This book has been sitting on my shelf for almost a year and I finally got around to reading it. Let me start out by saying that I typically find unit/regimental histories to be very dry and boring as they are usually filled with tedious details about camp life and tactical maneuvers during battles. So I definitely went in with low expectations.
But this turned out to be a gem of a book. It is a fast flowing and well written narrative that never gets bogged down with useless fact fillers. This book makes the reader feel as if they actually get to know these men. However, the author doesn't spare us the details of what civil war artillery did to the human body.
One thing that I found intriguing was the variety of people within the battery. It not only had men from across the south but men who had been born in northern states like New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Illinois. Plus, there was an international flavor with men from England, Ireland, France, and Germany. I think this goes to show that the Confederate army wasn't a monolithic collection of white southern Anglo-Saxon protestants.
These artillerymen fought from Shiloh to the siege of Mobile. The chapters on the battles of Jackson, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge were particularly well done. Their story would make an excellent Civil War version of Band of Brothers.
This definitely ranks among my favorite books on the war.
NC Hughes does talk about the Black Horse battery down near Mobile. I concur with the Iron Duke. A great read! Hughes even includes a detailed biography of each member in an appendix/roster that allows the reader to find out what happened to these gentlemen post-war.
Perhaps the finest Southern unit history that I've ever read.
For those few unaware, the Washington Artillery was five batteries made up from the elite of New Orleans society. One might think that they were effete poseurs, but they weren't.
Four went east and one stayed in the west. If you were up against one of these batteries, you had a problem. These guys were better than good. They were much more than fancy guys parading in smart uniforms. They worked their guns with a zeal that could overmatch most opposing batteries.