On the hot summer evening of July 2, 1863, at the climax of the struggle for a Pennsylvania hill called Little Round Top, four Confederate regiments charge up the western slope, attacking the smallest and most exposed of their Union foe: the 16th Michigan Infantry. Terrible fighting has raged, but what happens next will ultimately—and unfairly—stain the reputation of one of the Army of the Potomac’s veteran combat outfits, made up of men from Detroit, Saginaw, Ontonagon, Hillsdale, Lansing, Adrian, Plymouth, and Albion. In the dramatic interpretation of the struggle for Little Round Top that followed the Battle of Gettysburg, the 16th Michigan Infantry would be remembered as the one that broke during perhaps the most important turning point of the war. Their colonel, a young lawyer from Ann Arbor, would pay with his life, redeeming his own reputation, while a kind of code of silence about what happened at Little Round Top was adopted by the regiment’s survivors. From soldiers’ letters, journals, and memoirs, this book relates their experiences in camp, on the march, and in battle, including their controversial role at Gettysburg, up to the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House.
This fascinating narrative tells the story of a remarkable regiment at the center of Civil War history. The real-life adventure emerges from accounts of scores of soldiers who served in the 4th Michigan Infantry, gleaned from their diaries, letters, and memoirs; the reports of their officers and commanders; the stories by journalists who covered them; and the recollections of the Confederates who fought against them. The book includes tales of life in camp, portraying the Michigan soldiers as everyday people—recounting their practical jokes, illnesses, political views, personality conflicts, comradeship, and courage.
The book also tells the true story of what happened to Colonel Harrison Jeffords and the 4th Michigan when the regiment marched into John Rose's wheat field on a sweltering early July evening at Gettysburg. Beyond the myths and romanticized newspaper stories, this account presents the historical evidence of Jeffords's heroic, yet tragic, hand-to-hand struggle for his regiment's U.S. flag.
In the summer of 1917 three Wisconsin National Guard companies came together to form the 150th Machine Gun Battalion of the now famous 42nd “Rainbow” Division. As true comrades, they relied on one another for support as they fought in every major battle of the American Expeditionary Forces, including the landmark battle of Chateau Thierry, which cost the unit dearly. As one of Wisconsin’s most celebrated units, a soldier coming from the battalion was selected to represent the state at the unveiling of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C., in 1921. Today, the 150th is all but forgotten, in part because their unit history was never written. Through letters, diaries, and other recollections, Larson tells us the story of these Guardsmen’s experiences. He traces the path of their wartime service and considers the impact of war’s trauma and tedium on their lives.
Argonne Days in World War I
Horace L. Baker, Edited & Intro by Robert H. Ferrell University of Missouri Press, 2007 Library of Congress D545.A63B35 2007 | Dewey Decimal 940.436
When he took ship for France in the spring of 1918, Horace Baker was ill prepared for war. A private in the American Expeditionary Forces, the unassuming Mississippi schoolteacher joined the renowned Thirty-second Division and learned his soldiering skills from men who’d already fought in the Aisne-Marne offensive. Before long, he was to put those skills to use in the largest and most costly battle ever fought by the U.S. Army.
This poignant memoir recalls the great battle of the Meuse-Argonne, an epic conflict waged by well over a million men that saw casualties of 26,277 killed and 95,786 wounded. Many books have been written about General Pershing’s planning of the offensive; this one tells what happened to the soldiers who had to carry out his orders.
The Thirty-second was a shock division made up largely of National Guard units—farm boys from the Upper Midwest. But as casualties mounted, replacements were rushed into battle with little training—and devastating results. Baker knew friends and tent mates who were alive one day, dead the next, and he kept track of the battle in diary entries tucked into his Bible—and made evasively short in case of capture.
He shares his and his comrades’ thoughts about fighting in a harsh climate and terrain, relates their ongoing problems with short supplies, and tells how they managed to overcome their fears. It is a straightforward narrative that doesn’t glorify battle or appeal to patriotism yet conveys the horrors of warfare with striking accuracy. Historian Robert Ferrell’s new introduction puts Baker’s recollections in the context of the larger theater of war.
Baker fleshed out his diary in a book that saw limited publication in 1927 but has remained essentially unknown. Argonne Days in World War I is a masterpiece brimming with insight about the ordinary doughboys who fought in the European trenches. It conveys the spirit of a man who did his duty in a time of trouble—and is a testament to the spirit shared by thousands like him.
In 1884, when Albert O. Marshall published Army Life, a memoir of his service as a private in the Thirty-Third Illinois Regiment, twenty years had passed since his 1864 discharge. Marshall left the journal untouched at publication, and today it is a journal that is rare in what it is not. This memoir is not a complete story of the Thirty-Third (known as the “Normal Regiment” because many of its soldiers were from Illinois State Normal University), nor is it a complete roster of regiment members, nor a list of killed and wounded. Army Life is not, even, a purely military account written from an officer’s point of view. It is the story of a twenty-year-old private whose engaging writing belies his age but also allows his youth to shine through. Marshall tells of the battles he fought and the games he played, of his friends, fellow soldiers, and officers, and of the regiment’s activities in Missouri and Arkansas, at Vicksburg, and in Louisiana and on the Texas Gulf Coast. Enhanced with careful editing and thorough annotations, this journal Marshall carried faithfully to every mustering out is a rich and important Civil War memoir.
A Rediscovered History That Will Become Essential Reading for Civil War Studies
The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion, 1861–65, is a comprehensive overview and analysis of the U.S. Army’s field artillery service in the Civil War’s principal battles, written by John C. Tidball, a distinguished artilleryman of the era. The overview, which appeared in the Journal of the Military Service Institution from 1891 to 1893, and nearly impossible to find today, examines the Army of the Potomac, including the battles of Fair Oaks, Gaines’s Mill, Mechanicsville, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg; the Army of the Tennessee, including the battles of Stones River and Chickamauga, and the Army of the Ohio’s battle of Shiloh. Tidball, a decorated Civil War veteran and superintendent of artillery instruction for the army, expertly presents the war through an artilleryman’s eyes in explaining the organization, equipping, and manning of the artillery service. His analysis highlights how the improper use of artillery, tying batteries down to relatively small infantry commands that diluted their firepower, seriously undermined the army’s effectiveness until reforms produced independent artillery commands that could properly mass artillery fire in battle.
The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion, edited by historian Lawrence M. Kaplan and presented here in one volume for the first time, includes additional material from an unpublished paper Tidball wrote in 1905 which contains further insights into the artillery service, as well as a general overview of the Petersburg campaign. A major new discovery in Civil War scholarship, The Artillery Service in the War of the Rebellion contains essential information that will change earlier historical interpretations of key battles and will be essential reading for all those interested in the war or contemplating writing about it.
Much has been written of the infantry and the cavalry during the Civil War, but little attention has been paid the artillery. Through the battles of Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge in 1863 and the Atlanta Campaign of 1864 and with General Sherman’ s forces on the famous March to the Sea, the acts of a courageous fighting group are vividly recounted in Behind the Guns: The History of Battery I, 2nd Regiment, Illinois Light Artillery. Originally published in 1965 in a limited edition, this regimental history of a light artillery unit was written by three of its soldiers, including the bugler.
Battery I was formed in 1861 by Charles W. Keith of Joliet and Henry B. Plant of Peoria. More than a hundred men were mustered into service in December near Springfield and left for Cairo in February 1862. The battery trained at Camp Paine across the Ohio River in Kentucky until March, when the men were dispatched to the South. During the war, the Battery was attached to three different armies: the Army of the Mississippi, the Army of the Ohio, and the Army of the Cumberland.
Clyde C. Walton’ s foreword and the narrative discuss the variety of weapons used by the unit, including James, Parrott, and Rodman guns and the bronze, muzzle-loading Napoleons that fired twelve-pound projectiles. The book also includes an account of the prisoner-of-war experience of Battery I lieutenant Charles McDonald, biographical sketches of the battery soldiers, and eighteen maps and five line drawings.
Whether slaves or free men, African Americans were generally excluded from military service until Emancipation. Many Americans know the story of the United States Colored Troops, who broke racial barriers in Civil War combat, and of the “buffalo soldiers,” who served in the West after that conflict, but African Americans also served in segregated militia units in twenty-three states. This book tells the story of that experience in Kansas.
Roger Cunningham examines a lost history to show that, in addition to black regulars, hundreds of other black militiamen and volunteers from the Sunflower State provided military service from the Civil War until the dawn of the twentieth century. He tells how African Americans initially filled segregated companies hurriedly organized to defend the state from the threat of Confederate invasion, with some units ordered into battle around Kansas City. Then after the state constitution was amended to admit blacks into the Kansas National Guard, but its generals still refused to integrate, blacks served in reserve militia and independent companies and in all-black regiments that were raised for the Spanish-American and Philippine wars.
Cunningham has researched service records, African American newspapers, and official correspondence to give voice to these citizen-soldiers. He shares stories of real people like William D. Matthews, a captain in the First Kansas Colored Infantry who was refused a commission when his regiment was mustered into the Union army; Charles Grinsted, who commanded the first black militia company after the Civil War; and other unsung heroes.
More than a military history, Cunningham’s account records the quest of black men, many of them former slaves, for inclusion in American society. Many came from the bottom of the socioeconomic order and found that as militiamen they could gain respect within their communities. And by marching in public ceremonies and organizing fund-raising activities to compensate for lack of financial support from the state, they also strengthened the ties that bound African American communities together.
TheBlack Citizen-Soldiers of Kansas,1864–1901 broadens the story of these volunteers beyond the buffalo soldiers, telling how they served their state and country in both peace and war. It opens a new chapter in history both for the state and for African Americans throughout the United States.
In a Segregated Military, the African American Armored Unit That Helped Patton Check the German Advance, Close the Rhine Ring, and Spearhead a New Postwar Army
Known primarily for being the first African American armored unit to see combat in World War II and as future baseball star Jackie Robinson’s onetime outfit, the 761st Tank Battalion was forged in a devil’s cauldron of heat and prejudice at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. Here, most viewed the tankers as tokens in a racial experiment, rather than as fellow American soldiers who would actually be deployed to fight a common enemy. Led by a small cadre of white and black officers, the 761st trained to the pinnacle of its craft. The Black Panthers, as they soon were called, proved their battle prowess against other units bound for combat on the parched Texas training fields. For this, they earned a coveted assignment to fight under General George S. Patton and go head-to-head with the best of Hitler’s arsenal. Moving to the front in November 1944, trial by fire soon shook the unit to its core. Ambushed by a veteran German force, the 761st suffered heavy casualties in the confusion as they cut their way out of the trap. But the men rallied to overcome self-doubt and vindicate their losses. Quickly battle hardened, the tankers saw intense combat through November and when Germany launched its last-ditch offensive through the Ardennes in December, the 761st fought side-by-side with Patton’s Third Army. Moving swiftly, the unit helped check the German advance, cut resupply routes to the forces surrounding beleaguered Bastogne, and drove the enemy back, recapturing towns crucial to the final defeat of Germany.
In The Black Panthers: A Story of Race, War, and Courage—the 761st Tank Battalion in World War II, historian Gina M. DiNicolo tells the full and unvarnished history of this important American fighting force. Relying on extensive archival research, including documents that had not been consulted in previous accounts, and interviews with surviving soldiers and family members, the author describes the unit’s training, deployment, combat, and individuals, such as Sgt. Ruben Rivers, one of only seven African American men awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II heroism. The professionalism, dedication, and courage of the 761st and other non-white units made clear that the strength of the American army in the future lay with integration—one of the enduring accomplishments of these servicemen.
Johnnie Wickersham was fourteen when he ran away from his Missouri home to fight for the Confederacy. Fifty years after the war, he wrote his memoir at the request of family and friends and distributed it privately in 1915. Boy Soldier of the Confederacy: The Memoir of Johnnie Wickersham offers not only a rare look into the Civil War through the eyes of a child but also a coming-of-age story.
Edited by Kathleen Gorman, the volume presents a new introduction and annotations that explain how the war was glorified over time, the harsh realities suppressed in the nation’ s collective memory. Gorman describes a man who nostalgically remembers the boy he once was. She maintains that the older Wickersham who put pen to paper decades later likely glorified and embellished the experience, accepting a polished interpretation of his own past.
