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1864 July 2: Casualties in Company F of the 37th Wisconsin at the Second Battle of Petersburg

July 2, 2014

The Second Battle of Petersburg, also known as the Assault on Petersburg, happened June 15-18, 1864, as George G. Meade’s Union forces tried to capture Petersburg before the Confederates could reinforce the city.  Repeated assaults over the four days failed to capture the city before Confederate reinforcements arrived on June 18 and the result was the ten-month Siege of Petersburg.

The following letter from Ellsworth Burnett, captain of Company F of the 37th Wisconsin Infantry, was published in the July 2, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.

All articles this week are from the Journal as The Polk County Press did not publish an issue on July 2, 1864.



The Thirty-Seventh has received its baptism of fire.

Stormed at with shot and shell,
Into the jaws of death—
Into the mouth of Hell—

they have borne their banner, and won the right to be ranked as the peers of the veteran brave.

We give the following from a letter from Capt. BURNETT, Co. F, under date of June 20.

“Our regiment was on the march four days and nights, from the 12th to the 16th, from Coal [sic] Harbor to Petersburg, and immediately attacked the enemy’s works.  We have made five bayonet charges, and been under fire night and day since the evening of the 16th.  We went in 400 strong, and when we were released from the front last night, we mustered but eighty men and seven officers.  Stragglers have come in until our force is 180 for duty.

I was in command of the Regiment yesterday, the Lt. Col. being sick, the Major severely wounded, and the ranking captains killed or wounded.     *          *

     *          *     We expect to go in again to night.  It is murderous work, but we are bound to win.

The following is the list of casualties in my company, up to the 20th.

1st Sergt. Walter Howes, wounded slightly in breast by fragment of shell.
2nd Sergt. John Butcher, shot in left leg, amputated below the knee.
3d Sergt. Geo. Chinnock, slight in left hand.
Corp. John Goldsberry, wounded in left hand.


Wm Powell,         .killed.¹
H. A. Toergath         ”
Oscar Burdick         .
Wm. [sic] Conant….
Isaac Selleck, missing, supposed killed.
Hollis D. Carlton, wounded,² right arm.
Chas. Osgood, wounded in thigh, severe.
Thos. Wargen,     ….
— Hillebert,       .   .”        severely.
D. Hill,          ….     .”        in foot.
John Douglas,          ”        slight in hand.
Niel [sic] McPhail   ”              ”
E. Jones                    ”        severely in neck.
Thos. Cragon [sic]  ”        severely in leg.

Overwork has worn out fifteen.”

1.  Following is the full list of men from Company F who were killed in action during the Second Battle of Petersburg:

  • Oscar Burdick, from Clinton, killed in action June 17
  • Wallace Conant, from Pierce, killed in action June 19
  • Charles Forsyth, from Clinton, killed in action June 17
  • John W. Hillebert, from Otsego, killed in action June 18
  • William Powell, from Springville, killed in action June 17
  • Isaac Selleck, from Hudson, killed in action June 18.

2.  Following is the full list of men from Company F who were wounded at the Second Battle of Petersburg, several of whom died later:

  • John Butcher, from Pleasant Valley, wounded June 18; died June 27
  • Hollis D. Carlton, from River Falls, wounded June 17; died August 22
  • George W. Chinnock, from Dunn, wounded June 17
  • John Cragan, from Otsego, wounded June 18
  • John H. Goldsberry, from Oak Grove, wounded June 17
  • Dennison K. Hill, from Dunnville, wounded June 17
  • Walter M. Howes, from Hudson, wounded June 17
  • Evan W. Jones, from Portland (Wis.), wounded June 17; died June 21 or 27
  • Neall McPhail, from Platteville, wounded June 17
  • Thomas Morgan, from Platteville, wounded June 17
  • Charles J. Osgood, from La Crosse, wounded June 17
  • Charles H. Randall, from River Falls, wounded June 17.
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