UW-Green Bay recognizes 150th Anniversary of the Civil War

How much do you know about Wisconsin’s involvement in the Civil War? Did you ever wonder what soldiers from Wisconsin felt or experienced during wartime? In honoring the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Cofrin Library presents, “Wisconsin in the Civil War: Telling Our Story,” April 10-16.

Michael Edmonds of the Wisconsin State Historical Society will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14 in Rose Hall 250 at UW-Green Bay. During his presentation, “The Truth about the Civil War,” Edmonds will unveil the extensive digital collection and explore primary documents from the Wisconsin Historical Society. He will share insights from his experience working with firsthand evidence over an 18-month time period and talk about the importance and significance of the Civil War in Wisconsin, 150 years later. The event is free and open to the public.

These documents are available in a free searchable electronic format that can be accessed through the Cofrin Library. Edmonds encourages everyone, especially genealogists, re-enactors, students, teachers and scholars, to experience the Civil War materials. UW-Green Bay’s Archives and Area Research Center, located in the David A. Cofrin Library, houses many original documents related to the Civil War.

One of the most detailed of the twelve collections housed at UW-Green Bay is the James S. Anderson diary collection. Anderson, a Scottish immigrant, who had been in America less than ten years at the time of his enlistment in April 1861, served with the Fifth Wisconsin Infantry.

Anderson logged his first experience as a Union soldier:

“The cloud at last burst and the storm came with all its fury. The Rebels had actually fired upon the national flag and the cry of ‘Vengeance’ came from all parts of the North,” wrote Anderson.

Anderson’s detailed diary entries received national attention due to the in depth imagery of important battles such as Antietam, Bull Run and Gettysburg.

Another collection, the Harry Eastman collection is of great significance because of his ties to Northeast Wisconsin. Eastman, former Green Bay mayor and lieutenant colonel of the Second Wisconsin Cavalry wrote several letters to his wife and daughter describing his experiences with artillery battles and his everyday commander duties.

“I had a lovely fight last Saturday and have been quite sick ever since, till today,” Eastman wrote. While Eastman was vague about his experience at war, he was straight forward about his views and observations on slavery.

To learn more about the soldier’s stories through their own personal diaries, lettters, photos and postcards, or to explore the rich history of Wisconsin and its direct connection to the Civil War, visit the Archives and Area Research Center, located on the seventh floor of the Cofrin Library.

Story by Daniele Frechette, intern, Marketing and University Communication

You may also like...