“Deliver Us from This Cruel War”

The Civil War Letters of Lieutenant Joseph J. Hoyle, 55th North Carolina Infantry


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About the Book

Joseph J. Hoyle enlisted in the Confederate Army in May 1862 as a private. By the time of his death in September 1864, he was serving as a lieutenant in the 55th Regiment North Carolina Troops. The personal letters of this soldier, supplemented by the editor’s overview of the events and actions of the regiment, offer a view of the common soldier as well as battlefield and camp culture. The letters also reveal, among other things, how this former schoolteacher urged his fellow soldiers forward at Gettysburg despite a sense that the cause was lost.

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey M. Girvan is the current Supervisor of History and Social Science for Prince William County Schools in Virginia. He has been an adjunct instructor at George Mason University.

Bibliographic Details

Joseph J. Hoyle

Edited by Jeffrey M. Girvan

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 243
Bibliographic Info: 7 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4757-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5604-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgment      ix
Preface      1
Introduction      5

PART I : Historical and Biographical Background
1—Studies of the Common Soldier of the Civil War      13
2—Lieutenant Joseph J. Hoyle in Combat      34

PART II : Letters
3—Duty in North Carolina, May–September 1862      49
4—From Petersburg to Suffolk, October 1862–May 1863      72
5—The Gettysburg Campaign, June–July 1863      113
6—The Calm Before the Storm, August 1863–April 1864      135
7—From the Wilderness to Globe Tavern, May–August 1864      170

Epilogue: Death      187
Appendix A: Miscellaneous Undated Letters      191
Appendix B: Regimental Roster for the Field and Staff Officers of the 55th North Carolina State Troops and Company F      193
Appendix C: Field and Staff Officers and Men from Company F Who Died from Disease While Serving with the 55th North Carolina      197
Appendix D: Field and Staff Officers and Men from Company F Who Were Killed in Action or Reported Missing in Action While Serving with the 55th North Carolina State Troops      198
Notes      199
Bibliography      221
Index      229

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “This collection provides good insight into the fate of the common soldier in Lee’s Army…Girvan has done a fine job”—Blue & Gray Magazine
  • “a welcome addition”—North Carolina Historical Review
  • “excellent historical overviews…solid…an excellent contribution to Civil War soldier studies”—soldierstudies.org
  • “Girvan has edited an exemplary collection of letters”—The Journal of Southern History