Tuesday, September 04, 2012

George W. Southerland, Illinois, Wis..

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George W. Sutherland,

Private ; enlisted from Oswego, Illinois, and was mustered with the regiment. He was 22 years old, of light complexion, light hair, blue eyes, about five feet nine inches tall, and weighed one hundred and thirty five pounds.

He was born in Little Falls, Herkimer County, State of New York, October 22, 1838 He comes of fighting stock. His mother's father was born in Vermont and fought at the battle of Plattsburgh.  Our soldier-boy settled in Oswego, Kendal County, Illinois, in June, 1852, and was by occupation, a printer, at the breaking out of the war.   He was the first man to enlist from Kendall County in 1861. He enlisted in the three years service, and was enrolled and mustered at the age of twenty-two, in Company I, Thirteenth Illinois Infantry, Volunteers, at Dixon, Illinois, May 24, 1861, by Captain Pope. He served in all the campaigns and battles in which the regiment was engaged, including the battles about Vicksburg, and its siege of forty -seven days; served with his regiment in the Fifteenth Army Corps, under Sherman ; on the march along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, to join General Grant for the Chattanooga Campaign, shared the disappointment of his regiment in arriving at Brown's Ferry too late to cross in season to join Sherman on the extreme left, but were switched off to Hooker, on the extreme right, where Comrade Sutherland had the good fortune to personally assist some other daring spirits in an attempt to plant the stars and stripes, the first, on the heights of Lookout Mountain, but Colonel Gorgas interfertd and spoiled the scheme.

At Riuggold Gap, also, Comrade Sutherland took a hand, and was one of the twenty-one men of the Thirteenth who made a dash on to the battlefield, where was a house which they seized and held, and from which the rebels suffered extremely by having their artillery gunners picked off by the Thirteenth sharpshooters. At this house, Captain Blauchard of Company K received the wound that caused his death.

The subject of this article was also at Madison Station, twelve miles from Huntsville, Alabama, where on their way home to be mustered out, a part of them having turned over their arms to the quartermaster, their time of service having expired, a remnant of three hundred of them were surprised early one morning, by the rebel general Roddy, with a force of one thousand five hundred, with artillery ; but still our boys had too much fight in them to run or surrender to a well armed
force of no more than

and so turned in and drove the Roddy rebels from the place and held the field.

He was mustered out" with the regiment, June 18, 1864, at Springfield, Illinois.

Comrade Sutherland re-enlisted on September 8, 1864, at Utica, New York, in Company C, Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery.  After re-enlistment, the artillery force which he had joined, was stationed at Utica, New York for a month ; during which time he got a pass and went home, and on September, 16 eight days after re-enlistment, was married to Miss Margaret Bedunoh, who was born near Boonville, Oneida County, New York, in 1842. Her grandfather and grandmother on both sides, were born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and her grandfather Bedunoh took a grant of land for his services as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and settled in Rensselaer County, New York, where her parents were born. So comrade Sutherland, his wife, and daughter all inherit a priceless legacy of loyalty, which is conspicuous in their lives.

On going again to the front, Private Sutherland was captured at Fort Steadman, in front of Petersburg, March 25th, 1865, taken to Richmond, where he boarded at Hotel L,ibby, until paroled among the last batch of paroled prisoners which went out of Libby, and that was on the same day that the Union troops advanced on the city ; the paroled, under a flag-of truce, meeting General Butler, with his colored troops marching in.

Our "bold soldier boy" was mustered out of the United States' service at Delauey House, Washington, D. C., sent to Elmira, N. Y ; where he was paid and his discharge was dated at that place, and so his
wife and friends rejoiced to see


Well, no more rations from Uncle Sam's Commissary Department, the soldier has to learn a new trade. From the battles of the war, where lead was the principal circulating medium, to the battle of life, where sand is the principal ingredient, and pretty much all that the soldier has to begin life with.

In the fall of 1866, Comrade Sutherland emigrated to Wisconsin.  On counting his available means, he found as follows: A wife, (as good as gold) a one year old child, helpless, but exceedingly helpful. Himself (George Sutherland) with a stout heart and willing hands. Cash, 13 cents. On this he settled down to farming; but there was more than enough good stuff in him for a plodding farmer.

In the army, he had been somewhat reckless as to the morals of sobriety, and his language was too often punctuated by unthinking profanity; but, happily, this does not always mean a dead conscience, or absence of manliness, and, next to bravery on the battle field, we are proud of the returned veteran when he shows that he has the purpose of making a good citizen.

One of the grandest moral developments in human life, is to see a misused young life arrested by Omnipotence, when God claims His own, reach forth and tear off the ragged husk that imprisons the healthful fruit, and lifts the individual to the full stature of a grand manhood.

Of politics, Comrade Sutherland has had a taste, as seen by the fact that he has been honored with the positions of clerk of the Lumberman's Committee of Wisconsin State Legislature of 1881, town and city assessor, constable, deputy sheriff, and city marshal. But in Grand Army matters he almost lives, breathes, and has his being : and is one of the most conspicuous figures in the Northwest. He organized, on the gth of May, 1882, the "John B. Wyman Post " of Ctintonville, Wis., of which he has been three times, Commander ; has been junior vice commander, of State Department, Delegate to National encampment, at Columbus, Ohio, Milwaukee, Wis, and Boston, Mass. Together with Colonel E. B. Gray, of the Twenty-eigth Wisconsin Infantry, he organized the " Ledergerter " Post of the Menoininee Indian Reservation, which has about forty members, all Indians.

A circumstance as fortunate as curious, has restored to Comrade Sutherland, the gun which he so long carried during the war. The "John B. Wyman Post," which he had established in Clintonville, Wis., needed a few guns for service in mustering recruits and for burial service, and so sent to Dr. Plummer, who was living at Rock Island, to go to the United States Arsenal, at that place, and procure the guns if he could. Upon looking about the Arsenal, the doctor discovered a gun-
box, marked Company I, Thirteenth Illinois. This was our friend's own regiment and company ; and the doctor was fortunate enough to get a dozen guns from that box ; and they were promptly forwarded, and among that dozen, Comrade Sutherland found his own well-tried gun with his initials marked on it by his own hand ; it was the identical one with which he shot the pig. That gun, it is needless to say, will be treasured in that family for generations to come.

Comrade Sutherland has been strictly temperate now for many years, and has been fairly prosperous. Since 1883, he has been employed in the Land Department of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western Railroad.

Not long since, the writer found him the head of a pleasant family circle, in a beautiful home not palatial, not grand, not ornate, but beautiful in the best sense of that word ; where the wife and married daughter fully returned the love and devotion of the husband and father, and heartily joined him in keeping alive, not only the patriotism which he inherited, but which he learned and brought home with him from the battle-fields of the war ; and the memories of which he and they will always cherish as the most sacredly precious of life's experiences.

At this home, an air of cordial hospitality greets the lately arrived guest, with constantly increasing heartiness until the departure. Comfort and good taste cover the floors and adorn the walls ; while intelligence has loaded the book-shelves with books, periodicals and daily papers, which have been read and re-read. The basket on the centertable contains at least a thousand G. A. R. visiting cards ; while on a banner hanging on the wall, about fifty G. A. R. badges, many of them
very beautiful are hanging ; the gifts, many of them, of comrades and posts where he has visited.

Comrade Sutherland, at this writing lives at Clintonville, Wis.
Long may he wave.

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