The History of the Colors
Introduction to the History of the Colors of the Regiment.
In preparing the brief history of our Colors, I have had to depend largely upon the help of others, upon information sent me by numerous members of the Regiment – although as a regimental marker I had opportunities to know a great deal of the subject, particularly that relating to the different organizations of the Guard. That there may be some discrepancies I do not deny, because individuals do not always see and describe the same thing or event exactly alike, although each and all were eye witnesses and participants. To harmonize the information, together with the compilation and arrangement of the work in chronological order, has been no easy task, and I trust that the history will be justly and kindly criticized by all who may read it. If glaring inaccuracies are found please inform me wherein they exist, for which I tender my thanks in advance.
It has been my endeavor to mention all those who bore the colors and who served in the Guard, giving names and engagements, with lists of casualties and brief personal sketches of many, and of those who fell under the folds of or banner, for they all were staunch and brave defenders of Old Glory, "when the red carnage of war prevailed." If any names are omitted it is because I have not their record, and none will regret such omissions more sincerely than
Your friend and comrade,
W. F. Goodhue.
The first man to hold the position of Color Bearer of the Third Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, was Charles L. Dering, a Sergeant of Company I, from Shullsburg, Wisconsin. He was appointed by Colonel Charles S. Hamilton, at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, when the Regiment was organized sometime in June, 1861. But Sergeant Dering never bore the colors, for the Regiment had none the first two months of its existence, a condition that was again repeated some two years later.
Although the State of Wisconsin expended about $80,000 on the equipment of the Regiment, it left the state July 12, 1861, without arms or colors. Its uniform was a gray-colored flannel blouse, trousers and wool hat, and altogether of flimsy material; so ragged were the men two months later, that with the gray color, dirt and rags, it could have passed itself for a regiment of "Johnnies" and the beholder would never doubt it. Had the regiment been precipitated into battle, with its gray uniforms and no colors, unquestionably it would have drawn the fire of other Union troops as well as the Confederates upon itself.
In anticipation of receiving a stand of colors from the Government, Colonel Thos. H. Ruger, who had succeeded Chas. S. Hamilton to the command of the Regiment, organized the Color Guard, August 11, 1861, when in camp at Maryland Heights, Maryland. The first Color Guard was:
Lyman B. Balcom, Co. D; William Brisbin, Co. C; Thos.E. Orton, Co. H; Thos. M. Cooper, Co. K; Robert F. McGonigal, Co. F; and Thos. H. Bright, Co. I.
The colors however were not received until September 8, 1861, when the Regiment was encamped at Darnestown, Maryland. Before the Colors were received, promotions from the Guard occurred. Corporal Lyman B. Balcom, Co. D, was promoted Sergeant, then to Second Lieutenant, November 1, 1862; First Lieutenant January 2, 1863; Captain, April 21, 1863; all in Company D. He was badly wounded at Cedar Mountains, and resigned because of wounds, July 24, 1864. Sergeant C. L. Dering was promoted to Sergeant Major, August 31, 1861, vice E. E. Bryant, promoted to Second Lieutenant, Co. A; promoted to First Lieutenant, Co. B, April 21, 1863; wounded at Cedar Mountains, August 9, 1862; resigned because of wounds received.
Before the Colors was received, Sergeant Dering was promoted, therefore the first man to bear our Colors, was his successor, Sergeant Hiram K. Edwards, Co. G, from Clayton, Wisconsin. Under Sergeant Edwards' leadership, the Guard was:
William Brisbin, Co. C; Thos. E. Orton, Co. H; Thos. M Cooper, Co. K; Robert F. McGonigal, Co. F; Charles B. Rosenow, Co. G; Thos. H. Bright, Co. I.
While Sergeant Edwards was the first to carry the National Colors of the Regiment, who of the Guard was the first to carry the Standard (a blue silk flag, gold fringed, with the United States Arms emblazoned thereon in gold,) is unknown, but it was carried on march and parade in the earlier days of the Regiment's existence, subsequent to September 8, 1861. Both Flag and Standard were with us in our journeyings along the Potomac, in the campaign of Ball's Bluff and Bolivar Heights and with us on parades at Ruger barracks, Frederick, Maryland, in the winter of 1861-2. When preparations were made for leaving Frederick, at the opening of the campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, Colonel Ruger ordered the Standard to be left at Frederick and stored with other belongings of the Regiment. It was packed in the original box in which both flags had been received, and turned in to the Regimental Quarter-Master, Lieutenant James G. Knight.
