The Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteersby Richard Moe, James MacGregor Burns (Foreword by)
The First Minnesota Volunteers, the first regiment offered to President Lincoln after the fall of Fort Sumter, served in virtually every major battle
Since its publication, Richard Moe's The Last Full Measure has garnered a reputation as the definitive history of the First Minnesota Regiment and one of a handful of classic regimental histories of the Civil War.
The First Minnesota Volunteers, the first regiment offered to President Lincoln after the fall of Fort Sumter, served in virtually every major battle fought in the eastern theater during the first three years of the Civil War. This is the story of the Army of the Potomac during that period: the initial enthusiasm dashed by sudden defeat at Bull Run; the pride at being shaped into an army by George McClellan and the frustration with his—and his successors'—inability to defeat Robert E. Lee; and, finally, the costly battle of Gettysburg, the decisive battle in which the First Minnesota played a crucial, and tragic, role. Drawing on a wide array of letters, diaries, and personal reminiscences, Moe tells the story anew through the experiences of the men who lived it. As James MacGregor Burns notes in his foreword, "Like Tolstoy's War and Peace, this work sticks close to the men in battle, and hence, like Tolstoy, the author keeps close to the human size of war."
Praise for The Last Full Measure
"Richard Moe, in this wonderfully told regimental history, manages to rescue that which Civil War studies so often neglects: the people."—Ken Burns, co-producer of The Civil War
"Exceptional . . . a vigorous, haunting celebration of the Men."—The New York Times Book Review
"Regimental history at its best."—Publishers Weekly
"Highly recommended. . . . Thoroughly researched and excellently incorporating the soldier's-eye view of the war. . . . The best volume of Civil War historiography to appear in some time."—Booklist
"A tribute to the men who helped save the Union. . . . If ever a regiment deserved to be remembered, it is the First Minnesota. . . . Richard Moe has a passion for history. He clearly also has a talent for writing it."—Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Minnesota Historical Society Press
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)
Meet the Author
Richard Moe, born in Duluth, Minnesota, is president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He is co-author of Changing Places: Rebuilding Community in the Age of Sprawl and contributed the foreword to Minnesota in the Civil War: An Illustrated History.
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As someone who easily tires of dry textbooks, I have been engaged in and pleased by this work on the First Minnesota. I highly recommend "The Last Full Measure" for anyone desiring to delve deeper into this gallant regiment's history.
The use of diaries an letters home seamlessly entwined with traditional historical accounts bring the story of the First Minnesota to live in vivid detail.
The story of the Minnesota Volunteers is factual but reads like a text book, just providing facts. I wish more of the individual soldiers feelings
Richard Moe's detailed biography of the 1st Minnesota Volunteers is an absolute masterpiece of writing. His book provides a thorough yet lively account of the history of the first regiment formed to preserve the Union from the state of Minnesota. The writing is clear and to the point, and he does not cloud the story with too many details not directly related to the 1st Minnesota. For instance, he describes the battle of Fredericksburg in very general overview terms as regards the objective of the campaign and the rationale for its planning. He does not, however, stray too far from the main point being the 1st Minnesota's involvement at Fredericksburg, and that type of focus is not easy to find in combat unit histories. My only question regarding the content is in the chapter describing the route of march for the 1st Minn. prior to the Battle of Sharpsburg (later to be called 'Bloody Antietam'). On pg. 178 he states, '...The regiment crossed over South Mountain, passed through Boonesborough, and bivoucked that night near Shephardstown'. In a subsequent passage a Minnesota trooper stated that the following morning, 'we marched through Keedysville, and halted on high ground overlooking the Antietam'. How could the 1st Minnesota camp near Shephardstown, which would have put them between Lee's army and the Potomac, southwest of Sharpsburg, before the battle opened? Keedysville is northeast of Sharpsburg between Antietam Creek and Boonesborough. To camp at Shephardstown would have put them astride Lee's line of withdrawal (a dangerous position for one regiment to be in to oppose the entire Army of Northern Virginia), and would make for a long march to return to Keedysville to participate in the battle the next day. Beyond this confusion, I found the book very, very enlightening and a pure joy to devour.