The book details the everyday life of a private and gives an up-close account of what the details of a battle mean to a man participating in it as opposed to learning about generals’ battle plans and the movement of troops. These details bring a personal understanding to a student of the war.
Alonzo Bryant Searing, a high school graduate aged 18, enlisted in the 11th New Jersey Volunteer Regiment in Dover, New Jersey in 1862 and served two years and ten months as a Private in the Union Army. His unit served in 27 engagements and he was slightly wounded twice. During that time he wrote 110 letters home to his sister. Twenty-five years later he edited these letters, adding information from his well-kept journals and his memory and had them published in The Morris County Journal newspaper from 1890-1893. The book is this collection of letters, written with a dry humor, which includes graphic descriptions of engagements, including some listings of death, wounding and sickness, opinions of the war, politics, religion, race, alcohol, deserters, camp conditions, hospital life, his own poetry and accounts of meetings with friends and relatives in nearby Army units.
Arrival at Camp
Trip to Washington, D. C.
Near the Battle of Bull RunCulpepper, Virginia
Movements of the 2nd Division
Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House
Received Sick FurloughReported back to Mansion House Hospital
Transfer to Fort Reno
Return from Furlough Home “to vote” – Battle of Fort Morton
Return to Active Duty at the Front
Battle of Hatcher’s Run
Battle for PetersburgCamp near Burkesville
March from Burkesville to near Alexandria
Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac