ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Darius S. Gibbs



09 21       COPPERING

The subscriber has opened a shop for manufacturing all kinds of work in his line.



20,000 Round Hickory Hoops

100,000 Flat Ash Hoops

50,000 Pork Barrel Hoops


For which the highest cash price will be paid.


Having worked for the old settlers of Watertown and vicinity sixteen years since, and being well known to the inhabitants, I feel the utmost confidence in once more soliciting their patronage.  I intend making Watertown my permanent place of residence and hope to merit and receive a liberal share of business.  All work done by me warranted to give satisfaction.


Shop 4 doors below Watertown House, 1st St. [First, S, 115]


D. S. Gibbs.   WR



07 20       THE RECEPTION OF COMPANY B, 29TH WISCONSIN REGIMENT, Thursday Evening, July 13th, 1865

Text Box:  
Chapter on Watertown’s
Civil War Years
Ample preparations having been made for a Reception Festival to be given to Company B, commanded by Capt. D. S. Gibbs and such other members of the 29th Wisconsin Regiment as might be in the city and its vicinity, the affair came off last Thursday evening, the 13th.  It was a brilliant success in most all respects and it is gratifying to be able to state that those for whom it was more particularly intended were highly pleased and delighted with the entertainment to which they were invited.


About three years ago Company B of the 29th Regiment, known as the Watertown Company, was raised in this city.  On the evening before its departure for the theater of war, the 19th of September, 1862, then commanded by Capt. T. R. Mott, our citizens provided a magnificent supper for its members, at which, we believe, everyone was present.  On its return here on the 7th, measures were immediately taken to welcome back the company, now under command of Capt. D. S. Gibbs, with a similar public festival.


All classes of citizens cheerfully joined in completely carrying out this suggestion.  The ovation took place at Cole’s Hall last Thursday evening, attended by an assemblage as large as was ever collected here on a similar occasion.  The ladies displayed great zeal and activity in this social enterprise and to their effort must be largely attributed the happy fortune which attended the design and execution of the whole plan.  They all felt that too much could not be done for those who had promptly answered the call of their country, risked so much, patiently endured every privation and fought so bravely for the preservation of the Union.


Early in the evening the crowd began to assemble and soon the large hall was filled to overflowing.  Capt. Gibbs called the members of this company together, formed them into line, marched them through the streets, and then entered the hall and arranged them in a semi-circle, in front of the platform, over which was suspended the American flag, above which were the words “Welcome Home.”  Mr. Robert Tompkins, formerly Sergeant Major of the regiment, was chosen to act as president of the day and he performed his part in an admirable manner.  Everything being in readiness, he introduced the speaker of the evening, when was delivered the following.





Soldiers of the Union Army:


After a mighty struggle of four years, the rebellion is crushed, the war ended, the Union saved, and you who went out from our midst in an hour of anxious doubt and intense solicitude –having discharged all your new and perilous duties in the camp, in the field, and in the shock of battle – have returned to your families with nothing but the memory of fallen companions to mingle sorrow with your rejoicing, as you recall the trials and triumphs of the past.


We have assembled this evening to give you a public reception, to extend to you a cordial and hearty welcome home again, to express our gratitude for the sacrifices you have made, to show our appreciation of the devotion you have displayed, and if we could we would add another green leaf to the unfading laurel that adorns the brave and faithful soldier’s brow. 


In this grateful and pleasing act, the patriotic and intelligent ladies of this city, who have ever been regardful of your wants and every ready to relieve them, have willingly united with us in a demonstration designed to indicate to some extent our deep sense of obligation to you, and to manifest the admiration we cherish for deeds like yours and for services so priceless and far beyond all our means to adequately reward.


