Books I Read in 2022

Since I joined Facebook about 14 years ago I’ve tried to make a habit of posting whatever book that I am currently reading on my feed. Sometimes, but not always, I’ll write a brief paragraph with a thought or two about it, and whether I recommend it or not. My hope is that in doing so friends with similar reading interests may become curious enough about a title to read it, too. Additionally, I try my best to keep up with current scholarship and stay aware of Civil War era titles and who is writing about what, but invariable, I come across a book and wonder how I’d previously missed it. So, my thinking is, if more people shared what they are reading we would all better know what is out there.

I also keep a running list of books that I read during the year. I’ve been doing this since 2006. I’m not quite sure what that says about me, if anything, but it has come in handy at times. And it’s always fun to look back and compare how many books I read in a year compared to other years, and what topics stirred my interest during a given year. Due to various life events and circumstances that grant or require time commitments, the number of books I complete during a year varies significantly, but averages around 60.

With a New Year upon us, I thought I’d post my 2022 list so ECW readers might get an idea or two for a new read in 2023. I have highlighted those books that I found particularly interesting or enlightening, offered a fascinating argument, or challenged me to think about new ideas. Here we go:

  1. The Tribunal: Responses to John Brown and the Harpers Ferry Raid, edited by John Stauffer and Zoe Trodd
  2. Rural Life and Culture in the Upper Cumberland, edited by Michael E. Birdwell and W. Calvin Dickinson
  3. All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family’s Keepsake by Tiya Miles
  4. A Voice of Thunder: The Civil War Letters of George E. Stephens, edited by Donald Yacovone
  5. Hell Itself: The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5-7, 1864 by Chris Mackowski
  6. Sweet Freedom’s Plains: African Americans on the Overland Trails, 1841-1869 by Shirley Ann Wilson Moore
  7. A Worse Place Than Hell: How the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg Changed a Nation by John Matteson
  8. Shook Over Hell: Post Traumatic Stress, Vietnam, and the Civil War by Eric T. Dean
  9. Stephen A. Swails: Black Freedom Fighter in the Civil War and Reconstruction by Gordon C. Rhea
  10. South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to Civil War by Alice L. Baumgartner
  11. Invisible Wounds: Mental Illness and Civil War Soldiers by Dillon J. Carroll
  12. On the Altar of Freedom: A Black Soldier’s Civil War Letters from the Front, edited by Virginia M. Adams
  13. If It Takes All Summer: The Battle of Spotsylvania by William D. Matter
  14. That Furious Struggle: Chancellorsville and the High Tide of the Confederacy by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White
  15. Gone for a Soldier: The Civil War Memoirs of Pvt. Alfred Bellard, edited by David Herbert Donald
  16. Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church, May 3, 1863 by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White
  17. Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman, edited by Jerome M. Loving
  18. Fighting the Second Civil War: A History of Battlefield Preservation and the Emergence of the Civil War Trust by Bob Zeller
  19. Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862 by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White
  20. Black Warriors: The Buffalo Soldiers of WWII by Ivan J. Houston
  21. A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, May 8-21, 1864 by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White
  22. Altogether Fitting and Proper: Civil War Battlefield Preservation in History, Memory, and Policy, 1861-2015 by Timothy B. Smith
  23. The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock by Francis Augustin O’Reilly
  24. Radical Sacrifice: The Rise and Ruin of Fitz John Porter by William Marvel
  25. Brothers One and All: Esprit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment by Mark H. Dunkelman
  26. Beyond Slavery’s Shadow: Free People of Color in the South by Warren Eugene Milteer, Jr.
  27. Recollections of a Private Soldier in the Army of the Potomac by Frank Wilkeson
  28. Voices of the 55th: Letters from the 55th Massachusetts Volunteers, 1861-1865, edited by Noah Andre Trudeau
  29. Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life by Elizabeth Leonard
  30. The Heart of Hell: The Soldiers’ Struggle for Spotsylvania’s Bloody Angle by Jeffry D. Wert
  31. Chancellorsville and the Germans: Nativism, Ethnicity, and Civil War Memory by Christian B. Keller
  32. The Families’ Civil War: Black Soldiers and the Fight for Racial Justice by Holly Pinheiro, Jr.
  33. A Fire in the Wilderness: The First Battle between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee by John Reeves
  34. Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause by Ty Seidule
  35. Lee and Jackson’s Bloody Twelfth: The Letters of Irby G. Scott, 12th Georgia, edited by Johnnie Perry Pearson
  36. Dear Friends at Home: The Civil War Letters and Dairies of Sgt. Charles T. Bowen, 12th U.S. Infantry, 1861-1864, edited by Edward K. Cassady
  37. Far Far From Home: The Wartime Letters of Dick and Tally Simpson, 3rd South Carolina Volunteers, edited by Guy R. Everson and Edward H. Simpson, Jr.
  38. Gone for a Sojer Boy: The Revealing Letters and Diaries of Union Soldiers in the Civil War, edited by Neal E. Wixon
  39. The Hour of Our Nation’s Agony: The Civil War Letters of William C.  Nelson of Mississippi, edited by Jennifer W. Ford
  40. Dear Delia: The Civil War Letters of Captain Henry F. Young, Seventh Wisconsin Infantry, edited by Michael J. Larson and John David Smith
  41. A South Carolina Upcountry Saga: The Civil War Letters of Barham Bobo Foster and His Family, 1860-1863, edited by A. Gilbert Kennedy
  42. My Dear Wife: The Civil War Diary and Letters of Capt. John Quigley, edited by Julie Wyckoff
  43. Theas Few Lines: The Civil War Letters of Pvt. Alonzo Bump, 77th New York Infantry, edited by David Allen Handy
  44. Dearest Sattie: Civil War Letters of Captain Charles Oren, 5th U.S.C.T., edited by Tim Oren
  45. Campaigning with Old Stonewall: Confederate Captain Ujanirtis Allen’s Letters to His Wife, edited by Randall Allen and Keith S. Bohannan
  46. Alonzo’s War: Letters from a Young Civil War Soldier, edited by Mary Searing O’Shaughnessy
  47. Letters to Eliza From a Union Soldier, 1862-1865, edited by Margery GreenLeaf
  48. Army Life in Virginia: The Civil War Letters of George G. Benedict, edited by Eric Ward
  49. Fallen Leaves: The Civil War Letters of Maj. Henry Livermore Abbott, edited Robert Garth Scott
  50. My Life in the Irish Brigade: The Civil War Memoirs of Pvt. William McCarter, 116th Pennsylvania, edited by Kevin O’Brien
  51. Civil War Time: Temporality and Identity in America, 1861-1865 by Cheryl A. Wells
  52. Gettysburg’s Southern Front: Opportunity and Failure at Richmond by Hampton Newsome
  53. Music Along the Rapidan: Civil War Soldiers, Music, and Community during Winter Quarters by James A. Davis
  54. Decisions at Fredericksburg: Fourteen Critical Decisions that Defined the Battle by Chris Mackowski
  55. Yankee Rebel: The Civil War Journal of Edmund Dewitt Patterson, edited by John G. Barrett
  56. Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood: African American Children in the Antebellum North by Crystal Lynn Webster
  57. Black Cloud Rising: A Novel by David Wright Falade
  58. The Record of Murders and Outrages: Racial Violence and the Fight Over Truth at he Dawn of Reconstruction by William A. Blair
  59. Race and Radicalism in the Union Army by Mark A. Lause

