The Third Wisconsin Infantry Regiment (3rd Wisconsin Infantry Regiment) organized at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin and mustered into the service of the United States on the June 29, 1861. The regiment left the State on the July 12, reporting at Hagerstown, Maryland. from which point they marched to Harpers Ferry.
After Hagerstown, the Third marched to Harpers Ferry. Shortly after, the Third was assigned to Patterson’s Army. Their first year of service was principally upon the upper Potomac and in the Shenandoah valley, participating in several engagements. Most important among these engagements were the battle of Winchester and Cedar Mountain. When the Union army under General Pope was being pressed northward by the Confederates in August 1862, the part of the army the Third served united with the army under General Pope. Shortly after, General McClellan became Commander in Chief, and altogether they participated in the battle of Antietam.
In early 1863, with the Army of the Potomac, they participated in the campaign of Chancellorsville, Virginia and the battle of Gettysburg, from July 1 through 3. On July 13, 1863, the Third was sent to the city of New York to assist in putting a stop to the draft riots. Later, they encamped in the City Hall park until September 5, when the regiment returned to the south.
In late September, the Twelfth Corps, of which the Third was a part, transferred to southern middle Tennessee as a part of the Army of the Cumberland. The Third stationed at Stevenson, Alabama, on multiple occasions. From October 3 to late 1863, and the early part of 1864, they guarded important lines of railroad communications in southern middle Tennessee and northern Alabama.
With the reorganization of the Army around Chattanooga for the advance upon Atlanta under General Sherman, the Third was assigned to the Second Brigade of the First Division of the Twentieth Army Corps commanded by General Joseph Hooker. With them, they participated in the Atlanta Campaign and the "March to the Sea” from November 15 to December 21, 1864. In addition, they participated in the siege of Savannah from December 10 to 21.
To continue, they took part in the campaign of the Carolina from January to April 1865, until the surrender of the Confederate forces under General Johnston April 26, 1865. Afterwards, the Third participated in the Grand Review at Washington.
On June 15, they transferred to Louisville, Kentucky, mustered out of the service of the United States on the July 18, 1865, returned to Madison, Wisconsin on July 23 and shortly thereafter disbanded.
The Third Infantry Regiment lost 9 officers and 158 enlisted men to mortal wounds. To disease, they lost 2 officers and 113 enlisted men. In total, they lost 282 men.
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).