The 31st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment was first organized at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and six companies mustered into the service of the United States on October 9, 1862. The companies were assigned to guard and patrol duty in guarding rebel prisoners.
In late November, three companies of the battalion were transferred to Racine and three to Camp Randall in Madison. In late December, the three companies in Madison were transferred to Camp Utley in Racine, and four additional companies were recruited and mustered into service on December 27. The final organization and muster in of the 31st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment was completed on January 13, 1863.
The 31st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment left Wisconsin on March 1, 1863, and proceeded to Columbus, Kentucky. It was assigned to guard and patrol duty there until late October, when it was transferred to garrison and patrol duty south of Nashville on the Louisville & Nashville railway. The regiment remained in that territory until late June 1864.
In July, the 31st Wisconsin Infantry Regiment was transferred to the forces operating under General Sherman. It joined the army on July 21, 1864, near Marietta, Georgia. The regiment participated in all the activities of the Atlanta Campaign, being frequently under fire.
The Thirty-first accompanied the Union forces as a part of the Twentieth Corps from Atlanta to Savannah on the "March to the Sea", from November 15 to December 21, 1864. It was engaged in the Siege of Savannah, and in January 1865, it moved out of that city on the Campaign in the Carolinas. The regiment participated in the campaign until its conclusion, when the Confederate forces under General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to the Union army under General W. T. Sherman.
The regiment was in the front line of battle at Averasboro, North Carolina, on March 16, 1865, and was very actively engaged at Bentonville, North Carolina, on March 19-21, 1865.
After the surrender of Johnston on April 26, 1865, the Thirty-first marched with the other troops to Washington, D.C., where it participated in the Grand Review. The regiment was shortly thereafter transferred to the provisional brigade in camp at Louisville, Kentucky.
On June 20, 1865, six companies, "A" to "F", were mustered out and returned to Madison, Wisconsin. They were disbanded on July 8, 1865. On the same day in Louisville, Kentucky, the remaining four companies were mustered out and returned to Madison, Wisconsin. These companies were disbanded on July 20, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 23 enlisted men and three officers that were killed and mortally wounded. Three officers and 86 enlisted men by 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).