Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Toy Soldiers and Dining Room Battles

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Images from Shiloh: Private J. D. Putnam, Co F, 14th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry

Private J. D. Putnam, a member of Company F, Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, was killed April 7, 1862, during a charge of his regiment made upon a rebel battery, and was buried where he fell by his company comrades, at the foot of a young oak tree.  Thomas Steele, one of the burying party, suggested that Putnam's name should be cut into the tree sufficiently low down so that in case the tree was chopped down later on the name should still remain to tell who was there at rest. This suggestion was carried out.

When the Government established a National Cemetery at Pittsburg Landing, Putnam's body was removed thereto, and his grave in the National Cemetery is, owing to these precautions taken by his comrades in 1862, one of the few bearing full name, company and regiment.

 When the Wisconsin Shiloh Monument Commissioners, in 1901, visited the battlefield to select a site for a State monument, it was found that the tree had years ago been chopped down, but the stump remained, and though very badly decayed by age, the name Putnam, cut into the tree in 1862 by his comrades, was still legible. Thomas Steele, who was with the Commission, expressed a desire to have that portion of the stump which bore the inscription given him. After consultation, the National Park Commissioners granted the request, and the portion bearing the inscription was sent to Thomas Steele, who fortunately had it photographed and then forwarded the slab to G.A.R. Memorial Hall, then located in the Capitol at Madison, to be there preserved as a relic. A poor place it proved to be. It was destroyed in the Capitol fire.

 Wisconsin Memorial

The Wisconsin Shiloh Monument Commissioners resolved to mark the spot, because of its absolute and indisputable correctness as to the position of the Fourteenth Regiment at a certain time of the day, and further decided to reproduce the original stump in granite, placing thereon the name, company and regiment of Putnam, as cut into the tree by his comrades, and on the reverse side the legend relating to the incidents connected therewith. The photograph of the stump in the hands of Captain F.H. Magdeburg, president of the Wisconsin Shiloh Monument Commission, was, with a pencil sketch of the balance of the stump made by the park engineer of the National Commission, sent to Joseph Newall & Co., at Westerly, R.I. who were enabled therefrom to reproduce an exact facsimile of the stump as found by the Wisconsin Shiloh Monument Commissioners while visiting the battlefield in 1901.

This granite facsimile was put in position on April 7, 1906, on a concrete foundation placed by the Park Commissioners, on the identical spot from whence the original stump was removed in order to allow the facsimile to be placed.

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