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Berry Benson's Civil War Book: Memoirs of a Confederate Scout and Sharpshooter Paperback


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Berry Benson's Civil War Book: Memoirs of a Confederate Scout and Sharpshooter + Jack Hinson's One-Man War, A Civil War Sniper + Sharpshooting in the Civil War
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (April 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820329436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820329437
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This book showers well-deserved attention on one of the South's truly noble sons. Benson, who served his homeland from Charleston to Appomattox, won even greater glory late in life when he championed the innocence of Jewish factory boss Leo M. Frank, convicted of murder in 1913 in Atlanta and subsequently lynched. Benson was a terrific character and this volume does him justice."--Steve Oney, author of And the Dead Shall Rise


"Well-told and very captivating."--Civil War Courier


"[Benson] knew how to tell an exciting story. . . . Unusually descriptive; his book contains a host of little details."--Richmond Times-Dispatch


"An outstanding memoir . . . Berry Benson's work is both truly personal, with its focus on such experiences as his capture, his life in Federal prisons, and his ultimate escape, and a fine narrative, for he tells story after remarkable story in a lively yet unromantic style. . . . Those who have not yet made his acquaintance will find him an intriguing figure and his book an engaging one."--Civil War History


"Long recognized as one of the outstanding memoirs by a common soldier in the Army of Northern Virginia."--Civil War News


"Well worth reading for any history buff."--Augusta Magazine


"His highly illuminating story serves as a building block to the larger issues, such as the maturation of innocent youth into seasoned veteran in the span of a few short years."--Florida Historical Quarterly


"Benson's straightforward narrative is clear, concise, and, given his amazing exploits, remarkably free of boasting. . . . Benson's experiences as a prisoner of war elevate his memoirs above other first-hand accounts of the Civil War.”--Southern Historian

About the Author

Susan Williams Benson was a daughter-in-law of Berry Benson. Edward J. Cashin is Professor Emeritus of History and Director of the Center for the Study of Georgia History at Augusta State University. His many books include Lachlan McGillivray, Indian Trader (Georgia) and Paternalism in a Southern City (Georgia).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Daley on November 29, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is without a doubt the best memoir I've ever read. Berry Benson signs up with the 1st South Carolina before the war starts and is there to take place in the battle for Fort Sumter, fights in every major campaign in Virginia and Maryland and fights for his beloved 'red banner' up until the Confederate retreat from Richmond and the surrender at Appomatox. Benson refuses to Surrender and with brother they head on to North Carlolina in hopes of meetting up with other Confederate forces. For the novice of Civil War history, or the expert, Benson gives the reader a true feeling for what it was like in the ranks of the Confederate army, his escape from Point Lookout Prison and Elmira Prison will keep the reader at the edge of their seat. His description of the food, uniforms and marching will bring you back to the 1860's. The Benson story is extrodinary and even those who knew Benson during the war say that although the stories seem unbelievable, they are all well documented. If you have a friend who loves the Civil War (north or south) this is the book for them! By the way, his 'unsurrendered musket' and photo are on display at the Confederate Relic Room in South Carolina.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gene Bramblett on October 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
From the point of view of the enlisted man, this is a really good book. It held my interest well. Let's face it, the enlisted man's perspective of the War Between the States, or any war for that matter, is going to be very narrow. The rank and file do not have the luxury of having access to the grand strategy of general officers. All they can relate is what went on in front of them. Otherwise it wouldn't be their story. This book is about what one common soldier saw, experienced, and felt. And it let me see a refreshing point of view.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Berry Benson tells it as it was. He does not fill the pages with fluff, but merely gives a straightforward account of his trials and tribulations during the war. At first, I was skeptical about all that he claimed to have gone through, but after some research, his story holds true. Benson was just shy of 18 when he joined the Confederate army. During his service, he was a sharpshooter, fought under Gen. "Stonewall" Jackson, was captured and escaped TWICE: once from Point Lookout and once from Elmira. At times, I wished that he would have gone into more detail, and that is the only downfall of this book. For example: he goes into some description of Point Lookout yet fails to give a good picture of Elmira. However, his story is not one to miss and I suggest it for anyone wanting to read a more personal account of the war that is a little out of the ordinary.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joe Owen VINE VOICE on November 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Berry Benson's personal diary of his soldiering during the Civil War is unfortunately too overlooked by Civil War readers. benson's diary of his days as a sniper for the Confederacy is filled with amusing tales of camp life, horrifying views of battle and personal strength as he endured life as a POW in Elmira, NY and his ability to return back to his regiment after travelling hundreds of miles through Union territory.
This is one of the few diaries of the Civil War that will grip the readers interest from the first page to the last.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By murrayjr on August 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
i would recommend this book to anybody with the slightest interest in the war between the states. from Sumter to Elmira (one of the greatest, true pow escape accounts you'll ever hear) to Appomattox, Berry Benson and his brother Blackwood were there, fervently defending the Southern cause. Considering he only intended these memoires to be passed down among his family, Benson's firsthand account of the war is priceless and intensely entertaining. no kidding, read this book...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The editors of many Civil War memoirs gush about the heroism of the authors. But in too many cases, when you turn off the moonlight and toss out the faded magnolias, you're not left with much. That's not the case here. Berry Benson, who spent much of the war detailed as a sharpshooter, was well-spoken, tough, brave and endlessly inventive. A good deal of his memoir is taken up with his Energizer Bunny-like repeat attempts to escape from Federal prisons. He writes his memoir well, with a degree of structure unusual in Civil War memoirs; and when he doesn't remember exactly what happened, he says so. Though he missed the battle of Gettysburg, he appends wonderfully written, humorous letters from his brother, who didn't -- this seems to have been a talented family, over all. Particular high points of this memoir include the prison escapes, as well as the detailed account of what Benson's unit did at Hatcher's Run; he's also quite vivid on Appomattox -- where, readers will note, Sgt. Benson eschewed surrender.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By southern belle on June 18, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book so much. It was refreshing to hear the true words of a Confederate soldier and what it was like during the war. He was an educated man and a southern gentleman, and had compassion for all people. It gave you a glimpse of what they went through in battle and the horrors of what they had to endure on a daily basis. Starvation, amputation of limbs, death, preparing themselves with scripture from the bible before a battle where they knew the outcome wasn't going to be good.
He spent time in a Yankee prison and about his time there and his escape. How he ate apples and chestnuts while making his way back to the south. His love for the south and the cause he believed in. What they were thinking at the time and his brother fighting along side with him. Some humorous stories of him stealing a General's horse and catching a ride on the back of a train, chatting with a Yankee soldier who didn't know who he was. Getting into an enemy camp at night,darkness covering his grey clothes and the General capturing him when he heard his southern accent. How they both laughed over the incident. How he treated the Yankees with respect when they were captured, never taking anything from them, other than some shoes once. He never let his men plunder or burn a town, far different from the way the south was treated. How he respected all people and how after the war, the south was in bad shape, people were starving. He contacted the Agriculture Department to research which mushrooms where edible and gave that information to the blacks, because they were starving and no one was helping them. He loved literature, math, how he corrected dictionaries and his love of nature. He did research on the Leo Frank case and he was key in exposing the Ponzi scheme.
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