Wednesday, 26 November 2014 19:21 | Written by Complied by James Johnson
A moment to reflect that for many in King's Brigade that would come to be known in the next year as the Iron Brigade of the West, this would be their last Thanksgiving. . .
From the Second Regiment
THANKSGIVING DAY IN CAMP Fort Tillinghast, Arlington Va. Thursday, Nov, 28, 1861
It has been one of the loveliest days possible for this season of the year, although it is raining delightfully now and earth and sky are overcast with clouds and darkness. We have had cold, bleak days, and stinging, frosty nights already here in old Virginia since we pitched our tents between Fort Tillinghast and Arlington Grove and once the fleecy flakes of snow made the whole earth white and beautiful for the earth is always beautiful when robed in spotless white - but this day seemed as one made on purpose and set apart for Thanksgiving. There was not a breeze to shake the few remaining dry brown leaves upon the old forest trees, nor a cloud to obscure the bright face of the sun. It was such a day as we often have in dear Wisconsin, in the months of September and October when Indian Summer makes her welcome visit to brighten the face of Nature and gladden the hearts of the people. What a lovely delightful day we have had for a holiday -the first holiday we have had for the six long months we have been in the service. Governor Randall was here and made a short speech to King's brigade. This is probably the last visit he will make us and therefore the last time we shall see him in the capacity of governor of the State of Wisconsin.
We have had our Thanksgiving, and though far away from our State we have had our Governor with us. He will probably return to Wisconsin in a few days but he will never be forgotten by the soldiers for whom he has so diligently labored. May the man who shall be entrusted with the responsibilities of the office that he has filled with such honor to himself and glory to his State be as faithful in the discharge of his duties, as faithful to the government and the people, as he has been and his reward will be great, for he shall live long in the hearts of those whose confidence he has not betrayed. We have had a pleasant jovial time. Those of us who were not content with the plain ration furnished us by Uncle Samuel, purchased from the Sutler such other things as we wanted and prepared a Thanksgiving dinner good enough for a King, therefore, good enough for a soldier. I hope our friends in Wisconsin enjoyed their Thanksgiving as well as we did. R.K.B.
Thanksgiving Dinner of the Second Regiment An officer in the Second Wisconsin Regiment in a private letter dated Washington Nov. 29, gives an enthusiastic account of the Thanksgiving Dinner of his regiment. He says: "Perhaps you think, because we are away from home, living in tents with nothing but tin cups and plates that we suffer for the want of the necessaries of Life. Now that you may not grieve away your life and flesh, I enclose you a Bill of Fare which we had to select from on Thanksgiving - yesterday. GOV. Randall was present at our table in our tent and ate off our tin dishes, drank champagne from our borrowed glasses and coffee from our tin cups. So was Gov. Seward, so was Senator Wilson, so was Gen. King and staff some of Gen. McDowell's staff and sundry other distinguished officers and individuals too numerous to mention beside some who were not. The President intended to come but was interrupted just at the time of starting. Golly! weren't we proud of the day and the occasion and the dinner and company? So we ate and drank and talked and talked and drank and ate and sung and toasted and joked and joked and toasted and sung until the flesh which was weak gave out while the spirit was still willing . But the best of it was we adjourned in good season and departed in quietness and peace leaving the largest share of the eatables to the men and music and others who had assisted us. The were about fifty and officers and guests at the table and as the Apostle says it was "A feast of reason and a flow of soul"
The bill of fare was as follows:
Second Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers At Arlington, Va. Thanksgiving, November 28, 1861
Roast Turkey with Jelly, Ducks, Spring Chickens, Lamb with Mint sauce, Sirloin Beef Pig, Wild Goose, Baked Beans, Boiled Ham, Corned Beef with Cabbage Vegetables Sweet Potatoes, Irish Potatoes, Onions, Celery Entrees Pork Chops with Fried Apple, Chicken Pie Yankee style, Fried Liver, Mutton Chops, Beefsteak, Ham and Eggs Chicken Pie, Lobster Salad Scalloped Oysters
FROM THE SEVENTH REGIMENT Camp Arlington, Nov, 28, 61 Editors Patriot: Thanksgiving in camp is somewhat differently observed from what it is back in the Badger State, still, said day has its peculiarities here. We were ordered to appear in our best blue, Sat, 11 o'clock, to march over to the Arlington House to listen to the farewell. Drawn up in front of the house, on the beautiful green award which descends from a small knoll used as the speakers stand with the Potomac, Long Bridge and city of Washington in full view. The four regiments were drawn up describing a half circle. When all had come to "order arms" the governor made his appearance amid the cheers of drums, then the brass band of the 19th Indiana struck up the inspiring air of 'Hail Columbia'. The governor was brief in his remarks enjoining in on the soldiers to obey their officers to place implicit confidence in those at the helm of our national forces, &c. He enumerated the numerous wrongs we have suffered by being too lenient to the South and that now it was a question of Liberty and freedom or tyranny and despotism. Of course there were numerous cheers given in honor of the Governor, old Wisconsin &c. The Governor proposed three cheers for the Governor of Indiana, which was greatly responded to then the brass band played our national air, Yankee Doodle. (I came away about that time). My tent mates and I had a luxurious meal. We had some turnips, which we drew from the field when out on the grand review, sweet potatoes, good bread, fresh beef, hominy, baked apples ginger bread, &c. We pronounced it the best meal we have had since we have been in "Dixie." Our stove is a combination of brick, sheet iron, mud &C.- brick we drew. The oven where we bake our taters and apples is situated on the back part of the institution- said oven is formed by placing four of said bats together forming a hollow square over which makes quite a good oven. The prevailing opinion is that we will winter here, in case we do we will build logs huts. Rains about every day hinder slippery -to see the boys walking, guess you'd think they'd been at their old failin'. S. I. M.
