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Thread: 7th Wisconsin Company B "The Columbia County Cadets"

  1. #1
    Charles Hantkee's Avatar
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    Mar 2022

    7th Wisconsin Company B "The Columbia County Cadets"

    Gettysberg day one iron brigade in column.jpgHardee hat.jpg

    7th Wisconsin Company B
    "The Columbia County Cadets"
    Second Bull Run - South Mountain - Antietam -
    Fredericksburg - Chancellorsville - Gettysburg -
    Wilderness - Spotsylvania Court House -
    Cold Harbor - Petersburg - Weldon Railroad -
    Five Forks

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    Company Description
    I have recently taken it upon myself to form a new company on War of Rights, the 7th Wisconsin volunteer infantry Company B or The Columbia County Cadets of the famous Iron Brigade.
    My goal in this endeaver is to try and create a semi realistic recreation of the historical unit and the way it fought. My interest in this stems from the fact that my Great Great Great Grandfather fought in this unit from its origins in August 1861 until July 3rd 1863 where he was wounded at Gettysburg, after which he was transfered to the reserve corps because of his left arm being amputated. As I am new to War of Rights I look forward to building this company into a group of people that are interested in the history of the Iron Brigade as well as the Civil War and anyone who enjoys this game. I look forward to building the unit of my ancestor and hope to meet new people who enjoy Civil War history as I do. Anyone interesed in joining don't hesitate to ask! Also when the time comes that there are enough people in the unit we will set up events and training days that will work for those involved,
    Charles Hantkee"Erick"

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    Unit History
    Company B of the 7th Wisconsin was formed in August of 1861 in Coumbus, Columbia County Wisconsin at its start the Captain of the company was James H. Hunters and the Colonel of the 7th was Joseph Van Don later he was replaced by Colonel William W. Robinson.

    The 7th Wisconsin as in all regiments in the Civil War was divided into lettered companies and the 7th had A-K. Company A was the Lodi Guards, Company B was the Columbia County Cadets, Company C was the Platteville Guards, Company D was the Stoughton Light Guard, Company E was the Marquette County Sharp Shooters, Company F was the Lancaster Union Guards, Company G was Grand Rapids Union Guards, Company H was the Badger State Gaurds, Company I was the Northwestern Tigers and finally Company K or the Badger Rifles.

    7th wisconsin national flag.jpg RobinsonWWironbrigade.jpg

    After each company was recruited the 7th Wisconsin was mustered in on September 2nd 1861 where they began their training at Camp Randall Wisconsin which would last until they completed taining on September 21st 1861. With training completed they promptly boarded a train for Washington D.C. where they would arrive on October 1st 1861 there joining the 2nd and 6th Wisconsin under the command of Brigadier General Rufus King. Within the next few weeks the Wisconsin men were to be joined by the 19th Indiana as well as Batterey B of the 4th U.S. Artillary.

    Rufus King would continue to lead these western men until he was replaced by John Gibbon as Brigadier General on May 7th 1862. It was at this point under the direction of John Gibbon that it was decided the state militia uniforms needed to be replaced as the Wisconsin uniforms were a grey almost the same color as the Confederate grey. His choice on uniforms for the men under his command would be that of the dress uniform of the regulars in the Union army which consisted of, the Model 1858 Hardee Hat with brass insignia of a bugle and company letter and regiment number on the front and a brass eagle pin to hold up one side of the brim and a black ostrich feather on the other side as well as a blue cord around the hat to designate infantry, A dark blue knee lenth frock coat with blue piping, light blue trousers, white leggings or gaiters, lastly white cotton gloves. This uniform making Gibbons brigade stand out from the rest of the Union army.

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    Each regiment of the Iron Brigade was equipped with a different style musket. The 2nd Wisconsin was given the .54 caliber Austrian Lorenz rifled musket. The 6th Wisconsin was equipped with Belgian rifled muskets. The 7th Wisconsin left their home state with smoothbore Springfield muskets in .69 caliber but had them replaced around the time Gibbon took command with the Austrian Lorenz rifled musket but these were bored out to .58 caliber to be able to use the Minie ball. The 19th Indiana had Springfield rifled muskets.

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    The men of the 7th Wisconsin took part in almost every major battle in the theater of the war they were involed in the only notable exclusion would have been First Bull Run since they were not formed yet, although their sister regiment the 2nd Wisconsin did fight at First Bull Run. The battles the 7th Wisconsin took part in were. Brawner Farm where they would face off with Trimbles men from Stonewall Jacksons brigade where they would suffer heavy casualties while courageously holding the line. Second Bull Run where again the 7th would face Stonewall Jacksons men again and eventually cover the Union armies retreat that day. South Mountain here the 7th Wisconsin would fight Confederates from the 6th, 23rd and 28th Georgia regiments in front of a stone wall, at this battle the 7th would suffer extremely high casualties but continued to hold fast even when nearly out of ammunition and eventually halting a Confederate advance and in so doing being instrumental in ending the battle, it was at this engagment that Gibbons men were given the nickname the Iron Brigade since it is said General McClellan stated those men stood like "iron".

    Antietam during this battle the 7th Wisconsin would fight in the Dunker Church area where again they would meet Stonewall Jacksons men on the field although this time being reinforced by a heavy deployment of Confederate artillary, after this batle the 7th Wisconsin which had 1106 men in late 1861 only had 190 men left. Fredericksburg where the men of the 7th would join the 24th Michigan and cross an area of the Rappahannock called Franklins Crossing and eventually fight in a pine woods once across the river. Chancellorsville the part of the battle the 7th Wisconsin took part in was called Fitzhugh Crossing where they would assist pontoon boats across the river and help clear the Confederates dug in on the other side.

    Gettysburg where the men of the 7th Wisconsin were apart of the first infantry units engaged on the first day where they would fight against Confederates from Tennessee and Alabama under General Archers command in McPhersons woods, eventually the regiments of the Iron Brigade over ran the enemy capturing General Archer in the process. The 7th would continue to fight around this area for the rest of the day until finally falling back to Seminary ridge where in that area they would continue to fight valliantly despite heavy losses. They would continue to defiently fight for the rest of the day even though they had sustained heavy losses, exhaustion, and low ammunition. Eventually the men of the 7th Wisconsin and the rest of the Union army took up defensive positions along Culps Hill, Cemetary Hill, Cemetary Ridge, and Little Round Top. For the remaining two days at Gettysburg the men of the Iron Brigade would see little action. After the fighting at Gettysburg the Iron Brigade had essentially had their last stand with their strenght at the start of the battle being 1883 men with the loss of 1212 men they only had 671 men left in the entire brigade, the 7th Wisconsin alone lost 52% of its men.

    Because of these terrible losses the brigade needed to be supplemented which they were, but men from eastern states ect. filled these spots thus the Iron Brigade lost its identity of being an all western brigade. But the 7th Wisconsin would continue to fight once they got the new recruits these battles include, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, and Five Forks.


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    7th Wisconsin Casualties

    The following is a list of full strength numbers and various casualties for the 7th Wisconsin. With these numbers when they are compared to the rest of the Union army and listed from highest to lowest casualties the 7th Wisconsin ranks 3rd on the list for the total number of battles deaths in the Union army, and it ranks 6th in the entire Union army on the list for the percentage of their total strenth lost to battle death.

    Total Strength- 1630
    Battle Deaths- 281
    Disease Deaths- 146
    Total Deaths- 427
    Percentage Deaths- 26.2%
    Percentage Battle Deaths- 17.2%

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    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Very nice research. Since I moved here to WI, the Iron Brigade had been quite a historic journey!
    Pennsylvania born, I've found my home in WI.

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