The rattle of musketry and the thrilling experiences and adventures encountered by participants in the Civil war are brought to mind in the account of the Atlanta campaign by Veteran William Barragar, Glenbeulah, who was in the thick of many battles and skirmishes during 1863 and 1864.
Mr. Barragar went to Fond du Lac on February 9, 1863 and enlisted in Company H, 14th Wisconsin regiment and at the age of eighteen was sent to camp at Madison and then on to Vicksburg. At that time he was a private in the rear rank under Capt. C. M. Mansfield, of Greenbush, Capt. John Kennedy of Milwaukee, First Lieut. Josiah Prusser of Calumet Harbor, and Sgt. R. B. Van Valkenburg of Rockford, Illinois.
It was with the famous Worden's Battalion, created through a split in the Wisconsin regiment in effect until the battle of Nashville in 1864, that Veteran Barragar served. With this battalion he went through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia and joined the army against Atlanta at Acworth, Ga. On June 8, 1864, he was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division of the 17th Army corp of the army of Tennessee.
With the joining of the regular army, the members of the battalion did not spend a day without being in the range of rebel musket and artillery fire.
On June 10, the battalion was six miles ahead of Big Shanty a station on the railroad, and there followed several months of privation and exposure to the weather for the brave band of some thirty men. For nineteen days a heavy rain fell, and the men were constantly in wet clothing and were without tents and camp equipment.
Although battalions to the right and left of them were being mowed down, Worden's battalion was fortunate in that there was little loss of life. The men were wet and cold while sleeping, however, and could look forward to nothing but cold meals.
"On June 27 we were ordered to advance," said Veteran Barragar in narrating some of the outstanding events of the campaign. "Trees and brush were not thick, but sharp rocks and boulders were disadvantageous. We found the 'Johnies' on the crest of the hill and made quick work of them - some surrendered. Then we descended the hill and took skirmishers behind a rail fence, but a stop was ordered because the officers did not want to advance with so few men."
The members of the battalion were then ordered to lie down, and they took four hours of artillery fire without an opportunity to retaliate. One soldier's gun was completely shattered, a cartridge belt was cut in two pieces by a bullet, and one bullet went through a soldier's coat and into his backbone. Seven were wounded, two losing legs, and one a foot, after which the battalion was moved back.
At the time the army of Tennessee was playing crack the whip, with the 17th army corps as the cracker. The men were under constant fire, and were 473 miles from their base supplies which were brought on a one-track railroad. The lines were often raided by the rebels who tore up the tracks and stopped trains, and as a result the rations were short, and the soldiers slept on their arms and in their clothes every night.
After numerous advances aided by a twenty-four pound Howitzer, the regiment gained its desired position on July 28 in the battle of Ezra's church. In an effort to dislodge the Union forces, the rebels attacked at noon, and the battle raged until after dark. One hundred and eighty-seven rebels were found in front of the lines after this battle. Here the battalion remained until August 8, which closed the most important chapter in the history of Worden's battalion.
The campaigns discussed in detail up to this point covered only three months of Veteran BARRAGAR's service, but he also participated in the battles of Fort Blakesly, Ala., Spanish Fort, Ala., Nashville, Jonesboro, Ga., Old Town Creek and Tupelo, Miss. Through this long and strenuous service Mr. Barragar served without a furlough until his discharge in 1864.
Mr. Barragar was born in West Canada and at the age of five years he came to Greenbush with his parents and his brothers and sisters, Walter, Charles, Sophrona, Cinderella, and May. The family lived there two years then moved to Banner, Fond du Lac county. He was married to Miss Mary Jane Mead, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mead of Greenbush in 1868 and the couple made their home at Hull's Crossing, where Mr. and Mrs. Barragar lived forty-nine years, after which they returned to Glenbeulah and purchased a home on East Main street.
Mrs. Barragar passed away in December 1915, but Mr. Barragar has a daughter, Mrs. E. J. Couch, living in Glenbeulah.
Mr. Barragar attended the first re-union of the 14th Wisconsin Volunteers Infantry of which he was a member at Milwaukee in 1889. He is quartermaster of the G. A. R. of Greenbush, Post No. 212, of which there are only six members living, Henry Monk, Lester Corbett, Richard Commings, John Bricker, Henry Stannard and Mr. Barragar.
Web Barragar, Sheboygan Falls, is a brother of the Veteran Barragar. Another brother, Charles, died several years after the Civil war as a result of wounds sustained in battle.
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