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1863 October 3: Taylor’s Falls’ 7th Minnesota Infantry “Boys” Come Home for a Visit

October 4, 2013

The following short article is from the October 3, 1863, issue of The Polk County Press.  The 7th Minnesota Infantry had formed in response to President Lincoln’s summer 1862 calls for 600,000 additional troops, organizing between August and October 1862. No sooner were the first several companies formed—including Company C, primarily from Taylor’s Falls—than they were called on to respond to the August 18, 1862, outbreak of the U.S.-Dakota War.  Five companies joined General Henry Hastings Sibley in his campaign in the summer and fall of 1862.  On September 3 they marched to the relief of the 6th Minnesota Infantry at Birch Coulee and on September 23 they participated in the Battle of Wood Lake.  The 7th then served garrison duty until May 1863 and took part in Sibley’s campaign against the Dakota Indians during the summer of 1863.  Later in October, 1863, the regiment will move to St. Louis, Missouri.

Undoubtedly amongst the “boys” from Taylor’s Falls who were home on leave from Company C were Wyman H. Folsom—who was only 17 when he enlisted August 15, 1862—and Thomas F. Morton.  Both wrote letters to businessman W. H. C. Folsom of Taylor’s Falls and those letters are in his Papers (River Falls Mss S) in the UWRF Archives.  Two letters from Morton will be printed this week; several letters from W. H. C.’s son Wyman are still coming up later this year and early in 1864.

If you are unfamiliar with northwest Wisconsin, the village of Taylor’s Falls, Minnesota, is directly across the Saint Croix River from the village of St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, and eight miles south is Osceola—where The Polk County Press was published.

The “boys” of Co. C., 7th Minn. Regiment, who enlisted in Taylor’s Falls and are now home on a short furlough, paid our village a visit on Friday evening, the 25th ult., bringing with them their “fair maidens.”  Stopping at the Osceola House they were met by the “gay and festive” element of this place and all joined in a merry dance.  Mine host Wilson served an excellent and substantial supper, and the “sojer boys” soon forgot “hard tack” while engaged in stuffing their “haversacks” with the many dainties which the table afforded.  Thus till the “dawn did break” the dangers and trials of the war path were forgotton [sic], —and who could wonder that such should be the case?  When winning smiles and joyous faces had substituted themselves for bloody scalps, and painted Sioux.  The party was a pleasant affair, and all departed with many regrets, especially at leaving our friend Waterhouse who afforded the martial notes to which they danced “their hearts delight.”

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