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1864 July 30: News from the 12th Wisconsin Infantry in Georgia

August 1, 2014

The following letter from the 12th Wisconsin Infantry appeared in The Prescott Journal of July 30, 1864.  The headlines are from nearly a page-worth of reports from various Wisconsin regiments and do not refer only to what appears in the letter from the 12th Regiment.

PROGRESS OF SHERMAN’S ARMY.

The Advance to the Chattahoochie [sic].

How Rebel Works are Rendered Useless.

Story of an Escaped Prisoner.

Barbarous Cruelty of Rebels.

One Hundred Day Men at Memphis.

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From the 12th Regiment.

The Retreat of the Rebels—Schofield Outflanked ThemTheir Works OccupiedDesertion of Rebels Under FireA Transfer of the 12thCasualties.

NEAR CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER, GA., }
July 14, 1864. }

On the evening of July 9th, the rebel force evacuated the strong works in our front, falling back across the river as rapidly as possible.  A deserter came into our lines about three o’clock in the morning of the 10th inst., and reported to Captain Maxson [Orrin T. Maxson], of Co. A, of “ours,” who, with his company, was out on the skirmish line, the fact that the rebel skirmishers had been withdrawn and the forts evacuated.  In a short time thereafter, the Captain and a part of his command had moved up and took possession of the large fort immediately in our front.  One of his men captured three rebels and took them over to headquarters, while guns and accoutrements, with all kinds of personal baggage were gathered together, forming quite a valuable capture.  Other troops were sent to the support of ours, and soon a line of skirmishers was pressing after the flying foe, following them to the edge of the river, and then taking position on its banks, kept up a sharp fire across the stream all day.

During the day a party of about twenty deserted from the rebel line, and started on a full run down to the river, with the intention, apparently, of swimming over to our side.  Suddenly the rebel line poured a volley into the fugitives, killing one instantly and wounding several of the others.  As many of them as were able, plunged into the stream and were pulled out by our boys as they came within reach.  Incidents like these do not speak very strongly in favor of the “unity of the Southern people,” or their being generally resolved to “die in the last ditch,” rather than submit to the “vandals” of the North.

We learn that the cause of this sudden retreat of the rebels from their strong position, was the fact that Gen. Schofield [John M. Schofield] had crossed the river with his (23d) Corps, (Army of Ohio,) far to the left, and was threatening to cut off the retreat of the rascals.  One thing seems very evident, that they never take up a position without making abundant provision for leaving it at the shortest notice, an event often required by the peculiarities of Gen. Sherman’s flank movements [William T. Sherman].

About noon on the 11th inst., we were ordered to prepare to march, and soon after were put in motion, that is, our regiment, and marched over to the lines of the 3d Division, to find ourselves regularly transferred to its complement ;  and on the 13th inst. we were again moved to the right, being attached to the 1st Brigade, (Gen. Force’s [Manning F. Force]) of the 3d Division, and have joined our new command.  Our brigade consists of the 20th, 30th, 31st and 45th Illinois, the 12th and 16th Wisconsin Infantry, one of the largest and best in the Corps.  The commander of the Division, Brig. Gen. Leggett [Mortimer D. Leggett], is considered a very able military man ;  at all events he abstains from swearing and strong liquors, and requires his staff to do the same.  It is presumable, therefore, that we shall not have any more charging orders from Gen. Whisky¹ for some time yet, and our losses from obeying them will, of course, be prevented.

Just after arriving at our present location one of our band was shot dead, while eating his supper, having risen to his feet behind the breastworks, the bullet entering his side, going through his heart, and out under the arm on the other side.  He was a German named William Krug, and seemed to have had no relatives in this country.²  This morning a young man named Beaulieu, of Co. H, while in the rifle-pit on the skirmish line, was shot in the mouth, the bullet coming out under his right ear, killing him instantly.³

In a letter from one of your correspondents, we are credited to Gen. Thomas’ army [George H. Thomas].  This is a mistake.  The 17th Army Corps, to which we belong, is a part of the “Army of the Tennessee,” said army being commanded by Maj. Gen. J. B. McPherson.  Gen. Thomas commands the “Army of the Cumberland,” which our army has reinforced by leaving Mississippi for Alabama and Georgia.

I send you a list of our killed, dead and wounded since June 15rh:

COMPANY A.

Wounded—Frederick Garit [from Martell], slightly in back, June 18th ;  Corp. John T. Crippen [from Prescott], severely in shoulder, July 10th.

COMPANY B.

Killed—Charles Reinifrath, shot in abdomen 27th June, died next day ;  Nathaniel Camp, shot in lungs 15th June, died on 25th.
Wounded—John Kivell, in left hip, 5th July ;  Ralph Hoyt, slightly in left shoulder, 5th July ;  Hiram Hawkins, slightly in left hip, 5th July ;  Henry Palmer, slightly in right arm, 25th June ;  Levi Seeley, slightly in head, 10th July ;  John Dugald, slightly in left arm, 10th July.

COMPANY C.

Killed—William Krug, shot through head, 18th July.
Wounded—Corp. James Slater, slightly in thigh, 7th July.

COMPANY E.

Killed—Henry A. Flunow, shot in abdomen, 5th July, died next day.

COMPANY F.

Wounded—William Cusic, severe in hip, June 15th.

COMPANY G.

Killed—Corp. Ole O. Oleson, shot through head, 8th July.
Wounded—Sergt. N. F. Rathbun, severely in face and shoulder, 6th July ;  Thomas C. Nelson, in thigh, 19th June ; Geo. H. Butler, abdomen, 5th July.

COMPANY H.

Killed—H. H. Beaulieu, shot through head, 18th July.
Wounded—Henry Miller, severely in right lung, 27th June ;  David Sherman, slightly, 26th June.

COMPANY I.

Killed—[Milton] Sample, shot through head, 1st July.

COMPANY K.

Wounded—Sergt. Frank Filbrick, slightly ;  Geo. H. Fuzard, slightly.

DIED IN HOSPITAL.

___ Montoney [John C. Montanye], E, typhoid fever, June 25 ;  Charles [L.]4 Gloyd, E, dysentery, June 25 ;  Geo. Shaughnessey, G, congestive chills, June 25.

You will see from this and the list of casualties to June 15th sent previously, that since June 10th, the date of our arrival at Big Shanty, we have lost about fifty men, many of whom have been killed outright, and so are a total loss.  May God pity their sorrowing relatives, and help them to bear the sad calamity which has befallen them, with resignation and hope.

W.

1.  He is possibly referring to General Sherman.
2.  William Krug, who was from Blue Mounds, had been with Company C of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry since September 8, 1861.
3.  Harrison H. Beaulieu, from Milwaukee, had only been with Company H since February 12, 1864.
4.  There were two men named Charles Gloyd in Company E of the 12th, so the middle initial becomes important. The other one was Charles E. Gloyd.

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