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An inspiring narrative of a young Civil War soldier, as told through his letters from the battlefield.
In 1862 twenty-one-year-old Morris Brown Jr. left his studies at Hamilton College to take up the Union cause. He quickly rose in rank from sergeant major to captain and acting regimental commander for the 126th New York Volunteers. In letters written to his family in Penn Yan, New York, Brown describes his experiences at war: the unseemly carping between fellow officers, the fear that gripped men facing battle, and the longing to return home. Brown’s letters also reveal an ambitious young man who not only wanted recognition but also wanted to assure himself of a financial future. Above all, this is the story of a courageous young man, told mostly in his own words. Few Civil War soldiers were as articulate as Morris Brown Jr., fewer served in a regiment that saw so much combat, still fewer commanded a regiment at such a young age, and even fewer were recognized by the newly minted Medal of Honor.
“…Wayne Mahood shines a light on a young life of promise cut short in the bloody, bitter battle between North and South … The campaign strategies of the battles [Morris] Brown engaged in are described in detail, making this a rewarding read for military history buffs.” — Western New York Heritage
“[The book] is especially valuable as a first-person documentation of the Civil War and will be of special interest to those who want to learn more about participation by Finger Lakes soldiers in the Civil War.” — Life in the Finger Lakes
“Fight All Day, March All Night is an unforgettable journey, and a welcome addition to Civil War reading lists.” — Midwest Book Review
“In drawing together so much information beyond what could be gleaned from the initial source … Wayne Mahood has not only done a remarkable amount of research, but has also added importantly to the vast store of books on the Civil War that already exists.” — Hamilton Alumni Review
“Mahood has done a superb job editing the letters, adding extensive notes, and providing informative biographical text … Fight All Day, March All Night is a ‘must’ for any Union bookshelf.” — Civil War News
“The pungent letters of Capt. Morris Brown Jr., of the 126th New York show us that ambition, bravery, and a willingness to scrap with fellow officers was alive and well in the Civil War. An interesting and lively look at the war experiences of a Medal of Honor winner and a survivor of Gettysburg, who gave his life for his country early in the Petersburg campaign. Thanks to Wayne Mahood for bringing these unusual letters to our attention.” — Earl J. Hess, author of In the Trenches at Petersburg: Field Fortifications and Confederate Defeat
Wayne Mahood is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the School of Education at Geneseo–SUNY. His many books include Alexander “Fighting Elleck” Hays: The Life of a Civil War General, From West Point to the Wilderness, General Wadsworth: The Life and Times of Brevet General James S. Wadsworth, and Written in Blood: A History of the 126th New York Infantry in the Civil War.
Table of Contents
Illustrations Preface Acknowledgments
1. “How I Would Like to Lead Such a Regiment As This To Battle”
2. “Oh, That We Could Fight”
3. “Morris is a Hero” – the Battle of Gettysburg
4. “ ‘I Rallied on the Right’ – Charged ‘Bayonets’ ”
5. “You Can Bet We Are Going To Have A Terrible Battle”: Spring 1864
6. “Fight All Day and March All Night”
7. “Anyone Who Comes Out of This Campaign Alive is a Very Fortunate Being”