Monday, July 23, 2018

Book News: Richard Allen's Georgia regimental roster set (4 Vols)

The commercial viability of the general catalog of Savas Beatie titles allows them to occasionally produce the limited print run, specialized reference books that they could never survive doing as their main calling. An example is Ray Sibley's Confederate Artillery Organizations (2014) and more recently Richard Sauers's The National Tribune Civil War Index (3 Vols.).

The latest multi-volume set from the growing SB reference library is Richard Michael Allen's roster series:

The 7th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 1861-1865: A Biographical Roster
The 8th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 1861-1865: A Biographical Roster
The 9th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 1861-1865: A Biographical Roster
The 11th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 1861-1865: A Biographical Roster

These four regiments were the heart of General George T. "Tige" Anderson's brigade of the Army of Northern Virginia. In total nearly 5,000 men served in their ranks, many for the entire conflict from First Bull Run through Appomattox.

The information contained in Lillian Henderson's Rosters of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia (1959) forms the backbone of Allen's work, but given their "sometimes vague, contradictory, or outright incorrect" nature, he goes deeper into the available source material to create the most accurate rosters possible. Allen "spent nearly two decades researching scores of archives and other sources to prepare these rosters. He utilized primary sources such as the Official Records, Compiled Service Records, newspaper accounts, diaries, letters, census information, burial records, and a variety of documents from both published sources and private collections."

Allen's biographical rosters are organized by company, in descending order of rank from colonel to private. Interestingly, those individuals that held multiple positions in the regiment are given separate entries for each rank. Allen's reasoning behind this is to show "the mobility inherent within these commands." Once a soldier reaches his highest rank, a note will refer the reader back to that person's original unit and position.

As one might guess, the amount of information available varies greatly between individuals, so some soldiers get only a single line in the roster while others get a fairly large paragraph. Data points include residence, enlistment/commission date & place; age; occupation(s); physical description (i.e. height, eye & hair color, complexion, etc.); promotion(s); dates of wounds, serious illnesses, and associated hospital stays; notations of absence/leave periods; and detachment/surrender/discharge/resignation/death notices. My early versions don't have indexes, but presumably the finished copies will have them.

Last week, Harry at Bull Runnings conducted an interview with Allen. Discussion topics included Allen's motivations, methods, and goals for the project (along with the reason why he stopped at four regiments when other units also served in Anderson's Brigade). It's very informative. Check it out here.

Finally, those interested in a signed and numbered "Gen. George T. Anderson Special Edition" of the set can only find them at the publisher's website (here).

1 comment:

  1. Hi Drew, just back from vacation and saw this. Thanks very much for spreading the word on this important reference source. --Theodore P. Savas


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