«MAJ. GEN. CHARLES S. HAMILTON HISTORY of THE THIRD REGIMENT of WISCONSIN VETERAN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 1861 — 1865. BY EDWIN E. BRYANT Late Adjutant. ...»
MAJ. GEN. CHARLES S. HAMILTON
THE THIRD REGIMENT
WISCONSIN VETERAN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
1861 — 1865.
BY EDWIN E. BRYANT
WITH MAPS COMPILED BY WM. F. GOODHUE, VETERAN OF COMPANY C,
AND A COMPLETE ROSTER OF ALL WHO WERE
MEMBERS OF THE REGIMENT.________
PUBLISHED BY THE VETERAN ASSOCIATION OF THE REGIMENT.1891.
TRANSCRIBED BY MICHAEL HOWE IN 1999Copyright, 1891, By Edwin E. Bryant.
Democrat Printing Co., Madison, Wis.
P R E F A C E.
_______ At the Soldiers’ Reunion in 1889, at Milwaukee, Wis., the Third Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Association was formed, there being a large attendance present. The subject of the publication of a history of the regiment was considered, and a general desire expressed that a narrative of the service of the regiment be prepared.
Further action was taken at the reunion held October 16, 1890, at La Crosse, Wis., and I was selected to write a history of the regiment, in view of the fact that my residence gave convenient access to the records.
The work assigned me has been performed. It has been a labor of love, and yet a very considerable labor. It could have been much better done, and the book more complete, if I could have had more time in which to prepare it, and less pressure of other labors and cares. I have endeavored to tell the story of the service of the regiment — its marches, skirmishes, battles, sieges and its part in the eventful campaigns, to which the fortunes of war assigned it.
No one can expect such a book to be a complete history of the war, nor even of the battles or campaigns in which the regiment participated. In a great movement or battle one regiment bears but a small part; its members see but little of what transpires. They know at the time but little of the position of troops or the part borne by others. The great soldier, Napoleon, once remarked that in the events of a battle there is much that belongs rather to the biography of the regiment than the general history of the action.
The effort is made here to tell only in the most general way the story of battles, and more particularly to tell what the regiment did and saw in the battles; and the movements of other regiments in the same brigade are told in some detail, but with no attempt to tell theirwhole story. If other commands are not mentioned, or if other
-viiparts of a battle field are ignored in these pages, it is simply because the aim is here to throw a light on the part performed by the Third Wisconsin regiment; and whatever glimpses are given of other commands are merely incidental, and necessarily incomplete.
So far as the Regiment is concerned I have endeavored to be full and accurate. Great pains have been taken to give the names of members correctly, but the state of the rolls in the Adjutant General’s Office has rendered it impossible in some cases to know exactly what the soldier’s name was, or its correct spelling.
There are doubtless some errors of this kind and some misprints that have escaped the vigilance of proof reading. But any faults in the roster or complete roll at the end of the book must be charged to the imperfect state of the rolls from which the same is compiled, in which names are spelled in so many ways that it is impossible in some instances to know the right ones. The list of casualties are taken from the reports made at the time, which were not infallible.
The book is not written from the standpoint of a military scholar or critic, for the writer is neither. There is much told here that the military student would deem trivial, much omitted that the scientific soldier would deem most essential in such annals. But I have told the story of the Regiment’s experience; and, if I have portrayed the life of the soldier, so that the picture is vivid and true to historic fact, I can, as Macaulay observed, cheerfully bear the reproach of having descended below the dignity of history. I have tried to present the scene to the children of the soldiers of the Third as it was viewed by their fathers, not to discuss strategy or general matters concerning the great war.
I have indulged in but little criticism or expression of opinion.
In a few instances I have given what I conceive to be the judgment of able military writers on mistakes that were made, expressing rather the consensus of their opinions than my own.
In preparing the work much aid has been derived from
-viiiothers, who served in the regiment from first to last, which I did not.
Captain Julian W. Hinkley gave me for use a manuscript narrative of his service, which was very well written and helpful, and quite accurate in main particulars. Hon. Wm. C. Meffert, of Arena, Wisconsin, who bore the colors of the regiment in the Grand Review, furnished me his diary, giving each day’s events as he saw and noted them. Col. Warham Parks gave much helpful memoranda of events occurring in the later years of the war. In description and narrative I have been greatly assisted by William F.
Goodhue, consulting engineer of Milwaukee, whom the earlier members of the regiment well remember as the “marker” in battalion drills. He has also prepared maps which accompany and illustrate the volume. His long service in the topographical engineer’s office at corps headquarters and his professional work since the war have well fitted him for the task. Wilber F.
Haughawout, of Oronogo, Missouri, has also given some valuable aid, as have Capt. S. E. Gardner and Col. George W. Stevenson.
The Association is also under great obligations to Governor George W. Peck, to Gen. Joseph B. Doe, Adjutant General, and his assistant Major F. L. Phillips, for a complete and corrected roster of the regiment. A thorough examination of the rolls and every roll, descriptive, list report and paper in the Adjutant General’s office has been made with a view to make the roster accurate according to the records on file. All the official reports have been studied, as far as they are published, and all reliable books of history relevant to the subject, have been consulted as to general facts.
I should have been glad if the book could have embraced more personal biography of the members of the regiment; but this would have expanded the work beyond the limits set; and such matters are really not regimental history. Such biography, I hope, may yet be collected by the secretary of our association, and preserved in some form as supplemental to this record.
The writing of the book has been a pleasant task, a labor among the rich memories of eventful days of youth; and I confess to a feeling of lonesomeness when the work was done.
