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ISBN-13: 979-8986599380
Pages: 246
Trim: 6×9
Format: Paperback

From Western Virginia with Jackson to Spotsylvania with Lee

The Civil War Diaries and Letters of St. Joseph Tucker Randolph
Peter C. Luebke

From Western Virginia with Jackson to Spotsylvania with Lee presents the diaries and letters of St. Joseph Tucker Randolph, a young Confederate soldier from Richmond, Virginia. As might be expected of the son of a bookseller, Tucker’s writings offer lucid and candid descriptions of the Civil War. Unlike most who served, Randolph fought in both the eastern and western theaters of the war. He began the war in the 21st Virginia Infantry, a part of the famed Stonewall Brigade, before moving on to staff roles with Henry M. Ashby in Tennessee and John Pegram in Virginia. Throughout it all, he kept diaries and wrote letters home, correspondence his family preserved after Tucker’s death in action at Bethesda Church in 1864.

Tucker’s lengthy accounts of campaigning in western Virginia in 1861 and early 1862 give many rich characterizations of the area and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. His writings from Kentucky and Tennessee in 1862 offers trenchant commentary on the failures of the western armies. Tucker’s return to Virginia in late 1863 as a staff officer gave him the perfect vantage point to write about Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, including a particularly vivid account of the Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864. Ample illustrations and maps help bring Tucker’s writings to life, making this book an excellent account of a young Confederate soldier’s Civil War.

Peter C. Luebke, editor of other Civil War narratives such as Albion Tourgée’s The Story of a Thousand and The Autobiography of John A. Dahlgren, contextualizes the writings and provides thorough annotation on the people, places, and events mentioned.

Noted scholar Gary W. Gallagher, the John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War (emeritus) at the University of Virginia, contributes a foreword that amplifies the importance of Tucker’s writings.


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From Western Virginia with Jackson to Spotsylvania with Lee certainly makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of the common soldier’s experience and just how transitional some soldiers’ Civil War service could be. This study can claim a worthy spot among the appreciated published diary and letter collections of other Civil War soldiers, and is sure to become a go to source for researchers. – Tim Talbott, Emerging Civil War

Read the entire book review at Emerging Civil War…

Tucker Randolph’s smart, perceptive, and lengthy letters and diary entries supply vivid insight into the war in Virginia. He wrote valuable narratives on Romney and Kernstown, but the book’s best content prints Randolph’s accounts of Spotsylvania. They are among the very best primary documents anywhere on that crucial fortnight in 1864. – Robert K. Krick, author of Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain

A feast for the social historian, Tucker Randolph’s letters and diaries are alight with evidence of class privilege, the leveling hardships of soldiering, and vibrant material culture. While the scope of Tucker’s service was grand, from private to staff officer in both the eastern and western theaters, this is the best account of the storied 21st Virginia Infantry’s early days. Peter C. Luebke edits with an intelligent and respectful regard for the source material, providing rich historical context at satisfying moments and immersing us in Randolph’s world. – Kathryn Shively, author of Nature’s Civil War

St. Joseph Tucker Randolph’s wartime diaries and letters take readers from the war’s earliest fights in western Virginia to the hard-fought Overland Campaign where he met his end. Ably edited by Peter C. Luebke, Randolph’s writings vividly convey war’s uncertainty while painfully relating the conflict’s impact upon the land and its people. From Western Virginia with Jackson to Spotsylvania with Lee is a welcome addition to the rich body of firsthand accounts from the Civil War era thanks to Randolph’s insightful observations and breadth of wartime experiences. – Dr. James J. Broomall, Director, George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War, Shepherd University