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Co. Aytch First Tennessee Regiment Hardcover – November 15, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

The only thing better than Sam Watkins is more Sam Watkins. This is a marvelous expansion of the best memoir of a fighting soldier south of the Mason-Dixon line we have. --Ken Burns, filmmaker

Sam Watkins's memoir Co. Aytch has long been a classic of Civil War literature, and this new edition only makes it more so. His revisions and additions enhance and refine his story. Some of them are pointed, others hilarious, but they all add depth to one of the must-read soldier narratives of that conflict. --William C. Davis, Director of the Virginia Center for Civil War Studies at Virginia Tech

Sam's tender memories of those far from halcyon days of his youth, come alive more clearly than they ever have before. His bird's eye view of a soldier's life and his sense of fairness and goodness in a time when little of either were to be found, coupled with his almost Forrest Gumpian ability to be in the right place at the right time has drawn historians, scholars and boy soldiers, like myself, to his tales for over century. All of us, alike, have something to celebrate in the publication of this edition of Co. Aytch with Sam's own revisions. --Robert Hicks, author, The Widow of the South

About the Author

Samuel R. Watkins was born on June 26, 1839 near Columbia, Tennessee. He enlisted into the First Tennessee Infantry, Company H (the Maury Grays) at the beginning of the Civil War. Upon surrender, Watkins was one out of only seven men remaining from the 120 originally enlisted in his regiment. Sam was encouraged by friends and family to write down his memories. They were first published as a newspaper series and then finally published in book form in 1882. It was almost immediately hailed as an important Civil War work. After the war, Sam married his sweetheart Jennie, and they raised eight children. Sam Watkins died on July 20, 1901, at the age of sixty-two.

Ruth Hill Fulton McAllister is Sam Watkins's great granddaughter. She earned a bachelor's degree in history from Vanderbilt University. After earning her degree, Ruth Hill taught high-school history and government in LaFayette, Georgia, before serving as a staff member for Campus Crusade for Christ in Atlanta. She is currently assistant producer of the syndicated call-in radio show Dawson McAllister Live. Ruth Hill and her husband, Dawson, live in Columbia, Tennessee, and have two sons. Ruth Hill's grandmother was Louisa Watkins Fulton, Sam's daughter. It is her great pleasure to make her great grandfather's dream come true.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Providence House Publishers (November 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1577363825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1577363828
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,346,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Many years ago, I read "Co. Aytch" and it quickly became one of my favorite Civil War memoirs. Recently, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Pvt. Watkin's family had published a new edition of "Co Aytch" with Sam's intended revisions. I've purchased a copy of revised edition, and I must say that I still enjoy this book.

With the revision, I came away with the feeling that wartime hatred for the Union soldiers had mellowed with Sam changing the use of the word Yankee in earlier editions to Federal. His remarks regarding General Bragg are interesting.

In my opinion, if you've read the earlier editions of "Co Aytch", you must read the revised edition.
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Format: Hardcover
Co Aytch was the only book in memory that I wanted to re-read all over again after finishing it. Funny, gripping, sad, uplifting, romantic, - the book has it all. Sam Watkins reflections as a private confederate soldier through four years of a terrible war should be a must read for all Americans-- especially those not enamored with history.

I did not read the original Co. Aytch but this revised edition with SW's actual handwritten revisions seemed to flow very well-- it was hard to put this book down.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was fantastic! I first read it in 1982 in paperback form when I bought it at Fort Donelson National Battlefield. It created a deep love and respect for the "common soldier" that fought in the Civil War, regardless if they wore blue or gray. Sam Watkins' family is owed a huge debt of gratitude by releasing this edition with Sam's notes. If you want to know about how the average soldier felt about the war, his cause, fellow soldiers, and his leaders, then this is the book for you!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Co. Atych" is considered by the majority of historians and literary professors to be the best memoir written by a common soldier (either Northern or Southern) about enlisted life during the American Civil War. The original version was already considered to be something of a classic during Sam Watkin's life and he was in the process of re-writing it for another edition which he never quite finished before he passed away. (Well, he did finish it, but it was unedited...more about that in a moment.)

So if "Co. Atych" is such a classic, why re-issue it in a new, hard-back version? Why not just get a cheaper paperback?

The answer is simple, if you buy THIS particular copy of "Co Atych" which I am reviewing, you will be buying the REVISED and EXPANDED edition of "Co Atych" which Sam Watkins always intended to publish. In other words, you will finally be buying and reading the complete text that Sam himself envisioned but never got around to getting printed before he passed away. But you've got to make sure you are buying the Revised and Expanded version that has been edited by Ruth Fulton McAlister. (This is the one with the yellow cover, red and white banner line across the top of the cover and Sam's picture on the front.)

In 1997 Ruth Fulton McAlister, Sam's Great-Grand-daughter and her cousin Jenny Harris re-discovered Sam's original personal copy of "Co Atych" that included all of his revisions which were intended to be re-edited into a master, ultimate, final copy of "Co Atych"; which would have been reprinted sometime around 1892 if Sam Watkins had been able to raise the funds for the reprint. This version is the one you see before you and was finally printed in 2007.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are interested in the Civil War, this is a must read. Sam is a great storyteller and wonderful human. This book will put you in the war with someone who really experienced the war in the West. I love this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Watkins' book (or audiobook version) should be taught in public schools.
It provides a human account of the Civil War era that is both charming and educational - infinitely more educational than the revisionist pap brayed at our school children today. It allows the reader to understand the true nature of much of the country instead of browbeating the reader with the political and deceptive nature of just a few of the factions at the national level that perpetrated the worst violation of the Constitution and the worst violation of civil rights in the history of the Nation.
In short - it portrays the "life and times" of the some of the REAL Heros of the Civil War and lets the pompous, posturing "leaders" be darned.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A Confederate's parallel to Elisha Hunt Rhodes 'All for the Union' this is another book that reminded me of sitting on the porch of an aging veteran while he reminisced about his war time service. As with Rhodes book, my only less than positive comment is that the font was too #@&*!ing small for my tired old eyes to read easily.

I heartly recommend both books.
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