Wickersham recounts that during his first skirmish he was "wild with the ecstasy of it all" and notes that he was "too young to appreciate the danger." The memoir traces his participation in an October 1861 Confederate charge against Springfield, Missouri; his fight at the battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862; his stay at a plantation he calls Fairyland; and the battle of Corinth.
The volume details Wickersham’ s assignment as an orderly for General Sterling Price, his capture at Vicksburg in 1863, his parole, and later his service with General John Bell Hood for the 1864 fighting around Atlanta. Wickersham also describes the Confederate surrender in New Orleans, the reconciliation of the North and the South, and his own return and reunification with his family.
While Gorman’ s incisive introduction and annotations allow readers to consider how memories can be affected by the passage of time, Wickersham’ s boy-turned-soldier tale offers readers an engaging narrative, detailing the perceptions of a child on the cusp of adulthood during a turbulent period in our nation’ s history.
"An immensely valuable and substantial addition to 10th Mountain literature and to the history of skiing in the United States."
- International Ski History Association
The Boys of Winter tells the true story of three young American ski champions and their brutal, heroic, and fateful transformation from athletes to infantrymen with the 10th Mountain Division. Charles J. Sanders's fast-paced narrative draws on dozens of interviews and extensive research to trace these boys' lives from childhood to championships and from training at Mount Rainier and in the Colorado Rockies to battles against the Nazis.
By the Noble Daring of Her Sons is a tale of ordinary Florida citizens who, during extraordinary times, were called to battle against their fellow countrymen.
Over the past twenty years, historians have worked diligently to explore Florida’s role in the Civil War. Works describing the state’s women and its wartime economy have contributed to this effort, yet until recently the story of Florida’s soldiers in the Confederate armies has been little studied.
This volume explores the story of schoolmates going to war and of families left behind, of a people fighting to maintain a society built on slavery and of a state torn by political and regional strife. Florida in 1860 was very much divided between radical democrats and conservatives.
Before the war the state’s inhabitants engaged in bitter political rivalries, and Sheppard argues that prior to secession Florida citizens maintained regional loyalties rather than considering themselves “Floridians.” He shows that service in Confederate armies helped to ease tensions between various political factions and worked to reduce the state’s regional divisions.
Sheppard also addresses the practices of prisoner parole and exchange, unit consolidation and its effects on morale and unit identity, politics within the Army of Tennessee, and conscription and desertion in the Southern armies. These issues come together to demonstrate the connection between the front lines and the home front.
Winner of the 1984 Mrs. Simon Baruch University Award from the United Daughters of the Confederacy Winner of the 1984 Fletcher Pratt Award from the Civil War Roundtable of New York
This enlarged edition of Cannoneers in Gray provides new detail concerning the activities of artillery units operating in key campaigns of the western theater of the Civil War—at Stones River, Missionary Ridge, Kennesaw Mountain, Shiloh, Peachtree Creek. Larry Daniel traces the four-year history of the artillery branch of the Army of Tennessee from its organization through its demise at the war's end. He shows that Civil War cannons were of little consequence when used as offensive weapons but could be highly effective in defense. Daniel includes five new maps of campaigns and battles central to his discussion of larger issues, such as command and strategy on the western front.
Extensively documented and richly detailed, Chicago’s Irish Legion tells the compelling story of Chicago’s 90th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, the only Irish regiment in Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s XV Army Corps. Swan’s sweeping history of this singular regiment and its pivotal role in the Western Theater of the Civil War draws heavily from primary documents and first-person observations, giving readers an intimate glimpse into the trials and triumphs of ethnic soldiers during one of the most destructive wars in American history.
At the onset of the bitter conflict between the North and the South, Irish immigrants faced a wall of distrust and discrimination in the United States. Many Americans were deeply suspicious of Irish religion and politics, while others openly doubted the dedication of the Irish to the Union cause. Responding to these criticisms with a firm show of patriotism, the Catholic clergy and Irish politicians in northern Illinois—along with the Chicago press and community—joined forces to recruit the Irish Legion. Composed mainly of foreign-born recruits, the Legion rapidly dispelled any rumors of disloyalty with its heroic endeavors for the Union. The volunteers proved to be instrumental in various battles and sieges, as well as the marches to the sea and through the Carolinas, suffering severe casualties and providing indispensable support for the Union. Swan meticulously traces the remarkable journey of these unique soldiers from their regiment’s inception and first military engagement in 1862 to their disbandment and participation in the Grand Review of General Sherman’s army in 1865.
Enhancing the volume are firsthand accounts from the soldiers who endured the misery of frigid winters and brutal environments, struggling against the ravages of disease and hunger as they marched more than twenty-six hundred miles over the course of the war. Also revealed are personal insights into some of the war’s most harrowing events, including the battle at Chattanooga and Sherman’s famous campaign for Atlanta. In addition, Swan exposes the racial issues that affected the soldiers of the 90th Illinois, including their reactions to the Emancipation Proclamation and the formations of the first African American fighting units. Swan rounds out the volume with stories of survivors’ lives after the war, adding an even deeper personal dimension to this absorbing chronicle.
A witness who brings remarkable life and color to the Civil War in the East.
Robert Hubard was an enlisted man and officer of the 3rd Virginia Cavalry in the Army of Northern Virginia (CSA) from 1861 through 1865. He wrote his memoir during an extended convalescence spent at his father’s Virginia plantation after being wounded at the battle of Five Forks on April 1, 1865. Hubard served under such Confederate luminaries as Jeb Stuart, Fitz Lee, Wade Hampton, and Thomas L. Rosser. He and his unit fought at the battles of Antietam, on the Chambersburg Raid, in the Shenandoah Valley, at Fredericksburg, Kelly’s Ford, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, and down into Virginia from the Wilderness to nearly the end of the war at Five Forks.
Hubard was like many of his class and station a son of privilege and may have felt that his service was an act of noblesse oblige. Unlike many of his contemporaries, however, he was a keen observer and a writer of unusual grace, clarity, humor, and intelligence. The editor has fleshed out his memoir by judicious use of Hubard’s own wartime letters, which not only fill in gaps but permit the reader to see developments in the writer’s thinking after
the passage of time. Because he was a participant in events of high drama and endured the quotidian life of a soldier, Hubard’s memoir should be of value to both scholars and avocational readers.
“Company H,” the Classic Civil War Memoir in a New Edition, Completely Annotated for the First Time and Illustrated with Twenty-Four Maps Co. Aytch, or a Side Show of the Big Show is perhaps the finest memoir of an ordinary Confederate soldier. According to Margaret Mitchell, “a better book there never was.” Sam Watkins served in Company H of the First Tennessee Infantry for the duration of the Civil War. Remarkably, he survived some of the most intense battles of the war, including Shiloh, Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and Franklin. He was one of only seven of the original members of Company H when it surrendered in April 1865. Watkins’s memoir was written in the winter of 1882–83. The humor and depth of writing at times rises to a level resembling Mark Twain; thus, twenty-first-century readers can still discover the everlasting treasures of Private Sam Watkins’s story just as it was. It is this reason that excerpts were featured frequently in Ken Burns’s documentary on the Civil War. However, since most of Sam’s original readers—or some of their family members—actually lived through the Civil War, much of the context for the narrative was common knowledge. But what was once received history has gradually disappeared, and presently only specialists can fully understand and appreciate Sam’s tale.
The chief aim for this new annotated edition of Co. Aytch—the first of its kind—is to amplify the experience for today’s readers by providing the missing context. Over 240 annotations clarify the situational backgrounds, personalities, and terminology that might not be familiar to most readers. The annotations also identify and explain errors mostly resulting from Sam’s occasionally faulty memory or limited perspective. Similarly, twentyfour battlefield and war theater maps enable readers to track Sam’s combat participation as well as his journeys while marching with the army. Finally fifteen photographs and prints illustrate some of the battles, people, towns, buildings, tools of war, and ruins that Sam witnessed. As someone once cleverly observed, “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.” If nothing else, Sam’s memoir is a foot soldier’s view of the resulting horrors, heroics, and healing humor when war planning routinely goes awry.
During World War I, the Thirty-fifth Division was made up of National Guard units from Missouri and Kansas. Composed of thousands of men from the two states, the Missouri-Kansas Division entered the great battle of the Meuse-Argonne with no battle experience and only a small amount of training, a few weeks of garrisoning in a quiet sector in Alsace. The division fell apart in five days, and the question Robert Ferrell attempts to answer is why.
The Thirty-fifth Division was based at Camp Doniphan on the Fort Sill reservation in Oklahoma and was trained essentially for stationary, or trench, warfare. In March 1918, the German army launched a series of offensives that nearly turned the tide on the Western Front. The tactics were those of open warfare, quick penetrations by massive forces, backed by heavy artillery and machine guns. The American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) commanded by Gen. John J. Pershing were unprepared for this change in tactics. When the Thirty-fifth Division was placed in the opening attack in the Meuse-Argonne on September 26, 1918, it quickly fell.
In addition to the Thirty-fifth Division’s lack of experience, its problems were compounded by the necessary confusions of turning National Guard units into a modern assemblage of men and machines. Although the U.S. Army utilized observers during the initial years of World War I, their dispatches had piled up in the War College offices in Washington and, unfortunately, were never studied.
The Thirty-fifth Division was also under the command of an incompetent major general and an incompetent artillery brigadier. The result was a debacle in five days, with the division line pushed backward and held only by the 110th Engineer Regiment of twelve hundred men, bolstered by what retreating men could be shoved into the line, some of them at gunpoint.
Although three divisions got into trouble at the outset of the Meuse-Argonne, the Thirty-fifth’s failure was the worst. After the collapse, the Red Cross representative of the division, Henry J. Allen, became governor of Kansas and instigated investigations by both houses of Congress. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker testified in an effort to limit the political damage. But the hullabaloo gradually died down, and the whole sad episode passed into the darker corridors of history.
By focusing on a single event in history, Collapse at Meuse-Argonne offers a unique glimpse into one of the most critical battles of World War I. Historians, as well as the general reader, will find this new perspective on what really happened to the Thirty-fifth Division fascinating.
"I desire to record, as simply as I may, the beginnings of a momentous military experiment, whose ultimate results were the reorganization of the whole American army and the remoulding of the relations of two races on this continent. . . . I can only hope that the importance of the subject may save me from that egotism which makes great things seem little and little things seem less in the narrating."
So wrote Thomas Wentworth Higginson about his role in one of the most compelling and fascinating episodes in the history of the United States. As the colonel of the first regiment of black men in the Union army during the Civil War, Higginson was an early, articulate, and powerful crusader for civil rights, and his journal and letters, collected for the first time in this volume, present some of the most extraordinary documents of the Civil War.
Higginson was a politically engaged intellectual at the forefront of radical antislavery, labor, and feminist causes. Born in 1823 to a formerly wealthy but still prominent Brahmin family, he became one of America's leading social activists and a prominent writer, minister, and reformer. With the publication in 1869 of his classic Army Life in a Black Regiment, which drew on this journal, Higginson became one of the most important chroniclers of the Civil War. The Complete Civil War Journal and Selected Letters of Thomas Wentworth Higginson is the first comprehensive edition of his journal. Sensitively and thoroughly annotated by Christopher Looby and supplemented by a large selection of Higginson's wartime letters, this volume offers the most vivid and intimate picture of the radical interracial solidarity brought about by the transformative experience of the army camp and of Civil War life.
