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Dispatches from the Front:  May 1862

By Bruce Weaver II

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The May 1862 Regimental Return for the 15th Wisconsin Infantry began as follows:

Companies, “B, C, D, E & I have been stationed on the main shore Tenn[essee] side opposite Island No. 10 since May 1.” Companies, “H & K on the Island from May 1-19 & on the main shore May 19 to date.”

The writer then identified Companies A, F and I as being on the island since May 1. Rather than listing Company I again, the recorder may have intended to list Company G in this latter grouping with Companies A and F. Wherever the various troops were stationed, they were, “All working in the fortifications & doing picket & guard duty,” throughout the month of May 1862.




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From elsewhere in the theatre of action, here is an on-the-spot depiction of one aspect of picket duty that soldiers of the 15th Wisconsin likely faced from time to time.

Originally published in Harper’s Weekly July 19, 1862; this version was reprinted in Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, 1866, gift of the late Arne Bornhoft, Samband member and Civil War enthusiast.

 

 

 

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Being on picket duty could be very dangerous as these soldiers were serving as the first line of defense for their regiments. They were the buffer zone and early alert system for their fellow countrymen.

Originally published in Harper’s Weekly June 7, 1862; this version reprinted in Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, 1866,

gift of the late Arne Bornhoft, Samband member and Civil War enthusiast.

 

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As certain readers of the May 2012 Budstikken may have received copies inadvertently printed lighter than intended, this particular image is duplicated online with corrected contrast. The scene records activities and duties members of the 15th Wisconsin Infantry probably performed while occupying the former Confederate fortress on Island Number 10.  Originally published in Harper's Weekly, May 3, 1862.

 

The May 2012 National Geographic features an article on the artists who provided the sketches from the field of battle that became the Civil War engravings in the illustrated weeklies of the era. Concurrently, a full length book treatment of the subject is now available. Civil War Sketchbook: Drawings from the Battlefield by Harry L. Katz and Vincent Virga and published by W. W. Norton is a lavishly illustrated coffee table type work. Those interested in the library of Civil War engravings from which we draw will likely find it indispensable. In the main, the hundreds of selections highlighted were largely drawn from the theater in Virginia, which was not part of the 15th Wisconsin’s wartime action. Yet, while few of the sketches and engravings in these pages will be featured in Dispatches from the Front, examples of the work by most of the artists who sketched out the images seen here are included.

 

[Apr] [Dispatches Home]

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