HISTORY OF THE TWELFTH REGIMENT NEW HAMPSHIRE VOLUNTEERS IN THE WAR OF THE REBELLION

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Both Civil War Books and the Union Bookshelf comment “Not as widely publicized as some other regimental histories, this volume is among the best of the northern unit histories.” That may even be an understatement as compared with its peers. This is an extraordinarily intimate and highly detailed history written by the former captain of Company F who was both in and rose from the ranks and of whom a fellow comrade said: “He carried the 12th New Hampshire on his heart” the remaining days of his life.

As if being among Lieutenant Colonel W.F. Fox’s three hundred fighting regiments (Albany, 1898) isn’t enough to attract attention to this volume, the 12th NH had already suffered the greatest losses in battle of any regiment at Chancellorsville (317 casualties) less than two months before Gettysburg. There, just north of the Klingle farm along the Emmitsburg Road on July 2nd, it sustained 105 more out of the 224 present (almost 50%) defending against Wilcox’s Alabamians while not being crushed like many of its 3rd Corps brethren. Bartlett describes these actions in great detail, combining tactical specifics of the regiment’s movements with many individual human interest stories. Often cited in many secondary battle histories, it is written as if you were there in the ranks with these men and seeing in words what they saw in action.

Yet it is Bartlett’s admiration of those in the ranks that makes the roster pages uniquely personal among regimentals. Unlike the standard listing of soldiers’ names and scant service details commonly seen, this history contains cuts of the men of the 12th in their uniforms as they looked in the field along with considerable-length paragraphs detailing as much as could be known of their births, families, and pre-war experience, extensive descriptions of their wounds and/or deaths, post-war marriages, and careers. An example, page 630 is “soon after the Battle of Fredericksburg in which he participated…” this soldier’s condition had become so poor except for heavenly intercession “he probably would long since have been sleeping beneath the soil of Virginia instead of cultivating as he has for many years the soil of the young but fast growing state of Nebraska where he now resides” and “from a letter just received from him… he is still happy in the Christian faith that “whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.”

These personal sketches gathered no doubt from reunions coupled with the insights of the post-war years looking back make the individual soldiers of the 12th New Hampshire still live again in the seven-hundred-plus pages of smaller type compiled as the devoted work of Bartlett’s life. In this he was fully supported by his beloved wife in his extraordinary life. In gratitude, her portrait, rather than that of some General, graces the frontispiece. This book is their legacy.

Volume measures approximately 11 inches by 7.5 inches; 752 pages plus a unit roster (approximately 800 pages). The book has not been rebound and the cover is in good condition. There are some wear marks to the corners and to the spine of the book but overall, the binding is in great shape for its age.  [CLA][PH:L]

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