Collage of historical images.

Wisconsin History Essays

Learn something new about the past and gain a deeper understanding of your world. Hundreds of essays tell the stories of the people, places and events that are Wisconsin history.

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Search by keyword below to find information on Wisconsin's history.

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A Wisconsin Civil War Story

On February 12, 1863, Captain Rufus R. Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry offers a group of slaves in Virginia the choice of freedom

Historical Essay

Camp Life During Quiet Times

A Wisconsin Civil War Story

On June 10, 1863, Captain Rufus R. Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry describes a typical day in camp to his fianceé.

Historical Essay

South Mountain, Battle of

Civil War Battle Summary

Learn about the Civil War battle that spawned the nickname, the "Iron Brigade." Article details Wisconsin's role in the battle and includes links.

Wisconsin Civil War Regiment

The 23rd Wisconsin Infantry was organized at Camp Randall in Madison and mustered into service on August 30, 1862.

A Wisconsin Civil War Story

On July 1, 1863, Colonel Rufus R. Dawes and the 6th Wisconsin Infantry bravely move forward amid hidden enemy fire and finally capture the rebels

Historical Essay

Civil War Draft Drum

Wisconsin Historical Museum Object – Feature Story

Military draft raffle drum used to select draftee names in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the Civil War, 1863-1864. (Museum object #1966.174)

Learn about Wisconsin's contributions to the Civil War effort, including the Iron Brigade and Old Abe, the war eagle.

Historical Essay

Benjamin Butts (1853-1930)

One Man's Journey from Slavery to Madison Business Owner to State Assembly Staff Member

Learn about a freed slave's intriguing story as a barber serving Wisconsin's prominent politicians, and as a well-known, beloved face in the capital city.

Wisconsin Civil War Regiment

The 21st Wisconsin Infantry was organized at Camp Bragg in Oshkosh and mustered into service on September 5, 1862.

A Wisconsin Civil War Story

On the second day at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, Confederate troops drive the 6th Wisconsin Infantry from the battlefield
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