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Yes, the story you heard about Arthur McArthur Jr. is true. He joined the 24th Wisconsin infantry at the age of 18 and helped overrun the Confederates at the 1863 battle of Missionary Ridge in Tennessee. According to the Medal of Honor Web site, Home of the Heros, when the soldier assigned to carry the battle flag fell wounded, another soldier rushed in to hoist the colors. Soon afterward, the second color bearer fell and MacArthur hurried in to retrieve the flag. He turned to his wounded infantry and shouted “On Wisconsin!” to encourage them on. He continued up Lookout Mountain and proudly planted the flag; victory was theirs. Though this story is true, to my knowledge there is no correlation between McArthur Jr.’s triumph and the “On Wisconsin!” lyrics. Carl Beck wrote the words to “On Wisconsin!” in 1909. To learn more about “On Wisconsin,” visit the UW Marching Band Web page.

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