Outagamie County (Wis.) State Centennial Committee / Land of the fox, saga of Outagamie County
Dohr, Raymond P.
"To arms!", pp. 232-249 PDF (6.5 MB)
"TO ARMS!" By Raymond P. Dohr, Lt. Col., Infantry With the fall of Fort Sumter, the actual military history of the county might be considered as beginning. Records and books about the county do not mention any participation of its inhabitants in the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812, although men who participated in both wars settled in the county. The first invading force in the state of Wisconsin followed the Fox waterway when in 1716 the French, with a force of 200 soldiers and 1,000 Indians under Louis de Louvigny, waged war against the Fox Indians. Although none of the actual fighting of the several Fox wars occurred in the county, the various French expedi- tions against these people came through the lower Fox Valley in order to reach the Fox village and fort at Butte des Morts. During the War of 1812, Outagamie County also was the route of march of the British under Colonel William McKay, who captured by surrender the American held fort at Prairie du Chien. This expedi- tion of 400 Indians and about 100 whites traveled the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, undoubtedly camping along the banks of the river in this county. Pierre Grignon served as a Captain for the mission and 232 two early settlers of Outagamie County were commissioned lieutenants, Augustin Grignon and J. J. Porlier. According to Grignon's Recollections, Augustin Grignon with Michael Brisbois, a Sioux and a Winnebago, advanced ahead of the force to make contact at night with a loyal French settler at the fort while the force organized for a surprise morning attack at the old deserted Fox village 21 miles from Prairie du Chien. In 1845, Outagamie County, as a part of Brown County, was designated in the 5th and 6th military districts and Com- panies E and F were assigned to this area. The districts were commanded by Colonel Samuel Ryan, a veteran of the War of 1812, with George I. Wallace as his Adjutant. All efforts to organize these companies came to naught. After Wis- consin became a state about 1,856 military companies were forming but it wasn't until 1858 that a militia force of 437 men was reported by the city of Appleton to the Adjutant General of the state. At this same time the Town of Center was form- ing a company of light infantry. These were all organizations on paper and only existed because it was required that the
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