RAGS AND HOPE by Mary-Ed. Lasswell


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Edited from posthumous records by a Texas novelist, a friend of the author's family, these ""rambling recollections of the Civil War"" are old-man memoirs of a Confederate soldier who for four years fought as a ""soldier of the line"" with Hood's Texas Brigade. Valerius Cincinnatus (otherwise Val) Giles was 19 when Texas seceded; enlisting at once, he marched to Virginia with the 4th Texas Regiment, which became a part of Hood's Brigade. Under Hood, his hero, the author fought in many battles: Gaines Mill, Second Manassas, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, etc. Captured at Chicamauga, he was sent to the pestiferous Northern prison camp, Camp Morton, from which a year later he escaped to the Confederate lines, on his way falling in love with a girl he did not marry but of whom he writes at somewhat weary length; he died in Austin, Texas, in 1915. Although he saw plenty of action, in his book the author writes more of horseplay than of battles; the best part is his account of his night on Little Round Top the day before Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Written and dedicated long after the events of which he tells, the memoirs lack the immediacy of diaries kept on the field by other Civil War soldiers. Over-flowery in style, often strained in humor, the book will appeal to Texans whose forebears fought with Hood, and to historians of Hood's Brigade; they will also interest buffs who like their Civil War sugared with romance.

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1961
Publisher: Coward-McCann