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1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery
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. They were afterward stationed at Fort Marcy,
and a portion at Fort Ethan Allen. October 10th, they rejoined their regiment,
but December 9th were permanently organized as an artillery company, and
stationed at Fort Cass. The battery was filled to the maximum by recruits from
Wisconsin. During Pope's retreat on Washington, forty of their number, with
three guns, were sent to Fort Buffalo, an advanced post, where the enemy
attacked them, and were repulsed. Subsequently the battery was at Forts
Ellsworth, Worth and Rodgers. C.C. Meservey, an enlisted man of the Second
Infantry, at the commencement of the war, became Captain, February 26th, 1863.
The Inspector of Artillery, General W. F. Barry, reported: "Captain
Meservey is an excellent Artillery officer and has now one of the best companies
of foot artillery I have ever seen." In the summer of 1863,
the Captain recruited three other companies in Wisconsin, and was commissioned
Major of the battalion. Two official inspectors of the British Army, after a
careful examination, said they had never seen anything in any service that
excelled the formidableness of the arms or the discipline of the men of this
battery. In the autumn of 1864, eight other companies were recruited, which
completed the regiment.
Company B was recruited chiefly in and near the city of Milwaukee, and sent, September, 1863, to Fort Terrill, on the Green River, Kentucky, to protect a trestle bridge. In January, 1864, it moved to Lexington, where Lieut. Hubbell was installed Provost Marshall of the city, and the Company stationed at Fort Clay. There many of the men were detached as clerks at different Headquarters, while others served as provost guard. Their deportment, neatness, care of arms and ordinance, won the approbation of officers and citizens. Their service was the more difficult on account of the many rebel spies in the city. In May, Lieut. Hyde and thirty men accompanied General Burbridge on a long and difficult expedition against Morgan. Meanwhile that rebel appeared at Lexington with 2,000 men. Captain Babcock had ordered a large amount of supplies under the guns of the fort for protection, and thus saved them. Citizens liable to military capture gathered at the fort. Lieut. Gwynne, reconnoitering with ten men, was captured and barely escaped death through the interposition of a citizen. Burbridge returning, Morgan retreated. A pursuit was ordered, Lieuts. Hubbell and Peckham volunteering as aids to the generals. They fought Morgan two hours at Cynthiana and killed, wounded and captured 1,000 of his men. The prisoners placed in Fort Clay were in number five to one of Company B that guarded them. Often squads of the company were detached for special duties, and officers called to responsible staff positions. Commanding Generals pronounced the company the finest they had seen, and an honor to their State. Three company officers were promoted to be field officers, and nearly twenty others to be line officers in Kentucky organizations. The company was mustered out December 9th, 1865.
Battery C rendezvoused at Milwaukee and October 30th, 1863, proceeded to Chattanooga where they served in Forts Hood, Creighton and Sherman, successively. Battery D was recruited chiefly from Green County, the home of Captain Peck, a graduate of West Point. One hundred and seventy-one men applied to join his company. Leaving Camp Washburn, February 1st, 1864, they proceeded to Fort Jackson, below New Orleans, which mounted one hundred guns, one of them a 450-pounder, having a range of five miles. A portion of the time Captain Peck commanded the fort. July 23rd, they moved to Fort Berwick, near Brashear City.
Battery E was the first of they later companies, all of which were stationed in the left link of the chain of batteries extending from the Potomac below Alexandria, around that city and Washington, to the same river north of the capital. Their largest of their works was Fort Lyon, which mounted 24-pound siege pieces and four-inch rifled guns. Company E was stationed at Fort O'Rourke. Battery F garrisoned Fort Ellsworth. They lost but one man, Corp. Cooley, noticed in the list of the dead. Battery H formed a part of the garrison at Fort Lyon. Company I was stationed at Fort Farnsworth. Battery K was organized in October, 1864, under command of Capt. Wallace H. Jennings, who had previously served both as Lieut. and Capt. on the Twenty-second Wisconsin Infantry. He was among the captured at Thompson's Station, Tennessee, and suffered in health from confinement in Libby Prison. Company K was stationed at Fort Lyon, and suffered no loss by death. Battery L was stationed at Fort Willard. Company M was first at Fort Lyon and then at Forts Weed and Farnsworth, a delightful locality, with three cities in full view - Alexandria, Washington and Georgetown. These companies were drilled in infantry, and heavy and light artillery tactics, which caused some severe labor. It was their duty to wait for a foe, who never dared come, and hence the events of their history were less striking than those of troops who fought in the field. The companies from E to M, inclusive, were mustered out June 26th, 1865. Company D was ordered to Washington in June, 1865, and with A was mustered out August 18th. Company C moved to Strawberry Plains and Nashville. The Inspector General, W. S. Bradford, reported the company as in "splendid condition," and Captain Davis as "a very energetic and efficient officer." They were mustered out as Nashville, September 21st. The reported muster-out regimental officers had not changed from the first, nor the commissioned officers of companies K, G, K and M.
Regimental Statistics: Original strength, 1,777. Gain: - by recruits in 1863, 103; in 1864, 133; in 1865, 171; draft, in 1864, 4; reenlistments, 29; total;, 2,217. Loss: _ by death, 73; desertion, 70; transfer, 28; discharge, 223; muster-out, 1,820.
(See photo in
"People" the Russell Brothers)