Death, Disease, and Life at War, The Civil War Letters of Surgeon James D. Benton, IIIth and 98th New York Infantry Regiments, 1862 – 1865, by Christopher E. Loperfido, 139 pages, Savas Beatie, 2018, a Tennessee Valley Civil War Round Table Review by Arley McCormick.
This book was originally published in 2011 as A Surgeon’s Tale: The Civil War Letters of Surgeon James D. Benton, 111th and 98th New York Infantry Regiments, 1862-1865 and Dr. Benton captures not only the soldiers life in camp but brigade movement, general engagements and his perceptions of events. The author precedes Dr. Benton’s observations with more expansive discussion of the events that surrounded the Doctor’s experience.
The Army leadership struggled with structure of medical service support for the entire war and the Mr. Loperfido illustrates the changes in unison with Dr. Benton’s observations.
For those interested in Civil War medicine there is much to learn and for those who have an interest in how the Army was organized and elements of support were structured to maximize success and reduce the staggering loss of life during engagements will find ample food for thought and debate. Frequently, the memoirs of soldiers on the line illustrate the frustration of rumors becoming a daily source of information the results of which is a source of some truth but mostly fiction.
Mr. Loperfido adds to the understanding of the impact of medical support, structure, and management in the Union Army throughout Dr. Benton’s experience.