A week after the muster out of the First Infantry (three months), an order called for the regiment’s reorganization into a regiment with a three year term of enlistment. Under the supervision of Col. John C. Starkweather, the First Wisconsin Infantry Regiment (1st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment) was mustered into the service of United States on October 19, 1861, at Camp Scott, Milwaukee.
On October 28, the regiment left the state under orders to report at Louisville, Kentucky. Thereafter, and for the full period of its service, the First engaged in several campaigns in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Georgia, including the Atlantic Campaign of 1864 under Gen. Sherman.
During 1862, the command to which the First was assigned took part in several minor engagements and long marches and took part in the battle of Perryville (aka Chaplin Hills) in Kentucky on October 8, 1862. They next fought in the battle of Stones River (aka Murfreesboro) in Tennessee from December 30 to January 3, 1863.
After that battle, they would have duty at Murfreesboro until June. From June 23 to July 7, they participated in the Tullahoma Campaign as a part of the army of the Cumberland that Gen. Rosecrans commanded. They would go on to occupy Middle Tennessee as a part of the Tullahoma Campaign until August 16. Then, they engaged in the battle of Chickamauga from September 19 to 20 and the siege of Chattanooga from September 24 to November 23. Subsequently, they fought in the battle at Missionary Ridge on November 25. They finished 1863 on reconnaissance to Cooper’s Gap until December 3rd.
On May 2nd, 1864, the First joined Shermans Army in the advance on Atlanta, as a part of the Third Brigade First Division, Fourteenth Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland. With this command, they participated in the battles of Northern Georgia. These battles included the battle of Rocky Face Ridge, from May 8 to 11, the battle of Resaca from May 14 to 15, the advance on Dallas from May 26 to June 1, Chattahoochie, Peach Tree Creek, the siege of Atlanta, and the battle of Jonesborough from August 31 to September 1.
As the regiment's term of service was close to expiration, orders were received from the War Department on September 16, 1864, to transfer the veterans who had re-enlisted and those recruits whose term of service had not expired to the 21st Infantry. This transfer of 368 men was completed and on September 21 the regiment left for Nashville, TN where they encamped until October 6, when they left for Milwaukee and were disbanded at Camp Washburn, October 21, 1864.
The First Wisconsin Infantry Regiment lost 6 officers and 151 enlisted men to mortal wounds. They lost 1 officer and 142 enlisted men to disease.
For Further Research
Search our collections for photos and artifacts from Wisconsin in the Civil War. Read about other Wisconsin Civil War regiments. For detailed regimental histories of the U.S. Civil War, consult the Frederick H. Dyer, Compendium of the War of the Rebellion: Regimental Histories.
The histories above, unless otherwise noted, are adopted from Charles E. Estabrook, ed., Records and Sketches of Military Organizations, (Madison, 1914).