Stories told by the Veterans at Iron Brigade Association Reunions
. . . You all know General Sherman . He commanded our Brigade at the battle of Bull Run and for sometimes afterward. It was my misfortune, after the battle, while we were lying at Arlighton Heights to be on picket. I had very strict instructions to challenge everybody going in and out. I stood there feeling that the safety of this country depended upon me, and ready to do my whole duty.
I heard this clattering of harness and the clanking of sabres on the road coming, and in the direction of our camp. I said, “Halt, who goes there?” “Friends.” “Advance, one, and give the countersign.” A man rode up to me. I could not see who it was — it was dark. I got my bayonet very near under his chin — just touching him — and he said: “Take that damned thing away.” I told him I would be obliged to him to give me the countersign right then and there. He managed some way to get his chin by the point of the bayonet, and as he turned and leaned over a little I saw it was General Sherman. I don’t know why he came forward himself for that purpose, but he did.
But I felt I was doing my duty even if the brigade general was on the point of my bayonet. He went on, and then returned and said in a tone that I thought had something of sarcasm in it. “Young man, there are two regiments of infantry coming along behind me — don’t molest them.” (Laughter and applause.)
Well, in a few moments they came along, but I didn’t molest them.
2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
La Crosse, Wis. 1884
. . . At the suggestion of Col. C.A. Hamilton, of the 7th, the Iron Brigade badge, prepared by the local committee at Madison, one of which was presented to each member present, was adopted as the permanent badge of the brigade.
Lancaster, Wis. 1884
Lieut. Gen. Sheridan
President of the Army of the Cumberland
Grand Rapids, Mich.
The association of Iron Brigade of the Army of the Potomac, now in session, sends greeting to the Army of the Cumberland, wishing you a joyful reunion and many returns.
EDWARD S. BRAGG, President
. . . Miss Bessie Callis, daughter of the veteran Gen. John R. Callis [of the 7th Wisconsin], is one of the brightest school ma’ams in Grant Co.
“Oh yes,” said Mrs. Snaggs, “my sister and myself married soldiers, and when we want to go off for a day and don’t want them to bother us, we just get ’em talking about their exploits in the war, and they just sit and talk and forget all about dinner and never notice that we are away . . . Milwaukee Sunday Telegraph, April, 1880
. . . Every mention of General John Gibbon was followed by applause. Sometimes by the clapping of hands and stamping of feet, but oftener by cheers. His absence was deplored. General Gibbon is strongly intrenched in the hearts of his first brigade. It would have done him good to hear the cheers which went up for him when Gen. Bragg read the dispatch which went to Gibbon and also when his response was received. The one sent to the old commander appears in another place.
The response is as follows:
VAN COUVER BARRACKS, W.T., SEPT. 16TH, 1885 — Gen. E.S. Bragg. Health and prosperity to the survivors of the Iron Brigade. Compel. at the point of this bayonet, Capt. Lloyd G. Harris and his troops to gather up the stragglers with the following:
“Here’s a health to every veteran of the old brigade, you know,
Who, on the field of battle, taught a lesson to the foe.
Should our country ever need us in battle for to go,
We still will fight for Union and for Benny Havens, Oh!”
Iron Brigade Association Reunion
Madison, Wis. 1885
MADISON, Wisconsin, April 11th, 1884
R.K. Beecham, Nelign, Nebraska
DEAR COMRADE: I have yours of March 27th. Answering your questions, I have to say that I am positive that the first infantry engaged at Gettysburg was the 2nd Wisconsin volunteers. I saw no troops in advance of us and heard no firing by others until after (a very short time) we were sharply engaged.
We were the extreme advance of the corps. We marched directly and rapidly to near Gettysburg field, to the left, passed thro’ fields going to the rear of the seminary, to the ridge where the cavalry and artillery were engaged. We did not halt an instant, even to load, but marched at a rapid gait until we passed over the ridge the encountered the sharp fire of the enemy . . . .
I am, fraternally yours,
It was a short but pleasant visit we had with Comrade George Fairfield, Co. C, 6th Wisconsin, who resides at Bridgeport. G. M. Stratton, who lived for 16 years in Grant county, and served in the 6th Wisconsin, is now
postmaster at Clay Center, Kansas. Does gallant Lieutenant John W. Davidson of the same regiment live in that section of the country?
Col. M.H. Fitch, of Pueblo, who will be remembered as sergeant major and a lieutenant of the 6th Wisconsin, then as adjutant, major and lieutenant colonel of the 21st, and who, after the war, was pension agent in this city, in a recent letter to a friend in Milwaukee, said: ÒI congratulate you on having elected a republican congressman from Milwaukee. Did you hear the old rebel yell that swept across the country from N.Y. lately? Is this what we fought for?
Milwaukee Sunday Telegraph, December 1, 1884
Annual Reunion of the “Iron Brigade” Association
HELD IN COURT ROOM 309 IN
COUNTY COURT HOUSE.
DES MOINES, IOWA.
Tuesday, September 26th, 1922
Meeting called to order at 10 o’clock with P. B. Gramon in the chair.
Prayer by Rev. F. W. Mutcider. Hon. Carl Garver, Mayor of Des Moines, gave an address of welcome.
Music, by Prof. Ross Miller, who gave some fine selections.
Hon. Howard Clark gave a fine address which made the members of the Brigade feel that they were well
repaid for their trip to Des Moines.
Hugh Perkins, Vice President, took the chair and the following officers were elected for the ensing year.
President and Secretary, Frank Dagle, 601 Flynn Bldg., Des Moines Iowa.
Treasurer, Mrs. Frank Dagle, 601 Flynn Bldg., Des Moines, Iowa.
