This is the second portion of E. B. Quiner’s history of the 15th Wisconsin, which fought in the Federal (Union) Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865). This portion covers the time period of June, 1862, to November, 1862. Information within brackets [ ] has been added to the original text by the webmaster to help modern readers understand what Mr. Quiner rightfully assumed mid-19th century readers would automatically know. Alternative spellings of 15th soldiers’ names have also been added within brackets by the webmaster, using spelling from the 15th’s official muster rolls. Finally, hot links have been added that will take you to on-line transcriptions of official documents and soldiers’ letters, and to profiles of soldiers, which contain additional information about the 15th or its soldiers. Enjoy!
Source: Quiner, E. B., The Military History of Wisconsin: Civil and Military Patriotism of the State, in the War for the Union. Chicago, Illinois: Clarke & Company, Publishers, 1866. Chapter XXIII, pages 615-617.
1862 Summer Campaign
“Pursuant to orders, Colonel [Hans C.] Heg, left companies G and I, to garrison the post, under the command of Captain Gordon, of Company G, and on the 12th of June, proceeded with the rest of his force, to Union City, and reported to General Mitchell. After a short stay there, they moved to Humboldt, thence to the neighborhood of Corinth, where they were assigned to Rosecrans’ command, in General C. S. Hamilton’s division, thence, on the 20th of July, they proceeded to Jacinto, where they were assigned to Colonel Carlin’s brigade, of General Jeff. C. Davis’ division. From Jacinto, they proceeded to Iuka, where they remained till the 21st of August, when they remained with Davis’ division, to join the army of the Cumberland, reaching Florence, Ala. [Alabama], on the 24th of August.
400 Mile Retreat to Kentucky
General Bragg had commenced his great raid into Kentucky and all of Buell’s forces were en route to head off any attack on Louisville. Davis’ division arrived at Nashville on the 8th of September. March was resumed on the 11th, and the regiment and division entered Louisville on the 26th, tired, hungry, ragged and footsore from their long march. Here Davis’ division was transferred from the army of the Mississippi to the Third Corps, General Gilbert, Army of the Ohio.
Battle of Perryville/Chaplin Hills, Kentucky
After a few days rest, the regiment, on the 1st of October, marched with the division in pursuit of Bragg, proceeding through Bardstown. The division was temporarily under the command of Brigadier General R. B. Mitchell, and was designated as the Ninth Division of the Army of the Ohio, and the brigade as the Thirty-first, under Colonel Carlin, consisting of the Twenty-first and Thirty-eighth Illinois, One Hundred and First Ohio, Fifteenth Wisconsin, and Second Minnesota Battery. Arriving within four miles of the enemy on the 7th, line of battle was formed, and they slept on their arms. The battle commenced on the following morning, but the brigade was not disturbed till about 2 P.M., when it was ordered to advance to the support of General Sheridan’s division. They marched to the vicinity of McCook’s corps, on the left, where the battle was raging fearfully, then moved to the right, and formed in the woods. One company of the Fifteenth was sent forward as skirmishers, who soon engaged the enemy. The brigade advanced in line of battle, exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy’s artillery. The rebel infantry fell back under the protection of their guns. Notwithstanding the heavy fire, the Fifteenth Wisconsin and the Twenty-first Illinois took advantage of the inequality of the ground, and advanced steadily, driving the enemy, with his artillery, before them, until they had reached a point within a quarter of a mile of the village, when they were ordered to halt, and lay down behind a rise of ground. The enemy’s artillery again opened, which was replied to by the brigade battery. Remaining about two hours, they were ordered to retire, which was not done until thirteen wagons, filled with ammunition, were captured by the brigade. It appears that the enemy’s ammunition [wagon] train might all have been captured, if the brigade had been permitted to follow up the pursuit. Notwithstanding their exposure, the Fifteenth escaped without having a man wounded.
The division joined in the pursuit, and found the enemy’s wagon trains passing through Lancaster. It was drawn up in line, and skirmishers sent forward, preparatory to an attack, when peremptory orders were received from General Gilbert to halt, and not bring on an engagement. Thus the enemy’s [wagon] trains escaped, much to the chagrin and indignation of the troops. The rebel force was only a train guard of five hundred men.
Expedition to Clarksville, Tennessee
The pursuit was continued to Crab Orchard [Kentucky], where the Fifteenth was employed as Provost Guard for a week, when the troops completed the return march, proceeding by way of Danville and New Market, to Bowling Green, where General Rosecrans was reorganizing the army, and on the 4th of November proceeded towards Nashville [Tennessee], to Edgefield Junction, where, after resting a few days, the Fifteenth joined an expedition, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel [David] McKee, down the Cumberland River, towards Clarksville, in quest of Woodward and [Confederate General John Hunt] Morgan’s [Cavalry] guerillas. The expedition proceeded down the river about fifty miles, and was gone five days, and succeeded in capturing about fifty prisoners, and a large number of horses, mules and wagons. Several well known resorts for guerillas were destroyed, and also a distillery, whiskey and salt, together with a quantity of corn, tobacco, etc. General Rosecrans, in a complimentary order, after stating the results of the expedition, concludes: “This handsome little success shows what good infantry can do under an enterprising leader, and reflects much credit upon all who were engaged in it.”
In the reorganization of the army by General Rosecrans, General Davis’ division was designated as the First, of the right wing of the Fourteenth Army Corps. The brigade was designated as the Second.
Repulse of Raid on Island No. 10
Companies G and I, left at Island No. 10, in October, 1862, took part in a brilliant affair, in which the enemy, under [Confederate] Colonel Faulkner, with three hundred mounted men, dashed into their camp before daylight. In the brisk little fight which ensued, the two companies, under Captain Gordon, with a company of Illinois cavalry, charged upon the rebels in the confusion occasioned by the darkness, with such vigor, that they fled, pursued by the cavalry, for fifteen miles. It resulted in the capture of the rebel Colonel and his line officers, and ten men prisoners, seven killed and nine wounded.”