Experiences of a Soldier and Engineer

William F. Goodhue, a Brodhead, Wisconsin native, joined Company C, 3rd Wisconsin Infantry Regiment on May 4, 1861 at the age of seventeen. Over the next four years, he became a man both literally and figuratively while participating in some of the Civil War’s most storied battles and campaigns: Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and Sherman’s March to the Sea. Following his honorable discharge in June 1865, Goodhue worked as a surveyor and engineer in Milwaukee and Racine.

He commemorated his Civil War service by handwriting and illustrating a reminiscence of his time in the Army. He divided it into volumes that cover topics ranging from a visit President Lincoln paid to his unit, the battles of Gettysburg and Antietam, the reading habits of Civil War soldiers, and more. These volumes are presented here in full, and they provide an amazing and artistic look at the experiences of a young man from Wisconsin in the Civil War.

Introduction

In this introduction to his memoirs, Goodhue includes a dedication to his mother, some illustrations, and a patriotic Memorial Day poem written by his wife.

The Morning After Gettysburg

A moving account of the aftermath of battle, Goodhue describes dealing with the dead and wounded soldiers after Gettysburg, as well as sitting around in a stunned silence as Union officers decided what to do next.

Abraham Lincoln

In April 1863, almost two years to the day before he was assassinated, President Lincoln reviewed the 11th and 12th Army Corps in Virginia, of which Goodhue’s 3rd Wisconsin was a part. He describes the occasion and his impressions of Lincoln before entering into a very interesting discussion of the 1864 election and how the soldiers in his regiment voted.

Annals of a Survey

The only post-war section of Goodhue’s memoirs, this booklet describes an 1871 surveying expedition into “Indian Territory” (Oklahoma).

Literary Life in the Army

This fascinating description of the reading habits of Union soldiers includes discussion of how they acquired books, how they traded books, which books were most popular, and more. Goodhue also reviews some Southern literature that he found in an abandoned publishing house.

A Hot Day in Virginia

What begins as a description of the hardships of marching in hot, summer weather turns into an account of the Battle of Cedar Mountain. Goodhue captures the sounds of bullets passing nearby as he recounts his regiment’s role in this August 1862 battle.

The Morning of Antietam

Goodhue’s account begins with his waking up on September 17, 1862 and continues with first-person observations as he marched into a battle that would become one of the bloodiest in American history.

The Siege of Atlanta

While describing two months during the Atlanta campaign, Goodhue touches upon troop morale, foraging for food, and the work that went into besieging a city.

Atlanta to the Sea

Reprinting entries from his wartime diary, Goodhue recounts his experiences during Sherman’s March to the Sea. This book includes his impressions of slaves, Southern society, and the stubbornness of the Confederate Army as they refused to surrender to overwhelming Union forces.

Maps

Goodhue compiled and illustrated maps to accompany fellow 3rd Wisconsin veteran Edwin E. Bryant’s history of the regiment, published in 1891.
The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is an educational activity of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.