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1861 July 31 / August 7: News of the St. Croix Rifles and Stillwater Guards

August 4, 2011

Snippets of news from the “Home Affairs” section of the July 31 and August 7, 1861, issues of The Hudson North Star, and a small article comparing Wisconsin and Illinois military preparations.

The [Hudson] Times says there is talk of organizing another military company here. We opine that it will be “all talk.” [July 31]

The devils of both printing offices left on Saturday for Fort Snelling to enlist for the war. They are both rather small to pass muster, but as they are “spillin’ for a fight,” may possibly be accepted. [July 31]

Capt. Bromley,1 of the Stillwater Guard resigned and came home just before the battle of Bull’s Run. [July 31]


Fortunate.— The Stillwater Guards did not lose a man at the battle of Bull’s Run.—Several were wounded among whom, we notice, were Capt. Mark Downie,2 and Lieut. Thomas3—two “brave men and true.”


Capt. Samuels [sic] and Lieut. Vincent, of the “St. Croix Rifles” have been in town recruiting, but with what success we are not posted.4   [August 7]


WISCONSIN AND ILLINOIS.—A CONTRAST—The state of Wisconsin has now sent four regiments through this city, to the seat of war in Virginia—four as solid and well equipped bodies of men as will participate in the present war of the Republic. They are thoroughly uniformed, well drilled, and are not sent into the field with arms that are unfit for the service.

We cannot but remark the contrast between Wisconsin and Illinois, as exhibited in their respective military preparations, promptness in movement, pride of appearance, and care for the welfare, comfort and efficiency of their troops.

The proper authorities in Wisconsin went to work in earnest, and with tireless energy, to prepare their men for the battle field, and have thus far done the work nobly; while those of Illinois have been only half awake, moping like sleeping men, and no portion of their work is yet half done. This is the difference between public spirit and no spirit at all—the difference between public servants entrusted with important responsibilities which they appreciate, and public officers who forget that they are public servants, and wait for somebody else to do what they should have done long ago, or should now be doing straightway.— Chicago Journal.                  [July 31]

1.  Carlisle A. Bromley (1829-1888)  was elected captain of Company B 1st Minnesota Infantry (the Stillwater Guards being the core of the company). He resigned on July 15, 1861, possibly because of a drinking problem. In August 1862 he became captain of Company I of the newly-formed 6th Minnesota Infantry, but again resigned, on February 10, 1863.
2.  On July 16, 1861, after Captain Bromley resigned, Mark Downie (1836-1879) was promoted to captain of Company B, 1st Minnesota Infantry. At the Battle of Bull Run, Downie as wounded in the chest by a piece of shell. The wound was slight and he soon returned to duty. Downie was promoted to major in 1863 and was wounded again at the Battle of Gettysburg.
3.  Minor T. Thomas (1830-1897) was made a 2nd lieutenant in Company B, and later promoted to 1st lieutenant. He was wounded at Bull Run. On October 18, 1861 he left the regiment to accept an appointment as lieutenant colonel of the 4th Minnesota Infantry. On Aug 24, 1862, he was promoted to colonel of the 8th Minnesota Infantry.
4.  Maurice M. Samuel of Saint Croix Falls (Polk County), enlisted on May 28, 1861, and received his rank on June 29. He was captain of Company F, 1st Wisconsin Infantry (three-years). He will be mustered out on October 13, 1864. William J. Vincent, also from Saint Croix Falls, also enlisted on May 28, 1861 and received his rank of 1st lieutenant on June 29, 1861.  He will resign on February 3, 1862. Based on the enlistment dates on the roster of Company F, this particular recruiting trip was not particularly successful.

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