Campaigning with Uncle Billy is the memoir of the service of Sgt. Lyman S. Widney of Illinois who served throughout the Civil War with the 34th Illinois Infantry. Widney's account of his wartime service is based on the diary he kept during the conflict. As a regimental clerk, he was in a position to meet many prominent people and to know the plans and thinking of the command staff. Widney's narrative is personal, highly detailed, vividly descriptive and accurate. He writes with emotion and humor. He details the life of the volunteer soldiers as they enlist, adapt to military life and learn the trade of soldiering. His descriptions of the horrors of the battlefield, its grisly aftermath and the toll that sickness exacted on the rank and file is highly personal. Through Widney's eyes we explore the countryside, tour Mammoth Cave, learn firsthand about combat and sickness and endure life in the trenches in the relentless fighting of the Atlanta Campaign and the grueling March to the Sea and through the Carolinas. Widney's memoir is a worthy addition to the literature of the Civil War from the point of view of the common soldier.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Tells the story of a Civil War soldier from recruitment in Northern Illinois through discharge more than 3 years later. This compelling diary compiled by Lyman Widney is a complete time line of the Civil War. His company (H) 34TH Ill. was involved in some of the most decisive battles of the war. As a witness to history he provides a firsthand account from the front lines told with humor, honesty, courage and compassion. Widney presents firsthand insight into the everyday life of the common Civil War soldier. Widney is bright, articulate and even-handed, and he writes exceedingly well. Widney has no personal reputation to polish or name to protect. In Widney’s own words “Every entry was posted at the end of the day or the very next day to be as accurate as possible” Like most diaries a good knowledge of the Civil War is very helpful to make this book a pleasure to read. As Civil War students if we only read books written by major players then we never get the entire...
Well written from the view point of an enlisted man. It gives facts and observations unknown or unreported in more formal "History" accounts.
A real boon to Civil War Buffs and trivia seekers, but may "bog down" at some places to some readers.
If you really enjoy reading about the "Last War Between Gentlemen", you will want to include this work .
Detailed diary by ordinary soldier who saw many, many Civil War battles. Uncle Billy was William Sherman's affectionate nickname by his soldiers. Story gives the reader a ground level view of the war. Highly recommended.
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