Savas Beatie, 2019, $15.95, 168 pages
Image courtesy of amazon.com
With the massive libraries of Civil War academia only growing through the years, there has been one aspect of the war I felt has been observed, but rarely written on in depth. A few weeks ago, I reviewed Union Soldiers, a book about the lives of “Billy Yank,” throughout the war. This week, I’m taking a look at the opposite release of that book, Confederate Soldiers, which not only looks at the battlefield lives of these men, but the sailors as well. I’m quite interested to see what this book offers because there are not many books on this subject, dedicating a whole book to the lifestyle of the soldiers during the war.
Mark Hughes is a retired electronics technician and was a department head and instructor for Electronic Engineering Technology. He graduated from Gaston College and Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The latter awarded him as a Distinguished Alumni. He has written the major works on both Union and Confederate Cemeteries, Bivouac of the Dead, The Unpublished Road of Honor, and Confederate Cemeteries, which is published in two volumes. Hughes is considered to be the authority on these cemeteries and is the only author who has written works on them. He is also the author of The New Civil War Handbook, along with a number of articles on differing subjects.
One of the first things I enjoyed about this book was the ease of reading in which Hughes writes. Not only is this book approachable for anyone interested in the subject, but I think it’ll be a great book for beginners in the subject. The whole life of the soldier is laid bare for everyone to see, from enlistment, all the way to the end of the war. I found that his discussion on the prisoners of war was useful, and gave me information that I never had before, and mirrored the opposite book Union Soldiers. I appreciated knowing more about those experiences, and as stated before, was accessible to many. Hughes also gives us a look at a Civil War timeline which is wonderfully presented. But the most poignant portion of the book is the end, where it not only talks about what happens when the war is over, but how to heal from one of the bloodiest conflicts in American history. It shows pictures of reunions, monuments, and the veterans of the war sitting side by side. I know it was only a short section, but that kind of information sticks with me. The book concludes with a gallery of Confederate soldiers and a short blurb about who they are and what they accomplished during the war. This section only added to the detail of the book that surrounds it, heightening the information presented in the previous chapters.
I highly recommend this book to any interested in the Civil War, not only those who’ve been studying the conflict for years, but beginners as well. Combined with Union Soldiers, these two books should be in every Civil War library as a study on the lives of soldiers during the conflict. The narrative was beautiful, the information was well researched, and I can’t thank Mark Hughes enough for this entry into Civil War books.