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Wisconsin in the Civil War

Wisconsin Soldier's Quick Action Saves Officer's Life

On the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry struggles to escape from encroaching Confederates. George Jenck, of Company I, grabs his lieutenant, Cornelius Wheeler, from the deadly barrage of artillery shells.

On the morning of the first day's fight at Gettysburg, there was considerable firing by the artillery. The boys of the Second had much trouble in keeping out of the way of the guns of Battery B, as they were constantly changed in position to keep out of the smoke. A corporal of C Company had his head shot off in front of Battery B's guns. When a passing shell from one of the guns went by, Geo. Jenck, one of his company, took in the situation and saved Lieut. Wheeler's life by jerking him to one side. After lying down behind the guns the lieutenant's attention was attracted to a line of battle approaching, when he immediately called the attention of the chief of artillery to the fact; he took his glass, surveyed the situation and gave orders to get out of there. The rout began through Gettysburg, and in going through we run the gauntlet, as the rebs had closed in on us both sides. Had not George Jenck jerked his lieutenant out of the way of Battery B's guns, the rebs would have gobbled more men than they did.

Source: Aubery, Cullen B. "Echoes from the marches of the famous Iron Brigade : unwritten stories of that famous organization," page 49.

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Portrait of Cornelius Wheeler.
Portrait of Cornelius Wheeler.

WHI 25109
Cornelius Wheeler.
Full length studio portrait
of Cornelius Wheeler.

WHI 25110
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