1st Vice Pres., Hugh Perkins, Hay Springs, Nebraska.
2nd Vice Pres., Henry Marlin.
3rd Vice Pres., Albert C. Morse, Lancaster, Wisconsin.
4th Vice Pres., H.H. Hoffman, Amberst, Wisconsin.
It was moved by Major Gates and seconded by Captain Weatherbee that the president be allowed to appoint Vice Presidents. Motion carried.
Motion to raise a fund to help defray expenses was carried, and the sum of $10.50 was raised.
Moved and seconded that the President appoint a committee of three to draft resolutions on the death of
Col. A.J. Watrous and Capt. W.H. Harries.
Committee on Watrous: Daniel Alton, R.V. Dey, Simon W. Hubbard.
Committee on Harries: Frank Dagle, R.V. Dey, Daniel Alton.
A rising vote was taken to thank the city of Des Moines, and the speakers and musicians, which carried unanimously and met with applause. The meeting adjourned to meet next year at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
THOSE PRESENT WERE:
2nd Wis. Vol. Inft.
Co. A, Milo C. Bennett, Alpine, Texas.
Co. C, Fred Pettygruve, 301 Hulin St., Charles City, Iowa.
Co. D, A.B. Health, Western Branch National Home, Leavenworth, Kansas.
Co. E, Frank Dagle, 601 Flynn Bldg., Des Moines, Iowa.
Co. E, Edward Moscrip, harrisburg, S.Dak.
Co. E, Sebastian Ostertag, Oshkosh, Wis.
Co. G, E.S. Best, Sueprior, Wisconsin.
Co, G, R.V. Dey, Wyocena, Wisconsin.
Co. H, G.W. Stone, Meeker, Colorado.
Co. H, Martin Luther, Colfax, Iowa.
Co. I, Henry Burghardt, Des Moines, Iowa.
Co. I, Philip Lawrence, Pomona, California.
6th Wis. Vol. Inft.
Co. A, George R. Jones, 320 S. Benton Way, Los Angeles, California.
Co. A, John Moore, Mt. Vernon, Washington.
Co. A, W.J. Ketner, Bloomington, Wisconsin.
Co. A, C.W. Farington, Long Beach, Calf.
Co. C, Simon W. Hubbard, 4627 Broadway, Everett, Washington.
Co. C, W.H. Nicholson, 137 Vorba Linda Blvd, Yorba Linda, California.
Co. H, C.B. Chandler, Orleans, Nebraska.
Co. I, L.B.T. Winslow, Janesville, Wis.
Co. K, Daniel Alton, Sawtelle, California.
James Aubrey, Los Angeles, California.
7th Wis. Vol. Inft.
Co. A, Edward W. Parker, Pasadena, Calif.
Co. B, J. Chase Cummins, Orting, Wash.
Co. B, Horace Ripley, 711 South Cedar St. Nevada, Missouri.
Co. C, Edward Hurd, Winneabago, Minnesota.
Co. E, Herman H. Hoffman, Amherst, Wis.
Co. F, A.C. Morse, lancaster, Wiscosnin.
Co. F, Richard V. Huftill, Lancaster, Wisconsin.
Co. G, John O. Anderson, Durnell, Minnesota.
Co. G, Hugh Eavensm, Amherst, Wisconsin.
Co. I, W.W. Davidson, Canistota, S. Dak.
Co. K, W.W. Bowers, 11 South Cedar St., Geneva, Ohio.
24th Mich. Vol. Inft.
Co. A, P.B. Gorman, St. Cloud, Minnesota.
Co. B, Robert M. Wyckoff, Springfield, Mich.
Co. C, H.W. Hughs, Harrison, Michigan.
Co. F, A.H. Cady, 9348 Pryor St., Detroit, Michigan.
Co. H. Robert Morris, 4548 Commonwealth Ave., Detroit, Michigan.
Co. H, R.E. Bolger, 3483 Brooklyn Ave., Detroit, Michigan.
Co. I, John McNeil, Ubly, Michigan.
Co. K, John A. Pattee, Detroit, Michigan.
Elmer Gates, 930 South Lincoln Ave., Chanute, Kansas.
John J. Thorp, Holly, Michigan.
19th Ind. Vol. Inft.
Charles W. Hartup (R.Q.M.) Eagle Pass, Texas
C.E. Harris, Box 416, Virginia City, Minn.
There are some 800 of the Iron Brigade still living, some in each state. We hope all members of the Iron Brigade will consider themselves a committee to help get a large attendance at the meeting next year and keep in mind that the wives and widows are members , also the sons and daughters are full members. Every one please drop the Secretary a card with our name and address so I can keep you posted on the dowings of the Old Brigade that every one wants to know about and don’t forget to wear your Brigade Badge to all meetings. If you don’t have one order one.
September 5, 1923
The grand old veterans of the Iron Brigade paraded down Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee in 1923 as an estimated 10,000 Civil War veterans staged the annual Grand Army of the Republic Reunion.
The “Boys of ’61” were greeted with affection and many autos carried signs reading, “Veterans, hop in!”
A newspaper account of the grand parade on September 5, 1923, stated: “Carrying on in the unconquerable sprit which saved the union from destruction in the days of ’61 to ’65, the “Boys in Blue,” representing the remnant of the Grand Army, went on parade in the morning, participated in festivities in the afternoon at Juneau Park on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan and enjoyed a celebration the lake shore at night.”
The horrors of war can be greatly mitigated by that sovereign remedy, HOLLOWAY’S OINTMENT, as it will cure any wound however desperate, if it be well rubbed, around the wounded parts, and they be kept thoroughly covered with it. A pot should be in every man’s knapsack. Only 25 cents per pot.
— Milwaukee Daily News, 1863