New Book

New Book What might be of interest to those of you concerned with the War Between the States, is the fact that I’ve just had a book published dealing with the experiences of one soldier from Wythe County, Virginia. It’s titled, Wythe Bane Graham, 8th Virginia Cavalry, C.S.A.: Letters and Narrative of a Son of the Old Dominion. At just under 60 pages, it’s a compendium of letters written to, from and about the man in question from when he was a school boy in ante bellum days up to and through his death, in 1912. In addition to the letters, I’ve written a narrative that can help explain some of the references made in the letters and place them in historical context. Here’s an excerpt from the Introduction: The American Civil War was a huge operation. Until 1863, the purchase of substitutes to take one’s place in conscription into the armed forces was practiced by both sides. At that point, the Confederacy abandoned the practice. They needed everyone. The involvement of the South was pretty much total. Today, every family native to Virginia has a direct connection to the War Between the States. The “Mother of Presidents” was the prime battleground for the war. The number of confrontations that took place in Virginia far exceeds that of any other state. In Civil War Virginia: Battleground for a Nation, James I. Robertson, Alumni Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Virginia Tech, states that over a half-million men were killed, wounded or captured in Virginia during the four-year conflict. Confederate losses were nearly three times those of the Union. Again according to Professor Robertson, in today’s numbers, the depletion of the total population would be upwards of fifteen million Though no longer in the first person, memories of the war are very much alive in the Old Dominion State. Photographs, papers and artifacts are kept as treasures in museums and individual family archives. Stories too are passed down through the generations by way of oral histories. While fascinating and revealing, oral histories can be of questionable historic accuracy. A more reliable source of information might be the letters exchanged between soldiers and their families. Instead of a grand, panoramic history, these provide personal glimpses of individuals directly involved with events and their feelings about them, as they transpired. Through the efforts and courtesy of the Watson/Graham family of Wythe County, Virginia, and Mrs. Kathleen Kelly Coxe Koomen of Roanoke, Virginia, the Wytheville Department of Museums and the Wythe County Historical Society came into possession of the extant letters to, from and concerning Wythe Bane Graham. Mr. Graham was a citizen of Wythe County, Virginia, who enlisted in the Confederate States Army in 1861 and served throughout the war. I was able to access these documents through the courtesy and with the permission of the Wythe County Historical Society. Many details of the life of Wythe Graham were extracted from a biographical sketch, which ran in Confederate Veteran, Volume XX, October, 1912. It was written by Judge Joseph L. Kelly of Bristol, Virginia, former Chief Justice of the Virginia Supreme Court. In addition to the letters, which date from pre-war into the twentieth century, I’ve provided a narrative that might explain some of the references made in the letters and place them in the context of the times. The book is available by mail for $12.50, which includes postage and handling. Frank Emerson 790 E. Spiller Street Wytheville, Virginia 24382 It’s also available at the Wytheville Department of Museums Gift Shop, which is located in the Wytheville Regional Visitor’s Center, 975 Tazewell Street, Wytheville, Virginia. In addition, I’ll have copies with me at my gigs.

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