The Colonel George Bryant Papers.

This is a sample of the Bryant Papers located at the Wisconsin Historical Society. They cover mostly the family business, as well as Col. George Bryant's dealings with the 1St and 12th Wisconsin, to his activities after the war. These papers range from 1792 to 1939. The Call Numbers are located below.

[The 12th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers (The Marching Regiment) first order to March]


Madison, Dec. 10th, 1861

Col. G. E. Bryant
Comdg. 12th Regt.
Wis. Vol.
Camp Randall


The following dispatch was received at this office last evening.

W.W. Watson, Mil. Sec. By Quinn
By telegraph from Washington
December 9, 1861

To Lieut. Gov. Noble,

Please send the (9) Ninth (12) Twelfth (13) Thirteenth Regiments to Fort Leavenworth, to report to Major General Hunter. Arms are ordered there for them.

L. Thomas, Adjt. Gen.

                                                                                                                        Head Quarters 12th Reg. W. V.
                                                                                                                        Camp Randall
                                                                                                                        Madison, Wis., Dec. 18th, 1861

Mrs. S. Bryant

Dear Madam

    We the undersigned Company officers of the 12th Reg. W. V. would most respectfully present to you the accompanying Pitcher and Goblet as a token of our high regard for Col. Bryant as a man and of our growing confidence in him as a brave and accomplished officer. And permit us Madam to make this the occasion of conveying to you our deliberate purpose to stand by the Col. like a band of brothers in the day of battle and of peril that may await us, and of assuring you that when he shall command though fearful may be the odds against us, we will press with our brave men to meet the embattled enemies of our country and sacrifice if needs be everything but honor, to raise the loved old flag to its original proud position before the Nations.
    With sentiments of kind regard for yourself and children and with expressions of hope that after the great struggle of Liberty shall have been brought to a successful issue, the Col. with his brows entwined with the laurels of victory and followed by the benedicting of his grateful countrymen whose liberties he shall have contributed much to reestablish, may be restored in full health and vigor to his family and home.

We Remain Dear Madam Your Obedient Servants:

Norman Mleod, Capt. Co. "I"
Orrin T. Maxson, 1st Lieut. "
Francis Hoyt, 2 Lieut. "
E. Stevens, Capt. Co. B
B.F. Blackman, 1st Lieut.
J.W. Luste, 2nd Lieut.
Charles Socber, Capt. Co. C.
F. Milson, 1st Lieut.
M.J. Cantwele, 2nd Lieut.
Jms. Martin Price, Capt. Co. D.
Thomas Farmer, 1st Lieut.
W.J. Horton, 2nd Lieut.
Abraham Vanderpoll, Capt. Co. E
John Gillispiec, 1st Lieut.
L.L. Linnell, 2nd Lieut.
Geo. C. Morton, Capt. Co. F.
Seoi Odell, 1st Lieut.
H. Tourtilott, 2nd
Danl Cowell, Capt. Co. G.
Chas. McNebt, 1st Lieut.
W.W. Pottan, 2nd Lieut.
Milo E. Palmer, Capt. Co. H.
Nathan A. C. Smith, 1st Lieut.
C.C. Lovett, 2nd Lieut.
H.L. Turner, Capt. Co. I.
V.S. Bennett, 1st. Lieut.
I.S. Tinker, 2nd Lieut.
D. R. Sylvester, Capt. Co. J.
A.N. Chandler, 1st Lieut.
Isaac Walker, 2nd Lieut.

U.S. Quartermaster Office
Madison, Wis. Jan. 8, 1862

A.G. Davine, Esqr.
Agt. of M & PDRR & CB RR


    You will please transport the 12th Regt. W. V. - Col. Bryant from this place to Quincy, Ills. upon the terms proposed in your letter dated Dec. 21st & 29th ult. to wit:
    From Madison to Janesville at two cents per mile for each man, and from Janesville to Qunicy at one and one fourth of one cent per mile for each man. The distance to be computed by the shortest all rail route.
    Baggage to be transported from Madison to Chicago at Government rates for such freights and from Chicago to Quincy free of charge. All freight to go through from Madison to Quincy without breaking bulk. Coffee to be furnished the men three times in each twenty four ddhoarse, as the Colonel may order on the route.
    You are to take the troops via M & RD CRR to Janesville. C & UW to Chicago and C. B. IRR from Chicago to Quincy and to make all necessary arrangements for the connections and transshipment from Quincy to the Hannibel and St. Jo. RR with least possible delay and without trouble to the Quartermasters department here.
    Col. Bryant or the Commandant of the Regt. will recept to you at the end of the route, for the number of men transported and weight of baggage transported, upon the return of which receipt together with this order, your account will be settled at this office.
    Cars to be in readiness at Camp Randall on Saturday morning the 11th inst.