"The immediacy of Higginson's reflections, as well as their sharp insights, make this journal both distinctive and enduringly compelling . . . . Higginson's vivid texts can once again educate, gratify and delight readers."—Publishers Weekly
"This volume will enrich our understanding of the transformations that emancipation and war wrought."—Library Journal
Leland Duvall was a now-and-again farm worker with a grade-school education when he received his World War II draft notice at his father's farm near Moreland, Arkansas, in March of 1942. He departed for training in California, where he began to write to Letty Jones, a Pottsville girl he'd had a crush on for several years. From the first correspondence through the end of the war, Leland sent Letty a torrent of letters, hundreds of careful and undeniably heartfelt missives-utterly tender but never sentimental, reliably charming and gently humorous-written daily from desert sands, pup tents, hospital beds, armored cars, and bombed-out buildings. That Duvall's writing is a tour de force of wit, elegance, and erudition is all the more poignant because he was a man who was almost entirely self-taught. The letters, discovered by Duvall's daughter four years after his death in 2010, are here enriched by his longtime friend and colleague Ernie Dumas, who provides facts about where Duvall was and the perils he endured while penning his epistles, information that was often missing in dispatches that were necessarily censored and always guided by Duvall's effort not to bore or worry his "dearest Letty." Duvall's lively intelligence and obvious joy in writing come through on every page, joining with vividness the patina of the time and the bright shine of a timeless love affair.
William McKnight was a member of the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry from September 1862 until his death in June of 1864. During his time of service, McKnight penned dozens of emotion-filled letters, primarily to his wife, Samaria, revealing the struggles of an entire family both before and during the war.
This collection of more than one hundred letters provides in-depth accounts of several battles in Kentucky and Tennessee, such as the Cumberland Gap and Knoxville campaigns that were pivotal events in the Western Theater. The letters also vividly respond to General John Hunt Morgan’s raid through Ohio and correct claims previously published that McKnight was part of the forces chasing Morgan. By all accounts Morgan did stay for a period of time at McKnight’s home in Langsville during his raid through Ohio, much to McKnight’s horror and humiliation, but McKnight was in Kentucky at the time. Tragically, McKnight was killed in action nearly a year later during an engagement with Morgan’s men near Cynthiana, Kentucky.
The Drums of the 47th
Robert J. Burdette University of Illinois Press, 2000 Library of Congress E505.5 47th.B87 2000 | Dewey Decimal 973.7473
This eloquent memoir records the Civil War experiences of Robert J. Burdette, private in the 47th Illinois Infantry Regiment.
From Peoria to Corinth, from Corinth to Vicksburg, up the Red River country, down to Mobile and Fort Blakely, and back to Tupelo and Selma, the 47th marched three thousand miles during Burdette's tour, from March 1862 to December 1864.
In a literate voice rare in war memoirs, Burdette speaks of comradeship built and tested, the noise and confusion of the battlefield, the conflicting feelings of witnessing a military execution. Both nostalgic and piercingly immediate, his remembrances evoke the sights, sounds, smells, and above all the inner feelings stirred up by war, from exuberance to terror and from patriotic fervor to compassion for a fallen enemy.
Originally published--on the eve of another great conflict--in 1914, The Drums of the 47th is a moving depiction of the inner life of the common soldier. Like Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage, Burdette's book puts a human face on the war and his words speak to all who have served or imagined serving under fire. The introduction by John E. Hallwas provides a biographical sketch of Burdette and a commentary on his engaging Civil War memoir.
Eagles on Their Buttons is a fascinating examination of the Fifth Regiment of Infantry, United States Colored Troops—the Union Army's first black regiment from Ohio. Although the Fifth USCT was one of more than 150 regiments of black troops making up more than 10 percent of the Union Army at the end of the war, it was unique. The majority of USCT regiments were made up of freed men who viewed the army as an escape from slavery and a chance to take up arms against their former masters. The men serving in the 5th USCT, however, were freemen who were raised in a northern state and saw serving in the army both as a way to gain equal rights under the law and as an opportunity to prove their worth as men.
Because historians have written little on this subject, many Americans believe that African Americans simply received their freedom with the Emancipation Proclamation. They know nothing about the struggles these courageous people endured to gain their independence. Now, by incorporating personal documents, letters, diaries, and official records, Eagles on Their Buttons sheds important new light on this unfamiliar aspect of the Civil War. Versalle Washington shows what caused the soldiers in the Fifth USCT to join their regiment, what sort of men they were, and how they fought and lived as African American soldiers under white officers. He discusses the regiment's service, addressing its role in the siege of Petersburg, the battle of Chapin's Farm, and the capture of Fort Fisher and the port of Wilmington. Washington also looks at what effects the soldiers' service had in terms of societal changes following the Civil War.
Eagles on Their Buttons is a fresh contribution to Civil War scholarship and will be welcomed by professional historians and amateur Civil War buffs alike.
This book is part of the University of Missouri Press' Shades of Blue and Gray series.
When the United States entered the Second World War, eighteen-year-old enlistees were routinely assigned temporary duties and not sent into battle until they turned nineteen. But as the fighting dragged on, America was eventually forced to draft younger men into combat to replace wounded troops—and following the Battle of the Bulge, more than 300,000 eighteen-year-olds were sent as replacements to the army’s decimated divisions.
In The Eighteen-Year-Old Replacement, Richard Kingsbury brings an often-overlooked perspective to the annals of World War II. Torn from an ordinary teenager’s life in the Midwest, young Dick was drafted six weeks after D-Day and rushed with other eighteen-year-olds to the Siegfried Line to bolster Patton’s 94th Infantry Division. His reminiscence provides a moving, diarylike account of what he endured both physically and emotionally—and tells how he went from boyhood to manhood almost overnight.
In prose that is both succinct and evocative, Kingsbury recounts his experiences as a rifleman during the final bloody battles in Germany, giving readers a real feel for what combat was like for a raw recruit. He recalls his first night in a foxhole on the front line and the “unbelievable luxury” of sleeping in a barn’s hayloft. He relives freezing cold at the Bulge, which permanently damaged his legs, and the pounding of enemy artillery during Patton’s breakthrough of the German West Wall, which affected his hearing for life.
More poignantly, Kingsbury shares his anxieties over killing—as well as the distinct possibility of being killed as Wehrmacht tanks mercilessly blasted individual foxholes at Bannholz Woods. He vividly recalls Patton’s attack on Ludwigshafen, on the west bank of the Rhine, where he took a German bullet in his chest—and where three of the six newly arrived eighteen-year-olds were killed.
Interspersed with the accounts of battle are letters between Dick and Mary Jo, his sweetheart back home, capturing the blossoming of romance that transcended both distance and bloodshed. His book casts a new light on war—and courtship—in an era when boys were rushed from the home front to the front lines. By showing how crucial the contribution of these young men was to the war effort, this book gives the eighteen-year-old replacements the recognition they have long deserved.
This fast-paced and compelling read closes a significant gap in the historiography of the late Cold War U.S. Army and is crucial for understanding the current situation in the Middle East.
From the author's introduction:
“My purpose is a narrative history of the 1st Infantry Division from 1970 through the Operation Desert Storm celebration held 4th of July 1991. This story is an account of the revolutionary changes in the late Cold War. The Army that overran Saddam Hussein’s Legions in four days was the product of important changes stimulated both by social changes and institutional reform. The 1st Infantry Division reflected benefits of those changes, despite its low priority for troops and material. The Division was not an elite formation, but rather excelled in the context of the Army as an institution.”
This book begins with a preface by Gordon R. Sullivan, General, USA, Retired. In twelve chapters, author Gregory Fontenot explains the history of the 1st infantry Division from 1970 to 1991. In doing so, his fast-paced narrative includes elements to expand the knowledge of non-military readers. These elements include a glossary, a key to abbreviations, maps, nearly two dozen photographs, and thorough bibliography.
The First infantry Division and the U.S. Army Transformed: Road to Victory in Desert Storm is published with support from the First Division Museum at Cantigny.
During American participation in World War I, many events caught the public’s attention, but none so much as the plight of the Lost Battalion. Comprising some five hundred men of the Seventy-seventh Division, the so-called battalion was entrapped on the side of a ravine in the Argonne Forest by German forces from October 2 to 7, 1918. The men’s courage under siege in the midst of rifle, machine-gun, mortar, and artillery fire (coming both day and night), with nothing to eat after the morning of the first day save grass and roots, and with water dangerous to obtain, has gone down in American history as comparable in heroism to the defense of the Alamo and the stand at the Little Big Horn of the troops of General George A. Custer.
Now, in Five Days in October, historian Robert H. Ferrell presents new material—previously unavailable—about what really happened during those days in the forest. Despite the description of them as a lost battalion, the men were neither lost nor a battalion. The name was coined by a New York newspaper editor who, upon learning that a sizable body of troops had been surrounded, thought up the notion of a Lost Battalion—it possessed a ring sure to catch the attention of readers.
The trapped men actually belonged to companies from two battalions of the Seventy-seventh, and their exact placement was well known, reported by runners at the outset of the action and by six carrier pigeons released by their commander, Major Charles W. Whittlesey, during the five days his men were there. The causes of the entrapment were several, including command failures and tactical errors. The men had been sent ahead of the main division line without attention to flanks, and because of that failure, they were surrounded. Thus began a siege that took the lives of many men, leading to the collapse of the colonel of the 308th Infantry Regiment and, many believe, to the suicide of Major Whittlesey three years later.
This book grew out of Ferrell’s discovery of new material in the U.S. Army Military History Institute at the Army War College from the papers of General Hugh A. Drum and in the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. The Drum papers contain the court-martial record of the lieutenant of a machine-gun unit attached to the battalions, who advised Major Whittlesey to surrender, while the Seventy-seventh Division files contain full accounts of the taut relations between the Lost Battalion’s brigade commander and the Seventy-seventh’s division commander. By including this material, Ferrell gives a new accounting of this intriguing affair. Five Days in October will be welcomed by all those interested in a fuller understanding of the story of the Lost Battalion.
William Taylor Stott was a native Hoosier and an 1861 graduate of Franklin College, who later became the president who took the college from virtual bankruptcy in 1872 to its place as a leading liberal arts institution in Indiana. The story of Franklin College is the story of W. T. Stott, yet his influence was not confined to the school’s parameters. Stott was an inspirational and intellectual force in the Indiana Baptist community, and a foremost champion of small denominational colleges and of higher education in general. He also fought in the Eighteenth Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, rising from private to captain by 1863. Stott’s diary reveals a soldier who was also a scholar.
This compelling work is Lloyd M. Wells’s firsthand account of World War II based on a journal he kept during the war, letters he sent home, and personal records, as well as recollections of people and events.
In June 1941, the twenty-one-year-old Wells was drafted into the army. He was commissioned second lieutenant after he attended O.C.S. and was later promoted to first lieutenant with the First Armored Division. He saw action in North Africa, Italy, and Germany and was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, the Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star.
Wells offers the reader information that has never before been provided. He tells exactly what happened to 2/7 Queens on the night of February 21, 1944, when the troops came up to “the caves” at Anzio. He also depicts what happened during the last offensive in Italy and what armored infantry troops experienced on the perimeter of the attack. This book, however, is not just a story of battle actions. It is a personal story about the “old Army” and how young soldiers were transformed by it during one of the greatest upheavals in world history.
Wells’s goal in writing this book was to leave behind “an account of a simpler time and of the funny, sad, terrorizing, and tender moments of a war which, with the death of each man or woman who lived through it, recedes just a little bit further into the nation’s past.” He accomplished that and so much more.
The soldiers of the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry fought in the Overland campaign under Grant and in the Shenandoah valley under Sheridan, notably at the Battle of Monocacy. But as Dennis Brandt reveals in From Home Guards to Heroes, their real story takes place beyond the battlefield. The 87th drew its men from the Scotch-Irish and German populations of York and Adams counties in south-central Pennsylvania—a region with closer ties to Baltimore than to Philadelphia—where some citizens shared Marylanders’ southern views on race while others aided the Underground Railroad.
Brandt’s unique regimental history investigates why these “boys from York” enlisted and why some deserted, the ways in which soldiers reflected their home communities, and the area’s attitudes toward the war both before and after hostilities broke out. Brandt takes a humanistic approach to the Civil War, revealing the more personal aspects of the struggle in a book that focuses on the soldiers themselves.
Using their own words to describe action both on and off the battlefield, he sheds light on the lives of ordinary men: the comparative values of farm and city boys, their motives and concerns, the effect of battle on soldiers and their families, and the suffering that veterans took to the grave. Brandt also looks at soldiers’ racial views, illuminating their deepest worries about the war, and at community politics and problems of discipline surrounding this ideologically divided unit.
