The History of the 3rd Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Infantry

Charley Johnson, Sutler

sutlerSutler to the 3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.

The record fo the Third Wisconsin would be incomplete without a mention of Charley Johnson, the sutler. He will be remembered by early settlers of Wisconsin as the proprietor of Monk's Hall, a Madison restaurant in the days of Gov. Barstow's administration. He was a colored man, but an excellent man of business, and one of the most successful sutlers in the army. He was a skillful caterer, and for much of the time the officers of the Third and the Second Massachusetts messed or rather were furnished meals by him in his large tent. This was very convenient in camp, but not always conducive to regularity of meals in the field. In some of our Virginia campaigns, he served meals to us when we were in line of battle; but when the troops and trains were separated, our chances for subsistence became precarious.

When he could obtain supplies, his table abounded with good food well and tastefully served. but often in campaigns he would be sent to the rear with the wagon trains, or be unable to obtain supplies, and then our troubles began; and like the Apostle we were "instructed both to be full and to be hunger, both to abound and to suffer need."

He was very popular with the army officers; and it was a common remark that they accorded him privileges and transportation when other sutlers sued in vain for such favors. In the last year of the war he embarked in cotton speculation, accumulated much money; but died soon after the war from the hardships and exposure of army life.