Thursday, February 25, 2016

Booknotes: If I Have Got to Go and Fight, I Am Willing

New Arrival:
"If I Have Got to Go and Fight, I Am Willing:" A Union Regiment Forged in the Petersburg Campaign by Edwin P. Rutan II (RTD Publications-Author, 2015).
"Taking a broad view of the Union soldiers' experience in the Petersburg campaign, "If I Have Got to Go and Fight, I Am Willing" covers in depth not just the battles, but also subjects such as motivations for enlistment, ties with home, medical care, religious faith, citizen-soldiers, the 1864 election, prisoners of war, desertion, the post-war lives of the soldiers, and even the weather. A fighting regiment, the 179th New York Volunteers served in the Petersburg campaign from start to finish. The 179th New York was in the first wave at the Battle of the Crater and in the Ninth Corps' final assault on April 2, 1865. The 179th also fought at Petersburg in the June 17, 1864 assault and at Weldon Railroad, Poplar Spring Church and Burgess Mill."
Authorized late in the war in February 1864, the 179th was still a new regiment by the time of the Petersburg Campaign, where it fought in six major battles between the James crossing and Appomattox, suffering 40% casualties in its very first engagement and heavy losses at both the Crater attack and the April 2, 1865 breakthrough. The research looks solid, with the author mining manuscript archives located all across the country. The volume is also stuffed with photos, tables, illustrations, and numerous appendices. The project started out as an e-book and the author directs readers to his website ( to view the 30 high-res maps absent from the print edition and over 100 additional images. Looks like yet another great resource for Petersburg Campaign students.

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