February 25, the Regiment embarked on the cars enroute for Harper's Ferry and the wagon train traveled the highway to the same place, leaving the Standard in its box, lying upon the ground at Frederick, where some good, patriotic friend to the Regiment found and delivered it to the Post Quarter-Master, who took it from the box and laid it upon the rafters in the upper story of the Government ware-house at Frederick, where it remained safely until the following September, (1862), when Lee's army invaded Maryland, when it was again saved to the Regiment, this time by one of its members, who thus tells the story:
"Comrade James O. Ackerman, Co. E, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, says: Concerning the unwritten history of the Colors of the Regiment, I am able to enlighten you for a brief period of time, relative to the blue Standard. September 8, 1862, about 6 o'clock P.M., Lee's advance was at the cemetery, and about entering Frederick. I was at that time on detached duty, serving the Quarter-Master's department and was preparing to "get out" when I remembered that I had seen this flag in the upper story of the ware-house (the stone building adjacent to the Baltimore & Ohio Railway depot), and knowing that in a short time everything would be destroyed, I went there and got it, tearing the flag from the staff and wrenching the tip or spear point from the top, I then strapped them to my saddle and rode northward out of the City; the Home Guards at that moment were skirmishing with the Rebel advance in the southern suburbs. I carried the flag with me to Gettysburg, where I remained a few days and with others returned to Frederick. I now had to rejoin my Regiment, so I left the flag and spear point with some personal belongings, at the home of Mr. Suman, who lived a little south of the barracks' gate and then traveled westward, rejoining the Regiment on the eve of the battle of Antietam."
"I did not return to Frederick again until July, 1863, when on the Gettysburg campaign, and was then a member of the Sixth United States Cavalry. I then called at Mr. Suman's and found that some man had been there and asked for the flag and it was refused him, he then went away and shortly returned with a written order from the provost marshal to deliver to him, which was readily done. Who this person was I do not know, nor would I care so that the flag was safely restored to the Regiment, were it not for the fact that this same person not only took the flag and spear point, but he also took several articles belonging to myself, and among them a fine violin, presented to me by our first fife major, O. D. Rogers."
Thus was the Blue Standard lost to the Regiment, safely hid away from the wear and tear of field service and the storm of battle, to re-appear again at the close of the war, looking as clean and brilliant as the uniform of a second lieutenant, when it was carried in the Grand Review at Washington.
When Banks' army began its onward move up the Shenandoah Valley in February, 1862, the organization of the Guard was:
Hiram K. Edwards, Color Bearer; William Brisbin, Co. C; Thos. E. Orton, Co. H; Thos. M. Cooper, Co. K; Robert F. McGonigal, Co. F; Charles B. Rosenow, Co. G; Thos. H. Bright, Co. I; Henry C. Isbel, Co. B.
On this campaign which terminated with the battle of Winchester and the retreat of the army to Williamsport, May 25, the Guard remained unchanged until after the results of the campaign were noted, when it was found that Corporal McGonigal had been captured by the enemy. Six months later he returned to the Regiment but did not again served in the Guard. Corporal Rosenow was discharged June 20, 1862, for disability, and others were appointed to fill the vacancies. The loss of the Regiment in the entire campaign of three months duration was, 6 killed, 15 wounded and 89 captured.
At Williamsport the Guard was re-organized. William A. Kimberly, Co. C and O. A. Hegg, Co. K, were appointed to fill the vacancies, otherwise it remained the same as previously stated.
The return march to Virginia began June 10, the Corps marching up the Shenandoah Valley to Winchester, then bearing southeasterly to Front Royal, thence through Manassas Gap to Little Washington where it encamped for a few weeks, and July 20, 1862, it was reviewed by the first and only commander of the Army of Virginia, General John Pope. Soon after this review the Corps again moved southerly upon Culpepper, and thence to Cedar Mountain where it fought Jackson's Corps, August 9, 1862, and in this engagement the Regiment lost heavily, 28 were killed and 65 wounded. There is no loss recorded of the Guard in this battle, owing perhaps to the fact that it remained with the reserve companies and did not enter upon the field until the second charge was made, at the close of the engagement. Corporal Orton (shown left), formerly of the Guard, was a Sergeant (Co. H), in this battle and was severely wounded. Commissary Sergeant George H. Cutter, now of Lexington, Massachusetts, writes of Thomas E. Orton, as follows:
"I well remember when the Guard was first formed and Orton was chosen by the Colonel (Ruger) for his soldierly appearance. He was wounded at Cedar Mountain, receiving three balls in one leg and two in the other; just before he was shot he remarked to me "that it was getting dark," and then seeing what he supposed was Union troops, he started towards them just as they fired a volley into us, he fell where he was wounded and was brought off the field two days afterwards, when passing our Regiment he raised himself upon his elbow and said,"Boys I am better than a dead man."
