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Veteran Memoirs

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  • Veteran Memoirs

    What are the general thoughts on the accuracy and historical significance of Veteran Memoirs? I'm now reading "Rebel Private:Front and Rear" by William A. Fletcher. I've read many; "Co. Aytch" and several more.
    CSA Ancestors-R.T.Conner&J.J.Sowell-1st TEXAS Inf./J.W.Conner-14th TEXAS Cav/J.T. Crawford-17th Cons.TEXAS Dismtd Cav/John & Hezekiah Williams-4th TEXAS Cav./Jack Williams-1st Reg.Cav.TEXAS State Troops
    Federal Ancestors-By the Grace of GOD-0

  • #2

    Take them with a grain of salt. Prof. Carol Reardon wrote a really good book called Pickett's Charge in History and Memory that addresses these issues in an interesting discussion. I commend it to you. It can be found here:

    For things that just anecdotes, I don't get too fussed up about post-war memoirs. However, when it's detailed battle narrative, I always try to corroborate the source before saying that it's the gospel truth.

    "If you want to have some fun, jine the cavalry"

    Maj. Gen. James Ewell Brown Stuart


    • #3
      My main area of interest in the cival war has always been diaries, journals, letters, memoirs, etc.
      I agree with Eric in taking memoirs with a grain of salt. But I do still enjoy them.
      The best reference I can give is to pay attention to the number of years that have past between the war and the writing.
      As an example- Basil Duke wrote two memoirs- his first was written 2 years after the war ended-his second was written in 1911-45 years after the war. I read the 1911 edition first and then was fortunate to find a copy of his first writing. The first was much more detailed and concise and BY FAR more interesting.
      Point being---Time plays tricks on mens minds.
      The most visable part of a persons education is their parents example !

      Christianity is made far too complicated by far too many denominations.
      It's truly a simple concept.
      Dont take my word for it---Read the Book of Romans!


      • #4
        I think you also factor in rank of the author. The higher it is, the greater the chance of a work being a CYA job.

        You also have a segment that are, to be polite, fanciful. Henry Kyd Douglas' book could more appropriately been called "Stonewall Rode With Me" for example.

        Books that are not individual memoirs, but heavily dependent on individual writings in letters, diaries and so on, like Johnny Reb and Billy Yank and Soldiers Blue and Gray are among my favorites.

        If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

        Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!


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