Term: De Groat, Col. Charles H. (1838-1904)
b. Cortland, New York, April 3,1838
d. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, August 15, 1904
Charles H. De Groat was colonel of the 32nd Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War and, afterward, a prominent Fond du Lac manufacturer.
Charles H. De Groat was born on March 14, 1838, in upstate New York, and came west as a teenager. In 1852 he settled in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.
De Groat enlisted in Co. K, 1st Wisconsin Infantry, in September 1861. After a year, he returned to Fond du Lac to recruit a new company for a new regiment. He raised Co. A, 32nd Wisconsin Infantry, with men from the Fond du Lac area and was elected its captain. He was promoted to major in April 1863 and became colonel on July 27, 1864, during the Siege of Atlanta.
The 32nd Infantry left Oshkosh on September 30, 1862. It served in and around Memphis, Tennessee, for the next year. As Union forces pushed south, De Groat helped lead it through various small battles in Tennessee and Georgia until the Siege of Atlanta during the summer of 1864.
After Atlanta fell, De Groat was responsible for pacifying neighboring regions of Georgia. He then joined Sherman’s March to the Sea in the fall of 1864. He commanded his regiment as it crossed the South, turned north from Savannah, Georgia, and occupied North Carolina. He was brevetted a brigadier general on March 13, 1865, and mustered out on June 12th.
After returning to Wisconsin, De Groat farmed for a year. He then moved into Fond du Lac in 1866, serving as county clerk for four years. He moved west to Salt Lake City from 1870-1874. In 1874 he returned to Wisconsin. He ran several companies in succession that manufactured engines, mill machinery, and agricultural implements. On August 11, 1904, DeGroat died in Fond du Lac.
Links to Learn More
History of the 32nd Infantry from E.B. Quiner's book, "Military History of Wisconsin" (Chicago, 1866)
View original documents about Col. Charles De Groat
[Source: Fond du Lac Reporter, August 16, 1904 and November 3, 1932; Proceedings, State Historical Society of Wisconsin (Madison, 1905): vol. 52, page; E.B. Quiner, The Military History of Wisconsin (Chicago, 1866)]