Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Milton Academy and the Civil War

Joseph Goodrich
I grew up in Milton, Wisconsin, living across the street from Milton College, founded by Seventh Day Baptists, and two doors down from the house that had once belonged to Hosea Rood, Civil War veteran, active member of the GAR, and creator of the Civil War Museum in Wisconsin's Capitol building. The Milton College Library had a plaque listing the names of those Milton College students who died in that war. Today the Milton Courier has on its website an article about Milton Academy [soon after the war to be Milton College] and the American Civil War:
.... Over the course of the 1861-1865 Civil War approximately 312 students and former students of Milton Academy volunteered for military service. 43 died in the war.

Total student enrollment in 1861 was 384. By the end of the war enrollment had dropped to 292, “mainly due to the enlisting of the males of legal age in the army of the United States,” a college history booklet states. ....

Given the strong abolitionist leanings of the community and Milton Academy faculty it was natural students would support the fight to end slavery. Scheehle said the robust volunteerism on campus “was reflective of the attitude of the area.”

[Joseph] Goodrich planted strong anti-slave sentiment here when he settled in 1838 from western New York....

He opened Milton Academy in 1844. Three other abolitionists would become presidents. Academy trustees and board members were abolitionists as well.

Earlier in 1844 Goodrich built his Milton House stagecoach inn. At some point the 50-foot tunnel for escaping slaves was dug from the Goodrich Cabin to the inn’s basement. It is not known exactly when the tunnel was dug.
Hosea Rood
Of the 312 Civil War volunteers from Milton Academy, 69 received commissions from second lieutenant to brigadier general. Besides students they included faculty members such as Nathan Twining, a math teacher who was made captain of Company C, 40th Infantry in 1864. He would return to chair the department. ....

Milton Academy was granted a college charter in 1867. Though the students and former students who fought in the Civil War are now footnotes in history, the field and chapel where they drilled, and the classrooms where they learned, are still here for residents and visitors to explore. .... [more]
Those pictured are Joseph Goodrich, the founder of Milton and of Milton Academy, and Hosea Rood, Civil War veteran and Milton resident.

Hundreds of Milton Academy students fought in Civil War - Milton Courier - Milton, WI