David West

This book was interesting reading. In various small ways, it reminded me of my days in combat. There were letters home talking about the searches for water, the sound of a pitched battle less than a mile away without a clue about what was going on, the gentle rain of leaves shredded by bullets passing overhead, etc.

I quickly noticed that the soldiers are interested in a few things that American historians pass over. The Union soldiers are very upset about something known as Fort Pillow, but Fort Pillow is too controversial for moderns to mention. I saw a few mentions about how competent the 48er veterans were. American historians do not take much interest in them even though they were very anti-slavery and may have formed 10% of the union army. There is an old proverb that says that the South had the best Generals and the North had the best Sergeants and the Sergeants won. I suspect that a lot of those Sergeants were the 48er veterans.
The letters and official reports are mostly preserved with their original grammar and spelling intact. I do remember the author pointing out that “corpse” of wood should be read as “copse” of wood. It is interesting to read exact words of the participants.