Thursday, July 5, 2012

Letters Home from Civil War Soldier Charles Gamble

12th Regiment,
New Jersey Volunteers
Letters Home from Civil War Soldier Charles Gamble is a collection of correspondence from a Union soldier to his friends and family in Salem County, New Jersey.  The letters were edited by Mark Flinchpaugh.  Charles Gamble was 34 when he enlisted in the 12th Regiment of New Jersey Volunteers Infantry.  The letters begin on August 39, 1862 and end on January 13, 1864.

For the most part, the correspondence deals with the mundane aspects of camp life.  Like many soldier's letters home, Charles begins by saying he is well and ends by requesting his family to write to him.  He is proud to support the Union's goals and regards his service as honorable.
12th Regiment New Jersey
Volunteers Monument
The letter excerpts in the table of contents is a clever idea. The collection would be improved by footnotes for some of the terms and a map showing Charles' travels.  The Author's Conclusion is an editorial critique of the Lincoln administration's attack on the south and an argument in support of states' rights.  These are out of place in a collection of Union soldier's correspondence.  Flinchpaugh could have chosen a better platform for his tirade against big government.

The following are some of the highlights from the collection:
·        February 3, 1863 - describes preparing meals for his company
·        February 23, 1863 - requests postage stamps to send letters
·        March 10, 1863 - describes contents of a box from home sent to him
·        March 26, 1863 - describes burial of fellow soldier
·        May 2, 1863 - responds to comments on his photograph
·        July 6, 1863 - relates participation in battles at Gettysburg (The 12th New Jersey has a monument on battlefield)
·        July 17, 1863 - description of hanging of Rebel spy
·        July 18, 1863 - angry letter about friend's wife
·        July 29, 1863 - expresses joy from eating blackberries and sugar
·        September 26, 1863 - requests wife to make him a shirt
·        November 20, 1863 - announces promotion to sergeant
The 12th New Jersey served in the following campaigns: Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Bristoe, Mine Run, Overland, and Appomattox.  The regiment was mustered in on September 4, 1862 with 992 men. The regiment lost 9 officers and 168 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 99 men from disease.
If you are interested in the 12th New Jersey Volunteers, they want you as seen in their recruitment video

Letters Home from Civil War Soldier Charles Gamble, is an interesting account of one soldier's experiences during the Civil War. 

We rank this book a one out of four stars 

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