Touched with Fire: Civil War Letters and Diary of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1861-1864

Touched with Fire: Civil War Letters and Diary of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1861-1864

Touched with Fire: Civil War Letters and Diary of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1861-1864

Touched with Fire: Civil War Letters and Diary of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1861-1864

Synopsis

Holmes's wartime letters and diary entries have attracted students of war as well as biographers of Holmes as rare glimpses into the mind and heart of a soldier who withstood the great slaughter.

Excerpt

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was commissioned a lieutenant of infantry in July 1861, almost immediately upon his graduation from Harvard College, where he was the Class Poet. For the next three years he served with distinction as a line officer, sustaining three wounds, any one of which could have proved mortal. His wartime letters and diary entries have attracted students of war as well as biographers of Holmes as rare glimpses into the mind and heart of a soldier who withstood the great slaughter.

For every soldier who survives the ravages of battle there must always remain two wars: the war in fact and the war in memory. But rare is the veteran who displays a peculiar need to recall battles, toast old wounds years afterward, relive personal tragedies, and commemorate great events and great friends as did Holmes. in consequence he tended to impart a patina of unreality to the horrors spoken of and written of, once he was hors de combat. Perhaps it was only an effort to cast out the devils that are war’s daily companions and that continue to haunt old soldiers despite the years.

The evidence that he reflected on the war and its . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.