On August 28, 1861, approximately 500 men of the Pennsylvania Roundhead Regiment boarded a train (a first for most of them) and rode for 50 miles to reach Pittsburgh. They arrived in the evening and took a supper break provided by a local welcoming committee. Each man received a slice of buttered bread, a hunk of sausage, two pickles and a cup of coffee. Then they marched out to the local fair grounds, where they were sent to bed down in one of the livestock barns. One soldier described them in their stalls, "kicking at fleas, bed bugs, and many other awful creeping things which existed only in imagination."
Those are the kind of details you need to know if you are researching events during the Civil War. But they are not the details you find in most history books. “A Scratch with the Rebels,” first published in 2007, draws its information from newspapers and official military papers, as well as the letters, diaries, and family keepsakes of two Civil War soldiers: a Pennsylvania Yankee and a South Carolina Confederate. These two inexperienced young men joined up in late 1861 and spend the next several months waiting for a chance to see action. They met only once on a battlefield outside of Charleston in June, 1862. And for one of them, it was the last action he would ever see.
The chapters trace their training, their shortages of food and equipment, the weather and scourges of disease, the rumors, and the hardships and the delights of camp life. The 186-page book contains forty-three maps and photographs of the people and places mentioned. Endnotes provide full documentation for academic purposes, and the extensive bibliography fills some nine pages.
I have just learned that the original publisher of this book is getting out of the book publishing business entirely. Given the chance to save the books from a rubbish pile somewhere, i have agreed to purchase the remaining stock, in hopes of eventually finding a new publishing opportunity for it. But in the meantime, I will be able to offer these 67 first-edition volumes to you at at $6.00 a copy (plus shipping), which is an 75% reduction from the original price of $24.95.
There is something here for everyone:
(a) If you are planning to participate in the Military Writers’ Gettysburg Retreat in May, (or if you only wish you were), this little book can provide you with a fundamental understanding of what life was really like for a Civil War soldier. Neither of my subjects fought at Gettysburg, but those who did shared similar backgrounds and experiences.
(b) If you are a descendant of a Pennsylvania Roundhead, or a member of the Society of the Roundheads, you will want to add this book to your library. Your ancestors may well be caught up in these pages.
(c) Members of the Society for Women and the Civil War will find fascinating details about the mothers and sisters of these young soldiers — their worries, their efforts to supply the men with needed goods, and their amazing visits to the camps and battlefields.
(d) Civil War enthusiasts of all sorts will find much to enjoy.
I will be setting up a webpage to allow you to order one of these books online, with payment either through PayPal or by regular credit card. I will post the URL as soon as the shipment of books arrive. In the meantime, you may want to visit my Pinterest boards to see some of the maps, settings, recipes, and people of “A Scratch with the Rebels.” Available at https://www.pinterest.com/roundheadlady/