Private James P “Mickey” Sullivan, CO K, 6th Wisconsin Regiment

Posted: February 26, 2014 in Civil War
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Private James P “Mickey” Sullivan, CO K, 6th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, 1862

What makes a man who has lost several toes and half a foot in combat re-enlist?

The price of thread, for one thing.

Mickey found himself and his comrades under a heavy fire in the rocky terrain at South Mountain on September 14th, 1862. “When the crash came, either a bullet slit in pieces against the stone or a fragment of the boulder hit me on the sore jaw, causing exquisite pain, and I was undetermined whether to run away or swear.” A few moments later, “there was another crashing volley,” causing, ” a stinging, burning sensation in my right foot followed by the most excruciating pain.”

Mickey would lose much of the foot, being mustered out and sent home to Mauston, Wisconsin. He couldn’t sit still for long. Boredom… boredom….

“There was no company, only discharged invalids that had killed half the rebel army, and men growling about the draft, the army, the scarcity of money. The women were growling because they had to pay fifty cents a yard for calico and twenty-five cents for a spool of thread.”

By the end of February, Mickey was back with Company K at Belle Plain, Virginia, having re-enlisted and traveled by railroad and boat to rejoin the company. This was the 2nd of three times he’d sign up with the 6th.

After being shot in the shoulder in the charge on the railroad cut at Gettysburg, Mickey would convalesce long enough to meet his future wife, fall in love, and then sign up again. He’d return to Wisconsin after mustering out in 1865 with his new wife, Angeline, and an infant son.

Sources:

“The Men Stood Like Iron, by Lance Herdegen, 1997

“An Irishman in the Iron Brigade; The Civil War Memoirs of James P Sullivan, Sergt., Company K, 6th Wisconsin Volunteers,” by William J. K. Beaudot and Lance J Herdegen, 1993

“The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory,” by Lance Herdegen, 2012

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Comments
  1. You’re a beautiful writer
    ~xoxo

  2. Great story! I imagine the bonds created in wartime are so close. And people give you nicknames like Mickey, and the adventure of just keeping alive keeps your adrenalin constantly running full blast. I guess normal life after something like this does seem boring. Nobody talked about Post traumatic stress syndrome, Mickey just re-enlisted! Very cool story. Makes you think.

  3. just4why says:

    You hear stories today of soldiers that have been wounded and the only thing they want to do is rejoin their squads. There is a bond like no other. Great story, I enjoyed it .

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