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Wisconsin in the Civil War

Lieutenant Colonel Lucius Fairchild Announces the Death of a Friend

After the Battle of Gainesville, Virginia, on August 28, 1862, Lieutenant Colonel Lucius Fairchild, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry, writes a Beloit father that his son (and Fairchild's friend), Colonel Edgar O'Connor, has died in combat.

My Dear Friend:

I am under the painful necessity of informing you that Edgar died on the night of Thursday last, August 28th, killed while in action with regiment.

He was wounded in the arm and groin, carried off the field to the surgeon, and died within an hour. He fought bravely, and was dearly beloved by all of us of his old regiment.

Dr. Ward of the 2d remained when we retired to take care of the wounded, and in all probability saw Edgar buried and marked his grave. We left over 50 dead on the field, and nearly 200 wounded near them, from the 2d regiment alone.

Our brigade stood against a very much larger force, firing one hour and ten minutes — repulsed the enemy, and then returned to Manassas.

I have one horse belonging to Edgar, his wallet and his little baggage. I do not know the amount of money in his wallet, as it is badly matted with his blood.

Edgar's last words were, to say to his wife and father and mother, "God bless them!" They were said to a young man named Harshaw of 2d. I did not see him after he left the field, as Major Allen was wounded, leaving me the only well field officer present.

Edgar was a fine officer, and no man can fill his place in 2d. The men speak of him with tears in their eyes, and wish they and their "little Colonel" back again.

You may well be proud of him and of his memory.

Source: E.B. Quiner Scrapbooks: "Correspondence of the Wisconsin Volunteers, 1861-1865," Volume 2, page 295.

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Colonel Edgar O'Connor.
Colonel Edgar O'Connor.

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Lieutenant Colonel Lucius Fairchild and Colonel Edgar O'Connor (right) of the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry.
Lieutenant Colonel Lucius Fairchild and Colonel Edgar O'Connor (right) of the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry.

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Lucius Fairchild during the war.
Lucius Fairchild during the war.

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