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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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History of Sheboygan County


     Sheboygan County bore bravely its portion in that great struggle, the war of the rebellion, and a large proportion men, in the strength of their prime and vigor of young manhood, devoted themselves to the cause of their country, while those who stayed to care for the business interests at home showed their loyalty and patriotism in other ways. No sooner had the news of the fall of Fort Sumter reached Sheboygan, than her citizens where roused at once in patriotic indignation, and rallied immediately to respond to the call of President Lincoln for the handful of troops with which it was thought to quell rebellion and restore the stars and stripes to the ascendancy on rebel soil. On Sunday, April 14, 1861, meetings were held in Sheboygan and throughout the county to urge the enlistment of volunteers, and on the following Sunday, the 21st of April, the first company was organized under Capt. Edmund B. Gray, afterward known as Company C, Fourth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, which regiment was subsequently re-organized as a cavalry regiment. This regiment went into camp at Racine, and on the 28th of June Company C was ordered to Milwaukee, to aid in quelling a riot, where the first Sheboygan man was killed in the performance of his duties as a a soldier. W. V. Reed is reported on the muster roll as accidentally killed in the State service on the 29th of June, 1861. On the 15th of July, this company left with its regiment to go into active duty at Baltimore. The company saw severe service, and very many of its number lost their lives in the service of their country.

     The First Regiment Wisconsin Infantry, as re-organized after its three months' service, contained two companies from Sheboygan County--Company H, Capt. Eugene Cary, and Company I, Capt. Orrin Rogers. In the eighth Regiment, Company B, Capt. D. B. Conger, was raised in this county. This company afterward enjoyed the honor of being the largest veteran company in the regiment. Company A, Capt. Frederick Aude, known in the service as the "Sheboygan Tigers," belonged to the first exclusively German regiment which went into the war from Wisconsin, the Ninth Infantry. In the Fourteenth Regiment was Company H, Capt. C. M. G. Mansfield, enlisted in this county. Company E, of the Seventeenth Regiment, was raised here, and commanded by Capt. Peter Feagan. Sixty men from Sheboygan County were enrolled in Company H, of the Twenty-sixth Regiment, and were accompanied by Lieut. Joseph Wedig. The Twenty-seventh Regiment, of which Conrad Krez, of Sheboygan, was Colonel, and Dr. J. J. Brown, Lieutenant Colonel, contained four companies of Sheboygan County volunteers, namely, Company B. Capt. E. W. Stannard; Company C, Capt. Fred Schnellen; Company E, Capt. Alfred Marschner; Company F, Capt. D. Hubbard.

     Sheboygan County was well represented in Company E, Capt. Jerome Brooks, Thirty-sixth Regiment; also in Company D, Capt. Andrew Patcher, Thirty-ninth Regiment, which was enlisted for 100 days.

     Besides the companies named, Sheboggan County men were scattered through many other regiments, many enlisting as recruits in old companies. Some of these regiments were the First and Fourth Wisconsin Cavalry, the Sixth, Nineteenth, Thirty-seventh and Fifty-second Infanfry.

     A statement furnished by the Adjutant General of the State shows that Sheboygan County furnished 2,215 soldiers for the war, of which number only 479 were drafted. There were then, 1,736 volunteers, besides those who enlisted outside the county, and for which the county did not get credit. The population of the county was 27,082 in 1860. Separate but of the population, the men capable of military duty, and the 2,215 who actually went into the war, would certainly exceed one-half the whole number capable of bearing arms. No further commendation is needed of the patriotism of the citizens of Sheboygan County than such a statement. The number who did not return, and who sealed their devotion with their lives, was large. Many of the companies enumerated above were in the thickest of the fight, and some of them suffered exceptionally. Hundreds of homes in Sheboygan County could testify with tears to the havoc of war. Very many of those who served their country from this county were not born on American soil, or were sons of those who were citizens of the United States by adoption only. But here as elsewhere, throughout the nation, foreign-born citizens showed their love for the land which had given them homes by being in the fore-front of battle.

     The so-called "Indian scare," was a memorable event in the history of the county. On September 3, 1862, the rumor started that the Indians had begun an uprising and that the whole county was in danger. Mounted messengers spead the report of burned and sacked villages, and the whole population was thrown into a state of intense excitement. People gathered together in the villages, armed with pitch-forks, scythes and such other weapons as could be found. At Sheboygan, the draw to the bridge was taken up and the whole city guarded. At Glenbeulah a railroad train was kept in readiness to carry off the terrified inhabitants in case of attack. All through the county people secured their valuables and took measures for their personal safety. Many hundreds of people left their homes expecting to never again see them. It was a number of days before the excitement died away. How and where this "scare" originated, is unknown, but the public excitement over the Indian atrocities at New Ulm and Mankato, led people to ignore the utter impossibility of such scenes being enacted here.

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