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mind, naturally alert, was enriched by wide observation and voluminous reading. His long residence where Spanish was spoken had favored his acquisition of considerable facility in that language. In his later years his literary style was inclined to be academic, but he never ceased to lay stress upon the aspects of his subject most important from the standpoint of practicality. While a young man, his brilliant success as a partisan editor in North Carolina created prestige for his pen, and at about the time when Juneau was endeavoring to enlist him for editorial activity at Milwaukee, James Knox Polk, then speaker of the House, with whom he had come to be on friendly terms, wrote a letter warmly urging him to undertake the conduct of a Democratic paper at Nashville, Tennessee. Why he declined is not recorded; but there is no doubt that he was genuinely interested in Wisconsin, and perhaps, after two warnings, had reached the conclusion that a man of northern birth with an addiction to hard work was not likely to retain his health in a southern climate.
A member of the Protestant Episcopal church, he was tolerant of the religion of others, and on general principles a strong believer in the practice of organized worship as conducive to good citizenship. For this reason he fought against the taxation of church property. He was also opposed to easy divorce, and found more than one occasion for expressing his views on this subject when he was a member of the Territorial Council. In those days there was no way of securing a divorce in Wisconsin except by special act of the Territorial Legislative Assembly. General White asserted that members under pledge to constituents to put through divorce bills would be inclined to make common cause with fellow members entrusted with similar measures —that little or no attention would be paid to the merits or demerits of each particular bill, but that practically every bill of the kind would be forced through by "log-rolling,"
and this, he affirmed, would exercise a demoralizing influence in the community. Opinions identical with those of General White on the subject of divorce were expressed by the Racine Advocate with so much vigor as to attract hostile attention from members of the legislative body who considered their actions impugned; and as the General had been the owner of the newspaper, he was assumed to be the author of the articles. The matter was brought up in 1848 at the final session of the Council; but as he declared the articles were not his, the plan of forcing him to retract or modify his criticism of members who had participated in promoting divorce bills was abandoned.
Throughout his life were scattered instances of generous. public spirit. He donated to Whitestown property for a town hall and a public park. In 1856 he presented to Bishop Kemper the land warrant for forty acres which had been accorded him for his juvenile militia service, and which until that time he had preserved as a souvenir instead of putting it to use.
In his comfortable retirement at Whitesboro, where he passed the remainder of his days, his thoughts often reverted to Wisconsin. He made his last visit to this state in July, 1862, the occasion being commencement week at Racine College, where by invitation of the faculty he delivered an interesting address. In 1877, with thousands of his fellow citizens of northern New York, he assisted in celebrating the centennial of the battle of Oriskany, being one of the officers in charge of the exercises, and taking part in the speaking. In the following year he suffered an irreparable loss in the death of his wife, after a happy comradeship of more than half a century. Their marriage had been blessed with two children: Mary, born in 1824, who was married in July, 1844, and died in October of that year; Esther, born in 1830, who died in infancy. General White died at Whitesboro, February 15, 1883, in his eightyseventh year.
WISCONSIN TROOPS AT THE DEFENSE OF
WASHINGTON IN 1861
CHARLES O. PAULLIN
During the first months of the Civil War the chief task of the federal army was the defense of Washington, and many Union troops first saw active service near the capital. The main Confederate army lay in Virginia to the southwestward, and for a time within sight of the city. After the battle of Bull Run its arrival was daily expected. The part played by Wisconsin troops in and around Washington during these critical months will be described in this paper.
On April 14, 1861, President Lincoln called for seventyfive thousand troops to serve for three months. Wisconsin's quota of this number was one regiment, which, when organized, received the designation First Wisconsin Infantry, or Three Months' Troops. This regiment, however, was not sent to the defense of Washington. As many more men volunteered than were needed, Governor Randall, anticipating the needs of the federal government, authorized the raising of a second regiment-the Second Wisconsin Infantry. On May 3 the President called for five hundred thousand additional troops to serve for three years or during the war, and the Second Wisconsin was mustered into the federal service as part of Wisconsin's quota under the second call. Under the command of Colonel S. Park Coon, the Second reached Washington on June 25 and was quartered first in Woodward's Block on Pennsylvania Avenue and later in Seventh Street Park. On July 2 it crossed the Potomac into Virginia and encamped about two miles in front of Fort Corcoran-the defense of the Aqueduct Bridge at Georgetown-and about ten miles from the advance guard of the Confederate army at Fairfax Court House.1
