Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Illinois Soldiers See the Civil War

Academic journal article Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society

Illinois Soldiers See the Civil War

Article excerpt

There have been more books written on the Civil War, it is said, than on any other event in world history with the exception of the Life of Christ. Well over sixty thousand titles on every possible facet of the war have appeared since the guns fell silent in 1865.

Reminiscences, memoirs, diaries, and letters of veterans, together with regimental histories, constitute at least half of this body of literature. That is not surprising. The Civil War saw a higher percentage of literate soldiers than had any prior war. The postwar generation devoured books on the subject, and veterans, anxious to tell their stories, obliged them and their former comrades with their stories.

Illinois contributed 250,000 men to the Union Army, and the writings of Illinois soldiers are commensurately well - represented in Civil War literature. The great majority of Illinois volunteers served in the socalled Western Theater, which was comprised of all the Southern states west of the Appalachians and Kentucky.

In researching and writing my books on the principal campaigns of the Western Theater - Corinth, Stones River, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga - I have had occasion to examine the published personal memoirs, diaries, and letters of hundreds of Illinois soldiers. …

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