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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"
Chapter 11 - Eau Claire County in the Civil War
by W. W. Bartlett
(-as transcribed from pages 77 - 82)
Departure of the Badgers
Claire Free Press, 19 Sept. 1861)
Eau Claire Badgers took their departure from this place for Madison,
to a campaign in "Secessia," last Friday morning on board the steamboat
Whipple." Nearly every community in this county and Chippewa
representative -- a volunteer offering in the cause of patriotism --
he ranks of the company, and this, with the fact that the company is to
off into active service almost immediately, combined to make the
one of more than ordinary interest to people of the upper Chippewa
The company formed in front of the Eau Claire House about 10
and after a little preliminary marching, proceeded to the boat, greeted
the way by cheers and good-byes innumerable. At the boat a
was gathered, and the next half-hour was spent in leave-taking. The
was truly an effective one. Everybody was busy with the
to relatives or friends.
sob and greeting,
the passing moments. Hand were shaken time and again, "good-byes"
over and over, words of blessing, encouragement, cheer and advice
reciprocally many times. At last, after repeated impatient
from the whistle of the boat, and call after call from the officers,
company was all gotten aboard and the boat slowly left the shore, amid
cheers and parting calls and adjurations, succeeded by waving of hats
handkerchiefs, till the boat rounded the bend and was out of view.
it rumored that another company will be gotten up here
The noble response from every direction to fill the Badger ranks
that another company could be immediately raised. The present company
about 100 men, and within six weeks that number can be doubled with the
right kind of timely effort. We have fine military ability
and we hope it will come voluntarily into service. Who will
forward and take the initiative?"
THE CHIPPEWA VALLEY GUARDS
(The Eau Claire Free Press, 31 Oct. 1861)
What an eulogium upon the patriotism of the valley is the fact that such numbers have gone to the wars; and yet the number is rapidly increasing. The Chippewa Valley Guards are daily adding to their numbers, and at the present rate their ranks will soon be complete. The work of recruiting goes on nobly. M. E. O'Connell is drilling the company and is making good headway.
(The Eau Claire Free Press, 5 Dec. 1861)
The members of the Chippewa Valley Guards met on Monday evening and elected, without a dissenting vote, John R. Wheeler as their captain. This is a high and well deserved compliment. Mr. Wheeler has won the confidence of all the members of the company, and by his energy in getting it up, the admiration of our citizens.
(The Eau Claire Free Press, 19 Dec. 1861)
On Monday evening a grand ball was given at Reed's hall to the Chippewa Valley Guards, at which time a beautiful flag, a gift from the patriotic ladies of Eau Claire, was presented to the company. The hall was crowded to its utmost capacity. At about half past nine o'clock the members of the guards were formed in line by M. E. O'Connell, and after a short exhibition showing what proficiency they had obtained in drilling, were addressed by H. W. Barnes, Esq., in a neat and appropriate presentation speech.
Mr. Porter was called upon to respond for the guards.
The company here gave three rousing cheers for the ladies of Eau Claire. The next morning an immense throng of people gathered to witness the departure of the guards. They marched up to the front of the public building to the tune of "The Girl I Left Behind Me," where blankets were furnished and vehicles were provided for their conveyance to Sparta.
A noticeable feature in the procession was a live eagle. This is the second bird of this kind that has gone to the war from Eau Claire; and his imperial highness seemed to enjoy it hugely.
NOTE -- I find no further mention of this eagle, and it is unknown what his fate was. He certainly never attained the fame of Old Abe of the Eighth Wisconsin. - W. W. B.
we give the names of the men who answered the roll call and took their
As was always the case in the recruiting of companies, there are some names to be found on this original list which do not appear in the official roster of the company, showing that these persons were not mustered into service in the company, although some or all of them may have gone out in other companies later on.Of those enumerated above the follower are not found in the official roster of the company:
On the other hand, the names given constitue but a small part of those who were in this company during its service, as the state roster contains no less than 267 names of members of Company G, Sixteenth Wisconsin Volunteers.
The offices of first and second lieutenant were not filled until the company reached Madison, where, on the 4th of January, 1862, William H. POND, of Eau Claire was chosen first lieutenant, and Cyrus A. ALLEN, of North Pepin, second lieutenant. M. E. O'CONNELL, who went out as first sergeant, became second lieutenant in September, 1862. Before the close of the war Captain Wheeler was promoted to the rank of major.
THE EAU CLAIRE RANGERSScarcely was the recruiting of the company known as the Chippewa Valley Guards well begun before a move was mde to organize still a third company. Mr. Porter did not consider it a wise move and his feelings are expressed in an editorial under date of Nov. 14, 1861. It may be explained here that the third company was being recruited by A. M. Sherman, and as infantry. It was not until some weeks later that the decision was made to change it to a cavalry company. Although at this time Mr. Porter did not think it possible to recruit two companies, and favored the Wheeler company only, still, later when it was demonstrated that both companies couldbe made up, Mr. Porter heartily complimented Sherman on his energy, perseverance and success.
(Free Press, Nov. 28, 1861)
The Eau Claire Rangers, Captain A. M. Sherman, have enlisted forty men at Patch Grove, near Prairie du Chien, and are now accepted in Colonel Washburn's regiment of cavalry, and will proceed at once to winter quarters at Milwaukee, where they are to be furnished with horses, uniforms and equipment. Their quarters are said to be comfortable, and attached to them are parade grounds for cavalry drill and a hall for fencing and gymnastic exercises. If the men who have enlisted here come promptly to the scratch the company will leave this place the first week in December. A few more are needed, and as this is the only chance to join cavalry in the northwest, the ranks will undoubtedly be filled at once. We can certainly commend the energy of Captain Sherman in succeeding with the company and the fact is a high and well deserved compliment.
(Free Press, Dec. 1, 1861)
Captain Sherman's company of cavalry, the Eau Claire Rangers, left this place for Milwaukee Tuesday and Wednesday of last week. Including those that went yesterday it numbered seventy men, and without disparagement to any other we may safely say that in point of size and muscular development they were the finest body of men that will probably leave this state.
The following is a list of officers and enlisted men of the Rangers:
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