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 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 08:44 pm
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chrisfingle
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Ok, bear with me. This may not fit the "best book about Shiloh, the most detailed" category. In fact it has few details beyond what a squad-level group of men saw during the battle from the Sunken Road / Hornets' Nest area of the battlefield. I learned of it from another forum but what caught my eye, and why I am mentioning it here, is that it gives details that you cannot find even hinted at in Sword, Daniels or Cunningham, and for that it is very valuable, at least to me. That is what made me want to read it in the first place, and it was not disappointing.

This book tells first hand what happened to the POWs taken from the surrender of Wallace's and Prentiss's men, and it goes into great detail about that almost unwritten, always overlooked, forgotten chapter of the battle of Shiloh.

It is a double book with a diary and a collection of letters from Iowa men writing from Donelson and Shiloh and other places. There are several letters from Donelson after the battle, and a great letter written from Pittsburg Landing the night before the battle.

The book is called "Soldier Life - Many Must Fall", all of it first hand accounts, with great footnotes that give biographical information about each soldier mentioned in the text. I highly recommend it.

Here's a review:

"Soldier Life—Many Must Fall: Two Civil War Narratives -- True Histories of the 14th Iowa Infantry in Camp and Combat, Told by the Wolf Creek Rangers of Tama County" by B. F. Thomas and Peter Wilson (The Camp Pope Bookshop*, 2008) 288 pages -- 8 3/4 x 11 1/3 -- Hardcover, illustrated dustjacket, maps, photographs, notes, index.

" This publication is essentially two books in one, together they shed personal light on the Civil War service of the 14th Iowa (Company G), which saw action in the western and Trans-Mississippi theaters. The writings of the two main authors, in conjunction with a variety of letters and accounts written by other Co. G mates, cover military events in Tennessee (Ft. Donelson, Shiloh), Mississippi (Oxford Raid), Louisiana (Pleasant Hill), and Missouri (Price Raid), as well as the experience of being a POW and paroled soldier.

Soldier Life, penned later in life by Benjamin Franklin Thomas (first published in 1907), is a reproduction of the author's Civil War diary, spiced with his reminiscences. The editors altered the text (e.x. corrected spelling, replaced abbreviated text, etc.) and added footnotes. The notes, mostly detailed biographical sketches of individuals mentioned in the text, are bundled together at the end of each section, but curiously not arranged in numbered citation format. They are of both research and genealogical value. A sampling of Thomas's poetry was also inserted.

Many Must Fall is the letter collection of Sgt. Peter Wilson (spanning 1861-1865, and previously published piecemeal by the Iowa Journal of History and Politics during the 1940s). The earlier annotation is preserved, with new commentary from the current editors. The Wilson letters (mostly addressed to immediate family) are supplemented with other letters, memoirs, and newspaper accounts written by members of his unit.

Between the narratives is a photo gallery and two maps. Soldier Life - Many Must Fall is a valuable compilation of primary source materials for Civil War researchers and genealogists.

The Traer Historical Museum Board (editors) and the Camp Pope Bookshop (publisher) deserve our thanks for bringing back into print the personal experiences of the "Wolf Creek Rangers" of Company G, 14th Iowa, all in a single, well produced volume. "

Available from:
The Traer Historical Museum
514 2nd St.
Traer, Iowa 50675

http://www.traermuseum.com

I need to add that the above review came from the CIVIL WAR BOOKS AND AUTHORS website:

http://cwba.blogspot.com/2009/03/thomas-and-wilson-soldier-lifemany-must.html

Last edited on Fri May 1st, 2009 04:38 pm by chrisfingle

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