Chauncy Cyrus Baker

Chauncy (Chan) Baker is a brother of Horace Baker and served as a Private in the 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery - more information will be forthcoming

On July 25th, 1861, four days after the disastrous battle of Bull Run, 
Company K of the Second Infantry, as noted in their History, were ordered to perform garrison duty at Fort Corcoran, on the heights near Washington. 
This was the nucleus of the Wisconsin First Heavy Artillery. 

Link to 1st. Wisconsin Heavy Artillery



A few days ago in the town where I live, Weatherford, Texas, North Main Street was crowded with traffic, trucks, cars, wagons and vehicles of every kind and description passing in every direction.
A little child, a sweet little blue-eyed, curly-haired girl, had escaped her mother's watchful eyes as she was shopping in one of the stores and had wandered out on the street. She was unafraid, innocent, sweet, and was enjoying the sights and sounds about her as she watched the cars passing by. One large touring car came toward her, and the driver, seeing the danger, was afraid to try to pass her, fearing she might run in front of the car. He stopped his car and pleasantly spoke to the child, telling her to move out of the way.
She obeyed and stood wonderingly watching the cars go on. By this time several others had observed the child, and, realizing that if she was seen there was no danger of running over her, they rather enjoyed the novel spectacle of a little girl blocking the traffic on the busy street. In the meantime the little girl was taking in the sights as unconscious of danger as though she were at home.
By this time traffic had stopped, and the innocent cause of this congestion was standing in the middle of the street, smiling and unafraid.  But the mother, having missed the child and discovering her whereabouts, rushed frantically out into the street and gathered the child in her arms, scarce realizing that the baby's innocence and sweetness were her greatest protection.

And then my mind went back to the dark days of 1863, when I witnessed a scene somewhat similar to the one just enacted before my eyes.

Two armies, the Confederate and the Union were facing each other upon the eve of battle. The Confederate army was aligned on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, while the Union army was entrenched in the valley below. Both were preparing for the death struggle awaiting them. The armies were pretty near to each other, and both had pickets out watching every movement of the enemy.

One day we were perfectly astonished by the sight of a little child toddling toward our lines. She was such an innocent, unafraid creature, entirely unconscious of any danger. She came from the direction of the Rebel army, and, needless to say, we surrendered to her without the firing of a gun. When she reached a place in our lines, hundreds of our men gathered around her. Apparently she was perfectly at home as she stood looking at us with wide-open eyes in which shone perfect trust and confidence.

The boys began to ply her with questions as to what her name was and where she came from, but she could give no satisfactory answer. One of the men asked her to whom she belonged, and she lisped: "Uncle Jim." Then We asked her who Uncle Jim was, and she pointed toward the Confederate lines, by which we knew she must have strayed away from Uncle Jim and in some mysterious manner made her way through both picket lines into the Yankee army.

Every man wanted to take her in his arms and kiss her, and how they did wish they had some candy or cakes to give her, but army rations afforded nothing of this kind. Then some of the men thought of sugar, and each wanted to give her some, of which they had a plentiful supply. So we loaded her down with big lumps of the sweet stuff, and one boy happened to remember that he had a string of beads, which he brought and placed around her white neck. Another had a silk handkerchief, which he tied about her throat, while the other boys, not to be outdone, searched among the keep- sakes which their sisters and sweethearts had sent them and found handkerchiefs and ribbons, which they tied on her small person.

One produced a rosette of red, white, and blue ribbon, which he pinned on her dress. Another found a small silk flag, and that also was pinned on her; all of which she enjoyed immensely and seemed to think it was all "in the play."

I saw tears come into eyes that had not been wet since they left their mothers, wives, and sweethearts in the far-away North.

Our captain took the child in his arms and, while he pressed her close to his heart, said: "Boys, I've got a little girl at home about the age of this little one. 0 God! I wonder if I shall ever see her again?"

At this every man removed his hat and stood silently at attention, but if you had asked them why they did so, they could not have told you. But I know now a little child can bring God mighty near you under such conditions.

And then the question was raised, and what shall we do with her? For obviously, we could not keep the child in such circumstances of impending danger. The problem was solved by one of the men removing the ramrod from his gun and tying a white handkerchief upon the end, then, after obtaining permission from the captain, he took the child and her gifts in his arms and started toward the Rebel lines.

Bob Chambers, one of the biggest devils in our company, called to him to hold on a minute, he wanted to send "Uncle Jim" some coffee.

"I'll bet he hasn't had a good cup of coffee since the war began," he said; so he filled a small bag with the precious grains and gave it to the little girl, saying. "Take this to your Uncle Jim."

The boys all shouted a good-by as they started for the Rebel lines, the little girl still holding high the flag of truce.

As they neared the Confederate lines several men came forward to meet them, among whom was Uncle Jim, who was searching for his little girl in every direction.

Ed Avery, who was carrying the child, learned from Uncle Jim that the child's father had been killed at the battle of Chickamauga, and that her mother had since died, leaving the child in the care of Uncle Jim who was waiting for a chance to send her to his home in the Southland.

Tightly holding the baby in his arms and looking fondly at her, Uncle Jim said: "Boys, I am going to get permission to take her to my home, maybe while I am gone this battle will come off. I hope it will, for damned if I feel like shooting at you fellows after this--at least, for some time to come." He added, with a twinkle in his dark gray eyes and a smile upon his weather-beaten features.

And as the gray-clad men around him grasped his meaning, a regular Rebel yell went up from each throat, which was echoed from the blue-clad lines as they witnessed the dramatic scene, and both sounds blended into whispering echoes from the rugged sides of Lookout Mountain.