1 W. D. Love, Wisconsin in the War of the Rebellion (Chicago, 1866), 230.
The army on the south side of the Potomac was commanded by General Irvin McDowell, and was organized into divisions and brigades. The Second Wisconsin was assigned to the third brigade of the first division, with Brigadier-General Daniel Tyler as divisional commander and Colonel William T. Sherman as brigade commander. As Colonel Coon knew nothing of the military art, and as the lieutenant-colonel, Harry W. Peck, was a West Pointer, Sherman placed Peck in command of the regiment and attached Coon to the brigade staff.
Thus commanded, the Wisconsin Second, the only Wisconsin troops to be so distinguished, fought on July 21 at the battle of Bull Run, some twenty-five miles southwest of Washington. The hardest fighting in this battle was done by Sherman's brigade, and the Wisconsin Second gave a good account of itself. Twice it bravely advanced up a hill held by the enemy, pouring into him an effective fire. In his official report Colonel Sherman writes thus of the Wisconsin men:2
When the Wisconsin Second was abreast of the enemy
I ordered it to leave the roadway by the left flank and to attack the enemy. This regiment ascended to the brow of the hill steadily, received the severe fire of the enemy, returned it with spirit, and advanced delivering its fire. The regiment is uniformed in gray cloth, almost identical with that of the great bulk of the secession army, and when the regiment fell into confusion and retreated toward the road there was a universal cry that they were being fired on by our own men. The regiment rallied again, passed the brow of the hill a second time, but was again repulsed in disorder. . . . Colonel Coon of Wisconsin, a volunteer aide, also rendered good service during the day.
The Wisconsin troops lost 24 killed, 65 wounded, and 23 missing a total of 112—a loss exceeded by only three other regiments. The first Wisconsin soldier to fall was Marion F. Humes, of Janesville, who was struck by a cannon ball. He was a plucky and deserving youth, eighteen years old. The previous winter he had attended Milton Academy, where he had applied for work to enable him to
2 Personal Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman (New York, 1875), i, 212-214.
pay his expenses. When asked why he did not receive aid from his friends, he replied: "My mother is dead, my father is sick, and I have spent the most of what I have earned in working by the month during the summer to help support him. But I have wished so much and so long to go to school that I may do some good in the world." Entering the war, he met his fate bravely and contentedly.
The retreat from Bull Run to Washington was effected during the night of the twenty-first and the forenoon of the twenty-second. By noon of the twenty-second the Second Wisconsin was again in its camp in front of Fort Corcoran. On August 27 it was transferred from Sherman's brigade to that of Brigadier-General Rufus King of Wisconsin, and on the same day it crossed the Potomac and encamped on Meridian Hill in the District of Columbia, where were also two other Wisconsin regiments-the Fifth Wisconsin, Colonel Amasa Cobb, and the Sixth Wisconsin, Colonel Lysander Cutler. The Sixth reached Washington on August 7, and the Fifth on the following day. On October 1 the Seventh Wisconsin, Colonel Joseph Van Dor, arrived at the capital. Wisconsin also furnished one company of the first regiment of United States Sharpshooters, which arrived at the instruction camp at Washington on September 25. These four regiments and one company were the only Wisconsin troops that took part in the defense of the capital in 1861.
In September, the Seventh Wisconsin took the place of the Fifth in King's brigade, and the Fifth was assigned to Hancock's brigade. Later in the war King's brigade, after it had proved its courage, received the designation of the "Iron Brigade." These four regiments fought in many of the most important battles in which the Army of the Potomac was engaged.
The Fifth Wisconsin crossed the Potomac in September and was stationed near the Virginia end of Chain Bridge, 'W. D. Love, Wisconsin in the War of the Rebellion, 241.