 20,000 men. In the morning, General Salomon's advance was 21 miles from the river-two miles of train and artillery must cross before he could withdraw. Under these circumstances, nothing was left but to fight long enough for them to get across the river. To add to the difficulties of the situation, the country was flooded. At 5 1/2, A. M., on the 30th, the skirmishing began. General Rice's brigade were the first engaged. He was ordered to form a new line nearer the river, which had scarcely been done before the second line was attacked by the enemy. They endeavored to deceive our troops by being partly dressed in national uniforms, and also by driving before them a flock of sheep, to create the impression that they were a returned foraging expedition. The attempt to turn the right flank was unsuccessful, and the enemy gave his attention to the left, which be succeeded in driving back about 250 yards. Being reinforced, the enemy were driven back, and General Rice advanced his left nearly 300 yards. The enemy's artillery on our right, was effectually checked by sharp shooters. The second attack was met by the same obstinate gallantry, and the enemy was driven back. Ammunition was supplied to the troops, and preparations made for further attack. It soon came, and for nearly an hour an incessant fire of musketry extended along the whole line. Early in the assault, General Rice was severely wounded, and left the field. The command of the brigade devolved on Colonel C. E. Salomon, of the Ninth, who led it through the heaviest part of the action, and by his presence and personal disregard of danger, encouraged his men in the performance of their whole duty. General Salomon speaks in enthusiastic terms of the conduct of his men. His regiments were all engaged, and the rest of the army was across the river, but "our men forgot that they were tired, forgot that they were hungry, only remembered that they were ordered to hold their ground." Firing ceased, at 2 o'clock, and General Salomon proceeded to withdraw his forces slowly and in good order, collecting the dead and wounded, and bringing away as many as possible. The crossing of the river was effected without further molestation. A flag was taken from the enemy by wagoner John Welhaupt and private William Ohler, both of Company B, of the Ninth Regiment, which was sent to Governor Lewis by General Salomon, and is deposited with the other trophies in the state capital. The Ninth and Twenty-seventh Wisconsin regiments behaved with conspicuous gallantry in the action.
The killed, and those who died of wounds, from March 23rd to May 3d, as gathered from the Adjutant General's record of casualties, were 47 and wounded, 52
Returning to Little Rock after the battle of Jenkins' Ferry, the Ninth was principally engaged in the erection of a chain of forts around the town.
Veteran companies C and K, were absent on furlough during the Camden campaign. On their return, companies H and I, also veterans, went home on furlough. On the 17th of November, the non-veterans of the regiment, whose term of service had expired, were mustered out, together with Colonel C. E. Salomon, Major Schleuter, and such officers as were not required, and the veterans and recruits were consolidated into an Independent Battalion, of four companies, as veterans, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Jacobi. The non-veterans returned to Milwaukee, where they were cordially received, and after being paid off, were disbanded. Colonel C. E. Salomon was brevetted Brigadier General, for meritorious services during the war. From this time till the close of the war, the operations of the battalion consisted of an expedition to the Saline River, in January, 1865, the regiment returning to Little Rock with the loss of one man.
In June, the command proceeded by transports to Camden, on the Washita River, 100 miles south of Little Rock, where they remained until August, when they returned to Little Rock, over land, reoccupying their old quarters, and resuming guard duty in the city. Lieutenant Colonel Jacobi was appointed Provost Marshal, and Judge of the Provost Court for the department of Arkansas, and the command of the Ninth devolved on Captain Eckhart, of Company A.
Regimental Statistics: Original strength, 870. Gain-by recruits in 1863, 52, in 1864, 236, in 1865, 82; by substitutes, 16; by drafts, none; veteran reenlistments, 219; total, 1,422.
Loss - by death, 175; deserted, 25; transferred, 7; discharged, 191; mustered out, 739.
The "Independent Battalion" remained on duty until February, 1866, when they returned to Wisconsin, and were mustered out.
Quiner, Military History of Wisconsin, 1866