Discussion Any comments of John Casler's book "Four Years in the Stonewall Brigade"

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Bruce Vail

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I'm going to be reading Casler's book and was wondering whether any CWT folk were familiar with it and had any comments, warnings, criticisms. etc.

The guy was pretty openly a con man, so how seriously should we take his memoir? Robert Krick's intro say the book has the ring of truth but that doesn't seem like much of an endorsement.
 
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eeric

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I'm going to be reading Casler's book and was wondering whether any CWT folk were familiar with it and had any comments, warnings, criticisms. etc.

The guy was pretty openly a con man, so how seriously should we take his memoir? Robert Krick's intro say the book has the ring of truth but that doesn't seem like much of an endorsement.
I finished just last week, very enjoyable and didnt get any impression of a con man, other than what many do when in very desparate
circumstances, extreme hunger and danger etc.

Also finished an hour ago McHenry Howard, very enjoyable as well

https://archive.org/details/recollectionsam00howagoog/page/n8
 
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Bruce Vail

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I've read it, pretty interesting first hand account. I don't get the con man shot. He was pretty fast and loose with the rules in the ANV but so was most everyone else stuck there.
Krick reports that Casler was involved in a crooked insurance scam post war.
 
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James N.

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I'm going to be reading Casler's book and was wondering whether any CWT folk were familiar with it and had any comments, warnings, criticisms. etc.

The guy was pretty openly a con man, so how seriously should we take his memoir? Robert Krick's intro say the book has the ring of truth but that doesn't seem like much of an endorsement.
I don't think I've ever read the Cassler, but I have read and highly recommend One of Jackson's Foot Cavalry by John Worsham which was one of the Time-Life series of facsimilie reprints around 1990.

Stonewall Books 006.jpg
 

Tom Elmore

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Casler was in the Pioneer Corps at Gettysburg, that is, a company-sized unit attached to the division (Ed Johnson) staff. He was in the rear and out of danger in that battle, but describes the accidental burning down of an empty house they occupied "by some carelessness." It occurred during the afternoon cannonade on July 3. I believe this was probably the house owned by Peter Trostle and farmed by John H. Eckert. The family left on July 1. So Casler's story appears to be confirmed. The rest of his narrative on Gettysburg also rings true.
 

Bruce Vail

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I've finished reading the book and am very satisfied.

As others have commented, it has the "ring of truth" and there is little here that is demonstrably wrong. It's best in describing the foot soldier's daily life and some memorable anecdotes from his many campaigns. But Casler did his homework and he is able to put his daily experiences in the context of the broader military history of the war, so the package comes together quite well.

It's quite heavy on the 'Stonewall Jackson as greatest hero' theme, which I was suppose was intended to improve the sales of the book at the time of publication in 1893. It does detract from the book for a lot of modern readers (me), but its not a fatal flaw.

There a some great nuggets that I am going to post separately so my friends at CWT can get a close look and comment freely.
 
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Bruce Vail

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I've read it, pretty interesting first hand account. I don't get the con man shot. He was pretty fast and loose with the rules in the ANV but so was most everyone else stuck there.
That's one of the outstanding features of this memoir. He was constantly breaking the rules and is very free and open about it. As with countless other foot soldiers through the centuries, he seems to have a jaundiced view of the his own officers.
 

BillO

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That's one of the outstanding features of this memoir. He was constantly breaking the rules and is very free and open about it. As with countless other foot soldiers through the centuries, he seems to have a jaundiced view of the his own officers.
The men do look with a keen and critical eye on the one whose decision making skill might determine their living through the next action.
 

Boonslick

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There a some great nuggets that I am going to post separately so my friends at CWT can get a close look and comment freely.

I have had this book on my bookshelf for a few years and have finally started to read it. I'm about 4/5ths. of the way through. I'd be interested to read your comments. I wish that the print was a bit larger as it is hard on these old eyes.
 
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