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Wisconsin in the Civil War

Regiment Marches into First Battle Playing Music

While entering Fredericksburg, Maryland, in December 1862, the 24th Michigan Infantry proudly marches with Wisconsin's 6th Infantry in dense fog into its first combat playing music. As the fog lifts, they get a sudden shock.

The Iron Brigade, when crossing over into Fredericksburg, were hidden by a dense fog from the enemy. One of the regiments, the Twenty-fourth Michigan, who were to receive their first baptism under fire, were marching in front of the old Sixth veterans, colors flying, the band playing its favorite tune, "The Village Quickstep," when, alas! the sun appeared; the fog lifted and the trained guns of a half dozen rebel batteries opened their work of destruction. Almost the first shell landed in the midst of the band and scattered them right and left. Those who survived beat a hasty retreat to the sheltering banks of the river. Brave Col. Morrow kept his gallant regiment well in hand, shouting, "Steady, men, those Wisconsin men are watching you." I don't remember seeing that band in any other battle their regiment ever participated in.

Source: Aubery, Cullen B. "Echoes from the marches of the famous Iron Brigade : unwritten stories of that famous organization," page 51.

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2nd Wisconsin Infantry Band.
2nd Wisconsin Infantry Band.

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