Grounded in more than a decade of research into nearly two thousand military records, this is one of the few regimental histories based on more than one thousand pension records for the entire regiment, plus nearly eight hundred additional record sets for other area soldiers. Brandt tapped regional newspapers and a cache of unpublished letters and diaries—some from private collections not previously known—to provide an invaluable account of Civil War sensibilities in a northern area bordering a slave state.
From Home Guards to Heroes is a book about war in which humanity rather than troop movement takes center stage. Engagingly written for a wide audience and meticulously researched, it offers a distinctive image of a community and the intimate lives of the men it sent off to fight—and a story that will intrigue any Civil War aficionado.
“The well-written and candid letters of a reasonably articulate Southern officer, who paints a lucid picture of everyday life in the Confederate army in a little-known theater… Williams’s letters, personally written and shot through with his sharp sense of humor and folksy artwork, provide an excellent account of a long neglected theater of the American Civil War.” – Western Pennsylvania History
Tracing the origins and history of Missouri Confederate units that served during the Civil War is nearly as difficult as comprehending the diverse politics that produced them. Deeply torn by the issues that caused the conflict, some Missourians chose sides enthusiastically, others reluctantly, while a number had to choose out of sheer necessity, for fence straddling held no sway in the state after the fighting began. The several thousand that sided with the Confederacy formed a variety of military organizations, some earning reputations for hard fighting exceeded by few other states, North or South. Unfortunately, the records of Missouri's Confederate units have not been adequately preserved—officially or otherwise—until now. James E. McGhee is a highly respected and widely published authority on the Civil War in Missouri; the scope of this book is startling, the depth of detail gratifying, its reliability undeniable, and the unit narratives highly readable. McGhee presents accounts of the sixty-nine artillery, cavalry, and infantry units in the state, as well as their precedent units and those that failed to complete their organization. Relying heavily on primary sources, such as rosters, official reports, order books, letters, diaries, and memoirs, he weaves diverse materials into concise narratives of each of Missouri's Confederate organizations. He lists the field-grade officers for battalions and regiments, companies and company commanders, and places of origin for each company when known. In addition to listing all the commanding officers in each unit, he includes a bibliography germane to the unit, while a supplemental bibliography provides the other sources used in preparing this unique and comprehensive resource.
The Hello Girls
Elizabeth Cobbs Harvard University Press, 2017 Library of Congress D639.T4C63 2017 | Dewey Decimal 940.4173082
In 1918 the U.S. Army Signal Corps sent 223 women to France to help win World War I. Elizabeth Cobbs reveals the challenges these patriotic young women faced in a war zone where male soldiers resented, wooed, mocked, saluted, and ultimately celebrated them. Back on the home front, they fought the army for veterans’ benefits and medals, and won.
The story of John A. Logan’s famed 31st Regiment Illinois Volunteers, told by three veterans, follows the regiment from the battles of Belmont, Fort Donelson, Vicksburg, Kenesaw Mountain, and Atlanta through the March to the Sea and into North Carolina. "Few regiments," notes historian John Y. Simon in the foreword, "fought longer or more fiercely, suffered more casualties, or won more victories."
Logan proved a valiant and valuable Union commander, yet when the Civil War first began, it was far from clear whether he would lead Union or Confederate troops. In dramatic fashion, however, he broke what Simon calls an "ominous silence ... interpreted by many as sympathy for the South." Speaking from a wagon platform in Marion, Illinois, Logan proclaimed: "[The] time has come when a man must be for or against his country." Logan accepted a commission from Illinois governor Richard Yates, recruited heavily in southern Illinois, and formed the 31st Regiment Illinois Volunteers.
The 31st became a prime component in Grant’s western campaigns, fighting for the first time at Belmont, Missouri. In February of 1862, the 31st foiled Confederate general Gideon J. Pillow’s dramatic escape from the Union siege at Fort Donelson. Although this is often listed as one of the proudest moments for the 31st, casualties ran high (fifty-eight killed), with Logan so severely wounded that at first he was reported dead. Logan’s valor at Fort Donelson won him promotion to brigadier general.
Written and first published in 1866 soon after the author's discharge from the Union army, A. F. Sperry's History of the 33d Iowa Infantry is one of the classic regimental histories of the American Civil War. It is a fresh, honest, and detailed account of the regiment's movements and actions—in Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and, most notably, Arkansas, where it played a conspicuous role in the Helena, Little Rock, and Camden campaigns. As the regiment's fife and drum major responsible for sounding the duty calls that regulated a soldier's day, Sperry was well situated to observe the inner workings of his unit. His perceptive narrative of army life on the march and in camp captures the courage, humor, and sufferings of the rank and file. Although he took pride in his regiment's accomplishments, he unflinchingly reveals the hard side of war with vivid depictions of looting, resistance to orders, and "extermination" of Confederate guerrillas. By itself, Sperry's memoir is remarkable and important. It is made even more valuable by the new introduction and detailed notes from the editors. Their meticulous annotations include quotes from the diaries, letters, and reminiscences of other soldiers, adding depth and detail to the account. Seven maps and thirty-seven never-before-published photographs of 33d Iowa personnel taken during the war further enrich the book. Civil War historians and reenactors everywhere will welcome this important new classic.
When the Civil War erupted in April 1861, many German immigrants in Illinois rushed to enlist in the Union Army. Volunteers from Illinois towns in St. Clair County—Belleville, Millstadt, Mascoutah, Lebanon, and others—marched to Springfield under the command of August Mersy, a veteran of the failed 1848 revolt in Baden, Germany.
Marion Morrison notes that when the German immigrants reached Springfield, August Mersy was rejected as commander because of his limited facility with English. Replaced by Colonel Eleazer A. Paine, an Ohioan and West Point graduate, Lieutenant Colonel Mersy fell to second in command of the Ninth Illinois Infantry Volunteers. Within a few months, however, Paine received a promotion to general that left Mersy in charge of the "Bloody Ninth."
Once Grant began his Tennessee River campaign, the Ninth found itself in the thick of battle, bearing the brunt of the Confederate attempt at Fort Donelson to break Grant’s siege lines. Less than two months later, the Ninth shored up sagging Union lines after the surprise Confederate attack at Shiloh Church, retreating only when their ammunition was gone.
Morrison’s account of the "Bloody Ninth" is one of the few histories written during the war.
Matthew Mark Trumbull was a Londoner who immigrated at the age of twenty. Within ten years of his arrival in America, he had become a lawyer in Butler County, Iowa; two years later a member of the state legislature; and two years after that a captain in the Union Army. By the end of the Civil War, he was a brevet brigadier general, and in his later years he was an author and lecturer. Kenneth Lyftogt’s biography details the amazing life of this remarkable man, also shedding light on the histories of the Third Iowa Volunteer Infantry and the Ninth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry.
From the first battle at Bull Run to the surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox four years later, only one federal infantry brigade experienced the entire Civil War as a cohesive unit. While most units were composed of regiments from different states that were disbanded after three years, the First New Jersey Brigade was the enduring exception.
Despite the group's remarkable coherency, it started as many military units did during the early stages of the war-a disorganized ragtag outfit that was poorly trained and ill-prepared for battle. This quickly changed, however, with the appointment of General Philip Kearny in the fall of 1861. Kearny transformed the troops, making them among the most disciplined and effective commands in the Army of the Potomac. A series of notable victories earned the soldiers an impressive reputation and, with it, thousands of others voluntarily came forward to enlist. Even when they suffered heavy losses, the New Jersey regiments fought exceptionally well and served key roles in dozens of battles, including the Peninsula, Seven Days, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Early's Valley, and the Petersburg Campaigns.
In Kearny's Own, Bradley M. Gottfried weaves together compelling accounts of battles fought with a wealth of letters and diaries to tell the story of this famous brigade from a uniquely personal perspective. The hopes, fears, and sorrows of the men come through vividly as accounts reveal how civilians were physically and emotionally transformed into soldiers. Primary sources also provide insight to what the war meant to the men who fought for the Union.
Fourteen maps illustrate the battles and marches, while detailed appendices include statistical breakdowns of losses and outline the fates of the men whose letters and diaries are used as sources. In this first book published on the subject, Gottfried not only provides a long-overdue history of the First New Jersey Brigade, he offers a human window into the turbulent and trying experiences of war.
In the sequel to the highly acclaimed Few Returned, Eugenio Corti, one of Italy’s most distinguished postwar writers, continues his poignant account of his experiences as an Italian soldier in the Second World War. In the earlier book, Corti, a twenty-one-year-old lieutenant of artillery, recounts the horrifying experience of the soldiers who were sent to Russia to fight alongside their German ally. On the River Don, the Red Army surrounded Corti and the other members of the Italian force. Of the 30,000 men in the Thirty-fifth Corps, Corti was one of only an estimated 4,000 soldiers to survive the ordeal. Mussolini’s dreams of empire were shattered, and his ill-fated Eighth Army no longer existed.
In 1943, after recurrent military defeats, the Italian government and its king, Victor Emmanuel III, forced Mussolini to resign. Italy then signed an armistice with the Allies and ended its alliance with Germany. The Germans immediately occupied northern Italy, which the Axis still held, and reinstated Mussolini in the north. Some Italians remained loyal to fascism; many others aligned themselves with the Allies, who were now advancing in southern Italy. Corti’s sympathies were with the Allies, and after a harrowing escape from the German-occupied north, he rejoined the Italian Army fighting on the side of the king. The Last Soldiers of the King is Corti’s account of the Italian Army’s experiences fighting the Germans during the remainder of the war.
In this unforgettable narrative, Corti depicts the war from the perspective of the average Italian soldier, capturing its boredom and absurdity along with brief periods of savagery, terror, and death. Painting vivid pictures of the sights, sounds, and smells of war, he shows how these men fought alongside the Allies against the Germans. They fought without hatred, driven by a sense of duty and love for their country and a desire to quickly put an end to a war that was destroying so many lives. Corti superbly relates the wandering of the remnant of Italian officers and men as they sought to reestablish themselves as Italian soldiers. The Last Soldiers of the King tells the story of a proud people forced to endure death, poverty, and the virtual destruction of their nation.
Revealing the mind-set of a soldier seared by the horrors of combat even as he kept faith in his cause, Last to Leave the Field showcases the private letters of Ambrose Henry Hayward, a Massachusetts native who served in the 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.
Hayward’s service, which began with his enlistment in the summer of 1861 and ended three years later following his mortal wounding at the Battle of Pine Knob in Georgia, took him through a variety of campaigns in both the Eastern and Western theaters of the war. He saw action in five states, participating in the battles of Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg as well as in the Chattanooga and Atlanta campaigns. Through his letters to his parents and siblings, we observe the early idealism of the young recruit, and then, as one friend after another died beside him, we witness how the war gradually hardened him. Yet, despite the increasing brutality of what would become America’s costliest conflict, Hayward continually reaffirmed his faith in the Union cause, reenlisting for service late in 1863.
Hayward’s correspondence takes us through many of the war’s most significant developments,
including the collapse of slavery and the enforcement of Union policy toward Southern civilians. Also revealed are Hayward’s feelings about Confederates, his assessments of Union political and military leadership, and his attitudes toward desertion, conscription, forced marches, drilling, fighting, bravery, cowardice, and comradeship.
Ultimately, Hayward’s letters reveal the emotions—occasionally guarded but more often expressed with striking candor—of a soldier who at every battle resolved to be, as one comrade described him, “the first to spring forward and the last to leave the field.”
Timothy J. Orr is an assistant professor of military history at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
Offering a fascinating look at an ordinary soldier's struggle to survive not only the horrors of combat but also the unrelenting hardship of camp life, Lee and Jackson's Bloody Twelfth brings together for the first time the extant correspondence of Confederate lieutenant Irby Goodwin Scott, who served in the hard-fighting Twelfth Georgia Infantry.
The collection begins with Scott's first letter home from Richmond, Virginia, in June 1861, and ends with his last letter to his father in February 1865. Scott miraculously completed the journey from naïve recruit to hardened veteran while seeing action in many of the Eastern Theater's most important campaigns: the Shenandoah Valley, the Peninsula, Second Manassas, and Gettysburg. His writings brim with vivid descriptions of the men's activities in camp, on the march, and in battle. Particularly revelatory are the details the letters provide about the relationship between Scott and his two African American body servants, whom he wrote about with great affection. And in addition to maps, photographs, and a roster of Scott's unit, the book also features an insightful introduction by editor Johnnie Perry Pearson, who highlights the key themes found throughout the correspondence.
