Steele County in the Civil War Book on sale in History Center gift shop

More than 700 soldiers who served in the American Civil War called Steele County, Minnesota “home.”

Most were young, some too young to volunteer at age 15, and a few were older, in their forties. They held every rank, from private to general. Some were wounded in battle, some were captured, more than four dozen died in uniform, and nearly all of them spent some time in army hospitals suffering from camp diseases.

Unlike soldiers from Pennsylvania or Georgia, many of the Steele County soldiers also fought in Minnesota’s own civil war, the US-Dakota Conflict of 1862.

In the extensive account of their experiences, the reader will feel an intimate relationship with the Steele Countians—both soldiers and their loved ones—who experienced America’s worst self-inflicted crisis and who had a very real impact on the war’s outcome. From touching love letters to humorous stories to sad recollections of surgeons and chaplains, Steele County in the Civil War brings their story home and makes it personal.

Author Barry D. Adams was a long-time educator in Eastern Pennsylvania before he embarked on a second career as a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg National Military Park. With his wife Joy he moved to Minnesota in 2008 and more recently moved to Florida after serving as an SCHS board member, Tour Guide, researcher and author.

The book is available for purchase at $49.95.

Copies of Steele County in the Civil War have been presented to all middle schools in Steele County. The SCHS webpage offers supplemental information online at including an extensive database listing the civil war veterans of Steele County.

The Steele County Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1949. Its mission is to preserve and share Steele County history today for tomorrow. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Steele County’s past through museum exhibits, research, collections, tours, educational programs and book publishing. The Society is located at 1700 Austin Road, Owatonna, MN.

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