Military Record of Clark County, Wisconsin
Compiled by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge,
Chicago and Winona, H. C. Cooper Jr., & Co. in 1918, Pg. 721-726.
When President Lincoln, in 1861, called upon the loyal North for volunteers to aid the government of the United States in suppressing the rebellion in the Southern States, the County of Clark responded nobly. It then had within its borders about 120 families and a population, all told, of approximately 800. There are no records attainable relative to any enlistments for three months’ service, if there were any, but the county furnished to one company of the 14th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry about thirty men. They were all enlisted and enrolled in Co. I of that regiment for three years, and when they left the state to take the field the company was in command of Captain Calvin R. Johnson, of Black River Falls, an able lawyer and a good soldier.
The Fourteenth Regiment, it is said, was one of the best that Wisconsin put in the field. It left the state early in March, 1862, and in less than thirty days was engaged in the battle of Shiloh, where it lost nearly 100 men in killed, wounded and missing. In October of the same year the regiment lost ninety-five men killed, wounded and missing at the battle of Corinth.
The members of this regiment were with Grant at Vicksburg, in 1863, and in a charge before that city in May of that year they sustained the loss of 107 men. On the surrender of Vicksburg the regiment was given the post of honor and led the advance of the troops on their entry into the surrendered city. The members of the Fourteenth also saw service on the Re River expedition and a portion of it was with General Sherman in his Atlanta campaign. Early in 1865 they were sent to New Orleans, and shortly after were engaged with the enemy at Spanish Fort until its surrender, and were in various skirmishes along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. They were not mustered out until Oct. 9, 1865, about six months after the surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomattox Court House. General Sherman, in his memoirs, referring to regiments from Wisconsin, states that her regiments were kept filled with recruits, whereas other states generally filled their quota by new regiments, and the result was that he estimated a Wisconsin regiment equal to an ordinary brigade. The following is a list of the members of Company I, Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, who resided in Clark County at the time of their enlistment :
Ayers, Charles Bacon, Charles F. Bone, Chauncey Blakeslee, Wilson S. Covill, My G. Chamberlain, Benjamin Darling, Charles W. Foote, James W. Ferguson, Benjamin Folsom, Alexander Green, Edward Houghton, Joseph Ives, John F. King, George R. King, Louis Lynch, Edward H. Markey, Andrew J. Manley, William Neverman, John O’Neill, Nelson Osgood, Henry Ross, Robert F. Sturdevant, John R. Sturdevant, Washington Short, Schlinsog, Cyrus 0. Sturgeon, Thomas Vine, Ferdinand C. Wage and Thomas Whitmore.
Charles G. Bacon was wounded at the battle of Shiloh and died as the result of his wounds. He was a son of Orson Bacon, one of the early settlers in the town of Pine Valley. The entire farm of the elder Bacon is now comprised within the boundaries of the city of Neillsville, and is quite extensively built up with handsome residences. The Grand Army Post at Neillsville is named in honor and memory of young Bacon. The following is a list of the Clark County members of Company I, who were either killed, died of wounds, or lost their lives by disease in the South in their line of duty:
Charles G. Bacon, John O’Neill, Henry Ross, Washington Short, Thomas Whitmore, Louis Lynch, Ayers, Schlinsog. Louis Lynch was a son of James Lynch, who was early located at Neillsville, and lived upon the block where the Congregational Church is now situated. John O’Neill was a son of James O’Neill, the founder of Neillsville. Washington Short’s family is still prominent in the county. Henry Ross was a brother of Robert Ross, the lumberman, who, for years, resided at what is known as Ross’ Eddy, about a mile from Neillsville. Young Schlinsog was a son of Carl Schlinsog, and a brother of William Schlinsog, a prominent farmer citizen of the town of Grant.
