Camp Sigel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


        As the enlisted men began to collect in Milwaukee they first found accommodations in dwellings and other buildings. The Light Guard and the Union Rifles went into camp on "Spring Street Hill", where they were soon joined by their companions in arms, and the camp began to be known as "Camp Scott", taking its designation from the name of the then lieutenant-general of the United States, Gen. Winfield Scott. They were without uniforms. Many of them were without arms. These were provided in due time. Meanwhile, Camp Scott became the central point of interest to everyone in Milwaukee.
        Camp Sigel, as everybody was aware, had been located in the upper portion of the first ward, not far from the lake; Camp Scott on Spring Street (now Wisconsin Ave), west of Twelfth Street, and Camp Washburn on the old Cold Spring racing course, west of Twenty-seventh Street, which at the time of the war was outside of the city limits. The committee, however, sought definite information as to the exact boundaries of each of the tracts, and for this purpose interviewed people who had resided in the neighborhoods at the time of the war. In regard to Camp Scott and Washburn less difficulty was encountered than with respect to Camp Sigel. Finally it was recalled that Chas. C. Paine and his family had lived close to Camp Sigel during the war and for some time thereafter. Mrs. Paine and her son, Tracy L. Paine, put disputes at an end by furnishing a map of the camp, indicating the location of the streets which cross it now when it is a closely built up section of the city. Two of the camp sites - Sigel and Washburn - were parallelograms, while Camp Scott was irregular in outline, by reason of the southeastward trend of the ravine with a watercourse at the bottom, which cut off its southwestern corner.
        The northern boundary of Camp Scott was some sixty feet south of what afterward became State Street, and ran from Twelfth Street to Fifteenth Street, where a ravine running southeastward toward the Memomonee River crossed Spring Street some ninety feet east of Fourteenth Street. Spring Street formed the southern boundary and Twelfth Street the eastern boundary of the camp. The same tract had been used as a camp by Milwaukee's contingent of immigrants for "Bleeding Kansas", and as grounds for the State Fair of 1859 at which Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous address on "Agriculture."
        It was while the soldiers of the Twenty-seventh were at Camp Sigel that fire destroyed the barracks on the 1st of January, 1863, three members of the regiment being victims of the flames.

(Editor's Note: Camp Sigel is where the 26th Regiment took Basic Training in 1862. According to "History of Milwaukee," by John G. Gregory, (Vol. II. pg 820 and 826) the boundaries of the comp by the old street names were Lafayette Pl. (N), Bartlette St. (W), Prospect Av. (E), and on the south Kane Pl. and Royal Pl. By today's streets the boundaries are Irving Pl. Kane, and on the north and south Oakland and Farwell.)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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        There were but three permanent civil ware camps in Milwaukee, namely, Scott, Sigel and Wasburn. Camp Sigel was first known as Camp Holton having been named in compliment to James Holton, assistant quartermaster general. It was next named Camp Sigel , in October, 1861, by Colonel Frederick Salomon of the Ninth Wisconsin volunteers, who was colonel of the Missouri volunteers, had served under General Franz Sigel in the battle of Wilsonís Creek and other notable engagement in that memorable campaign.
        Among other army associates with Camp Sigel was that of Trowbridge, a of the Eighteenth Wisconsin Volunteers, though J. W. Babcock of that regiment has written of it as an independent camp which according to his description of its location, was contiguous to Camp Sigel and therefore considered as a part of it. Love, in his "Wisconsin in the Rebellion" has it that the regiment "was ordered in to quarters at Camp Sigel at the time know as Camp Holton".

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        The Milwaukee County Historical Society gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of Military Order of the Loyal Legion, Wisconsin Commandery and the Milwaukee Civil War Roundtable for erection of this marker. Special thanks is also extended to the Alonzo Cudworth Post No. 23, The American Legion, on whose property the marker is located, and especially to Adjutant Robert L. Meganck. The cooperation of the State Historical Society is also appreciated.

The Historical Marker Program of the Milwaukee County Historical Society.

The Milwaukee County Historical Society's marker program has, through the years, also marked the sites of the invention of the typewriter, the Watertown Plank Road, the first airport at Currie Park, the boyhood hone of Jeremiah Curtin, the Dutch burial grounds in Fox Point, and the Lake-front Cargo Piers.

MARKER DEDICATION PROGRAM

Presentation of Marker

Harry H. Anderson
Milwaukee County
Historical Society

Remarks

William H. Upham
Milwaukee Civil War
Roundtable, Wisconsin
Commandery, Loyal Legion

Unveiling of Marker

Lawrence B. Irovinger
Marker Committee, M.C.H.S

Acceptance of Marker

Commander James E.
Finnerty, Alonzo
Cudvorth Post

"Battle Hymn of the Republic"

Alonzo Cudvtorth Chorus

        The Civil War training camp on this site was briefly called Camp Holton, after Milwaukee businessman Edward D. Halton, a prominent local abolitionist and anti-slavery leader. In late September 1861 it was named Camp Sigel in honor of Franz Sigel, a prominent German-American appointed a Union general by President Abraham Lincoln. In January 1864 it was renamed Camp Reno, in memory of General Jesse L. Reno, a Union officer killed in the battle of South Mountain, Maryland The Wisconsin volunteer infantry units that were mustered in and equipped for service at this camp included the Ninth, Tenth, Twenty-Fourth, Twenty-Sixth, Twenty-Seventh, and Forty-Fifth regiments. Lieutenant (later General) Arthur MacArthur, father of General Douglas MacArthur, was Adjutant of the Twenty-Fourth regiment, while the Twenty-Sixth was recruited almost entirely from the German-American population of Milwaukee and the surrounding area.
        In the above view looking west, camp headquarters is shown closest to Prospect Avenue (in foreground). Nearby on the east side of the parade grounds are two sets of officers quarters. On the other three sides of the square were eight barracks for the enlisted men, plus the quartermaster and commissary buildings, kitchens and post hospital. The guard house is shown lower left. There were two other Civil War camps in Milwaukee. Camp Scott (named after General Winfield Scott) was located on the present Marquette University campus between Wisconsin Avenue and State Street and 12th and 15th Streets. Camp Washburn (named after Colonel Cadwallander C. Washburn) was situated on the Cold Spring race grounds bounded by Vliet Street and Kilbourn Avenue and 27th and 35th Streets.