Short Bios | William Wagner

Surgeon William Wagner, 24th Illinois Regiment
(First Hecker Jaeger Regiment)
By Michael A. Peake

Dr. William Wagner left his practice in Chicago to join Hecker’s Jaeger Regiment and on July 8, received commission as surgeon of the 24th Illinois. He treated wounded on the fields of Perryville where the 24th Illinois lost several men in the vicious battle. Afterward, Wagner sent a letter to the Chicago newspaper Illinois Staats Zeitung, describing the regiment’s action in the fight: “Ten of our men, who had been taken prisoners, returned to-day from Harrodsburg. They say that they were brought before Gen. Hardee, who asked them the name of the regiment that had fought so stoutly on the hill. When he heard that it was the German 24th Illinois, he said, “I thought it; these d—n Dutchmen fight like bulldogs.”

Adolph Metzner met with Wagner in late September 1863, recalling, “After the battle of Chickamauga, I was taken to the Rossville field hospital, where Dr. Wagner of the 24th Illinois Reg. fixed me up.” Wagner resigned two months later and returned to Chicago.

Portrait by Theodore M. Schleier’s Photograph Gallery, Corner Cherry & Union Streets, Nashville, Tennessee.

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Surgeon William Wagner
Library of Congress: LC-USZ62-129657