A narrative of service with the Third Wisconsin Infantry/Editor's Preface


The author of this volume was born at Vernon, Connecticut, on March 12, 1838, of a long line of New England ancestry; he was sixth in order of descent from Governor Thomas Hinkley of Plymouth Colony. Coming to Wisconsin in his eleventh year, Julian grew to young manhood on his father's farm at Waupun and in Portage County. In 1858, our author left the farm and started life for himself—teaching school in winter, and working as a carpenter each summer.

On April 19, 1861, Mr. Hinkley enlisted in the Waupun Light Guard for three months. But the services of the organization were not accepted for that short term by the State military authorities, so on May 8 they were proffered and accepted for the war, and the organization became Company E of the Third Wisconsin Infantry. Hinkley was at the organization appointed First-Sergeant; but on February 6, 1862, he was commissioned Second-Lieutenant of his company, became First-Lieutenant on November 1 following, and on May 4, 1863, took command of the Company as Captain. He continued to serve the Third Wisconsin until its final discharge and payment in Madison on August 26, 1865, but during the last few months of this period was the acting Major of the Regiment. Since the war, Major Hinkley has been largely engaged in erecting public buildings, and has a wide acquaintance throughout Northeast Wisconsin.

The Commission is much pleased at this opportunity to publish Major Hinkley's Narrative. The book has only in part been written from memory. It has been made up from several excellent sources: (1) A manuscript diary kept from day to day, or week to week, by Mr. Hinkley during the years of his service; (2) several contemporary letters written by him, either to the local press of his section of the State, or to relatives and friends at home; and lastly (3), a manuscript narrative written by the author several years after the war, for the edification of his children. The work of amalgamating these diverse materials has fallen to the lot of the editorial department of the Commission; the result, however, has been passed upon in detail by Major Hinkley, and in its present continuous form accepted by him as his final narrative. This method of compilation has secured a manuscript possessing a contemporaneous flavor and accuracy, not usual with reminiscences. The Commissioners feel that the book is an interesting and valuable contribution to the literature of the war, being the view-point of a company commander in one of the most active of Wisconsin regiments, throughout the entire period of the struggle.

R. G. T.


September, 1912