Civil War Soldiers of Greater Cleveland: Letters Home to Cuyahoa County by Dale Thomas is a fine example of bringing to life the effect the Civil War had on local communities.
Mr. Thomas is the archivist for the Olmstead Historical Society. He uncovered a treasure trove of letters, diaries and images of local Ohioans who served in the Civil War.
By using that information he was able to create this finely written book.
Readers should not be fooled by the title this is a book that can be enjoyed by anybody with an interest in the common soldier, and is not limited in focus to only local residents in Cuyahoga County. The story is told through the experiences of several residents who went off to war. One of those men was Nathan Hawkins. Hawkins was married with children when he enlisted in the 103rd Ohio Infantry.
The letters he wrote home to his wife Lucy exhibit a wide range of emotions and experiences that he had. His frustrations as the war progressed were evident, and his wife’s efforts to keep his spirits high were heartwarming.
One of Nathan Hawkins friends, Sam Ames, also joined the army. He enlisted in the 124th Ohio Infantry.
Like Hawkins, Sam left a wife and child. Periodically the two friends would meet each other when their regiments happened to be near each other in the field.
Sam’s letters are descriptive of the tribulations he witnessed while serving hospital tent duty.
The author had done a good job in brining to life the impact the war had on local citizens and their civilian-turned-soldier brothers, husbands, and fathers.
Undoubtedly the experiences described were repeated in countless other communities throughout the North and South. For that reason Civil War Soldiers of Greater Cleveland is a worthwhile book to read.
Title: Civil War Soldiers of Greater Cleveland: Letters Home to Cuyahoa County Author: Dale Thomas Publisher: History Press www.historypress.net