Wisconsin soldiers played important part at Gettysburg - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Wisconsin soldiers played important part at Gettysburg

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On this day, 150 years ago, the Battle of Gettysburg began.  Some call Gettysburg the turning point of the civil war.

A significant amount soldiers from Wisconsin played an important role in the battle, 71 units from Wisconsin fought in the war.

Wisconsin soldiers were some of the first that made contact with the enemy on the first day of Gettysburg.

"Our boys stood on the hill and fired and fired their guns until there wasn't much left of them," Robert Taunt, La Crosse Infantry Reenactor said. "But in the process they destroyed Archers brigade and captured General Archer."

Perhaps the most famous group of soldiers from Wisconsin was the iron brigade.

"They were put up against a superior force, troops led by Stonewall Jackson, a famous Confederate General," John Grider, Assistant Professor of History, UW-La Crosse said. "General George McClellen asked who that brigade was that stopped them. He was told they were made up of troops from Wisconsin and Indiana and he said well they must be made of iron and the name stuck."

Some of the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg wrote their stories down the book "Personal War Sketches of the Grand Army of the Republic" including Emanuel Markle.

He was a farmer from the town of Shelby. He served in B Company of the 2nd Wisconsin Regiment.

"He notes at Gettysburg 1863 he was struck by five different bullets," Anita Doering, Senior Archivist, La Crosse Public Library said. "At Antietam he said his comrades at his right and left shoulder were shot and he considers the most important circumstance of his service was not being killed at Gettysburg."

Corporal Francis Waller, another Wisconsin soldier, also survived the Battle of Gettysburg.

"Waller and Corporal William Murphy got into a struggle over the confederate flag. Waller ended up killing Murphy, taking the flag and because of that he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor."

Minnesota troops also played an important role in the Civil War.

The first Minnesota Volunteer Regiment would suffer the highest percentage of casualties of any Union Regiment in the Civil War.

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