CAMP ARLINGTON, VA., 28, 1861 Messers. Editors:-we beg the privilege to say a few words to our friends and relatives through the medium of you valuable paper. As today is Thanksgiving, and as we are not compelled to drill, we have a little time to spare to write and feeling that our Annual fast day will be this year to many households an unusual solemn occasion - the empty chair telling a story of devotion, of courage, of determination, to shield the remaining ones in the enjoyment of the blessings they are singing praises for and tenderly will the prayer ascend of the absentone's protection and guidance. We hope the day throughout the land will be observed as it never was observed before. A portion of the day might will be devoted to the preparation of a fitting tribute to our country's defenders. To-day the weather is fine the sun shines bright and warm as at a June noon day. At half past eleven we, Gen. King's brigade, were assembled in front of the Lee mansion - Gen. King's headquarters - where His excellency, Gov. Randall addressed us. He spoke at some length, paid us many compliments and bade us farewell - yes, I fear, a last farewell to many of us. We then retuned to our quarters to partake of our noonday meal which, I may say was almost a feast; and as there is a good deal of doubt on the part of our friends at home as to our having enough to eat, I will mention the bill of fare, which is not an uncommon thing with us: We seated ourselves at a pine table covered with a white muslin cloth. After returning thanks to the Giver of All good, the thought occurred to us whether our friends and loved ones at home had as good a dinner to eat--but I am digressing. We commenced with mashed potatoes, roast beef, warm biscuit, fresh butter, pickles, tea and cream, winding up with apple pie, sweet cakes and crackers, fresh peaches, plum sauce, tomato sauce, oysters, fried nut cakes, green apples and good sweet cider. Considering that we are in the midst of enemies and in a soldier's tent almost on the field of battle, you may well imagine, that as it was, all prepared by a sister's experienced hand, who was seated at the head of the table, that it had a look of homelikeness; and as I said before, having good appetites, we did ample justice to our repast. The health of the regiment is generally very good and being as it is a holiday the time passed off pleasantly. While on dress parade, Hon. Wm. H. Seward and Senator Wilson drove up in front of our line and halted to see the regiment maneuver. The men having all received their new uniforms felt well and performed their exercises with spirit. The day closes with a gentle rain showering on us, and the same of our enemies a few miles beyond verifying in a singular manner the scriptural saying that it rains the same on the just and unjust. Before another Thanksgiving - probably before another holiday - we may have the opportunity of showering a rain of fire on their heads which we hope will annihilate them as effectually as Sodom and Gomorrah were annihilated. Let us hope and pray that when another Thanksgiving rolls around it may be such an one as will see our country rescued from its present dangers, and that we will again be a united people joining in a general Thanksgiving to Him who holds our destiny in his hands.
Wednesday, 08 October 2014 15:35 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
New York, Nov. 3
The Hamption Roads correspondent of the Herald gives the following account of the destruction of the rebel ram Albermarle: Along the deck where the Albermarle was tied were a large number of soldiers, evidently stationed there to guard against a landing of our force, and in front of their lines blazed a number of camp fires, lighting up the rebel vessel and river. By the aid of this Lt. Cushing discovered their pier of floating timbers which surrounded the Ram on the accessible sides to guard against the approach of rams and torpedoes, and by the aid of the same light he plainly saw the large body of soldiers thronging to the wharf and blazing away at his boat. To quiet these fellows, he brought the bow of his boat around a little, and discharged a heavy stand of cannister into them from his 12-pounder howitzer mounted at the bow, and sent them flying. Making a complete circle, under a scorching musketry fire at less than thirty yards, he came around, bow on, at full steam, and struck the floating guard of timbers, pressing them in towards the hull of the ram. His boat soon lost headway and came to a stand still, refusing to back off or move ahead. The moment for decisive action had now arrived. The enemy fired muskets and pistols almost in his face from the ports of the ram, and from the hundred small arms on shore. Several of his men were wounded, and paymaster Swain had fallen severely wounded. The officers and crew of the Albermarle cried out, "Now we'got him." "Surrender or we will blow you to pieces." The case looked desperate, but Lieut. Cushing was cool and determined. He seized the lanyard to the torpedo and the line of the spar, and crowding the spar until he brought the torpedo under the over hang of the Albermarle , he attached itby an effort, and then pulled the lanyard of the torpedo and exploded it fair under the vessel on her port side, just below the port hole of the 200 pounder Brook's rifle, which at that moment was discharged at the boat. An immense volume of water was thrown out by the explosion of the torpedo, almost drowning all in the boat, and to add to the peril of the moment, the heavy shell from the enemy's gun had gone crushing through the bottom of the