“Burning Rails as We Pleased”

The Civil War Letters of William Garrigues Bentley, 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

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About the Book

William Garrigues Bentley chose to leave the safety of home and family at age 19 fight for the Union. He enlisted in the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company G, in 1862 and served for three long years before being honorably discharged. His firsthand account details his day-to-day life as a soldier, the long marches around Kentucky, skirmishes with the Rebs, joining with Sherman’s army in the Atlanta campaign and then chasing Hood into Tennessee and fighting in the bloody battle at Franklin, and on to rejoin Sherman in the winter of 1865 for the final months of the Carolina campaign.
This book—compiled from a collection of 142 of Bentley’s newly discovered letters and other documents—not only is an important historical record but also offers an insight into the political thoughts and feelings of the time. The book includes a complete roster of the 104th Ohio.

About the Author(s)

Barbara Bentley Smith is William Garrigues Bentley’s great-granddaughter. She lives in Washington, North Carolina.
Nina Bentley Baker is William Garrigues Bentley’s great-granddaughter. She lives in Cary, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

William Garrigues Bentley
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 238
Bibliographic Info: photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011 [2004]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4492-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-2696-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction      1

1. Ohio      5

2. Kentucky      9

3. Tennessee      67

4. Georgia      93

5. Alabama to Tennessee      119

6. On the Move Eastward      131

7. Carolina Campaign      137

Epilogue      157

Glossary      161

Roster of the 104th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry      167

Notes      207

Bibliography      215

Index      217

Book Reviews

“a labor of love”—The Civil War News; “this volume provides an unparalleled first-person look into the heart and mind of the average western soldier”—Military Images; “a useful read for anyone interested in the life and experiences of the common soldier in the war”—The NYMAS Review; “well-written…include[s] a roster of the entire 104th Ohio, which will be of interest to researchers and descendants…Bentley’s letters are a good read. Bentley, who enlisted at age nineteen, was extremely observant and a very good writer…should appeal to anyone interested in the Army of the Ohio, the 104th Ohio Volunteers, and the life of the common Federal soldier in the Western theatre”—North & South; “the benefit of this book is the letters themselves. It is always a treat to be able to see the Civil War through the eyes of the participants…a nice job”—The Civil War Courier; “of significant interest”—www.h-net.org.