By referring to my diary I find that he was appointed to the Guard by Colonel Ruger, August 11, 1861; when we were first paid at Frederick, Maryland, September 25, 1861, Corporal Orton refused to accept greenbacks. November 1, 1862, Corporal Orton was promoted to Second Lieutenant Company K, and April 21, 1863, was promoted to First Lieutenant in the same Company; February 3, 1864, he was promoted to the Captaincy of Company K. During the investment of Atlanta, Captain Orton was killed by the bursting of a shell within the works, July 25, 1864. Of his death and burial Comrade Cutter writes:
"When he was killed I spent half the night going to the hospitals within reach, trying to find some means of embalming the body that it might be shipped home to Darlington, but was unsuccessful, so we boxed the body and buried it near an oak tree."
Color Bearer Sergeant Edwards was promoted and transferred to be Second Lieutenant, Company A, Twenty-first Wisconsin Infantry, his commission was dated the day of the battle, August 9, 1862. At Culpepper, August 12, the Guard was again re-organized, Corporal Thos. H. Bright was promoted to Sergeant, Co. I; O. A. Hegg, to Sergeant, Co. K; who the Color Bearer was at this time is uncertain and this information seems to be unobtainable. From Cedar Mountain to Antietam field, involving a period of about forty days, there is a gap in the record of the Guard which it is hoped some member – formerly of the Guard – may be able to supply. As the record stands to-day, no one seems to know who carried our flag into Antietam fight. After the battle of Cedar Mountain, the Guard was:
Chauncey S. Beebe, Co. G; William A. Kimberly, Co. C; Charles C. Chubb, Co.E; James G. Savage, Co. B; R. W. Jones, Co. K; Thos. M. Cooper, Co. K; William Cherry, Co. H; Henry C. Isbel, Co. B.
One of these Corporals carried the Colors on Pope's campaign and it is the writer's opinion that Corporal Beebe is the man who did so. All the information obtainable at this late day is confirmatory of this opinion.
The soldiers previously named, supported the Colors on Pope's campaign which opened September 18, with a cavalry fight at Rappahannock Station, the engagements of Catlett's Station, Gainesville and the second battle of Bull Run followed, terminating with the battle of Chantilly, fought September 1, 1862. Then the army fell back upon the defences of Washington. Pope was relieved of his command and his defeated army was merged with McClellan's defeated army, and McClellan again was appointed to the command of the Army of the Potomac. Banks was superseded by Mansfield, and the Corps for the first time became a part of the Army of the Potomac. General George H. Gordon was superseded in the command of the brigade by General George C. Greene. September 6, 1862, the Army left Rockville, Maryland, to enter upon the Antietam campaign.
Those who stood by our Colors on Antietam field, September 17, on which anniversary we have hitherto held our Reunions, met with severe treatment; the Guard suffered more severely than it did in any other engagement of the war.
It is stated by several members of the Regiment that Chauncey S. Beebe, Co. G, first held aloft the Colors on Antietam field until wounded; then Charles C. Chubb, Co. E, held them until wounded, then William A. Kimberly, Co. C, took them and he was soon wounded; Henry C. Isbel (right), Co. B, then took them when he was wounded; Private J. M. Greene, Co. C, then took the flag and held it a short time under murderous fire, when he was severely wounded and retired from the field. Private "Murray" Green, as he was called by his comrades, held the colors but a short time while the firing was very heavy, his clothes were riddled with bullets and he received no less than seven flesh wounds, one only of the seven was severe enough to cause him to leave the field. He recovered from his wounds and rejoined the Regiment to die of small pox at Fayetteville, Tennessee, April 14, 1864. Corporal James G. Savage, Co. B, the only remaining member of the Guard, now took the flag and held it for a brief time, when he was wounded, handing the Colors to Lieutenant J. W. Hinkley, he retired from the field. Lieutenant (afterwads Captain) Hinkley then handed the flag to Private Joseph E. Collins, Co. D. Of this incident permit Private Collins to tell his story in his own modest way.
He writes: "The circumstances of my carrying the flag at Antietam, referred to by Captain Hinkley, could I presume, be much better told by himself, as he was there and knows all about it. However, I will state the facts the best I can. During the battle, Coroporal James G. Savage was the last one of the Guard wounded, when I took the flag, brought it off the field at the close of the fight and carried it until the next day when Corporal Savage came back and requested me to let him have it again, which I did, as I thought he had shown himself a brave and efficient soldier and was abundantly deserving of it. Such are the simple facts of my carrying the flag and I can see no reason for claiming any special merit, as I have several times been importuned to do. If I did my duty as a soldier, it is what I enlisted for. For any further information I would refer you to Captain Hinkley."
