Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Battle Pieces

For those who can't get enough of the Civil War, The Library of America now offers the complete set of chronicles (four volumes) compiled by Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Brooks D. Simpson, and Stephen W. Sears.  This ambition undertaking started in 2011 and now numbers over 3000 pages of letters, diary entries, speeches, articles, legal opinions, poems and songs from the tumultuous years 1860- 1865.  The Final Year, edited by Dean, is due out April 3.

Each volume takes in roughly a year of the war, starting with the eve of Lincoln's election in  November 1860 and ending with the proclamation of emancipation in Texas in June 1865.  Along the way, the reader is treated with such diverse participants as Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, George McClellan, Robert E. Lee, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, George Templeton Strong, as well as numerous first person accounts by soldiers on both sides of the war.

It should make for a great reference, although you can probably find most of these accounts on line these days, as there are vast Civil War archives easily accessible on the Internet.  The photo above is of a Union private at Fort Benton, Missouri, and is from the Liljenquist Family Collection on display at the California African American Museum.

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