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On Rising Ground: The Life and Civil War Letters of John M. Douthit, Fifty-Second Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment

By author: Elaine Fowler Palencia
Product Code: H997
ISBN: 9780881467666
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When John M. Douthit of Appalachian Georgia enlisted as a private in Fannin County's Fifty-Second Volunteer Infantry Regiment on March 4, 1862 and marched with neighbors to train at Camp McDonald, he left behind a pregnant wife, an eighteen-month-old daughter, and a small farm. A precious cache of family letters traces him to eastern Tennessee, where he served south of Cumberland Gap; through the failed Confederate invasion of Kentucky; on the march to join Bragg's forces near Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and finally, to the defense of Vicksburg, where John and his fellow North Georgians arrived during the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou. At Vicksburg, where John's younger brother Warren Davis Douthit joined him, five North Georgia regiments solidified into what became known as the Barton-Stovall Brigade. The Brigade manned the water batteries at Warrenton, Mississippi, fought in the Battle of Champion Hill, and afterward was bottled up in the siege of Vicksburg. This book searches out the fate of the two men, never known by their immediate family, and also examines the effect of the war on the home front. In this well-researched and reasoned narrative, the common soldier is elevated to tragic hero. The author, John's great-great granddaughter and a descendant of the daughter who was born while he was away and whom he never saw, includes family stories and her own mother's memories of John's wife Martha.
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Review by: W. Roberts, Jr., president of the General Barton Stovall Association and coauthor of ATLANTA'S FIGHTING FORTY-SECOND: JOSEPH JOHNSTON'S "OLD GUARD" - May 15, 2020
Elaine Palencia has written a richly-researched, and, in the end, poignant account of a Confederate foot soldier from the mountains of North Georgia. Building from the thirty surviving letters of Sergeant John Douhit to his wife Martha, Palencia describes an underappreciated campaign for the Cumberland Gap, the Rebel invasion of Kentucky, the fight for Vicksburg, and an increasingly divided home front. The poorly supplied soldiers of the 52nd Georgia marched 1,000 miles, all the while fighting disease, harsh weather, and their Yankee adversaries. Here is an opportunity for the reader to grasp the absolute uncertainties of life in the ranks of the Southern army.

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