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Lucius Fairchild: A Wisconsin Civil War Hero

Lucius Fairchild (standing, left, holding flag), and a group of men and women outdoors in formal attire, July 4, 1893
WHI 73447

From panning for gold and leading troops into bloody Civil War battles to winning three terms as governor of Wisconsin, Lucius Fairchild demonstrated that it takes courage and persistence to succeed. The newest addition to the Badger Biographies series, "Lucius Fairchild: Civil War Hero," introduces young readers to this great Wisconsin soldier-statesman, just in time to mark the beginning of the Civil War Sesquicentennial (2011-2015).

Initiative, Bravery and Sacrifice

Cover of "Lucius Fairchild: Civil War Hero"

Fairchild's life brimmed with adventure. As a young man he headed west across sprawling prairies and high mountains to seek his fortune in California's gold mines. Finding little gold, he tried his hand as a beef supplier and made his money there. When the call came for volunteers to fight in the Civil War, Fairchild proclaimed, "no one can take a clatter at that … more easily than I can." Fairchild grieved over the loss of his men of the Iron Brigade in battles like Brawner's Farm, and lost his own left arm in fighting at Gettysburg. With the glow of a returning hero, Fairchild went on to win three terms as governor of Wisconsin, and then to secure diplomatic posts in Europe.

A Need to Serve Others

Even as Fairchild advanced his own career, he never forgot the importance of serving others. As governor and first lady, Fairchild and his wife Frances swiftly came to the aid of Peshtigo Fire victims. And as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, he made helping veterans a top priority. Sidebars on the California Gold Rush, military rank, free states and slave states, the Iron Brigade and the Gettysburg Address complement this history-rich biography.

:: Posted January 6, 2011

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