A Maryland Boy in Lee's Army: Personal Reminiscences of a Maryland Soldier in the War between the States, 1861-1865

A Maryland Boy in Lee's Army: Personal Reminiscences of a Maryland Soldier in the War between the States, 1861-1865

A Maryland Boy in Lee's Army: Personal Reminiscences of a Maryland Soldier in the War between the States, 1861-1865

A Maryland Boy in Lee's Army: Personal Reminiscences of a Maryland Soldier in the War between the States, 1861-1865

Synopsis

"I have told a plain unvarnished story; what is lacking in style may, I trust, find compensation in the fairness and absolute truthfulness of the facts and figures. I have spoken of things as I saw them, without malice and free from passion or fear. If I have overstepped the bounds of modest propriety, or grown prosy and uninteresting, this must be ascribed to the natural garrulity of an old soldier in fighting over his battles."--George Wilson Booth. The Civil War tore Maryland in half. Young George Wilson Booth followed the call of the Confederacy and served four years under the banners of the Army of Virginia. During the bright days of the early successes at both Manassas battles and in smaller tussles, from the Peninsula to the Valley, Booth saw history being made. He served with Stonewall Jackson, "Grumble" Jones, Dick Ewell, Jubal Early, and John Imboden. Wounded at Greenland Gap, he arrived late at Gettysburg--probably to his good fortune. Promoted to captain, Booth was in the Valley in the final days, was present at the burning of Chambersburg, and was taken prisoner after Winchester. An unreconstructed rebel, Booth tells his story simply and straightforwardly, perhaps because he intended this book for friends and family and therefore felt no need to be "literary." The result is a dramatic, powerful, and honest account that takes its place among the best of the Confederate memoirs. Introducing this Bison Books edition is Eric J. Mink, a national park service historian at Richmond National Battlefield Park.

Excerpt

Eric J. Mink

George W. Booth’s Personal Reminiscences of a Maryland Soldier in the War Between the States, 1861-1865 (reprinted here as A Maryland Boy in Lee s Army) ranks as one of the most unusual memoirs written by an officer who served in Robert E. Lee’s celebrated Army of Northern Virginia. the author’s career as both a line and staff officer in the infantry and cavalry afforded him varied perspectives from which he witnessed the war in Virginia. From minor cavalry skirmishes and raids to full-scale struggles of armies on campaign, Booth saw the conflict unfold and recalled it with amazing clarity. Booth’s memoir is even more exceptional because of the author’s viewpoint as one of the relatively small number of exiled Marylanders.

Maryland in the mid-nineteenth century was, not unlike the country, deeply divided by opposing loyalties. of the three border states, Maryland was the only one that had organized commands serving in the Confederacy’s premier army. While the number of men supplied by Maryland to the southern cause remains a topic of debate, the devotion and courage displayed by its soldiers has seldom been called into question. These expatriate Marylanders, lacking representation in the Confederate government, successfully raised and organized during the war one regiment and one battalion of infantry, two battalions of cavalry, and four batteries of artillery: all of them, with the exception of one battery, served in the Virginia theater.

Maryland’s officers were conspicuous among the ranks of the Confederate legions. No fewer than fourteen of their number achieved a rank of general during the war. These brave men who left their homes and joined Lee’s army in Virginia had a tremendous amount at stake. By making the decision to side with the Confederacy, they were exiled from their native state, unable to return home. Like their fellow border state Confederates from Kentucky, they were orphaned, a circumstance created by choice. It would seem that men such as these, whose strong convictions placed principles before the position of their native state, would have eagerly sought after the war to record their experiences and unique position in the Confederate army. Unfortunately, Maryland’s list . . .

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