Corporal Marcus S. Pratt, Company G.



From The Soldier's and Citizen's Album, pg. 267, 268, 269.

Marcus S. Pratt of Grand Rapids, Wis., and a member of G. A. R Post No. 22, was born in Bath, Steuben Co., New York, Feb. 28, 1840. He is the son of Sherman Shumway and Sarepta A. (Warren) Pratt, the former having been born near Holyoke, Mass., and the latter in Edinburg, Saratoga Co., New York. The ancestral stock of the father is traced to 1682 and was of Welch origin. Ebenezer Pratt, his great uncle, was an ensign in the Revolution and was killed at Bunker Hill. His grandfather, Elijah, was in the Mexican war. Asher Chapin, the paternal great grandfather, was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. He was a captain and suffered the rigors of the march to Valley Forge, one of the most distressing experiences of that struggle, and died from the effects of his exposure. The mother is in the direct lineage of General Joseph Warren of Bunker Hill memory. He was her great uncle and General Warren of the Army of the Potomac was her cousin.

Mr. Pratt left Bath at 16 to remove with his parents to Wisconsin and they located at Plover. The son obtained a situation in the store of the Bath Milling Company prior to removal in which he officiated from 11 years of age as bookkeeper. At the age mentioned he graduated from Fulton & Eastman's Commercial College at Syracuse, N. Y. At Plover he and his father took a contract to build two churches and in the winter following he determined on a trip to Kansas and went to Chicago where he enlisted in a company of recruits and went to the State where the struggle between slave and free rule was in progress. He remained in the border struggles until the proclamation of Governor Geary liberated the company, when he returned to Grand Rapids. He again engaged in the business of a contractor and erected two large stores and the court-house and jail combined for the county of Portage. He was occupied thus until the winter of 1860-1 and in the following summer he engaged in teaching and was occupied in that calling seven months. He closed his engagement in June and enlisted Aug. 16th in Company G, 12th Wisconsin Infantry. On the formation of the company he was made Corporal and received honorable discharge Aug. 20, 1865, at Madison, the war having ended and the War Department issuing instructions at that date in regard to the sick and disabled.

