EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.--()--The experiences of more than 100 men enlisted with the First Regiment of Minnesota Volunteer Infantry are captured in Wayne D. Jorgenson’s new book, Every Man Did His Duty. Jorgenson shares the life stories of these men, whose regiment was the first volunteered to President Lincoln after Fort Sumter’s fall during the Civil War.
“This is also something tangible for the descendants of these soldiers that they can pass on to their children.”
Hardcover bound with 320 glossy pages, Every Man Did His Duty is the first book on the regiment that includes these individual stories and photos. Jorgenson spent 20 years gleaning information from state historical records, conversed with soldiers’ descendants, and visited the National Archives in Washington, D.C., to learn more about these individuals during and after the war.
“I wanted a tangible remembrance dedicated to these men. Now, the legacy of these veterans will be here as long as there’s one book available,” Jorgenson said. “This is also something tangible for the descendants of these soldiers that they can pass on to their children.”
Roughly 1,225 men served in the regiment, but known pictures exist for less than 300. While the book includes images of all these soldiers, Jorgenson chose to share about 100 stories, including:
- Samuel Raguet, Company C: During the Battle of Bull Run, 2nd Lt. Raguet broke his sword. Shortly after, as a Rebel cavalry charged, Raguet shot a soldier from his horse, took the dead man's sword and used it for the duration of battle. The book includes pictures of the sword he took.
- DeWitt Clinton Smith, Company D: On May 21, 1861, three weeks after enlistment, a photographer captured Lt. Smith standing in front of his company as they waited to cross a bridge in Minneapolis. Smith sent a copy of the photo home, and it is the earliest and only known picture to still exist showing these newly armed volunteers, the majority still in civilian clothes.
- Isaac and Patrick Henry Taylor, Company E: These brothers were teachers before the war and served together. During the charge at Gettysburg, they lost track of each other. After battle, Patrick looked for Isaac, later writing in his diary that he could not find his brother. The next day, another soldier led him to Isaac's body, and Patrick and two comrades dug a grave. Patrick later wrote, “Well Isaac, all I can give you is a soldier’s grave.”
In addition to the soldiers’ stories, Every Man Did His Duty includes a history of the regiment and key battles, information about each company, and more than 600 color and black and white photographs.
For more information, visit www.1stminnesota.net.
About Wayne D. Jorgenson
Wayne D. Jorgenson is a founding member of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry reenactment group, which remains dedicated to educating the public about the life of the Civil War soldier and preserving the memory of the men who served in the original unit. He is the co-creator of the website www.1stminnesota.net, which documents the lives and service of the First Minnesota soldiers, and is an accomplished collector of First Minnesota and Civil War artifacts, many of which are on display at museums.