Civil War

Although no battles were fought in Minnesota during the Civil War, the State did play an important role in the overall outcome of the war:

  • Minnesota, barely three years old at the time of the Civil War, was the first State to respond to President Abraham Lincoln’s request for volunteer regiments.
  • The first group of Minnesota soldiers sent into battle were known as The First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry.
  • During the four years of the Civil War (1861-1865), Minnesota sent 25,000 men into battle against the Confederate Army. This represented about half of the state’s eligible male population.
  • More than 100 black men from Minnesota enlisted in the Union Army even though the state’s total black population was just 259 (including men, women and children).
  • The First Minnesota regiment played an important role in winning the Battle of Gettysburg by making a heroic charge against Confederate soldiers on the evening of July 2, 1863. Some historians believe their actions turned the tide of this battle, and the war. The First Minnesota charged the Confederates in spite of five to one odds.
  • The First Minnesota regiment  took part in many important battles and campaigns including: Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, Antietam and Gettysburg.

(Source: Minnesota State Historical Society)

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