The Badax Tigers: From Shiloh to The Surrender with the 18th Wisconsin Volunteers

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When the Badax County Tigers left the small town of Viroqua, Wisconsin, in the autumn of 1861, they had little notion of what military service would demand of them.

The Badax Tigers were as common a company in as common a regiment as may be found in the annals of the Civil War. They marched, camped, and fought their way through four years of service with their fair share of battle honors and few blemishes to mar their record. They rallied at Shiloh, stood firm at Corinth, laid siege to Vicksburg, rescued Chattanooga, and saved Allatoona. In short, they represented the backbone of the Federal volunteer army from 1861 to 1865. When the original Tigers returned to Viroqua at the close of the war, they numbered only fourteen men out of the more than 100 recruits who had been mustered into service.

This intimate unit history of the Badax Tigers chronicles the experiences of Company C of the 18th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry during the entire Civil War as seen through the eyes of Private Thomas Jefferson Davis. Davis's letters provide an extraordinarily complete picture of a typical Federal volunteer company in the Civil War. Supplemented by newspaper articles and the letters of some soldiers that were written and intended for publication in local newspapers, The Badax Tigers is a detailed and comprehensive portrait of the Civil War from the perspective of the average soldier.

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Editorial Reviews

Civil War Book Review
This book is an excellent source for anyone studying Civil War daily life.
Terrence J. Winschel
With the art of a master craftsman, Nanzig has woven the rich and touching letters of two common soldiers who served in the 18th Wisconsin Infantry—Thomas J. Davis and Ransom J. Chase, coupled with Civil War era newspaper articles relative to the regiment—to produce a detailed look at this little known unit and, with detailed annotation, has compiled a history of service worthy of these veterans of Shiloh, Iuka, Corinth, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga.
Dennis J. Ringle
An outstanding and refreshing new social history of the life of a common soldier. . . . The Badax Tigers is a must-read and worthy addition to the library of both the Civil War scholar and enthusiast alike.
William M. Anderson
Twenty-nine year-old Private Thomas Jefferson Davis left a young bride of 18 after just two months of marriage when he marched off to war. His interesting correspondence provides a wonderful appreciation for the challenges of marital separation and how critically important were the receipt of letters. . . . Editor Thomas Nanzig has compiled and skillfully annotated a valuable collection of soldier's letters.
Roger L. Rosentreter
Using dozens of well-written and detail-rich letters, Nanzig has constructed a documentary history of one unit that saw action throughout the war's Western Theater. But more than accounts of battles, these letters—many from a 29-year-old yeoman farmer—offer valuable insights on how northern soldiers viewed the South and the men who fought to defend it.
Russell Horton
The letters of Thomas Jefferson Davis reveal the ups, as well as downs, of service in the Western Theater. Remarkably readable, they document the real concerns of the yeoman soldier: providing for family back home and making it out of the war alive.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742560192
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/28/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.85 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas P. Nanzig is the editor of The Civil War Memoirs of a Virginia Cavalryman: Lt. Robert T. Hubard Jr. and the president of the Ann Arbor Civil War Round Table.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: They Had About Become Bare-Assed Tigers
Chapter 2: Events of No Ordinary Character
Chapter 3: We Live As Woodchucks
Chapter 4: The Sound Was Anything But Musical
Chapter 5: The Canal That General Butler Commenced
Chapter 6: Closed Up Snugly Around Vicksburg
Chapter 7: They Have Kept Us Jogging Pretty Good
Chapter 8: An Open Confession Is Good for the Soul
Chapter 9: Sherman Is Slowly Driving the Rebs
Chapter 10: We Dosed Them with Blue Pills
Chapter 11: The News Is Glorious and the Future Is Bright
Chapter 12: I Will Never Be a Military Dog
18th Wisconsin Infantry Regimental Statistics
18th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Organizational Chart: 1862–1865
Roster of Company C, 18th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
Badax Tigers Statistics

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