Old Memoir breathes New Life into the Story of Jeb Stuart

29 01 2014

Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence (Southern Classics Series) (Southern Classics Series (Nashville, Tenn.).)Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence (Southern Classics Series) (Southern Classics Series by Heros Von Borcke

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heros Von Borcke was a Prussian Soldier who came to the states to serve the Confederacy. He ended up becoming the chief of staff for JEB Stuart during his historic year of rides, wounded in June of 1963. He eloquently shares his story – his experiences in battle, in camp and in the fellowship with his fellow officers and soldiers. His story is filled with deeply intimate stories of this time – stories of courage and loss.

Very much enjoyed this snapshot of the Confederate Cavalry in the ANV through the eyes of Von Borcke. Von has a flair for sharing details that might not find their way into an average story. He talks of the camaraderie of camp, the trials of foraging and the challenge of keeping and feeding horses. His decidedly European perspective gives this memoir a different feel – though he fights for the Confederacy, he is not a Southerner.

The decidedly best parts of this book, were the little bits of intimacy between soldiers – Stonewall Jackson gently waking Von from a deep sleep, General Lee making sport of Von’s carriage, Stuart’s last words to his close friend – plus many little stories of lesser known soldiers in the Confederacy. Through Von’s eyes, we are there. While he doesn’t give us characters descriptions of these men, he does show us those human sides of them and the tragedy of war, enjoying the company of a close friend, only to have him end up as a corpse.

Kindle edition at 99 cents is a great deal and this book is a must read for any student of JEB Stuart and the ANV.

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