Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers: Four Years with the Iron Brigade

Rufus R. Dawes - 2012
    Gen. McClellan: “What troops are those fighting in the Pike?” Maj. Gen. Hooker: “General Gibbon’s brigade of Western men.” Maj. Gen. McClellan: “They must be made of iron.” And so, during the Battle of South Mountain, a prelude to the Battle of Antietam, this brigade earned its famous title as the “Iron Brigade”. Once McClellan had heard of their actions during the Second Battle of Bull Run, where they were facing off against a superior force under Stonewall Jackson, he is said to have stated that they were the “best troops in the world.” Rufus R. Dawes was a captain with the 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, that along with 2nd and 7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiments, the 19th Indiana, Battery B of the 4th U.S. Light Artillery, and later in the war the 24th Michigan, formed the Iron Brigade. Although only in his early twenties at the beginning of the war he rapidly became an important leader in the famous brigade and by the end of the war was brevetted as a brigadier general for meritorious service. One of his most famous actions was on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg when he led a counterattack on the confederate forces under Brigadier General Joseph R. Davis and forced the surrender of more than two hundred enemy soldiers. Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers records in brilliant detail all of the actions that he and his regiment were involved in, including Second Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor and Petersburg. Yet this book is not simply an account of the military activities that took place as he also recorded his feelings and moods, and included details about daily camp life and individual soldiers. Rufus Dawes derived all of the books material from his diaries and letters. He realized the value of a statement made at the moment as to his experiences, and he appreciated fully the treacherous nature of memory. He believed contemporaneous expression in letters and diaries provided material of historical value. He had the material and the ability to write a superb history of the grueling service of this famous regiment, but he felt that the story of his personal experiences and impressions written at the time would be of greater value, and so this book is not only account of the regiment, it is also a very personal account of one man’s view of the Civil War. This book deserves to be read and enjoyed by all who wish to hear more about this brutal but fascinating conflict and to get to the heart of what the soldiers saw and thought. Rufus R. Dawes was a military officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War. After the war he became a businessman, Congressman and author. His book Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers was first published in 1890. He passed away in 1899.

The Battle of Gettysburg

Craig L. Symonds - 2017
    Lee's retreat through Pennsylvania and escape across the Potomac. Award-winning historian Craig L. Symonds recounts the events of three hot, brutal days in July when Americans struggled battled one another across a dozen square miles of rolling Pennsylvania countryside. Symonds details the military strategy of both sides, including the Confederate decision to invade the North, the cat-and-mouse game in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and, finally, the terrible clash of arms on the hills and fields of Gettysburg. Firsthand accounts humanize generals and individual soldiers of the Blue and Gray who fought for their lives, their homes, and their convictions. This is the story of Gettysburg as it has never been told before.

Recollections of a Private Soldier in the Army of the Potomac

Frank Wilkeson - 1896
     But what about the voices of the common soldier? Frank Wilkeson, when he wrote his account of the civil war, aimed to rectify this and reassert the importance of looking at the accounts of the men who carried the muskets, served the guns, and rode their saddles into the heat of battle. As he states in his preface, “The epauleted history has been largely inspired by vanity or jealousy, saving and excepting forever the immortal record”. Wilkeson and his fellow comrades who lived on the frontlines of the conflict had no need to rescue their reputations or assert their actions and thus their accounts provide a brilliant and unbiased alternative view of this bloody war. After lying about his age Frank Wilkeson was just sixteen when he joined the Union Army in 1864. Through the course of the next year he saw some of the ferocious battles of Grant’s Overland Campaign. Recollections of a Private Soldier in the Army of the Potomac is a wonderfully refreshing account of the American Civil War that takes the reader to the heart of what it would have been like to have served in the front ranks. “Wilkeson’s words have a robustness that remind us that colorful writing was in the American air, and contemporaries like Mark Twain didn’t come out of the blue (or the gray).” Robert Cowley, HistoryNet “deeply portrays the experience of the ordinary soldier on campaign and in battle.” Civil War Talk “[The memoir is] unlike most others by Civil War Veterans who tended to romanticize and sometimes glorify the experiences they went through . . . . His emphasis on the seamy, unheroic, horrific side of war is a healthy corrective to romanticism." James McPherson Frank Wilkeson was an American journalist, soldier, farmer and explorer. His memoir Recollections of a Private Soldier in the Army of the Potomac was first published in 1887 and he passed away in 1913.

Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer

G. Moxley Sorrel - 1905
    He was even with Longstreet at the Battle of Wilderness when Longstreet was struck down by a bullet coming from their own men.As Longstreet’s right hand man through the war until 1864 Moxley Sorrel was put into contact with some of the most remarkable figures of the Confederate army, and they are all vividly portrayed within his memoirs.At Petersburg, during the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, he was wounded and feared mortally so, eventually he recovered but his military career ended here.The historian Douglas Southall Freeman wrote that Moxely Sorrel’s Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer contains “a hundred touches of humor and revealing strokes of swift characterisation.”Once the war ended Moxley Sorrel returned to the south where he entered business. His Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer was published in 1905. He died in 1901 in Roanoke, Virginia.

