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On This Day: March 26

1862 - Third Cavalry Regiment Company "C" Departs

On this date, Company C of Wisconsin's Third Cavalry left for St. Louis. Members had been recruited in 1861 from Green Lake, Fond du Lac, and Marquette counties by E.R. Stevens, a 37-year-old merchant, and James B. Pond, a 23-year-old editor of the Markesan Journal. You can see their roster in our online version of the Roster of Wisconsin Volunteers. Eventually stationed at Ft. Leavenworth and working among marauding guerillas on the western frontier, the regiment witnessed some of the most ruthless activity of the war. For more about them, follow the link below and check Estabrook's Records and Sketches of Military Organizations at Turning Points in Wisconsin History. [Source:James Burton Pond Collection]

1864 - (Civil War) Change of Command in Tennessee

Union General James Birdseye McPherson assumed command of the Army of the Tennessee. Many Wisconsin regiments served with his army over the course of the war. Four months later McPherson was shot in the back while retreating from a skirmish.

1881 - Old Abe Dies

On this date Old Abe, famous Civil War mascot, died from injuries sustained during a fire at the State Capitol. Old Abe was the mascot for Company C, an Eau Claire infantry unit that was part of the Wisconsin 8th Regiment. During the Capitol fire of 1881, smoke engulfed Old Abe's cage. One of his feathers survived and is in the Wisconsin Historical Museum. [Source: Wisconsin Lore and Legends, pg. 51]

1931 - Brother Joseph Dutton Dies

Brother Joseph was born Ira S. Dutton in Stowe, Vermont, and came to Wisconsin as a child. He served with the 13th Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War, mostly tending the sick and burying the dead. Afterwards, he stayed in the South tracing missing soldiers, collecting their remains, and settling survivors' claims. These horrors and a failed marriage led him into alcoholism, and by his own account he spent the next decade in a drunken stupor. When he emerged from the gutter in 1876, he began to study religion and in 1883 joined the Trappist Monastery at Gethsemane, Kentucky. After hearing about the work of Fr. Damien De Veuster ("Damien the Leper") in 1886, Dutton made his way to Hawaii, where he introduced himself as "Brother Joseph" and joined the tiny relief corps at Damien's colony of exiled native Hawaiian lepers. He remained there as a lay brother until his death in 1931, building latrines, bandaging sores, cleaning clinics, and serving meals to the diseased and despised. Brother Joseph Dutton accepted no pay and directed that his military pension be given to the monks at Gethsemane.