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Civil War Soldiers - Wistar

Wistar, Isaac J., brigadier-general, U.S. Army, was born in the city of Philadelphia Nov. 14, 1827, and was educated at Westtown and Haverford, Pa. On June 28, 1861, he was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the 71st Pa. infantry, originally known as "the California regiment," which was recruited in Philadelphia during April and May, 1861, by Edward D. Baker, U. S. senator from Oregon, under special authority from President Lincoln. On July 1 the regiment proceeded to Fortress Monroe and was immediately assigned to picket and scouting duty. After Bull Run it moved to Washington, and on Sept. 11 it first came under any considerable fire, when Col. Wistar displayed a spirit which proved his excellent material. Early in October the regiment moved to Poolesville, Md., where with other regiments it formed the Philadelphia brigade, commanded by Col. Baker, a part of Gen. Stone's division of Gen. Banks' army. In the first serious engagement at Ball's bluff Col. Baker fell at the head of his command while cheering his men, and on Nov. 11, 1861, Lieut. -Col. Wistar was commissioned colonel of the regiment, going into winter quarters with his men while their decimated ranks were recruited. In the spring he led his regiment in McClellan's Peninsular campaign, assigned to Sedgwick's division, Sumner's corps. He was engaged at Fair Oaks, in the actions along the Chickahominy, at Savage Station, and Charles City cross-roads, and his regiment acted as artillery support at Malvern hill. He made a forced march with Sumner's corps, reaching the battle field of the second Bull Run toward the close of the action, and his regiment served as rear-guard to Pope's retreat, constantly skirmishing as far as Chain bridge. He was in reserve at the battle of South mountain, but was heavily engaged at Antietam, where he was severely wounded while leading a charge. On Nov. 19, 1862, Col. Wistar was commissioned brigadier-general of volunteers and served in that capacity until Sept. 15, 1864, when he resigned his commission and returned to the pursuits of civil life, in which he won distinction as a writer and speaker on penology.

Source: The Union Army: A History of Military Affairs in the Loyal States 1861-1865, Volume 8 Biographical, 1908

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