Civil War Diaries, Memoirs, Letters, and Newspaper
Civil War Diaries, Memoirs, Letters, and Newspapers
In addition to each page there is rare information regarding related
individuals, soldiers within the command, as well as Compiled Military Service Records (CMSR). The CMSR is
considered a primary source and also includes some previously non-published material. (Bookmark for updates.) With the scale and magnitude of the American Civil War, there is probably as much unpublished
material in family hands, collectively, as there is published. Our history defines
us, and by preserving it we do it justice....If we forget or deny our history
and heritage, we not only lose our identity but we are denying the uttermost core and the very essence of why we are who we
See also our Special Collection:
Recommended Reading: Jack Hinson's One-Man War, A Civil War Sniper (Hardcover). Description: Jack Hinson
never planned to become a deadly sniper. A prosperous and influential Kentucky plantation
owner in the 1850s, Hinson was devoted to raising his growing family and working his land. Yet by 1865, Hinson had likely
killed more than one hundred men and had single-handedly taken down an armed Union transport in his one-man war against Grant's
army and navy. By the end of the Civil War, the Union had committed infantry and
cavalry from nine regiments and a specially equipped amphibious task force of marines to capture Hinson, who was by that time
nearly sixty years old. They never caught him. Since then, the story of Jack Hinson has evaded astute historians, and until
now, he has remained invisible in the history of sniper warfare. Continued below…
John S. "Old Jack" Hinson watched
the start of the Civil War with impartial disinterest. A friend of Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate officers alike, Hinson
was opposed to secession, focused instead on his personal affairs. After a unit of Union occupation troops moved in on his
land and summarily captured, executed, and placed the decapitated heads of his sons on his gateposts, however, Hinson abandoned
his quiet life for one of revenge. In this unprecedented and incredible biography, Lt. Col. Tom C. McKenney masterfully recounts
Hinson's extraordinary feats as a lone Confederate sniper. Equipped with a rifle he had specially made for long-range accuracy,
Hinson became a deadly gadfly to the occupying army. An exemplary piece of historical scholarship and the result of fifteen
years of research, this definitive biography includes an amazing cast of characters including the Earp Brothers, Nathan Bedford
Forrest, and Jesse James, the cousin of Hinson's wife. This breathtaking story was all but destroyed by the obliterating forces
of history and is the only account in print chronicling this one man's impact on the Civil War.
the Inside Flap: A quiet, unassuming, and wealthy plantation owner, Jack Hinson was focused on his family life and seasonal
plantings when the Civil War started to permeate the isolated valleys of the Kentucky-Tennessee border area where he lived.
He was uniquely neutral--friend to both Confederate and Uniongenerals--and his family
exemplified the genteel, educated, gracious, and hardworking qualities highly valued in their society. By the winter of 1862,
the Hinsons' happy way of life would change forever. Jack Hinson's neutrality was shattered the day Union patrols moved in
on his land, captured two of his sons, accused them of being bushwhackers, and executed them on the roadside. The soldiers
furthered the abuse by decapitating the Hinson boys and placing their heads on the gateposts of the family estate. The Civil
War, now literally on Hinson's doorstep, had become painfully personal, and he could remain dispassionate no longer. He commissioned
a special rifle, a heavy-barreled .50-caliber weapon designed for long-range accuracy. He said goodbye to his family, and
he took to the wilderness seeking revenge. Hinson, nearly sixty years of age, alone, and without formal military training,
soon became a deadly threat to theUnion. A Confederate sniper, he made history after single-handedly
bringing down an armed Union transport and serving as a scout for Nathan Bedford Forrest. A tenacious and elusive figure,
Hinson likely killed more than one hundred Union soldiers, recording the confirmed deaths on the barrel of his rifle with
precision. Despite the numbers of men sent to kill him, Hinson evaded all capture, and like his footsteps through the Kentucky and Tennessee underbrush,
his story has been shrouded in silence--until now. The result of fifteen years of research, this remarkable biography presents
the never-before-told history of Jack Hinson, his savage war on his country, and the brutal cost of vengeance and war.
Editor's Pick: Co. Aytch:
A Confederate Memoir of the Civil War. Description: Of the 120 men who enlisted in "Company H" (Or Co.