By illuminating in depth how one young Confederate stood up to the physical and emotional duress of war, the book stands as a poignant tribute to the ways in which all ordinary Civil War soldiers, whether fighting for the South or the North, sacrificed, suffered, and endured.
Johnnie Perry Pearson is a retired state service officer formerly with the North Carolina Division of Veteran Affairs. He served as an infantry platoon sergeant during the Vietnam War and lives in Hickory, North Carolina.
Forgotten for more than a century in an old cardboard box, these are the letters of Guy Carlton Taylor, a farmer who served in the Thirty-Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the American Civil War. From March 23, 1864, to July 14, 1865, Taylor wrote 165 letters home to his wife Sarah and their son Charley.
From the initial mustering and training of his regiment at Camp Randall in Wisconsin, through the siege of Petersburg in Virginia, General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, and the postwar Grand Review of the Armies parade in Washington, D.C., Taylor conveys in vivid detail his own experiences and emotions and shows himself a keen observer of all that is passing around him. While at war, he contracts measles, pneumonia, and malaria, and he writes about the hospitals, treatments, and sanitary conditions that he and his comrades endured during the war. Amidst the descriptions of soldiering, Taylor’s letters to Sarah are threaded with the concerns of a young married couple separated by war but still coping together with childrearing and financial matters. The letters show, too, Taylor’s transformation from a lonely and somewhat disgruntled infantryman to a thoughtful commentator on the greater ideals of the war.
This remarkable trove of letters, which had been left in the attic of Taylor’s former home in Cashton, Wisconsin, was discovered by local historian Kevin Alderson at a household auction. Recognizing them for the treasure they are, Alderson bought the letters and, aided by his wife Patsy, painstakingly transcribed the letters and researched Taylor’s story in Wisconsin and at historical sites of the Civil War. The Aldersons’ preface and notes are augmented by an introduction by Civil War historian Kathryn Shively Meier, and the book includes photographs, maps, and illustrations related to Guy Taylor’s life and letters.
Uncommonly articulate letters from a young German-American soldier with the Union forces
Sergeant William Remmel was a German immigrant who had settled with his parents and family in far upstate New York. His letters collected in Like Grass before the Scythe cover more than two full years of his service and provide details on military and social history in the eastern theater of operations and on the experience of the home front in upstate New York among a largely immigrant, working-class family and community.
Remmel wrote in English and apparently his parents responded in German. In addition to the important material on an immigrant family’s experience, Remmel also deals with the question of slavery, illness and hospital care (when he was wounded), the problem of hard war/total war, as well as the campaigns of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Shenandoah Valley in 1864.
“William Wilson Chamberlaine’s Memoirs of the Civil War, though relatively little known because of its rarity in the original edition, contains much valuable information and engaging narrative passages. A Virginian whose Confederate career included service in an infantry regiment early in the war, Chamberlaine’s most important military service was as a staff officer attached to Brigadier General Reuben Lindsay Walker, who commanded the Third Corps artillery in the Army of Northern Virginia. His book includes excellent material on the duties of staff officers, operation of Confederate conscription, and the role of artillery in Lee’s campaigns. He is especially eloquent and revealing about a number of famous battles: the Seven Days; Antietam, where Chamberlaine distinguished himself and was wounded; and the Wilderness, where he had a memorable encounter with Lee.
“Never before reprinted, Memoirs of the Civil War benefits greatly from a perceptive introduction by Robert E. L. Krick. Its intrinsic merits should earn attention from readers interested in the storied operations of the Army of Northern Virginia.”
About two o'clock in the morning Col. Heintzelman, chief of staff of the corps, came out and he was much pleased with what the division had accomplished and with the way they had gone through. It was the division's first battle and it played a very important and creditable part. Certain things fell down. . . . The truth of the matter is the troops got away from the wire and it was impossible to keep the wire up through the tangle of barbed wire and woods. We captured 3,000 prisoners on our front alone and have lost 521.
November 1, 1918Considerable heavy artillery fire all night. The preparation fire went down promptly at 3:30, it was very heavy. . . . The barrage went down promptly at 5:30. Troops jumped off. At 7:30 thirty prisoners reported from Le Dhuy Fme., taken by the 353rd and 354th infantries. I don't understand what the 353rd Infantry is doing in there, as it is out of the sector. At 7:00 a.m. there was a distinct lull in the artillery fire. . . . I told Hanson at 8:05 to move his troops forward to parallel 86 immediately. He stated that he would get them going about 8:30, but actually did not get them started until about eleven o'clock. I sent for him on arrival and told him to hurry his men up. Before Lee left I had ordered the divisional reserve to move forward with its advance element on the first objective to maintain their echelonment in depth. Smyser came in at one o'clock and I ordered the divisional machine guns to the front to take position about one-half kilometer east of Dhuy Fme. At the time the reserves were ordered forward. I ordered Hanson to take his P.C. to Dhuy Fme. . . . Hanson has just arrived. I do not understand why he is always so slow. He seems to be inordinately stupid.
During America’s participation in World War I, 1917–1918, only a single commander of a division, William M. Wright, is known to have kept a diary. In it, General Wright relates his two-month experience at St. Mihiel and especially the Meuse-Argonne, the largest and most costly battle in American history. In the Meuse-Argonne, the Eighty-ninth Division, made up of 28,000 draftees from Missouri and Kansas and under Wright’s command, was one of the two American point divisions beginning November 1, 1918, when the U.S. First Army forced the German defenders back to the Meuse River and helped end World War I as the main German railway line for the entire Western Front came under American artillery fire. It was a great moment, and Wright was at the center of it. Robert Ferrell skillfully supplements the diary with his own narrative, making use of pertinent manuscripts, notably a memoir by one of Wright’s infantry regiment commanders.
The diary shows the exacting attention that was necessary to keep such a large, unwieldy mass of men in motion. It also shows how the work of the two infantry brigadiers and of the two supporting artillery brigades required the closest attention. Meuse-Argonne Diary, a unique account of, among other things, a singular moment in the Great War in which American troops ensured victory, will fascinate anyone interested in military history in general and World War I in particular.
The high cost of the Allied air offensive during World War II.
On August 29, 1944, the 15th U.S. Army Air Force unleashed 500 bombers against oil and rail targets throughout central Europe. It dispatched the 20th Squadron of the 2nd Bombardment Group on what they regarded as an easy assignment: attack the Privoser Oil Refinery and associated railroad yards at Moravska Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. This "milk run" deteriorated into the bloodiest day in the 2nd Bombardment Group's history: not a single one of the 20th Squadron's B-17 Flying Fortress bombers returned from the mission. Forty airmen were killed, another 46 spent the rest of the war as POWs, and only four, with the aid of the OSS and anti-German partisans, and sympathetic Czech civilians managed to evade capture.
The ninety airmen on the mission to Moravska Ostrava provide a remarkable personal window into the Allies' Combined Bomber Offensive at its height during WWII. In a microcosm, their stories encapsulate how the U.S. Army Air Forces built, trained, and employed one of the mightiest war machines ever seen. Their stories also illustrate, however, the terrible cost in lives demanded by that same machine.
Few events in the history of the American Far West from 1846 to 1849 did not involve the Mormon Battalion. The Battalion participated in the United States conquest of California and in the discovery of gold, opened four major wagon trails, and carried the news of gold east to an eager American public. Yet, the battalion is little known beyond Mormon history. This first complete history of the wide-ranging army unit restores it to its central place in Western history, and provides descendants a complete roster of the Battalion's members.
My Father’s War tells the compelling story of a unit of Buffalo Soldiers and their white commander fighting on the Italian front during World War II.
The 92nd Division of the Fifth Army was the only African American infantry division to see combat in Europe during 1944 and 1945, suffering more than 3,200 casualties. Members of this unit, known as Buffalo Soldiers, endured racial violence on the home front and experienced racism abroad. Engaged in combat for nine months, they were under the command of southern white infantry officers like their captain, Eugene E. Johnston.
Carolyn Ross Johnston draws on her father’s account of the war and her extensive interviews with other veterans of the 92nd Division to describe the experiences of a naïve southern white officer and his segregated unit on an intimate level. During the war, the protocol that required the assignment of southern white officers to command black units, both in Europe and in the Pacific theater, was often problematic, but Johnston seemed more successful than most, earning the trust and respect of his men at the same time that he learned to trust and respect them. Gene Johnston and the African American soldiers were transformed by the war and upon their return helped transform the nation.
On February 19, 1945, the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions stormed ashore from a naval support force. Among them was green young lieutenant Pat Caruso who became de facto company commander when the five officers ranking him were killed or wounded. He led his rapidly diminishing force steadily forward for the next few days, when a day’s gains were measured in yards. Caruso was eventually wounded himself and was evacuated. Realizing that the heroism of his comrades would be lost by the decimation of his unit, Caruso latched onto any paper he could find and filled every blank space with his memory of the fighting. This edition has a new foreword and index, boasts nine new photographs, and a map of the action. It resumes its place as a classic account of the experience of being in close, direct, and constant contact with a determined enemy at close quarters. Many did not survive; those who did were changed forever.
In December 1846, John Jacob Oswandel—or Jake as he was often called—enlisted in the Monroe Guards, which later became Company C of the First Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment. Thus began a twenty-month journey that led Oswandel from rural Pennsylvania through the American South, onward to the siege of Veracruz, and finally deep into the heart of Mexico. Waging war with Mexico ultimately realized President James K. Polk’s long-term goal of westward expansion all the way to the Pacific Ocean. For General Winfield Scott, the victorious Mexico City campaign would prove his crowning achievement in a fifty-three-year military career, but for Oswandel the “grand adventure of our lives” was about patriotism and honor in a war that turned this twenty-something bowsman into a soldier.
Notes of the Mexican War, 1846–1848, is the quintessential primary source on the Mexican War. From Oswandel’s time of enlistment in Pennsylvania to his discharge in July of 1848, he kept a daily record of events, often with the perception and intuition worthy of a highly ranked officer. In addition to Oswandel’s engaging narrative, Timothy D. Johnson and Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr. provide an introduction that places Oswandel’s memoir within present-day scholarship. They illuminate the mindset of Oswandel and his comrades, who viewed the war with Mexico in terms of Manifest Destiny and they give insight into Oswandel’s historically common belief in Anglo-Saxon superiority—views that would bring about far worse consequences at the outbreak of the American Civil War a dozen years later.
As historians continue to highlight the controversial actions of the Polk administration and the expansionist impulse that led to the conflict, Notes of the Mexican War, 1846–1848, opens a window into the past when typical young men rallied to a cause they believed was just and ordained. Oswandel provides an eyewitness account of an important chapter in America’s history.
TIMOTHY D. JOHNSON is a professor of history at Lipscomb University. He is coeditor, with Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr., of A Fighter from Way Back: The Mexican War Diary of Lt. Daniel Harvey Hill, and author of Winfield Scott: The Quest for Military Glory and A Gallant Little Army: The Mexico City Campaign.
NATHANIEL CHEAIRS HUGHES, JR. is an independent scholar and the author of over twenty books on American military history, largely pertaining to the American Civil War. His most recent titles are Brigadier General Tyree H. Bell: Forrest’s Fighting Lieutenant and Yale’s Confederates: A Biographical Dictionary.
Most surviving correspondence of the Civil War period was written by members of a literate, elite class; few collections exist in which the woman's letters to her soldier husband have been preserved. Here, in the exchange between William and Emily Moxley, a working-class farm couple from Coffee County, Alabama, we see vividly an often-neglected aspect of the Civil War experience: the hardships of civilian life on the home front.
Emily's moving letters to her husband, startling in their immediacy and detail, chronicle such difficulties as a desperate lack of food and clothing for her family, the frustration of depending on others in the community, and her growing terror at facing childbirth without her husband, at the mercy of a doctor with questionable skills. Major Moxley's letters to his wife reveal a decidedly unromantic side of the war, describing his frequent encounters with starvation, disease, and bloody slaughter.
