By Stuart Stotts
Lucius Fairchild: Civil War Hero introduces young readers to a great Wisconsin soldier-statesman. From panning for gold, to losing an arm during a Civil War battle, to campaigning hard for elections, Lucius learned early that it takes courage and persistence to succeed.
Lucius's life brimmed with adventure. As a young man, he headed west across sprawling prairies and high mountains to seek his fortune in California's gold mines. Finding little gold, Lucius tried his hand as a beef supplier and made his money there. When volunteers were needed to fight in the Civil War, Lucius proclaimed, "no one can take a clatter at that ... more easily than I can." Lucius grieved over the loss of his men of the Iron Brigade in battles like that of Brawner's Farm, and his own left arm was shattered at Gettysburg. With the glow of a returning hero, Lucius went on to win three terms as governor of Wisconsin, and then to secure diplomatic posts in Europe.
Yet, even as Lucius advanced his own career, he (like his contemporary Cordelia Harvey) never forgot the importance of serving others. As governor and first lady, Lucius and his wife, Frances, swiftly came to the aid of Peshtigo Fire victims. And as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, he made helping veterans top priority. Sidebars on the California Gold Rush, military rank, Free States and Slave States, the Iron Brigade, and the Gettysburg Address complement this history-rich biography.