Scarcely three summers ago, when most of you stood in this hall with others who will be seen no more – on the eve of your departure to resist and drive back the angry waves of insurrection then raging all over the South, thick clouds hung around the present and threw their gloomy darkness over the future.  Before the close of the full term of your enlistment, you who have survived stand here again, and now, thanks to your unfailing valor and that of your comrades, under the providence of God, a marvelous and wonderful change has been wrought.  Both the present and the future are so bright with promise that hardly a shadow rests on the cheering and animating prospects that spread out before us all, inviting alike the people and the North and of the South to build up where they have torn down, to make fruitful the wide regions that have been desolated, to cultivate, improve and embellish the waste places of the land, to restore what has been destroyed – always excepting the wrong and curse of slavery – that immeasurable iniquity, let us trust, has perished and is gone forever.


During your absence – and what a stirring and “crowded life” of thought, action, agitation and bereavement we have lived during the eventful interval – both the people and the army have accomplished a great and beneficent work – both have been firmly traveling the rugged pathway that leads to universal freedom and impartial justice.


You have made possible the realization of the fond vision of a perfect Republic – widespread and well-governed – in which all classes and conditions shall be equal and responsible before the law, as they are equal and responsible before the bar of Him who is no respecter of persons.  You have aided in completing what our Revolutionary statesmen so well began, and given additional beauty, symmetry and strength to the political institutions whose broad and solid foundations were laid at the commencement of our contest with Great Britain, over three-quarters of a century ago, which had for its aim and end the establishment of a Government of the people, by the people and for the people. 


For the first time, on the 4th of July, 1865, we have been able to read the Declaration of Independence without the reservation of the inconsistency that the words of flame in which Jefferson wrote that immortal document were not meant for all mankind, but only for a superior race.


The formidable Rebellion which has just been overwhelmed and extinguished by the emulous and invincible armies of the East and the West did not


“Arise in the sunshine and the smile of heaven,

But wrapped in whirlwinds and begirt with woes,”


It began its disastrous career and moved on to its final catastrophe, until it fell with a crash that not only buried its guilty and perjured authors beneath its ruins, but filled all with astonishment at the suddenness with which so vast a conspiracy had dissolved and disappeared.  You have been in the midst of its fiercest storms – with firm hearts and armed hands, you have mingled in the fearful and bloody strife, and as you advanced forward in your terrible tasks, with unwavering fidelity and unyielding resolution to conquer, making every blow tell and sometimes turning even defeat to advantage, we who watched from a distance the constantly varying and shifting fortunes of the momentous life and death conflict in which you were engaged, felt our bosoms swell with the liveliest emotions of pride and hope, as we saw your steady onward progress in the sacred cause, while victory after victory emblazoned your standard as it waved over your heads in the wildest tempest of the fight, and beheld inscribed on the banner of the 29th Wisconsin Regiment, under Col. Charles R. Gill, Col. William A. Greene, and Lieut. Col. Bradford Hancock, in rapid succession, the memorable names of Port Gibson, Champion Hill, Vicksburg, Jackson, Sabine Cross Roads and Mobile, and our exultation was not lessened when we learned that where all had done well, the Company from Watertown, under Capt. Thomas R. Mott and Capt. Darius S. Gibbs, was entitled to a full share of the honor so gallantly won and gracefully worn.


When we bade you a sad farewell we did not know how long we should have a Government to guard us, or a name worth claiming.  We did not know into how many broken and dismembered fragments this fair sisterhood of States might be scattered, before we should hail with gladness your reappearance, for it then seemed as if pillar after pillar of our fabric of empire was parting asunder and falling away, to be replaced no more.  We feel now that the whole unbounded continent of ours, and as state after state is added to the Union, star after star will spangle thicker the bright constellation that already lights up our free country’s glorious flag.  These are some of the grand results of your achievements – dearly purchased indeed, but of value high above all their cost of life and treasure.


“Let the bells ring out the tidings,

Let the joyful cannon roar,

Truth and Right have won the battle,

Peace and Union reign once more.”


