Elaine F. Boatin, a retired University of Maine literature and writing professor, recently posted a review of our new regimental history on its sales page at Amazon. She is a descendant of the regiment’s Private John Nicholas Ford:
“First, a disclaimer. My great-grandfather served in the 13th Mississippi Volunteer Infantry Regiment as a member of Company D, the Minute Men of Attala, and so did two of his brothers. I therefore have more than a casual interest in this new book by Dick Stanley about the “Bloody Thirteenth.” That said, I found this a very readable book, one that brings the Civil War to life in a way that a straight history of campaign strategy, or statistics about the numbers of casualties from disease and wounds, cannot.
“Stanley is fortunate in having diaries, letters, and memoirs to draw on, and he skillfully weaves quotes from them into his narration. The focus is on the ordinary soldier’s experience of the war: the mundane details of blisters, lice, poor diet, mud, endless marching, comradeship, homesickness—as well as the horrors of battle.
“When Private Newton Nash, also of the Minute Men, whose wonderfully eloquent letters to his wife Mollie have been providing intimate texture to the narrative, is killed at Gettysburg, I wept as if I’d known him. My guess is that anyone interested in the Civil War or, indeed, in any war as it is actually lived by those fighting on the ground, will find this book enlightening and moving reading.”
Elaine, who is also a novelist and writer of short stories, is finishing her own new book, a novel about her 19th century Southern ancestors and their lives in Alabama and Mississippi. It includes a chapter on Private Ford’s wounding in the Leesburg fight. More about the novel later.