From Binghamton to the Battlefield

The Civil War Letters of Rollin B. Truesdell

By Amy J. Truesdell

Subjects: American History, New York/regional, General Interest, Nineteenth-century Studies
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Hardcover : 9781438491257, 390 pages, December 2022
Paperback : 9781438491264, 390 pages, December 2022

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

1. Had to Be

2. Becoming a Soldier

3. Bull Run Shatters Perceptions

4. Defending the Capital

5. Recruitment Duty

6. Pushing toward Richmond

7. Lee Pushes Back

8. The War Moves North

9. Regrouping in Maryland

10. Back in Virginia

11. Stuck in the Mud

12. Counting the Days

13. Final Battering before Home

14. Farewell to the 27th New York Volunteers


An annotated collection of over one hundred Civil War letters that trace a Union soldier's transformation from eager recruit to war-weary, battle-tested veteran.


From Binghamton to the Battlefield draws the reader alongside Rollin B. Truesdell, a prolific letter-writer and an early enlistee in the 27th NY Volunteers, an infantry regiment that was one of the first to form and that was in the thick of some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Rollin vividly described his day-to-day life as a soldier in such clashes as Gaines' Mill, Crampton's Gap, and Antietam, and in the camps where soldiers were tormented by disease as well as the slow passage of time. Rollin's letters shine a light on the unbreakable bonds of comradeship borne of shared war experience even as he clearly ached for home and family. Through his own words and additional supporting context about the military and political environment within which Rollin soldiered, this book chronicles events from the day Rollin mustered into service as an eager recruit until the day he returned home a war-weary, battle-tested veteran disillusioned by the unseemly political machinations of war, yet steadfast in his commitment to victory for the North.

Amy J. Truesdell is a writer and consultant. She is a former lead foreign affairs officer with the United States Department of State.


"While Civil War soldier memoirs are not uncommon, few are as articulate as Truesdell. This book highlights the experiences of the common soldier, and particularly the enthusiasm of the early war volunteers and their transition to hardened veterans. The soldier, clearly well-educated and observant, wrote with clarity and honesty not only about the battles he participated in, but also national affairs and Army politics." — Tom Clemens, coauthor of The Maryland Campaign of September 1862