4 out of 4 stars
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The book Caledonia Lost: The Fall of the Confederacy by William D. McEachern is the real-life account of Confederate soldier James Augustus McEachern during his battles as a Civil War Lieutenant. Included are the letters that McEachern wrote his wife before the battle of the Breakthrough, recounting his most notable battles against the Union. While historic in nature, the letters are heartfelt love letters from the lieutenant to his wife, filled with emotion from a unique perspective of the Civil War.
The author does a wonderful job compiling these letters, and this book would make a wonderful supplement to any college course about the Civil War. This gave me a different perspective about the war, giving a personality to the Confederate War. I have been educated with the perception that the Confederate army was fighting for the right to own slaves as a collective, which can still be argued as factual. I loved reading this first-hand account from a Lieutenant who never owned slaves, and was not personally fighting for slavery. He was fighting to protect his family, and I can understand that.
Lieutenant McEachern got injured twice in battle during the Civil War, and his writing of those injuries is vivid and emotion inducing. He tried hard to play down these injuries in the letters to his wife, so to not make her worry, which I found endearing. The compassion of how he spoke about his father the carriage maker was delightful. The overall writing style of this Confederate soldier gave me a feeling of connection to the rebel side, which I've never felt before. McEachern also talks about his family loss outside the war and discusses the family he does not know that gives him not only a reason to fight but a reason to come home.
I loved this book, and commend the writer for his excellent writing style, and the author for his detailed research in putting this book together. This book makes me want to read more not only about the Civil War but about the Civil War from the personal perspective of the South. Not every Confederate soldier fought as a means to keep racism intact in the United States, but rather to keep their own family secure.
I give Caledonia Lost: The Fall of the Confederacy 4 out of 4 stars, for its excellent writing flow, captivating subject material, and vivid imagery. I recommend this book to any mature reader (due to graphic violence) looking for a supplemental book about the Civil War from the perspective of the Confederate side.
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