-ixThe Third Wisconsin had an eventful history. Its service was arduous and varied; and few organizations in the war saw more phases of military experience. Its members saw much, endured much, suffered much. Their story is interesting, even though but poorly told; and if these pages shall, in after years, be perused by the children of the brave men whose loyalty, fortitude, courage and manliness made the Regiment famous among the thousands of organizations which composed the Union armies, the writer’s work has been successful. Imperfect, though this volume be — and I am painfully conscious of its imperfections — it is affectionately dedicated to the memory of comrades now no more, and to the survivors of the Third Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Infantry, whose heroic exertions in behalf of Union and good government are here recorded.
EDWIN E. BRYANT.
Madison, Wis., September 17, 1891.
~ Read at the reunion of the Third Wisconsin Infantry at La Crosse, October 16, 1890.
Written by Lieut. Col. W. F. Fox, One Hundred and Seventh New York Volunteer Infantry.
CHAPTER IX.Pages THE CAMPAIGN IN THE VALLEY — Banks sent into Shenandoah Valley — Regiment moves to Harper’s Ferry — Encamped in Camp Pinkney again — Pontoon bridge laid — Cross the Potomac — Camp on Bolivar Heights — Move to Charleston — Visited by McClellan — Occupancy of the churches — Forward movement on Winchester — Jackson meditates resistance, but finally retires — Hamilton’s dispositions for attack — Advance in line of battle — Surrender of the town by its mayor — The brigade organized — Shields pursues — Description of the valley — Banks ordered to Manassas — Regiment marches through Snicker’s Gap — Shields falls back to Winchester — Jackson follows and attacks — Banks returns to Winchester — Regiment recalled and marches to
CHAPTER XIV.Pages THE BATTLE OF CEDAR MOUNTAIN — March of Gordon’s brigade to Culpepper — Thence to Cedar Run — Banks’ orders — A torrid day — Position of troops — Battle opens — Third sent out as skirmishers — The rebels arrive on the field — Description of locality — The position of the enemy — The artillery engaged — Crawford’s attack — Ruger joins him — Advance of Crawford — He strikes enemy quite unexpectedly — The Third becomes engaged in little, brushy field — Terrific fire — Line falls back — Death of Col. Crane — Crawford’s brigade is overwhelmed — Tenth Maine sent in — Gordon’s brigade moves up and becomes engaged — Heavy firing — Gordon’s battle — Crowded off the field — Casualties — Comments on the battle — Wounded brought off under flag of truce — Death of Capt.
O’Brien — Return to Culpepper.............................
CHAPTER XV.Pages POPE’S RETREAT — Pope’s headquarters at Cedar Mountain — Line on Rapidan — Lee moves to take him in flank — Pope falls back, across Rappahannock — Third at Beverly Ford — Exciting incidents — Artillery fight — Stuart’s raid — Banks moves toward Sulphur Springs — Jackson moves around to strike Pope in rear — Pope’s desperate efforts to “bag” Jackson — Banks assigned to the guarding of railroad trains — His orders — The battles of Gainesville, Second Bull Run or Manassas — Gallantry of Gibbons’ Iron brigade — Banks compelled to burn a large number of trains at Bristoe Station — Retreat by way of Brentsville — In support at battle of Chantilly — Description of battle — Retreat towards Washington — Gordon’s brigade ordered back — He decides not to execute order — Bivouac at Fort Worth — March into Maryland — Camp at Tenallytown — Rockville — Changes in commanders — Disgusted soldiers..........................
Pages UNDER MCCLELLAN — ANTIETAM — Pope relieved — Banks assigned to defenses of Washington — Twelfth corps to Sumner — New York and New Jersey regiments assigned to brigade — Stonewall Jackson heads advance in invasion of Maryland — Regiment moves northward — Through Frederick — Over Catoctin and South mountains — Night march on mountain side — General Mansfield assigned to command and joins corps — McClellan passes the column — Third’s position the night before the battle — Hooker opens the battle — Williams’ division moves up into the battle — Scenes in the morning — Description of the ground and battlefield — Gordon’s brigade becomes engaged — Narrative of engagement — Mansfield falls — Third Wisconsin opens fire — Its deadly exposure — Parts performed by the regiments of the brigade — Sedgwick comes in — Third withdrawn to give room — Sedgwick and Sumner’s corps repulsed — Casualties in regiment — Commends on conduct of regiments — Federal loss — Scenes next day — Again ready for battle — Lee retreats — Williams’ division moves to Maryland Heights.........
CHAPTER XVII.Pages THE WINTER OF ‘63 — In camp under Maryland Heights — Heights fortified — President Lincoln reviews regiment — His awkward horsemanship — Gen. Slocum assigned to command — Ruger in command of a brigade — Capt. Hawley made lieutenant colonel — Other promotions — Preparations for winter — Disappointed officers and their wives — Orders to march to the Rappahannock — A dismal march — The mud campaign — Move to Stafford, C. H. — Winter life — Regiment is given “reward of merit” — Preparations for spring campaign
-xviHooker recalls advance — Third returns to first position — Skirmish — Death of Lieut. Col. Scott — A Zouave regiment runs — General hopeful feeling — A muster for pay — A rebel train seen in the distance — Birney ordered to charge — Ruger thrown forward — The Third lost in the woods — Hear the route of the Eleventh corps — The Third hastens toward the firing — Lee and Jackson plan a blow on Hooker’s left — Jackson’s march — Assault on Eleventh corps in unprotected flank — The rout of the corps — Williams’ division thrown in to check Jackson — Position of the Third — An attack in the night — Artillery fire over our heads — Effect of it on rebels — Death of General Jackson — A chilly bivouac — The attack on the morning of May 3rd — A hard fight — Brigade withdrawn — A march before thirty cannon — “A miss is as good as a mile” — New positions — The woods on fire — Retreat in the night — Lonely remaining on out post — March in mud to Stafford........