Captain Hinkley writing of this incident, says:
"Along towards the end of the engagement, just before the rebels retreated to the woods near the Dunkard Church, the last one of the Color Guard was hit, I cannot now recall his name, (James G. Savage). He did not drop the Colors and run, but brought them to me, as I was the officer nearest him and told me he had to go to the hospital. I took the Colors from him and asked Joseph E. Collins, a private of Co. D, who now lives at Oakfield, Wisconsin, to carry them, and he did so for the rest of the day. A little later, when the firing on our front had ceased, and the reaction from the excitement of battle set in, Collins became so weak he could not carry the Colors. I got some whiskey from Colonel Ruger and gave him a drink, which so revived him that he was all right again in a few minutes."
Corporal Savage was discharged from the Regiment, October 25, 1862, a few weeks after the battle, to enlist in the regular Sixth United States Cavalry. Charles C. Chubb was promoted to Sergeant and detailed for duty in the United States Signal Corps, where he served the remainder of his enlistment. Chauncey S. Beebe returned to the Regiment, was promoted to Sergeant, and died less than two years later in a hospital at Nashville, Tennessee, from wounds received before Kenesaw Mountain, Georgia. He had re-enlisted with the Regiment December 22, 1863. The other members of the Guard returned to the Regiment as soon as their wounds had sufficiently healed. The casualties of the Regiment had been so heavy, that for several weeks after the battle there was no Guard. A month later when camp at Antietam Ford, Maryland, there were promotions and re-organization. Colonel Thos. H. Ruger was promoted to Brigadier General to command the Brigade, and Lieutenant Colonel William Hawley was promoted to Colonel. Colonel Hawley (right) appointed Sergeant John D. Kirkpatrick, Co. I, Color Bearer. Kirkpatrick had never served in the Guard as Corporal, but the appointment was a good one as the sequel tells. Those who served with him were:
William A. Kimberly, Co. C; Chipman D. Noble, Co. H; John Towle, Co. D; Henry C. Isbel, Co. B; Edwin V. Moran, Co. G; Robert W. Jones, Co. K.
The loss at Antietam had been great – 35 killed and 166 wounded, from 340 men engaged. After this severe drain upon the strength of the Regiment, the Guard became stronger in proportion to the numerical strength of the Regiment than it ever had been. Seven Corporals and the Color Bearer was the usual Guard of the Regiment; our Guard seldom numbered more than six, including the Color Bearer.
December 13, 1862, the Regiment left its snug quarters at Antietam Ford and with the Corps (now the Twelvth, commanded by General H. W. Slocum), re-crossed the Potomac at Harper's Ferry and marched to Leesburg, thence on to Fairfax Station and Wolf Run Shoals where it camped awhile; it then proceeded to Falmouth, via Dumfries, but the incessant rains and the prevailing deep mud prevented its arrival in time to participate in Burnsides' ill-fated assault on Fredericksburg and the whole Corps was then ordered into winter quarters at Stafford, where it remained until April 26, 1863, when it led the advance to Chancellorsville, via Kelly's and Germania Ford. In the arduous and bloody fights of this campaign the Regiment had its full share and suffered severely in casualties. Its loss was, 19 killed, 73 wounded and 8 missing. Of the Guard, Sergeant Kilpatrick and Corporal William A. Kimberly were killed, the others were unharmed. Chancellorsville was one of the severest engagements the Regiment ever experienced, it was a battle noted not only for a long list of casualties in the Regiments engaged, but the maneuvering in the heavily wooded country was extremely arduous and fatiguing. At early morn May 3, the little coffee cans were steaming over the numerous fires which burned along the rear of the battle line, when the picket guns announced the approach of the foe and the pickets themselves came rushing back from the advancing Rebels. The Regiment, with others upon either hand, seized its rifles to repel the heavy onslaught of Jackson's Corps, but Jackson was not leading, he had fallen mortally wounded the previous night, no more than two hundred yards from where the Regiment stood that May morning. The little coffee cans were ruthlessly overturned in the melee which followed and the scene of the expectant matutinal meal bacame "a dark and bloody ground," to many a brave comrade. Concerning the battle and our own losses there, the following letters from members are of great interest:
"I was promoted to Corporal in October, 1862, when the Regiment was at Antietam Ford, Maryland, and about three weeks later was detailed in the Guard. The names of those who served with me have faded from memory, but their steady step will always be fresh in mind and heart. I served in the Guard until mustered out at Chattanooga, Tennessee, July 5, 1864, was in all the battles with the Regiment to this date, excepting Cedar Mountain. At that time I was in the hospital at Culpepper, suffering from a fall from a tree which had occurred a few weeks previously at Gaines Cross Roads, when picking cherries, while on the march down from Front Royal. (Old members of the Regiment will remember the cherry picking on this march and the "Mosby guerilla scare" which in a measure stopped it. – Secretary.)"
