No More Gallant a Deed: A Civil War Memoir of the First Minnesota Volunteers
A perceptive and detailed Civil War memoir of the First Minnesota Regiment chronicling such famous battles as Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg.
James A. Wright was an orderly sergeant in Company F of the First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Civil War. His memoir, based on his diaries and letters, is the fullest personal account of the battles, marches, and soldier life of one of the most renowned regiments in the Army of the Potomac. The First took part in every significant battle and action in the war in the East from 1861 to 1864. In remarkable detail, he describes the fighting at Bull Run, the Peninsula Campaign, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and Bristoe Station. At Gettysburg, the First Minnesota halted the Confederate charge and suffered an 82 percent casualty rate. Wright's account of the battle is striking in its description of the horror the men felt at facing their foes, their determination to do their duty, and the shock of the loss of so many of their comrades.
With an eloquence rare in war memoirs, Wright recalls the long marches, the poor food, the inadequate shelter, the dedicated officers, the debilitating illnesses, the longing for home, and the sense of pride in carrying out the struggle to preserve the Union. For conveying what the Civil War meant to one man, it is unmatched.
- By: James A. Wright , edited by Steven J. Keillor
- Format: Paper, 466 pp., 19 b&w illus., notes, index
- Publisher: MNHS Press ( Paperback edition Feb. 15,2017)
- Paperback ISBN: 9781681340524
JAMES A. WRIGHT was a resident of Goodhue County and a student at Hamline University in Red Wing when the war broke out. After the war he returned home and ran a livery stable; he moved to Massachusetts in 1877, where he died in 1936.
STEVEN J. KEILLOR teaches at Northwestern College in Minnesota and is the author of Cooperative Commonwealth: Co-ops in Rural Minnesota, 1859-1939 and Hjalmar Petersen of Minnesota.
Praise for No More Gallant a Deed:
"A detailed and perceptive memoir by a highly intelligent noncom in the First Minnesota, one of the premier fighting regiments in the Army of the Potomac." -- Stephen Sears, author of Chancellorsville and To the Gates of Richmond
"This memoir of service in one of the most celebrated Union regiments in the Civil War combines the immediacy and specificity of a diary, on which it is based, with the polished prose of a narrative. James Wright fought with the 1st Minnesota from Bull Run to Appomattox. He wrote about his experiences graphically and realistically, without exaggeration or romanticization." -- James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
"James A. Wright's memoir is one of the best first-person accounts of the First Minnesota's remarkable story. It is certainly the most complete. During his three years with the regiment, he recorded virtually everything he saw, and it is all here in extraordinary detail. Its publication is long overdue." -- Richard Moe, author of The Last Full Measure: The Life and Death of the First Minnesota Volunteers