Our Country's Fiery Ordeal

A blog about the American Civil War, written and maintained by historian Daniel J. Vermilya, author of The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain (History Press, 2014) and James Garfield and the Civil War (History Press, 2015)

Dedicated to my great-great-great grandfather, Private Ellwood Rodebaugh, Company D, 106th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, killed at the Battle of Antietam, September 17, 1862.

"And may an Overuling Providence continue to cause good to come out of evil, justice to be done to all men where injustice has long prevailed, and finally, peace, quiet, and harmony to come out of this terrible confrontation and our country's fiery ordeal." -- Albert Champlin, 105th Ohio, Diary entry of June 19, 1864 (Western Reserve Historical Society)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Book Review: Connecticut Yankees at Antietam

Hello all,

I wanted to post about a new book out on Antietam by John Banks, who runs a great blog on Connecticut soldiers at Antietam and Gettysburg (his is one of the featured blogs in my links section on the side of the page).

I have had the chance to meet John a few times, and I am very glad he has published a book on Connecticut soldiers at Antietam through the History Press, which is churning out a large number of high quality works as of late.

John's book doesn't look at the battle in any sort of regiment by regiment fashion, following various Connecticut units movements on the field. Rather, he approaches the topic by telling stories. With a background in journalism (he actually works for ESPN!), Banks writes with the narrative ability of a natural story teller. The book is an incredibly good read, and the material used in the stories provides some incredibly moving examples of humanity and suffering at Antietam. Certainly, Banks spent many hours doing thorough research for this volume. Each chapter is relatively short (as is the book, a typical size for History Press works), which makes it very accessible for novices and experts alike.

One story that stood out the most for me among the moving stories featured in Connecticut Yankees at Antietam is that of Captain Newton Manross of the 16th Connecticut, who wrote to his wife explaining his decision to serve his country, "You can better afford to have a country without a husband than a husband without a country." Manross was killed at Antietam.

What a powerful quote. Nearly every story featured in this book has material that will be sure to captivate a wide audience from park rangers to those picking up their first book on Antietam.

I have really enjoyed reading through this new volume, and I highly recommend it. With battle anniversary just around the corner, I will likely be including some of Banks's Connecticut stories in my programming for the upcoming Antietam 151st, especially on my Burnside Bridge hike on Sept 14th. I highly recommend this new work, which you can find on amazon.com here.