Preview – Loperfido (Ed.), “Death, Disease, and Life at War”

27 03 2018

Layout 1I previewed Christopher Loperfido’s A Surgeon’s Tale here back in 2011. So I’ll let that serve as part of this preview of a new Savas Beatie edition of the book, retitled (with a much appreciated Oxford comma) Death Disease, and Life at War: The Civil War Letters of Surgeon James D. Benton, 111th and 98th New York Infantry Regiments, 1862-1865. There have been changes made to this edition, and Christopher laid them out for me. I thought about rewriting this myself, but hey, seems clear enough:

  • The military organization has been cleaned up a bit to give readers a better understanding of military lingo that James might reference if they were not already aware.
  • The introduction includes all new photos and is more detailed regarding the status of the union army medical department at the beginning of the war, what an assistant surgeon would have done during the war, more background information about James and his family, and sets the stage at Harper’s Ferry for the beginning of James’s letters after the 111th was captured and paroled.
  • Footnotes have been tweaked, more information and some have been added and others subtracted.
  • A postscript section has been added about a bible James picked up during the war and returned in 1885.
  • 5 appendices were added to give an introduction to Jonathan Letterman, Sanitary Commission, Ambulance Corps, Amputations, and Civil War dressings.
  • More context about what was going on during the war in each year has been added and cleaned up as well.

Preview: Christopher Loperfido, editor, “A Surgeon’s Tale”

26 09 2011

New from Ten Roads Publishing (see here) is A Surgeon’s Tale: The Civil War Letters of Surgeon James D. Benton, 111th and 98th New York Infantries, 1862-1865, edited by Christopher E. Loperfido. Benton was an Assistant Surgeon with the 111th NY from Harper’s Ferry through Gettysburg and the Overland Campaign, and was with them at Petersburg until he was commissioned in the 98th New York as Surgeon. The 111th NY, as some of you may know, ranked 9th of all Union regiments at Gettysburg in total losses in the battle, third in total killed. A total of 220 members of the regiment were killed or died of wounds during the war, ranking them 25th of all Federal regiments in that regard. In other words, Benton was a busy guy. From the back cover:

Benton’s honesty, raw emotion and passion for his work give insight into what life was like for the men who gave so much for the preservation of this nation.

Loperfido stumbled across this fine collection of letters while researching the 111th NY in a historical society in Weedsport, NY. Give it a tumble. It’s tough to beat contemporary, first person accounts.