William Charleton of the 11th Wisconsin…

As promised I will share some highlights of the letters I have been transcribing from members of the 11th Wisconsin Regiment during the Civil War. Those of you who have visited here before know that I have a book being published by McFarland about this regiment. These letters were briefly on ebay and have since been removed after negotiations with the collector.

The letters, 14 in all, deal with William Charleton of the 11th Wisconsin regiment. They are all letters he received from various members of the regiment including the Colonel of 11th. There are also a few very lovely letters from his mother and sister.

William was mustered into the 11th Wisconsin as a First Sergeant and eventually obtained the rank of First Lieutenant. He seems to have been well liked within the regiment. William was wounded at Fort Blakely (Alabama) on April 9, 1865.

I want to share portions of a letter written to William by Warren W. Nye, which is by far the best letter of the bunch. First some background. It is late 1864 (October) and the regiment is stationed about 45 miles southwest of New Orleans at Brashear City, which is now Morgan City. It was a key strategic marine location and its occupation severely hindered Confederate operations in Southwest Louisiana.

William was back in Madison attempting to recruit for the regiment. He was also ill and that was causing some problems as his progress was limited as a result. Warren wrote to Charleton from Brashear City with an update on things in his Company (B) and the regiment.

Warren Nye started his letter asking Charleton how he was feeling and hoped he was doing better. Warren then discussed some new events at the camp and other basic news, then he gets into some interesting topics and a spooky declaration.

Warren writers, “I am greateful to learn that copperheadism is dying out so fast. May it breath its last before election!! Our parties are yet Mc’s and would be I suppose if they really knew him to be a Copperhead … they are just so blind that they cannot see they are influencing and acting opposite to what they are fighting for. Their influence goes but little ways in the company and I guess any where else.”

He continues, “You will probably be there till after fall’s election. I am glad to see the states reelecting their governors, as it appears more plainly to me that Old Abe will be our president in the next four years unless sooner shot: as the boys old saying.”

Unfortunately, he was very accurate in his assessment of Lincoln’s time left in office.

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One Response to William Charleton of the 11th Wisconsin…

  1. Will Hickox says:

    It sounds like it’s meant to be a variation on “three years unless sooner shot” as a term of enlistment.

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