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"Good first hand accounts of the ACW?" Topic

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1,184 hits since 27 Nov 2011
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the trojan bunny28 Nov 2011 12:34 a.m. PST

I'm taking a bit of a fancy to the period and want some reading material. I'm looking for recommendations for good first hand accounts of the ACW, whether by enlisted men or officers.

MajorB28 Nov 2011 2:33 a.m. PST

Battles and Leaders of the Civil War

bgbboogie Inactive Member28 Nov 2011 2:54 a.m. PST

Battles and Leaders for sure as Margard wrote.

Read the set several times


Chris B Inactive Member28 Nov 2011 4:23 a.m. PST

Co. Aytch by Sam Watkins.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2011 4:44 a.m. PST

Yes, Co. Aytch, if you can find a copy.

A Twiningham Inactive Member28 Nov 2011 6:24 a.m. PST

In addition to Battles and Leaders and Company Aytch there are many good regimental and company histories written by veterans.

I particularly like this history of company C, 7th Ohio Infantry which was written in 1866.


Scale Creep Miniatures Inactive Member28 Nov 2011 6:50 a.m. PST

Grant's memoirs are a classic.

TKindred Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2011 7:17 a.m. PST

"Soldiering", by Rice Bull, 123rd NY Infantry

"Rags & Hope" by Val Giles, 4th Texas Infantry

"Hard marching Every Day" by Wilbur Fisk, 3rd Vermont Infantry

"Army Life" by Theodore Gerrish, 20th Maine Infantry

"Following the Greek Cross" by Thomas Hyde, 7th Maine Infantry

Those are a few off the top of my head. All have excellent details of the life and times of members of their units, what they experienced, and some good details about soldier life, equipment, training, etc.

Cleburne1863 Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2011 7:36 a.m. PST

"A Southern Boy in Blue: The Memoirs of Marcus Woodcock 9th Kentucky Infantry U.S.A"

"One of Cleburne's Command: The Civil War Reminiscences and Diary of Capt. Samuel T. Foster, Granbury's Texas Brigade, CSA"

Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2011 7:50 a.m. PST

Hardtack & Coffee by John Billings. It's a great view of the war from an enlisted man's viewpoint. Also, parts are very funny.

The Monitor Chronicles. Letters from the Third Engineer on the USS Monitor.

The Letters of Peter Welsh. He served as the color sergeant of the 28th Mass (until he was killed at Spottsylvania)

Corporal Si Klegg and His "Pard" by Wilbur F. Hinman. A novel written by a veteran. Sometimes novels are more true than the truth.

I also endorse the books suggested above.

Billy Yank Inactive Member28 Nov 2011 7:55 a.m. PST

"Army Letters" by Oliver Wilcox Norton (83rd PA and 8th USCT). It can be downloaded for free off of google books.

Billy Yank

FireZouave Inactive Member28 Nov 2011 8:09 a.m. PST

"My Enemy, My Brother" is a narrative of the Battle of Gettysburg with many first hand accounts inserted in it, which makes it all come alive. I remember how I envisioned some of the things that soldiers commented on in the book!

wingleader35628 Nov 2011 8:22 a.m. PST

I was going to throw Soldiering by Rice Bull up on here but i have been beaten to it… (from my home town and i used to re-enact 123ny)

Sherman's Memoirs are also a great read, the smart alec notes passed between sherman and the opposing commanders are alot of fun to read

firstvarty197928 Nov 2011 9:58 a.m. PST

"Eye of the Storm" by Robert Knox Sneden


the trojan bunny28 Nov 2011 11:08 a.m. PST

Wow, thanks for all the suggestions. Lots to look for now. :)

donlowry28 Nov 2011 11:26 a.m. PST

Campaigning with Grant by Horace Porter

Sherman's Memoirs are just as good as Grant's, maybe better.

Campaigner1 Inactive Member28 Nov 2011 2:38 p.m. PST

"Mother, May You Never See the Sights I've seen", the 57th Massachusetts Veteran Volunteers in the last year of the war


Campaigner1 Inactive Member28 Nov 2011 2:40 p.m. PST

T Kindred mentioned one of the best first-hand soldier's accounts, a book that is often overlooked, "Hard Marching Every Day" by Wilbur Fisk.

Fisk is both articulate and very detailed in his descriptions of army life. A most excellent read.

Campaigner1 Inactive Member28 Nov 2011 2:47 p.m. PST

OMG how could I have forgotten…. what I consider to be the "confederate equivalent" of Hardtack and Coffee by Billings,

"Detailed Minutiae of Soldier Life" by Carlton McCarthy!


McCarthy gives what may be, in my opinion, the best descriptions of food, cooking, sleeping, marching, and comradery during the Civil War of any author I have ever read. A true masterpiece.

John Michael Priest28 Nov 2011 6:03 p.m. PST has a hundred or so regimantal histories and memoirs available free on line.

Cleburne1863 Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2011 7:22 p.m. PST

So does In fact, I think it has even more of them than Google.

Personal logo Milhouse Supporting Member of TMP28 Nov 2011 9:16 p.m. PST

Don't forget "All for Union" by Elisha Hunt Rhodes

Greylegion29 Nov 2011 5:49 a.m. PST

Time Life "Voices of the Civil War". I found these books to be very interesting as they give first hand accounts of the times, feeling and thoughts of civilians, Union and Confederate troops before during and after each battle.

Nice series.

A Twiningham Inactive Member29 Nov 2011 5:52 a.m. PST

My link to the 7th Ohio history is to It is a great source for free books.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP29 Nov 2011 7:33 a.m. PST

"Gunner with Stonewall" by Willam T. Poague.
"I Rode With Stonewall" by Henry Kyd Douglas.

Ditto on "Hardtack and Coffee" "…Billy Yank" "…Johnny Reb", "Soldiering", "Co. Aytch".

Cuirassier29 Nov 2011 7:10 p.m. PST

the trojan bunny,

Take a look here (all six pages): link

Btw… I'm "Zouave" over there. :-D

firstvarty197929 Nov 2011 9:57 p.m. PST

T Kindred mentioned one of the best first-hand soldier's accounts, a book that is often overlooked, "Hard Marching Every Day" by Wilbur Fisk.

Fisk is both articulate and very detailed in his descriptions of army life. A most excellent read.

I couldn't agree more. As a former Union reenactor, it is a must-read for its portrayal of the life of the common soldier – the title says it all!

Campaigner1 Inactive Member30 Nov 2011 8:17 a.m. PST

Wow yeah, Millhouse mentioned a classic, "All For the Union" by Elisha Hunt Rhodes!

Not to be missed!

donlowry30 Nov 2011 11:17 a.m. PST


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