Civil War Service and Pension Records of John Firkus
It was in the late summer of 1864 that our own John Firkus left his family and home in Portage County to enlist in the First Wisconsin Cavalry.What was it that motivated a young illiterate Polish immigrant to go and fight an enemy and against a cause he neither knew nor understood?If it was purely for love of his new country why did he not join one of the local units?Why did he travel all the way to Ripon to enlist? Was it because being a farmer he knew how to handle horses and Ripon was where you had to go to enlist in the cavalry? Was it solely for adventure? Or was it for the $100 bounty Ripon was paying volunteers? After all $100 could easily buy 80 acres after the war was over. We will never know.
What follows on the next page is a bibliography of documents chronicling John's enlistment, service and later his applications for pension. They offer a fascinating insight into a part of our family history. Enjoy your trip into the past......
Compiled and transcribed by John F. Firkus
All Documents From The National Archives, Washington, D.C.