Private William R.  Haskin of 2nd Minnesota infantry regiment Company K.


My 5th great uncle was born in Ohio on 7 June, 1827. He was the son to a Canadian/ British family who immigrated to the United States just prior to his birth. From my family records he lived in Boon, Cass Indiana prior to his enlistment. He was laborer for the most part preceding the war.

William was unique in many ways; he was one of the few individuals that would enlist and serve in the entirety of the war. He would enlist on 12 August, 1861, in Minnesota. It's unknown why he would journey to Minnesota to join but that’s where he ended up. The Regiment he would join would later distinguish itself over and over during the war in some of the most bloodied and violent battles of this war. Organized at Fort Snelling St. Paul Minnesota on 15 July, 1861 the 2nd Infantry Regiment was commissioned. My Great Uncle's K company would be commissioned a month later on 23 August 1861. This company was a vital part of this regiment throughout its many engagements.

On 22 October, of 1861 the Regiment would be mobilized and sent to Louisville, Kentucky. The regiment would join with R.L McCook’s Brigade and become part of the Army of Ohio. Its first major engagement would come on 19 January, 1862. The location of its first battle would be located in place known as Mill Springs. Located in Pulaski County and Wayne County Kentucky. During this period the Confederacy believed they could influence some of the border states, especially Kentucky, to maybe join the south in their endeavors. Fearing this as a problematic region, President Lincoln would send Union troops to secure this area. Brigadier General George Thomas would command a force that would include my Great Uncles K company and regiment. When arriving to this area, scouts would find a large Confederate force encamped just southwest of the Cumberland Gap. Commanding this Confederate force was Brigadier General Felix Zollicoffer. His forces numbered between 5,550 to 6000 well-trained troops. General Thomas would meet up with this force in Mill Springs on 19, January. His forces numbered between 4000 to 4,500 well trained troops. On that day, General Zollicoffer would attempt to do some of his own reconnaissance just prior to main battle. He would be killed by a sniper and die at the scene. This I believe would cause pandemonium and disorder throughout his troops. The Union troops would now unload on the Confederate troops causing extreme carnage. It was reported that close quarter combat had lasted for an hour by some who witnessed the battle. Many historians concur that this was a short but bloody battle. The Union would claim victory, with a combined force of 10, 300 people engaged between the two sides. The Confederate side lost over 552 soldiers. The Union and by my Great Uncle's regiment would lose approximately 262 killed or injured. This would be just one of the battles this regiment would be involved in throughout this conflict. Some of the other horrific battles this regiment would be involved with are Chickamauga, Chattanooga and specifically Sherman’s march through Atlanta supporting his advancement all the way. 

This war like all wars would draw to an end.  My 5th Great Uncle would survive this war with not being severely injured. Private William R. Haskin was discharged from K company of the Minnesota infantry regiment on 19 June, 1865.   He would later spend a lot of time in multiple Veterans Hospitals for multiple injuries from his past. He would later settle in Wayne County Michigan and become a laborer once again. He would get married and have children. He would die at the age 58 in Wayne County Michigan.

Libguides: Civil War military units from Minnesota: Infantry. Infantry - Civil War Military Units from Minnesota - LibGuides at Minnesota Historical Society Library. (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2021, from 2021. Second Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment | MNopedia. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 December 2021]. 2021. Battle Unit Details - The Civil War (U.S. National Park Service). [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 December 2021].

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Notice: The information in the biography above has been researched and provided by the author and has not been verified by the SUVCW or the ASUVCW.