Yours & C. A. R. Eddy, A. Qur.
by N.B. VanSlyke, Qur. Agt.

Hd. Qtr. Central Division of the Miss.
Trenton, Tenn. Sept. 3, 1862


    You ask the following questions: "If a negro master was an open reccissionist, and employed his negros on Southern Forts, and then, when we came here, took the oath, and the negro ran away after masters taking the Oath, though he worked on Forts, am I to give a receipt.
    In answer, I would say the negro is entitled to his free papers, by the Act of Congress of Aug. 6th, 1861, and no receipt should be given. My understanding of the matter is, that the Loyal owner (and in this case I mean by Loyal, a man, who has always been a union man, or has taken no part in this rebellion should be protected in his property at all hazards. If his negros will not stay at home, and he prefers a receipt, give him one; and I should make the receipt show that he had always been loyal. Where a negro escapes from a rebel sympathizer, and before he took the oath, and he wanted a receipt, I should give it, but state the fact in the receipt. When a negro escapes from a man, who has taken the oath but whose sympathies have been with the south, and whose sympathies are that way after taking the oath, I should give a receipt, and state that the man had taken the oath, but his sympathies are with the South. Where a negro is free by acts of his master or acts of the negro, no receipts should be given; but a statement of the fact may be given the master if he desires it. And where a really Union man loses a negro who comes to our lines, if the negro is not in our lines, but is known to have been there, I generally give such a man a statement (not a receipt) of the fact, as I am disposed to help all in my power any loyal union man in getting his property or pray for it.

I am very respectfully Your Obedient Servant

G. M. Dodge
Brig. Genl. Comdg.
Col. Geo. E. Bryant

Humbolt Tenn.
13th Sept., 1862

I hereby report to you the Death of Corporal Thompson P. Loyd, of Company C 12th Regt, Wisconsin Vol. who died in Hospital at this place 13th September, 1862.

Inventory of Effects of Corp. Thompson P. Loyd

1 Ten Dollar Piece
3 Ten Dollars United States Treasury Notes
1 Pocket Book
1 Pocket Knife
1 Drinking cup and case
1 Tobacco Box
1 Pair Shoes
1 Needle case
2 Pocket Handkerchiefs
1 Blouse
1 Pair Pants
1 Cap. and Cover
1 Towel
1 Pair Gloves
1 Port Folio
7 Three cent postage stamps, 1 one cent stamp
1 Knapsack Haversack and Canteen
1 Watch chain and Guard
Fr. Nelson, Capt.
Comd. Company C
12th Regt. Wis. Vol.

                                                                                            To His Excellency
                                                                                            Abraham Lincoln.
                                                                                            President of the United States.


                                                                                            I respectfully request
        That Co. George E. Bryant of the 12th Regiment Wisconsin Veteran Volunteers Infinity be promoted to be a Brigadier General of Volunteers.
        Col. Bryant is a graduate of Norwich University and entered the service April 15./ 61 raising a company for three months, with which he entered the First Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He earned with great credit, especially at Falling Water, the only engagement in which the Regiment took part. He was appointed to his present position Sept. 27, 1862, and soon after took the field.
        His Regiment is the largest and one of the very best in this army, owing mainly to his Military education and ability and care as commander.
        The Regiment was reenlisted as Veterans to the number of 568 of 650 present. It is claimed to be the Couragest Veteran Regiment of Infinity in U. S. Service, and its acts clearly indicates Col. B.'s standing with those who have served under him and know him best.
        He is energetic, of good habits, honorable and upright in all respects.
        Wisconsin has many regiments of excellent troops in this army with no General officer, and Col. Bryant is the Senior Colonel from his state, save one who is in Texas.
        Col. Bryant with his Regt. has performed much good service in this Department and especially in the Campaign against Vicksburg and Jackson, during a large position of which operations, as well as previously he commanded a brigade with marked ability. He is one of our very best officers.
        He has always been prompt and successful in all duties or enterprises, and his promotion is due to a deserving officer and to a young and gallant State and also is urged upon the ground of manifest benefit to the service