General Lee: A Biography of Robert E. Lee

Fitzhugh Lee - 1894
    Lee was one of the greatest generals to have ever lived. Although having fought for the slave-trading South during the American Civil War he was, and still is, regarded as a superb tactician and leader of men by both North and South. General Lee, written by his nephew and fellow soldier, Fitzhugh Lee, takes the reader to the heart of Lee’s life, from his family origins to his early career in the military as he became a military engineer and fought in the Mexican-American War. Through access to numerous unpublished letters and accounts Fitzhugh Lee provides fascinating insight into his uncle’s military genius throughout the American Civil War, from the Seven Days Battle to Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville to Gettysburg, right through until his eventual surrender to Grant in 1865. “General Lee remains a valuable book for students of Lee and his campaigns as well as those interested in southern efforts to write a military history of the Confederacy.” Gary W. Gallagher “Much solid narrative, interspersed with letters previously unpublished.” Douglas Southall Freeman Fitzhugh Lee was a Confederate cavalry general in the American Civil War and a United States Army general in the Spanish-American War. He also served as a diplomat for the United States and as the 40th Governor of Virginia. Along with General Lee which was published in 1894 he also wrote Cuba's Struggle Against Spain in 1899. He passed away in 1905.

Richmond Burning: The Last Days of the Confederate Capital

Nelson D. Lankford - 2002
    In April 1865 General Robert E. Lee realized that his army must retreat from the Confederate capital and that Jefferson Davis's government must flee. As the Southern soldiers moved out they set the city on fire, leaving a blazing ruin to greet the entering Union troops. The city's fall ushered in the birth of the modern United States. Lankford's exploration of this pivotal event is at once an authoritative work of history and a stunning piece of dramatic prose.

Stonewall Jackson: A Biography

Donald A. Davis - 2007
    Lee, Stonewall Jackson assumed his nickname during the Battle of Bull Run in the Civil War. It is said that The Army of Northern Virginia never fully recovered from the loss of Stonewall's leadership when he was accidentally shot by one of his own men and died in 1863. Davis highlights Stonewall Jackson as a general who emphasized the importance of reliable information and early preparedness (he so believed in information that he had a personal mapmaker with him at all times) and details Jackson's many lessons in strategy and leadership.

Darkness at Chancellorsville: A Novel of Stonewall Jackson's Triumph and Tragedy

Ralph Peters - 2019
    Famed Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson bring off an against-all-odds surprise victory, humiliating a Yankee force three times the size of their own, while the Northern army is torn by rivalries, anti-immigrant prejudice and selfish ambition.This historically accurate epic captures the high drama, human complexity and existential threat that nearly tore the United States in two, featuring a broad range of fascinating--and real--characters, in blue and gray, who sum to an untold story about a battle that has attained mythic proportions. And, in the end, the Confederate triumph proved a Pyrrhic victory, since it lured Lee to embark on what would become the war's turning point--the Gettysburg Campaign (featured in Cain At Gettysburg).

Robert E. Lee

Roy Blount Jr. - 2003
    Lee that is rarely seen. But now Roy Blount, Jr. combines acute character insight with lively storytelling and a full-hearted Southern directness to craft this unique, personal portrait.Fascinated by what made Lee into such a great, though reluctant, leader, Blount delves into his family history and his personality. He illustrates how, descended from two illustrious families, Lee embodied the best of all their traits and became Lincoln's first choice to lead the Union troops in 1861. But Lee's Virginia roots drew him, instead, to the Confederate command. Blount vividly conveys not only his ambition and courage but also his humility and humor, and his sorrowful sense of responsibility for his outnumbered, outgunned, half-starved army. Robert E. Lee, the first succinct biography of this American legend, will appeal to history and military buffs, proud Southerners, and every reader curious to discover the man behind the military leader.

Valor's Measure: Based on the heroic Civil War career of Joshua L. Chamberlain

Thomas Wade Oliver - 2013
    From his legendary bayonet charge down the slopes of Little Round Top hill during the Battle of Gettysburg, to the startling calling of Union troops to salute as the defeated Confederate Army surrendered to him at Appomattox, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain redefined the scale of greatness in this country. Wounded six times in battle, twice assumed to be a fatality, the volunteer officer from Maine continued to lead gallantly until the final shot was fired during the Civil War. Valor's Measure tells the death-defying tale of this Medal of Honor hero and captures his spirit as no autobiography can.

