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Battle Flag of the 2nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Carte View

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Item No. CV89975 Category


Extremely rare carte view of the National flag for the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry who served as part of the Iron Brigade. This view of the flag was photographed after the Battle of Gettysburg and shows the damage from the hell storm that the 2nd Wisconsin would weather during the battle. The flag was carried into battle by Philo Wright of Company C. Philo had just been promoted to first sergeant and was tasked with carrying the colors just days before the battle on June 30, 1863. He had previously been severely injured during the Battle of Second Bull Run. After his recovery he was offered a position as a surgeon’s aid but turned it down in order to return to his regiment. The 2nd Wisconsin entered the battle with only 300 men remaining out of the 1000 that had left the state two years earlier. As the regiment arrived at Gettysburg on July 1 it was immediately ordered to run over a mile across the battlefield to McPherson’s Ridge and hold that point at all costs. Philo and the men of the 2nd Wisconsin slammed into Archer’s Brigade pushing the rebels back capturing hundreds of rebels including General Archer himself. The 2nd Wisconsin would not survive the fight unscathed. Philo himself was shot through the leg which split his thigh bone. Two more minie balls passed though his cap. He had flesh wounds on both arms and the flag staff was shot in two and the socket was shot off. As he fell to the ground with the flag he looked around for the men of his color guard in order to hand the flag off. There were none to be found. All 8 had been shot down. He eventually handed the colors off to a man in Company H and then began to crawl his way across the battlefield. Philo eventually came to a small farm house and crawled inside only to find it full of wounded men. One of the men was sergeant Spencer Train who was Philo’s tent mate. As the battle raged and the Confederate lines closed in on the farm house most of the wounded men fled to avoid capture. Train had been to badly wounded to move any further. Wright would not leave his friends side and as shot and shell began to riddle the house the pair found a latch to the cellar of the house and crawled in. They would remain there all night and were awoken the next morning by foot steps on the floor above. Unsure if the men above were friend or foe, the pair needed desperate help and Philo called out to the men above. Luckily the men above proved to be pickets from a New Jersey regiment. Philo and Spencer were loaded into separate ambulances and parted ways. Spencer would succumb to his wounds on August 12th. Surgeons attempted to amputate Wright’s leg but he adamantly refused. He would manage to survive and was later discharged for a disability of may 25, 1864. Philo would settle in Grand Rapids, Michigan after the war and work as doctor and surgeon. His bullet riddled cap from the battle is currently held at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. The 2nd Wisconsin had effectively been annihilated during the fight. On the evening of July 1 atop Cemetery Hill only 34 men remained. In Wright’s company only 1 officer and 2 men remained. This one is back marked by the Whitehurst Gallery of Washington. Extremely rare view.

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