Letter from the Famous 6th Wisconsin Vols. – Milo G. Sage Company F – Camp at Fredericksburg, Va. May 18th, 1862 – “Since I wrote you before, we have drawn new hats instead of caps, and we have got a big black feather, and we have got leggings too. It makes us look bold as lions.”
Milo G. Sage enlisted on June 2nd, 1861 and was eventually promoted to Sgt. He was killed along with 1/3 of the regiment at the battle of Petersburg on June 18th, 1864. According to the book, “The Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers” by Rufus R. Dawes, it was a “hopeless assault” and “horrid massacre of our troops”.
The letter is 3 pages written in ink. Writing his brother, Sage states, “We have got the Railroad Bridge most done and then we will move on again. We have took 13 prisoners since I wrote to you before.” He then goes on, “We have very pleasant weather here now. Everything looks green and nice. I have most forgotten how a white woman looks. I haven’t see one in so long. I don’t see anything but nigger wrenches in shape of women. I am glad to hear that you think so much of your little woman. I hope that you may prosper and live happy together for it is disagreeable where man and woman don’t.”
Of course the greatest line is what we mentioned in our title: “Since I wrote to you before, we have drawn new hats instead of caps, and we have got a big black feather, and we have got leggings too. It makes us look bold as lions.” In the regimental, Dawes comments (page 44): “On Saturday, May 17th, the regiment was fully supplied with white leggings, black felt hats adorned with feathers, and white cotton gloves. These decorations were received with the greatest merriment, but we all felt proud of the fine appearance of the battalion. My journal says: “General Gibbon attended our dress parade to-day, and the regiment was in ‘fine feather”. The next day, a gay looking young rebel Captain came in with a flag of truce. The men, delighted to see a live rebel, flocked around him by hundreds. On the 19th of May, the great railroad bridge across the Rappahannock was completed, and a locomotive passed over into Fredericksburg.”
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