by Kenneth Carley
Hardcover / Paperback
Although Minnesota was one of the least populated states in 1861 when the Civil War broke out, and had achieved statehood less than 3 years earlier, Minnesotans —many of Scandinavian origin who had recently arrived in America, and quite a few who had not even become citizens in the U.S. yet — made enormous contributions to the Union cause and its ultimate success. In several northern states, specifically MN and WI, whole regiments were made up of Scandinavian immigrants.
Books and articles have been written about various individual Scandinavian-American regiments, but Carley’s book — rich in detail — presents the first comprehensive picture of Minnesota’s involvement in the Civil War. Carley, former editor of the magazine, “Minnesota History”, knows historical material and his well-researched text is fully supplemented with soldiers’ diaries and letters, rare photographs, tintypes, drawings, maps, uniforms and equipment. Appropriately subtitled “An Illustrated History,” this book creates a vivid picture of the daily life of Minnesota’s soldiers. Helpful and interestingly written are the Appendices which include a chronology of Minnesota’s involvement in the Civil War and a list of Minnesota’s regiments, respective officers and action in various battles. Also helpful, for one doing family research, is an index of names mentioned in the book.
Lifelong interest in history is apparent in the Foreword by Richard Moe, currently President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and in the Introduction and Epilogue by Brian Horrigan, Exhibit Curator and also Co-chair of the Education and Cultural Heritage Outreach Committees at the MN Historical Society. Both are authors in their own right, and their talent for making history come alive through great writing is apparent in the sections they contributed to this book. Award-winning author Horrigan is also co-editor of Christmas in Minnesota.