The 12th proceeded from Wisconsin to Quincy, Ill, preparatory to crossing the river at that point but it was impassable. They cut a channel through the ice and crossed and proceeded to Weston, Mo. They were sheltered in houses and during the stay there made several reconnaissances into the adjacent country. They went to Platteville, 18 miles distant, where they engaged in their first skirmish with Price's troops. After a delay at Weston of 7 weeks they went to Fort Leavenworth and reported to General Blunt, the commander of the Army of the Frontier and military governor of Kansas. About March 1st, a brigade composed of the 13th, 9th and 12th Wisconsin Infantry, the 1st and 8th Kansas and 8th Wisconsin Battery and the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry was consolidated and ordered to report to Fort Scott, 120 miles away. The design was to join the command of Kit Carson at Fort Smith, Ark., but soon after arriving at Fort Scott they were ordered to retrace their steps. At Fort Scott they drew two months pay, and distinguished themselves in their temperance zeal by whipping a negro in true Southern style for selling whiskey to the soldiers. General Jim Lane superseded General Blunt and marched the troops to Fort Riley en route to Santa Fe. Fort Riley was located 250 miles away, and there they received arms and equipments and were drilled daily in company and battalion drill to fit them for the anticipated service. They were again reviewed in heavy marching order and, by order of the War Department, General Blunt superseded General Lane and the regiment was orders to proceed to Santa Fe when counter orders were received and they returned to St. Louis to report to General Blair, receiving instructions to go to Corinth. They reached St. Louis where the transports were stationed in the middle of the river for obvious purposes, and they lay all day Sunday within hearing of the guns at the battle of Pittsburg Landing. They were eager to be there, as they had become tired with their long and weary marches to no purpose. That day a prize fight occurred on Bloody Island in their vicinity between a Cincinnati and a St. Louis pugilist, the latter being killed. (It is stated that General Blair was so determined to see this fight that he would not move to Pittsburg Landing with 8,000 troops in his command.) On the following day they received orders to proceed down the river on the transports to report to A. J. Smith at Columbus, Ky. The battle at Corinth had taken place, and the regiment remained to repair rebel depredations on the railroad. The 12th was detailed as bridge builders and communications were opened with Corinth, after which the 12th was detached from the brigade and put on duty at Humboldt Junction and guarded two lines of railway. The garrison confiscated large amounts of Southern products until the second fight at Corinth, when they were relieved by 100-day men and reported to the front to be brigade with the 46th Illinois, 53rd Indiana, 16th Wisconsin, constituting the 3rd Brigade, of the 4th Division of the 16th Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee, under General W. Q. Gresham. Grant had completed his plains for the Vicksburg campaign and the l2th took up the march via Bolivar, Holly Springs, and Oxford and on this march were reenforced by "Jennison's Javhawkers." For successive days, the command was in constant skirmishes with Van Dorn and Faulker's guerrillas. Every inch of the ground was contested to Coldwater, where they were in their first set battle. They fought the troops of Joe Johnston and lost heavily in wounded but few in killed. Colonel Murphy, with the 8th Wisconsin, had been left to guard the supplies at Holly Springs and word was received that he had surrendered to a small rebel force, which forced Grant to fall back to his base at Memphis, his troops meanwhile subsisting on foraging. The 12th remained there during the winter performing military duty and in March went to Vicksburg. They went to Young's Point Crossing Arkansas swamps and building corduroy roads from rail fences from adjacent plantations. They went thence to Grand Gulf and marched to the investment and surrender of Vicksburg. Sherman, with the 15th and 16th Corps, took up their line of march for Jackson. While enroute the second fight at Baker's Creek took place and was followed by that at Champion's Hill. The rebels were routed by the 12th Wisconsin and the 53rd Indiana. In the fight at Jackson, Johnston was routed and 250 men of the 12th under Captain Maxson of Company A, drove out the remaining rebels and took possession of the city. They went next to the Meridian expedition, returned to Vicksburg subsisting on the country, and devastating everything they encountered. The 12th went into winter quarters at Natchez and there veteranized. On their return, they proceeded to connect with the Atlanta campaign at Big Shanty, Lost Mountain, Little and Big Kennesaw, siege of Atlanta, Jonesboro, Eastport, capture of Atlanta, and thence to Marietta and on the march to the sea. Mr. Pratt was in the siege of Savannah, at the surrender of Columbia, at the taking of Raleigh and in the last fight with Johnston at Bentonville. In the last, Mr. Pratt was wounded by the explosion of a shell and was sent to the hospital with both knees badly injured. He was first treated at the corps hospital and sent thence to the general hospital at Newbern. He was transferred to Chestnut Hill hospital in Philadelphia and in August he was sent to Madison where he was discharged as stated. P. Warren Pratt, his brother, was in the same company, and regiment; they were the only sons of their parents.

Mr. Pratt returned to Grand Rapids whither his parents had removed just before his enlistment and he has since operated as a contractor until April, 1887. He then engaged in insurance business, his injuries making his former business impossible. After recovery, he resumed his former profession. He was married April 20, 1864, to Maria Watkins and they had three children - Cora A., Jennie M. and Gracie F. Mrs. Pratt was born in Bath, Steuben Co., New York, and died at Grand Rapids in June, 1885. Joseph Watkins, a lieutenant in the three months service and Perry, in the 15th Illinois Infantry, served in the war. Stephen and Frank Watkins served respectively in the 13th Wisconsin and 1st Montana Cavalry and Thomas Bailey in the 115th Mew York. They were her brothers and half brother. Mr. Pratt has served two years as register of Deeds of Portage county, four successive years as Chairman of the Town Board of Grand Rapids, two years as Town Treasurer and three years as Town Clerk. He was a Charter member of Post No. 22 and has held all the offices of the, organization, except Commander.