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Oh, What a Loansome Time I Had: The Civil War Letters of Major William Morel Moxley, Eighteenth Alabama Infantry, and Emily Beck Moxley Hardcover – January 10, 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University Alabama Press; 1st Edition edition (January 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0817311181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0817311186
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“ Well, my Dear, I am home by my lone self to night except the children, and they are all a sleep and know not what trouble is. You cant imagine how I feel. It is so lonsome. If you could be with me to night, how diferent I would feel but that can not be. I have been at work on the door to night, trying to fix it so I could bar it up, and I got it fixt so I could fasten it. I have been propping it up until I got tired of it, and I was afraid to lie down at night with the door open.”
 —Excerpt from a letter written by Emily Beck Moxley

“ Cutrer uses a good mix of primary and secondary material to annotate the collection. The introductions to each of the eight chapters . . . provide a short but useful guide to the letters that follow. Cutrer has left the letters as he found them. His editing explains content and does not detract from the feel of the collection. . . . For the scholar or popular reader who understands the connection between home front and battlefield, this collection is a gem.”
Military History of the West

About the Author

Thomas William Cutrer is a Professor of American Studies at Arizona State University, West Campus. He has edited two prior collections of Civil War letters, including Brothers in Gray: The Civil War Letters of the Pierson Family.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DDSC on May 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best Southern collection of letters written between a husband and wife that I have read. They never give first hand descriptions of great battles, but instead describe the great daily battles that Emily, a 25 year old pregnant mother of five must endure to survive on her own in the absence of her husband. In terms of popular literature think "Cold Mountain", not "Gone With the Wind." The Moxley's came from the yeoman class and had neither slaves nor large landholdings.

The letters between Emily and her husband, Captain William Moxley, begin on August 22, 1861 and end a brief six months later in February, 1862. Though the Confederacy was largely successful in 1861 and the area that the Moxley's lived in, southeast Alabama, was far from any action, food and money had already become scarce by September. Emily struggled to get food without money, to collect debts and to take care of their home. She finds that there are few men around to work and most weren't dependable. On September 3rd she wrote that she could not sleep because the door to the house was broken saying "I was afraid to lie down at night with the door open." She had to beg and borrow to get meat and on December 23 wrote her husband "you don't know how I feel to start out to get meat and not one cent to get it with. . ." When her oldest child, George, needed pants there was no money to buy any. Nine year old George had to become a man before his time. When school started, Emily sent her oldest daughter, but kept George at home because "I cannot do without him yet, for I want him to attend to little Davis and cut wood and make fires."

Captain Moxley's letters give interesting descriptions of the 18th Alabama Infantry's camp life in the winter of 1861-62 when sickness was epidemic.
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