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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Civil War Youngsters

William DeSteese of Fond du Lac County enlisted in the Union Army in the spring of 1864, one month shy of his 14th birthday. In this short memoir (from Turning Points in Wisconsin History), he recalls sneaking out of camp in Virginia with other young soldiers to call on President Lincoln.

The youngest woman from Wisconsin in the war was 19-year-old Mary E. Chamberlin of Sheboygan County, who travelled to Memphis, Tenn., in the spring of 1863 to help care for soldiers wounded during the siege of Vicksburg. She recalled being one of only three female nurses at the large army hospital of 500 beds, and left a vivid account of her service and how it changed her in this 1915 interview with the Sheboygan Press.

Another young woman, Emilie Quiner of Madison, kept this detailed diary of her work as a nurse in Memphis during July and August 1863.

:: Posted in Children on October 16, 2008
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