Of these men in 1909, Robert J. MacBride wrote: “Since the close of the war many members have died, and at the present time there remain living only ten of the original number. Those now living are: James Ferguson, who resides in the state of Washington, and who is engaged in the hardware business at Wenatchee. George R. King, whose home is at Humbird in this county, is a son of George W. King, a prominent man in early days, who held the offices of member of assembly, district attorney, sheriff and clerk of county board of supervisors of the county. Thomas R. Vine is one of the survivors and his home is in the town of Warner, his post office address being Greenwood. Joseph Ives is at present living at the Soldiers’ Home in the state of Oregon, near the city of Portland. John Sturdevant is living in the city of Neillsville. He is known more familiarly as Rufe Sturdevant. Since the war he has held the offices of district attorney and county judge, and at present is one of the court commissioners of the Circuit Court for Clark County. Edward Houghton is now a resident of Tacoma, Wash. He was the county treasurer of Clark County for two years. In the war times his home was at Houghtonberg in the southwestern part of the county, now in the town of Mentor. The hamlet took its name from the family, of which he was a member. Robert S. Sturdevant, whose home is at Olympia in the state of Washington, was, after the war, register of deeds, and also district attorney of Clark County. After becoming a resident of Washington he has held in that state the offices of state’s attorney and served a term as district judge, a court corresponding to our Circuit Court in Wisconsin. Both the Sturdevants, Robert F. and J. B., are sons of James W. Sturdevant, one of the old settlers, who was a resident here at the time of the organization of the county. Wilson S. Covill is engaged in the hotel business at Olympia, Wash. He married at Neillsville Isabella S. O’Neill, the eldest daughter of James O’Neill our first settler. She was the first white child born in Clark County. Mr. McCovill held the office of sheriff of Clark County during the years 1869 and 1870. Among those who died after returning from the war, and who had held official position in Clark County, were William T. Hutchinson and Edward H. Markey. Mr. Hutchinson died at Neillsville, Oct. 4, 1876, in the thirty-ninth year of his age. He held the office of county treasurer at the time of his death, and had held the office of register of deeds for several years. For some years he was in Partnership with Judge Dewhurst in the real estate business, under the firm name of Dewhurst & Hutchinson. Edward H. Markey died at Neillsville Sept. 15, 1894, and for some years was clerk of the Circuit Court. Mr. Markey, in the early days, drove stage and carried the mail twice a week from Black River Falls to Neillsville and Weston Rapids. While he was not a county official, Andrew J. Manley, in 1866, was a candidate for county treasurer, but was defeated at the polls by E. H. McIntosh Mr. Manley died a number of years ago in Minnesota Charles F. Bone, who died a few years ago at Rice Lake, in Barron County was a step-son of Samuel Ferguson one of the very earliest of the settlers was a printer by trade and set type on the Clark County Advocate Clark County Republican and Clark County Journal. As a boy he was slim in stature, but was always jolly and good natured. He left Neillsville and removed to Barron County, where he established the Rice Lake Chrono-type, and continued in the newspaper business until the time of his death. In his later years he became excessively stout and was a fair rival in that respect with his brother editor, the late Col. George C. Ginty, of Chippewa Falls. Mr. Bone’s son still publishes a newspaper at Rice Lake. It is interesting to state that the whole membership of Company I was made up substantially of residents of Clark and Jackson counties. It was a Black River company, and a number of surviving members now reside in Jackson County.
“On Oct. 9, 1866, the Clark County survivors held their first reunion at the Hubbard House, at Neillsville, it being the first anniversary of their musterout from the United States service The Hubbard House was situated on the same site as the present Merchant’s Hotel. The landlord was I. K. Hubbard, better known as ‘Kale’ Hubbard. At this first reunion W. T. Hutchinson delivered an address; there was supper, music and dancing and a general good time. These reunions of the surviving members were kept up for two or three years, after which a reunion of the old soldiers, irrespective of what company or regiment they were attached to, or what state they came from, was for many years held on the ninth day of October at Neillsville Some of them were elaborate affairs A parade would be held, consisting of the local military company and the old soldiers speeches were made, and in general it was a red letter day in the calendar Many now living will recall these parades, with Major George W. Hubbel Captain George Austin and Captain Tom La Flesh mounted on their Prancing steeds and riding at the head of the column. Two of those named have had ‘taps’ sounded for them. Major Hubbel and Captain La Flesh both died a few years ago, the former in Wisconsin the latter in California. Capt Austin is still with us, erect as a flagstaff, and hate and hearty, although he years ago passed the three-score and ten years allotted to us by the psalmist.
