This is one of my all time favorites. Good old John Billings. Don’t you just love a soldier who gives you the inside dirt with some wit and great illustrations? I do. John enlisted in The Army of the Potomac, but don’t let that remind you of the boring history teacher with coffee breath and endless baseball analogies. While reading this book I was thinking, “Wow, I really have a crush on this guy! He’s giving me everything I need to know about the daily ups and downs of soldiering back in the day–the slang, the food, the music and the complete jerks who could spoil a perfectly good campfire. I’m pretty sure I would have married him if I knew him.” But that’s how I get when people give me stuff and put illustrations (done by another soldier who lived through the Civil War) in their books.
I got lucky though–I found a veteran of my own who will occasionally throw a salty sailor story my way–but for the rest of you there’s Hardtack and Coffee