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Wisconsin in the Civil War

Ojibwe Warriors Join the Battle of Spotsylvania

On May 9, 1864, Ojibwe Indians from the 7th Wisconsin Infantry help Colonel Rufus Dawes and his regiment, the 6th Wisconsin Infantry, drive back enemy skirmishers with American Indian war tactics in Spotsylvania, Virginia.

Along the edge of timber skirting the open field we constructed a strong log breastwork, which may be called our base of operations during the five days of fighting at Laurel Hill. This breastwork was in the valley. The rebel line of entrenchments was upon the hill-top. The skirmishers of each army occupied the tangled brush and woods between the lines, and they kept up, day and night, a ceaseless and deadly fire. Our men in the entrenchments were constantly harassed by the fire of the enemy's sharpshooters, who were posted in trees or upon higher ground.

On the morning of May ninth a determined effort was made to drive back the enemy's skirmishers, and thirty men were ordered from the Sixth for this service. … The Indians of the seventh Wisconsin regiment took an active part in this skirmishing. They covered their bodies very ingeniously with pine boughs to conceal themselves in the woods. When skirmishers advanced from our lines, they would run across the open field at the top of their speed, and numbers of them were shot while doing so. Upon this run the Indians would give a shout or war whoop.

Source: Dawes, Rufus R. "Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers," Chapter 12, Page 265.

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Native American Civil War Recruits.
Swearing-In Native American Civil War Recruits.

WHI 1909
Map of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, May 10, 1864 (morning).
Map of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia, May 10, 1864 (morning).

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