Saturday, October 10, 2009

Current Reading: Recollections of an Old Dominion Dragoon

Hudgins, Robert S., Garland C. Hudgins, Richard B. Kleese, and Gary Casteel. Recollections of an Old Dominion Dragoon: The Civil War Experiences of Sgt. Robert S. Hudgins II, Company B, 3rd Virginia Cavalry. Orange, Va.: Publisher's Press, Inc, 1993.

Sgt. Robert S. Hudgins II, was a member of the Old Dominion Dragoons (later Co. B, 3d Va. Cav.). He served throughout the war, from Big Bethel (practically his backyard) to Appomattox, and his recollections, despite lacunae, are compelling and shed light on many events but little described from the standpoint of a ranker. For example, he witnessed the duel between the Monitor and the CSS Virginia. He was present during the Seven Days, at Kelly’s Ford, during the Chancellorsville campaign, at Brandy Station, Gettysburg, and Yellow Tavern – where he witnessed Stuart’s mortal wounding – at the burning of Richmond, and at Appomattox.

An interesting part of the book, to my mind, is his relation of the war’s aftermath and Reconstruction. Utterly destitute, he made his way home and reestablished his family’s plantation under the most remarkably adverse (and in one instance, sinister) circumstances.

This is yet another slim volume of wartime reminiscences that the average reader will probably finish relatively quickly. Since it was published years ago by a small press, your best bet of obtaining it may be through interlibrary loan.

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