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1864 August 27: The 7th Wisconsin Infantry at the Battles of North Anna and the Crater

August 29, 2014

The following column is from the August 27, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.  Company G of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry had many 1864 recruits from northwest Wisconsin.


From the 7th Regiment—Its deeds and losses in the present campaign.

Correspondence of the State Journal.

Camp near Petersburg, Va., }
August 10th, 1864. }

EDITORS STATE JOURNAL :—I have seen statements from the different Wisconsin regiments in the field of their losses in the spring campaign of 1864, in the State Journal.  I herewith send you a list of the losses of the 7th regiment, from the 5th of May, 1864, to the 31st day of July, 1864, taken from the official report just made which I should like to have published [in] your paper, as it may be of future use to the members of the regiment and also their friends.  I could have given you the name and date of each one killed or wounded, but it would have been asking too much of you to publish 400 names.  We do not feel ashamed of our record as a regiment, and are willing to let our light shine, because our deeds were not evil.  The 7th does not boast of what it has done or can do, but moved quietly along.

There are two circumstances in this campaign which, perhaps, you have not heard of our being connected with.  One was the long pull over Laurel Hill, on the 12th of May, where the 7th stood for nine hours with other regiments and kept up a continual fire over the brow of the hill until oak trees 21 inches in diameter were cut off with rifle balls, and fell into the rebel rifle-pits.  The regiment stood in mud half knee deep where the dead lay half covered in the mud.

On the 30th of July the 7th was again in for a long pull, as the regiment was to the front works when the fort was blown up and had orders to open fire as soon as the fort went up, which was done and kept up during the greater part of the day.  There is one more circumstance of bravery which I wish to mention ;  that of private Melvin M. Starkweather¹ of my Company.  He was wounded on the 6th of May in the Wilderness, and was absent for a few days, then came back and was wounded in the leg on the 12th of May, he left again for a few days and returned and was mortally wounded May 23d, and died May 24th.

Yours very respectfully
.         .Capt. A. W. BEAN,²
.               .Co. D, 7th Reg. W. V. V.

Losses in the
Seventh Regiment
Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Infantry
from May 5th, 1864, to July 31st, 1864.


Killed Sev. Woun’d Slight. Total Died
Staff & Field  – 2 3 5 1
Co. A . . . . . . 1 1  – 2  –
Co. B . . . . . .  – 2  – 2  –
Co. C. . . . . . 1 1  – 2  –
Co. E . . . . . .  – 1  –  –
Co. F . . . . . .  – 1 2 3  –
Co. G. . . . . . 1 1  –  –
Co. H. . . . . . 1  – 1 2  –
Co. I . . . . . . 1  –  – 1  –
Co. K . . . . . .     .  1_  1_
  2     .
5 9  8 22 1


Killed Sev
Slig’t Miss’g To’l Died Agg’ts
N. C. S.  . . . . 1  –  – 1  – 1
Co. A . . . . . . 11 22 19 12 64 3 67
Co. B . . . . . . 6 18 5 3 32 2 34
Co. C . . . . . .  – 5 18 9 37 2 39
Co. D . . . . . .  – 16 12  – 28 5 28
Co. E . . . . . . 8 18 5 3 34 6 35
Co. F . . . . . . 5 21 24 2 52 1 55
Co. G . . . . . . 5 15 10 2 32 7 38
Co. H . . . . . . 9 12 12 4 37 4 39
Co. I  . . . . . . 7 14 12 5 38 1 39
Co. K . . . . . . 1 13 8 1 23 3 25
52 155 125 41 378 34

Number of men equipped for duty on the morning of May 5th, 1864 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  474
Number of absentees joining the regiment between the 5th of May and 31st of July . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Total . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 521

Number of men for duty on the 31st of July . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130

Number of Officers for duty in the field from May 5th to July 31st, 1864 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

There has been one officer wounded the third time and eleven men wounded the second time during the campaign.

The following are the names of the different battles which the regiment has been engaged during this campaign :

Wilderness, Va., May 5th and 6th.
Laurel Hill, Va., May 8th, 10th and 12th.
Jericho Ford, Va., May 23d.
North Anna River, Va., May 25th.
Bethsaida Church, Va., June 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th and 5th.
Petersburg, June 18th and July 30th.

1.  Melvin M. Starkweather (1841-1864) enlisted August 10, 1861, in Company D, 7th Wisconsin Infantry. He was detached to Battery B, 1st Rhode Island Artillery from April 25 to December 1862. He was wounded at North Anna and died May 24, 1864, from those wounds. The other wounds mention in this article are not in the printed roster.
2.  Alexander W. Bean, from McFarland, enlisted August 10, 1861, in Company D, 7th Wisconsin Infantry. He started as the 4th sergeant, then Quartermaster sergeant June 1862, 2nd lieutenant in October 1862, was wounded at Gettysburg, and was promoted to captain of the company February 9, 1863. He mustered out September 30, 1864, when his term expired.

1864 August 27: The 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry and General Slocum’s Expedition to Jackson

August 28, 2014

The following column is from the August 27, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.  Company D of the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry was primarily from northwestern Wisconsin, Company L was from Eau Claire, and Company M had a lot of men from Prescott.

By way of a quick explanation of the expedition this letter describes, the following is from Dunbar Rowland’s Military History of Mississippi, 1803-1898

“When General Slocum [Henry W. Slocum] made his expedition from Vicksburg to Jackson, in July, 1864, Scott² and Powers³ moved at the call of General Adams [Wirt Adams], and skirmished with the advancing enemy near Clinton.  Slocum pushed on and occupied Jackson July 5, and Adams collected the Scott and Powers Regiments and Gholson’s4 Brigade, north of the city, and moved to intercept Slocum on the retreat to Clinton, bringing on the engagements of July 6-7.  The enemy was severely punished and Scott and Powers pursued as far as Edwards.”


