A Civil War Soldier's Diary

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Northern Illinois University Press, Jan 1, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 280 pages
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A century and a half after Appomattox, the diaries of soldiers continue to surface, and Civil War enthusiasts, including many university professors, dream of finding a lost piece of history. Such was the delight of David Roe, whose friend gave him a remarkable family heirloom—the diary of Valentine C. Randolph—which included handwritten daily entries starting on the day Randolph enlisted and ending on the evening before he arrived home. Spanning three years of military experience in the 39th Illinois Regiment, this diary includes revealing narratives, some recounting events not noted in other sources.

An eloquent diarist, Randolph vividly describes military action in key areas of the eastern theater—northern Virginia, Charleston, and Richmond and its surrounds. His record of the Peninsula Campaign, the siege of Charleston, and finally the Bermuda Hundred and Petersburg campaigns offers a rare look at the role common soldiers played in master strategies. He recounts the trials of garrison duty and sea sickness; he observes life in army camps and hospitals. A former theology student and an unusually thoughtful man, Randolph questions the military predation of civilian property and condemns the racial prejudices of his fellow soldiers.


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Introduction by Stephen R Wise
Northern Virginia

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About the author (2006)

Stephen R. Wise is director of the Parris Island Marine Corps Museum and the author of Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running during the Civil War.

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