A Corporal's Story
Civil War Recollections of the Twelfth Massachusetts
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
368 Pages | 6 x 9 | 22 b&w illus., 4 maps
With the Twelfth Massachusetts, Kimball saw action at many of the most critical and ferocious battles in the eastern theater of the war, such as Second Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg—engagements he vividly renders from the infantry soldier’s point of view. Aware that his readers might not be familiar with what he and comrades had gone through, he also describes many aspects of army life, from the most mundane to the most dramatic. In his accounts of the desperate action and immediate horrors of war, Kimball clearly conveys to readers the cost of preserving the Union. Never vindictive toward Confederates, he embodies instead the late nineteenth-century’s spirit of reconciliation.
Editors Alan D. Gaff and Donald H. Gaff have added an introduction and explanatory notes, as well as maps and illustrations, to provide further context and clarity, making George Kimball’s memoir one of the most complete and interesting accounts of what it was to fight in the Civil War—and what that experience looked like through the lens of time.
“Thousands of veterans North and South wrote accounts of their Civil War service, hundreds of which have found their way into print over the past century and a half. Very few did a better job than George Kimball, an enlisted member of the Webster Regiment (12th Massachusetts Volunteers). Kimball’s recollections of his three action-filled years in the Army of the Potomac are engagingly written, richly descriptive, unflinchingly honest, and emotionally compelling. Diligently edited by Alan D. Gaff and Donald H. Gaff, A Corporal’s Story is a gem of its kind, deserving of a place in every library of soldiers’ reminiscences.”—Edward G. Longacre, author of Fitz Lee: A Military Biography of Major General Fitzhugh Lee, C.S.A.
“George Kimball—a brave, solid soldier of the Twelfth Massachusetts, as well as a gifted observer and writer—fought in some of the worst battles of the American Civil War. A Corporal’s Story, his recollections of the war, offers a detailed and compelling picture of life as a common soldier in one of the famous regiments of the Army of the Potomac.”—D. Scott Hartwig, author of To Antietam Creek: The Maryland Campaign of 1862