From the Second Cavalry—Its part in General Slocum’s Expedition.

July 27th, 1864. }

Eds. State Journal :—I see by reading a letter written by a correspondent of a Chicago paper giving an account of an expedition which started from this place on the first of this month for Jackson, Miss., under command of Brig. Gen. Dennis,5 that the troops that took the most active part in skirmishes and did some of the most stubborn fighting while out, were left entirely out of the ring and that none got praise or scarcely mention save Illinois regiments.  Therefore, I may not present much that is new in regard to the general details of the expedition, yet I hope to show that the 2d Wisconsin Cavalry has been “tried in the fire” and not found wanting.  The following are some items from a journal kept by one of the soldiers :

On the 1st of July, ’64, our regiment with two days rations, took the advance of the grand column of cavalry, artillery and infantry, beside a large train of wagons.  Co. “C” taking the advance of the regiment, met the enemy’s pickets about three miles to the other side of Big Black River, skirmishing with them, drove them back to Champion Hill, and from the road where the command camped.  On the morning of the 4th the 2d Cavalry formed the rear of the column ;  Co. “F” the rear guard.  The advance by a brisk little fight, drove the enemy from Clinton.  The enemy appearing in the greatest force in the advance, the Second was ordered to the front and took up a position three-fourths of a miles in advance of the column on the Jackson road and prepared to camp for the night.  The enemy fell back out of sight, when the boys began strolling out from camp for blackberries which were abundant, when the rebels advanced, fired a volley in among the unsuspecting straglers [sic] when they ran back for their arms and rallied under command of Lt. Hamilton,6 of Co. “F,” and drove the rebels back about two miles.  The enemy formed in line to check them, but lost both ground and men, seven of them being killed to one wounded on our side.  Our men returning to camp the rebels soon followed and secured a safe position behind a railroad grading.  Capt. Ring,7 with about seventy-five men, relieved the Lieutenant with his volunteer force, and finally thinking that as it was near night, the rebels would not make further demonstration, fell back to camp, when to the surprise of all, Col. Scott,² (rebel) with about six hundred men, charged into the camp of the Second, compelling the men to saddle their horses and form their line of battle under the enemy’s fire.  Cos. C, M, F, forming quickly, held the enemy at bay from their own ground, but the left, more unfortunate, gave back when the rebels took possession of their supper of hot coffee, hard tack, forage for horses, &c.  A few volleys from the companies that held the ground on the enemy’s flank compelled him to fall back, and then the whole regiment charged in line, breaking that of the rebels, and the 5th Illinois cavalry on the left of our line, being all mounted, followed up the rout.  All hostilities then ceased for the night.

On the morning of the 5th the 11th Illinois cavalry taking the advance, skirmishing immediately commenced, and one of their Captains and a sergeant were killed.  Infantry now took the front, and cavalry took another road to protect the infantry’s flank ;  the 5th Illinois still keeping the main advance of the cavalry, while the 11th Illinois cavalry and Companies L, H and B of the 2d Wisconsin were deployed on the right of the road as skirmishers.  After advancing about three miles, Companies I and C of the 2nd reinforced the right and advanced still another mile, when the rebels were discovered in considerable force on a commanding eminence, and in possession of a peach orchard, across an open field.  Lieut. Hamilton in command of Companies M, F, I and C to the right, and the 11th Illinois on the left, our gallant men moved on in the shower of bullets as though it was a hail storm though they brought death to many as they “zipped” through the air, and the wounded pressed back to the rear.  Our boys fought rapidly and long enough to empty their cartridge boxes.  The rebels fell back, slowly until they could support and use their artillery.  Our men then advanced dismounted, in support of our artillery, under a severe fire from the enemy.  The infantry making a flank movement on the rebels, they were compelled to abandon their position and retreated through the city of Jackson, a part of them across Pearl river.  The Mayor come out to our forces with a flag of truce and surrendered the city to them and we marched in and took possession.

Major Gen. Slocum, who with his staff officers overtook the expedition at Champion Hill, and had assumed chief command, learned by rebel dispatches from Gen. Adams to Col. Scott, and captured by our scouts, that the former would reinforce the other with three thousand men if he could hold the Yankees a short time.

Having accomplished all that was intended by the expedition and having a limited supply of rations, our forces on the afternoon of the 6th, commenced the march back towards Vicksburg.

Gen. Slocum ordered Major Richmond,8 who was in command of the 2d cavalry, to move to the front, and subsequently ordered Lieut. Hamilton, in command of five companies, to remain as rear guard to the main column.  As soon as our forces were on the move the rebels dashed upon them from all sides.  Fierce fighting commenced in front, and the Lieutenant with his five companies being ordered to the front moved along by a road on the left of the main force, when the rebels opened upon him with shell from their battery, many of the shots striking on all sides but doing no great damage, and he formed for battle under cover of a grove of timber.  The 5th Ill. and 3d Miss. (colored) cavalry were in line of battle on the crest of a hill, and protected somewhat by a fence repulsed three desperate charges made by the rebels.  They, in one of these, discovering that a portion of our forces were negroes, the rebel commander leading the charge was heard to give the order to kill every d–d one of them, when a negro sergeant shot him dead on the spot, and a well-timed volley from these troops staggered the rebels and they fell back in disorder.  Lieut. Hamilton with his detachment of the 2d received orders and formed his men near a railroad embankment, while shell from the rebel battery was passing through his line, and he then moved under constant fire farther to the front to hold in check an expected charge by the enemy, and in his new position was exposed in open and easy range of their guns, but the boys with great coolness closely watched the shells as they came with their scream of death and avoided them as much as possible by running to the right or left to give them room to pass, but did not break their line of battle.  There were only five horses injured, and the men escaped unhurt.  The whole line continued [_] rapid and fierce fire until after dark.  The cavalry having done most of the fighting this day, were relieved by the infantry and fell back and rested for the night on their arms.

