Book Review: A Civil War Courtship

A Civil War Courtship: The Letters of Edwin Weller from Antietam to AtlantaA Civil War Courtship: The Letters of Edwin Weller from Antietam to Atlanta by William Walton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The title reflects the contents: it’s a collection of letters written by Edwin Weller, a member of the 107th New York Volunteers, during the Civil War. Mr. Welller fought at Antietam and Gettysburg and many other places. His regiment marched down through Georgia, the Carolinas and went through Richmond immediately after the war. He participated in the Grand Review in Washington in May 1865.

But most important, he was falling in love with the woman he exchanged letters with. Nettie’s letters, unfortunately, did not survive, but the growth of their relationship is revealed in his words and increased openness in his courtship, via writing, of her.

For anyone interested in the Civil War or in society of the period, this is a gold mine of the language, restraint and morals of the period. I don’t recall how I came upon this book, but I’m glad I did, as I enjoyed it very much. Also, the editor – and grandson of the couple in question – stayed out of things as much as possible. His introduction is short. His interjections, what few there are, appear only between letters, never interrupting them. He let Edwin tell his own story, and I appreciated that.

Also, if you read as I frequently do, at lunch time at work or in other short bits of time, this is an easy read. Very much enjoyed it.

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