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1862 October 15: Fate of Wisconsin’s Regiments at Perryville

October 17, 2012

The Battle of Perryville was also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills.  It was fought on October 8, 1862, in the Chaplin Hills west of Perryville, Kentucky.  Four Wisconsin infantry regiments took part in the battle: the 1st Wisconsin (3 years), which included the Saint Croix Rifles (Company F), the 10th Wisconsin, the 21st Wisconsin, and the 24th Wisconsin.

John (abbreviated here as Jno.) C. Starkweather, who wrote the following report, was the colonel of the 1st Wisconsin and he also commanded the 28th Brigade.  The brigade, which also included the 21st Wisconsin, was in the 3rd Division of Alexander M. McCook’s First Corps, in Buell’s Army of the Ohio.

The October 15, 1862, issue of The Prescott Journal carried the following report.  There are more than the usual number of typographical errors in this article.

Casualties of Wisconsin Regiments.

COL. STARKWEATHER’S DISPATCH.

LOSS IN THE 58TH [sic: 28th] BRIGADE, 800.

MILWAUKEE, October 13.

The following to the Governor of Wisconson [sic], we are authorized to publish:

HEADQUARTERS 28th BRIGADE, }
Battle Field, Chaplin Hill, Ky., Oct. 10,  }
via Louisville.  }

To Hon. Edward Solomon, Gov., Madison:

The old 1st and 21st Wisconsin, of my brigade, marched twelve miles on the 8th inst., going into battle at 12 M., and fighting until 7 P. M., with loss as follows:

1st Wisconsin—58 killed, 127 wounbed [sic], 13 missing, and 12 prisoners taken while bringing the wounded from the field at night time, under a flag of truce.

The Twenty-first Wisconsin had thirty five killed, ninety eight wounded and fifty four missing.

Lieut. D. W. Mitchell, Capt. Bently [sic] and Maj. Schumacher, of the Twenty-first are dead.  Colonel Sweet, who is severely wounded, will live the surgeons say.  Maj. Mitchell was first wounded in the leg severely, and may lose the leg.  Capt. Green, Company K, shot through the neck—is doing well; Lieua. [sic] Wise [Pembroke V. Wise], Company F, shot through the leg; Lieut. Hambroch [sic], comwany [sic] E, shot in the shoulder; Lieut. Galligher [sic], Company B, a prisoner well.1

I will send a full list of the dead and wounded as soon as possible.

The First Wisconsin took the colors of the First Tennesee [sic].

The First and Twenty-first, and the Seventy-ninth Pennsylvania held their position, as also the Twenty fourth Illinois, protecting my two batteries, drove the enemy from the field, piling up the dead in heaps upon heaps.  All did well.  The fighting of the first is in everyone’s mouth, all proclriming [sic] it the veteran regiments.

Gen. McCook claims that the Twenty eighth brigade saved the day and turned the tide of battle against the enemy.

Our loss is fearful, but all fouht [sic] nobly and well—no flinching, no cowardice was shown by one of the Wisconsin troops.

The 10th and 54th [sic: 24th] Wisconsin were in the fight.  Both Colonels are safe.  The 10th suffered severely.  The 24th lost only four.

As I am told, the loss in my brigade, (28th) in killed, wounded, and missing &c., will number 800 men, as near as it can now be ascertained.

I am making up my official reports, and will send you a copy when finished.

The battle was terrible.  Our enemy were defeated.

We now occupy the position occupied by them, and will undoubtedly move on.  Our wounded need attention and assistance.

Any one coming to Maxville, Kentucky, will soon find the wounded.

We buried the dead last night on the battle field.  They first fought some men that they met at Falling Waters.

All glory to Wisconsin troops.  All honor to the veteran 1st and 21st.

Yours on the field.
JNO. C. STARKWEATHER
Col 1st Wis., Comd’g 28th Brigade.

1.  Following is brief information on the Wisconsin men listed in this paragraph, except for Pembroke V. Wise, who has his own page:

  • David W. Mitchell, 2nd lieutenant of Company C, 21st Wisconsin Infantry, from Stanton, was killed in action October 8, 1862, at Chaplin Hills, Kentucky.
  • George Bentley, from Janesville, was captain of Company H, 21st Wisconsin Infantry. He was killed in action on October 8, 1862, at Chaplin Hills, Kentucky.
  • Fred Schumacher, from Milwaukee, was promoted to major of the 21st from captain of Company F, 6th Wisconsin Infantry. He was killed in action October 8, 1862, at Chaplin Hills, Kentucky.
  • Benjamin J.  Sweet, from Chilton, was colonel of the 21st, having been promoted from lieutenant colonel of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry.
  • Henry A. Mitchell, from Milwaukee, was the major of the 1st Wisconsin Infantry.
  • Thomas H. Green, from Fond du Lac, was captain of Company K, 1st Wisconsin Infantry.
  • Richard T.  Hambrook, from Kenosha, was 1st lieutenant of Company E, 1st Wisconsin Infantry.
  • Thomas Caliger, from Milwaukee, was the 2nd lieutenant of Company B, 1st Wisconsin Infantry. He was taken prisoner at Chaplin Hills, Kentucky.
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