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Wisconsin in the Civil War

Wisconsin Officer Foresees His Own Death

Colonel Louis Crane of the 3rd Wisconsin Infantry shared his feelings with his brother, James, on the day before the battle of Cedar Mountain, in Culpeper, Virginia. In the following letter, James writes home on August 9, 1862, to his sister and the widow of his brother, telling them how Louis foresaw his own death in battle.

We [James and his brother] both slept pretty well, though he had quite a fright during the night, fearing that he had received a slight stroke of paralysis. It was of short duration, however, and was occasioned by his using his arm for a pillow… From this moment he seems to have had a presentiment that the end was near; and while I had not the slightest feeling or fear as regards my personal safety in the coming conflict, yet I could not resist the impression that Louis' days were numbered…

Louis took me one side and said he was going into battle in a few hours at most, and of course no one could tell who would survive. He did not know that he had anything very special to say about business matters — that his friends best understood his business there, and calling Col. Ruger, said he wished me to attend his personal effects here. He would have said more. I know his thoughts were with you and the dear ones at home, but a silent press of the hand and we parted forever…

[Later that day] Kelly, Louis's servant, came running up, saying his master was wounded and left on the field. Soon after came another and another who had seen him fall, and on going to him found life extinct. The regiment had formed in battle line, and after going through a dense wood, suddenly came to a rail fence which they scaled and were forming in line on the other side, where they received such a tremendous volley from the hidden enemy as to cause them to stagger and fall back. The last that was seen of Louis, he was waving his sword above his head, shouting out cheerfully, "Steady there, my boys! Stand firm!"

Source: E.B. Quiner Scrapbooks: "Correspondence of the Wisconsin Volunteers, 1861-1865," Volume 3, page 55.

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Currier and Ives lithograph of the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
Currier & Ives lithograph of the Battle of Cedar Mountain.

Library of Congress
Cedar Mountain Battlefield after the war.
Cedar Mountain Battlefield after the war.

WHI 69530
Map for the Battle of Cedar Mountain.
Map for the Battle of Cedar Mountain.

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