I am very Respectfully
Your most obedient Servant

W. L Gresham
Brigadier General Comdg.
3d Brig, 4th Div, 17th Army Corps

Jan 27th 1864

M. M. Crocker
Brig. Genl. Comdg. 4th Div. 17th A. C.

James B. McPherson
Maj. Genl. Comdg. 17th A. C.

Report of 1 Brigade
3 Div. 17th
From June 8 to Sept. 11, 64

By Col. G. E. Bryant
Hd. Qrs. 1 Brig. & C
Sept. 11, 1864
Capt. J. C. Douglas


    I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by the 1st Brig. 3rd Div. 17th A. C. in the battle before Atlanta July 25th. The Brigade at here on that day was formed in two lines facing westward, and was engaged in throwing up breastworks when the sound of heavy musketry on my right, in front of 15th Camp caused me to form in line my two reserve Rgts. the 12th Wisconsin (Lt. Col. Proudfit Commanding) and the 31st. Ill. (Lt. Col. Pearson Commanding) veteran Regts of Inft. came after forming them received an order from Maj. Gen. House and to send my reserve Rgts. to the support of 15th Corps. They were immediately started on the double quick the 12th Wisconsin in advance and proceeded more than a mile to the right of 15th Corps. The 12th Wisconsin formed on the extreme right of the army in a ravine and charged up a hill, from which our men had just been dislodged (thereby newly turning out my left flank) routing the enemy therefore capturing and killing some hundred of the foe. This position they held during the day and night following during which time several charges were made by the enemy, but in each case easily repulsed, the Regt was protected by slight [?] breastworks, built by our men and by the energy during that short time they held the hill and improved by themselves after they retook the hill. The Regt. lost but two men killed and seventeen wounded. The 31st Ill on its arrival at 15th Corps was held in reserve for the same time and suffered no loss. The balance of the Brigade in common with the works of the Division was exposed to an enfilading fire from the enemy, artillery but lost but one man killed and one man wounded. The conduct of Lt. Col. Proudfit and his Rgt. in promptly and quickly moving to the place "of need" was highly commended by many officers who witnessed their acts. It was without doubt one of the important movements thus saved our flank and gained us the victory.
    And the following as the part taken by the brigade before Jamestown August 31st at 11 o’clock a.m. and thus day leaves ordered by Maj. Gen. Wood to report with three Rgt. the 12th, 16th Wisconsin and 31st Ill. to Maj. Gen John and Logan. This was done in 15 minutes and by his directions and was conduct, led by a staff officer to Brig. Gen. Hazen and under his direction formed the brigade as full, the 31st Ill covered a gap fronting an orchard toward Jonesboro. The 12th and 16th Wisconsin were moved to the left with an interval of some two 7th [?] of 15th Corps between them refusing their line; to protect the flank. Works were hastily thrown up the 12th and 16th Wis. being compelled to build traverses and wings to protect themselves from the shell and bullets of the enemy. The charge of the enemy extended along the front of the 31st Illinois and Seven Cos. of 12th Wis. which was successfully resisted at both points. Owing to the nature of the ground and the formation of our works, other Regts. had flank fines, over our front. I claim for the brigade as its just proportion of killed, wounded, and prisoners that fell into our hands in that day, two hundred sixty two men. The 31st Ill with 200 men expended in one hour nineteen thousand rounds of ammunition.
    Early in the great battle of the 22nd the brigade became engaged and continued on till the next morning repulsing many charges, literally piling their dead in heaps in front of the works fighting the enemy all night with but the breastworks between them and their foe. Early in this action Brig. Gen. Force was wounded and the undersigned assumed command. During the fight the Brigade charged forward many times, fighting from both sides of some breastworks, and at times it was obliged to refuse its flanks to meet the desperate and furious onsets of the enemy so that it had to fight at some time on two fronts and one flank, but it held the "Hill" so dearly gained the day before but with a loss of [No number given] killed wounded and missing. They key to position of the army of the Tennessee. During all of these two days desperate fighting the organization and order was excellent and the men in the best of spirits. They fought to "whip" and when the enemy at one point of the line had reached the outside of the breastworks "fixed bayonets" and severe that there they would stay or die from the time the command joined the Grand Army at Ackworth June 8th until the close of the campaign it was constantly at the front under fire. Marching, digging, and fighting it has not failed to take a hold any positions it was ordered to. Now has any part of the commanded moved except in pursuance of orders from supreme authority. The officers and men "believe" that they can't be whipped and have always had perfect confidence in their officers and their final success. Of the part taken by the brigade in the battles of July 28th at ... end

