Remember me to all the friends: Civil War Letters from George W. Harwood Massachusetts 36th Regiment
edited by Janet M. Drake
BTC’s Take: Rare is the book containing letters and/or diaries of a soldier who served out his entire term without missing a day. George W. Harwood of the 36th Massachusetts Infantry was just such a man. He served in the Union Army for nearly three years, and through it all he never had to leave the front for sickness or wounds, only missing small periods of time on furlough and recruiting duty. In Remember me to all the friends: Civil War Letters from George W. Harwood Massachusetts 36th Regiment, editor Janet Drake carefully laid out and annotated Harwood’s remarkable set of letters home to his family from August 1862 to June 1865.
Remember me to all the friends: Civil War Letters from George W. Harwood Massachusetts 36th Regiment is one of the better books of soldier’s letters I’ve read over the years. Anyone with an interest in first person accounts of the Civil War will want to own this book. Those with an interest in the Union Ninth Corps will find it even more fascinating. At $29.95 it is very reasonably priced for the content it contains. George Harwood was in many hot places on the battlefield and experienced a lifetime’s worth of travel over three years in the army and lived to tell the tale. Editor Janet Drake has lovingly and carefully taken Harwood’s letters and presented them in an engaging and easy to read fashion. We as readers are all the richer for it. Harwood discusses all manner of things with his family back home and often reflects on his time in the army and what it means for him to have gained this life experience at so young an age. This book also serves as a fine itinerary of the 36th Massachusetts’ travels during the Civil War, as Harwood was with the unit from their muster in until his muster out several months after Appomattox.
Harwood was present at the Second Battle of Petersburg, the Crater, Globe Tavern, Pegram’s Farm, and the Third Battle of Petersburg, and was a short distance down the line from the Battle of Fort Stedman. This book is chock full of Petersburg information for interested readers.
- Book Review: Remember me to all the friends: Civil War Letters from George W. Harwood Massachusetts 36th Regiment edited by Janet M. Drake
BTC Siege of Petersburg Book Notes:
BTC Siege of Petersburg Book Sources:
During the Civil War George W. Harwood enlisted for three years with the Thirty-sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers. He was twenty years old, a graduate of the public schools in the town of North Brookfield, in Worcester County, Massachusetts. He came from a family who had farming and cattle trading interests. He had also worked in the shoe manufacturing trade, which was a prominent industry in North Brookfield at the time. This book is the collection of the letters he wrote home almost weekly for those three years.
His regiment travelled with General Ambrose E. Burnside’s Ninth Corps from Maryland, to Virginia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and back to Virginia. Along the way there were numerous skirmishes, some major battles, and he provides an excellent description of the war and the land from a soldier’s perspective. The regiment participated in the Siege of Vicksburg, the Battle of Jackson, Mississippi, the Siege of Knoxville, the Overland Campaign, and the Petersburg Campaign. George was promoted twice, first to sergeant and then to first lieutenant. His letters home to family and friends often mention others in his regiments, friends and cousins in other regiments, and news about people back home in North Brookfield.
The Burnside Ninth Corps was sometimes referred to as the “wandering corps” as they travelled across a large portion of the area where Civil War engagements took place, from east to west and then back east. Because of these travels and his promotions, the reader sees a larger view of the Civil War than is often presented. The geographical coverage is extensive, and the perspective varied, as George’s experience as a private differs greatly from what he encountered as a commissioned officer.
The letters were passed down in the family from George’s parents and sister to his great niece and then to a cousin and her husband. They are now lovingly cared for by their daughter, the author of this book.
Paperback, 7 x 10 x 0.813”, 360 pages, $29.95, ISBN 9781941573679, published 2022. Available from Silver Street Media.
Publisher: Damianos Publishing
Release Date: 2022
The Siege of Petersburg Online: Beyond the Crater Pages Which Mention This Book: