Soldier boy : the Civil War letters of Charles O. Musser, 29th Iowa /
edited by Barry Popchock.
Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, c1995.
260 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
0877455236 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
added author
Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, c1995.
0877455236 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
Includes bibliographical references.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-05-01:
Not all of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War served with the major armies or saw action at Gettysburg, Shiloh, or Chattanooga. Many found themselves relegated to less important secondary theaters. Such was the case with Charles Musser, who joined the 29th Iowa Infantry in the summer of 1862 and spent most of the war in Arkansas, although he participated in the siege and capture of Mobile in April 1865. Nevertheless, Musser's letters home are as revealing in their own way as are the collections of far more famous correspondents. Readers will gain a vivid sense of the boredom of military life, the impact of illness on a regiment, and a soldier's awareness of political issues. Most revealing are Musser's comments on blacks as slaves and as soldiers, and the intensity of his hatred for Confederate guerrillas. Popchock has done an admirable job in assembling these letters, although some may question the rather significant degree of editorial intervention in presenting the texts of the letters; others will look askance at the quality of the maps and the decision to place notes at the end of the book. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and above. B. D. Simpson Arizona State University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, May 1996
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Unpaid Annotation
Blood and anger, bragging and pain, are all part of this young Iowa soldier's vigorous words about war and soldiering. A twenty year old farmer from Council Bluffs, Charles O. Musser was one of 76,000 Iowans who enlisted to wear the blue uniform. He was a prolific writer, penning at least 130 letters home during his term of service with the 29th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Soldier Boy makes a significant contribution to the literature of the common soldier of the Civil War. Moreover, it takes a rare look at the Trans-Mississippi theater, which has traditionally been undervalued by historians. Early in the war, the cream of the Confederacy's manpower in the region left to join the fray east of the Mississippi. The Union troops in the Trans-Mississippi theater were chronically hampered by supply shortages, reflecting the low priority that Washington assigned them. Large scale, pitched battles were rare, small unit actions and hit and run raids being the order of the day. Still, hard fighting and real dying took place. Musser was present in the midst of the action on Independence Day, 1863, and lived to graphically describe one of the bloodiest Civil War battles west of the Mississippi, when a federal garrison repeatedly turned back Confederate attempts to capture Helena, Arkansas. He survived his baptism by fire at Helena and served ably for the balance of the war, holding the rank of sergeant when mustered out.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. 1
To War: December 1862-April 1863p. 11
Soldier Boy: April-July 1863p. 45
Army of Occupation: July-December 1863p. 71
Battle: January-May 1864p. 101
Home Front: June-November 1864p. 133
Garrison: November 1864-February 1865p. 165
Peace Again: February-July 1865p. 187
Three Undated Letter Fragmentsp. 219
Notesp. 221
Bibliographyp. 241
Indexp. 245
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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