Part Two of our Civil War collection, The Soldiers’ Perspective, provides an in-depth look at the day-to-day actions of the troops themselves primarily in the form of regimental histories.
Usually written by an individual, but sometimes compiled by a committee, these books were published after the war to document what actually happened. While some battle and war narratives are included, the focus was primarily on the individual rather than on regimental action.
This is an excellent example that was published in 1868, quite soon after the war ended: New Jersey and The Rebellion: A History of the Services of the Troops and People of New Jersey in Aid of The Union Cause by John Y. Foster.
From the Preface
The story of New Jersey’s part in the War for the Union, recorded in the following pages, has been written under many and serious difficulties. While the writer has in some cases been furnished with ample materials, in many others he has not been able to procure any official data whatever, while in nearly every instance he has found the testimony so conflicting and uncertain that it has been impossible to reach any really satisfactory conclusion. Compelled in some cases to examine hundreds of pages of manuscript to arrive at a single fact, and in others to travel scores of miles in quest of some authority which, when found, proved worthless or untrustworthy, the labor of gathering up the stray hints, the vague personal narratives, and the official statements out of which this Book is constructed, has been from first to last infinitely greater than any reader will conceive. But to the writer, this work, with all its embarassments and discouragements, and responsible as it proved, has been one of genuine pleasure; and if he has been so fortunate as to preserve any facts as to the gallantry of our troops, or the patriotism of our people, which might otherwise have been lost, he is wholly content.