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Winner of Milwaukee County Historical Society's coveted Gambrinus Prize for the best book-length contribution to Milwaukee historiography in 2003 Profiles the courageous 24th Wisconsin Infantry and features the personal stories of members of the 24th, including Arthur McArthur, the father of Gen. Douglas MacArthur Utilizes hundreds of primary sources--letters, diaries, and contemporary newspaper articles Formed in the summer of 1862, the 24th Wisconsin Infantry participated in many major battles of the Western theater, earning a reputation as a brave, hard-fighting unit. Unlike other unit histories, this book makes no attempt, as the author freely admits, to provide "an objective history" of the regiment. Rather, the book digs deeper, following the personal stories of the soldiers themselves, providing hundreds of individual vignettes that, taken together, paint a vivid picture of the life of a Union soldier.
On July 20, 1864, the Civil War struggle for Atlanta reached a pivotal moment. As William T. Sherman's Union forces came ever nearer the city, the defending Confederate Army of Tennessee replaced its commanding general, removing Joseph E. Johnston and elevating John Bell Hood. This decision stunned and demoralized Confederate troops just when Hood was compelled to take the offensive against the approaching Federals. Attacking northward from Atlanta's defenses, Hood's men struck George H. Thomas's Army of the Cumberland just after it crossed Peach Tree Creek on July 20. Initially taken by surprise, the Federals fought back with spirit and nullified all the advantages the Confederates first enjoyed. As a result, the Federals achieved a remarkable defensive victory. Offering new and definitive interpretations of the battle's place within the Atlanta campaign, Earl J. Hess describes how several Confederate regiments and brigades made a pretense of advancing but then stopped partway to the objective and took cover for the rest of the afternoon on July 20. Hess shows that morale played an unusually important role in determining the outcome at Peach Tree Creek--a soured mood among the Confederates and overwhelming confidence among the Federals spelled disaster for one side and victory for the other.
Michael J. Martin's A History of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry and Cavalry in the Civil War is a deeply researched and vividly written study of an unheralded Federal combat regiment. Few of the thousands of regiments raised to fight the American Civil War experienced the remarkably diverse history of this little-known organization. The Wisconsin Badgers began the war as foot soldiers in the summer of 1861 as the 4th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. After service in Maryland guarding railroads, the men sailed to the Gulf of Mexico to join Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler's expedition to capture the South's most important city: New Orleans.
" Using firsthand accounts, the many uses of equines during the war, the methods by which they were obtained, their costs, their suffering on the battlefields and roads, their consumption by soldiers, and racing, mounted music and other themes are all addressed. "--
The storied Iron Brigade carved out a unique reputation during the Civil War. Its men fought on many hard fields, but they performed their most legendary exploits just outside a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg on the first day of July in 1863. There were many heroic actions that morning and afternoon, but the fight along an unfinished deep scar in the ground north of the Chambersburg Pike was one never forgotten, and is the subject of Lance J. HerdegenÕs and William J. K. BeaudotÕs award-winning (and long out of print) In the Bloody Railroad Cut at Gettysburg: The 6th Wisconsin of the Iron Brigade and its Famous Charge. The railroad cut fighting was led mainly by the ÒCalico BoysÓ of the 6th Wisconsin Volunteers. Detached from the balance of the Iron Brigade, the Badgers of the 6th charged nearly 200 yards to meet a Confederate brigade that had swung into what looked like an ideal defensive position along an unfinished railroad cut northwest of town. The fighting was close, brutal, personal, and bloodyÑand it played a key role in the final Union victory. The Wisconsin men always remembered that moment when they stood under Òa galling fireÓ in an open field just north of the pike. Using hundreds of firsthand accounts, many previously unpublished, Herdegen and Beaudot carry their readers into the very thick of the fighting. The air seemed Òfull of bullets,Ó one private recalled, the men around him dropping Òat a fearful rate.Ó Pvt. Amos Lefler was on his hands and knees spitting blood and teeth with Capt. Johnny Ticknor of Company K down and dying just a handful of yards away. Pvt. James P. Sullivan felt defenseless, unable as he was to get his rifle-musket to fire because of bad percussion caps. Rebel buckshot, meanwhile, smashed the canteen and slashed the hip of Sgt. George Fairfield. Behind the Wisconsin men, Lt. Col. Rufus Dawes watched a ÒfearfulÓ and ÒdestructiveÓ Confederate fire crashing with Òan unbroken roar before us. Men were being shot by twenties and thirties.Ó While frantically loading and shooting, the Badgers leaned into the storm of bullets coming from the cut 175 yards away. The Westerners pushed slowly into the field andÑat that very instant when victory or defeat teetered undecidedÑthe ÒJayhawkersÓ in the Prairie du Chien Company began shouting ÒCharge! Charge! Charge!Ó And so they did. Young Dawes lifted his sword and shouted ÒForward! Forward Charge! Align on the Colors!Ó It was at that moment, remembered Cpl. Frank Wallar, a farmer-turned-soldier who would soon make his name known to history by capturing the flag of the 2nd Mississippi, Òthere was a general rush and yells enough to almost awaken the dead.Ó Out of print for nearly two decades, this facsimile reprint and its new Introduction share with yet another generation of readers the story of the 6th WisconsinÕs magnificent charge. Indeed it is their story, and how they remembered it. And it is one you will never forget.

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