Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Civil War Reminiscences From the journal of Harmon Camburn, Union Soldier Edited by: P C Zick

I really enjoyed this diary from Harmon Camburn. He was a Union soldier in the 2nd Michigan Infantry, 1861-1864. This book is the journal that Harmon Camburn wrote following the details of his life as a Union soldier. What you read is what he saw, smelled, touched, heard, and felt during his service through the Civil War. As stated in the introduction, you get Camburn’s account of what affected him, but not the bigger picture of the war. If you are looking for a personalized view of what soldiers dealt with, this is the book for you. Inserted throughout the book, in bold, are short blurbs about the greater war that corresponds to specific dates listed in the journal. I enjoy reading about history, but to get a personal account of an event is wonderful. The personal perspective gives a greater understanding of what happened. One entry that I still think about was, “At daylight, the rain ceased, and the clouds rolled away. The sun, bright and beautiful, sent its piercing beams through the trees glittering with raindrops. The sight was a joy to the soldiers’ hearts, but the thought of the dead and wounded lying out there in the slashing was a gloomy background to all present pleasures. The early morning scene among the trees was weird and supernatural.” I feel like I’m there and am experiencing it as they are. Some things Camburn didn’t understand why they were doing what they were doing; he just did as he was told. Having a personal perspective of the war, and it being tied together with the bolded blurbs, gives a greater perspective and brings the Civil War to life in a new way.

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