To supplement this revealing correspondence, the editor has provided ample documentation and research; a genealogical chart of the Moxley family; detailed maps of Alabama and Florida that allow the reader to trace the progress of Major Moxley's division; and thorough footnotes to document and elucidate events and people mentioned in the letters. Readers interested in the Civil War and Alabama history will find these letters immensely appealing while scholars of 19th-century domestic life will find much of value in Emily Moxley's rare descriptions of her homefront experiences.
The story of Old Abe, the bald eagle that became the mascot of the Eighth Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. It is also the story of the men among whom Old Abe lived: the farmers, loggers, clerks, and immigrants who flocked to the colors in 1861.
Outpost Kelly: A Tanker's Story
Jack R. Siewert, with a foreword by Paul M Edwards University of Alabama Press, 2006 Library of Congress DS919.S5 2006 | Dewey Decimal 951.904242
In the second year of the Korean War, Jack Siewert commanded a platoon of five M-46 tanks. Temporarily assigned to provide fire support for an infantry battalion on the front, he eventually found himself in the midst of intense fighting for a relatively unknown and unimportant hill, code named Outpost Kelly.
Those four days of battle against Chinese forces form the heart of this memoir, which is unique in its focus on the hill fighting that dominated two thirds of the Korean War. Trained to take advantage of his tanks’ mobility, his orders—to provide direct fire support for advancing infantry—along with the mountainous terrain and the torrential monsoon rains that created shin-deep fields of impenetrable mud, forced him to abandon doctrine and improvise.
At the height of the fighting, Siewert was able to bring to bear the guns from only one of his five tanks against the enemy. Nevertheless, his platoon played a key role in allowing members of the 15th Infantry to retake Outpost Kelly, and he offers an excellent analysis of how theory and experience come together in a point-of-the-spear military situation.
Siewert's platoon played a key role in allowing members of the 15th Infantry to retake Outpost Kelly, and he offers an excellent analysis of how theory and experience come together in a point-of-the-spear military situation. Outpost Kelly also paints a fascinating picture of the type of fighting, often overlooked, that characterized the second and third years of the Korean War. With truce talks proceeding in Panmunjom, both sides fought to claim incremental pieces of real estate along the demarcation line between North and South.
In the grand scheme of the war, the battle for Outpost Kelly might not ahce meant much. But for 3rd Infantry Division, and the men, like Jack Siewert, who fought there, it was the entire focal point of the war during the last four days of July, 1952.
The 94th US Infantry Division was an organization formed late in the Second World War, made up largely of draft-deferred university students as enlisted men and an officer corps pulled together from various domestic postings with unfortunate consequences for mutual trust and respect.
Initially used as part of the force blockading the Brittany ports after D-Day, in December of 1944, the division was incorporated into General Patton’s Third Army south of the Moselle-Saar Triangle, the base of which was a portion of the Siegfried Line known as the Orscholz Switch. Its first combat experience came in battalion-sized attacks during that terrible winter while the Battle of the Bulge raged to the north, and the Division suffered heavy casualties, many due to the ferocity of the winter weather. Patton, with characteristic zeal, excoriated the division’s officers and senior NCOs for the rate of non-combat casualties. Thereafter, the division was ordered forward on an all-out assault to break through the Siegfried Line. After horrific fighting against entrenched defenders, with ice turning to mud as spring approached, on February 19, 1945, the 94th broke through to open the roads to Trier and the Rhine.
This book is the most comprehensive study to date of the fierce fighting between the 94th U.S. Infantry Division and their German counterparts during that spring of 1945. It sheds new light on the achievements of the outnumbered division in penetrating Germany’s Westwall. With characteristic verve and detail, Tony Le Tissier narrates the action and illuminates the tribulations and sacrifices of American soldiers who won their laurels at great cost.
From the shooting of an unarmed prisoner at Montgomery, Alabama, to a successful escape from Belle Isle, from the swelling floodwaters overtaking Cahaba Prison to the inferno that finally engulfed Andersonville, A Perfect Picture of Hell is a collection of harrowing narratives by soldiers from the 12th Iowa Infantry who survived imprisonment in the South during the Civil War.
Editors Ted Genoways and Hugh Genoways have collected the soldiers' startling accounts from diaries, letters, speeches, newspaper articles, and remembrances. Arranged chronologically, the eyewitness descriptions of the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Jackson, and Tupelo, together with accompanying accounts of nearly every famous Confederate prison, create a shared vision
Cavalry units from Midwestern states remain largely absent from Civil War literature, and what little has been written largely overlooks the individual men who served. The Fifth Illinois Cavalry has thus remained obscure despite participating in some of the most important campaigns in Arkansas and Mississippi. In this pioneering examination of that understudied regiment, Rhonda M. Kohl offers the only modern, comprehensive analysis of a southern Illinois regiment during the Civil War and combines well-documented military history with a cultural analysis of the men who served in the Fifth Illinois.
The regiment’s history unfolds around major events in the Western Theater from 1861 to September 1865, including campaigns at Helena, Vicksburg, Jackson, and Meridian, as well as numerous little-known skirmishes. Although they were led almost exclusively by Northern-born Republicans, the majority of the soldiers in the Fifth Illinois remained Democrats. As Kohl demonstrates, politics, economics, education, social values, and racism separated the line officers from the common soldiers, and the internal friction caused by these cultural disparities led to poor leadership, low morale, disciplinary problems, and rampant alcoholism.
The narrative pulls the Fifth Illinois out of historical oblivion, elucidating the highs and lows of the soldiers’ service as well as their changing attitudes toward war goals, religion, liberty, commanding generals, Copperheads, and alcoholism. By reconstructing the cultural context of Fifth Illinois soldiers, Prairie Boys Go to War reveals how social and economic traditions can shape the wartime experience.
Pure Soldiers traces the 14th Waffen-SS Division's fortunes from its formation in April 1943 until its surrender to the British in May 1946, their subsequent stay as prisoners-of-war in Italy, and their eventual transfer as agricultural workers in Britain. In 1950 they began their immigration to Canada and the United States. Along the way they were recruited by the British as anti-Soviet spies and by the CIA as political assassins. In spelling out the Division's history, the author attempts to shed light on this acrimonious dispute that rages to the present day.
Founded by the Legendary Robert Rogers and Later Led by John Graves Simcoe, a Loyalist Unit that Fought Alongside the British Army Against the American Patriots
Prior to the British attack on Long Island in August 1776, French and Indian War hero Robert Rogers organized a regiment to join the fight—but not on the side of his native New Hampshire. Named in honor of Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, Rogers’s regiment recruited the bulk of its soldiers from the large number of Loyalist refugees on Staten Island who had fled from New York. Rogers’s command of the unit was short-lived, however, after a humiliating defeat in late October by a surprise attack on his headquarters. Under new leadership, the unit played a decisive role and suffered heavy casualties at the battle of Brandywine that brought them their first favorable attention from the British high command. With this performance, and under the able leadership of John Graves Simcoe, the Queen’s American Rangers—sometimes known as “Simcoe’s Rangers”—were frequently assigned to serve alongside British regular troops in many battles, including Monmouth, Springfield, Charleston, and Yorktown. Receiving frequent high praise from Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton, the Commander in Chief of the British Army in America, the unit was placed on the American Establishment of the British Army in May 1779, a status conferred on provincial units that had performed valuable services during the war, and was renamed the 1st American Regiment. Before the end of the war, the rangers were fully incorporated into the British regular army, one of only four Loyalist units to be so honored. The Queen’s American Rangers by historian Donald J. Gara is the first book-length account of this storied unit. Based on extensive primary source research, the book traces the complete movements, command changes, and battle performances of the rangers, from their first muster to their formal incorporation into the British Army and ultimate emigration to Canada on land grants conferred by a grateful British crown.
Perhaps the best known of all American five-star generals, Douglas MacArthur established his military reputation at the hill of Châtillon during the great battle of the Meuse-Argonne in World War I. The thirty-eight-year-old brigadier general in command of the Eighty-fourth Infantry Brigade boasted to a fellow general that he had inspired his troops by example, taking the hill and breaking the main German line in northern France. Ever since, historical accounts and biographies have celebrated his leadership and bravery.
That MacArthur’s forces prevailed is beyond question, as military historians have shown. Yet in all the annals of the Great War there is no detailed description of what happened at Châtillon, nor of what MacArthur had to do with it. Robert Ferrell examines those events and comes to a startling conclusion—one that will revise how we view this archetypal American hero.
After sifting through the inexact accounts of the battle found in regimental and divisional histories—and through the many biographies of MacArthur that assert his leadership at Châtillon but do not describe it—Ferrell has gone into Army records to determine if what MacArthur claimed was true. In a moment-by-moment account of the battle, he reconstructs the movements of troops and the decisions of officers to show in detail how MacArthur’s subordinates were the true heroes.
Ferrell describes how the taking of Côte de Châtillon could have been a disaster had the Eighty-fourth Brigade followed MacArthur's original plan, a bayonet charge at night. Wiser heads prevailed, and the attack of the Iowa and Alabama regiments was a great success.
Ferrell has completed a chapter in the history of World War I that has stood unfinished for years, showing in masterly fashion how MacArthur exaggerated his reputation at Châtillon. The Question of MacArthur’s Reputation will reward historians seeking to fill gaps in the record, engage readers who enjoy descriptions of battle, and startle all who take their heroes for granted.
Large numbers of Civil War veterans remembered and reminisced about their war experiences, but only a relative few dedicated the rest of their lives to the task of commemorating their long-ago deeds. John S. Kountz was one of this latter group. Kountz joined the Thirty-seventh Ohio Infantry in September 1861 as a fifteen-year-old drummer boy and later, under General William T. Sherman, endured the long siege at Vicksburg before helping to win control of the city in July 1863. In 1899 the War Department appointed Kountz as the official historian at the newly designated Vicksburg National Military Park. As part of his duties, he produced two major works, an organizational chronicle of the armies that fought at Vicksburg and an unpublished narrative of the campaign and siege. This welcome volume presents both of these extremely rare documents together for the first time, providing a valuable resource for a new generation of scholars and enthusiasts. Record of the Organizations Engaged in the Campaign, Siege, and Defense of Vicksburg was published in a limited edition by the Government Printing Office in 1901 and offered visitors and historians a detailed examination of the various commands that fought at Vicksburg. The record has long been an essential but hard-to-find source for historians. Kountz’s impressive 116-page campaign overview is rarer still. Because of turnover at the park and Kountz’s death in 1909, the manuscript never saw publication and has, until now, lain buried in the archives at Vicksburg. Offering an unbiased account of both sides of the battle, it delves into the minds of the commanders, examines their decision-making processes, and articulates several opinions that have sparked debate ever since.
With a new introduction by noted historian Timothy B. Smith, this significant work makes widely available an important history by a participant in the action and opens a fascinating window into the history of Civil War scholarship.
During the summer of 1944, the now-legendary American Eighth Air Force was engaged in a ferocious air battle over Europe to bring the Allies victory over the German Third Reich. This is the story of one B-17 navigator and his crewmates, men who faced extraordinary danger with a maturity beyond their years. This vivid and detailed account of combat flying and its psychological toll also recalls the beginning of Robert Grilley’s development as a painter of international renown, as he spends his off-duty time drawing the peaceful Northamptonshire landscape around Deenethorpe airbase.
Wakened with flashlights on their faces in the predawn hours, he and his crew repeatedly face the Luftwaffe in battles five miles high, flying through flak "so thick you could get out and walk on it." Stretching their stamina to the limits, they succeed time after time in their missions to bomb munitions works, railyards, the Leüna synthetic oil plant at Merseburg in eastern Germany, the V2 rocket research center at Peenemünde on the distant Baltic Coast, and even to strike Hitler’s capital city, Berlin.
But Grilley finds interludes of unexpected grace and restoration on his days off, making serious drawings from nature at the neighboring Yokehill Farm. There he slowly cultivates a friendship with a curious eight-year-old, the lively child Elizabeth, who becomes for the combat flyer a symbol of survival.
