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2nd Wisconsin Infantry

Regimental History
Second Infantry. — Cols., S. Park Coon, Edgar O'Conner, Lucius Fairchild, John Mansfield; Lieut. -Cols., Henry W. Peck, Duncan McDonald, Thomas S. Allen, George H. Stevens, William L. Parsons; Maj., George H. Otis. This regiment was organized in May, 1861, and was mustered in June 11, with a numerical strength of 1,051. It left the state on June 20 and was the first regiment of three years men to appear in Washington. It was brigaded with three New York regiments under command of Col. W. T. Sherman, Col. Coon being detached for staff duty. The regiment participated in the first battle of Bull Run, losing 30 killed, 125 wounded and 65 missing. It was transferred from Col. Sherman's command to that of Brig. Gen. Rufus King, commanding a brigade consisting of the 5th and 6th Wis. and 19th Ind. infantry. Co. K was detached permanently and organized as heavy artillery, a new Co. K being mustered. Later Gen. King was succeeded by Col. Lysander Cutler and from Dec, 1861, the history of the regiment is merged with that of the famous "Iron Brigade" until it was detached in May, 1864, its loss being the greatest in proportion to numbers of any regiment engaged in the Civil war. The "Iron Brigade" consisted of the 2nd, 6th and 7th Wis., 19th Ind. and 24th Mich. At Bull Run the 2nd regiment bore the brunt of a determined onset by "Stonewall" Jackson's entire division on the Warrenton pike until the brigade could be moved into position and the enemy repulsed. The brigade held the line of battle until the army had passed on the road to Centerville, and was in a later engagement on the Warrenton and Sudley roads. It stormed the enemy's position at South mountain, the 2nd leading on the left of the road and the 6th and 7th on the right, routing the enemy. At Antietam the brigade dislodged the enemy after a severe conflict. At Fredericksburg it held an exposed position, subject to heavy artillery fire. At Gettysburg the regiment led the marching column and was the first to meet the enemy, (Heth's division), advancing upon it and receiving a volley that cut down over 30 per cent of the rank and file. Dashing upon the enemy's center, the 2nd held it in check until the brigade came into line, when the enemy was routed. At Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, Gaines' mill, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and in numerous skirmishes, the "Iron Brigade" added new luster to the Union army, the 2nd Wis. bearing well its part. The regiment became so reduced in numbers that it was permanently detached from the brigade May 11, 1864, and employed as provost guard of the 4th division, 5th army corps until June 11, when it was sent home, the last company being mustered out July 2, 1864. The members who joined subsequent to its original organization were organized into an independent battalion of two companies June 11, 1864, under command of Capt. Dennis B. Dailey. The battalion was assigned to provost duty; took part in the advance and assault on Petersburg and the skirmishes at Yellow house; was transferred to the 1st brigade, 3d division for guard and picket duty; fought at Hatcher's run; and on Nov. 30 was transferred as Cos. G and H to the 6th Wis., with which it remained until mustered out. To its original number was added by recruiting, drafting and reenlistment 215, making a total of 1,266. The death loss was 261; missing, 6; desertions, 51; transferred, 134; discharged, 466; leaving 348 to be mustered out.

Regimental history taken from "The Union Army" by Federal Publishing Company, 1908 - Volume 4

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