At Chancellorsville, Sergeant Kirkpatrick bore the Colors, Dan Noble was his right hand man and I was his left. When Kirkpatrick fell, Dan grasped the Colors and I caught Kirkpatrick and laid him on the ground right in his tracks, as he was killed instantly, a minnie ball striking him square in the forehead. The Regiment was advancing at the time and I ran on to my place in the ranks, by the side of my chum, Dan Noble, he being ranking Corporal of the Guard carried the Colors from that time, until I was mustered out. We both were wonderfully lucky not getting wounded, while others of the Guard were rather unlucky, although I did get a hard rap at Beverly Ford, Virginia, when we went with Pleasanton as foot cavalry, under Colonel Flood."
Ira B. Reynolds, Co. E, writes of the death of Kirkpatrick. He says:
"When morning came the Rebels charged us again and again, but every time were they compelled to fall back, then by order our whole line raised up and charged over the hill, after the retreating Rebels. We had gone but a short distance when we received the most galling fire I was ever in. The Colors were just to the right and in front of me and most every man around them, I thought, was either killed or wounded. I saw one of the Guard struck in the forehead, he fell so close that his hands almost reached me, his blood spattered my clothes and gun. I see him now, lying there, his hands filled with the grass he grasped when he struck the ground. Immediately after I was ordered to the flag and stayed by it until I was wounded, and then went to the rear. The ball broke my left arm at the wrist and Doctor Conley took nine pieces of bone from it when he dressed the wound at Stafford Court House. I cannot give the names of any of those who were with the flag that day. Soon after I went north and the following November 1, 1863, was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps, and from this Corps I was promoted to Captain of Company I, Forty-third United States Colored troops and had the honor and pleasure of marching into Richmond, Virginia, the morning it was captured, but I have always regretted that I was transferred from the old Third, and when asked to what Regiment I belonged, I always say, the Third Wisconsin Infantry."
George H. Cutter, then a Corporal in Co. H, writes that he was not a member of the Guard, but tells some interesting facts concerning the flag at Chancellorsville. He says:
"When Sergeant Kirkpatrick was killed, if my memory serves me, Dan Noble used some exertion to wrench the Color Staff from the death grasp of the dying man; then standing the staff on the ground, he took out his knife and cut his own shoulder belt and the two hooks which held the cartridge box on the waist belt, took off his cartridge box and handed it to some one near by, then cut off the lap or cover to his cap pouch, put the knife in his pocket, gave the caps to another, then sticking the end (lower) of the staff into the cap pouch, he thus held the flag aloft. Why they did not use Kirkpatrick's belt from his body, I do not know."
Corporal Kimberly who fell mortally wounded, was a brother of E. O. Kimberly, the well known singer. The writer had known him as a schoolmate previous to the war, and a tent mate to the time of his death. William A. Kimberly was a young man of most exemplary character; religious, conscientious and upright in all his relations of life; one of the few of the Regiment who were daily readers of the Bible. He never uttered vulgar language, nor did he have or acquire any of the small vices common with many soldiers. He was of medium height, well and strongly built, a handsome, soldierly man, always neat in dress and appearance and often put on special details by Colonel Ruger, who seemed to delight to honor all those of his Regiment who excelled as soldiers. Corporal Kimberly was always with the Regiment from the day it was organized until his death, which resulted from a gun shot wound in the groin; he bled to death in a few minutes and some burial party, whether Union or Confederate we never knew, buried him where he fell.
When Chipman D. Noble took the flag from the dead grasp of Sergeant Kirkpatrick, in the wooded swale of Scott's Run, on the field of Chancellorsville, he had no thought at the time that he was to carry it safely through the storm of war for two long years and without injury to himself, yet such was the case. In all future campaigns the bearer of our flag seemed to bear a charmed life, although men fell thick and fast about him on numerous fields, "our Dan" sturdily held the Colors aloft and was unscathed himself.
At Beverly Ford, Virginia, June 9, 1863, within five weeks after the battle of Chancellorsville, Sergeant Noble carried the Colors in that great cavalry fight, where, as Corporal Towle says, We served as foot cavalry under Pleasonton." The Guard at this time was:
Color Bearer, Sergeant Chipman D. Noble; Edwin V. Moran, Co. G; Charles F. Diffenderfer, Co. C; John Towle, Co. D; William W. Freeman, Co. G; William W. Caine, Co. D; Edward P. Hewlett, Co. I.
