"Walt Whitman’s experiences as a nurse to wounded soldiers during the Civil
War had a profound impact on his views and poetry. But Now The Drum of War:
Walt Whitman and his Brothers in the Civil War reveals the extraordinary record
his younger brother George, an officer in the 51st New York, left of his life on the front lines, through his letters, journal and newspaper dispatches. Hailed as a bold soldier, George’s descriptions of battles and soldiers’ life left an indelible impression on his brother. Drawing on the vivid letters Walt and George wrote to each other and their family, author Robert Roper chronicles the experience of an archetypal American family facing their own struggles within the greater struggle of their nation." From Walker and Company, 421 pages includes an index, bibliography and black and white photographs. Priced at $28 US and $31 CDN. ISBN: 978-0-8027-1553-1.
Thanks to History Magazine's assistant editor Marc Skulnick for this book review from the Feb/Mar 2009 issue.
While your Civil War ancestor may not have left a series of letters or journal entries, it is helpful to look at those left by those who served in the same unit. While opinions about the war vary from individual to individual, indications about daily life are important to include in your family history. Official unit histories provide details about troop movements, but surviving diaries provide insight from "the man on the street" point of view.
Happy family tree climbing!
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