How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion

 
9780965920124: How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion
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"How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion:

Or the Funny Experiences of a Raw Recruit"
By George W. Peck
With Foreword by Don Allison

Photographs, artwork, table of contents. Reprint of an 1887 work by George W. Peck, with new photographs and new foreword by journalist Don Allison that includes biographical information on the author.

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From the Publisher:

An American Humorist is Rediscovered

A new generation of readers can now experience a nearly forgotten American humorist, thanks to a new edition of his look at service in the Civil War. For decades, George W. Peck has been a forgotten man among American writers. A best-seller for years following its introduction in 1885, "How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion" has long been relegated to the rare book rooms of libraries and dusty shelves of antiquarian bookstores.

Now, through this new edition by Faded Banner Publications of Bryan, Ohio, "How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion" will again be available. This new edition features a foreword by award-winning journalist and Civil War author Don Allison. Mr. Allison places the work in historical perspective, and includes a biographical sketch of George Peck.

A two-term governor of Wisconsin, Peck had served with the Fourth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He entered the service in late 1863 as an enlisted man, and later was promoted to the rank of lieutenant. He served with the regiment until its muster-out in 1866.

"It may be asked why I waited so long before enlisting," Peck wrote, "and why I enlisted at all, when the war was so near over. I know that the most of the soldiers enlisted from patriotic motives, and because they wanted to help shed blood, and wind up the war. I did not. I enlisted for the bounty. I thought the war was nearly over, and that the probabilities were that the regiment I had enlisted in would be ordered home before I could get to it. In fact the recruiting officer told me as much, and he said I would get my bounty, and a few months’ pay, and it would be just like finding money...I would not assert that the recruiting officer lied to me, but I was the worst deceived man that ever enlisted, and if I ever meet that man, on this earth, it will go hard with him."

Along the lines of Mark Twain’s "Private History of a Campaign that Failed" or Wilbur Hinman’s "Corporal Si Klegg and his ‘Pard’," "How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion" is anything but a memoir. The book abounds with tall tales and liberally stretched truths. But Peck’s experience as a Civil War soldier is readily apparent, and the book rings true as he shares his thoughts on the fear a soldier faces on the eve of battle, the losses felt by the war’s civilians, the impact of illness on a soldier’s life, and inflated sense of power that often went to officers’ heads.

Don Allison became acquainted with Peck’s writings by accident. "I obtained a copy of "Peck’s Bad Boy" in a box of books I purchased at an estate auction," Allison said. "I laughed as hard as I’ve ever laughed when I read the "Bad Boy" book -- it is a veritable how-to guide of humorous practical jokes. Later, I found a copy of ‘How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion’ the same way -- at an estate sale. I could hardly put the book down. It was absolutely hilarious. I knew then that Peck’s Civil War story deserved to be shared with a modern-day audience."

Working with Civil War writings is nothing new to Allison, whose quarter century of journalistic work has attracted honors from both the UPI and AP wire services. In preparing his foreword for "How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion," Allison has drawn on a lifelong interest and study of the Civil War. His ancestors fought on both sides during the conflict. He previously edited and narrated "Hell on Belle Isle: Diary of a Civil War POW," based on the letters and diary of Sgt. Jacob Osborn Coburn of the Sixth Michigan Cavalry.

As he notes in the first chapter, Peck was inspired to write "How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion" by Century Magazine’s publication in the 1880s of a series of articles written by generals and others who played major roles in the Civil War. "To read those articles," Peck wrote of the Century Magazine pieces, "it seems strange that the Union generals who won so many decisive battles, should not have ended the war much sooner than they did, and to read the accounts of battles won by the Confederates, and the demoralization that ensued in the ranks of their opponents, it seems marvelous that the Union army was victorious. Any man who has followed these generals of both sides, in the pages of that magazine, must conclude that the war was a draw game, and that both sides were whipped. This is a kind of history that is going to mix up generations yet unborn in the most hopeless manner.

"It has seemed to me as though the people of this country had got so mixed up about the matter that it was the duty of some private soldier to write a description of the decisive battle of the war, and as I was the private soldier who fought that battle on the Union side, against fearful odds, viz: against a Confederate soldier who was braver than I was, a better horseback rider, and a better poker player, I feel it is my duty to tell about it."

After the war Peck went on to an illustrious career as a writer and noted lecturer. His best-selling books included "Peck’s Fun," "Peck’s Sunshine," "Peck’s Boss Book," and "Peck’s Bad Boy" and "Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa." which are veritable how-to books of disconcerting but humorous practical jokes that may have found their basis in mischievous incidents of Peck’s boyhood days. Peck’s humorous newspaper, "Peck’s Sun," enjoyed national circulation.

"How Private Peck Put Down the Rebellion" (ISBN 0-9659201-2-7) is a softcover book and contains 352 pages, illustrations, photographs, notes, and a foreword by Don Allison that includes biographical information on George W. Peck.

From the Author:

Dedication
To the Boys in Blue and the Boys in Gray

Who got real spunky with each other some years ago, while playing in their adjoining door-yards, threw tomato cans and dead cats back and forth, called each other names, pulled hair, and snubbed noses until they got into real, actual war, in which such bravery was shown on both sides, as the world had never seen before, and who have decided to be neighbors and friends again, ready to protect and defend against all the world; these reminiscences of the ridiculous part taken in the struggle, by a raw recruit, who was too scared to fight and too frightened to run, are most respectfully dedicated, with the earnest hope that no occasion may ever again arise in which it shall seen necessary for one American citizen to seek to shed the gore of another American citizen.

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