On the morning of the 7th, as soon as barely light, the ball opened again, and Gen. Slocum with true courage and ability, disposed of his forces that he succeeded in cutting through the enemy’s line, and saving his long train of wagons and his troops from disaster.  Companies F and M, on the right, and C and I on the left of the road, advanced on the enemy dismounted, and closely followed by our reserved forces, forced the rebels back four miles when they fell upon the rear of the column and by a desperate charge on the train, succeeded in cutting our forces in two, despite the efforts of the 5th Illinois’ cavalry to prevent it, when the 3d Battallion [sic] of the 2d Wisconsin cavalry was ordered back and opened the communication by blank movements on the rebels.  Brisk skirmishing continued at various points, until our forces reached Clinton, when the 2d was again ordered to the advance, and drove the enemy across Baker’s Creek where the rebels succeeded in destroying the bridge, and Capt. Ward [sic],9 of Co. C, with a volunteer force from the regiment, in about two hours, succeeded in reconstructing a temporary crossing, and our forces moved on without any other important event except to be constantly harrassed [sic] on all sides by small squads of the enemy, until they reached Big Black River where they found quiet and safety.

The total loss to our forces was then supposed to be about one hundred and seventy-five in killed, wounded and missing, and that of the enemy was acknowledged to be more than three hundred.  By the above, which I believe to be correct, your readers can see that the gallant 2d Cavalry played a very conspicuous part, never flinching at any place and really deserving more credit than the troops who were the especial favorites of a correspondence who could not chronicle gallantry save that exhibited by the troop0s from his own State.  All who were with this expedition deserve all honor for their bravery.

Yours respectfully,               H. B.

1.  Military history of Mississippi, 1803-1898: Taken from the Official and Statistical Register of the State of Mississippi, compiled by Dunbar Rowland (originally published 1908; reprint in 1978 by Reprint Co. of Spartanburg, S.C.).
2.  John Sims Scott, colonel of the 1st Louisiana Cavalry. Scott raised the 1st Louisiana cavalry regiment starting in June 1861, and the regiment was mustered in September. The 1st Louisiana Cavalry was one of the most heavily endowed regiments, receiving some $500,000, largely from Louisiana planters, as many of the troopers of the Regiment were sons of planters or their relatives. Some of the more notable engagements the regiment participated in were Nashville, Elk River, Richmond (Ky.), Munfordville, Stone’s River, Murfreesborough, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Big Hill (Ky.), Perryville, and Danville (Ky.).  General Richard Taylor surrendered his army, which included the 1st Louisiana Cavalry Regiment, to General E.R.S. Canby near Citronelle, Alabama, on May 5, 1865. Final parole was at Gainesville, Alabama, on May 12, 1865. For more on Scott and the 1st Louisiana Cavalry, see They Rode with Forrest, by Michael R. Bradley (Pelican Publishing Co., 2012).
3.  Frank P. Powers, colonel of the 14th Arkansas. There are few records of Powers’ service during the Civil War, with the exception of his leadership at the Battle of Plains Store during the Siege of Port Hudson. On May 21, 1863, Powers commanded his forces in the Battle of Plains Store (La.). This Union victory closed the last Confederate escape route from Port Hudson.
4.  Samuel Jameson Gholson (1808-1883) was a lawyer in Mississippi before the Civil War and served multiple terms in the Mississippi House of Representatives (1835, 1836, 1839) and also in the U.S. House of Representatives (1836-1838). His had an often stormy tenure, including a severe dispute with Henry A. Wise of Virginia that nearly resulted in a duel. Gholson next served as federal judge in Mississippi (1839-1861), resigning when Mississippi seceded. He was an advocate of states’ rights and served as a member of Mississippi’s secession convention. When the Civil War broke out, Gholson enlisted as a private in the Monroe County Volunteers, which became Company I of the 14th Mississippi Infantry. He rose through the ranks to captain, colonel, and brigadier general. At the Battle of Fort Donelson, he was severely wounded and surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant’s forces. After his exchange, Gholson returned to active duty and fought at Iuka and Corinth. By mid-1863 he was a major general of Mississippi State Troops and in 1864 became a brigadier general in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States. He was placed in command of a brigade of cavalry attached to the division of General James Chalmers (under General Nathan B. Forrest). While serving in the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, Gholson was severely wounded in a fight with Union cavalry on December 27, 1864, at Egypt, Mississippi. The amputation of his left arm ended his combat duty for the rest of the War.
5.  Elias Smith Dennis (1812-1894) served in the Illinois House of Representatives (1842-1844) and in the Illinois State Senate (1846 -1848). In 1857 President Buchanan appointed him Kansas Territory Marshal for the Leavenworth area, but was dismissed in 1858. When the Civil War started, Elias was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 30th Illinois Infantry. He was promoted to colonel in May 1862 and to brigadier general of Volunteers in November 1862. During the 1863 Vicksburg Campaign, he was accused of selling army provisions to the Confederates while his own men were underfed. Despite that, he was placed in command of the District of Northeast Louisiana. Troops from his command participated in the Battle of Milliken’s Bend (June 7, 1863). Elias served as the commanding officer of Union militia in Louisiana until the end of the war.
6.  Roswell R. Hamilton, from Richland Center, was commissioned 1st lieutenant of Company F, 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry, on December 23, 1861, and served until his term expired on February 5, 1865.
7.  George W. Ring, from Milwaukee, was the captain of Company I, 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry. He enlisted October 25, 1861, promoted 1st lieutenant November 26, 1861, promoted captain September 24, 1862, and promoted major of the 2nd February 15, 1865. He mustered out when his term expired on February 25, 1865.
8.  George N. Richmond, from Portage, was originally the captain of Company E. He became the major of the Third Battalion on March 4, 1863. Richmond was “dismissed” November 17, 1864.
9.  Myron W. Wood, from Lancaster, was the captain of Company C, 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry. He enlisted October 31, 1861, promoted to 1st lieutenant December 7, 1861, promoted to captain July 21, 1862, and promoted to major February 1, 1865. He was “dropped” October 19, 1865, and then honorably discharged by order of the War Department.

