Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Booknotes: They All Wore A Star

New Arrival:
They All Wore a Star: In the Fight for the Four-Gun Battery During the Battle of Resaca, Georgia, May 15, 1864 by Robert G. Miller (Mauvaisterre Pub-Author, 2018).

They All Wore A Star is "(i)n their own words, the story of the 129th Illinois Infantry and comrades, from enlistment through their first battle, with Benjamin Harrison and Hooker's 20th Corps, compiled from letters, diaries, official records, newspapers, and regimental histories. A tapestry from the yarns they spun about lives of soldiers and ambitions of generals, converging in a long afternoon on a hillside in Georgia."

It should be mentioned straight away what kind of book this is. The volume is not a narrative unit history, but rather a chronologically arranged collection (and a rather large one at that, running around 450 pages plus appendix, orders of battle, other supplementary material, and bibliography) of transcribed primary source material tracing the Civil War service of author Robert Miller's ancestor Joseph Peters's regiment from enlistment through Peters's 1864 death in Georgia at the Battle of Resaca. 

Miller quite intentionally selected a nearly uninterpreted format for his project, wishing the sources to speak for themselves in their entirety with editorial comment restricted only to very brief contextual notes. The material is footnoted and supported with a number of maps and illustrations. The appendix consists of a biographical register of a large number of the book's source contributors, with most entries accompanied by a photograph.

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