“On one occasion ‘Old Abe,’ the famous war eagle of the Eighth Wisconsin, was brought to Neillsville to take part in the reunion. He was considered somewhat of a precious bird, for he had Asst. Q. M. General McDonald and Captain J. W. Tolford, both of Madison, as the escort for him, and for his care and perch. The distinction of carrying ‘Old Abe’ seated on his perch was eagerly sought by many of the boys, the honor being awarded to the late John F. King, who was provided with a special guard. At another reunion the boys borrowed from the state authorities at Madison a cannon that was captured by the Fourteenth Regiment at the battle of Shiloh. It was part of a rebel battery, and this particular piece was spiked by Lieut. George Staley of Co. D. The state has had possession of it since the close of the war, and it is at present in the capitol park at Madison. On this occasion a sham battle was fought about a quarter of a mile southeast from the Neillsville high school. Louis Sontag and James Delane were in charge of the piece. By some carelessness on the part of one or both of them a premature discharge took place and Delane lost one of his arms.”
May 1, 1875, the Clark County Zouaves, a military organization, was incorporated in Neillsville, with J. W. Tolford as captain, and thirty privates. In February, 1878, the company was reorganized, the name changed to the Sherman Guards, and as such became part of the Third Battalion, Wisconsin State Militia.
The Sherman Guards gradually developed into Co. A, of the Third Wisconsin National Guard. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War the company went into service. The Third Regiment was practically a northern or northwestern Wisconsin regiment. Its commanding officer was Col. Martin M. Moore, of La Crosse, and its lieutenant colonel was B. F. Parker. Captain Henry Klopf, of Neillsville, was adjutant of the regiment, but he resigned while in camp at Chickamauga, and did not see any service with the regiment when they were in the West Indies.
The company was not wholly a Neillsville company, although largely so. Numerous members of it came from other parts of Clark County. However, it was distinctly a Clark County company of soldiers, and in their limited service they did credit to the nation, to the state and to the county from whence they came.
The proclamation of the President of the United States, asking for volunteers, was published on April 23, 1898. Within two weeks Company A was at its rendezvous at Camp Harvey, near Milwaukee, Wis., and on May 11, 1898, was mustered into the service of the United States by Captain W. L. Buck, of the Thirteenth United States Regular Infantry.
The following list of officers and men is taken from the muster-in roll of the adjutant-general of the United States at the War Department, Washington, D. C.: Captain, John W. Hommel; first lieutenant, William J. Brewster; second lieutenant, Ole A. Jackson; first sergeant, Frank Burnett; quartermaster sergeant, Charles E. Lee; sergeants, Daniel W. Gates, Walter R. Calway, Julius Neverman; corporals, Elmer Glass, Allen Wildish, Emil Ketel, Lee I. Redmond, Albert J. Beardsley and Henry Frantz; musicians, William Campbell and Harry F. Darling; hospital steward, George W. Ascott; artificer, Charles A. Youmans; wagoner, Henry Ross; privates, John Anderson, W. H. Adkins, Guy Allen, Charles M. Burnett, Lester Beaulieu, Edward Barton, William A. Bone, William A. Campman, Willard A. Cole, Leo Edgebert, Einest Eggeman, Henry Gustavson, Ellwood Gergçn, Bert E. Hart, Carl B. Hanson, Martin Hauge, Dan H. Higgins, Bermey Hicks, E. R. Harrington, J. J. Holub, John A. Heath, Warren Hardison, Arthur Howe, Charles H. Jones, Arnold Knoop, Edward King, Clyde Lloyd, Ray Lapp, Benjamin F. Lewis, Roland Meade, Rob J. MacBride, Jr., Ed McNamara, William Maxwell, Adolf M. Maeder, Amos H. Neely, Ellis Noyes, William Nebel, Thomas Northrup, Peter H. Oleson, Ernest J. Page, Bernard J. Pulsifer, P. F. Ploof, Charles Peterson, George Rude, Caspar Rhiner, Henry F. Rundle, Frank Ruddock, Oscar Rude, Frank E. Stanley, William
Southard, William A. Scovill, Alfred Sherman, Thomas C. Stockwell, Frank Shields, Lewis F. Schnell, Otto H. Schwab, Frank Tenant, Hugh W. Whitcomb, George A. Wightman, Mark Welsh, William J, Waterman.