1864 August 27: Battle of Globe Tavern, Battle of Summit Point, Forrest’s Memphis Raid, Skirmish at Hurricane Creek, and Other News

August 27, 2014

The following roundup of the week’s war-related news is from the August 27, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.

The first item concerns what has become known as the Battle of Globe Tavern, also known as the Second Battle of the Weldon Railroad.  It was fought south of Petersburg, Virginia, on August 18-21, 1864, and was the Union Army’s second attempt to sever the Weldon Railroad.  A Union force under General Gouverneur K. Warren destroyed miles of railroad track while withstanding strong attacks from Confederate troops under Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and A. P. Hill.  It was the first Union victory in the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign.  (The First Battle of the Weldon Railroad is better known as the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road, which took place June 21-23, 1864.)

The second item refers to the Battle of Summit Point, also known as Flowing Springs or Cameron’s Depot.  The battle was part of Union General Philip H. Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign, and took place on August 21, 1864, near Charles Town, West Virginia.  Although Sheridan’s army did withdraw, the result of the battle is considered inconclusive.

The item beginning “On Thursday last Gen. Forrest …” concerns Confederate General Nathan B. Forrest’s raid into Memphis, Tennessee, known now as the Second Battle of Memphis.   On August 21, 1864, at 4 o’clock in the morning, General Forrest led around 4-500 troops—including two of his brothers—in the raid.  One brother, Captain William H. Forrest,¹ rode his horse into the lobby of the Gayoso Hotel looking for General C. C. Washburn.  Having been tipped off, Washburn escaped out the back of the Hotel and down an alley.  Today there is an alley named “General Washburn’s Escape Alley” in Memphis.

After the embarrassing defeat at Brice’s Crossroads (June 10, 1864), Washburn had sent a large force to destroy the Confederate stronghold at Oxford, Mississippi.  General Forrest gave orders for General Chalmers [James R. Chalmers] to defend Oxford for as long as possible while Forrest lead the raid into Memphis, objectives being to capture the three Union generals listed below in the news item, to free Confederate prisoners being held in the Irving Block Prison, and to cause the recall of the Union forces attacking General Chalmers in northern Mississippi.  The raid did not succeed in its objectives except for the recall of the Union troops.²  Union General Stephen A. Hurlbut was later quoted as saying, “There it goes again! They superseded me with Washburn because I could not keep Forrest out of West Tennessee, and Washburn cannot keep him out of his own bedroom!”


The News.

— The rebels made on the 21st another attempt to drive Grant’s army from the Weldon road, but were unsuccessful.  They lost 500 or 600 in killed and wounded and 400 prisoners.  Our loss was about 150.  Our forces are strongly entrenched, but it is not likely they will be allowed to hold their important position without further contests.  A dispatch of the 22d states the rebels are making a desperate attempt to retake the Weldon road, but it is believed that they cannot dislodge us.  [Ulysses S. Grant]

—The rebels have appearently [sic] given up the attempt to dislodge Warren from the Weldon Road, and have retired to their works at Petersburg.  It is rumored that a cavalry dash on the Danville Road has been made.

— There has been severe fighting in the Shenandoah Valley, near Charlestown [sic], which resulted, according to the dispatches, to the advantage of the rebels, as our army retired.

LATEST.—The news from the Upper Potomac shows that Gen. Early is in large force, and has succeeded in driving our forces out of the Shenandoah Valley, with considerable loss, and that another Northern invasion is threatened.  [Jubal A. Early]

Forrest's Raid Into Memphis—The Rebels at the Gayoso House (Sketched by George H. Ellsbury), from "Harper's Weekly"

Forrest’s Raid Into Memphis—The Rebels at the Gayoso House.—(Sketched by George H. Ellsbury), from “Harper’s Weekly”³

— On Thursday last Gen. Forrest left Gen. Smith’s front [A. J. Smith] at Oxford, Miss., and on Sunday made his appearance in the streets of Memphis, calling ot [sic: at] the headquarters of Generals Washburne [sic], Buckland [Ralph P. Buckland] and Hurlbut, and the Gayoso House. Fortunately these generals were absent, so Forrest was soon after compelled to leave without paying his respects to them.  Washburne [sic] will doubtless issue a proclamation against such visits in future.


Forrest’s Raid Into Memphis—Rebel Attack on the Irving Prison.—(Sketched by George H. Ellsbury), from Harper’s Weekly and Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War³

— The rebels have possession of Martinsburg, and rumors are afloat that they are crossing the Potomac.  The people of Maryland are again fleeing to Pennsylvania for protection.³

— A dispatch from Atlanta states that the rebel force was 80,000 men, and their works very strong.  Continued efforts are being made to break Sherman’s communications, but so far no serious damage has been done.  [William T. Sherman]

— A dispatch from New York says that Sherman’s plans for the reduction of Atlanta are working to the best advantage.

