“This Terrible Struggle for Life”

The Civil War Letters of a Union Regimental Surgeon

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About the Book

This book offers a rare insight into the history of the Civil War in the western theatre through the eyes of a regimental surgeon. The newly graduated Dr. Thomas S. Hawley served in one of the premier fighting regiments of the Union Army. This collection of letters is important for two reasons: They detail his four and a half year career in the army through firsthand accounts of the various campaigns and his numerous duties, and they chronicle his interactions with captured Confederate soldiers, his encounters with pro–Southern and pro–Northern civilians in areas occupied by the Union Army, his experiences with freed slaves and numerous other daily events in the war. Notable among the letters is his record of the early Civil War in Missouri, the Vicksburg Campaign, the Battle of Tupelo and the Battle of Nashville.

About the Author(s)

Dennis W. Belcher has edited or authored five previous books on the Civil War and has published in the North & South magazine, and made many presentations on aspects of the Civil War. He lives in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas S. Hawley, M.D.

Edited by Dennis W. Belcher

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 262
Bibliographic Info: 20 photos, 7 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6658-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0105-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 5
One. 1861: Belleville, St. Louis, Rolla and Cape Girardeau 11
Two. 1862: Cape Girardeau, Corinth, Columbus and Holly Springs 52
Three. 1863: LaGrange, Vicksburg and Memphis 75
Four. 1864: LaGrange, Tupelo, Oxford, Missouri and Nashville 166
Five. 1865: Spanish Fort, Occupation of Alabama and Postwar Life 221
Chapter Notes 245
Bibliography 248
Index 251

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “excellent…highly recommended”—Midwest Book Review
  • “fascinating details of the war on the Mississippi River”—Civil War News