War As I Saw It: The Civil War Reminiscences of Commissary Sergeant Newton H. Coker, 39th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment is an eye-opening reminiscence by Ringgold, Georgia resident and Company F, 39th Georgia member Newton H. Coker. Fearing that the young men and boys born after the war would not pass on an appreciation of the Confederate soldier’s sacrifice he recorded his serialized recount in the pages of the Walker County Messenger from 1893-1896. He presented his reminiscences in a humorous and sometimes brutally honest manner giving his perspective on events as they happened around him. His account is one of the few given by a commissary sergeant on either side of the war and only the second personal history published from the regiment.
TITLE: War As I Saw It: The Civil War Reminiscences of Commissary Sergeant Newton H. Coker, 39th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment
Introduction, Footnoted, and Edited by Gerald D. Hodge, Jr.
ISBN Number: 978-0-983648-0-0 (CD-ROM, Adobe PDF format)
Price: $19.95, Pages: 282 page main body with 397 footnotes, and an additional seventeen page introduction, eight page bibliography, and twelve page index.
Commissary Sergeant Newton H. Coker originally enlisted in Ringgold, Georgia on March 10, 1862 by James H. Anderson in what would become Company F, 39th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He served with the regiment from its beginning until its surrender near Greensboro, North Carolina on April 27, 1865 where upon he returned to his family then living in Trion, Georgia on May 20, 1865.
His extensive reminiscence gives his account of:
1862: Battles of Bridgeport, Alabama, Tazewell, Tennessee, maneuvering throughout East Tennessee in the summer and early fall of 1862, the Kentucky Campaign of 1862;
1863: Action at Vicksburg (January-May 1863), Battle of Baker’s Creek, his capture and prisoner of war experience at Camp Morton and Fort Delaware, parole camp at Dalton and reconstitution at Stone Mountain and Decatur, Georgia, Eastern Tennessee Expedition October 1863, Lookout Mountain, Battle of Missionary Ridge, and retreat to Dalton;
1864: Battle of Crow’s Valley, Georgia, Resaca, Kolb’s Farm, Atlanta Siege, Jonesboro, Tennessee Campaign of 1864, and the retreat from Nashville;
1865: Camp at Tupelo, Mississippi and movement to the Carolinas, the Carolina Campaign of 1865 to include the Battle of Bentonville and finally the events leading up to the surrender at Greensboro, North Carolina and his journey home.
Historian Gerald D. Hodge, Jr. supplements Coker’s account with over 397 footnotes and an eight page bibliography putting events, people, and claims into perspective and context. His seventeen page introduction makes one of the first examinations of the duties and responsibilities of the commissary sergeant by incorporating Confederate Army regulations and Army of Tennessee general orders to demonstrate the realm of the possible into the world of reality when it came to management of resources both men, equipment, and commissary stores.
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