— There is another report from New York, that President Lincoln has sent five Commissioners, three Republicans and two Democrats, to Richmond to arrange terms of peace.  We think there is some grounds for the report, for gold has fallen 4 per cent.  [Abraham Lincoln]

News Items.

On the 16th the following sums of money were sent from Washington for the payments of troops :

Maj. Paulding, Washington, $1,000,000
Maj. Brice, Baltimore, 500,000
Maj. Usher, Fortress Monroe, 500,000
Maj. Allen, Louisville, 1,000,000
Maj. Cumback, Cincinnati, 1,000,000
Maj. Leshe, New York, 500,000

— A member of Gen. Burnside’s staff states that the General is not relieved, but is on a twenty days’ leave of absence.  It is extremely doubtful, however, if such is the fact, that he will return to his late command in the Army of the Potomac at the expiration of that period.  [Ambrose E. Burnside]

— A correspondent of a Philadelphia paper, writing from this city, states that the new Roman Catholic Archbishop of this diocese, and Bishop Potter, have signed a petition to the President praying for an armistice.—N. Y. Times.

— A Mobile paper states that Chalmers defeated a body of Federals at Abbeville, Miss., recently ;  while a Memphis dispatch announces that Smith gained a victory over Forest [sic], at Hurricane Creek, Mississippi, on the 13th.

— A letter from a Federal officer of high rank, conversant with the military situation, avers that Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston] has been replaced by Hood [John Bell Hood], at Atlanta, not because the former was not the better man, but to release him to what the rebel leaders regard a far more important mission—no less than to head the invasion of Pennsylvania.  The evidences are on the increase that give a probability to this view.

— Captain William Livingston, charged with being a rebel spy, was hung in the jail-yard at St. Louis on the 19th.  He died repeating the Lord’s Prayer and protesting his innocense [sic].  The execution caused much surprise, as Gen. Rosecran’s [sic: William S. Rosecrans] promised the prisoner’s wife that he would be respited for a week, and probably have the sentence commuted.  It is believed that an order for a respite, through the neglect of some surbordinate [sic], did not reach the officers having charge of the execution.  The deceased was respectably connected in Missouri.

1.  William Hezekiah Forrest (1825-1871) was a younger brother of General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877). Before the Civil War he lived in Memphis where he was in the slave trade with brothers Nathan B. and Aaron H. (1828-1864). William joined the Confederate Army in June or July, 1861, along with brothers Nathan B. and Jeffrey E. (1837-1864). William served as a cavalry officer and rose in rank to captain and then major. He led the charge against Colonel Abel D. Streight’s column at the Battle of Sand Mountain (Alabama), where he was wounded April 30, 1863. William skirmished for two miles before he received a ball through his thigh, breaking the bone.
2.  As of August 27, 2014, there was a fine discussion of the raid on a CivilWarTalk forum (“General Washburn’s Escape Alley,” posted May 26, 2014). For printed resources, try Notes of a Private, by John Milton Hubbard, Forrest’s Cavalry Corps, C.S.A. (Memphis: E.H. Clarke & Bro., 1909); available digitally on the Internet Archive, and The Campaigns of Lieut.-Gen. N. B. Forrest, and of Forrest’s Cavalry, by Thomas Jordan and J. P. Pryor (Memphis: Blelock & Co., 1868); available digitally on the Internet Archive.
3.  The September 10, 1864, issue of Harper’s Weekly included these two illustrations on page 588. The University of Wisconsin-River Falls’ Chalmer Davee Library has microfilm copies of Harper’s Weekly for 1858-1865 (UWRF online catalog).  The second illustration (Irving Prison) also appeared in Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil, page 574, with the caption “Forrest’s Raiders Attacking Irving Prison.”  Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, by Alfred H. Guernsey and Henry M. Alden (Chicago: McDonnell, 1866-68) is available in the UWRF Archives (E 468.7 .G87 1866).

1864 August 20: More Wisconsin Casualties from the Battle of Atlanta, Suffrage for Soldiers in Pennsylvania, Horace Greeley Speaks Out on the Peace Talks

August 26, 2014

Following are the smaller news items from the August 20, 1864, issues of The Prescott Journal and The Polk County Press.

From The Prescott Journal:

Finger002  No man ever yet saw an American who hated slavery who upheld the rebellion ;  and no one ever saw an American who justified and wished to perpetuate slavery who had not at least a sneaking tenderness for the rebel cause.  For all practical purposes, the rebellion and slavery are related as mother and child.

Finger002  The people of Pennsylvania voted on Tuesday of last week on the question of extending the right of suffrage to soldiers in the field.  The returns are meagre but leave little doubt of the success of the proposition.  Old benighted Democratic Berks, however, gave 1,500 majority against it.

WOUNDED.—A New York paper in a list of wounded, gives the names of Adjutant E. A. Campbell, 7th Wisconsin, back ;  Jacob Deiner, E, 6th Wis., abdomen ;  and Jacob Faith, A, 7th Wis., arm.¹

SHUT OUT.—Recruiting agents to fill the quotas of other States having “invaded” the State of Illinois, Gov. YATES [Richard Yates] served notice to quit, strictly prohibiting all such sort of business.  Such agents ought also to be excluded from this State.

WORKS WELL.—Retaliation has had the effect of inducing the rebels to abandon their barbarous game of placing captured Union officers under the fire of our own guns in Charleston.  Our authorities, it will be remembered, retaliated by placing under the fire of the rebel guns in Charleston harbor the same number of capture rebel officers as they had placed under our fire.  We now learn that this has resulted in effecting an exchange of the officers in question on both sides.  Our officers were received with due honors on board Admiral DAHLGREN’s fleet [John A. Dahlgren], and have been sent North.  Among those released we are glad to learn is Col. C. H. LaGrange, of the 1st Cavalry.²

MR. GREELEY [Horace Greeley], in an article in the Tribune of the 5th inst., fully confirms what we stated the other day, that the President offered to receive accredited commissioners from the rebel authorities, bearing propositions of peace, without reference to the nature of the propositions in question.  He says the President consented to receive “whatever proposition agents duly accredited from Richmond might see fit to offer, and I went to Niagara fully authorized to proffer a safe conduct and accompany to Washington the persons specified, on the understanding that they were empowered to submit, and would submit, terms of pacification ;  and there were no conditions beyond that.”

