A Perfect Picture of Hell: Eyewitness Accounts by Civil War by Hugh H. Genoways, Ted Genoways, Hugh H Genoways

By Hugh H. Genoways, Ted Genoways, Hugh H Genoways

From the taking pictures of an unarmed prisoner at Montgomery, Alabama, to a winning get away from Belle Isle, from the swelling floodwaters overtaking Cahaba criminal to the inferno that eventually engulfed Andersonville, an ideal photograph of Hell is a suite of harrowing narratives by way of infantrymen from the twelfth lowa Infantry who survived imprisonment within the South in the course of the Civil battle. Editors Ted Genoways and Hugh Genoways have accumulated the warriors' startling debts from diaries, letters, speeches, newspaper articles, and remembrances. prepared chronologically, the eyewitness descriptions of the battles of Shiloh, Corinth, Jackson, and Tupelo, including accompanying money owed of approximately each recognized accomplice felony, create a shared imaginative and prescient of lifestyles in Civil warfare prisons as palpable and instant as they're traditionally beneficial. Captured 4 occasions through the process the struggle, the twelfth Iowa created narratives that demonstrate an image of the altering southern criminal method because the Confederacy grew ever weaker and illustrate the starting to be animosity many southerners felt for the Union infantrymen. in short introductions to every conflict, the editors spotlight the twelfth lowa's actions within the months among imprisonments, supplying a special backdrop to the warriors' bills. An acquisitions editor on the Minnesota historic Society Press, Ted Genoways is the founder and previous editor of the lierary magazine Meridian and the editor or writer of a number of books, together with the approaching within the Trenches; Soldier-Poets of the 1st international struggle, Hugh Genoways serves as chair and professor of the Museum reviews application on the collage of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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As some of these stories overlap, they begin to accumulate a certain power, one account lending depth to another, as the reader learns what one prisoner chose to focus on and what a different man merely glossed over. Seth Crowhurst describes awaiting parole and the crushing blow of being refused by General Mitchel, a moment at the heart of Comstock’s reminiscence of Beck. Crowhurst recalls it as a day of leisure, eating berries at the riverside, while Comstock remembers it as a moment of crisis, his friend at the brink of starvation.

The man struck him on the forehead with the pole of a hatchet, knocking him senseless, and staked him to the ground while in that condition. However agreeable a sober man may be, his continued abuse when drunk becomes monotonous even to friends. Like Ward, Durham at last found the right man. In a later frenzy he assaulted an Irish sergeant of the Fifty-eighth Illinois, who had a smallbladed knife in his hand; the sergeant clinched and threw him, then thrust the knife into his body five or six times in quick succession with a beneficial effect, demonstrating the reasonableness of ‘‘heroic treatment’’ when scientifically applied.

His former burst of generosity seemed not to have flowed from a perennial fountain, but was only an ephemeral gush which had eluded the grasp of cupidity. My guard directed me to a jeweller, Mr. E. J. Johnston, who gave twenty-five dollars Confederate money for the watch. I bought some quinine,33 and divided sixteen dollars among those of my friends who most needed it, keeping for our mess the balance. Mr. Burke, a book-dealer, gave me a ‘‘Life of Robert Emmet’’; Mr. J. E. Jones, a banker, gave me four magazines; a lady gave me some newspapers.

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