Jerome Watrous of the Famed Sixth

Posted: February 14, 2014 in Civil War
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Major Jerome A Watrous, formerly of CO E, 6th Wisconsin Infantry

Watrous, a Conklin, NY native, was living in Wisconsin and serving on the editorial staff of the Appleton Crescent at the outbreak of the Civil War. Enlisting in Company E of the Sixth Wisconsin Infantry, he’d rise to the rank of Ordnance Sergeant, gaining fame and notoriety for his actions in the infamous “Mule Train Charge” on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg. (See for an excellent article by Lance J Herdegen on this topic)

Serving for a short time as Adjutant General of the Iron Brigade, Watrous would muster out of service on May 15, 1865 with a brevet rank of Captain.

Following the war, Watrous would enjoy a long career as a newspaper man, writing and editing for publications like The Black River Falls Jackson County Banner and The Milwaukee Sunday Telegraph.

A Republican, Watrous would serve for a time in the Wisconsin State Assembly. Later, he’d serve as Wisconsin State Pension Agent from 1887 to 1889, and from 1890 to 1892 he held the position of Milwaukee Collector of Customs.

Called to duty again when war with Spain broke out, Watrous was commissioned as a Major in the regular U.S. Army in 1898, serving as paymaster of the Department of the Columbia. In December, 1901, Watrous was made chief paymaster of the Department of the Southern Philippines, serving in this capacity until September of 1904, when he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and retired from active service.

He returned to Milwaukee, spending the majority of his time writing historical articles and organizing/advocating for Grand Army of the Republic events and reunions, especially those pertaining to his beloved Iron Brigade. He died on June 5, 1922 in Whitewater, Wisconsin at the age of 81.


Wisconsin Historical Society

“Memoirs of Milwaukee County, Volume 1,” edited by Jerome
Watrous and published by the Western Historical Society at Madison, 1909

Photo appears as the front piece of “Memoirs of Milwaukee County, Volume 1,” 1909. It is now public domain.

  1. Steph Jones says:

    Great read thhank you

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