And the Copperheads keep up a clamor over the false and unfounded pretext that the President has refused to receive propositions for peace.

From The Polk County Press:

Late Interesting Items.

— It is stated that there were six tons of powder in the mine exploded under the rebel works in front of Petersburg.  [Battle of the Crater]

— There are at present some 3,000 workmen employed in the Springfield arsenal.  Before the war about six hundred muskets were turned out in a month ;  but now as many thousand are turned out in a week.

— Returns have been recieved [sic] from all but five counties of the vote in Pensylvania [sic] on the constitutional amendment to allow soldiers to vote, and they show, for the amendment 194,306, against it 103,664.

— The report of Gen. Kelly’s [sic: Benjamin F. Kelley] victory over the rebel raiders is fully confirmed by an official dispatch.  He captured the rebel commander, who subsequently escaped, and the rebel artillery, 450 prisoners, 400 horses, battle-flags, &c.

— According to Gen. Logan’s report [John A. Logan] the battle before Atlanta on the 22d was terribly disastrous to the rebels.  They made seven distinct charges which whre [sic] repulsed, and lost 10,000 men, while our total loss was only 3,521.

— The movement to call a Republican national convention at Buffalo on the 22d proxime,³ to nominate a candidate for President in place of both Fremont [John C. Frémont] and Lincoln [Abraham Lincoln], has resulted in a failure—the meeting held for that purpose, in Hamilton, Ohio, being a perfect fizzle.


  • E. Andre Campbell, adjutant of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry from July 5 to November 17, 1864. He was wounded at Petersburg and resigned because of his wounds on November 17.
  • Jacob Deiner, from Ellington, had been a private in Company E of the 6th since June 28, 1861. He is listed in the roster as being killed in action July 30, 1864, at Petersburg.
  • John Faith, from Lodi, was a private in Company A of the 7th since enlisting December 30, 1863. He was wounded at Petersburg and died from his wounds on July 31, 1864.

2.  Oscar H. La Grange, from Green Lake, became colonel of the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry February 5, 1863. He will be brevetted a brigadier general of Volunteers on March 13, 1865.
3.  From the Latin proximus meaning next, or immediately following.

1864 August 25: “Only think, a rifle loaded with 16 cartridges and fired all in a minute if desired, and loaded in another”

August 25, 2014

There is obviously something missing toward the bottom of this letter from Edwin Levings with the 12th Wisconsin Infantry in Georgia.  Page 3 ends in mid-sentence and what follows on the next page is labeled “6” and picks up two weeks later.  The original letter is in the Edwin D. Papers (River Falls Mss BO), in the University Archives and Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and when we find the stray page, we will add it to this post.

Near Atlanta Ga Aug 25th, 1864.

Dear Father ;

                         Yesterday’s mail brought us a letter from you of the 14th inst.  All your letters lately have come through in nine or ten days.  We like to have them thus often.  The distance seems shortened, in fact, we seem almost to be at home, when hearing from there so often.

I doubt I can write a decent letter this morning.  I have been trying to solve a geometrical problem and failed.  I was successful with one I saw in the Rural and felt so pleased about it that I attempted another.  I never studied Geometry, I suppose you know, and I found the solution of the problem involved more knowledge of that branch than I am likely to possess during my soldier life, at least, I am sure I would like that study and perhaps may send for a book after we are paid off.

We shall probably be armed with the Henry rifle, a 16 shooter.¹  Most all the Regt. want that arm and can get it whenever the money is ready.  The price is $41.  Col. Bryant [George E. Bryant] has written to Gen. Sherman [William T. Sherman] to see if he will allow one of the paymasters at Marietta to come & pay us, so we can get the guns.  I have seen the rifle and fired it, and it is unhesitatingly pronounced the neatist and most effective gun in use.  Only think, a rifle loaded with 16 cartridges and fired all in a minute if desired, and loaded in another.  It has many other advantages.  The cartridges are metallic and, of course, water proof.  The cartridge box is small & will hold 100 rounds.  There are no caps nor baynet [sic] to carry.  Gov’t. furnishes the cartridges.  We have both signed for them.  If a soldier is killed & his gun recovered it is sent to his friends, or sold, according as he may have previously expressed the wish, and the money sent to his friends.  [paragraph break added]

1860 Henry repeating rifle

1860 Henry repeating rifle

The military situation here is changing for the better, I understand.  The left wing and center of the army is falling back to a new line of works, that fact being to straighten the line by letting the left rest on the Chattahoochee above Marietta, and allowing the right to swing further around the city.  You can see this arrangement the better secures our communications while it is certain to cut off those of the rebels.  This done, the rebels must fight us on our own ground, or skeddadle when they will surely be destroyed.  Either movement will result in their destruction.  The 17th corps, in the center, withdraws to the new line this evening about ½ mile distant.  At first thought this movement would seem like a confession of weakness on the part of Sherman, but you will remember the destruction of the rebel army, not the possession of the city, is …


6                    Sept. 10th,  Could not mail till I will say a little more.  We have about 540 men present — about 450 doing duty.  The recent battles will not make our permanent loss over 100, so that we have left about 900 men.  Half of them are of no account to us at present, and a good many never were and never will be.  Co. A  has lots of well men along the R. R. lines who won’t come to the front till made to come ~ perfect sneaks.  I hate to say it, but it is truth, & they are our recruits, with hardly an exception.  They are horrified at the idea of bullets & so make excuses or get detailed where bullets don’t sing their requiem.  Just so in the Co. with a few, — never in a fight yet & never mean to be if they can help it — sick or going to be, can hardly get them on picket & when there won’t fire a shot if they can help it.  I have a perfect contempt for such men.  Don’t send any more such men down here.  I am glad to say not all our recruits are such cowards.  There are some of them as good substantial, reliable men as carry a musket.  But it is a fact 1 veteran is worth 3.  Yet a doz. such men as I first mentioned, but enough of this.  [paragraph break added]

We are both well.  Hope you will write often.