Corporal Towle was wounded in the engagement, of this he writes:
"When our work was completed and we left the edge of the woods at a double-quick, on our way to the Ford, the enemy's battery opened in us and a chunk from a bursted shell struck my on the hip, knocking me down and for a moment I thought my leg was broken; the Regiment kept right on to the Ford, only a short distance ahead, and I got up and hobbled along after it, but I suffered untold pain from the bruise, if you may so call it. There is a large yellow spot there now, nearly half as large as my hand. I was lame for some time, but limped about and did my duty, for this reason I was not reported as wounded, but those in my Company can certify that I was there wounded."
In this engagement the Regiment lost 2 killed and 14 wounded, not including Corporal Towle.
From Beverly Ford the Regiment proceeded northward where it again joined the Corps at Fairfax, Virginia. While here Corporal Moran was promoted to Sergeant, Co. G, and Corporal William C. Meffert, Co. H, was appointed to the Guard.
Leaving Fairfax, the Corps proceeded northwesterly to Leesburg, and June 26, it crossed the Potomac River at Edward's Ferry, and thence marched into Pennsylvania via Frederick and Middleton, Maryland, arriving at Littlestown, Pa., on the evening of June 30, and the next day at 3 o'clock P.M., it was on the field at Gettysburg, where it was more or less engaged with the enemy every one of those three eventful days, first, second and third of July. The Guard came off unscathed and marched intact with the Regiment back to "Old Virginia," to Kelly's Ford, on the Rappahannock, and when the "Johnnies" began to show themselves on its south bank, the Regiment was mysteriously ordered northward, and it made a long, hot march to Alexandria. When it arrived there the air was rife with rumors of a copperhead uprising in New York City. The accounts of this trouble "in the rear" were published in the newspapers and aroused a feeling throughout the army of intense indignation. About twenty thousand troops, infantry and artillery were quickly sent to New York from the Army of the Potomac, and on the Twenty-second of August, 1863, the Regiment marched up Broadway with its Colors and was quartered in the barracks, located in the City Hall Park, on the exact spot where now stands the great Post Office building. It had made the journey from Alexandria by steamer. Here the Regiment remained about one month, but without an opportunity to meet the only fighting Copperheads that the war produced, much to its disgust. The presence of the troops cowed this despicable element and on September 5, it left New York City by steamer and returned to Virginia, to the former camp at Kelley's Ford, here it remained but a short time when the army advanced to the Rapidan, where the Johnnies were in force. Scarcely had the "exchange of ammunition" begun along the banks of the Rapidan, when the Regiment and in fact the whole Twelfth Corps, together with the Eleventh Corps, were withdrawn from the front and marched to Bealeton Station, where they embarked on trains for the West, and our connection with the Army of the Potomac was severed forever.
The Corps arrived in Tennessee, October 4, 1863, and began a series of marches and counter marches, protecting the railway to Chattanooga at which place Rosecran's army was then penned by the Rebel General Bragg. Finally the Regiment was settled in camp at Wartrace and December 22, 1863, most of it re-enlisted, and those who did so, started for Wisconsin on a thirty-day furlough, Christmas morning. After its furlough, the Regiment returned to Tennessee, and arrived at Fayetteville, February 14, 1864, where it remained unitl the opening of the Atlanta Campaign, when with the Corps it joined Sherman's Army, May 5, at Chattanooga. After the Gettysburg campaign the Regiment saw no fighting until it joined Sherman's Army; the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps had been consolidated, forming the Twentieth Corps and commanded by General Joseph Hooker. May 15, the Corps fought the first battle at Resaca, Georgia, under its new leader General W. T. Sherman. In this battle the Guard was:
Color Bearer, Sergeant Chipman D. Noble; Corporals: John Towle, Co. D; William W. Caine, Co. D; Frank Loveland, Co. C; Robert W. Jones, Co. K; William C. Meffert, Co. H; all had re-enlisted but Corporal Towle.
During the long and arduous campaign in that battle summer of 1864, commencing May 2 and terminating September 2, with the fall of Atlanta, the Regiment was in numerous engagements, battles and skirmishes, and the list of casualties was large. At Resaca there were 10 killed and 18 wounded. At Dallas, May 25, there were 19 killed and 91 wounded. Among the wounded was Corporal Caine of the Guard, which caused his absence from the Regiment some two months. In the operations about Kenesaw Mountain in June, there were 3 killed and 16 wounded, which includes the casualties in the battle of Kulp's Farm, June 22, where the Regiment and the brigade so severely punished Hood's assaulting column. In this engagement Sergeant William W. Freeman formerly Corporal in the Guard was wounded and Sergeant Chauncey S. Beebe, who as Corporal of the Guard so gallantly bore the Colors at Antietam, was seriously wounded and died in the hospital at Nashville, Tennessee, a few weeks later.
