Rollin Truesdell's letters reveal a great deal that both general readers and serious researchers will appreciate. He was likeable. He was smart and observant. He was wholly committed. He was both narrator and commentator--a mix of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, if you will. And, he wrote with nuance and power. When I work with a book of letters like this, I mark useful passages I want to revisit with post-it notes. This collaboration between ancestor and descendant has more post-its than most books on my shelves--passages that go beyond the boilerplate language of the day found in so many letters. Amy Truesdell (she too is an excellent writer) has done a great job of giving the letters context. She helps you see in Rollin's letters what is truly important. This is a first-rate volume, one of the better collections of letters related to the Army of the Potomac to appear in the last few decades.
--John Hennessy, Chief Historian (ret.)
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
This is a must read for any Civil War historian. Truesdell combines the immediacy of personal letters with extensive research to give a fairly complete history of the war right up to May 1863. Not only does she speak of the war through the eyes of an enlisted man, she also gives a bird's eye view at the same time. Context is everything, and here, Truesdell gives a fantastic overview of the war. Accordingly, this book should appeal not only to Civil War buffs, but also readers looking for a great story.
--Jim Gandy, Librarian/Archivist
New York State Military Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY
An engaging speaker with a captivating story to tell, Amy Truesdell quickly had the audience rooting for Rollin as we learned about his experiences in the Civil War. Her research focuses on the story of one man, but with just the right amount of contextual information, Ms. Truesdell presented us with a well formed account that demonstrated how any young soldier in the Civil War may have become disillusioned as the war progressed. We would jump at the chance to host her for another lecture.
--Shannon Gilmore, Executive Director
Lincoln County Historical Association, Wiscasset, Maine
While Civil War soldier memoirs are not uncommon, few are as articulate as Truesdell. This book highlights the experiences of the common soldier, and particularly the enthusiasm of the early war volunteers and their transition to hardened veterans. The soldier, clearly well-educated and observant, wrote with clarity and honesty not only about the battles he participated in, but also national affairs and Army politics.
--Tom Clemens, coauthor of
The Maryland Campaign of September 1862
We hosted Ms. Truesdell for a book talk at the Chemung County Historical Society shortly after her book was published. Based on original letters from family members, Truesdell's book follows the journey of one soldier's complete change in attitude towards war during one of the country's bloodiest conflicts. Truesdell's background in Foreign Service and enthusiasm for history was an engaging blend that captivated our audience.
--Susan Zehnder, Education Director
Chemung County Historical Society, Elmira, NY
In her book, From the Binghamton to the Battlefield: The Civil War letters of Rollin L. Truesdell, Amy Truesdell has interwoven a narrative about the Civil War, the history of the Truesdell family in Susquehanna County, PA and Rollin's experiences in the war as told through his letters home. It is the story of the wartime struggles and conflicts of a very early enlistee raised in a family dedicated to abolition as he witnessed the sacrifices made for that cause. Ms Truesdell has made this compelling Civil War narrative deeply personal as she shares her ancestor Rollin's perspective of the war.
--Bonnie Yuscavage, Curator
Susquehanna County Historical Society, Montrose, PA