Most passing Civil War students are well-versed in both the old and new tomes outlining the history of the campaigns and their generals. It takes those with real interest, though, to dive deeper into the personal stories of the men who shouldered the musket and stood shoulder-to-shoulder trading Minié balls with the enemy. To satisfy that taste requires a diet of personal diaries and regimental histories. David Ward’s presentation (and upcoming book) on the 96th Pennsylvania is just such fare.
Battles did not occur every day, and generals didn’t make grand (or un-grand) decisions with regularity. The doldrums of camp, the concerns and feelings of the common foot soldier and the routine of army life affected the boys in blue and gray, and those recruited from the Pennsylvania anthracite coal fields to fill the ranks of the 96th were no exception. Dave’s program weaved their stories together into a regimental tapestry that encompasses their experiences with the Army of the Potomac’s Sixth Corps.
Organized in the later summer of 1861, many of the members of the 96th had seen previous duty with the First Defenders. Following their 90 day service it was obvious the war was going to take longer than anyone had anticipated, and the men chose to answer their country’s call to put down the rebellion. Before their three-year term expired in 1864, the men of the 96th would see much and many of them would never return to Schuylkill County.
Dave’s regimental history is due out this spring, and he has made a special offer available to the First Defenders. Click on this link to download the early reviews from some leading historians (and First Defenders friends!) and to place your order for Dave Ward’s new Civil War entry-> 96th PVI Book Order Form