3rd Wisconsin InfantryOrganized: Fond du Lac, WI; mustered in July 1861
Disbanded/Mustered out: Madison, WI 7/24/1865
|Commanding Officer: |
Col Thomas H Ruger
|Statistics for Maryland Campaign|
Initial Strength: 340
Killed in Action (KIA): 27
Wounded (WIA): 173
Losses, % of Initial Strength: 58.8%
Maps Showing this Unit:
Detail Map #2: Hood's Division Retakes the Cornfield
Detail Map #3: Mansfield's XII Corps Attacks Into the Cornfield
Detail Map #4: Greene's High-Water Mark in the West Woods
Detail Map #5: Sedgwick is Flanked in the West Woods
Battlefield Tablets for this Unit:
Tablet #120: Army of the Potomac - 17 Sep, 5 AM to 17 Sep, 12 PM
Tablet #54: Gordon's Brigade, Williams' Division - 17 Sep, 6 AM to 17 Sep, 10 AM
Tablet #27: Twelfth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 6 AM to 17 Sep, 12 PM
Tablet #28: Williams' Division, Twelfth Army Corps - 17 Sep, 6 AM to 17 Sep, 5 PM
Tablet #55: Gordon's Brigade, Williams' Division - 17 Sep, 9 AM to 17 Sep, 10 AM
This Regiment's Chain of Command:
Army - Army of the Potomac
Corps - Twelfth (XII) Army Corps
Division - 1st Division, XII Corps
Brigade - 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, XII Corps
History of the Unit:
Formed in the initial Federal call for 75,000 volunteers, the 3rd's first Colonel was Charles S. Hamilton, with West Point graduate Thomas Ruger as Lieutenant Colonel. They first saw action 16 October 1861 in a skirmish at Bolivar Heights, Virginia. They were in Banks' Corps in the Valley Campaign in Spring 1862, and were in combat at Cedar Mountain in August, after which they became part of the XII Corps, Army of the Potomac.
In the Antietam Campaign:
The unit was posted just north of the Miller Cornfield at dawn on 17 September, and was hit by Hood's Division emerging from the corn at about 7:30 am. Colonel Ruger was slightly wounded there in leading the regiment, but remained in command and on the field.
" 'The Third Wisconsin was in a very exposed position,' wrote Lieutenant Bryant, 'and it's lines thinned rapidly. It stood on higher ground than the Confederates, the sky behind it, in good musket range and close line -- a good target.' "
A short time later, as Hood's attack receded, " General Hooker was seen galloping up, blood dripping from his boot. He ordered the Wisconsin men to fix bayonets and pursue. There are only 60 men left! Joining them was the Twenty-Seventh Indiana, which increased the number to about 150. 'With a whoop and hurrah, our regiment and the Twenty-Seventh Indiana started down through the cornfield,' [wrote Captain] Hinkley. 'General Hooker himself leading like a captain.' "
"At charge-bayonets, the two western units advanced across the cornfield. The flags of Indiana and Wisconsin flapped wildly in the breeze. The ground was strewn with the bodies of the Confederates. Towards the woods, at the edge of the cornfield, they marched. Suddenly a staff officer gallopped up and ordered the small attacking line of blue to halt and get out of the way. A division was advancing towards that position from the east. 'This was all that prevented us from assaulting a position with about a hundred and fifty men,' reported Hinkley, 'which a few minutes later Sedgwick's division, with five or six thousand, failed to carry.' "
(quoted from Wozny)
The remainder of the War:
The regiment was at Chancellorsville, Brandy Station, and Gettysburg. Near Christmas 1863, the entire regiment reenlisted for 3 more years' service, later seing action on General Sherman's Atlanta, Savannah, and Carolina Campaigns of 1864 - 5. They mustered out of Federal service at Louisville, KY, 18 July 1865, and returned to Madison, WI where they were disbanded.
References, Sources, and other Notes:
Source: Pass the Flag, an article about the 3rd Wisconsin at Antietam by Michael A. Wozny, and other excellent material posted online at the Third Wisconsin Veteran Volunteer reenactors' site, webmaster David Frohmader.
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