Such Anxious Hours

Emily Quiner and Annie Cox

Such Anxious Hours includes the voices of eight Wisconsin women during the Civil War. The first two women I would like to feature were both twenty-one when the war began and both lived in Madison Wisconsin. Although they only lived three-quarters of a mile away from one another, they did not mention each other in their writings. However, they occasionally mentioned attending the same events. When you read Such Anxious Hours, I hope you enjoy imagining both of these young women as they experienced the activities of Madison, Wisconsin in 1861-1865.

Emily Quiner, the daughter of a state official, was a school teacher and university student who sought to contribute to the war effort from the day that Fort Sumter was overtaken by Confederate forces. Although she participated in sewing shirts for the soldiers, preparing medical supplies, and organizing fund-raising events, she longed to make a larger contribution to the Union cause. In the summer of 1863, she found fulfillment when she was able to make a direct contribution to the care of Union soldiers. When her dream to contribute to the cause was cut short she found a new role, little acknowledged until now, which continues to serve as the major source for historians studying Wisconsin’s role in the Civil War.

Annie Cox, was the step-daughter of an itinerant carpenter. Although she was also teaching school when the war began her parents urged her to quit so her time could be spent tending house for others. An aspiring artist, Annie’s archives at the Newbery Library in Chicago include a beautiful sketch of the Lake Mendota shore. Annie was also a passionate, articulate advocate for abolition and the Union cause who argued her case in frequent letters to her friend, Gideon Winans Allen, a leader of the Copperhead movement at the University of Michigan Law School.

Sketch by Annie Cox of the Lake Mendota Lakeshore. Allen Family Papers, Newberry Library, Chicago.
Sketch by Annie Cox of the Lake Mendota Lakeshore. Allen Family Papers, Newberry Library, Chicago.