The Melvin Grigsby Collection, available at the Center for Western Studies, consists of Correspondence, legal documents, photographs, and miscellaneous items reflecting Colonel Melvin Grigsby's military career. A number of the documents focus particularly on Colonel Grigsby’s responsibility for organizing the Third US Volunteer Cavalry, known as Grigsby's Cowboys, during the Spanish-American War. Melvin Grigsby, born at Potosi, Wisconsin, June 8, 1845 and served in the Second Wisconsin cavalry, during the American Civil War. He was captured and imprisoned by rebel forces after more than three years fighting. He escaped after on January 10, 1865 and succeeded in reaching Sherman's army. He related his life at the Andersonville prison and of his escapes in his book, "The Smoked Yank." At the conclusion of the war he entered the Wisconsin University and after a year became a student at the state normal school at Plattsville, graduating in 1869 and was admitted by the bar in 1872. He rode northwest and upon arriving Sioux Falls decided to locate here. For the next four years he engaged in the practice of law and sold real estate during his spare time.
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