Monday, August 8, 2011

A Life Spared

This entry is from the Second Wisconsin website (
The following remarkable incident occurred in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.
When the war first broke out, a young man who resided in the above village joined a company commanded by Captain Tom Allen, which was afterwards incorporated in the Second Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteers, and was present at the disastrous battle of Bull Run. The intelligence came back to his family at Dodgeville that he was slain upon the battle-field, and his body left to be cared for by the enemy. The news nearly killed his affectionate mother, and she, with the remainder of those relatives who had been nearly related to him, wore mourning for him who had poured out his blood and sacrificed his young life for his country.

The gnawing grief had preyed upon these loving hearts for many months, until they learned to view it with a species of resignation. What could then depict their unspeakable astonishment and joy, when he walked into the house, hearty and well! 

His story is briefly told thus: He had been left severely wounded, with many others, upon the battle-field. After the engagement was over, and his friends had retreated in confusion, a company of secessionists came where they were lying, and actually bayoneted his wounded companions before his eyes. They even went so far as to stab the bodies of senseless corpses, lest there be some spark of life left in them! A man came to where he was lying on the ground and raised his ensanguined weapon for the fatal thrust, which he fully expected would end his mortal career. He closed his eyes, fairly sick with the horrid emotion, and waited to receive his fate. His enemy hesitated. He lowered his musket, and finally raised him carefully up and gave him water from his canteen. He was afterwards removed to the hospitals of Richmond, where he received careful treatment and at last was exchanged and allowed to return home.

Collected by Frank Moore, 1889
Unidentified soldier in uniform with arm in sling in front of painted backdrop showing military camp and American flag, from Library of Congress Collection

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