The Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell
Edited by: Peter Messent and Steve Courtney
A Chaplain’s Story
In 1861, young Joseph Twichell cut short his seminary studies to become a Union Army chaplain in New York’s Excelsior Brigade. A middle-class New England Protestant, Twichell served for three years in a regiment manned mostly by poor Irish American Catholics. This selection of Twichell’s letters to his Connecticut family will rank him alongside the Civil War’s most literate and insightful firsthand chroniclers of life on the road, in battle, and in camp. Twichell writes about politics and slavery and the theological and cultural divide between him and his men. Most movingly, he tells of tending the helpless, burying the dead, and counseling the despondent. Twichell’s is a fresh voice from an underrepresented class of soldier, the army chaplain.
Hardcover, 352 pages