July 5, when near Marietta, Georgia, the Regiment has halted for a brief time and those of it who had not re-enlisted were ordered to step from the ranks for musterout. About forty members were present whose term of service had expired June 29, 1864, and these began their march to the nearest railway station, for transportation to their homes in Wisconsin, carrying with them the torn and tattered remnant of the flag which had been our oriflame almost since the birth of the Regiment. Thus our old flag was also mustered out of service, it let the remnant of non-veterans homeward – good and brave men they were – and the old Third again turned its face to the foe and marched towards Atlanta, a bannerless battalion for the second time in its career. Among those mustered out at this time was Corporal John Towle of the Guard; Herman G. Lueshen, Co. E, was appointed to fill the vacancy. Corporal Robert W. Jones, Co. K, was promoted to Sergeant; later, August 10, 1864, Sergeant Jones was shot dead in the intrenchments before Atlanta, by a Rebel sharp shooter. he had ben previously wounded in the battles of Cedar Mountain and Antietam respectively. William W. Freeman was promoted to Sergeant, and October 29, 1864, was promoted to Sergeant-Major vice Asher C. Taylor who was promoted to Lieutenant and Adjutant; Corporal George H. Meissner, Co. F, was appointed to the Guard, vice Jones being promoted.
From July 5 to 16, there was a brief respite from the toils and dangers of warfare. In its camp on the right bank of the Chattahoochie River, the Army, and with it the Regiment, rested and prepared for the final struggle for Atlanta, and the rest was much needed and appreciated. The advance began July 16, with the crossing of the Chattahoochie River, and July 20, when the Corps was in line about two miles north of Atlanta, posted on the low range of hills which forms the south side of the Valley of Peach Tree Creek, it was suddenly assailed by a strong column of Rebel troops, led by Hood in person, attacking successively different parts of the Union line with a mad determination to break through somewhere, but were unsuccessful, and after three hours hard fighting the Union troops held the field with no enemy in sight, but the dead and wounded gray coats which lay scattered along its front. In this engagement the Regiment lost two killed and five wounded, although the left wing only was engaged – the Tenth Wisconsin Infantry (Fourteenth Corps), overlapping the right wing of the Regiment.
July 22 the City of Atlanta was invested by Sherman's Army, and for thirty-six long days and nights the Regiment was confined within the contracted limits of field intrenchments, where it lived, fought and existed, subjected to artillery and musketry fire and the sweltering heat of a mid-summer sun by day, digging and repairing their works by night – a situation trying and arduous int the extreme. During the night of September 1, the Rebel Army evacuated Atlanta, and the next morning the Twentieth Corps entered the City, the Regiment in the advance, still a bannerless battalion. The loss of the Regiment during the operations about Atlanta was: 4 killed and 17 wounded. Amoung the wounded was Corporal Geo. W. Meissner of the Guard, who suffered the amputation of a leg which had been badly fractured by a rifle ball.
November 15, 1864, the Army began its "March to the sea." The Regiment then numbered 467 men. When it left the City that November morning a great pall of smoke over hung Atlanta, the buildings that Hood's Army had spared in the previous September, were ablaze and the roads leading north and east from the City were swarming with troops and army trains.
November 23 the advance of the army, the Twentieth Corps, entered Miledgeville, the then capital of Georgia. The Regiment headed the column and marched directly to the Capitol House, when the keeper came out and unlocking the gates of the park he then graciously handed the keys of the building to Colonel Hawley. The Regiment was then quartered in the Capitol and detailed as Provost Guard. Colonel Hawley was appointed Provost Marshal of the City. The flag of the 107th New York Infantry, was hoisted upon the Staff of the Capitol – the bannerless battalion had none to hoist. As this is a history of Regimental Flags it is not amiss to mention here an extract from the diary of Surgeon Flood, 107 New York Infantry:
"November 23, 1864, Lieutenant Brown found in a house, here in Miledgeville, the Colors of the 10th New York Infantry – they had been captured by the Rebels at the Second Battle of Bull Run."
November 24, the Regiment left Miledgeville, and passing through Sandersville, Louisville and Springfield, it arrived December 9, before a small fort, located on Harrison's plantation, some 15 miles south of Savannah, where, after much maneuvering and a vexatious delay an assault was made upon the works garrisoned by a North Carolina Regiment and one cannon. The fort was easily carried and Sergeant W. F. Haughowout of Co. H, succeeded in capturing three of the garrison; the remainder escaped towards Savannah, taking the cannon with them. The next day (the 10th), the Regiment arrived before the City and with the brigade was assigned to the extreme left of the Union line, at Argyle Island, some five miles above the City, where the Regiment was the first to cross over to Argyle Island and thence to the South Carolina shore, where re-enforced with detachments from the other Regiments in the brigade, it fought quite a brisk engagement with Hampton's Rebel Cavalry, in which engagement Lieutenant Colonel Stevenson and Joe Buckskin, Co. C, of the Regiment were wounded.
