On Wisconsin!


The Army of the Cumberland charged Missionary Ridge on the afternoon of November 25, 1863. Among the leading regiments was the Milwaukee-based 24th Wisconsin, part of Major General Philip Sheridan’s division. Its color-bearer fell at the base of the ridge. Eighteen-year-old Arthur MacArthur, the 24th’s adjutant, grabbed the colors and cried, “On Wisconsin!” as he led the regiment up the hill. This action earned him the Medal of Honor. (His son, Douglas, also earned the Medal of Honor in World War II, making them the first father-son combination to be so honored.)

In 1909, Arthur MacArthur’s cry became the inspiration for the University of Wisconsin’s fight song; a version with modified lyrics is the official song of the State of Wisconsin. A link to the fight song (with on-screen lyrics) is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOYus1BE7jk

On Wisconsin is today a favorite at University of Wisconsin athletic events – a lasting legacy of heroism at Chattanooga 150 years ago today.


4 Responses to On Wisconsin!

  1. It was my high school’s fight song as well (which had nothing to do with Wisconsin). It was played after every touchdown. Our football team must have been good, and I was in the band, so I played it dozens, perhaps even hundreds of times–yet I had no idea where it came from or what it meant.

  2. William Manchester said in American Caesar that Missionary Ridge was where the MacArthur legion began. Manchester has a great description of the battle and Arthur’s heroism.

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