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A Badger Boy in Blue

The Civil War Letters of Chauncey H. Cooke

With an Introduction and Appendix by William Mulligan, Jr.

Publication Year: 2007

The Civil War letters of a young Wisconsin soldier, previously published in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, 1920–1922, are made available for the first time to a wide audience.

Published by: Wayne State University Press


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pp. vii-xiii

Clearly, Chauncey H. Cooke was proud of his military service during the Civil War and his role in ending slavery. Later in his life he periodically published the letters he had written home during the war in the Mondovi Herald, one of the local newspapers, and other letters on his experiences as a pioneer settler in the county.

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Preface to Wisconsin Magazine of History edition

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pp. 1-4

“Old men for counsel, young men for war,” runs the ancient proverb. The men who saved the Union in the sixties were for the most part young men, thousands of them being “boys in blue” literally as well as figuratively. Living in the town of Dover, Buffalo County, on the raw Wisconsin frontier when the Civil War broke out was a clumsy,...

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Off to War

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pp. 5-26

I am sitting on the straw in my tent with my paper on a trunk for a desk, this is Monday, before breakfast that I am writing you. This has been a very busy week for the soldiers. We did not get through mustering until last evening which as you know was Sunday. The mustering officer was here all day, and he was a fierce looking fellow. Anyhow that’s the way he looked to us younger boys that couldn’t swear we was 18. We had to muster in all the same, if it was Sunday. Some of the boys tho’t it...

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Life at Old Camp Randall

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pp. 27-36

After just one week of varying incident from the time of leaving my old dear home I am seated to write to you. We did not find our regiment at Winona as we expected, they had gone to La Crosse. There were 27 of us in the crowd so we hired three liveries and drove all night and reached La Crosse at 6 o’clock in the morning. We nearly swamped in the Black river crossing McGilvery’s ferry the ice was running so, but we got over all right. We stayed in La Crosse...

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Into the Southland

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pp. 37-58

Your letter came in due time. It was handed me yesterday by the orderly as I came off guard. You rate me pretty low on composition and spelling but I mean to do better. Yes, I sent my clothes the day before we left Madison. I directed the box in care of Giles Cripps at Trempealeau. Father will have to get it from there. It weighs about 100 pounds. You will know my knapsack by my name stamped on one of the shoulder straps. Barney Bull has a coat in my bundle, all the rest belongs to the Mondovi boys outside of my knapsack. Father should...

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The Vicksburg Campaign

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pp. 59-82

Dear Folks at Home: The final order came tonight after we had gone to bed, to be ready to go to Vicksburg by boat in the morning. There was a lot of skurrying around all the long night. Clothes at the washer-woman’s had to be looked after. Letters had to be written as I am writing this by the dull light of a tallow candle, some to wives, some to mothers, fathers, and many to sweethearts. I hope there were no...

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The Atlanta Campaign

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pp. 83-116

The march toward Chattanooga began this morning. The order came last night, after an all day’s rain to strike tents this morning and be ready at sunrise to march. This means our entire brigade. The enemy’s guns that had been pounding away at us for nearly a week were silenced by our batteries two days ago and since then there has been no excitement till the marching order came last night. Rations for three days were given each man which about filled our...

Appendix: Biographical Sketches

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E-ISBN-13: 9780814335536
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814333433

Page Count: 144
Illustrations: 4
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a

OCLC Number: 755620362
MUSE Marc Record: Download for A Badger Boy in Blue

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Subject Headings

  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Campaigns.
  • Wisconsin -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • Cooke, Chauncey H. (Chauncey Herbert), 1846-1919 -- Correspondence.
  • Soldiers -- Wisconsin -- Correspondence.
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
  • United States. Army. Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, 25th (1862-1865).
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