The Military Memoirs of a Confederate Line Officer: Captain John C. Reed’s Civil War from Manassas to Appomattox
edited by William R. Cobb
BTC’s Take: Georgia Captain John C. Reed’s Civil War Memoirs are captured and ably edited in The Military Memoirs of a Confederate Line Officer: Captain John C. Reed’s Civil War from Manassas to Appomattox. Although Reed served from First Manassas to Appomattox, his memoirs are extremely uneven in detail and coverage, as he was often knocked out of the war for lengthy periods due to illness. Despite this, Reed’s account has its high points, including excellent descriptions of the First Battle of Manassas as well as The Battle of Fussell’s Mill on August 16, 1864. It also shows the political maturation of a Confederate soldier and aristocrat as he comes to realize it was better for the South to have lost the war and slavery to be at an end. For the very first time, the entire Reed manuscript has been published in annotated form by Savas Beatie. The Military Memoirs of a Confederate Line Officer: Captain John C. Reed’s Civil War from Manassas to Appomattox, edited by William R. Cobb, is an important if uneven addition to the Army of Northern Virginia’s literature. It is as tantalizing as much for what it contains as for what it doesn’t. What if Reed, for instance, had participated in the Battles of Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg and the Wilderness? The cynic might reply that we would risk having no manuscript at all, but the possibility of more detailed and well written material from John C. Reed remains a sadly missed what might have been. Despite this, Cobb has provided an important new account of First Manassas and Fussell’s Mill, along with several dozen looks into the everyday life of soldiers in the Army of Northern Virginia. Competitively priced at $19.95, this book is a must have for anyone interested in First Manassas and the Army of Northern Virginia.
- Book Review: The Military Memoirs of a Confederate Line Officer: Captain John C. Reed’s Civil War from Manassas to Appomattox edited by William R. Cobb
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About the Book
John C. Reed fought through the entire war as an officer in the 8th Georgia Infantry, most of it with General Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. The Princeton graduate was wounded at least twice (Second Manassas and Gettysburg), promoted to captain during the Wilderness fighting on May 6, 1864, and led his company through the balance of the Overland Campaign, throughout the horrific siege of Petersburg, and all the way to the Appomattox surrender on April 9, 1865.
The Military Memoirs of a Confederate Line Officer is a perceptive and articulate account filled with riveting recollections of some of the war’s most intense fighting. Reed offers strong opinions on a wide variety of officers and topics. This outstanding memoir, judiciously edited and annotated by William R. Cobb, is published here in full for the first time. The Military Memoirs of a Confederate Line Officer is a valuable resource certain to become a classic in the genre.
“This is rare, authentic and fascinating. The author was in the midst of things . . . where the shooting and killing occurred.” – Dr. Emory M. Thomas, Regents Professor of History Emeritus, University of Georgia
“This professional edition of Capt. John Reed’s poignant memoir offers vivid accounts of a Georgia infantry regiment in camp and battle with the Army of Northern Virginia from First Manassas to Appomattox. The gritty gripping descriptions of combat mesh well with his reminiscences of the lighter side of a soldier’s life. This is a must-read for students of Confederate infantry operations.” – John Horn, award-winning author of The Petersburg Regiment in the Civil War and The Siege of Petersburg
“Captain John C. Reed, son of a minister and a well-educated gentleman, served with the 8th Georgia in the Eastern Theater. His recollections from First Manassas to Appomattox . . . offer value to students of the war, and his foray into the Western Theater and participation in the Knoxville Campaign sheds more light on this action, as do his accounts of Longstreet’s understudied winter of ’63/64 in East Tennessee.” – Michael K. Shaffer, Civil War historian, author, newspaper columnist, and instructor at Kennesaw State University and Emory University
“John Reed captures the spirit of the times and the experiences of a young Georgian who has gone to war to defend his home and loved ones in service that ranged from Manassas to Appomattox. The memoir offers insights into the horrors and humor of soldier life in the conflict that engulfed his world.” – Brian Steel Wills, author and Director of the Civil War Center at Kennesaw State University
Publisher: Savas Beatie
Release Date: 2023
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