Nettleton, William Henry, Civil War Soldier of Clark Co., WI

Bio: Nettleton, William Henry
Contact: Stan

----Source:  GAR Graphic by Pat Phillips, Rocky Mound Grange--William Nettleton is listed as an early member in 1976.  The Military History of Wisconsin: A Record of the Civil and Military Patriotism of the State in the War for the Union, by E. B. Quiner, Esq., 1860 Federal Census for Clark Co., WI; Veteran' Grave Record #559, Thorp Area Civil War Veterans, Cemetery Record, Militray Burials

Surnames: Carolin, Clinton, Conklin, Ewen, Fitch, Fuller, Hamilton, Hobart, Hood, Johnston, Morgan, Nettleton, Reeve, Rousseau, Schumacher, Sutliff, Sweet

William Henry Nettleton

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William H. Nettleton was one of the first settlers in Pine Valley Township, Clark County, Wisconsin.  He was born in 1838 in New York and was twenty-two years old at the time of the 1860 Clark Co., WI Federal Census.  Also recorded in that census were forty-five year old David Nettleton, a farmer also born in the Empire State, with real-estate valued at $1,500 and personal assets of $300.  Twenty year old David G. Nettleton, was also listed on that record as born in New York.

William Nettleton fought in the Civil War and was a member of the Twenty-first Regiment which was organized at Oshkosh, and was composed of companies enlisted in Fond du Lac, Winnebago, Outagamie, Waupaca, Calumet and Manitowoc Counties.  Its organization was perfected under the supervision of Colonel Benjamin J. Sweet, and it was mustered into the United States service on September 5, 1862, with the following roster:

Colonel - Benjamin J. Sweet
Lieutenant Colonel - Harrison C. Hobart
Major - Frederick Schumacher
Adjutant - Michael H. Fitch
Quartermaster - Henry C. Hamilton
Surgeon - Samuel J. Carolin
First Assistant Surgeon - James T. Reeve
Second Assistant Surgeon - Sidney S. Fuller
Chaplain - Rev. Orson P. Clinton

Captain of Co. F. - Edgar Conklin

First Lieutenant of Co. F. - Milton Ewen

Second Lieutenant of Co. F. - Charles H. Morgan


William Nettleton Was Wounded During the Atlanta Campaign


After many days of severe skirmishing, the twenty-first regiment joined in the great movement to flank the enemy out of Atlanta.  The 21st deployed as skirmishers and drove the rebel cavalry about two miles along the railroad, which was completely destroyed by the troops in the rear.  After the battle of Jonesboro the Confederates evacuated Atlanta and the 21st went into camp in the city on September 8th.  After just four months from the opening of the campaign the regiment had fought their way for a distance of more than 135 miles.  The regiment suffered severely in this campaign with a loss of 112 killed and wounded and 110 disabled by disease and fatigue.  This left only about 1/3 of the arms-bearing men to enter Atlanta.


In the pursuit of General Hood's army, the regiment was under the command of Major Charles H. Walker, the former Captain of Company K.  After this unsuccessful chase, the 21st went into camp at Kingston, Georgia.  Here the regiment was filled with recruits from the 1st and 10th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiments.  Lieutenant Colonel Harrison C. Hobart was commissioned Colonel, Major Michael H. Fitch was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel, and Captain Charles H. Walker was commissioned Major.  Colonel Hobart was assigned to command the First Brigade and the regimental command fell to Lieutenant Colonel Fitch.  Private John F. Fitch of Company K was reported as having died of wounds on October 24, 1864.