The Third Regiment remained at Chickamauga for several weeks, afterwards was encamped at Charleston, S. C., where, in common with other regiments that were completed there, it underwent the severe practice march, directed by General Ernst, and which, at the time, was severely criticized. After a few weeks at Charleston the Third Regiment sailed for Porto Rico, and was among the first of the regiments to effect a landing at Ponce, on the Spanish island. The Third Regiment was brigaded with the Second Wisconsin and the Sixteenth Pennsylvania, and a month after landing at Ponce the brigade started on a march through the island from Ponce, the objective point being San Juan on the northern coast of the island. The brigade marched from Ponce and arrived at, or near, Albinto Pass, where the Spanish troops were encamped and partially fortified, and where an engagement took place in which two members of the Sparta company of the Third Regiment were killed by a shell from the Spanish artillery. The regiment then proceeded on its march as far as Cayey, where the protocol was signed and peace finally declared. Company A returned to its home station at Neillsville late in the year 1898, having seen a little less than a year’s service.
The casualties of the company were as follows: Sergeant Daniel Gates died of typhoid fever at Chickamauga Ellis Noyes and Frank E. Stanley died in Porto Rico from disease contracted in their line of duty, and Bernard J. Pulsifier died at Neillsville, Wis., shortly after the return of the company from disease contracted in the service. Both Lieutenant Brewster and Lieut. Ole Jackson died some years after the return of the company, but attributable to disease contracted in the service.
In June, 1916, Co. A left Neillsville for service on the Mexican border. At that time the company was constituted as follows:
Captain A. C. Martin, First Lieut. Allen Wildish, Second Lieut. Leo Jackson, First Sergeant. Fred Rossman, Q. M. Sergeant. Charles Pool, Sergeants Ed. Zschernitz, Mat. Miller, Joseph Haugen, Ben Brown; Corporals George Glass, John Southard, James Jacques, Austin Peterson, Marion Benedict, Edward Meade; Musicians, Arthur Haugen, Robert Dwyer; Art. Joseph Feltzer; Cook Free Carlton, Cook John Bast; Privates Fred Atkins, Colonel Larson, Norman Larson, Ernest Luedtke, William Montgomery, Milton McPherson, Carl Moen, Tim Nelson, Arney Peterson, Orl Page, Ernest Preisig, Carl Rabenstein, M. Rabenstein, George Rupprecht, George Stelloh, Hugh Selves, Elmer Selves, S. Schwitzenburg, Frank Brown, Frank Barton, J. D. Cummings, Albert Dahnert, Bert flux, Arthur Evans, Algie Fischer, Herman Haugen, Thorniel Haugen, Nelvin Haugen, Otto Haugen, Lyle Heaslett, Henry Hoganson. George Hoffman, Floyd Hanson, Glenn Howard, Henry Range, Ole Johnson, William Kelley, L. J. Langraff, Everett Wildish, Tony Zimmer, Ernest S. Vine, James A. Briggs, Charlton Briggs, F. A. Briggs, Earl F. Bemis, Leland Davis, Gregory Williams, Roy A. Hart, Albert Hahn, Herman Krool, Henry Laffe, Seward Laffe, Fred Laffe, Glen Purre, S. C. Schwartz, Raymond Stuve, Chester Williams, Paul King, Adolph Zillar. Rex Beeckler; Paul Feltzer, Chester Lawton, Frank Johnson, Ernest Todd1 Perry Thayer, Harry Rose, William Jacobi, Eon Beeckler, Adalbert Gardner. George King, G. C. Allen, Fred Karger, J. F. Henning, Robert Glass, Warner Just, Peter Kagel, William Schroeder, Herbert Lowe, Jack Regis, Herbert Radke.
The company did its duty and returned from service Dec. 21, 1916. in the summer of 1917 it was again called into service, doing guard duty at Two Harbors, Minn., for a while, and then, after being recruited, going to Camp Douglas, Wis., and subsequently to Waco, Texas. There the company was divided and is now in service in France.
The part Clark County is taking in the World War is too recent to be here recorded. An Historical Society has been formed, of which Judge James O’Neill is the president, and Forrest D. Calway the secretary, and this society is gathering all the data for preservation through future years. A record is to be kept of every soldier from Clark County, and aside from this all newspaper files, pamphlets, documents and the like are to be carefully indexed and filed in the archives.
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