2 miles South of Petersburg Va
June 23, 1864
Dear Frank, [sister Frances]
Yours of the 13 [June 13, 1864] is just received. I am sitting on the ground behind our breast works about 20 rods from the Rebs.1 I want to scold you, 1st for worrying about me & 2nd for believing anything you hear about our Rg. All the talk about Grant’s scolding [Colonel Frank A.] Haskell2 because he brought the regiment here is false. Grant never saw Haskell or the [36th Wisconsin] Regiment. We have been in several fights and are the only Rg. in this Brigade which will fight. The others seem to have lost their relish for it. Yesterday [June 22, 1864] about 1/2 of our Brigade [1/2/II/AotP] were taken prisoner. Our Rg. lost 15 men. My Co. did not take any.3
The report that Haskell was shot by his own men is stuff. He was shot by a Reb. sharp shooter [June 3] but I am sorry to say that his own men did not mourn for him. I4 am in command of the [36th Wisconsin] R[e]g[iment]. Capts. [George A.] Fiske [of Company C] and [William H.] Hamilton [of Company A] are assisting me. We have had over 100 men killed and died of disease. A large number are sick and have been wounded, but many will return to the command. I should not be surprised if [Colonel John A.] Savage and [Lt. Col. Harvey M.] Brown did not return. I am all right and can make myself believe but that I shall be. We have seen more hard service & fighting than most Regiments who have served 2 years. We go to the rear this evening to reorganize our Brigade.5
Weather is warm. I ride Col. Savage’s horse so have an easier time. I see by the Northern papers that we are whipping Lee. We can’t see it in that light exactly but hope it is true. I believe that Lee has as many men as General Grant. If we can sever the railroad connections with Richmond so as to oblige Lee to attack us we can take Richmond or starve him out. If we can not we never can take it. It is certain that we never can charge over his works and take the place. In a short article in the Tribune I discovered 10 lies which I knew by personal observation to be such.6 I received a letter from [Otis] Remick today. He seems to be enjoying himself with little fighting. We have received Wis. papers to J[un]e 16th. I have rec ‘d several letters from him. We think Dr. Woodward7 is a Jackass for deserting us & going home because he happens to feel sick. Dr. Marsh8 is the only one of our surgeons who is of any benefit to the Regiment.
I hope you will have rain soon enough to save the crops. Write about the wool. What it was sold for & about all other things. I have heard that Capt. Stevens was killed the other day. Too bad for Marie, but the mail is going out & I must close.
Yours C[lement]. E[dson]. Warner9
Write every week and I will write often.10
The book from which this letter was taken, The Letters of Colonel Clement Edson Warner, while serving in the Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War, 1864-1865, has been generously shared and allowed to appear on this site in full by copyright holders David Warner and his siblings, whose aunt wrote the book. Click here to read it in full! Click here to see a short biography of Colonel Warner as well as the home page for his letters during the Siege of Petersburg.
Letters from and to Clement Warner During the Siege of Petersburg
(Note: Individual letters will appear below as they are posted at The Siege of Petersburg Online.)
- LT: June 23, 1864 Clement E. Warner (36th Wisconsin)
- LT: July 31, 1864 Clement E. Warner (36th Wisconsin)
- LT: August 11, 1864 Clement E. Warner (36th Wisconsin)
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Clement E. Warner was Major of the 36th Wisconsin and commanding the regiment on June 23, 1864, and he mentions this fact a little later in the letter. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Frank A. Haskell was the Colonel of the 36th Wisconsin until he was killed at the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 3, 1864. He was famous for his role at the Battle of Gettysburg the previous summer. His account of the Battle of Gettysburg was posthumously published in 1898. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: After Cold Harbor up to the time Warner penned this letter, the 36th Wisconsin was in combat at the Second Battle of Petersburg from June 16-18, 1864 as well as at the disastrous Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road, June 21-22, 1864. The 36th Wisconsin lost both their Colonel and Lt. Colonel, mortally and severely wounded respectively, on June 18. On June 22, 1864, the Union Second Corps was surprised and flanked by elements of William Mahone’s Confederate division and suffered large numbers of men captured in an embarrassing defeat. It is in this last fight where Warner’s brigade suffered such bad losses. The 19th Massachusetts was captured almost in its entirety. ↩
- Elizabeth M. Warner Editor’s Note: Now Major. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Major Warner was correct. Neither Savage nor Brown would return. Both were wounded on June 18, 1864 during the Second Battle of Petersburg, leaving Warner in command as the ranking officer. Savage was mortally wounded, lingering in Washington, D.C. until July 4, 1864. Brown was severely wounded and never returned to the 36th Wisconsin, but lived until 1893. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: I checked the Library of Congress Chronicling America web site for any Tribune newspapers in Wisconsin. I suspect Warner is referring to the New York Tribune, but another possibility is the Chicago Tribune. Given his location in Virginia during this time, the New York Tribune seems the most likely source. I wish Major Warner had mentioned more details about what was incorrect. I may have been able to find the exact issue and article to which he was referring here. ↩
- Elizabeth M. Warner’s Editor’s Note: Original 1st Surgeon of the 36th Regiment ↩
- Elizabeth M. Warner’s Editor’s Note: sp.? Name unclear. * ↩
- Warner, C. E. & Warner, E. M. (2004). The Letters of Colonel Clement Edson Warner, while serving in the Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War, 1864-1865 (1328584824 974986850 E. M. Warner, Ed.). Milwaukee, WI: Elizabeth M. Warner, p. 20 ↩
- Elizabeth M. Warner Editor’s Note: * Colonel Warner appeared to write rapidly and slurred some letters in the words. In the case of the doctor mentioned, the paper is creased and smudged at that name. It looks a little like Marsh, but that name was not found in the reports reviewed. Dr .Miller, a well regarded surgeon, was taken prisoner Aug. 25, later died in captivity. ↩
On p. 15 of THE LETTERS OF COLONEL CLEMENT EDSON WARNER, the Quiner report of “..losing 2 men killed (from) Company B, Thomas Morris and William Tisdall” is in conflict with the regimental roster of the 36th Wisconsin. Privates Morris and Tisdall are listed in the roster of Company “H” on p. 313. of the regimental history. Not noted in the Quiner report is the one prisoner taken, also from Company “H”, “Tichenor, E. Dealton,……….Vet. Vol.; Sergt., 1st Sergt.; pris. May 26, ’64, North Anna; died Aug 18, ’64, Andersonville , Ga., disease.” THIRTY-SIXTH WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, P. 314.