Southern Sons, Northern Soldiers
The Civil War Letters of the Remley Brothers, 22nd Iowa Infantry
AUTHOR: Remley, George A. and Remley, Lycurgus
PUBLISHER: Northern Illinois University Press
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When Abraham Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers to fortify Union forces in July 1862, George and Lycurgus Remley enlisted to serve God and country--and for them, this phrase had real meaning. When their native Virginia had become a hostile environment for men speaking out against the evils of slavery, the Remley family had taken refuge in the Midwest. Answering the call of their president and their consciences, the two brothers joined the 22nd Iowa Infantry. This poignant collection of their letters to and from home sharply portrays the human costs of the Civil War.
The Remley brothers saw action in an unusually wide geographic area, from Missouri to Louisiana, as their regiment fought the battles of Port Gibson and Champion Hill, laid siege to Vicksburg and Jackson, and took part in Major General Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign. Along the way, George and Lycurgus witnessed battle scenes, border warfare, bushwhacking, and guerrilla encounters--all of which they graphically described in letters home.
Physical hardships were matched, the brothers felt, by spiritual hardships. Even before the Civil War began, they knew that their abolitionist convictions would require personal sacrifice. When the family moved from Virginia to the free soil of Iowa, Lycurgus remained behind to finish school. He was soon expelled, however, for asserting his own abolitionist views and was forced to follow his family north. Ready to fight for their beliefs, he and George proudly joined the Union ranks with Bibles in hand. As they traveled throughout the country, Lycurgus, still outspoken, distributed New Testaments among his comrades.
A close fraternal bond carried the Remleys through the tedium of camp life and the intensity of battle. George and Lycurgus wrote as distinct individuals; and this fascinating collection of their letters offers dueling impressions of the same events. But when sudden illness and death left one brother alone, he courageously continued to fight not only for God and country but also for his fallen brother and comrade.
PUBLICATION DATE: 11/17/2003
CATEGORY: Biography & Autobiography, History