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A. C. McLeary
Humorous Incidents of the Civil War
[s.l.: s.n., 1902?].

Summary

A.C. McLeary's Humorous Incidents of the Civil War (1902?) provides a more light-hearted account of the war than most memoirs from the period, partly because McLeary was too young to enter the war until 1863. McLeary fought with the 12th Cavalry regiment of Tennessee, led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest, and recounts in his brief narrative several comical events that he witnessed or heard described by fellow soldiers. He reminisces about raiding Yankee steamboats, writing letters home to his sweetheart, and exchanging jovial and witty banter as a means of rallying his regiment's spirits. McLeary also recalls his interactions with General Forrest, including the pair's success in crossing the Mississippi together in a small canoe.

In addition to his more amusing recollections, McLeary writes about mistreating several slaves during his time with the 12th regiment. Although he expresses remorse after playing a practical joke on a slave he encounters during a march, he does not abstain from bullying several slaves at other junctures during the war. He also provides ominous accounts of the battlefield, particularly in northern Alabama, where he lived through intense shelling by the Union Army. McLeary was frequently injured and suffered the pain of walking and riding with severe ankle sprains. Toward the end of the war he contracted a prolonged illness that may have been caused by malnutrition. Unable to continue with his regiment and too sick to walk, McLeary recovered at the home of some Alabama relatives. The narrative ends abruptly after an account of his recovery. Appended to the narrative are brief endorsement statements by members of the Daughters of the Confederacy who had encouraged McLeary to publish his wartime stories for them.

Humorous Incidents features four photographs of A.C. McLeary during his lifetime. The earliest, taken in August 1865, depicts young McLeary several months after the Civil War has ended. McLeary also included a photograph of himself from 1876. The photograph of McLeary with his wife, Bettie Jane, taken in 1902, serves as the frontispiece to the narrative. The final photograph features an elderly McLeary with his twin grandchildren.

Armistead Lemon

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