Johnny Reb and Billy Yank: A Soldier’s Memoir of the Civil War

Written by Alexander Hunter

The public have been surfeited with war literature. There is hardly a prominent officer North or South who has not rushed into print at every available opportunity; yet no officer high in rank dared write the exact truth, for the reason he has the feelings, the self-love and the reputations of those who served under him to consider.

During the Civil War, many soldiers on both sides kept diaries of their daily experiences, but very few of these encompassed the entire four years of conflict. This diary of Alexander Hunter, first published in 1905, is a notable exception. Drawing on notes he made during service, Hunter’s account provides a profoundly honest and memorable narrative of the incidents of camp life.

A soldier in Lee’s army from 1861 to 1865, Hunter recounts in splendid detail his extraordinary experiences from the outbreak of hostilities to the final surrender at Appomattox. Here are his dramatic, first-hand accounts of the fighting at Bull Run, Seven Pines, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness. Describing the early exchanges of prisoners in the war and the aloof yet mutual respect which existed between soldiers of the Union and the Confederacy, Johnny Reb and Billy Yank provides a thrilling and thorough narrative of this pivotal period.

Also included are Hunter’s vivid recollections of life in the barracks, the hardships of winter quarters, the deadly art of sharpshooting, his capture by the enemy and daring escape, the ordeals of prison camps and hospitals, raiding parties, and many other aspects of the conflict.

Alexander Hunter (1843-1914) was a Confederate soldier and author who served during the American Civil war. Born in Virginia to Lt. Bushrod Washington Hunter and Mary Frances, he grew up on Abingdon plantation, a site which is now D.C. National (Ronald Reagan) airport. He is also the author of The huntsman in the South and The women of the debatable land.

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