This is a day we have all longed and desired to see.  Your task is finished, your toils are over, and now, with a union of hearts, a union of hands, and the Union of States forever, we welcome home “Our Boys in Blue,” who carried the banner of the undivided Republic from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, from the Ohio to the Gulf, beating back the advancing columns of the vanquished Confederacy, determined not to give up the contest for supremacy until every traitorous ensign had been trampled in the dust, or folded up, hid away from human sight.  You have returned, but not until the last campaign had terminated, the last expedition had closed, that last march had been made, the last rebel army had disbanded, the last enemy had surrendered, the last gun had been fired, the last musket stacked, and the last hostile footstep had ceased to tread the soil between the Atlantic and Pacific.  You have returned, but not until the expiring tumult and thunder of the Rebellion had died away and the undimmed stars of the regenerated and restored Republic were again serenely shining in the clear sky above you, in all their original brightness, every wanderer brought back and all singing the new song of FREEDOM. 


Thrice welcome home are the defenders of the Union.  Unto you be the choicest blessings of peace and prosperity, under the mild and free Government you have preserved and consolidated, for you have deserved all and more than it can bestow.


Capt. D. S. Gibbs relied to the above address in a few happy remarks, thanking the people of Watertown for the uniform kindness, warm and constant interest they had always shown not only for the health and welfare of the company from Watertown, but also for the prosperity and success of the whole regiment.  He said that on many occasions the hearts of the soldiers had been made glad by the reception of articles sent to them when most needed, and these evidences of remembrance and regard were duly appreciated and all felt that they were not forgotten by friends and relatives at home, and this conviction had the best influence on the soldiers in the midst of severe duties and frequent privations.


At the conclusion of the formal address of welcome, loud calls were made for the former commander of the 29th Regiment, Col. Charles R. Gill, when that gentleman came forward and made a speech in which he reviewed the history of the regiment from the time it left the state to the day of its return.  He gave an interesting statement of its marches, privations, bravery in battle and achievements, showing that it had shrunk from no duty or danger, and how it had won for itself the high and honorable name and fame with which it had left the military service of the United States.  His remarks were received with repeated demonstrations of enthusiasm, and three hearty cheers followed his retirement from the stand.


Hon. Hiram Barber, Jr., was next called for, and he came forward and delivered an appropriate and eloquent address in which he spoke of the character and value of what had been done and accomplished by the armies of the Union, and the share taken by those present in the great events which had occurred during the war.  His remarks drew frequent cheers from the listening audience.


These exercises being over, the President extended an invitation to the returned soldiers, with their wives, sisters and sweet hearts, to repair to the rooms below and partake of the supper prepared for them by their fair  country women, which was promptly accepted by the brave volunteers, and we venture to say that few of them have rarely set down to a table arranged with more skill and taste, or more profusely loaded with the best of everything that care or money could procure at this season of the year, all enhanced by the politeness and attention of the gay and smiling throng who stood ready to meet and answer all their calls. 


Severe and constant as were the demands made on the ladies, they went through their part with cheerfulness and vivacity, neglecting none and courteous to all.  Some idea of the extent of their efforts on this occasion may be formed from the fact that they entertained over five hundred guests during the evening, and it was far past midnight before they were relieved from their arduous labors.  They won the thanks and admiration of the heroes from the war, who were the special objects of regard and compliment, and we have no doubt, are fully satisfied with such a reward.


After supper the band began to play for those who wished to join the festival dance and in this lively amusement, the hours of evening flew swiftly by, all seeming to enjoy themselves finely, until they choose to withdraw themselves from the pleasures and congratulations of the delightful scenes around them.


With one exception – applicable to ourselves – the whole affair was a brilliant and complete success, highly creditable to all connected with it in every respect.  When the Watertown Company went away we gave them our blessings.  Now that those the chances of war have spared have come back, we have received them with gratitude for what they have done for us.  We have performed the last act of a thrilling drama, by crowning the victors with our thanks and approbation.  We can do no more, after commending them and theirs to the generosity and care of our common country.      Watertown Democrat




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin