Posts Tagged With: Civil War

Don’t Miss the Salute to Freedom on June 13

Civil War MuseumOne hundred fifty years ago, the citizens of Milwaukee were busily preparing for the Soldiers’ Home Fair scheduled to open June 28. Hattie’s mother was one of the women responsible for this statewide effort to raise funds to build a permanent home for Wisconsin veterans. Along with thousands of other children, Hattie and her brother did their part to support the cause.

On Saturday, June 13, 2015, the Kenosha Civil War Museum is sponsoring a Soldiers’ Aid Fair as part of the annual Salute to Freedom. Members of the modern West Side Soldiers Aid Society will recreate booths from the 1865 fair, including the Delphic Oracle, Jacob’s Well, the Wool Department, the Holland Kitchen, and Old Abe. Emily and I will present a brief program on Hattie’s War at 1:00, and our friends on the Milwaukee Cream Citys will play an exhibition match of vintage base ball at 2:00. After the game, fans can take batting and field practice with the team!

Visitors can do their part to support our troops by bringing donations for the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative: bicycle locks and helmets, cleaning supplies, bath towels, facial tissues, paper towels, dryer sheets, Q-tips, bath mats, throw rugs, laundry baskets, coffee makers, toasters, crockpots, vacuum cleaners, irons / ironing boards, mops, brooms, Sterilite or Rubbermaid 26 gallon (105 quart) storage bins.

This FREE family celebration features events all day–don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience our history and heritage.

Outdoor Activities
• Music by the Regimental Volunteer Band playing original period instruments
• Artillery demonstrations by Cushing’s Battery
• Bugle demonstrations
• Union Infantry demonstrations
• “Fill the Wagon” donation drive to benefit Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative (See list above)
• Noon Welcome Home Celebration for the troops with marching, music, and patriotic speeches
• Civilian camp with Historical Timekeepers
• 2 p.m.: Baseball Exhibition match between the Milwaukee Cream City Baseball Club and the Chicago Salmon

Indoor Activities
• 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Soldier’s Aid Fair, games, crafts, pie sale, and storytelling
• 11 a.m.: Eagle & Friends program presented by the Schlitz Audubon Society
• 1 p.m.: Hattie’s War program and book signing with authors Hilda and Emily Demuth
• 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.: Community picnic and games
• 4 p.m.: Kenosha Pops performing a patriotic concert

Categories: Civil War | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Memory of Charlie

At  Charlie Moores' grave, Memorial Day 2014

At Charlie Moores’ grave, Memorial Day 2014

In Hattie’s War, Charlie Moores plays base ball with Hattie and the other neighbor children in the backyard–until he enlists as a drummer with the 39th Wisconsin Regiment, heading to Memphis for the summer.

President Lincoln really did put out a call for 100-day regiments, with the thought that the war could be won in that time with a surge in troop numbers. Several such regiments departed from Milwaukee in June of 1864–and a drummer named Charlie Moores was among them.

Those of you who have read Hattie’s War are aware of Charlie’s fate. His true story is just as tragic. Charlie never made it home from Memphis–he died of fever while serving with the Colonel Buttrick’s 39th Wisconsin Regiment that summer.

Last Memorial Day, I took part in a wreath-laying ceremony with the West Side Soldiers’ Aid Society at Forest Home Cemetery. I carried the wreath for Charlie Moores, who is buried there. As the May breeze blew through the towering oaks, I thought of Charlie–a boy who died too young, who left no direct descendants to remember him. What might he have really been like? Did he play base ball? What was his favorite subject in school? What did he like to eat? What did he plan to do when he grew up? What made his heart sing?  I felt both humbled, and heartbroken, to carry his memory.

There are thousands of young soldiers like Charlie. They lie forgotten in cemeteries across the country and over the seas. On Memorial Day, it behooves us to remember them–not as white gravestones, but as people–people who laughed and cried, went to school, learned a trade, played sports, sang and danced, and kissed their mothers or sweethearts good-bye.

