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1864 June 28: “Many are killed and wounded on both sides. It is rather rough here for new beginners.”

July 17, 2014

The following letter from George W. Davis of Farmington—now with the 7th Wisconsin Infantry at Petersburg, Virginia—was published in the July 17, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.  Many of the wounded listed here were wounded before the new recruits joined the regiment at Petersburg.  June 18, 1864, was the last day of the Second Battle of Petersburg, by the 28th, the Siege of Petersburg was under way, foreshadowing the trench warfare of World War I.

Our Army Correspondence.

IN THE TRENCHES, FRONT NEAR }
PETERSBURG, June 28th ’64. }

S. S. FIFIELD, Jr.,—Dear Sir :—I arrived here with my squad of recruits on the 25th inst., all right.  Found the remnant of the old 7th regiment here, under fire, where they have been constantly engaged since the 18th,—on which day our brigade made a charge on the enemy’s works and got repulsed with heavy loss.  Our regiment went in with 170 men and came out with 120.

We are now lying behind our breastworks, holding our position,—under a heavy fire—without water, except we choose to go half a mile for it exposed to the enemy’s fire from the moment we leave the works.  There are more men killed and disabled at present in going for water, and carelessly exposing themselves, than from doing their duty in the trenches.  When a soldier raises his head above the breastworks, he is sure to have a bullet sent close to his ears, if not close enough to sting.—Thus many are killed and wounded on both sides.  It is rather rough here for new beginners.  I wish you could come here and spend a day or two, then you would have a better idea of a soldier’s life than you ever can by reading, or from the report of old soldiers.  I am not able to say that I am sorry I enlisted—do not know how I shall stand a charge—but there is something exciting all the time that keeps one from being down hearted.

I enclose you a list of the men who left Polk county with me, giving those wounded and sick, with the particulars as near as I can learn them.

Yours truly, GEO. W. DAVIS.

(The following is the list referred to above : )—ED.

COMPANY F.¹
Peter Francis, killed on field, May 5.
A. H. Connor, wounded severely.—Shot through thighs May 17, now in hospital.
E. Whitney, went to hospital before first battle—returned to regiment June 10,
was shot through leg June 18; now in hospital.
Richard Turnbull, detailed dressing wounds in hospital; never been in battle.
Orrin Weymouth, shot through leg while going for water; not dangerous, now in hospital.
Peter Delp— all right—on duty.
Michael McHugh,    do           do
John Rice,    do           do
COMPANY G.²
Joseph Razor, killed on field.
Frank Shaw, died in hospital May 23d of wounds received in battle.
Charles Razor, wounded; in hospital.
John Singog,    do           do
John B. Le Prairie,    do           do
Gus Metwaos,    do           do
Thomas Hart,    do           do
John R. Day, sick in hospital.
John Moses,    do           do
George Samuel,    do           do
James Rice,    do           do
Joseph Cadott, sick but still on duty.
Alex Cadott, all right and on duty.
Charles Hart,    do           do
John Buck,    do           do
Joseph Morrow,    do           do

The 7th regiment is in the 1st brigade, 4th division, 5th Corps.   G. W. D.

1. Company F (all men who enlisted January 18, 1864):

  • Peter Francis, from Farmington, enlisted January 18, 1864; killed May 5, 1864, at the Battle of the Wilderness.
  • Andrew H. Connor, from Saint Croix Falls, enlisted January 18, 1864; wounded at Laurel Hill [part of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House].
  • Edwin E. Whitney, from Farmington, wounded at Petersburg.
  • Richard H. Turnbull, from Saint Croix Falls, discharged June 2, 1865, for disability.
  • Orrin Weymouth, from Saint Croix Falls, wounded at Petersburg and died from his wounds July 25, 1864.
  • Peter Delp, from Saint Croix Falls, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Michael McHugh, from Saint Croix Falls, wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness.
  • John Rice, from the Town of Sterling, wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness.

2.  Company G (all men who enlisted in late February/early March of 1864):

  • Joseph Razor, from Osceola,* killed May 12, 1864, at Laurel Hill.
  • Frank Shaw, from Osceola,* wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness, died May 25, 1864.
  • Charles Razor, from Burnett County, wounded at Laurel Hill.
  • John Singog [Singgoy], from Burnett County, wounded at Jericho Ford [Battle of North Anna], died June 17, 1864.
  • John B. Le/La Prairie, from Osceola,* wounded at Petersburg.
  • Gus [George] Metwaos, from Osceola,* wounded at Petersburg and again at Gravelly Run.
  • Thomas Hart, from Burnett County, wounded at Laurel Hill.
  • John R. Day, from Burnett County, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • John Moses, from Osceola,* taken prisoner December 11, 1864.
  • George Samuel[s], from Burnett County, wounded at Petersburg and again at Gravelly Run.
  • James Rice, from Osceola,* no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Joseph Cadott, from the Town of Sterling, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Alexander Cadott, from the Town of Sterling, no mention of being wounded or sick.
  • Charles Hart, from Burnett County, will desert November 30, 1864.
  • John Buck, from Burnett County, will die April 8, 1865, from disease.
  • Joseph Morrow, from Osceola,* taken prisoner December 11, 1864.

* Many of the men listed as being from Osceola were more likely from Burnett County and only enlisted in Osceola.

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