Gen. J. C. Douglas
A. A. Genl.

I have the honor to submit the following in brief, of the part taken by the 1st Brig. 3rd Div., 17th A. C. Veteran. The 20th, 30th, 31st, and 45 Ill. Regts of Infty., and the 12th and 16th Wisconsin vet, Rgts. of Infty. in the Campaign for Atlanta since May 1st 1864. The whole command was transported from Cairo, Ill. and transported to Clifton Tenn. under Command of Brig. Gen. M. J. Force and marched to Huntsville and Decatur, Ala. and Rome to Ackworth Ga., where it arrived on the 9th of June. On 10, June marched to Big Shanty, Ga. and on the morning of 11th June advanced inline of battle to near Kenesaw Mt. And entrenched.

The Brigade participated in the charges of 15 June and 19 June on Bushy Mountain also in the subsequent movements of the Div. to 27th June where it participated in the charge on the evening works in which the Brigade was severely engaged suffering considerable loss and driving the enemy's skirmish from its position, and holding a position near the enemy's line under heavy fire until ordered to return. On 4 July Brigade was ordered to the right of the Army, and in marching to position near the enemy's skirmishers firing them some tow miles, taking and holding a potion on the right of the 16th Corps and subsequently extend it line fifty miles to the right, reaching Sweet Water Creek along the banks of the Chattahoochee guarding several ferries.

While in this position the 12th Wis. Joined the Brigade.

Previous to joining the Brigade, the 12 Wis. had moved with the balanced of the Army under command of Brig Gen. Gresham, 4th Div., to Big Shanty, Ga., advancing on 11th June in line of battle. On 12 June, a detail of two hundred men were ordered to reconnoiter a positioning in advance of picket line. They charged their enemy's pickets, driving them from and advancing beyond thin works but were subsequently met by a heavy force obliged to fall back with a loss of 25 killed and wounded. On 16th July, Brigade men and from the [?] of the army, marching via Marietta and Roswell passing through Decatur, Ga. July 20th, at [Gauie?]. On the morning of 21st Brigade advanced position proceeding west. At [Gauie?] the Brigade was ordered and to charge a hill in its present. The 12 and 16 Wis. Regts. Formed the advance, charging [closer?] supported by 20th, 30th, and 31st Ill. Regts. The advance was made up a hill, through open field under heavy musketry of the enemy. The works taken and held - with aggregate loss to the Brigade of [no number given] killed wounded and missing. The steady unweaving advance of the columns under the severe fire of the enemy line, of Clebrun's famous division, advantageously posted behind entrenchments was such a s to merit for with officers and men the highest valor and courage and skill. In this charge, if fifteen minutes, the 12th Wis. Regt. lost out of 600 men engaged, 134 men killed, wounded. It confiscated more small arms than it had men engaged; many of them … and two flag staffs. The Rgts of the brigade behaved with equal gallantry, but suffered less loss.

Also available:

A sketch of the 12th on bivouac at Camp Audas opposite Hannibal.
Click to see Sketch

A map which shows the route the 12th Wisconsin took between the Mississippi to Decatur, Ala.
Click to see Map

*** End of The Colonel George Bryant Papers. ***

From the Wisconsin Historical Society. Call numbers:

AUTHOR Bryant, George Edwin, 1832-1907.
TITLE Letter, 1861.
: MAD 4 /14/File 1861 December 18
CALL NO. File 1861 December 18

AUTHOR Bryant, Frank H.
TITLE George E. and George W. Bryant papers, 1792-1907.
: MAD 4 /17/B4
CALL NO. Wis Mss 2BX