Wisconsin Historical Society

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Historical Essay

How an Indian Chief Captured the Eagle that Became 'Old Abe'

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
On March 26, 1914, Chief Big Sky of the Flambeau Band of the Ojibwe Indians described how he captured an eaglet from its nest in the spring of 1861
Historical Essay

Captain Dawes and His Imaginary Servant

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
Discover a befuddling experience Captain Rufus R. Dawes of Company K, the 6th Wisconsin Infantry had after arriving at Camp Randall for training
Historical Essay

Wisconsin Soldiers Prey on Confederate Pigs

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
Wisconsin troops declared that even the pigs were secessionists and they burned them at the stake for their treason.
Historical Essay

Rebel Sharpshooters Pick Off Wisconsin Soldiers

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
merciless bullets rang and soldiers were slaughtered as Captain Rufus R. Dawes' 6th Wisconsin Infantry was pinned down by enemy sharpshooters.
Historical Essay

Dog and Master at Antietam

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
The canine companion of Captain Werner Von Bachelle of Company F, 6th Wisconsin Infantry, proved his lasting loyalty on the battlefield
Historical Essay

Virginia Slaves Decide Whether to Stay or Go

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

Wisconsin Troops Capture a Rebel Regiment at Gettysburg

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

Reflections on Unburied Soldiers Left at Gettysburg

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
On the second day at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863, Confederate troops drive the 6th Wisconsin Infantry from the battlefield
Historical Essay

Lovers Unknowingly Write at the Same Moment

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
On July 4, 1863, Mary Gates writes to her fiancé, Colonel Rufus Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry, as he turns 25 years old during Battle of Gettysburg
Historical Essay

Death and Destruction at Spotsylvania's Bloody Angle

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
The Battle of Spotsylvania, Virginia, in May 1864 pitted 100,000 Union troops against 52,000 Confederates.
Historical Essay

Lice Outbreak Pesters Wisconsin Troops

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
On May 31, 1864, the 6th Infantry take advantage of the shade while encamped in Virginia to battle not enemy troops but body lice.
Historical Essay

Ojibwe Warriors Join the Battle of Spotsylvania

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
On May 9, 1864, Ojibwe Indians from the 7th Wisconsin Infantry help drive back enemy skirmishers with American Indian war tactics in Spotsylvania, Virginia
Historical Essay

Abraham Lincoln Inspects Wisconsin's Underwear

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
President Lincoln visited Wisconsin's 2nd Infantry two days after the humiliating Union defeat at Bull Run on July 21, 1861
Historical Essay

Incompetent Doctor Hides from Bullets

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
On May 3, 1863, near Chancellorsville, Virginia, the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry is troubled by a new assistant surgeon with questionable skills.
Historical Essay

Wisconsin Soldier's Quick Action Saves Officer's Life

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
On the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863, the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry struggles to escape from encroaching Confederates
Historical Essay

Irish Private Snuffs Out Artillery Shell

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
During the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1-3, 1863, an Wisconsin Irishman, casually extinguishes a burning fuse that lands among the troops
Historical Essay

Tattered Uniforms Give a Regiment its Nickname

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
The exposed underwear of the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry prompts a polite suggestion from a little girl.
Historical Essay

Regiment Marches into First Battle Playing Music

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
The 24th Michigan Infantry proudly marches with Wisconsin's 6th Infantry in dense fog into its first combat playing music
Historical Essay

Lost Soldier Seeks Help from Confederate Civilian

A Wisconsin Civil War Story
On the march toward Antietam, Maryland, a soldier from the 7th Wisconsin Infantry gets separated from his regiment and asks a local civilian for directions

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