Author                             Michael J. Martin                  Civil War Historian and Wisconsin Native
"This is no run of the mill history of a Bull Run to Appomattox term of service in the East."
                                                                                      Drew W.
                                                                                                                          
Civil War Books and Authors Blogspot
                                                                                                                           March 25, 2007

The 4th Wisconsin Infantry/Cavalry participated in many raids and campaigns throughout the Gulf region that remain little known or written about.  As their designation implies, the men of the 4th battled as infantrymen and cavalrymen and experienced the longest period of continuous service of any Wisconsin Volunteer regiment in the Civil War.  Anyone wanting to learn more about an unusual unit serving in a rarely studied theater of the war will revel in the details provided by Michael Martin's regimental history of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry and Cavalry.

 

The author next to the Confederate soldiers' monument in the cemetery at Clinton, Louisiana, on ground where the 4th Wisconsin fought as mounted infantry and, later, cavalry.

Michael J. Martin's history of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry and Cavalry is a deeply researched and vividly written study of an unheralded Federal combat regiment.

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 and participating in Major General John Dix's Eastern Shore (Maryland) Expedition, the men sailed to the Gulf of Mexico where they joined Major General 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 and campaigns in Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, Bisland, Major General Nathanial Banks' Teche Campaign, the siege of Port Hudson, and Clinton.

With a desperate need for mounted troops, the Badgers 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 officers as Albert Lee, John Davidson, Joseph Karge and Benjamin Grierson.

The Confederate armies surrendered in the spring of 1865, but the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry joined Major General Wesley Merritt's cavalry division that July on its ride from Vicksburg, Mississippi, into Texas, where the regiment was broken up and deployed in various outposts along the Rio Grande River.  On May 26, 1866, Wisconsin's last regiment of Civil War volunteers was finally mustered out at Brownsville, Texas.  Unfortunately, many of the men did not return as 431 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.
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