The Rebel Army under Hardee, evacuated Savannah on the night of the 21st and on the morning of the next day the Union Army entered the City. During the operations about Savannah, three of the Regiment were wounded.
While in Savannah a new National flag was received from the State Government at Madison, Wisconsin. On it was inscribed in gold letters the names of the engagements in which the Regiment had participated under its first enlistment, that is to July 1, 1864. It had been sent to Nashville but too late to be forwarded to the Regiment at that time in Atlanta, and Sherman had then severed communications with Nashville, so it was sent to Washington, D.C., thence to Savannah. Our Color Bearer, brave Dan Noble, had been carrying a naked staff as an indication of his position, ever since the non-veterans had left us at Marietta, July 5, 1864, when they took our first flag with them to Madison, Wisconin. The Regiment now had a National Flag, never again was it a bannerless battalion.
When the Regiment left Savannah January 16, 1865, the Guard was the same it had been on the march from Atlanta. Its members were:
Color Bearer, Sergeant Chipman D. Noble; Corporals, W. H. Meffert, Co. H; Herman G. Lueschen, Co. E; Frank Loveland, Co. C; William W. Caine, Co. D; John Kern, Co. F.
Then began the long, toilsome march through the Carolinas, in mud and rain, overflowed swamps and highways, roads to corduroy, and bridges to be rebuilt, with scanty food and of the rudest, plainest quality; marching steadily day after day, through Columbia, Lancaster, Cheraw, on to Fayetteville, North Carolina, where it arrived March 12, 1865, just in time to enter upon a hard campaign, brief and glorious though it was, against an accumulation of Rebel organizations, which had been wrecked elsewhere upon other fields and hastily collected together by Johnston, Beauregard, Hood, Bragg and Hampton, all determined to overthrow and root Sherman's "mud waders". March 16, a Averysboro, was their first attempt which signally failed as they did on March 19, at Bentonville. These two engagements satisfied the Rebel host, and a month later Johnston surrendered his army, and with the surrender the fighting record of the Regiment ceased. Johnston and Beauregard had been our first opponents on the Potomac in 1861, so were they our last on the Cape Fear River in 1865. In this North Carolina campaign the Regiment lost 5 killed and 24 wounded.
Dan Noble, as we loved to call him, supported by his brave Guard, had stood up with the Colors on many a field and day not herein recorded because of the minor significance of the "affair," as they were often called in those days. The flag had been carried from the Potomac to the Tennesse, from the Tennessee to the Ocean, thence northward to old Virginia from whence it had started. After a brief sojourn at Raleigh, the army, on May 1 began its march to Washington where it arrived May 19 and the Regiment went into camp near Fort Worth, opposite Washington. On its march Northward the Regiment passed through Richmond, the City it had yearned so long to see, but at that moment was of passing interest. It arrived on the field of Chancellorsville about noon, May 15, and there it stacked arms and lunched upon the exact spot on which it stood, some two years before when Jackson's Corps came charging down upon it.
May 23, the Regiment broke camp at Fort Worth at early morn and marchng across the Long Bridge it tooks its place with the corps, for the Review which occurred that day. By some unknown or mysterious manner the Blue Standard had reappeared and again had its place in the Guard with the National flag. Whence and where did it come from? Who can tell? Sergeant Noble had gone to his home in Wisconsin on a brief furlough and Sergeant William C. Meffert carried the National flag in his stead, while Corporal Herman G. Lueschen bore the Blue Standard and thus were the re-united banners carried in the Grand Review that day, and the garlands of flowers that were hung on the staffs, by Wisconsin friends then in Washington, were in themselves a goodly load for the flag bearers to carry.
June 11th, the Regiment took the cars at Bladensburg, Maryland, for Louisville, Kentucky, via the Baltimore and Ohio railway, arriving at its destination on the 16th, going into camp about three miles south of the City, on the old Crittenden place. Here it remained until mustered out of service, July 18, when it soon after departed for Wisconsin, arriving at Madison July 24, 1865, where it disbanded.
The stand of Colors was placed in the State House – the flag of Savannah, Averasboro and Raleigh, was placed by the side of the flag of Chancellorsville, Antietam and Gettysburg, which the non-veterans had brought home when they returned a year previously, and the blue Standard, which so mysteriously survived the war, is there with them, mute relics of an organization that once existed and known as the Third Regiment, Wisconsin Infantry, Veteran Volunteers.