Cover image for A Yankee at arms : the diary of Lieutenant Augustus D. Ayling, 29th Massachusetts Volunteers
A Yankee at arms : the diary of Lieutenant Augustus D. Ayling, 29th Massachusetts Volunteers
Ayling, Augustus D.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Knoxville : University of Tennessee Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 301 pages : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 24 cm.
Enlistment and Fort Monroe -- The Monitor and the Merrimack and Newport News -- An infantry officer in the Army of the Potomac -- McClellan's retreat and the hospitalization of Lieutenant Ayling -- Lieutenant Ayling on sick leave -- The Fredericksburg Campaign -- Winter camp and transfer to Newport News -- A wartime love affair -- Occupation duty in Kentucky -- Down the Mississippi and the siege of Vicksburg -- Occupation in Mississippi and return to Kentucky -- Travel to Knoxville on return from sick leave -- Winter camp in eastern Tennessee -- Hard times and a depleted company -- The end of the war -- Postwar duty in Richmond, Virginia -- Last days in Richmond -- Epilogue -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Index.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
E513.5 29TH .A95 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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When New Englander Augustus Ayling responded to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers at the outbreak of the Civil War, he began a diary that he would keep until the end of the conflict. That recently discovered manuscript now provides us with an unusual panorama of the Civil War as seen by one man who fought in three different theaters. Throughout his diary, Ayling eloquently described the difficult conditions under which soldiers served, revealing both the pleasures and problems of an officer's life. As lively and dramatic in its reportage of key events as it is meticulous in detail, Ayling's diary provides valuable perspectives on both the battlefield and the homefront.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Editor Herberger (Three Centuries of Centerville Scenes, Centerville Historical Society, 1989) provides a fascinating introduction to Lt. Augustus D. Aylings (18401918) Civil War diary, presenting information on the military career of this Lowell, MA, native. Ayling experienced the battle of the ironclads Monitor and Merrimack, the peninsular campaign, and the disastrous battle of Fredericksburg. He later served in Kentucky and Mississippi; during the latter posting, he was present at the Battle of Vicksburg and the occupation of Jackson. Many of Aylings entries deal with his painful bouts with typhoid fever, dysentery, and malaria; his infatuation with a Kentucky belle; and his dislike for certain superior officers. Transferred to the 24th Massachusetts as a regimental adjutant and judge advocate for court martials, Ayling was stationed in Richmond in the postwar period. The endnotes are informative and the selected bibliography is appropriately tailored to the scope of the work. Recommended for specialized Civil War collections and academic libraries.John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs., Athens (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

At a time when the flood of published memoirs and correspondence concerning the American Civil War shows no signs of abating, one cannot expect that every volume will make a significant impact. Still, Ayling's diary of his wartime service contains several engaging passages. The Massachusetts volunteer rose from an early assignment as a headquarters clerk to an infantry officer who saw service in several theaters, notably Virginia and Tennessee; he also spent some time recuperating from illnesses. His narrative will augment existing available accounts, and a few sections--notably his description of the clash between the Monitor and the Virginia at Hampton Roads--are worth highlighting. Other readers will seek his comments on the Seven Days campaign, Fredericksburg, or the siege of Vicksburg. Some passages deal with personal matters, and a romantic entanglement receives special attention. Editor Herberger offers sparse but adequate annotations and identifications. Best suited for large Civil War collections that seek comprehensiveness. B. D. Simpson; Arizona State University