Wisconsin Veterans Museum’s Nineteenth Annual Talking Spirits Cemetery Tour at Forest Hill Cemetery 


Day of Tour: $10.00

Sunday Tours with available tickets:

12:20 p.m.
1:40 p.m.
2:00 p.m.
2:20 p.m.
2:40 p.m.
3:00 p.m.
3:20 p.m.
3:40 p.m.
4:00 p.m.

Tickets are first-come, first-serve. If you wish to buy day-of tickets for a Sunday Tour, it is advisable to arrive as close to 12:00 p.m. as possible.

***WVMF Members see Eileen at the Registration Table for special Member pricing***

Saturday, September 30: Candlelit Tours 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m

Online Ticket Purchase at: SOLD OUT

Sunday, October 1: Public Day Tours 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Online Ticket Purchase at: CLOSED


CANDLELIT TOURS-Saturday, Sept. 30:

Experience the evening at the cemetery with the Candlelit Tours of Forest Hill Cemetery. On the 90-minute walking tour, local actors share Civil War stories through portrayals of Wisconsin Civil War soldiers and citizens buried at Forest Hill Cemetery. 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Rain Date: October 7th.

PUBLIC DAY TOURS-Sunday, Oct. 1:

Join us for Talking Spirits Cemetery Tours XIX Public Day tours. On the 90-minute walking tour, local actors share Civil War stories through portrayals of Wisconsin Civil War soldiers and citizens buried at Forest Hill Cemetery. Sunday Tours leave every 20 minutes starting at 12:00 PM-4:00 PM. Purchasing tickets online will allow you to book preferred time slots of tours.

Rain Date: October 8th

***WVMF Members contact Eileen at 608-261-0536 for special pricing and to reserve your spot***

2017 Cast of Characters  

Frederick Dyke, a drummer and drum major with the 2nd Wisconsin and the 29th Wisconsin infantries, was 61 when he first enlisted and died in Vicksburg.

Hugh Lewis was a recent immigrant to Wisconsin and fought with the 2nd Wisconsin. He lost his arm due to a wound and infection from the first Battle of Bull Run.

Emilie Quiner was a teacher and became a nurse during the war.  Quiner kept a diary of her experiences throughout the war and her story will focus on the roles women played.

Asa B. Green was the chaplain who is responsible for Soldier’s Lot at Forest Hill Cemetery. Green served with the 30th Wisconsin – a unit primarily responsible for running the draft in the state.

A Historical Note on Confederate Rest:

1,100 Southern Prisoners of War were held at camp Randall in 1862. Unfortunately, 139 Confederate prisoners died due to an ill-equipped hospital, poor housing, and a lack of supplies, despite the fact that citizens of Madison brought necessary supplies for the prisoners. These men were then buried in a small area of Forest Hill.

In 1868, a widow named Alice Whiting Waterman took an interest in this part of the cemetery, soon known as Confederate Rest. Born in the South in baton Rouge, LA, her family moved to New York City when she was 10 and she spent the rest of her life in the North. In Madison, she first worked as a hotel matron at the Vilas House. by the 1880s, she lived with Civil War veteran Major Frank Oakley and his wife Cynthia.

Waterman took it upon herself to clear away weeds, trim the grass, have a wooden fence built around the plot, and install new wooden markers for each soldier. She devoted 20 years to maintaining the plot and provided information to Southern families looking for their deceased. Wisconsin Governors Lucius Fairchild and Cadwallader Washburn, both former Union generals, supported her efforts, as well as other veterans like Major Oakley and Colonel Hugh Lewis.

Today, Confederate Rest, like all sections of the Cemetery, is maintained by the City of Madison Parks Department. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum and the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs have no jurisdiction over the cemetery.

Funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for Humanities and the State of Wisconsin. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Wisconsin Humanities Council supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin.

Forest Hill Cemetery

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