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Moses Woodington’s Civil War service

September 26, 2011

After  two years of fighting in the Civil War, both the North and South had to legislate a draft for their military. Moses Woodington, like other men, was mandated to sign up for the draft of 1863-1865. He was 25 years old at the time, married, and in 18 months he would be fighting in the war*.

Moses Woodington’s Draft Registration in 1863

According to the Civil War records, Moses and his brother Jonathan Woodington served in Co. L of the 2nd Wisconsin Calvary. They entered their military service on  January 30, 1865 and mustered out (were released from duty) on November 15, 1865 in Texas. It was up to them to then find their way back to Wisconsin from Texas.

The war was, in large part, over and there was really only the major battle for Richmond, VA yet to happen.  Yet, there was not a truce and fighting continued. On Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia. Six days later, on Good Friday, President Lincoln was assassinated.

Through all of these events in the spring of 1865 and until the following autumn, the 2nd Regiment of the Wisconsin Calvary continued their work. According to Michael O. Varhola’s book, Life in Civil War America, at that point in the war soldiers were paid about $16/month. He writes, “From their pay, Union privates had $2 per month withheld until expiration of their terms of enlistment, and another 12.5¢ per month withdrawn for support of the Soldiers’ Home, a home for old or invalid military retirees” (p 127).  A striking statistic of this regiment (and most others) is that the Regiment, in the four years of war, had 24 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded as well as 4 officers. Consistent with the terrible conditions of Civil War military life, 234 enlisted men died from disease. Total deaths: 312. It tells us something of the hardship Moses likely suffered.

According to the National Park Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors website, in 1865, the 2nd Regiment of the Wisconsin Calvary was assigned to service in the 3rd Brigade of the Calvary Division. Late in the war, when Moses and his younger brother, Jonathan, joined up, the Brigade’s duty was in east Memphis, TN then marching through Mississippi to Texas. Following is material quoted directly from the CWSS website that details where the 2nd Regiment fought during the war. The bold, enlarged print is my editing to show the time when the Woodington brothers were there.

2nd Regiment, Wisconsin Cavalry

Organized at Milwaukee, Wis., December 30, 1861, to March 10, 1862. Left State for St. Louis, Mo., March 24, 1862. Duty at Benton Barracks, Mo., till May 15. Moved to Jefferson City, thence to Springfield, Mo., and duty there till June 14. Attached to Steele’s Command, Army of Southwest Missouri, Dept. of Missouri, to July, 1862. District of Eastern Arkansas, Dept. of Missouri, to November, 1862. 2nd Brigade, Cavalry Division, District of Eastern Arkansas, Dept. of the Tennessee, to January, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, 13th Army Corps, Dept. of the Tennessee, to February, 1363. 3rd Brigade, District of Memphis, Tenn., Sth Division, 16th Army Corps. Dept. of the Tennessee, to June, 1863. Busseys Cavalry Brigade, Herron¿s Division, 13th Army Corps, to August, 1363. Cavalry Brigade, 17th Army Corps, to September, 1363. 1st Division, 17th Army Corps, to January, 1364. Winslow a Cavalry Brigade, District of Vicksburg, Miss., to December, 1864. 3rd Brigade, Cavalry Division, District of West Tennessee, to July, 1865. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division, Military Division Gulf, to August, 1865. Dept. of Texas to November, 1865.

SERVICE.-March to Batesville, Jacksonport and Helena, Ark., June 14-July 12, 1862, and duty there till January, 1863. Action at Yellville, Ark., June 25, 1862. Near Fayetteville July 15. Expedition from Helena to Moro August 5-8 (Detachment). Near Helena August 11. Near Helena September 19-20. Expedition against Arkansas Post November 16-21. Expedition to Yellville Noveinber 25-29. Expedition from Helena to Grenada, Miss., November 27-December 5. Oakland, Miss., December 3. LaGrange, Ark., December 30. Lick Creek, Ark., January 12, 1863. Clarendon Road, near Helena, January 15. Ordered to Memphis, Tenn., February 4, and duty there till May. Nonconah Creek, near Memphis, April 4. Expedition to Coldwater April 17-20. Horn Lake Creek May 18 (Co. “L”). Expeditions to Hernando, Miss., May 23-24, 26 and 28 (Detachments). Moved to Vicksburg, Miss., June 10-13. Siege of Vicksburg, Miss., June 13-July 4. Advance on Jackson, Miss., July 4-10. Clinton July 8. Siege of Jackson July 10-17. Canton July 12. Expedition to Yazoo City July 12-21, 1863 (Detachment). Bolton’s Depot July 16. Grant’s Ferry, Pearl River. July 16. Briar Creek, near Canton, July 17. Duty at Red Bone Church till April 27, 1864. Action at Red Bone Church September 25, 1863. Ingraham’s Plantation, near Port Gibson, October 10. Red Bone April 21, 1864. Moved to Vicksburg April 27, and duty there till December. Salem May 29 (Detachment). Worthington’s and Sunnyside Landings, Fish Bayou, June 5. Old River Lake or Lake Chicot June 6. Expedition from Vicksburg to Pearl River July 2-10. Clinton July 4. Jackson July 5-6. Clinton July 7. Expedition from Vicksburg to Rodney and Fayette September 29-October 3. Port Gibson October 1. Fayette and Cole Creek October 3. Expedition from Natchez to Woodville October 4-11. Woodville October 5-6. Fort Adams, La., October 5 and 7. Operations in Issaqueena and Washington Counties October 24-31. Expedition from Vicksburg to Gaines’ Landing and Bayou Macon, La., November 6-8. Expedition from Vicksburg to Yazoo City November 23-December 4. Concord Church December 1. Moved to Memphis, Tenn., December 8. Grierson’s Expedition to destroy Mobile & Ohio Railroad December 21, 1864, to January 15, 1865. Franklin Creek December 21-22, 1864. Egypt Station December 28. Expedition from Memphis to Marion, Ark., January 19-22, 1865 (Detachment). Duty at Memphis, Tenn., till June. Expedition into Northern Mississippi March 3-11. (Part of Regiment ordered to Grenada, Miss., May 9, and duty there till June 24, when rejoined Regiment at Alexandria, La.) Ordered to Alexandria, La., June, March from Alexandria to Hempstead, Texas, August 8-26, and duty there till October. March to Austin, Texas, and there mustered out November 15, 1865.

Click here to read reports sent from the officers of this brigade back to their superiors. It tells us something of what Moses and Jonathan experienced in the war.

* From the U.S. Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863 -1865.

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