The History of the 3rd Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer Infantry

William W. Caine

eagle_shield_01Private, Company D, 3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry.

William W. Caine, who resides on section 14, Wiscoy Township, to extent passed an eventful life. He has lived a pioneer, and during the Civil War was numbered among the boys in the blue who defended the Union against the rebellion of the south. He comes from the old Bay State, his birth having occurred in Boston, Mass., on the 22nd of August 1837. His father, Thomas Caine, was a native of the Isle of Man, and the family of English origin. He married Miss Mary Callister, and to them were born seven children, Thomas, who was a carpenter resides in Hingham, Mass. Mary died January 17, 1868. John enlisted in the regular army 1859, became a member of the Seventh United States Infantry, and was one of the heroes who fell at the hard-fought Gettysburg, on the 3rd of July 1863.

His remains were interred on the battlefield. Abigal is the wife of John Jefferies, an iron molder of Hingham, Mass. Robert enlisted as a private of Company "D," third Wisconsin Infantry, April 25, 1861, and was wounded by a mine-ball at the battle of Chancellorsville, but continued in the service until after the close of the War. He now resided in Dodge County, Wisconsin.Meanwhile, the 27th Indiana continued to advance with skirmishers towards the front. Minutes later, the sound of musket fire was heard, announcing that they had made contact with the enemy. The Wisconsin men began to hasten their work. A short distance in the rear, Lt. Col. John W. Scott of the regiment was having a conversation with the adjutant. Suddenly, a shot rang out from a Confederate sharpshooter, who was lodged in one of the trees, and the ball penetrated the right eye of Scott, killing him instantly. Alarmed, the soldiers grabbed for their rifles, but there was little they could do as no one had seen where the puff of smoke from the firing musket had originated from.

William W. Caine began his education in the public schools of Boston, and when twelve years of age went board a ship, where he remained two years. In 1852 we find him in the Mississippi Valley, the journey westward having been made by way of lakes and rail. He became a resident of Chester, Dodge County, Wisconsin, and began working as a farm hand by the month, thus serving until 1855, when with ox-teams he made a overland trip to KANSAS, settling in Anderson County. There he pre-empted one hundred and sixty acres of land, but was driven off by border ruffians. During his stay there he served as a scout, and once was shot with a double-barreled gun, the charge being embedded in his foot.

Note to the reader: The following is taken from the 3rd Wisconsin Reunion Proceedings were published and mailed to those members who could not attend the annual meetings. The meetings were always held around and as close to the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. The date of the battle was September 17 & 18 1862.

In 1907 William W. Caine was at attendance at the Seventeenth 3r Wisconsin Reunion. Held in Waupun, Dodge County, Wisconsin, September 17 & 18 1907. "The Waupun Leader" published on Wednesday Sept. 18, 1907 listed over 32 had registered by at the headquarters. William W. Caine name was published on list of attendance. The following is from the back pages of notes from published proceedings of the 17th 3rd Wisconsin Annual Association Meeting: "Comrade W. Caine, of "D" Company (3rd Wisconsin) present at the meeting enjoys the wonderful distinction of being the only survivor of Captain John Brown’s Military Company of Osawatomie, Kansas in 1855." (William W. Caine was one of the original 20 men from Anderson County, Kansas that was listed with Captain Brown’s Military Company organized November and December 0f 1855.)

The following is taken from the 20th published 3rd Wisconsin Proceedings mailed to their members. The meeting was held at Lancaster, Wisconsin (September 20th and 21st of 1910. Page – 12: Letter from Caine to Secretary Captain Julian Hinkley.

"I do not feel able to attend this year. I have just got back from Kansas, where I attended the dedication of the old battlefield of Osawatomie. Where we fought August 30th, 1856. (This was with Captain John Brown) There were five survivors there. Two were genuine, three were frauds. I had plenty of honors shown me, but do not want to be in such a place again. Your old comrade, William W. Caine, Company D (Witoka, MN)

Edwin Damonde (3rd Wisconsin Veteran) wrote the following and is a resident of Gypsum, Kansas:

"It will be impossible for me to be with you this year. I saw William Caine of Company D at Osawatomie last month. He was in John Brown's company in 1856. Give my best to the "old guard" that may be at the reunion, and hope all will have a good time." Yours with Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty,

Edwin H. Damonde

Returning to Dodge County, Mr. Caine then continued to work as a farm hand, until feeling that his country needed his services, he responded to the President's call for Volunteers to serve three years. (Transcriber of this document would like to note that Caine was fully aware of what this war was about because of his time with Captain John Brown and the Border Ruffians) He joined Company D, Third Wisconsin Infantry, August 29, 1862, and was mustered into service at Waupun, Wisconsin. The first engagement in which he participated at was Antietam, after which he took part in the battles of Chancellorsville, Beverly Ford and Gettysburg. (His brother was killed at Gettysburg) He then went to New York City with the regiment in order to quell the (DRAFT) riots there, and remained in the city about a month.

