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This Wicked Rebellion

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by John Zimm

Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers Write Home

Written at a time of great division in our country, these letters awaken in us a deeper understanding of our past, a greater empathy for our predecessors, and an appreciation of the sacrifices they made.  Reading the words, thoughts, and opinions of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances allows us to get as close to our history and the people who inhabited it as possible.

Over one hundred and fifty years after it began, the Civil War still fascinates us—the vast armies marching to war, iconic leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee, the drama of a nation divided. But the Civil War was also about individuals, the hundreds of thousands of ordinary men and boys who fought and died on either side and the families and friends left at home.

This Wicked Rebellion: Wisconsin Civil War Soldiers Write Home tells this other side of the story. Drawing from over 11,000 letters in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Civil War collection, it gives a unique and intimate glimpse of the men and women who took part in the War for the Union. Follow Wisconsin soldiers as they sign up or get drafted, endure drill and picket duty, and get their first experiences of battle. Join them as they fight desperation and fear, encounter the brutality of slavery, and struggle with the reasons for war.

From impressions of army life and the South to the hardships of disease and battle, these letters tell the story of the war through the eyes and pens of those who fought in it. This Wicked Rebellion brings to life the heroism and heartache, mayhem and misery of the Civil War, and the powerful role Wisconsin played in it.

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