Academic journal article Military Review

Your Brother in Arms: A Union Soldier's Odyssey

Academic journal article Military Review

Your Brother in Arms: A Union Soldier's Odyssey

Article excerpt

YOUR BROTHER IN ARMS: A Union Soldier's Odyssey, Richard C. Plumb, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 2011, 336 pages, $34.95.

As the title infers, Your Brother in Arms: A Union Soldier's Odyssey, conveys the experiences of an enthusiastic 19-year-old volunteer. George P. McClelland joined the army with a group of his friends, nicknamed the "Luny Crowd," in August 1862. (McClelland rose to the rank of brevet major in 1865.). Author Richard C. Plumb has assembled a rich history from letters McClelland wrote (primarily to his two sisters) that shares his insights as a common soldier during his two-and-a-half years with the 155th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. McClelland's letters provide a glimpse into the horrors of battle, the daily monotony of camp life, and the enduring campaign marches. Conversely, the letters reveal the comfort, support, and strength he received from his sisters' continuous correspondence.

I found the book to be enjoyable and rich in context with an easy flow. Plumb's chronological approach to the story adds new light to the sacrifices shared by soldiers. Each chapter is well researched and summarizes the activities of the Army of the Potomac, the 155th Pennsylvania. The book closes with the author's notes about the letters.

McClelland's gift as a writer helps to promote him into the rank of officer. He is candidly open about his view of the president and about various Army of the Potomac commanders he served under during his enlistment. …

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