This fascinating book tells the story of the Civil War as seen through the eyes of a couple from Burke County, North Carolina. It is a collection of the letters exchanged by Cornelia McGimsey and her beau, Lewis Warlick. Lewis enlisted for a six-month tour of duty in Company G, 1st Regiment, N.C. Volunteers in 1861. When the company was mustered out at the end of six months, after a brief visit home he reenlisted at Wilmington, North Carolina and spent the remainder of the war in uniform. He saw action from Bethel Church, Virginia to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and finally surrendered at Farmville, Virginia in April of 1865.
Almost a century and a half later, the people who emerge from the past are quite accessible. They are literate, humorous, courageous, loving, patient and principled. The letters contain surprisingly little by way of complaint. Living in some of the most terrible times in America’s history, Lewis, Cornelia, and their comrades and families steadfastly endured extreme hardship, woeful loss, and personal danger. The letters paint a compelling portrait of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events.
The Lawings have annotated the text of the letters, explaining personal relationships and the historical significance of many of the people and events mentioned in the correspondence. Several letters from other sources have also been included in order to further enhance the story of Cornelia and Lewis.