Yours affectionately, E. D. Levings

1.  Benjamin Tyler Henry patented, in 1860, the first practical, lever action repeating rifle. It has a reliable .44 caliber rimfire metallic cartridge and produced a rapid and highly accurate fire. The first Henry rifles were in the hands of Union soldiers by mid-1862.

Edwin Levings letter of August 25, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Edwin Levings letter of August 25, 1864, from the Edwin D. Levings Papers (River Falls Mss BO) in the University Archives & Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls

1864 August 20: Organizing the 43rd Wisconsin, Letter from John F. Newton, the Situation of Atlanta

August 23, 2014

Following are a few unrelated articles—except they are all too large for our usual “small items” post.  All are from The Prescott Journal of August 20, 1864.

Another New Regiment—Organization of the Forty-Third.

The Governor has organized the 43d Wisconsin infantry.  The following officers have been appointed :

Colonel—AMASA COBB, of Mineral Point.
Lieut. Colonel—BYRON PAINE, of Madison.
Major—SAMUEL B. BRIGHTMAN, of Milwaukee.
Adjutant—JOHN J. BUCK, of Waupan.
Quartermaster—JNO. B. EUGENE, of Green Bay.
1st Assistant Surgeon—CHARLES C. HAYES, of Madison.

The following 2d Lieutenants are appointed
Co. A—Chas. M. Day, of D, 24th Reg.
..”   B—L. V. Nanscawen, of I, 29th Reg.
..”   C—John Brandon.  [from the 5th Iowa Cavalry]
..”   D—Francis A. Smith, of E, 29th Reg.
..”   E—George Witter.
..”   F—Henry Harris, of H, 12th Reg.
..”   G—Henry A. Reed.
..”   H—Thos. O. Russell, Q. M. Serg’t, 13th Reg.
..”   I—Orrin L. Turgman [sic: Ingman], of D, 23d Reg.
..”   K—Chas. Lemke, of 2d Battery.

Col. COBB is the present Member of Congress from the 3d District.  He was formerly Colonel of the 5th Wisconsin, and had command of the regiment when it distinguished itself by its brilliant conduct at the battle of Williamsburgh [sic].  The Lt. Colonel, BYRON PAINE, at present one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of the State, while he has seen no service, possesses qualifications which will render him, we have no doubt, one of the most efficient as well as most popular officers.  He resigns one of the most important and honorable offices in the State to take a subordinate position in the army.  His example will inspire others, and his name attract many to the ranks of the 43d.

Letter from Louisville.

We have received an interesting letter from JOHN F. NEWTON, now at Louisville, but can only find room for the following extracts :

Politics you hear but little of here, but there is no doubt but there will be some hot work here in November, at the Presidential election.  All parties are waiting anxiously to see the result of the Chicago Convention, and I presume when we hear from it we shall hear more politics.

People, especially those who are interested in copper-mines, are very careful how and what sentiments they utter, for they know not but what the next minute may bring them where the[y] can study the style of architecture of certain rooms with iron doors, bars at the windows, and a man to wait on them.

The police courts seem to have their share of business, for hardly a day or night passes but that some one is ventilated with either knife or ball.

The military authorities have been very busy for the past few days in “gobbling up” quite a number of the citizens of Louisville, being members of a society known as the “Sons of Freedom,” and the said arrests have caused no little excitement here.

Large numbers of rebel prisoners pass through the city almost daily, on their way to Northern prisons.  I have seen as many as twelve hundred within three days.  They are generally a villainously dirty looking set, but a gentleman informed me that it was the color of their clothes that made them appear so, but I guess I know dirt from colored cloth.—There are many fine looking men among them, and they go through the city quietly, and looking well pleased with the prospect of good quarters and plenty to eat, when they arrive at their destination.  It is to be hoped that many more of the “butternut gentry” will soon partake of the hospitality of our government.

The Situation of Atlanta.

A correspondent of the New York Times, writing from Sherman’s front [William T. Sherman], on August 1st, thus describes the “situations” there:

To tell the truth, we are somewhat puzzled at the stubborn front presented by the enemy.  Hood [John Bell Hood] has been dreadfully worried since our encroachments, and has experienced three disastrous defeats.  To which, according to the rebel newspapers, he has sustained a loss of at least 26,000 men.  Yet he keeps up a bold front and audaciously stands his ground, to the great dissatisfaction of  of our skirmish line, which made three unsuccessful attempts to advance yesterday.

We cannot, with the least chance of success, attempt to carry the enemy’s fortifications by assault.  There are yet two ways to effect this dislodgment.  If our right swings round on the Macon road, he must, it is believed, come out of his works and fight as on an open field, or make his escape to the north and east as best he can.  If, however, in that case, the enemy persists in declining to fight or evacuate, then Gen. Sherman must provide his army with twenty days rations and go clean around as he did at Buzzard Road and Allatoona.  The “pot-hook” is bound to win.