Send the Alabamians recounts the story of the 167th Infantry Regiment of the WWI Rainbow Division from their recruitment to their valiant service on the bloody fields of eastern France in the climactic final months of World War I.
To mark the centenary of World War I, Send the Alabamians tells the remarkable story of a division of Alabama recruits whose service Douglas MacArthur observed had not “been surpassed in military history.” The book borrows its title from a quip by American General Edward H. Plummer who commanded the young men during the inauspicious early days of their service. Impressed with their ferocity and esprit de corps but exasperated by their rambunctiousness, Plummer reportedly exclaimed:
In time of war, send me all the Alabamians you can get, but in
time of peace, for Lord’s sake, send them to somebody else!
The ferocity of the Alabamians, so apt to get them in trouble at home, proved invaluable in the field. At the climactic Battle of Croix Rouge, the hot-blooded 167th exhibited unflinching valor and, in the face of machine guns, artillery shells, and poison gas, sustained casualty rates over 50 percent to dislodge and repel the deeply entrenched and heavily armed enemy.
Relying on extensive primary sources such as journals, letters, and military reports, Frazer draws a vivid picture of the individual soldiers who served in this division, so often overlooked but critical to the war’s success. After Gettysburg, the Battle of Croix Rouge is the most significant military engagement to involve Alabama soldiers in the state’s history. Families and genealogists will value the full roster of the 167th that accompanies the text.
Richly researched yet grippingly readable, Nimrod T. Frazer’s Send the Alabamians will delight those interested in WWI, the World Wars, Alabama history, or southern military history in general. Historians of the war, regimental historians, military history aficionados, and those interested in previously unexplored facets of Alabama history will prize this unique volume as well.
Shamrock Battalion in the Great War
Martin J. Hogan, Edited & Intro by James J. Cooke University of Missouri Press, 2007 Library of Congress D570.33 165th.H6 2007 | Dewey Decimal 940.41273
When Martin Hogan began training on a vacant lot to be a soldier, he had no idea that he was about to become part of one of the most famed fighting units of World War I. But soon he and other citizen soldiers from the Irish neighborhoods of New York City were locked in deadly combat with the German army.
Hogan’s book records his recollections of the 165th Infantry in World War I, a regiment in the famed Rainbow Division. Company K of the Third or Shamrock Battalion had a part in every fight, and those who survived had more wound stripes than did the soldiers of any other company in the American Expeditionary Forces. Few soldiers saw as much of the war in eighteen months as did young Martin Hogan, and in this stirring account he tells of his experiences with graphic power, humility, and humor.
Hogan depicts World War I at its most human level, with memories of combat in the trenches and on blood-soaked battlefields at St. Mihiel and in the Argonne Forest. His account tells us much about how unprepared for service the United States really was, with the National Guard woefully undersupplied and seriously undertrained. His experiences as a gassed, then wounded, soldier also show the reader a side of war that was far from glorious—in a time before penicillin, when the dangers of gangrene ran high—and his memoir conveys rare insight about conditions in American military hospitals where he found care.
This insider view of the frontline experience during the Great War, complete with well-known figures such as Chaplain Father Francis Duffy and Colonel “Wild Bill” Donovan, attests that the Rainbow Division “epitomized the best of the best spirit in the world—the American spirit.”
James Cooke’s new introduction to this edition places that renowned division in historical context. Now that other part-time American soldiers are facing new challenges abroad, Hogan’s account also attests that the National Guard, citizen soldiers who bore the brunt of much decisive fighting, measured up to the highest standards of professional fighting men.
This fast-paced memoir was written in 1905 by 61-year-old Samuel W. Hankins while he was living in the Soldiers Home in Gulfport, Mississippi. It vividly details his years as a Confederate rifleman from the spring of 1861, when at a mere sixteen years of age he volunteered for the 2d Mississippi Infantry, through the end of the war in 1865, when he was just twenty years old and maimed for life.
The 2d Mississippi was part of the Army of Northern Virginia and as such saw action at Bull Run/Manassas, Seven Pines and the Peninsular Campaign, and Gettysburg. Besides being hospitalized with measles, suffering severely frostbitten feet, and being wounded by a minié ball at the Railroad Cut, Hankins was captured by Federal forces and sent to a prisoner of war camp on David’s Island, New York. Later, he was transferred to a South Carolina hospital, returned home on furlough, joined a cavalry unit that fought at Atlanta, and was stationed in Selma, Alabama, when the war ended.
The strength of Hankins’s text lies in his straightforward narrative style virtually free of Lost Cause sentiment. Both Union and Confederate veterans could relate to his stories because so many of them had faced similar challenges during the war. Full of valuable information on a common soldier’s experience, the memoir still conjures the sights, sounds, and smells of warfare.
A unit that saw significant action in many of the engagements of the Civil War’s eastern theater.
Until this work, no comprehensive study of the Florida units that served in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) had been attempted, and problems attend the few studies of particular Florida units that have appeared. Based on more than two decades of research, Waters and Edmonds have produced a study that covers all units from Florida in the ANV, and does so in an objective and reliable fashion.
Drawn from what was then a turbulent and thinly settled frontier region, the Florida troops serving in the Confederacy were never numerous, but they had the good or bad luck of finding themselves at crucial points in several significant battles such as Gettysburg where their conduct continues to be a source of contention. Additionally, the study of these units and their service permits an examination of important topics affecting the Civil War soldier: lack of supplies, the status of folks at home, dissension over civilian control of soldiers and units from the various Confederate states, and widespread and understandable problems of morale. Despite the appalling conditions of combat, these soldiers were capable of the highest courage in combat. This work is an important contribution to the record of Lee’s troops, ever a subject of intense interest.
In April 1917 a sophomore at Indiana University, inspired by his grandfather's service in the Union army during the Civil War, left school and enlisted with a National Guard unit in Indianapolis that became the 150th Field Artillery Regiment. Before long the young man, Elmer W. Sherwood, found himself fighting in France. Sherwood kept a diary of his time overseas, including his experiences in the army of occupation following the war's end. A Soldier in World War I: The Diary of Elmer W. Sherwood captures the words of the Hoosier as he wrote them on the front lines. The book also includes a shipboard diary Sherwood sent home from France shortly after his arrival, which appeared in his hometown newspaper.
This is a study of the African veterans of a European war. It is a story of men from the Cote d‘Ivoire, many of whom had seldom traveled more than a few miles from their villages, who served France as tirailleurs (riflemen) during World War II.
Thousands of them took part in the doomed attempt to hold back the armies of the Third Relch in 1940; many were to spend the rest of the war as prisoners in Germany or Occupied France.
Others more fortunate came under the authority of Vichy France, and were deployed in the Defense of the “Motherland” and its overseas possessions against the threat posed by the Allies. By 1943, the tirailleur regiments had passed into the service of de Gaulle’s free French and under Allied command, played a significant role in the liberation of Europe.
In describing these complex events, Dr. Lawler draws upon archives in both France and the Cote d’Ivoire. She also carried out an extensive series of interviews with Ivoirien veterans principally, but not exclusively, from the Korhogo region. The vividness of their testimony gives this study a special character. They talk freely not only of their wartime exploits, but also of their experiences after repatriation.
Lawler allows them to speak for themselves. They express their hatred of forced labor and military conscription, which were features of the colonial system, yet at the same time reveal a pride in having come to the defense of France. They describe their role in the nationalist struggle, as foot soldiers of Felix Houphouet-Boigny, but also convey their sense of having become a lost generation. They recognize that their experiences as French soldiers had become sadly irrelevant in a new nation in quest of its history.
“George W. Nichols’s aptly titled Soldier’s Story is one of the classic narratives of frontline infantry service in the Army of Northern Virginia. Nichols’s 61st Georgia fought in the renowned brigade commanded in turn by General Alexander r. Lawton, General John B. Gordon, and General Clement A. Evans. Nichols framed his account without sentimental hindsight; in addition to reporting great battles and dramatic moments, he told the story of two cousins killing each other in a quarrel about cooking duties and described maggot-infested corpses around Spotsylvania’s Bloody Angle. An annotated roster of the 61st supplies details about Nichols’s fellow veterans, some of which are not available anywhere else. Years of exhaustive research have made Professor K. S. Bohannon of the University of West Georgia the nonpareil leading authority on Georgia’s Civil War troops. Bohannon’s introduction adduces strong new evidence about George Nichols and his book. A thorough index also makes the work more accessible than earlier editions.”—Robert K. Krick, author of The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy: The Death of Stonewall Jackson and Other Chapters on the Army of Northern Virginia
This remarkable biography and edited diary tell the story of William Ellis Jones (1838–1910), an artillerist in Crenshaw’s Battery, Pegram’s Battalion, the Army of Northern Virginia. One of the few extant diaries by a Confederate artillerist, Jones’s articulate writings cover camp life as well as many of the key military events of 1862, including the Peninsula Campaign, the Second Battle of Manassas, the Maryland Campaign, and the Battle of Fredericksburg.
In 1865 Jones returned to his prewar printing trade in Richmond, and his lasting reputation stems from his namesake publishing company’s role in the creation and dissemination of much of the Lost Cause ideology. Unlike the pro-Confederate books and pamphlets Jones published—primary among them the Southern Historical Society Papers—his diary shows the mindset of an unenthusiastic soldier. In a model of contextualization, Constance Hall Jones shows how her ancestor came to embrace an uncritical veneration of the army’s leadership and to promulgate a mythology created by veterans and their descendants who refused to face the amorality of their cause.
Jones brackets the soldier’s diary with rich, biographical detail, profiling his friends and relatives and providing insight into his childhood and post-war years. In doing so, she offers one of the first serious investigations into the experience of a Welsh immigrant family loyal to the Confederacy and makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Civil War–era Richmond and the nineteenth-century publishing industry. Invitingly written, The Spirits of Bad Men Made Perfect is an engaging life-and-times story that will appeal to historians and general readers alike.
The 3rd Arkansas was one of the most distinguished and well-respected Confederate regiments of the Civil War. It was the only Arkansas regiment to serve the entire war in the east, where most of the major battles were fought. The men of the 3rd Arkansas acquired a reputation as tenacious fighters and were known for the long knives—“Arkansas toothpicks”—they carried. As part of Gen. John Bell Hood’s Texas Brigade, they found themselves in some of the fiercest fighting in the war in places such as the famous “sunken road” at Antietam and the Battle of Gettysburg. “They’ll Do to Tie To!” was originally published in 1959.
This memoir is a dramatic, intelligent first-person account of an Alabama regiment central to the Confederate campaign, written by its commander.
From Seven Pines to Sharpsburg and Chancellorsville to Spotsylvania, the Third Alabama Regiment played a key role in the Civil War. One of the first infantry units from the Deep South to make the journey to Virginia in 1861, the Third Alabama was the first to cross the Potomac into Maryland and to enter the streets of Gettysburg in 1863.
As the regiment’s leader and one of General Robert E. Lee’s brigade commanders, General Cullen Andrews Battle witnessed the extent of the many triumphs and sufferings of the Army of Northern Virginia. Trained as a journalist and lawyer, he records these events honestly and with compassion. Battle captures the courage of citizen soldiers fighting without prior military training, always paying tribute to the heroism of those under his command, while providing vivid accounts of some of the war’s bloodiest fights. He assesses Confederate mistakesparticularly at Seven Pines—and sheds light on the third Battle of Winchester, the only decisive defeat in which the regiment was involved.
Brandon Beck’s introductory notes provide a thorough review of Battle’s life and valuable biographical information on soldiers under his command as well as on other officers in the Army of Northern Virginia. A worthwhile addition to all Civil War librariespublic or private Third Alabama! offers an informative, dramatic reading of the wartime activities of one of the Confederacy’s bravest fighting units.
Engaging letters from a gifted and perceptive Confederate cavalry officer.
This book contains the letters of George Knox Miller who served as a line officer in the Confederate cavalry and participated in almost all of the major campaigns of the Army of Tennessee. He was, clearly, a very well-educated young man. Born in 1836 in Talladega, Alabama, he developed a great love for reading and the theater and set his sights upon getting an education that would lead to a career in law or medicine; meanwhile he worked as an apprentice in a painting firm to earn tuition. Miller then enrolled in the University of Virginia, where he excelled in his studies.
