Thursday, October 17, 2019

Review of "Jed: The Story of a Yankee Soldier and a Southern Boy," by Peter Burchard

Review of

Jed: The Story of a Yankee Soldier and a Southern Boy, by Peter Burchard

Five out of five stars

 Jed is a soldier in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He lied about his age in order to be allowed to join and he is now far from his home in Wisconsin and sixteen years old. He is a veteran of the battle of Shiloh Creek and his unit is now in Mississippi and it is the fall of 1862. As experiencing the death and destruction of a battle will do to a person, “all the glitter and promise had gone out of soldiering.”

 Yet, there is still a spark of idealism in Jed and it is rekindled when he encounters a local boy that has wandered away from home and has broken his leg. Even though the boy is hostile to the Yankee soldier Jed, he takes pity on the boy and moves him to the surgeon for his unit. The bone is set and bound in place. The boy wants to return home so the surgeon loans Jed his horse for the return trip, as the boy cannot walk.

 The Union Army often ran low on supplies, so they made do by living off the land. Which meant that they often simply took livestock and foodstuffs from the local farms at gunpoint, leaving the people to starve. Jed was a participant in one such raid and it greatly disturbed him, he vowed to never go on such missions again unless he was ordered.

 With the help of some of the kindly men in his unit, Jed is able to successfully return the boy to his mother and then thwart an attempt to pillage their farm without being disloyal to the Union cause. This is a good story about a boy/man that keeps his ethical and moral principles while others have the heat of battle destroy theirs.

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