- Through One Man's Eyes: The Civil War Experiences of a Belmont County Volunteer. Letters of James G. Theaker, and: All Quiet on the Yamhill: The Civil War in Oregon, and: A Webfoot Volunteer: The Diary of William M. Hilleary, 1864-1866, and: The Douglas Diary: Student Days at Franklin and Marshall College, 1856-1858 (review)
- Civil War History
- The Kent State University Press
- Volume 20, Number 3, September 1974
- pp. 279-281
- View Citation
- Additional Information
BOOK REVIEWS279 book over fifty years later and even write a new preface. Frederick Merk, emeritus professor of History at Harvard University, enjoyed this enviable experience when the Wisconsin Society Press published a second edition of this long unavailable, but much sought after, study of economic "take-off" in Wisconsin in the Civil War Era, 1857-1873. In separate chapters, Merk ably describes the state's industrial and commercial progress in the areas of agriculture, lumbering, mining, manufacturing , banking, retail trade, railroad construction and rate regulation , and commerce on Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. The general conclusion is that the Wisconsin economy, and indeed the entire Midwest, prospered during the War years and provided the nation with the "sinews of war." Happily, the book remains as useful today for Civil War historians as it was in 1916. Robert P. Swierenga Kent State University Through One Mans Eyes: The Civil War Experiences of a Belmont County Volunteer. Letters of James G. Theaker. Annotated by Paul E. Rieger. (Mount Vernon, O.: Printing Arts Press, Inc., 1974. Pp. xx, 177. $6.95.) All Quiet on the Yamhill: The Civil War in Oregon. By Royal A. Bensell . Edited by Gunter Barth. (Eugene: University of Oregon Books, 1959. Pp. xx, 226. $5.00.) A Webfoot Volunteer: The Diary of William M. Hilleary, 1864-1866. Edited by Herbert B. Nelson and Preston E. Onstad. (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 1965. Pp. viii, 240. $6.00.) The Douglas Diary: Student Days at Franklin and Marshall College, 1856-1858. By Henry Kyd Douglas. Edited by Frederic Shriver Klein and John Howard Carrill. (Lancaster, Pa.: Franklin and Marshall College , 1973. Pp. xxiv, 192. $7.95.) These four books vary in focus, content and areas of concentration. Yet together they underscore the continual importance attached to local history and personal recollections. In August, 1862, James G. Theaker left his home in eastern Ohio to answer Lincoln's urgent call for 100,000 additional volunteers. Theaker became a captain in the 50th Ohio. He and his regiment performed guard duty in Kentucky, served with Burnside in Tennessee, fought the Army of Tennessee at Franklin, and joined Sherman in North Carolina for the final, triumphant campaign. Theaker found time amid army life to pen ninety-five letters to members of his family. The communiques are not out of the ordinary from other Civil War letters. They contain the usual comments and observations . Their importance lies primarily in the revelations they cast on 280civil war history Western theaters of war and on the obscure war records of the 15th, 50th and 98th Ohio. Editor Rieger has done a commendable job in compiling the wealth of material compacted into a volume that is more valuable than its appearance would indicate. Two unique Far Western narratives, published a decade ago, are now offered in a package deal at a discount price. The two works complement one another so well in both chronology and coverage as to form a natural pair. All Quiet on the Yamhill is the diary of one man, but it is more the story of an entire company. Royal Bensell joined the Federal army to do his part in preserving the Union. As a corporal in Company D, 4th California Infantry, he expected to make a transcontinental trek to the major arenas of war. Instead, Bensell's company went to Fort Yamhill and other garrisons along the Oregon coast. For more than two years the Californian waited for action. None ever came. Bensell and his comrades spent the war fighting boredom. The Bensell diary spans the period March 20, 1862-October 16, 1864. Diary entries vary in length and substance. Yet sprinkled throughout the journal are descriptions of the Oregon coast, camp life, pranks among soldiers, sickness, and general reactions to war news from the East. Enhancing the whole work is the skillful editing of Gunter Barth, who has since gone to Berkeley and become—ironically—a premier urban historian. William M. Hilleary was a resident of Oregon and therefore did not view soldier life in the Pacific Northwest with the same disgust as voiced by Bensell. In the autumn of 1864, Hilleary joined the 1st Oregon Infantry and quickly attained...