Friday, November 18, 2022

Hosea Rood

From a very good article by Doug Welch in the Milton Courier this week about Hosea Rood (1845-1933):
The abolitionist legacy of the early Milton Academy was put to the test at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. Former and current students of the academy – renamed Milton College in 1867 – responded in kind and with great vigor.

More than 325 men with academy ties enlisted in the Union Army, a very high percentage of the school’s male student body from the time the academy opened in 1844 through the close of the war in 1865. Of those men, 46 died while serving in the Union Army and 13 were killed in action or died of wounds. Of their ranks, 28 perished to disease. ....

...[T]he largest legacy among Civil War veterans affiliated with Milton Academy is that of Hosea Rood. Rood did not attend Milton Academy until after the war when the school became Milton College. He attended and then taught at the college....

Rood enlisted in Company E of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry in October 1861 when he was 16, though he gave his age as 19. The company trained at Madison’s Camp Randall and left for Missouri in January 1862. The 12th was involved in many actions during the war. It was attached to General Grant’s army during the siege of Vicksburg, a turning point in the war’s Western Theatre when the siege ended on July 4, 1863. The 12th then joined General Sherman’s Army of Tennessee in Georgia. Rood and his comrades saw extensive action during the Atlanta Campaign, including the battle at Kennesaw Mountain.

Once Atlanta was secured, the 12th was part of Sherman’s decisive March to the Sea from Nov. 15 to Dec. 21, 1864. In May, 1865, a month following the assassination of President Lincoln, Rood and the 12th took part in the Grand Review in Washington, D.C. ....

In 1901, Rood was instrumental in having a bill introduced providing for a Memorial Hall in the capitol where war relics, books and photos might be gathered and preserved as memorials of the state’s participation in the Civil War. The bill passed and Rood became custodian of the hall.

Rood spent two years gathering a large collection of Civil War materials and artifacts for display in the new hall.

But on the morning of Feb. 17, 1904, the capitol was nearly destroyed by fire and everything Rood had collected was destroyed.... Rood went back to work to rebuild the collection and from his efforts came the foundation of what remains the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum on the Capitol Square in Madison. ....

The Roods first purchased a home on Greenman Street in 1879 and always considered Milton to be their home, even while Hosea worked or taught in other communities. In 1924, Rood moved permanently to Milton where he continued writing, including an extensive history of his Company E of the 12th Wisconsin Infantry. He died in 1933 at age 88 and is buried in the Milton Cemetery. (more)
Doug Welch, "Hosea Rood became one of many prominent names out of Milton in late 19th century," Milton Courier, Nov. 18, 2022.

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