Colonel Frederick C. Winkler


        Frederick C. Winkler, son of Carl and Elizabeth (Overbeck) Winkler, was born in Bremen, Germany, March 15, 1838, his parents then residing in that city. The father came to the United States in 1842, locating in Milwaukee, where he opened a drug Store. Two years later he was joined by his wife and children, and Frederick C. was reared in that city, obtaining his education in the public schools, which, although greatly inferior to those of the present day, offered advantages superior to those to be obtained elsewhere in Wisconsin in the territorial and earl statehood days. He began his legal studies at the age of eighteen in the office of H. L. Palmer, and at the age of twenty he removed to Madison and occupied his studies in the office of Abbott, Gregory & Pinney, be admitted to the bar at Madison on April 19, 1859. Returning to Milwaukee he began the practice of his profession in his home city and had entered upon a most promising career when the break- out of the Civil war changed his plans for a time. The Twenty-sixth Wisconsin infantry, a German regiment, was organized in Milwaukee and vicinity, and F. C. Winkler became captain of Company B. It was mustered in on Sept. 17, 1862, left the state Oct. 6. following, and joined the movement toward the Rappahanock. spending the winter in drill, guard and picket duty. It participated the battle of Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863, the men fighting like veterans, and was at Gettysburg, July 1 to 3, Captain Winkler, being attached to the staff of General Schurz. In a report of this battle one authority says that the Twenty-sixth "fought like demons," and in this engagement both the lieutenant-colonel, and major of the regiment were wounded. Captain Winkler then became the acting field officer. After the battle of Chickamauga, Sept. 20 and 21, the regiment was sent with General Hooker's forces to the Army of the Potomac to the relief of General Rosecrans at Chattanooga. In November following the colonel left the organization, and from that time until the close of the war, Captain Winkler was in command, and was advanced to the rank of colonel. The regiment under his command took part in the battle of Mission Ridge in November, 1863, and the campaign into East Tennessee for the relief of Knoxville which followed it. In the spring of 1864, when Gen. Sherman organized his army for the invasion of Georgia, it became part of the Third brigade, Third division of the Twentieth corps, of which the command was given to General Hooker. It thenceforth took part in all of General Sherman's campaigns, fought many skirmishes and took part in nearly every battle. Perhaps its severest struggle was at Peachtree Creek, July 20, 1864. Of that action the official report of Colonel Wood, then commander of the brigade, contains the following: "Where all behaved well it may be regarded as invidious to call attention to individuals, yet it seems to me that I cannot discharge my whole duty in this report without pointing out for especial commendation, the conduct of the Twenty-sixth Wisconsin volunteer infantry, and its brave and able commander. The position of this regiment in that line was such that the brunt of the attack on this brigade fell upon it. The brave, skillful and determined manner in which it met the attack, rolled back the onset and pressed forward in a counter-charge and drove back the enemy could not be excelled by the troops in this and or any other arm, and is worthy of the highest commendation praise. It is to be hoped that such conduct will be held up as an example for others, and will meet its appropriate reward."- (Annual report of Wis. Adjt. Gen. for 1864. p. So.)
        The regiment marched with Sherman to the sea, and from Savannah through the Carolinas to Richmond, participating in hot fighting at Averasboro and Bentonville. It took part in the Grand Review in Washington, then proceeded to Milwaukee, where it was mustered out on June 28, 1865, Colonel Winkler being brevetted brigadier-general of volunteers "for meritorious service." Gen. William Cogswell, of Massachusetts, then in command of the brigade, in his final report to the War Department, mentioned the Twenty-sixth Wisconsin as "one of the finest military organizations in the service." Before the command of the regiment fell to his hands. Captain Winkler gave a large measure of his time to duties as judge advocate of many courts-martial, charged at times with the trial of the most weighty offenses. In five or six cases it became his duty to certify to headquarters sentences of death; all but two of these were commuted. In the court of inquiry to investigate certain reflections on Maj.-Gen. Carl Schurz and a part of his command, contained in General Hooker's official report of the night battle at Wauhatchie in Lookout Valley, Colonel Winkler was, at the request of General Schurz, appointed his counsel, and as a result of the inquiry General Schurz and his subordinate, Col. F. Hecker, were "fully exonerated from the strictures contained in General Hooker's report." After leaving the military service General Winkler resumed the practice of his profession, and has been for the past forty years one of the leading attorneys of the city, Messrs. A. R. R. Butler, James G. Jenkins, T. B. Elliott, A. A. L. Smith, John T Fish, Edward P. Vilas, James G, Flanders, E. H. Bottum and C. F. Fawsett having been at different times associated with him as partners. During the last ten years or more he has given a large portion of his time to the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, being a trustee and member of the Finance and Executive committees of that In politics he has always supported the Republican party. His marriage to Miss Frances Al. Wightman occurred in 1864, and "six daughters and three sons have been born to the union. In character General Winkler is a man who commands the widest respect and admiration. His devotion to duty as a soldier exhibits the same qualities of courage, firmness, energy and faithfulness to the trusts reposed in him that have marked his life as a citizen and a professional man. He is an able jurist and has won in his profession large success commensurate with his ability. In social life he is a refined and cultured gentleman.

Memoirs of Milwaukee County Vol2, 1909 pg. 17-19 (ARC) F 587 .M6 W33 v.2 Milwaukee Archive UWM