More on the Battle of Brawner's Farm: First Burial of the Dead



After it got too dark to see, the 2nd Wisconsin retreated back to the Warrenton Pike (road).  Neither side granted a truce or pause to remove the wounded.  Hundreds of dead and dying had to be left where they fell. The next day began the battle of 2nd Bull Run and the eventual retreat of the 2nd Wisconsin back to Washington. Survivors were not able to get back to Brawner's farm until November, 1863 to bury their dead.  They found the skeletal remains of their comrades and friends where they had fallen. We know William Garcelon Davis was not among those who were buried at that time, as he had been taken by Ambulance to a field hospital and was buried there months earlier.  The following poem was read at Iron Brigade reunions after the War describing what they found bringing tears to the eyes of the survivors.


They had lain for long months in that ghastly array! 
They were keeping their lone vigil well;
As if guarding the pike from the low line in grey
Closely ranged o'er the opposite swell.
O, brave comrades and true, we remember you still,
Though war-weary, and worn since you fell;
Now, at last, we have come these sad rites to fulfill,
Ere we bid you, forever, farewell!
And we covered them over with cold, clammy clay;
But we left them still proudly in line, where they lay,
When the battle of Gainesville was done. *


*Milwaukee Sunday Telegraph, September 18, 1887


ironbrigadeThe Iron Brigade, Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Brawners Farm August 1862 by Chris Collingwood.

The brigade fought in the battles of First and Second Bull RunAntietamFredericksburgChancellorsvilleGettysburgMine RunOverlandRichmond-Petersburg, and Appomattox

Next: Dear father and mother, I sit myself down to let you know that you have one son yet alive