On November 12, 1864 the 14th Corps, under the command of Major General Jefferson C. Davis, commenced the famous "March to the Sea."  The 21st was now the only Wisconsin regiment in the corps, which was now in the Army of Georgia.  On November 4th, the army passed through Marietta, Georgia, leaving the town in flames.  On November 15th, the 21st entered burning Atlanta.   The regiment, well equipped and clothed, with haversacks filled for the last time from the stores of the army, moved forward on the march.  There was no hospital, no base, and with rations and forage for only a few days.  On November 17th the regiment reached the Oconee River.  Regular foraging parties were organized to obtain supplies for the men and animals.  On November 23rd the 21st  entered Milledgeville, thus far meeting no enemy except occasional scouts of rebel cavalry.  Much of the time was employed in destroying railroads and bridges.  On December 6th, the regiment reached the Savannah River, fifty miles from Savannah.  The rebel cavalry were brushed away as the army dashed along the banks of this river.  On December 11th the regiment, in the pine forests a few miles from Savannah, heard the guns of the Federal Navy firing upon Fort Jackson.  The 21st took an active part in the siege of Savannah until its evacuation.  On December 21st the 21st entered the city and went into camp.  At this place Colonel Hobart, by recommendation of General Sherman, was brevetted Brigadier General by a special order of the War Department and assigned to a command of that rank.  On January 20, 1865 the Carolina campaign commenced.  General Hobart still commanded the same brigade.  Lieutenant Colonel Fitch was detailed to the command of three regiments and Major Walker assumed command of the regiment.  The 21st crossed the Savannah River with the 14th Corps and shared actively in the campaign which "marked the earth with ruin."  The regiment marched with the column that passed north of Columbia, South Carolina and, after overcoming almost insurmountable difficulties, crossed the Catawba River.  The roads were almost impassable, and the men would never forget the many miles of corduroy which they constructed.  On March 4, 1865 the 21st entered North Carolina.  At this point the burning ceased.  On March 11th the regiment encamped at Fayetteville on the Cape Fear River.  Leaving Fayetteville, the regiment was in the advance brigade, which encountered the enemy, in force, near Bentonville on March 19th.  The advance of the enemy was gallantly driven back to their main line by three regiments of the brigade immediately under the command of General Hobart.  In this sharp engagement, which was the last of Sherman's battles, the 21st took an active part. 


After this battle, the following casualties were officially reported as wounded from Company F:

Company F - Corporal L. Sutliff and Privates, William Nettleton and Robert Patton.


Soldier & Unit History


Wisconsin 21st Infantry 1862-1865


William H Nettleton - Transferred to F Company 17 September 1862

Wounded 19 March 1865 Bentonville, North Carolina

Mustered out 19 May 1865


Data of Town Where Enlisted: Black River Falls, WI


Killed or mortally wounded
Died as POW
Died of Disease
Mustered out


This regiment was organized at Camp Bragg, Oshkosh 5 September 1862 and was sent to Covington, Kentucky for the defense of Cincinnati.


It participated in the battle of Perryville in the 28th brigade, and after a march of 12 miles on the day of the battle, was placed by mistake in an exposed position alone, subject to the fire of both friend and foe. It escaped utter destruction by breaking ranks, then rallied and took position in line of battle. It lost 179 in killed, wounded and missing.


On December 7 it was ordered to Nashville. With its brigade it repulsed an attack on the supply wagons by 3,500 of Wheeler's cavalry at Jefferson, the burden of the attack falling on the 21st. Gen. Rousseau said: "This regiment, led by its efficient commander (Hobart}, behaved like veterans."


It went into the battle of Stone's River the following day, was sent to the extreme front, and for 3 days held position under heavy fire. It encamped at Murfreesboro during the winter and spring, moved south with the Army of the Cumberland in June into Alabama and Georgia and arrived at Chickamauga in time to take part in the second day's fight. It "never faltered during the whole day, but often the second line would have to face about and drive away the rebels from the rear." On being ordered to retire it fell back "only to the second line of works, where, still fighting, surrounded by the enemy, Lt. Col. Hobart and about 70 officers and men were captured."


The regiment was in reserve at Missionary Ridge and then was stationed on the summit of Lookout Mountain until the spring of 1864. It was in the advance on Resaca in May 1864, and was the last to retire in the evening. At Dallas it remained for 6 days under fire, its skirmishers being within 50 paces of those of the enemy.


The regiment followed Johnston in his retreat from Dallas to Kennesaw Mountain, where it charged the enemy's skirmish line and gained position within 150 paces of the main line of Confederate works. It was in siege, fatigue and guard duty until the fall of Atlanta, took part in the battle of Jonesboro, and then went into camp at Atlanta.


On Oct. 1 it was attached to the 1st brigade, 1st division, 14th army corps, and pursued Gen. Hood northward. It then rejoined Sherman's army, took part in the march to the sea, the siege of Savannah, the Carolina Campaign, and the march to Richmond. It participated in the grand review at Washington, DC where it was mustered out 8 June 1865.


Grand Review in Washington D. C., May 23, 1865



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