When considering the Civil War, which battle comes to mind first? Most likely, the Siege of Vicksburg – fought in the Western Theater and consistently credited by historians as the conflict’s turning point – is not your first choice, as The Battle of Gettysburg tends to dominate the narrative.
Civil War historian John William Huelskamp recently published an historic fiction novel titled Friends of the Wigwam: A Civil War Story that sheds light on the often overlooked Illinois and Western Theater soldiers and volunteers who played significant roles during the Civil War.
As to why Huelslamp is energetic about telling the story of Illinoisans during the Civil War, he explains, “I noticed a lack of awareness by Illinois citizens of their ancestors’ participation in the Civil War, and I wanted to bring these vital stories and people to a level of national awareness.”
Intelligent, engaging, and thoughtful, Huelskamp can provide expert commentary on Friends of the Wigwam to discuss:
- Why he believes a memorial of the war hero Albert Cashier—the only known woman to masquerade as a man in American battle—should be erected in Chicagoland.
- How the African-American Civil War regiment and the Illinois underground railroad were crucial to the shaping of our nation
- The stark juxtaposition of youthful innocence against the savagery of the Civil War and how the characters in Friends of the Wigwam portray this unique contrast
- Why Illinois citizens and other Americans don’t know much about Illinois’ involvement in the Civil War – and why they should
- Why he believes his historical novel of the Civil War is the Northern “answer” to the myths generated by Margaret Mitchell’s famous novel Gone with the Wind
John William Huelskamp is a Civil War historian and author who has contributed to several Civil War periodicals including Civil War Regiments: A Journal of the American Civil War. His publication, Never Forsake the Colors, reintroduced the sacrifice of Union Colonel Holden Putnam and the 93rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He is also a contributing lecturer to Civil War roundtables and historical societies, and has provided Civil War authors including Peter Cozzens (The Shipwreck of Their Hopes) and Wiley Sword (Mountains Touched with Fire) with rare documents and diaries that have contributed to an understanding of civilians and soldiers during the climactic years of the Civil War. He resides in Deer Park, Illinois. His new book is Friends of the Wigwam: A Civil War Story (Barrington Group, Chicago, April 2016)
Friends of the Wigwam: A Civil War Story (Barrington Group, Chicago, 2016) can be purchased from Amazon and other booksellers nationwide. More information about John William Huelskamp can be found at www.friendsofthewigwam.com and Goodreads.