Friday, September 30, 2016

Booknotes: Summon Only the Brave!

New Arrival:
Summon Only the Brave!: Commanders, Soldiers, and Chaplains at Gettysburg by John W. Brinsfield, Jr. (Mercer UP, 2016).

The Irish Brigade's Father Corby is surely the most famous chaplain to be recognized for his services on the battlefield at Gettysburg. However, according to author John Brinsfield, there were 237 other Christian and Jewish chaplains, Union and Confederate, who accompanied their charges to the Pennsylvania town, their collected memoirs forming the basis of his book Summon Only the Brave!.  A number of the memoirs are quite obscure, and many have never graced the published page before now. The description notes that this is the first Gettysburg history written from the perspectives of the army chaplains.

In addition to the narrative, a chaplain roster is compiled for the first appendix, while the second appendix provides a series of chaplain biographical sketches. Though attending to the spiritual needs of the fighting men, the sufferings of the wounded, and the disposition of the dead was a relatively safe job, four chaplains became casualties during the three-day clash and eighteen more found themselves prisoners of the enemy.

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