Call for right to secede falls on deaf ears--of the dead

Jim Baumgart  Sheboygan County Supervisor

It is said that when people don’t remember past historical problems they may repeat them.

That said, when it comes to an active group of delegates pushing at the Republican State Convention to have as its platform the right for Wisconsin to secede from the Union, it is a concern.

It is clear there is a lack of understanding about the great Civil War between the states that settled the issue.

While this secessionist group may not be powerful enough to ever secede from the Union , they are certainly powerful enough to push and divide people. You would think we would have learned that we already have had enough issues of division in Wisconsin.

Lets go back to the days Wisconsin went to war for the Union. It may be a helpful to remind readers on why secession is not now an option for sensible people.

It was in April 1861 that the attack on Fort Sumter took place. In July 1861 there was the battle of Bull Run. The war was on and it was not until April 1865, at the sur- render at the Appomattox Courthouse, that it was finally over.

Wisconsin, during the Civil War, raised 91,379 solders for the Union Army. They were organized into 53 infantry regiments, 4 cavalry regiments, a Company of Berdan’s sharpshooters, 13 light artillery batteries, and 1 unit of heavy artillery.

Most of the Wisconsin troops served in the Western Theater.

There were 3,794 killed in action, 8,022 died of disease, 400 killed by accident. Total known mortality was 12,216 men, or about 13.4 % of the total enlistments.

In addition, the total wounded or injured during the conflict was staggering.

At the time, Wisconsin had a population of about 776,000 people. The many tens of thousands who returned home, including the wounded and injured, with strong memories of the battles and hardships that helped save the Union.

Requesting an option to have Wisconsin leave the Union was clearly something no one would ever dare whisper to this group of veterans.

They had paid the price.

Closer to home, in the small Township of Rhine, many men volunteered to serve their country when the war began. The losses this township received were great.

To honor their memory, in 1868 the township built a monument to those who lost their lives. It was one of the very first monuments after the war.

That monument is located in the small cemetery located at the intersection of Cty. FF and Rhine Rd.

Carved in stone are the words:

“In memory of their fellow citizens who lost their lives to save their country in the war of the Great Rebellion. This monument was erected by the inhabitants of the Town of Rhine. July 1868”.

The names, units, and date of death are etched on the monument.

1st. RGT.. Wis. Vols. Co. H. - Wm H. Carver, Oct. 8, 1862.
4th RGT. Wis. Vols. Co. C - Henry Gundy, Nov. 16, 1864
8th RGT. Wis. Vols. Co. B - Thomas Opell, March 15, 1862.
9th RGT. Wis. Vols. Co. A - Henry Henkel, Sept. 21, 1862.
- Frederick Rossmann, Feb. 1, 1864.
21st.RGT. Wis. Vols. Co. K - John Stallmann, Oct. 8, 1862.
27th RGT. Wis. Vols. Co. B - Horace Willis, Nov. 1863.
- Peter Scherer, May, 1864.
- Jacob Desloch, Sept. 1864.
14th RCT. ILL. Vols. Co. H - Adam Best, Dec. 20, 1863.
86th RGT. ILL. Vols. Co. D - Reinhard Baumann, July 3, 1863
64th RGT N.Y. Vols. Co. D - Jacob Schumacher, May 12, 1864
26th RGT. Wis. Vols. Co. H - Philipp Stamp, Oct. 26, 1862.
- Jacob Hartmann, May 2, 1863.
- Frederick Woeerner, May 2, 1863.
- Philipp Diefenthaeler, July 1, 1863.
- Philipp Mattes, July 1, 1863.
- August Schwenicke, Dec. 2, 1863.
- Frederick Spranger, May 16, 1864.
- George Kuhn, June 22, 1864.
- Philipp Nell, July 20, 1864.
- Valentin Muller, Aug. 1864
- Gottzieb Strutz, March 16, 1865.
These are real people who gave their lives to save the Union. Although a long time ago, their fight is as true then as it would be today.
Throughout Wisconsin you will find the names etched on stone in countless cemeteries. To them, secession was not an option.
They served and died to settle that issue.

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