boat, knocking the splinters about in terrible style. She at once began to sink in a most rapid manner and Lieut. Cushing ordered all hands to save themselves. He divested himself of coat and shoes and plunged into the river, followed by those of his men who were able to do so. All struck for the middle of the river under a hot fire of musketry, the balls striking all about them, and in two or three instances, it is feared, so badly wounding swimmers that they sunk before boats from shore could reach them. Lt. Cushing heard the rebels ordered to take boats and push after the surivors, claiming their surrender. Many gave up, but two of his seamen were drowned near by his, whther owing to wounds received or exhaustion he could not state. Paymaster Sean was wounded and is a prisoner, but how may others fell into rebel hands is not ascertained. Lt. Cushing swam down the river half a mile, until he became exhausted, but he reached the shore about daylight. He crawled through a swamp until he reached a position with in a speaking distance of the enemy's fort. While lying there rebel officers walked by, and from their conversation he learned the Ram was destroyed. After a while, deeming his situation unsafe, he managed to push himself along on his back about sixty yards and gota better position. Before midnight he secured the services of a negro to go back and look after the Albermarle. The negro returned and reported her sunk. Lt. Cushing then struck throuht the swamp in his stocking feet over briers, &c. until he reached a point six miles below the town when he took a boat and with a paddle put off for the squadron, twele miles distant, reaching it in safety. (Lt. Cushing was the brother of Alonzo Cushing who received a Metal of Honor (2014) for his action in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863)
Thursday, 04 September 2014 17:45 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
There is, at Davis Bend, a great experment in progress, of
what the freedmen may be expected to do hereafter.
There are about 75 colored farmers working land on their
own account and making about 100 acres of cotton besides
as much corn.
This trial of their capacity and readiness to work-
planned and encouraged by Colonel Eaton-is a
They will make, on average, from $2,000 to $5,000 each.
There is scarcely one failure among the seventy-five
lessees. Some negroes this year will clear from $10,000
to $20,000, who were slaves three years ago.
And yet men still wonder "what shall be done with the
blacks." There is one good to which they might be put
viz: to instruct those who know no better than ask such a
Jeff Davis plantation is all covered with these negro
farms, and just where the rebellion was hatched shall
rise up the demohstration that black men need only
opportunity to solve the great problem that has so vexed
Vicksburg Herald, Sept 25th.
Thursday, 04 September 2014 17:35 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
The elegant colors have so long and so honornbly borne by
the 19th regiment, riddled with bullets and torn and
tattered by the exposures of the campaigns in which they
have been receeived and are deposited at the capitol. In
returning them to the Governor, Lt. Col. Strong
accompanied them with the following brief history:
Madison, Wis. Oct. 4th 1864
To His Excellency, James T. Lewis:
Sir! I have the honor to intrust the old colors of the
19th Wis. Vols. to you as the representative of the State
which, we are proud to serve and honor in the field and
Presented to us by the State authorities in April, 1862,
they have been borne on all our marches and
reconnoisances, through the siege of Suffolk, Va, in
April and May, 1863, being under fire eighteen days;
through the Peninsula campaign of 1863, under Maj. Gen.
Dix; through the siege of Newbern, N.C., February, 1864,
being under fire four days; often in peril, but never
furled or taken down in presence of the enemy. These
colors have not been carried through the campaign of the
past summer having become tattered, torn and faded.
A New National color was purchased by the officers and men of
the regiment, which has received the baptism of fire,
having been pierced by thirty-six balls.
The old colors we now leave in your charge. May the
memory of the brave men who rallied around these "Dear
old flags," many of whom sleep where "no sound shall
awake them to glory again," Keep fresh in the hearts of a
noble and generous people.
I have the honor to remain
Very respectfully, your ob'tserv't
Lt. Col. Comd'g 19th Wis Vol.
Wisconsin State Journal, Oct. 5 1864
Thursday, 04 September 2014 17:25 | Written by Compiled by James Johnson
Special attention is called to the order of Adjutant General Gaylord in regard to the
enlistment of drafted men. It should be distinctly
understood that a man who is drafted is in service by
virtue of being drafted and cannot volunteer either
before or after receiving notification of being drafted,
nor receive any bounty whatever.
Iguorance and fraud in regard to this subject has created
much difficulty. Some men who have enlisted after being
drafted, and secured local bounties, have been remanded
to the Provost Marshals and the towns are so much out of
pocket. Many recruiting officers have been enlisting
drafted men, ante-dating their papers in some instances,
and in others secretly enlisting men the day before the
draft and holding their papers with the understanding
that they were to be destroyed if the man is not drafted.
Supplemental drafts will have to be made in many towns in
consequence of such transactions on the part of
Wisconsin State Journal, Oct. 3 1864