It is well known to the historical student that there are many epochs and events in our American History but imperfectly understood, because of the paucity and meagerness of narratives left by the actors. Thus there are many doubtful points connected with the discovery, settlement, and Indian wars of the Colonies. An intelligent historian has observed of Bacon's Rebellion, which occurred nearly two hundred years ago in Virginia, that "the discrepancies between the several relations can hardly be reconciled;" and our Revolutionary War for want of full authorities, many an interesting event, it is feared, has been sadly disfigured or unworthy men, in some instances suffered to usurp honors justly due to others.
It is due to our Wisconsin Volunteers, who are devoting their time and energies, and risking their lives, in defense of the Constitution Laws and Flag of their Country that the Historical Society of their State should make ample provision for a full history of their services. And this the Society proposes to do as fully as its means and appliances will possibly allow. It can hardly be expected that camp newspaper correspondents, many of them mere mercenary hirelings, ready to praise or condemn as they man be paid to do will render that justice to our own Wisconsin troops that their merits may deserve; and if they should in some rare instances grant them a full measure of justice it would prove as ephemeral as the newspapers in which it might appear. Besides saving some eighty files of newspapers, and among them several prominent Eastern and Western Dailies, which will contain a vast amount of correspondence relative to our officers and soldiers, we earnestly desire to preserve all other material within our reach relating to the career and services of our Wisconsin volunteers. It is the wish of the Society that you give your approval and aid to this effort. 1st. By keeping a diary for the Society of such interesting events as you may deem proper of record and preservation- and especially full details of skirmishes and battles in which you, or any portion of our Wisconsin troops may be engaged, together with anecdotes, exploits, and deeds of personal prowess and bravery. 2d. if you do not find time or inclination to preserve a regular diary, then write out and send the Society isolated sketches of any particular event and service of which you may be cognizant. All such details, whether in diary form or separate narrative cannot be given too minutely. Write them out as fully as you would narrate them to a friend at you war camp, or at your peaceful fire-side. 3d. Preserve, whenever it is possible, for the Society a plat or drawing how ever rude it may be of any skirmish ground or battle field on which our Wisconsin troops may play a worthy part. 4th. Preserve and send to the Society for its Cabinet of Curiosities, and relics taken from our Rebel rifles - flags, swords, guns, bayonets, pistols, or other interesting objects captured from the enemy. 5th. When the war is over, the Union preserved, and peace once more restored to our country will not our Wisconsin troops take pride and pleasure in depositing with our Historical Society their Company and Regimental flags under which they have marched to battle and to victory? Here with other war relics they would be carefully preserved during all coming time, where thousands would annually inspect them with all the State pride, interest and curiosity usually attendant on objects having such deeply interesting historical associations. All such Diaries, narratives, plats, drawings and relics will serve to illustrate and enrich a History of the Services of the WISCONSIN VOLUNTEERS, which the Society will aim to carefully prepare and publish at the close of the war, in the highest style of art, with personal sketches of those gallant Wisconsin men who may especially distinguish them selves in the service.
Wisconsin is now making for herself a strange and eventful history - her sons are making unspeakable sacrifices in maintaining the honor and sacredness of the UNION bequeathed us by our fathers, and are freely fielding up their lives, and pouring out their blood upon the battle-field in the good cause in which they are engaged. The Truth and Justice of History demand that a Society like ours should perpetuate these services and sacrifices for the enlightenment and encouragement of children our children's children and we most earnestly appeal to you to do what you can to aid us in carrying into successful effect these worthy designs and purposes. It is not enough to say that some one else will keep a proper Diary - we wish these many time multiplied as each will record particular events with more minuteness than others and all will more or less serve to corroborate each other and thus fortify the correctness and increase the interest of the general narrative proposed to constructed from them . In such a work care will be taken that due credit is given to all Diaries and statements furnished the society, and used in the preparation of the contemplated History and all such documents will greatly enrich the collection of original manuscripts of Wisconsin history, to by preserved in its archives for future times, and future historians and biographers. Very Respectfully, Cor, Sec'y State Hist. Society of Wis.