Synopses & Reviews
An illustrated anthology of the most revealing Civil War letters by Vermont soldiers and homefront civilians.
The Civil War left no Vermonters untouched, and few families free from pain. More than 140 letters -- carefully selected from some 9000 in several archives -- convey in personal terms the combat experience of Vermonters throughout the war. Vermont raised seventeen infantry regiments, one cavalry regiment, three batteries of light artillery and three companies of sharpshooters -- nearly 35,000 soldiers in all. As a result of this impressive commitment, Vermont suffered one of the highest rates of military deaths of any Union state.
A War of the People covers the war chronologically, with editor Jeffrey D. Marshall providing running commentary on both the war overall, and Vermonters' experiences. Supplemented with maps and photographs, it includes many voices -- from privates to colonels, mothers, wives, and best friends, young and old -- writing about battle narratives, camp life, financial advice, family matters, and much more. An African-American soldier from Hinesburgh, a French-Canadian soldier who enlisted in Milton, and dozens of others record their experiences in unforgettable words. Marshall's battlefront/homefront choice of letters provides a deeper understanding of the social and political dimensions that, although secondary to military concerns, were an integral part of Vermont's war years.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 341-347) and index.