Use the smaller-sized text Use the larger-sized text Use the very large text

Dictionary of Wisconsin History

Or Search Everything...
Search All Terms:

Search All Fields:


Search Results for: Definition: 'la crosse', Term Type: 'People'

Term: Bailey, Col. Joseph (1826-1867)

Definition:

b. Ashtabula County, Ohio, May 6, 1826
d. Nevada, Missouri, March 26, 1867

Wisconsin lumberman Joseph Bailey is best known for his ingenious engineering feat that saved a Union fleet during the Civil War’s Red River Campaign.

Early Career

Joseph Bailey was born in Ohio and spent his youth in Illinois. He moved to Wisconsin about 1849, settling in Columbia County where he claimed land along the Wisconsin River a few miles below the present site of Wisconsin Dells. Here he worked in the lumber industry and promoted the village of Newport as a prospective crossing for the approaching La Crosse and Milwaukee Railroad. The bridge site, however, was secretly changed to a nearby location at Kilbourn City (modern Wisconsin Dells). Within a few years Newport was a ghost town. Bailey and his supporters moved their interests to Kilbourn City.

Captain of Engineers

After war broke out in 1861, Bailey organized a company of recruits known as the “Columbia County Rifles” (Co. D, 4th Wisconsin Infantry) and was elected its captain. His company worked chiefly as engineers constructing barracks, canals, bridges, and levees. They were frequently detached from the 4th regiment to support other commands.

His work crews usually consisted of escaped or former slaves who had joined the Union cause. In 1862 Bailey directed the crew attempting to dig a canal through land near a U in the Mississippi River to bypass Confederate guns from Vicksburg, Mississippi, and to facilitate a Union attack on the city. In May 1863 he led a charge at the Battle of Port Hudson, where his team had been constructing the siege works. For his efforts at Port Hudson Bailey was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

Red River Dam

Bailey’s military fame derives from his creative actions during the failed Red River Campaign of 1864. Union forces had traveled far up the Red River into Louisiana and Texas on a fleet of 32 gunboats. When Confederate troops forced the Union expedition to pull back, the fleet found itself stranded by low water above the Alexandria Rapids and was in danger of capture.
 
Bailey proposed freeing the fleet by constructing dams similar to the ones used by Wisconsin River lumbermen to raise the water level when logs were stuck on rapids. Utilizing plantation labor, they constructed a dam that enabled the fleet to float safely through the low water. According to General N.P. Banks, Bailey’s efforts saved the Union a fleet worth approximately $2 million dollars.

During the remainder of the war, Bailey continued to serve as an engineer and led cavalry raids in the Gulf States. In November 1864 he was commissioned brigadier general, and in March 1865 was brevetted major general.

Postwar Years

After discharge from the army in July 1865, Bailey returned briefly to Wisconsin but soon moved to the town of Nevada, Missouri. Elected county sheriff, he was murdered on March 26, 1867, while arresting two suspected bushwhackers.

Links to Learn More

Four-page article by Albert Bigelow Paint explaining the Red River Dam episode, from McClure’s Magazine, 1895

View original documents related to Joseph Bailey

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin Biography (Madison, 1965); History of Columbia Co. (Chicago, 1880); Wisconsin Magazine of History, 25; History of Vernon Co., Mo. (St. Louis, 1887).]