1864 August 20: Recruiting, Volunteers, Bounties, Quotas, and the Draft

August 22, 2014

Following are all articles concerning new recruits, quotas, and the draft, from the August 20, 1864, issues of The Polk County Press and The Prescott Journal.

From The Prescott Journal:

— Prescott has filled her quota—20 men—which is doing exceedingly well for so short a time.  Great credit is due to E. S. Falkinburg and C. P Barnard, recruiting officers, for their untiring exertions in raising the requisite number of men.  Prescott is once more “in out of the wet.”  Diamond Bluff filled her quota on Tuesday last.  They paid a bounty of $300 per man.

Finger002  Clifton’s quota is thirteen men.  A bounty of $200 is paid in Greenbacks to each volunteer, cash down and no grumbling.  This is a good opportunity to secure a large bounty and steady employment for one year.

Finger002  There has been a report in circulation that Father Abraham [Abraham Lincoln] had called for 300,000 more men.  This is untrue.  He will probably dispose of the one on hand before ordering another draft.—Many were considerably exercised over the news, and probably would have enlisted had a “good” opportunity offered itself.

From The Polk County Press:

GONE TO WASHINGTON.—The Madison “Journal” says Adjutant General Gaylord [Augustus Gaylord] has gone to Washington.  His business is to induce the War Department to order a correction of the enrollment lists in the States where justice seems to require it.

ENLISTED FOR OSCEOLA.—John Brawn, David Orne, Wm. Moody, and Benj. Bergen,¹ have enlisted to the credit of Osceola.  They are all good men, and will make splendid soldiers.  Osceola wants one more man, and offers superior inducements.  Who is the lucky individual ?  Apply soon.

— Volunteering is brisk in this Co. [Pierce] as most of the towns are making efforts to fill their quotas.— Prescott

— The people of Chippewa Falls, we are told, are moving to engage the Chippewa Indians to relieve them of the coming draft.  In this valley we have sent nearly every man that can well be spared ;  and if this proposition is satisfactory to our red brethren, let us and them go ahead.  This Indian proposition reminds us of what parson Brownlow [William G. Brownlow] says ;  a matter we endorse fully :

“And if I had the power, sir, I would uniform in the Federal hibillments² [sic] every wolf and panther and catamount and tiger and bear in the mountains of America ;  every crocodile and every negro in the Southern Confederacy, and every devil in hell and pendemonium [sic].”—Eau Claire Free Press.

A FEW WORDS ABOUT IT.—It is rumored that the Draft Commissioners of the Sixth District contemplate holding a session at Hudson after the draft, at which place drafted men of the northern portion of the district will be allowed to report.  Such an arrangement ought, without fail to be made and carried out.  There is no good reason why the convenience and interest of the people—of individuals—should not be consulted, when the public interests will not thereby suffer.  At least one half of the drafted it is understood will not be held to service.  It is certainly much easier and would seem to be more economical on the part of the Government, for the three men comprising the board of draft commissioners to come to some central place in this region for all the purposes of their business with the people of the region, than for multitudes to repair to La Crosse from the upper counties, in this season of difficult and expensive travel.  It is easier to Mahomet³ to come to the mountain, than for the mountain to come to Mahomet.

RECRUITING.—We learn that several citizens of Polk county contemplate enlisting in Minnesota.  We would call their attention to an order from the Secretary of War forbiding [sic] such doings, whereby it would seem, that any officer recruiting men from this State for Minnesota, is liable to arrest.  The order will be found on first page.

The Secretary of War forbids
the Recruiting of Men in one
State to be Credited TO ANOTHER.

The following telegram from Pro. Marshal Gen. Fry [James B. Fry] to Col. Averill, at St. Paul, fully explains itself :

WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 1864. }

Col. J. T. Averill, A. A. Pro. Marshal, St. Paul, Minnesota :

The Secretary of War has forbidden the recruiting of men in one State to be credited to another, except as provided by act of July 4th, 1864, foo [sic] recruiting in States in rebellion.  He directions that you see to the execution of this order in your State, and if necessary arrest recruiting officers or agents who may be found violating it.

Make this known to the Governor.
.                     .JAMES B. FRY,
.                 .Provost Marshal Gen.

Josh. Billings on the Draft.

Josh. Billings is out with an official on the draft question.  Says he :

Widder wimmen and their only son, is exempt, provided the widder’s husband has already served 2 years in the war, and is willing to go in agin ;  bleve the Supreme Corte has decided this thing forever.

Once more ;  if a man should run away with his draft, he probably wouldn’t ever be allow to stand the draft agin ;  this luks severe at first site, but the moar yu ink at it the more yu can see the wisdom into it.

Once moarly ;  Xmpts are those who have been drafted into the Stait prizzen for trying to get an honnist livin by supportin 2 wives tu onct ;  also, all of them peepil who are erazee, and unsound on the goose ;  also, all nuspaper correspondents and fools in general.

Once morely agin ;  No substitue will be ackceptid who is less than 3 or moar than ten feet high ;  he know how to chaw tobacker and drink poor whiskee, and musn’t be afeerd of the itch or the rebels.  Moral character ain’t required, as the government furnishes that and rashuns.

Conclusively ;  a person cannot be drafted more than twice in two places without his consent ;  but all men has a right to be drafted at least onct.  I don’t think even a writ of habeas corpus can deprive a man this last blessid privilege.

1.  Jonathan H. Brawn, David Orne, William Moody, and Benjamin Bergeron all ended up in Company D of the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry. All four are listed in the roster as being from La Crosse and enlisting on September 2, 1864.
2.  Hibillement, a French word meaning an “outfit.”
3.  Muhammad, in Medieval Latin, Polish, or French.


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