From Western Deserts to Carolina Swamps
John P. Wilson
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Buy *From Western Deserts to Carolina Swamps: A Civil War Soldier's Journals and Letters Home* by John P. Wilson online

From Western Deserts to Carolina Swamps: A Civil War Soldier's Journals and Letters Home
John P. Wilson
University of New Mexico Press
Hardcover
296 pages
May 2012
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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History has not provided many eyewitness accounts of the American Civil War. First-person accounts of the Western Theater of the war are scarcer still. From Western Deserts to Carolina Swamps: A Civil War Soldier's Journals and Letters Home provides sufficient remedy to this state of affairs.

Meticulously edited by John P. Wilson, From Western Deserts to Carolina Swamps presents the personal journal and correspondences of Lewis Roe, an Ohio farm boy who served in the 7th U.S. Infantry and the 50th Illinois Volunteer Infantry from 1860-1865. The sometimes short but amazingly consistent journal entries provide insight to the details one doesn't usually consider when thinking about war, such as the importance of mail, the scarcity of food, and the boredom of thousand-mile marches. Also included is a detailed account of the Battle of Valverde, the largest Civil War battle in the Rocky Mountain West:

"The rebels marched up the Rio Grande arriving at Fort Craig. Col. Canby depending on his Mexican volunteers attacked the rebels, but before our skirmish line was driven in, our Mexican vols. turned and ran every man for himself, leaving 250 of us facing 3,500 rebels. The result was we were badly cut up, our Co. "F" suffering the worst. We went into battle that morning (feb 21, 1962) 60 men strong. We came out only 14 able to march. 21 were shot dead, the remainder wounded, but one man in our Co. escaped without a bullet mark. I rec (received) a slight wound in my leg. My coat was shot through the breast. It was a close call."
It is in the account of Valverde that the work of editor John P. Wilson shines brightest, as he augments the Roe's story with documentation, maps and research to give the reader a comprehensive view of the battle as it happened around Roe.

Roe and Wilson have conspired across 150 years of history to bring us a compelling, superbly documented story of an American Civil War infantryman and his journey across a fractured nation. It is simply a must-read for any fans of American or Civil War history.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Joseph Scott, 2012

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