Dignity of Duty: The Journals of Erasmus Corwin Gilbreath, 1861-1898

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Pritzker Military Museum and Library, Jun 19, 2015 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages
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Published 117 years after his death, the journals of the American soldier Erasmus Corwin Gilbreath provide a compelling vantage point by which to view contemporary American history. They tell, first and foremost, a tale of war in which there is no glory only carnage and death. Through Gilbreath s firsthand accounts we get a sense of what life was like during the Civil War, the Indian Wars, and the War with Spain from an accomplished field officer, rather than from high command. Gilbreath illuminates the true horrors of war in the 19th Century for soldiers boredom, fatigue, death, and crude medical care for the wounded and their families, as Gilbreath s wife and children followed him wherever his orders would lead, enduring the primitive conditions they found along the way. From his instrumental role in raising a company that would become part of the 20th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, to his death while serving with the 11th U.S. Infantry in Puerto Rico at the tail end of the Spanish American War, Gilbreath s life exemplifies the dignity of his service and the importance he placed on duty to his nation. In his journals, Gilbreath paints a vivid picture of the turmoil and change that was 19th Century America. Passages such as the lyric firsthand account of the Battle of the Ironclads or his reconnecting with a fellow Gettysburg veteran in Chicago 21 years after the battle are beautifully written, and carry a personal and emotional gravity that are found in the best literary works. Gilbreath is one of America s sons, a proud citizen soldier who helped to forge the United States, and we are truly fortunate that his legacy lives on in these pages.
 

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Contents

Introduction by Carlo DEste
1
CIVIL WAR 18611865
5
Raising Organizing the Regiment 1861
7
Equipping the Regiment Leaving Indiana 1861
14
Horrors on Hatteras Island 1861
18
The Most Remarkable Naval Combat 1862
23
First Brush with the Enemy 1862
35
Seven Days Fighting 1862
42
Ordered to Texas 1869
182
My Daughter Etta Was Born We Move to Galveston 1870
192
Fort Griffin Texas 1871
196
Leaving Fort Griffin 1872
201
Duty in Chicago Return to Texas 1874
205
Album of Photographs
214
I Must Have an Operation 1875
222
Orders to Go to Dakota 1876
226

Pope McClellan 1862
49
Second Battle of Bull Run 1862
52
Forces Arrive at Fredericksburg 1862
60
My Right Leg Would Not Do Its Duty 1862
74
Chancellorsville 1863
79
Gettysburg Campaign 1863
88
Riots in New York City 1863
105
Kellys Ford Mine Run 18631864
109
The Wilderness 1864
116
Spotsylvania 1864
122
The March from the North Anna 1864
128
The Rapidan to the Chickahominy 1864
132
The Siege of Petersburg 1864
142
The Explosion of the Mine 1864
149
Our Last Battles Mustering Out 1864
152
In Closing January 16 1898
156
POSTCIVIL WAR 18661898
159
Marriage to Susan Arrival in Mississippi 1866
161
Duties in Mississippi Our Son Is Born 18671868
170
Fort Custer Where Nan Is Born in a Tent 1877
230
Our Bannock Crow Campaigns 18781879
239
On a Court Martial 1880
247
Terrys Landing Back to My Company 18811882
251
I Am Anxious to Get My Family Out 1883
254
Fort Yates to New York 18861887
268
Sacketts Harbor NY 18881890
273
Fort Huachuca Arizona 18911892
277
Chapter 18 Philadelphia Whipple Barracks Arizona 18931895
286
SPANISH AMERICAN WAR 1898
289
Mobile Alabama to Florida 1898
291
Florida to Porto Rico 1898
303
Porto Rico 1898
308
GLOSSARY
315
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
322
INDEX
327
Also From the PMML
338
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Carlo D'Este is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and a distinguished military historian. He lives in New Seabury, Massachusetts.

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