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In 1861 William Watson, a native Scot who had established himself as a Louisiana businessman, enlisted in the Confederate forces although still a British subject. In 1887 he penned his memoirs "to give", he said, "a simple narrative of my experience in a war campaign". Far from simple, Watson's work clearly and forcefully describes his experiences with the 3rd Louisiana infantry in battles at Wilson's Creek and Pea Ridge while depicting the mundane aspects of camp life and providing delightful and colorful character sketches of fellow soldiers and officers, including the legendary General Ben McCulloch. But Watson offers much more than the story of a soldier's life. He also provides an excellent depiction of southern society undergoing the crisis of secession and the tumultuous early years of the Civil War.About the Author:
Thomas W. Cutrer is associate professor of American Studies at Arizona State University West. He is the author of Ben McCulloch and the Frontier Military Tradition and Parnassus on the Mississippi: The Southern Review and the Baton Rouge Literary Community, 1935--1942.
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