A Thousand May Fall: Life, Death, and Survival in the Union Army

Liveright. Jan. 2021. 528p. ISBN 9781631495144. $28.95. HIST
Award-winning author Jordan's (Marching Home) regimental history of the 107th Ohio tells a complex and tragic story from the American Civil War. The regiment was composed mainly of ethnic Germans who came from communities that largely did not support the war. Because of their ethnicity and background, they were not trusted or respected by the Northern press, and because of their decision to fight for the Union, they were ostracized by loved ones at home. The author explains how the regiment was poorly led both at the regimental level and by their commanding generals, and saw horrific losses at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. Jordan continues by explaining how and why they were one of only a few regiments in the U.S. Army to support George B. McClellan in the 1864 election. In addition to hundreds of deaths, many in the regiment were badly wounded, finding it difficult to adjust to civilian life or receive relief from the military pension board. Surviving members of the regiment took up their pens to try to draw meaning from the war and defend the performance of their comrades with limited success.
VERDICT The personal sacrifice of soldiers in war often gets lost in military histories, and Jordan's moving account of the 107th Ohio is a welcome corrective.
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