Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just finished reading: The Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm. I have had this book for several years, but for whatever reason never got around to reading it. But now, as circumstances prevent me from book purchases I have sought out my books that have been pushed aside or neglected. In addition, I have discovered that the library is a good alternative. I know that sounds like common sense, but I am a bibilophile of the first order and if had the alternative, I would rather own than borrow books; a senitment I find that most historians harbor.

Anyway, back to the book. Daniel Chisholm enlisted in the spring of 1864 in Co. K, 116th PA Inf. The first half of the book recounts the exploits of this regiment from the Battle of the Wilderness to their being mustered out in the summer of 1865. These accounts were copied by Chisholm from the journal of Sgt. Samuel Clear. The second half of the book consists of letters that Chisholm and his brother Alex sent back home. These letters are wonderful insights into the life of Union infantry soldiers during the last year of the war. The letters cover life in camp, punishments, pay, picket duty, and battle experiences. Daniel was wounded in the leg on June 16, 1864 in an attack on the Petersburg defenses, and except for a short return to the 116th, served out the war in various hospitals. Alex served his whole enlistment with the 116th.

Living in Petersburg provides a neat connection to many of places described in this book. Weldon Railroad, Reams Station, Hatcher's Run, White Oak Road all seem so far removed today from what happened at these locations 145 years ago. This book is a quick read and I recommend it to anyone interested in the common Union soldier's life.

No comments:

Post a Comment