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1864 October 8: Update from the Prescott Guards and Information on Three of the Wounded

October 10, 2014

The following letter from Solomon B. Holman of Company B of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry—the Prescott Guards—at the Siege of Petersburg, appeared in the October 8, 1864, issue of The Prescott Journal.  The V Corps, which included the 6th Wisconsin, saw hard fighting at Cold Harbor and the Siege of Petersburg in June of 1864. Many of its men were captured in the Second Battle of Weldon Railroad on August 19, 1864.

Letter from Co. B.

CAMP NEAR PETERSBURG AND WALDON }
R. R. September 22d, 1864 }

FRIEND LUTE :— Being at leisure I thought I would write you a few lines in regard to Co. B.

We are at present in camp about half a mile north of the P. and W. R. R. having been retrieved from the immediate front.

Inspections, Drills and Reviews are becoming the order of the day.

The most of the old first corps have been consolidated into the 3d division, 5th corps, under Gen. Crawford.¹  The 1st and 2d brigades into one, under Brig. Gen. Bragg.²  We are to be reviewed this afternoon by Gen. Warren [Gouverneur K. Warren].

We had a heavy fall of rain here last night, but despite the rain there was a continual firing all night along our front and extending to the right.  This picket firing has been kept up almost continually, day and night, for the last two weeks.

Sergt. Henry E. Smyser, Louis J. Ludkoff, and private J. W. M. Shaw have returned to the company, making thirteen men present within the Dept. and ten in the company.

Sergt. Smyser had been commissioned 1st Lieut. Co. B.  He was wounded in arm June 4th at Cole [sic: Cold] Harbor.  He is quite well at present.  Ludloff was wounded May 5th in the Wilderness.— His health is good, but his ankle is some what troublesome yet.  Corp. Frank Hare, who was wounded May 5th and taken prisoner, has been paroled, and is now at Anapolis [sic], Md.  Frank has had a hard time of it.  He was wounded in the leg and has suffered amputation twice.  The balance of the boys present are enjoying good health and in fine spirits.  The most of the spare time in camp is occupied in discussing political questions ;  all seem to be interested.—We all desire peace, and a majority think it can be attained without the independence of the South, and without the assistance of some of those copper colored individuals who have made so much of a blow lately.  We think the thing will be a bird before snow flies.—We claim the Patriot’s side.  We give them the Traitors’.

Respectfully Yours,
.S. B. H. [Solomon B. Holman]

1.  Samuel Wylie Crawford (1829-1892) was an army surgeon before the Civil War, and was on surgeon duty at Fort Sumter during the Confederate bombardment in 1861. Despite his purely medical background, he was in command of several of the artillery pieces returning fire from the fort. A month after Fort Sumter, Crawford decided on a fundamental career change and accepted a commission as a major in the 13th U.S. Infantry. He was promoted to brigadier general of Volunteers in April 1862 and participated in the Valley Campaign, the battles of Cedar Mountain and Antietam (where he was wounded), the defense of Washington, D.C., the Battle of Gettysburg, and the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign. On August 18, 1864, Crawford was wounded in the action at the Weldon Railroad. He received a brevet promotion to brigadier general in the regular army for the Battle of Five Forks. In March 1865 he was promoted to major general and was present at Appomattox Court House in April for Robert E. Lee’s surrender. Crawford retired from the Army in 1873, and authored The Genesis of the Civil War, which was published in 1887 (available to UWRF students, faculty, and staff as an electronic resource.)

Gen. Edward S. Bragg, U.S.A., from the Library of Congress

Gen. Edward S. Bragg, U.S.A., from the Library of Congress

2.  No, not the Confederate General Braxton Bragg that we are used to seeing. This was Union Brigadier General Edward Stuyvesant Bragg (1827-1912) from Wisconsin. He had moved to Fond du Lac in 1850 where he practiced law and was elected district attorney in 1853. When the Civil War started he was commissioned captain of Company E of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry. He was promoted to major in September 1861, lieutenant colonel in June 1862, and colonel in March 1863. Bragg missed the Battle of Gettysburg due to wounds suffered at the Battle of Chancellorsville. He was promoted to brigadier general of Volunteers in June 1864, and commanded the Iron Brigade for the later part of the War. Bragg mustered out in 1865 and returned to Wisconsin to resume his law practice. After the War, Bragg was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served from 1877 to 1883, and again from 1885-1887. In 1888, President Grover Cleveland appointed Bragg the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Mexico (serving 1888-1889); was appointed consul general in Havana, Cuba in May, 1902, and in Hong Kong in September, 1902 (serving from 1903 to 1906).
The image of General Bragg is from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, and is available digitally in their online catalog.

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