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Berry Benson's Civil War Book: Memoirs of a Confederate Scout and Sharpshooter

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Confederate scout and sharpshooter Berry Greenwood Benson witnessed the first shot fired on Fort Sumter, retreated with Lee's Army to its surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, and missed little of the action in between. This memoir of his service is a remarkable narrative, filled with the minutiae of the soldier's life and paced by a continual succession of battlefield anecdotes. Three main stories emerge from Benson's account: his reconnaissance exploits, his experiences in battle, and his escape from prison. ...
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1993-01-01 Hardcover New New Item. Item delivered via UPS in 7-9 business days. Tracking available by request Ships from US. Please allow 1-3 weeks for delivery outside US.

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1992 Hardcover New Book and Dust Jacket. Lightest of shelf/storage wear. SHIPS W/IN 24 HOURS! Processed by DHL with USPS delivery for an average of 3-5 Day Standard Shipping & ... 2-3 Day Expedited Shipping! ! FREE INSURANCE! Fast & Personal Support! Careful Packaging. No Hassle, Full Refund Return Policy! Read more Show Less

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Overview

Confederate scout and sharpshooter Berry Greenwood Benson witnessed the first shot fired on Fort Sumter, retreated with Lee's Army to its surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, and missed little of the action in between. This memoir of his service is a remarkable narrative, filled with the minutiae of the soldier's life and paced by a continual succession of battlefield anecdotes. Three main stories emerge from Benson's account: his reconnaissance exploits, his experiences in battle, and his escape from prison. Though not yet eighteen years old when he left his home in Augusta, Georgia, to join the army, Benson was soon singled out for the abilities that would serve him well as a scout. Not only was he a crack shot, a natural leader, and a fierce Southern partisan, but he had a kind of restless energy and curiosity, loved to take risks, and was an instant and infallible judge of human nature. His recollections of scouting take readers within an arm's reach of Union trenches and encampments. Benson recalls that while eavesdropping he never failed to be shocked by the Yankees' foul language; he had never heard that kind of talk in a Confederate camp! Benson's descriptions of the many battles in which he fought - including Cold Harbor, the Seven Days', Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg - convey the desperation of a full frontal charge and the blind panic of a disorganized retreat. Yet, in these accounts, Benson's own demeanor under fire is manifest in the coolly measured tone he employs. A natural writer, Benson captures the dark absurdities of war in descriptions such as those of hardened veterans delighting in the new shoes and other equipment they found on corpse-littered battlefields. His clothing often torn by bullets, Benson was also badly bruised a number of times by spent rounds. At one point, in May 1863, he was wounded seriously enough in the leg to be hospitalized, but he returned to the field before full recuperation. Bens

Confederate scout and sharpshooter Berry Greenwood Benson witnessed the first shot fired on Fort Sumter, retreated with Lee's Army to its surrender at Appomattox Courthouse, and missed little action in between. This memoir of his service is a remarkable narrative by a natural writer which captures the dark absurdities of war. 2 illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

The Bookwatch
... a powerful pick for any library strong in Civil War memoirs and first-hand accounts.
Booknews
Completing his memoirs in 1878, Benson drew on his diaries and letters to family members to vividly tell of his life as a scout for General Lee and as a prisoner in New York's Elmira Prison (from which he escaped through a tunnel). Originally published in 1962 by the U. of Georgia Press; reprinted with a new foreword. No index or bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"This book showers well-deserved attention on one of the South's truly noble sons. Benson, who served his homeland from Charleston to Appomattox, won even greater glory late in life when he championed the innocence of Jewish factory boss Leo M. Frank, convicted of murder in 1913 in Atlanta and subsequently lynched. Benson was a terrific character and this volume does him justice."—Steve Oney, author of And the Dead Shall Rise

"Well-told and very captivating."—Civil War Courier

"[Benson] knew how to tell an exciting story. . . . Unusually descriptive; his book contains a host of little details."—Richmond Times-Dispatch

"An outstanding memoir . . . Berry Benson's work is both truly personal, with its focus on such experiences as his capture, his life in Federal prisons, and his ultimate escape, and a fine narrative, for he tells story after remarkable story in a lively yet unromantic style. . . . Those who have not yet made his acquaintance will find him an intriguing figure and his book an engaging one."—Civil War History

"Long recognized as one of the outstanding memoirs by a common soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia."—Civil War News

"Well worth reading for any history buff."—Augusta Magazine

"His highly illuminating story serves as a building block to the larger issues, such as the maturation of innocent youth into seasoned veteran in the span of a few short years."—Florida Historical Quarterly

"Benson's straightforward narrative is clear, concise, and, given his amazing exploits, remarkably free of boasting. . . . Benson's experiences as a prisoner of war elevate his memoirs above other first-hand accounts of the Civil War.”—Southern Historian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820314877
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Williams Benson was a daughter-in-law of Berry Benson. Edward J. Cashin is Professor Emeritus of History and Director of the Center for the Study of Georgia History at Augusta State University. His many books include Lachlan McGillivray, Indian Trader (Georgia) and Paternalism in a Southern City (Georgia).

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 16, 2011

    great look at civil war life

    i have read this book. it gives a first hand account of what life was like for a young man in the Confederate Army. very interesting!

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