“This Georgian’s letters offer a rich slice of Southern soldier experience expressed by an observant, smart, company-grade officer. Ugie Allen’s battle accounts of Cross Keys, Gaines’s Mill, Cedar Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg are vividly descriptive contemporary accounts of considerable value.”—Robert K. Krick, author of Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain
Orphaned at age three, Ujanirtus C. Allen grew up in foster homes and boarding schools. In the spring of 1861, when he turned twenty-one, “Ugie” inherited a substantial estate in Troup County, Georgia, replete with slaves, livestock, and machinery. Unfortunately for Allen, the outbreak of war made it impossible to build the stable life and permanent home he so desperately wanted for himself, his wife, Susan, and their infant son.
In April, 1861, Allen, fueled by pride and patriotism, joined the Ben Hill Infantry, which eventually became Company F, 21st Georgia Volunteer Infantry. He wrote his wife twice weekly, penning at least 138 letters before he received a mortal wound at Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. Allen’s ability to convey his observations and feelings on a variety of topics and his vivid descriptions of his environment setsCampaigning with “Old Stonewall” apart from other collections of Civil War letters.
More than simply personal, Ugie’s missives to his beloved Susie abound with vibrant portrayals of wartime Richmond and the beautiful Virginia countryside as well as battlefields such as Cross Keys, Gaines’s Mill, Cedar Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg. Allen was a discerning observer of people, as evinced by his deft characterizations and gossipy accounts of regimental officers, lowly privates, and generals from Stonewall Jackson to Robert E. Lee. Allen was responsible for dozens of enlisted men, and his correspondence makes clear the myriad duties of a company-grade officer in the Confederate army.
Editors Randall Allen and Keith S. Bohannon expertly weave Allen’s letters with valuable commentary and annotations. Whether focused on the war or on his farm and family, Ugie Allen exhibits a talent for communicating his observations and opinions, making Campaigning with “Old Stonewall” a valuable resource for Civil War enthusiasts and social and military historians.
Keith S. Bohannon is completing his Ph.D. in history at Pennsylvania State University and has written for the Georgia Historical Quarterly and the Journal of Southwest Georgia History.
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