This collection of more than 160 letters from Cora Beach Benton to her husband Charlie, in the Civil War 17th New York Artillery ("Orleans Battery"), lets you follow her life as she transforms from a young girl "who didnt know how to wash her handkerchief" to a proud wife who becomes "a woman to walk with, not a child to lead."
Follow her three-year journey filled with worries, not just for her husbands safety, but also for her four brothers. Two olderHenry, one officer in the 1st Michigan Cavalry, and Elias, a civilian who must escape from the Confederacyand two younger"Hoddy," of the 8th New York Cavalry, whose courage at Gettysburg makes him the family hero, and "Vallie" the "hard boy" who, at age 14, becomes the youngest "man" to serve with the 22nd New York Cavalry.
Charlie writes home near the wars end that the 17th Battery boys intend to create a book about their hardships and adventures upon their return. Cora replies, "I think a true history of the weary, tried wives at home would be much more pathetic. Do you doubt it darling?" Without realizing it, Cora had written that "true history."
Cora Beach was born in September of 1838 and married Oliver Charles "Charlie" Benton the day before her 19th birthday. Charlie (26) enlisted in the 17th New York Light Artillery in August 1862, and was sent to Camp Church in Lockport, NY. The 17th served in the defenses of Washington, DC, and with the Army of the James in siege operations against Richmond and Petersburg, VA. The unit participated in the engagements of Chafflins Farm, New Market Heights, the Fall of Petersburg, the Appomattox Campaign, and Appomattox Court House. At the time her letters begin, the Bentons first child Emma "Belle" was four years old. Cora lived in Albion, NY, near her parents home.
This book gives you the Civil War home front on personal level, as you read the nearly day-by-day account of life in a small Erie Canal village during those "Hard Breathing Days." 503 pages; 39 photos; hard cover; complete roster and bios. for members of the 17th New York Light Artillery.