Life in the Confederate Army

William Watson - 1887
     William Watson presents a narrative of his observations and experience in the Southern States, both before and during the American Civil War. Prior to the War, Watson lived in the hot, fertile state of Louisiana. With Lincoln in office, and the secession of the southern states, North and South was plunged in a violent Civil War. Watson recounts the widespread lack of political interest until the country reached this point. In a volunteer corps, Watson was surrounded by several industrial and commercial classes. His recollections include fascinating insights into the men he served with. Watson also gives his personal views on the causes of the war, and the conduct of both sides. Detailing the lives of the soldiers, Watson reveals their living conditions, the level of destruction and death and their daily rations. William Watson (1826-1906) was a Scottish native who moved to the Caribbean to work as a civil engineer. He later moved to Louisiana for business. While in Louisiana, he enlisted in the Confederate Army. He was one of many British citizens who had joined.

A Southern Woman's Story

Phoebe Yates Pember - 1879
    She assumed the responsibility informally at the age of 39 and eventually over 15,000 patients came under her direct care during the war. Pember remained at Chimborazo until the Confederate surrender in April 1865. She published her memoir soon after the war, in March 1866, serialized in a Baltimore magazine called The Cosmopolite as "Reminiscences of A Southern Hospital. By Its Matron." The memoir would later be published in book form as A Southern Woman's Story: Life in Confederate Richmond, in 1879. The memoir, which details her daily life through anecdotes of the war years, remains one of the best sources for understanding the experiences and ideas of upper-class Southern Jewish women before and during the Civil War.

Jack Hinson's One-Man War: A Civil War Sniper

Tom C. McKenney - 2009
    Opposed to secession and a friend to Union and Confederate commanders alike, he did not want a war. After Union soldiers seized and murdered his sons, placing their decapitated heads on the gateposts of his estate, Hinson could remain indifferent no longer. He commissioned a special rifle for long-range accuracy, he took to the woods, and he set out for revenge. This remarkable biography presents the story of Jack Hinson, a lone Confederate sniper who, at the age of 57, waged a personal war on Grant's army and navy. The result of 15 years of scholarship, this meticulously researched and beautifully written work is the only account of Hinson's life ever recorded and involves an unbelievable cast of characters, including the Earp brothers, Jesse James, and Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Bloody Spring: Forty Days that Sealed the Confederacy's Fate

Joseph Wheelan - 2014
    When it was over, the Civil War's tide had turned.In the spring of 1864, Virginia remained unbroken, its armies having repelled Northern armies for more than two years. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had defeated the campaigns of four Union generals, and Lee's veterans were confident they could crush the Union offensive this spring, too. But their adversary in 1864 was a different kind of Union commander—Ulysses S. Grant. The new Union general-in-chief had never lost a major battle while leading armies in the West. A quiet, rumpled man of simple tastes and a bulldog's determination, Grant would lead the Army of the Potomac in its quest to destroy Lee's army.During six weeks in May and June 1864, Grant's army campaigned as no Union army ever had. During nearly continual combat operations, the Army of the Potomac battered its way through Virginia, skirting Richmond and crossing the James River on one of the longest pontoon bridges ever built. No campaign in North American history was as bloody as the Overland Campaign. When it ended outside Petersburg, more than 100,000 men had been killed, wounded, or captured on battlefields in the Wilderness, near Spotsylvania Court House, and at Cold Harbor. Although Grant's casualties were nearly twice Lee's, the Union could replace its losses. The Confederacy could not.Lee's army continued to fight brilliant defensive battles, but it never mounted another major offensive. Grant's spring 1864 campaign had tipped the scales permanently in the Union's favor. The war's denouement came less than a year later with Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House.

War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta

Russell S. Bonds - 2009
    Union commander William Tecumseh Sherman’s relentless fight for the city secured the reelection of Abraham Lincoln, sealed the fate of the Southern Confederacy, and set a precedent for military campaigns that endures today. Its depiction in the novel and motion picture Gone with the Wind established the fight for Atlanta as an iconic episode in our nation’s most terrible war. In War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta, award-winning author Russell S. Bonds takes the reader behind the lines and across the smoky battlefields of Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Ezra Church, and Jonesboro, and into the lives of fascinating characters, both the famous and the forgotten, including the fiery and brilliant Sherman; General John Bell Hood, the Confederacy’s last hope to defend Atlanta; Benjamin Harrison, the diminutive young Indiana colonel who would rise to become President of the United States; Patrick Cleburne, the Irishmanturned- Southern officer; and ten-year-old diarist Carrie Berry, who bravely withstood and bore witness to the fall of the city. Here also is the dramatic story of the ordeal of Atlanta itself—the five-week artillery bombardment, the expulsion of its civilian population, and the infamous fire that followed. Based on new research in diaries, newspapers, previously unpublished letters, and other archival sources, War Like the Thunderbolt is a combination of captivating narrative and insightful military analysis—a stirring account of the battle and burning of the “Gate City of the South.”