Notes about the 1863 N. Y. City draft riots: From – Glimpses of the Nation's Struggle, 4th series; Papers read before the Minnesota Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, 1892-1897 From-Some Experiences of a Veteran in the Rear, by Captain Julian W. Hinkley, 3rd Wisconsin Company "E" (and Sgt. with Company D) Read November 14, 1893. Pages 114 through 116

The 3rd Wisconsin was sent to enforce the draft in New York

"On the night of August 22 we disembarked at Canal Street, and quietly marched up Broadway to City Hall Park where some rude barracks for a part of the men, but all of the officers wrapped in their rubber blankets, as the Scotch landlady in Rob Roy says, "Like good swords in a scabbard," slept on the ground on the present site of the city post office. We must have slept late the next morning. When we awoke there was a dense crowd surrounding the park, the windows of the Astor House on one side and Lovejoy's Hotel on the other, were crowded with people all looked on in open-eyed astonishment as we made our toilets in the usual camp fashion. There was dress parades every evening and great crowds would assemble to see the regiment go through the manual of arms in which they were exceptionally proficient, and applause of the crowd was always hearty. The uniforms were a little seedy and soiled, but the guns and bayonets were as bright as new dollars, and the bronzed veterans who carried them knew well how to use them. I was on duty most of the time in the provost marshal's office of the downtown district, where rioting had been most desperate. There were no troubles while we were there, except such as our men made themselves at the instigation of the police who in a short time after our arrival had fraternized with the soldiers in a manner that must have been surprising to the citizens generally if they knew it."

"We had plenty of bold fellows who wanted no better amusement than to raid a saloon that been headquarters of the rioters. These were pointed out to them by the police and a small crowd would get out of camp at night and in one of these places, on some pretext, get up a row of bartenders and bummers out of doors and smash everything breakable about the place. Everyone in the regiment could find a way to enjoy himself and a policeman to help him, and would have been contended to stay longer, but September 5th (1863) brought unwelcome order to be ready to move at a moment's notice." (Two Wisconsin Regiments were sent to New York City and they were the 3rd and 5th Wisconsin Volunteer regiments.)

Mr. Caine also participated in the engagements at Buzzard's Roost, Resaca, Dallas, Pine Mountain, Kenesaw Mountain and the Atlanta Campaign, then went with Sherman on the March to the sea and through the Carolinas. The last engagement was at Bentonville, North Carolina. At the battle of Resaca a shell burst near his head and has caused a partial loss of his hearing. He was wounded by a piece of shell at the battle of Dallas, GA. he was promoted to the rank of Corporal, and at Louisiville, KY. he was mustered out, while at Madison, Wisconsin, on the 26th of August 1865, he received an honorable discharge.

Mr. Caine, when his country no longer need his services, returned to his home in Dodge County, Wisconsin, and there engaged in farming until October of 1865, when he came to Winona County, and settled upon the farm which has since been his home. It comprises eighty acres of good land on section 14, Wiscoy Township, and he carries on general farming with good success, his place being under a high state of cultivation and well improved. On the 2nd of September 1860 Mr. Caine wedded Miss Mary Cowell. They have five children namely: Mary E., wife of Thomas O'Brian, a farmer, residing in Wilson Township; Belbert, an agriculturist living in Wiscoy Township; Elsie, wife of Fred Harvey, a farmer of Wiscoy Township; and Alice and Annie at home. Mr. Caine has always been a supporter of the Republican Party, and is now serving as Assessor of his township, a position he has filled for twelve years. He is also a school clerk. Socially is connected with the grand Army of the Republic and with the Odd Fellow's lodge. His life has been well and worthily spent, and all that know him hold him in high regard.

The 23rd Annual 3rd Wisconsin Association's Proceedings published the following:

Died during the past year William W. Caine of Company "D", March 11, 1913 (Interned in the Woodland Cemetery, Winona, MN) His wife Mary died in 1917.

Considering how history has defined Captain John Brown the following is from another 3rd Wisconsin soldier. Van R. Willard, 3rd Wisconsin Infantry "G" Company:

From the book: With the 3rd Wisconsin Badgers "The living experience of the Civil War through the Journals of Van R. Willard; Edited by Steven S. Raab. Page- 46:

"While there I visited John Brown's cell, which is a small, damp dungeon furnished with a stove, and old broken down chair, and a small pine table, nearly cut fragments by those who have visited the cell and have cut off pieces as a relic in memory of the brave old hero (JOHN BROWN). I also visited the spot where he was hung, but scarcely a fragment remains to mark the spot where he ended his sad yet eventful career."

Where John Brown was hung and jailed this is what Willard is describing.