Stevens Point civil war veteran on display at Wisconsin Veterans Museum
By Taylor Hale
PORTAGE COUNTY – The Wisconsin Veterans Museum reopened to the public on July 1 after shutting its doors due to COVID-19 at the start of the pandemic. While only 3 percent of the museum’s collection is on display at any given time, this year staff have taken the displays to the next level, revealing the personal lives behind the brave men and women who fought to keep America free.
“Everyone has their own stories, these are all real people,” said museum curator Kevin Hampton. “The faces behind the facts are what made the difference.”
The museum has a new display showing the lives of four dedicated soldiers who served, including one ex-slave who lived in Stevens Point who fought in the Civil War.
“Henry Ashby was born in Missouri in 1832, so you can imagine the condition he was brought up in,” Hampton said.
Ashby escaped to Union lines when the war began near New Madrid Missouri, and later connected with the 6th Wisconsin Light Artillery.
Ashby worked as a cook with the unit, gaining the trust of the men until he was given a firearm and allowed to fight along with white soldiers (a rare occurrence for the time). The young soldier was even wounded during the battle of Corinth in 1862.
Ashby served over two years but was never officially listed on the unit roster.
Later, he made his way to Wisconsin and lived in Stevens Point for some time before moving to Eagle River where he resided until his death.
The exhibit also focuses on the lives of Joseph Elmore and Horace Artis of Appleton. To learn more about Ashby and the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison, visit wisvetsmuseum.com.
The Wisconsin Veterans Museum is located at 30 W. Mifflin St., Madison.