1865 March 4: What the 30th Wisconsin Has Been Up to in Kentucky
The following letter, reprinted from the Madison State Journal, comes from the March 4, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal. Companies A, D, F, I, and K of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry had men from northwest Wisconsin, especially A (Saint Croix Guards) and F (Salomon Tigers).
From the Thirtieth Regiment.
Still on guard duty—Bearing a good name—
Location of the different Companies—Transfer
of Prisoners of War.
Correspondence of the State Journal.
OFFICE MILITARY PRISON, }
Louisville, Ky., Feb. 16, ’65. }
Messrs. Editors : Having had the pleasure of beholding, scaning [sic] and perusing the contents of your ever interesting Journal, I find myself much refreshed, and also deeply indebted to the donor for the privilege. Indeed it does my soul good to occasionally read Wisconsin papers for the Old State contains the centre of my attractions, and often in solitary hours my memory reverts to those it contains, who are ever dear to me.
The stupendous struggle which has shaken the country from its centre to its very circumference, has called into activity thousands of brave, heroic men in its defense, and while thousands have been swept from view, their memory and fame lives in the hearing of those who loved them yet thousands more are ready to sell life dearly, in need be, in maintenance of the priceless inheritance bequeathed us as a Nation from our illustrious Revolutionary grandsires.
Among the number doing battle for the right and justice, none stand more prominent than those composing the rank and file of the “Model 30th Wisconsin.” Not a hand of one of its number has been stained in human gore ; yet it has won a name a mame [sic] among the best, for military bearing, exemplary deportment and intrinsic worth.
I hold that the 30th Wisconsin has been sadly misused by not being afforded an opportunity of going to the front, and participating in the hand to hand contests that have been waged against “slaveocracy” and those who are sapping the foundation of the national fabric—endeavoring to pull down our Republican institutions, and on the ruins thereof build up an oligarchy, dedicated to human bondage and ignorance. Had the officers and men been allowed this privilege, I am confident, they would have adorned themselves with high honors, and acquitted themselves worthily. The old 30th is yet a legion of itself, and although its deeds have gone unsung, its braves who have fallen in their country’s service have not gone unwept for. Peace to the ashes of the brave men who have sunk from view ; but whose memory still lives.
At the preeent [sic] writing the 30th Wisconsin foots up as follows : Co. A, D and F on provost duty, city of Louisville, Ky. ; C, H and K guarding military prison, and commanded by Lieut. Col. Bartlett ; B, E and G at Frankfort, Ky., under Maj John Clowney ; at Fort Union, Idaho. Col. Daniel J. Dill, who has been acting Brigadier General for some time past, with headquarters at Bowling Green, KY., is now Post Commandant of Louisville.
Since August 1st, 1864, to January 1st, 1865, the number of prisoners of war forwarded from Nashville, Tenn., and sent North of the Ohio river amounted to 13,788 ; the number of deserters for the same period was 1,057. The number of prisoners of war received at this office from Jan. 1st to Feb. 1st stand as follows : Field officers 65 ; line officers 235 ; non-commissioned officers 217 ; privates 3,218 ; political prisoners 28. The number of deserters received are as follows : field officers 1 ; line officers 2 ; non-commissioned officers 3 ; privates 762. There have been about 9 civil prisoners received for the same time ; 6 of whom took the “oath of amnesty,” while 3 refused, and will be forward as prisoners of war for exchange. We have on hand at the present time 157 prisoners of war and 15 bushwhackers, a number of whom in all probability, will go out of the world with their necks broke.
Capt. Chas. B. Pratt,¹ of the 25th Michigan, is the executive officer of the military prison, and has been in charge of the same for the past two years. His gentlemanly deportment and business qualifications, render him the right man in the proper place.
Respectfully yours, FRANK J. ROWE.²
1. Charles B. Pratt, of Marshall, Michigan, was largely instrumental in recruiting the men of what became Company A of the 25th Michigan Infantry, and was made captain at the organization. For nearly two years Captain Pratt was on duty as executive officer at the military prison at Louisville, Kentucky. He was repeatedly complimented in official reports. The surgeon and acting medical inspector, of prisoners, in his report of October, 1863, to the authorities at Washington said, “I commend Captain Pratt most highly for the condition to which he has brought the prison under his command.” Another inspecting officer in his report of December 3, 1864, said, “Great credit is due Captain Pratt for his efficient discharge of the duties of his position,” and still another inspector whose report is dated January 21, 1865, says: “Captain Pratt, executive officer of the prison, certainly deserves credit for the efficient and faithful manner in which he discharges the duties of his position. ”
2. Frank J. Rowe was a first sergeant in Company B of the 30th Wisconsin Infantry. He was from Mineral Point, enlisted August 21, 1862, and was discharged with a disability in June 1865.