Edward Guerrant's massive, eloquent journal -- twenty-eight manuscript volumes -gathered considerable interest shortly after the Civil War among fellow veterans as a reliable source for reconstructing their shared ordeal. In the years to follow, however, the never-published diary gradually slipped from view. Now, "after a long while" of more than ...Read MoreEdward Guerrant's massive, eloquent journal -- twenty-eight manuscript volumes -gathered considerable interest shortly after the Civil War among fellow veterans as a reliable source for reconstructing their shared ordeal. In the years to follow, however, the never-published diary gradually slipped from view. Now, "after a long while" of more than a century, Captain Guerrant's diary is brought to light again in Bluegrass Confederate. For historians as well as acolytes of Civil War memory, the author's scrupulous daily entries will prove valuable indeed. Diaries by Kentucky Rebels are a rarity; the soldiers themselves were atypical. Essentially cut off from their homes and families back in the Union Bluegrass, they had only their personal reserves of spirit and will to keep their patriotism alive. Edward Guerrant, a teacher and habitual diarist, was motivated by love, first of one woman and then another, to record his wartime experiences, beginning January 30, 1862, and ending April 11, 1865. Exceptionally intelligent and well educated, Guerrant spent much of the war attached to the headquarters of Confederate generals Humphrey Marshall, William Preston, George Cosby, and, most notably, John Hunt Morgan. From that vantage, he was able to see the inner workings of campaigns in the little-known Appalachian region of eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, and east Tennessee, where some of the most vicious small-scale fighting occurred. He witnessed the controversial massacre of black Federal soldiers at Saltville in October 1864 and assisted Morgan on his famed raids into Kentucky. Guerrant brought considerable powers of observation and insight to bear on his commentary. He evocativelyportrays the homesickness all soldiers felt, often stirring testimony to the influence of religion in the war, and mirrors wonderfully the interests and concerns of a young man out in the world for the first time. The secluded life of Appalachian common folk -- their courtship, hardship, and culture -- is given riveting glimpse. Through sensitive, judicious editing, William Davies and Meredith Swentor have made Guerrant's journal gleam, carefully sitting through the captain's words and retaining what is essential, relevant, and interesting, while unobtrusively supplying background and interpretive notes. By their skilled efforts, one of the longest extant Confederate diaries as well as one of the most significant officer's diaries from the Rebel side is ready for reading.Read Less
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