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Colonels in Blue: Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin: A Civil War Biographical Dictionary, by Roger D. Hunt

Jeferson, NC: McFarland, 2017. Pp. x, 306. Illus., references, biblio., index. $39.95 paper. ISBN: 0786498552.

More Union Regimental Commanders

Many years ago Hunt began a project to compile short profiles of Union regimental commanders, and with this, the sixth volume in his excellent �Colonels in Blue� series, covers officers from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. He opens with an introduction offering some background on the project, explaining its limitations � men promoted to brevet or substantive generalships are not included-- and explaining how the information on each officer is presented.

There follows a chapter on each state, opening with a listing of the regiments it sent to the war, and their commanders. Then, in alphabetical order, he gives a short profile of each colonel. These profiles vary in length, due largely to the availability of sources; surprisingly, many of these men left virtually no paper trail, some quite literally disappear from the written record.

In almost every case, Hunt has managed to find a photograph or other image of each officer. Entries usually include some personal details, notes on the man�s war service, and some references. Longer profiles often include information about wounds, remarks � often biting or praising -- by others on the officer�s abilities, information on his education, previous military experience, residence, civilian occupation, and more, including criminal records, cases of bigamy, drinking problems, and so forth.

Frequently, Hunt�s entries are the only biographical treatment available for many of these officers, which makes this book, and the series as a whole, invaluable for serious students of the war, often amusing reading for the casual historian, and a gold mine for genealogical researchers.


Note: Colonels in Blue � Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin is also available as an e-book, ISBN 978-1-4766-2635-2.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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