Finalist 2013 Minnesota Book Award Minnesota
The First Regiment Minnesota Volunteer Infantry was the first volunteer regiment offered in service to President Lincoln after the fall of Ft. Sumter. Men and boys attended patriotic rallies throughout the young state and signed their names to papers that pledged they would answer the president’s call. They were strong men toughened by rugged pioneer life and in the next three years they drew on that strength time and again. The men of the First Minnesota served in nearly every major battle in the eastern campaign with the Army of the Potomac and were frequently cited for their professional conduct in the field and for their bravery – nowhere more so than at the Battle of Gettysburg where their harrowing sacrifice saved the Union from defeat and helped turn the tide of the war.
Every Man Did His Duty tells the individual stories of over a hundred men who served in the First Minnesota from the regiment’s commanders to its courageous young privates. Each story includes a photograph of the soldier allowing readers to put a face to the actions and history of the man. The included stories are a mix of courage tragedy and humor. Some men left the service for successful careers and loving families whereas others were broken in their bodies and minds and Wayne Jorgenson’s descriptions of the war’s many ways of wounding sharpens our understanding of these soldiers’ sacrifice offering a worthy tribute to their valor.
Jorgenson research the men and history of the First Minnesota over decades. Gathering stories from diaries pension records newspaper articles and family archives as well as published histories. Along with the individual histories of the men he includes hundreds of photographs including historical photographs portraits of the men and color photographs of artifacts selected from archives and personal collections across the country – including his own extensive collection – creating an unprecedented visual record of the regiment.
Wayne Jorgenson is a founding member of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry reenactment group which today remains dedicated to educating the public about the life of the Civil War soldier and preserving the memory of the men who served in the original unit. He is the co-creator of the website 1stminnesota.net which documents lives and service of the men of the First Minnesota and Civil War artifacts. He has worked as a financial advisor for over 35 years and lives in Eden Prairie Minnesota with his wife Carol.