Minnesota Historical Society

Two Wars on the Frontier: Diaries of a Soldier

$ 24.95

Two Wars on the Frontier is the journal of A.J.Carlson, a Minnesota soldier, who fought in both the US-Dakota War of 1862, and for the Union Army in the Civil War. On August 21, 1862, A.J. enlisted in Company H, Ninth Minnesota Regiment, which was composed primarily of men from Carver County, MN. Because the US-Dakota War had begun three days prior, A.J.'s company was retained in Minnesota to assist with this war. A.J. relates daily experiences including his observation in the front row guarding the gallows, as 38 Indians were hung at Mankato, MN. On October, 1863, Company H left Fort Abercrombie, Dakota Territory for Fort Snelling, then headed down the Mississippi River to fight in the Civil War.


  • By: Wendy Petersen Biorn and Darlene Wendlandt Fasching (Editor),AJ Carlson (Author)
  • Format: Paper, 284 pages
  • Publisher: Carver County Historical Society (2014)



"Walt Whitman aptly described the American Civil War (1861-1865) as 'The War of Attempted Secession' in his narrative. A.J. Carlson clearly shows in first hand fashion the significance of the 'Attempted" and what it might have meant if secession had succeeded. Carlson was a member of the Ninth Regiment of Minnesota Infantry, which lost a great number of its men as prisoners - some of whom wound up at the infamous Andersonville Prison. Carlson was determined not to be a prisoner. As Carlson and comrades fled from the Union disaster at Brice's crossroads in a suspenseful cat-and-mouse chase worthy of a Hollywood movie, Carlson encounters a number of Black Americans - one a soldier, one a housewife, and another an elderly man. As the elderly man helps Carlson's men cross a stream, Carlson takes the man's hand, which in Southern culture was a faux pas. Carlson contrasts his own action with the practice of slaveholders fathering children with enslaved black women to produce lighter skinned slaves that would command a higher price at auction. Had the attempted secession succeeded, more of the same would lay ahead for Black Americans. Carlson's urgent and lively narrative showing his role in keeping secession only attempted is a worthy reminder of how much was at stake during the Civil War."

__David Grabitske, Minnesota Historical Society

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