Friends of the Wigwam: A Civil War Story


Friends of the Wigwam  is a historical novel and love story about six young friends whose innocence is stripped from them seemingly overnight in the brutal setting of the American Civil War.

Meticulously researched and based on real-life people and true events, Friends of the Wigwam spans 1857-1865 and introduces you to the courageous men and women from Illinois who staged one of the first contested national conventions, were responsible for getting Abraham Lincoln elected and made the ultimate sacrifice during the American Civil War.

From the true story of a young woman who successfully masqueraded as a man during the Civil War and was buried with full military honors to the often heart-wrenching letters home to wives and families and actual military correspondence between military leaders, author John William Huelskamp brings to life a volatile nation at war.

Celebrate each friend's successes and struggles on the battlefields, learn the story of those who led the battles, and meet a magnificent war-horse that is a steadfast survivor in the face of many tragedies.

Without at doubt, Friends of the Wigwam is one of the most moving Civil War novels you will ever read.


I am not a history buff at all. In fact, in the past I have not liked reading historical books because they were dry and boring and basically seemed to just be fact after fact with little humanity added in. So when I came across John William Huelskamp's novel Friends of the Wigwam,  I was intrigued by an author using historical events and weaving them through a story and maybe making history real for me.

I appreciate how Huelskamp weaves personal lives together that starts as friendships at younger ages and weaves how the different lives are impacted by the events leading up to and during the Civil War. I appreciate the inclusion of real life letters and photographs to make the characters pop for the reader and become real. It really helped to visualize the whole character as I was reading. I gained a greater understanding of what life may have been like in the North during those times of strife in our nations history.

However, I will admit that it took me a while to read this book. The style of writing was not really the greatest for this type of story. I felt that Huelskamp did a great job of describing scenery and the battles; however, there was something missing from the dialogue scenes. I felt that they were dull and just lacked the excitement and passion that I could feel in the descriptions of the scenery, etc. This led to a kind of choppy story line that may have been better as a play or a movie.

Overall, I thought this was a good effort. However, it was lacking in some ways that could have been improved with better dialogue scenes among the characters.

I was provided a free print copy of this book from The Cadence Group on behalf of the author in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. 


  1. I cannot write dialogue well. It always feels like that is lacking. I am quite sure I am right! I will put this on the list of things I want to read when cataracts are removed and lenses are changed.


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