Cover image for Diary of a Christian soldier : Rufus Kinsley and the Civil War
Diary of a Christian soldier : Rufus Kinsley and the Civil War
Kinsley, Rufus, -1911.
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Publication Information:
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
xxi, 281 pages : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
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E601 .K555 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This book offers a meticulous reconstruction of the life of Rufus Kinsley - an ordinary New England soldier who during the Civil War became an officer in one of the nations's first and most famous black regiments - and an expertly edited transcription of Kinsley's hitherto unpublished wartime diary. Kinsley's diary sheds light on a long neglected theater of the war - the battle for the bayou country of southwestern Louisiana - and it illuminates the workaday routines of black and white soldiers stationed behind Union lines but thoroughly immersed in the unprecedented improvisations that accompanied the social revolution that was emancipation. Kinsley's perspective is that of a too often neglected type: the absolutely dedicated evangelical abolitionist soldier who believed that the war and its consequences were divine retribution for the sin of slavery. The introductory biography places Kinsley's civil war experience in the context of his life and his times.

Author Notes

David C. Rankin has taught at Oberlin College and currently teaches at the University of California, Irvine

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A native of Fletcher, VT, and a member of that state's 8th Vermont Volunteers, Kinsley served as an officer in Lincoln's first black regiment-the Louisiana Corps d'Afrique. His diary (November 29, 1861-August 2, 1865) is sure to disappoint students of military history who seek enlightenment on matters of strategy, tactics, weaponry, logistics, etc., in the Civil War's southwestern theater of operations. Kinsley saw minimal action in the war, and most of his notations on military topics are based on secondhand accounts. Rankin (My Passage at the New Orleans Tribune: A Memoir of the Civil War Era) has written a meticulous introductory biography, and his superb editorial work actually seems to dwarf the inherent historical value of Kinsley's wartime narrative. But if this work fails as a combat memoir, it more than succeeds as a jeremiad, replete with biblical prophecies and scriptural notations from a dedicated abolitionist and champion of the temperance movement. The subjects covered range from Kinsley's work with hordes of freedmen to his reports on partisan activities in southwestern Louisiana to his impoverished postwar life. Recommended for New England and Civil War collections as well as large libraries.-John Carver Edwards, Univ. of Georgia Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. viii
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Introduction: Rufus Kinsley and the Civil Warp. 1
The Slaveholders' Rebellion: The Diary of Rufus Kinsleyp. 87
Notesp. 181
Indexp. 273