Eloquent, bordering on the lyrical, the letters provide riviting first-hand accounts of cavalry raids, the monotony of camp life, and the horror of battlefield carnage. Miller gives detailed descriptions of military uniforms, cavalry tactics, and prison conditions. He conveys a deep commitment to the Confederacy, but he was also critical of Confederate policies that he felt hindered the army's efforts. Dispersed among these war-related topics is the story of Miller's budding relationship with Celestine "Cellie" McCann, the love of his life, whom he would eventually marry. Together, the letters offer significan insight into the life, heart, mind, and attitudes of an intelligent, educated, young mid-19th-century white Southerner.
From these diaries and letters of a soldier in the Union Army emerges a revealing portrait of their author, a man caught up in a life-and-death struggle of national import. Compiled from the diaries kept by Owen Johnston Hopkins while he was on duty with the 42nd and 182nd regiments, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and from letters to his family and friends, this book gives a clear picture of the motives, attitudes, and sentiments of a Yankee soldier during the Civil War.
Owen Hopkins was a young man brought to maturity by the agony of war, but in spite of the horror of battle and the tedium of life in camp, he maintained a lively sense of humor and a constant devotion to the ideals for which he fought. The Civil War in these pages is a savage, vindictive conflict fought with canister, "minnie balls," grapeshot, the Enfield rifle, and the bayonet. Only seventeen when he enlisted in 1861, Hopkins was a foot soldier and a witness to the action that took place on the field of battle.
A vital part of Hopkins's life in the army was his correspondence with Julia Allison, who lived in his hometown of Bellefontaine. They began writing each other in 1863, and their friendship deepened into love. Each was a fervent patriot, and their shared devotion to their country was a significant fact of their relationship. They were married in 1865.
An epilogue tells what happened to Hopkins after June of 1865: his career, his family, and his death in 1902. Originally published in1961, this work is now available for the first time in paperback.
Told in unflinching detail, this is the story of the Twenty-Ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, also known as the Giddings Regiment or the Abolition Regiment, after its founder, radical abolitionist Congressman J. R. Giddings. The men who enlisted in the Twenty-Ninth OVI were, according to its lore, handpicked to ensure each was as pure in his antislavery beliefs as its founder. Whether these soldiers would fight harder than other soldiers, and whether the people of their hometowns would remain devoted to the ideals of the regiment, were questions that could only be tested by the experiment of war.
The Untried Life is the story of these men from their very first regimental formation in a county fairground to the devastation of Gettysburg and the march to Atlanta and back again, enduring disease and Confederate prisons. It brings to vivid life the comradeship and loneliness that pervaded their days on the march. Dozens of unforgettable characters emerge, animated by their own letters and diaries: Corporal Nathan Parmenter, whose modest upbringing belies the eloquence of his writings; Colonel Lewis Buckley, one of the Twenty-Ninth’s most charismatic officers; and Chaplain Lyman Ames, whose care of the sick and wounded challenged his spiritual beliefs.
The Untried Life shows how the common soldier lived—his entertainments, methods of cooking, medical treatment, and struggle to maintain family connections—and separates the facts from the mythology created in the decades after the war.
“McDonough brings such passionate perspective to this amazing and heretofore largely unknown story that it’s nearly impossible to put down.” —James R. Hansen, prizewinning aerospace historian and bestselling author of First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong
When Myron King of the U.S. Army Air Corps arrived in England in 1944, he fully expected to fly dangerous bombing missions over Nazi Germany. What the twenty-three-year-old lieutenant had no way of predicting, however, was that he would spend his last months in Europe entangled in a bizarre affair born of the mounting tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. Ultimately, King faced three wars: the monumental conflict between the Allies and the Third Reich, the nascent Cold War, and a personal battle with the military brass to clear his name after enduring a grossly unjust court-martial.
This book presents an engrossing account of King’s early life and wartime service as part of the 401st Bombardment Group, U.S. Eighth Air Force. As a child growing up in New York and Tennessee, he was thoroughly captivated by the young field of aviation and dreamed of becoming a pilot. Attending college when Pearl Harbor was attacked, he realized his boyhood ambition by enlisting as an Air Corps cadet. After completing flight training two years later, King and his crew flew a B-17 bomber across the Atlantic to join their fellow airmen at a base near the English village of Deenethorpe—doing their first battle not with German fighters but with a raging storm during the Greenland-to-Iceland leg of the journey.
Once settled in Great Britain, the King Crew flew twenty missions from November 1944 through February 1945. It was on their last flight to Berlin that enemy fire crippled their plane and forced them to land in Poland amid the Russian forces that were advancing on Germany from the east. There events took a decidedly strange turn as King became embroiled in an incident involving a young stowaway and the increasingly complicated relations between the United States and Stalin’s regime. Scapegoated in the episode, King would leave the Air Corps with his honorable record severely soiled—a wrong that would take years to undo.
The Wars of Myron King is more than just a rattling good true-life adventure story. Based on a wide array of published and primary sources, including trial transcripts and interviews with King, the book offers a unique view of the experience of air combat, the intertwining of politics and military justice, and the complex circumstances that inaugurated the Cold War. James Lee McDonough is professor emeritus of history at Auburn University. He is the author of ten books, including Shiloh—In Hell Before Night, Stones River—Bloody Winter in Tennessee, Chattanooga—A Death Grip on the Confederacy, War in Kentucky: From Shiloh to Perryville, and Nashville: The Western Confederacy’s Final Gamble. This is his second book on a World War II subject.
Vivid and lively letters from a young Confederate in Lee’s Army.
In the spring of 1861 a 22-year-old Alabamian did what many of his friends and colleagues were doing—he joined the Confederate Army as a volunteer. The first of his family to enlist, William Cowan McClellan, who served as a private in the 9th Alabama Infantry regiment, wrote hundreds of letters throughout the war, often penning for friends who could not write home for themselves. In the letters collected in John C. Carter’s volume, this young soldier comments on his feelings toward his commanding officers, his attitude toward military discipline and camp life, his disdain for the western Confederate armies, and his hopes and fears for the future of the Confederacy.
McClellan’s letters also contain vivid descriptions of camp life, battles, marches, picket duty, and sickness and disease in the army. The correspondence between McClellan and his family dealt with separation due to war as well as with other wartime difficulties such as food shortages, invasion, and occupation. The letters also show the rise and fall of morale on both the home front and on the battlefield, and how they were closely intertwined.
Remarkable for their humor, literacy, and matter-of-fact banter, the letters reveal the attitude a common soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia had toward the day-to-day activity and progression of the war. John C. Carter includes helpful appendixes that list the letters chronologically and offer the regimental roster, casualty/enlistment totals, assignments, and McClellan’s personal military record.
Well Satisfied with My Position offers a first-person account of army life during the Civil War’ s Peninsula Campaign and Battle of Fredericksburg. Spencer Bonsall, who joined the 81st Pennsylvania Infantry as a hospital steward, kept a journal from March 1862 until March 1863, when he abruptly ceased writing. Editors Michael A. Flannery and Katherine H. Oomens place his experiences in the context of the field of Civil War medicine and continue his story in an epilogue.
Trained as a druggist when he was in his early twenties, Bonsall traveled the world, spent eight years on a tea plantation in India, and settled in Philadelphia, where he worked in the city surveyor’ s office. But in March 1862, when he was in his mid-forties, the lure of serving his country on the battlefield led Bonsall to join the 81st Pennsylvania Infantry as a hospital steward.
Bonsall enjoyed his life with the Union army at first, comparing bivouacking in the woods to merely picnicking on a grand scale. “ We are about as jolly a set of old bachelors as can be found in Virginia,” Bonsall wrote. But his first taste of the aftermath of battle at Fair Oaks and the Seven Days’ Battles in Virginia changed his mind about the joys of soldiering— though he never lost his zeal for the Union cause.
Bonsall details the camp life of a soldier from firsthand experience, outlines the engagements of the 81st, and traces the Battle of Fredericksburg and the Peninsula Campaign. He records facts not available elsewhere about camp conditions, attitudes toward Union generals and Confederate soldiers, and troop movements.
From the end of June to late October 1862, Bonsall’ s illness kept him from writing in his journal. He picked up the record again in December 1862, just before the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia, in which the Union suffered a staggering 10,200 casualties and the 81st Pennsylvania lost more than half its men. He vividly describes the bloody aftermath. Bonsall’ s horse was shot out from underneath him at the battle of Gettysburg, injuring him seriously and ending his military career. Although he was listed as “ sick in hospital” on the regiment’ s muster rolls, he was labeled a deserter in the U.S. Army records. Indeed, after recovery from his injuries, Bonsall walked away from the army to resume life in Philadelphia with his wife and child.
Published for the first time, Bonsall’ s journal offers an unusually personal glimpse into the circumstances and motives of a man physically ruined by the war. Seventeen illustrations, including some drawn by Bonsall himself, help bring this narrative to life.
When the 206th Coast Artillery Regiment of the Arkansas National Guard was called into federal service in January of 1941, few of the soldiers saw this action as anything more than a temporary detour in their lives. The war, after all, was in Europe and Asia and did not seem to involve them; many of the men thought they would serve their one-year enlistment and go home. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor changed all that.
The Williwaw War highlights the event sthat shaped the service of Arkansas’s 206th in the Aleutian Islands, including the Japanese strikes on Dutch Harbor on the third and fourth of June 1942, as well as the naval battle of the Komandorski Islands and the recapture of Attu and Kiska.
Written by the noted co-authors of the best-welling books on World War II, The Williwaw War chronicles the efforts of the men of the 206th as they battled terrible weather, overwhelming boredome and deprivation, and the Japanese, who were succesfully attempting to distract the Americans from the main Japanese assault on Midway Island.
“Unlike many of his fellows, [James Newton] was knowledgeable, intuitive, and literate; like many of his fellows he was cast into the role of soldier at only eighteen years of age. He was polished enough to write drumhead and firelight letters of fine literary style. It did not take long for this farm boy turned private to discover the grand design of the conflict in which he was engaged, something which many of the officers leading the armies never did discover.”—Victor Hicken, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
“When I wrote to you last I was at Madison with no prospect of leaving very soon, but I got away sooner than I expected to.” So wrote James Newton upon leaving Camp Randall for Vicksburg in 1863 with the Fourteenth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Newton, who had been a rural schoolteacher before he joined the Union army in 1861, wrote to his parents of his experiences at Shiloh, Corinth, Vicksburg, on the Red River, in Missouri, at Nashville, at Mobile, and as a prisoner of war. His letters, selected and edited by noted historian Stephen E. Ambrose, reveal Newton as a young man who matured in the war, rising in rank from private to lieutenant.
A Wisconsin Boy in Dixie reveals Newton as a young man who grew to maturity through his Civil War experience, rising in rank from private to lieutenant. Writing soberly about the less attractive aspects of army life, Newton's comments on fraternizing with the Rebs, on officers, and on discipline are touched with a sense of humor—"a soldier's best friend," he claimed. He also became sensitive to the importance of political choices. After giving Lincoln the first vote he had ever cast, Newton wrote: "In doing so I felt that I was doing my country as much service as I have ever done on the field of battle."
Worthy of the Cause for Which They Fight chronicles the experiences of a well-educated and articulate Confederate officer from Arkansas who witnessed the full evolution of the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi Department and western theater. Daniel Harris Reynolds, a community leader with a thriving law practice in Chicot County, entered service in 1861 as a captain in command of Company A of the First Arkansas Mounted Rifles. Reynolds saw action at Wilson's Creek and Pea Ridge before the regiment was dismounted and transferred to the Army of Tennessee, the primary Confederate force in the western theater. As Reynolds fought through the battles of Chickamauga, Atlanta, Nashville, and Bentonville, he consistently kept a diary in which he described the harsh realities of battle, the shifting fortunes of war, and the personal and political conflicts that characterized and sometimes divided the soldiers. The result is a significant testimonial offering valuable insights into the nature of command from the company to brigade levels, expressed by a committed Southerner coming to grips with the realities of defeat and the ultimate demoralization of surrender.