Sunday, February 10, 2013

Meh: "This Wicked Rebellion" edited by John Zimm

Meh: This Wicked Rebellion: Wisconsin Civil War soldiers write home edited by John Zimm, 2012, 9780870205040.

Edwin B. Quiner was a newspaper publisher who was the Governor's private Secretary when the war started.  Quiner subscribed to papers from around the state and tasked his daughters with clipping out soldiers' published letters home.  The several volumes worth of letters went to the Historical Society.  Zimm culled them.

Some letters were quite interesting.  Some were not.  The best ones covered topics I knew little about.  Some letters I found interesting touched on:
- The debates in the North over whether they should go to war at all.
- Fighting for the republic versus fighting against slavery.
- Observations by WI soldiers as they traveled through the South.  The weather, the terrain and flora, the bugs.
- Southerners' behavior.  Bushwhackers in MO and AR.  Guerrilla warfare where a Southerner would offer dinner and then ambush you a few hours later.  WI soldiers retreating through a town and having the women shoot at them from the homes.  The hillbillies of AR and MO.
- Fighting in MO and AR versus the well known battles in the southeast.
- Differing opinions by WI soldiers about black people and slavery.
- The fluidity of battle and maintaining the lines.  Picket duty was interesting to learn about and took a lot of soldiers to do well.  The converse was the uncontrolled territory where men would come across the enemy and have to choose to sneak away, fight, attempt to capture prisoners, etc.

I forced myself to finish this.  I could not maintain my interest and skimmed the last few letters describing thoughts after the war.

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