Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Classic: From the Iron Brigade to the USCT

As If It Were Glory: Robert Beecham's Civil War Fom the Iron Brigade to the Black Regiments, Robert Beacham (author), Michael Stevens, (ed.)Rowan and Littlefield, 256 pp., index.
This classic (left) is coming out in paperback (right) this autumn. Glatthaar, African American soldier specialist, Herdegen and Nolan, Iron Brigade specialists, and McPherson, soldiers' motivation specialist, have heavily praised this work and rightfully so.

"This bold and refreshing memoir tears away at the growing shroud of myths during the postwar era of reconciliation. . . . For Beecham, like Abraham Lincoln before him, African-Americans made as good soldiers as any, and in Beecham's eyes, sometimes better."
Joseph T. Glatthaar, author of Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers

"Robert Beecham's outstanding memoir is marked by insight and humor. He never forgot that he was marching to history's drum whether with the Iron Brigade at Gettysburg or on the drill field with his black regiment. This is a front-rank look at the American Civil War." Lance J. Herdegen, author of The Men Stood Like Iron: How the Iron Brigade Won Its Name

"An exceptional memoir by an unusually idealistic and sophisticated Iron Brigade soldier who fought from Bull Run to Gettysburg and who finished the war as an officer in a Black regiment. Beecham understood the war in terms of freedom and rejected the racist and counterfactual postwar myth of the Lost Cause. Highly recommended." Alan T. Nolan, author of The Iron Brigade: A Military History

"Beecham pulls no punches in this lively memoir of his service as a soldier in the famed Iron Brigade and as an officer of African-American troops. Unlike most Civil War memoirs, this one does not romanticize the war nor does it make any concessions to the Confederacy, which Beecham in 1902 considered to have been as wrong and baneful as he had four decades earlier when he gave four years of his life fighting for Union and freedom." James M. McPherson, author of The Battle Cry of Freedom

In this powerful and moving memoir, Robert Beecham recounts his Civil War experiences, both as an enlisted man in the fabled Iron Brigade and as an officer commanding a newly raised African American unit. Serving from May 1861 through the end of the war, Beecham saw action with the 2nd Wisconsin at Chancellorsville and at Gettysburg, where he was taken prisoner by the Confederates. After being exchanged, he was promoted to first lieutenant in a black regiment. Leading the men of the 23rd USCT in fierce fighting at the Battle of the Crater, Beecham was wounded, again captured, and after eight months in a Confederate prison, escaped. In addition to telling his exciting account, Beecham describes the daily life of the Civil War solider. His stories range from lively accounts of foraging expeditions to describing conditions in military hospitals. In his narrative, Beecham celebrates the ingenuity of the enlisted man at the expense of officers who are often arrogant or incompetent. He also chides the altered recollections of fellow veterans who remember only triumphs and forgot defeats. In one of the most powerful parts of his memoir, Beecham pays tribute to the valor of the African Americans who fought under his command and insists that they were "the bravest and best soldiers that ever lived." "As If It Were Glory" is an unforgettable account of the Civil War, unclouded by sentimentality and insistent that the nation remain true to the cause for which it fought.
(text supplied by the publisher)

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