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Notes à- Queries145 baptism of fire at Fort Donelson and Shiloh. Much of the "fiction" consists of factual sketches as sharp as a newsreel, accurate in dialogue and bristling with vivid details. The viewpoint is that of a sensitive new captain , Will Fargeon, whose problems in tactics and administration are technically accurate and whose own gradual seasoning is admirably convincing . For him the war is a dirty, unromantic business, by turns boring, hectic, confused, glorious, heart-breaking. This is not to claim that Kirkland 's realism is unflinching, for it is not; and the bitter pill of his hardheaded history of Company K is periodically sugar-coated by a coy and saccharine love story. Mr. Thompson's useful paper rightly emphasizes J. W. DeForest's fine novel about the Civil War, Miss RaveneTs Conversion (1867), and Stephen Crane's classic Red Badge of Courage (1895). But because of its honest realism about military life and battle, Major Kirkland's Captain of Company K also deserves a respected, if modest, niche in the fiction of the Civil War. A Negro's Account of the Wild Cat Retreat a gentleman whose slave accompanied a young confederate [sic] officer on the Wild Cat expedition, asked the darky on his return to Nashville , how long the army was on the march from its encampment to the battlefield. "About four days," was the reply. "WeIL how long were they in marching back?" "About two days, massa." "Why, how is that, Joe? Could the men travel any faster back, when they were broken down with four days march and a severe fight, than they travelled forward after a good rest in camp?" "OhJ 111 tell you what made the difference, massa," said old Joe; "it was the music. They marched toward Wild Cat to the tune of Dixie. When they marched back, the tune was: 'Fire in the mountains — run, boys, run!' " ...


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