Even more important, let us honor these fallen soldiers by working for peace and understanding among people, cultures, and countries different than our own, so that the cycle of fighting and violence may end.

Categories: Civil War, Hattie's War, West Side Soldiers' Aid Society | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Enthusiastic Rejoicing of the People”

One hundred and fifty years ago today, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General U.S. Grant, ending the Civil War. For Hattie Bigelow, and the people in the northern states, this was a joyous day. Most Americans, too young to remember the end of World War II, can probably not imagine what this meant to the people. To imagine what Hattie would have experienced, we went to the newspapers of the time.

The Milwaukee Daily Journal dated April 11, 1865 reads “The wildest enthusiasm prevailed throughout the city yesterday, and the people turned out en masse to celebrate the last and greatest victory of the Union army. From morning till night the streets were filled with people, every one bearing in some device the national colors. East Water Street was decorated along its entire length with red, white and blue, as was also Wisconsin, Maine West Water street, and from nearly every building in the city “waved the starry flag.” 

“Early in the morning the people began to congregate in numbers at the corners of the principal streets, and as if by common consent, all places of business were closed. Every one was all animation, and in a short space of time was inaugurated one of the largest and most jubilant celebrations Milwaukee has ever witnessed. The cannon were brought out, and peal after peal shook the earth. The bells were rung [with] untiring zeal. Every available carriage or other conveyance was brought out, and every horse bore the national colors affixed to some part of the harness. The Chamber of Commerce took an active part in the celebration, and a delegation from that body hurriedly visited all the prominent business establishments, and organized in a surprisingly short time The Grand Procession.”

That evening buildings of the city were lit up in celebration, as the Milwaukee Daily News states: “In view of the glorious news of the surrender of Lee, the near termination of our bloody war and the prospect of early peace, The Daily News Building, together with the whole of Ludington’s block was illuminated last evening from the fifth story to the street. On East Water and Wisconsin streets and on the front facing Spring street the windows presented one blaze of light. It ia well to rejoice in a time like this. Our country has lived through four years of desperate war, and the government has been shaken to its very foundation. And now that the end approaches, and we hope for a speedy termination of our present great trouble, and the preservation of the old Union, and look to see the starry flag wave over the whole country with not a star erased, it is meet, we say, to rejoice. The hearts of a patriotic people are enlivened with this hope, and in accordance with and symbolic of this, the windows of THE NEWS office were illuminated, presenting a brilliant and gorgeous spectacle of light.”

How exciting it must have been for Hattie and her classmates to be let out of school to join in the celebrations. After four long years of war and suffering, peace had come at last. Colonel Buttrick was put in charge of the more formal procession and celebration to come the following week–but that’s another story.

 

 

Categories: Hattie's War | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Back to the Writing Life

Emily outside the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison

One of our favorite places to write is Madison, Wisconsin, and one of our favorite places in Madison is the Wisconsin Historical Society.  On our Plank Road trip back in the summer of 2000, Emily and I made fascinating discoveries in the Historical Society archives.

After showing proper identification, stowing our belongings in lockers, and putting on white gloves, we were allowed to touch the artifacts in the Society’s collection of historical images.  We were so delighted with our finds–a wagon on a plank road, a tollgate–that we probably annoyed other less excitable researchers in the room.

Reading Room of the Wisconsin Historical Society

Now that Plank Road Winter is in the hands of our trusty editor, Philip Martin of Crickhollow Books, Emily and I are back in Madison working on our new book.  This morning while I attended my class at UW Write-by-the-Lake, Emily spent hours at the Historical Society transcribing a Civil War soldier’s handwritten account.

Over lunch at the UW Union we discussed our respective mornings and plotted the next phase of our writing project. Then we spent a quiet hour together in the beautifully restored Reading Room of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Life is good.

Categories: On Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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