112 records found

Anderson, Wendell Abraham 1840 - 1929
Arnold, Alexander Ahab 1833 - 1915
Bailey, Col. Joseph (1826-1867)
Bashford, Coles 1816 - 1878
Bean, Jacob Linsley 1809 - 1855
Bice, Raymond C. 1896
Boardman, Maj. Frederick A. (1832-1863)
Bosshard, Otto 1876 - 1943
Brayton, Aaron Martin 1872 - 1949
Brunson, Alfred 1793 - 1882
Burns, Timothy 1820 - 1853
Byers, Mark Rhea 1892 - 1950
Cameron, Angus 1826 - 1897
Candrian, Adolph 1850 - 1929
Cargill, William Wallace 1844 - 1909
Cary, John Watson 1817 - 1895
Catholics in Wisconsin
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Wis
Clements, Sylvester G. 1936
Coburn, Frank Potter 1858 - 1932
Cole, Harry Ellsworth 1861 - 1928
Colman, Charles Lane 1826 - 1901
Cowie, Robert Somerville 1873 - 1951
Crocker, Hans 1815 - 1889
Czechs in Wisconsin
Czerwinski, Joseph C. 1944
Davidson, William Fuson ["Commodore"] 1825 - 1887
Decorah family
Devitt, James C. 1929
Dutch in Wisconsin
Edwards, Benjamin Eugene 1845 - 1916
Episcopals in Wisconsin
Esch, John Jacob 1861 - 1941
Faville, John 1847 - 1927
Feingold, Russell D. 1953
Freehoff, William Adolph 1889 - 1950
Freethinkers in Wisconsin
Gale, George 1816 - 1868
Gard, John 1963
Gibson, Lawrence R. 1912
Greider, Gerald A. 1923
Griswold, Harry Wilbur 1886 - 1939
Hadley, Jackson 1815 - 1867
Hastings, Samuel Dexter 1816 - 1903
Heileman, Gottlieb 1824 - 1878
Heiss, Michael 1818 - 1890
Hirshheimer, Albert 1840 - 1924
Hixon, Gideon Cooley 1826 - 1892
Huebsch, Michael D. 1964
Jeskewitz, Suzanne 1942
Jews in Wisconsin
Johnson, Samuel Curtis 1833 - 1919
Kellman, Norris J. 1898
Kellogg, Col. John A. (1828 - 1883)
Kilbourn, Byron 1801 - 1870
Kind, Ron 1963
Kneeland, Moses 1809 - 1864
Knowlton, James H. 1813 - 1879
Knutson, Milo G. 1918
Kohl, Herbert H. 1935
Larsen, [Peter) Laur[Entius] 1833 - 1915
Legler, Henry Eduard 1861 - 1917
Leibham, Joseph K. 1969
Levy, John Meyer 1820 - 1910
Litscher, Leroy "Pete" 1939
Low Cloud, Charles Round 1872 - 1949
Lucey, Patrick J. 1918
Maxon, Densmore William 1820 - 1887
Mcgavick, Alexander Joseph 1863 - 1948
Medinger, John Donald 1948
Merkt, John L. 1946
Merrill, Sherburn Sanborn 1818 - 1885
Meyer, Mark 1963
Miller, Andrew Galbraith 1801 - 1874
Mitchell, Alexander 1817 - 1887
Mittness, Lewis T. 1929
Mulder, Leland E. 1925
Musser, Terry M. 1947
Myrick, Nathan 1822 - 1903
Nicholson, Isaac Lea 1884 - 1906
Nuttelman, Norbert 1911
Oestreicher, John C. 1936 - 2011
Offner, Paul 1942
Peck, George Wilbur 1840 - 1916
Peterson, James D.H. 1894
Pomeroy, Marcus Mills ["Brick"] 1833 - 1896
Powell, David Franklin ["White Beaver"] 1847 - 190
Price, William Thompson 1824 - 1886
Quackenbush, Robert L. 1923
Roberts, Virgil 1922
Rude, Brian D. 1955
Sanasarian, Harout O. 1944
Sanford, Albert Hart 1866 - 1956
Schneider, Marlin D. 1942
Schwebach, James 1847 - 1921
Shilling, Jennifer 1969
Stoddard, Thomas Benton 1800 - 1876
Strong, Moses Mccure 1810 - 1894
Taylor, Horace Adolphus 1837 - 1910
Thompson, George 1918
Trane, Reuben Nicholas 1886 - 1954
Ulrich, John 1828 - 1894
Underheim, Gregg 1950
Universalists in Wisconsin
Usher, Ellis Baker 1852 - 1931
Van Meter, Abraham Chenoweth ["Abe C."] 1842 - 189
Walker, George H. 1811 - 1866
Wartinbee, D. Russell 1903
Washburn, Gov. Cadwallader Colden (1818-1882)
Wells, Daniel Jr. 1808 - 1902
Withrow, Gardner R. 1892
Woodward, Gilbert Motier 1835 - 1914

  • Questions about this page? Email us
  • Email this page to a friend
select text size Use the smaller-sized textUse the larger-sized textUse the very large text