A History of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry and Cavalry in the American Civil War

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Michael Martin
Pub Date:
April 2007
Hardcover, 6 x 9, d.j.
Photos, maps, 480 pp.
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About the Book

Michael J. Martin’s A History of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry and Cavalry in the Civil War is a deeply researched and vividly written study of an unheralded Federal combat regiment. Few of the thousands of regiments raised to fight the American Civil War experienced the remarkably diverse history of this little-known organization.
The Wisconsin "Badgers" began the war as foot soldiers in the summer of 1861 as the 4th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. After service in Maryland guarding railroads, the men sailed to the Gulf of Mexico to join Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler’s expedition to capture the South’s most important city: New Orleans. From August 1862 to July 1863, the 4th Wisconsin participated as infantry or mounted infantry in a series of bloody battles in Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Bisland, the siege of Port Hudson, and Clinton. With a desperate need for mounted troops, the Badgers were officially changed to cavalry in September 1863 and became the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry. As troopers, they took part in four mounted expeditions across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, serving under such notable generals as Albert Lee, John Davidson, and Benjamin Grierson.
The Confederate armies surrendered in the spring of 1865, but the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry joined Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt’s cavalry division that July on its ride from Louisiana into Texas, where the regiment was broken up and deployed in various outposts along the Rio Grande River. On May 28, 1866, Wisconsin’s last regiment of Civil War volunteers was finally mustered out at Brownsville, Texas. Unfortunately, many of the men would not be going home: 431 had lost their lives to enemy bullets and disease.
Eight years in the making, Martin’s regimental history is based upon scores of previously unused soldier and civilian diaries, letters, reports, contemporary newspapers, and reminiscences. It includes dozens of previously unpublished soldier photos, and a complete roster. Martin’s study is a must-have addition for every serious Civil War reader.

Lance J. Herdegen is the award-winning author of several books and articles on Civil War topics. His latest book is The Iron Brigade in Civil War and Memory: The Blackhats from Bull Run to Appomattox and Thereafter. His previous book, Those Damned Black Hats: The Iron Brigade in the Gettysburg Campaign, won the Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award for Battle/Operational history. Herdegen recently served as Chair of the Wisconsin Civil War Sesquicentennial. He is also the former Director of the Institute for Civil War Studies at Carroll University and worked as historical consultant for the Civil War Museum of the Upper Middle West at Kenosha, Wisconsin. Herdegen had a long career as a journalist with the United Press International (UPI) news wire service where he covered civil rights and politics. He was recently inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club Hall of Fame. Some of his other honors include The 2016 Nevins-Freeman Award from the Civil War Round Table of Chicago; The Harry S. Truman Award of the Civil War Round Table of Kansas City; and The Iron Brigade Association Award from The Civil War Round Table of Milwaukee. Herdegen lives in the Town of Spring Prairie, Walworth County, Wisconsin.