Happy reading in 2023!

7 Responses to Books I Read in 2022

  1. Thank you for your extensive list; all of which I haven’t read. I see that you have a number of books written by a USCT soldier. Do any of them reference the 22nd USCT regiment? My g-g-grandfather was a captain in company C, but I have found no letters of his. Any help is appreciated.
    Janet Chase

  2. Thank you for your comments.

    The two books of published letters from Black soldiers that I listed above both served in the 54th Massachusetts. They served in a different department of operations than the 22nd USCI. The published letters of Capt. Charles Oren, who served in the 5th USCI, and thus in the same division as the 22nd USCI, do not as I recall mention anything about the 22nd.

    While there are some fantastic USCT regimental histories available, it is unfortunate that someone has not yet researched and written one about the 22nd USCI. They were one of the most effective Black infantry regiments in service. There are a couple of letters from 22nd USCI soldiers in “A Grand Army of Black Men, edited by Edwin S. Redkey. Also, I know there are some official reports from Col. Joseph Kiddoo, who commanded the 22nd in the Official Records of the Rebellion. One is on the June 15, 1864 fighting at Petersburg.

    One of my primary areas of research is the Battle of New Market Heights. The 22nd USCI played a secondary role in that battle, but still took a number of casualties. That information is available at: There is also a photograph on that page of the 22nd USCI regimental flag, which was painted by David Bustill Bowser, a Black Philadelphia artist.

    Hope some of this helps your efforts to learn more about your ancestor and the men he served with.

  3. Frank Wilkeson’s book is real deal. Gamblers taking soldier’s draft bounties, the torrents of falling leaves behind the battle line, strung up by his thumbs for not being present. Overall, I’m almost jealous (jokingly stated, please), but it’s a nice list. Add to that the youtube video’s you watched for next year.

  4. I’m a like-minded individual — I’ve a list of every book I’ve read (to completion) starting in the middle of 1963.

  5. How do you decide what to read? Do you try to read in clusters? For example, I see several books about Fredericksburg.

  6. My reading is usually pretty random. Like many Civil War students I have my fair share of “to be read” books (which continually grows) so I usually peruse those shelves first to see if something strikes my fancy at that time. But sometimes I get on a subject kick and let it run. I had a published soldier’s letters run this summer and fall. My group of Fredericksburg area books came because of my change in jobs and the desire to refamiliarize myself on those battles and campaigns. I also usually stay on a subject for several books when I’m researching a specific topic, or to help me reinforce something I need to know for a presentation or tour.

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