A Light and Uncertain Hold: A History of the Sixty-Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry

By Quist, John W. | The Journal of Southern History, February 2001 | Go to article overview

A Light and Uncertain Hold: A History of the Sixty-Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry


Quist, John W., The Journal of Southern History


A Light and Uncertain Hold: A History of the Sixty-Sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. By David T. Thackery. (Kent, Ohio, and London: Kent State University Press, c. 1999. Pp. xviii, 321. $35.00, ISBN 0-87338-609-4.)

The Sixty-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, raised principally in Champaign County, fought in several of the Civil War's best-known battles, including Port Republic, Cedar Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta, and Savannah. Although this regimental history focuses primarily on the Sixty-sixth's military affairs, David T. Thackery also endeavors to explain the war from the perspective of the common soldier. The soldiers in the field were well informed regarding matters on the home front, and their letters to friends, family, and the local Republican newspaper kept county residents current of the Sixty-sixth's activities on the war front. Despite this interaction the soldiers often felt that, according to one correspondent, "Folks at home does not know the sufferings of a soldier's life" (p. 209). Because officers and enlisted men had lived near one another before the war and expected to do so afterwards, the Sixty-sixth became a partial extension of Champaign County's rural and small-town life. Missing and frequently an object of the soldiers' scorn, however, were the county's Copperheads, who had concentrated largely in townships populated by migrants from southern states.

Some soldiers found that their military service helped them after the war when they sought public office. …

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