I’ll highlight what I’ve read or what I’ve researched here.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is laid out as a typical unit history, written in 1889. The latter half of the book covers the 25th Missouri and includes previously published material from the Official Records of the Rebellion on the 25th’s formation and service through Shiloh. Of special note are the battle reports from surviving officers. The 25th Missouri was one of two companies from Peabody’s brigade sent out in the early morning hours of April 6th to investigate and develop Confederate intentions, it being Peabody’s assertion that the increased rebel activity foretold more aggressive intentions than patrol activity. Good primary source material on one small unit in the battle of Shiloh.
For They Met at Shiloh, several characters are based members of the 25th.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Foote breaks the battle down into its parts, taking different characters to describe their specific role and dealing with other issues of the war like slavery and secession, abolitionism and union. Foote covers the few days before and after the battle drawing its prelude drama and its aftermath in the cost of human lives. As a storyteller, Foote is more in his element with a fictional account drawing on his own research.
A great resource for after action reports, correspondence, and a day by day history of the war’s progress divided into naval, land, and daily reports by theater of war. The records take some getting used to for navigation and having an electronic copy that is OCR scanned is a must. All historic research that is based on the war utilizes these records for establishing a baseline of progress and noting the communications between the Department of War and Army commanders and army, corps, and division commanders and their subordinates.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Written by Louis F. Emilio after the war of his experiences as a captain in the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Volunteers, A Brave Black Regiment is a true to life account of these two regiments exploits in the civil war. Watch Glory, but read this book and Blue Eyed Child of Fortune (from the letters of Robert Gould Shaw of his war experiences). A Brave Black Regiment shows that fact is far more riveting than fiction and you get to see the real privations that the 54th went through before and after Fort Wagner, South Carolina. Emilio and other white officers of the 54th (the 55th was formed out of the excess of volunteers of free blacks from Massachusetts) were granted commissions from the Governor of Mass. as other officers were in the volunteer service. This differed from the selection process used by the army to fill officer quotas in the USCT formations of a written exam and board interview. Emilio was a non commissioned officer in the 23rd Mass. at the time Gov. Andrew began petitioning the War Dept. for the raising of a black regiment. Contrary to the movie, Andrew was not the first to raise a black regiment, but the 54th and 55th were the first northern units raised from free blacks. Emilio took his chance and requested an appointment for commission and was granted it after an interview with those whom Andrew commissioned to recruit officers.
What is also notable is the service the regiment gave after Fort Wagner and the fight at Olustee, Florida where it and the 55th and several USCT regiments fought alongside white brigades and further proved their mettle in a fight.