Aytch as he calls it) in 1861, Sam Watkins was one of only seven alive when General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee
surrendered to General William Tecumseh Sherman in North Carolina in
April, 1865. Of the 1,200 men who fought in the First Tennessee, only 65 were left to be paroled on that day. "Co. Aytch: A Confederate Memoir of the Civil War" is heralded by many historians as one of the
best war memoirs written by a common soldier of the field. Sam R. Watkin's writing style in "Co Aytch" is quite engaging and
skillfully captures the pride, misery, glory, and horror experienced by the common foot soldier. Continued below…
About the Author: Samuel "Sam"
Rush Watkins (June 26, 1839 - July 20, 1901) was a noted Confederate soldier during the American Civil War. He is known today
for his memoir Company Aytch: Or, a Side Show of the Big Show, often heralded as one of the best primary sources about the
common soldier's Civil War experience. Watkins was born on June 26, 1839 near Columbia,
Maury County, Tennessee, and received his formal education at Jackson College in Columbia. He
originally enlisted in the "Bigby Greys" of the 3rd Tennessee Infantry in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, but transferred shortly
thereafter to the First Tennessee Infantry, Company H (the "Maury Greys") in the spring of 1861. Watkins faithfully served
throughout the duration of the War, participating in the battles of Shiloh,Corinth, Perryville, Murfreesboro (Stones River),
Shelbyville, Chattanooga,Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge,
Resaca, Adairsville, Kennesaw Mountain(Cheatham
Hill), New Hope Church, Zion Church, Kingston,
Cassville, Atlanta,Jonesboro, Franklin,
and Nashville. Of the 120 men who enlisted in "Company
H" in 1861, Sam Watkins was one of only seven alive when General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee surrendered to General
William Tecumseh Sherman in North Carolina April,
1865. Of the 1,200 men who fought in the First Tennessee, only 65 were left to be paroled on that day. Soon after the war
ended, Watkins began writing his memoir, entitled "Company Aytch: Or, a Side Show of the Big Show". It was originally serialized
in the Columbia, Tennessee Herald
newspaper. "Co. Aytch" was published in a first edition of 2,000 in book form in 1882. "Co. Aytch" is heralded by many historians
as one of the best war memoirs written by a common soldier of the field. Sam's writing style is quite engaging and skillfully
captures the pride, misery, glory, and horror experienced by the common foot soldier. Watkins is often featured and quoted
in Ken Burns' 1990 documentary titled The Civil War. Watkins died on July 20, 1901 at the age of sixty-two in his home in
the Ashwood Community. He was buried with full military honors by the members of the Leonidas Polk Bivouac, United Confederate
Veterans, in the cemetery of the Zion Presbyterian Church near Mount Pleasant, Tennessee.
Recommended Reading: The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy (444 pages) (Louisiana State University
Press) (Updated edition: November 2007) Description: The Life of Johnny Reb does not merely describe the battles and skirmishes fought
by the Confederate foot soldier. Rather, it provides an intimate history of a soldier's daily life--the songs he sang, the
foods he ate, the hopes and fears he experienced, the reasons he fought. Wiley examined countless letters, diaries, newspaper
accounts, and official records to construct this frequently poignant, sometimes humorous account of the life of Johnny Reb.
In a new foreword for this updated edition, Civil War expert James I. Robertson, Jr., explores the exemplary career of Bell
Irvin Wiley, who championed the common folk, whom he saw as ensnared in the great conflict of the 1860s. Continued below...
About Johnny Reb:
"A Civil War classic."--Florida Historical Quarterly
"This book deserves to be on the shelf of every Civil War modeler and enthusiast."--Model
"[Wiley] has painted with skill a picture of the life of the Confederate private. . . . It is a picture that is not only
by far the most complete we have ever had but perhaps the best of its kind we ever shall have."--Saturday Review of Literature
Reading: Rebel Private: Front and Rear: Memoirs of a Confederate Soldier. Description:
First published in 1907, the memoirs of a former Confederate soldier who fought at Gettysburg,
Chancellorsville, Second Manassas, and Chickamauga reveal
the ground-level perspective of a Civil War private. Continued below…
From Publishers Weekly: William
Fletcher joined the Confederate Army in 1861. He served with the Army of Northern Virginia's elite Texas Brigade until the
Battle of Chickamauga. Unable to march because of wounds, he transferred to the cavalry and finished the war with the Texas
Rangers, then wrote his memoirs 40 years later. Most of the original copies were destroyed in a fire. The current edition
presents unvarnished images of hard marches, short rations and battles in which being wounded could prove worse than being
killed. Fletcher describes the horrors of being a Civil War casualty as vividly as any firsthand account from either side.
The author emerges from these pages as fighting less for a cause than for his own pride in being a good soldier. His narrative
does more than many learned monographs to explain the Confederacy's long endurance against overwhelming odds.
Recommended Reading: Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union (488 pages) (Louisiana
State University Press). Description: This fascinating social history reveals that while the Yanks and the Rebs
fought for very different causes, the men on both sides were very much the same. "This wonderfully interesting book is the
finest memorial the Union soldier is ever likely to have. . . . [Wiley] has written about the Northern troops with an admirable
objectivity, with sympathy and understanding and profound respect for their fighting abilities. He has also written about
them with fabulous learning and considerable pace and humor.
Recommended Reading: North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster (Volume XVI: Thomas's Legion) (Hardcover: 537 pages), North
Carolina Office of Archives and History (June 26, 2008). Description: The volume begins with an authoritative 246-page history
of Thomas's Legion. The history, including Civil War battles and campaigns, is followed by a complete roster
and service records of the field officers, staff, and troops that served in the legion. A thorough index completes the
volume. Continued below...
Volume XVI of North Carolina Troops: A Roster
contains the history and roster of the most unusual North Carolina Confederate Civil War unit, significant because of the
large number of Cherokee Indians who served in its ranks. Thomas's Legion was the creation of William Holland Thomas, an influential
businessman, state legislator, and Cherokee chief. He initially raised a small battalion of Cherokees in April 1862,
and gradually expanded his command with companies of white soldiers raised in western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and
Virginia. By the end of 1862, Thomas's Legion comprised an infantry regiment and a battalion of infantry and cavalry. An artillery
battery was added in April 1863. Furthermore, in General Early's Army of the Valley, the Thomas Legion was well-known for
its fighting prowess. It is also known for its pivotal role in the last Civil War
battle east of the Mississippi River. The Thomas Legion mustered more than 2,500 soldiers and it closely resembled a
brigade. With troop roster, muster records, and Compiled Military
Service Records (CMSR) this volume is also a must have for anyone interested in genealogy and researching Civil War ancestors.
Simply stated, it is an outstanding source for genealogists.
Reading: Storm in the Mountains: Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers (Thomas' Legion: The Sixty-ninth North Carolina Regiment).
Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains, spent 10 years conducting extensive
Thomas Legion's research. Crow was granted access to rare manuscripts, special collections, and privately held diaries
which add great depth to this rarely discussed Civil War legion. He explores and discusses the unit's formation, fighting
history, and life of the legion's commander--Confederate colonel and Cherokee chief--William Holland Thomas. Continued below...
Numerous maps and photographs allow the reader to better understand and
relate to the subjects discussed. It also contains rosters which is an added bonus for researchers and genealogists. Crow,
furthermore, left no stone unturned while examining the many facets of the Thomas Legion and his research is conveyed on a
level that scores with Civil War students and scholars alike.
Tracing Your Civil War Ancestor
(Hardcover). Description: It is tantalizing to
speculate about the role your ancestors may have played in the great national drama of the Civil War. But family records are
often inaccurate, or provide precious few leads on where to begin the search. Now, experienced historian Bertram Hawthorne
Groene shows you how easy it is to trace your forbearers' role in the war, where and how long they fought, whether they were
Union or Rebel, soldier or sailor -- even with a minimum of information. Continued below...
Civil War Ancestor provides you with:
-- The names
and addresses of all state archives.
-- Names and
addresses of institutions that hold microfilmed service records from the national archives.
-- Names and
publishers of useful regional Civil War reference books.
-- Names and
publishers of sourcebooks for identifying Civil War weapons and accoutrements.
-- And much
genealogists, antique dealers, and collectors of Civil War artifacts will find this concise guidebook of great value. But
most of all it is of inestimable practical value to family historians, North and South, who are discovering the pleasure and
satisfaction of compiling an accurate family history.
Recommended Reading: Civil War Research Guide: A Guide for Researching Your Civil War Ancestor. Description: It has been over 40 years since the last comprehensive
guide to tracing and researching Civil War ancestors was published. The "Civil War Research Guide" goes beyond, but does not
exclude, such major national sources such as the National Archives in Washington,
and features information on little-known publications, websites, auctions, memorabilia dealers, and patriotic organisations.
The authors lay out a systematic procedure for performing research and recording the results in order to build a proper file
on a Civil War soldier, making the experience both educational and entertaining. Continued below…
About the Authors:
Stephen McManus resides in East Whiteland, Pennsylvania, and is a graduate of Rensselear Polytechnic
Institute and Delaware Law
School. Donald Thompson resides in Upper Marlboro, Maryland,
and is a graduate of Rhode Island College.
Thomas Churchill resides in Summerville, South Carolina,
and is a graduate of the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.
Key Words: Civil War Diary Memoirs Letters Papers Soldier Army Confederate Battle Life of a Civil War Soldier Battle
Experience Combat Account Civil War Infantry Regiment Officer Account Newspaper Report Record South North Union