Lincoln's Veteran Volunteers Win the War

The Hudson Valley's Ross Brothers and the Union's Fight for Emancipation

By D. Reid Ross
Foreword by Duane A. Smith

Subjects: American History, Sociology Of War, New York/regional
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9780791476420, 470 pages, July 2011
Hardcover : 9780791476413, 470 pages, November 2008

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword by Duane A. Smith
1. Why, How, and When They Fought
2. Stones River
3. Chancellorsville
4. After Chancellorsville
5. Gettysburg
6. Chickamauga
7. Missionary Ridge
8. After Missionary Ridge
9. Battle of the Wilderness
10. The Battle of Kolb’s Farm
11. From Prisoner to Guard
12. Capture of Atlanta
13. March to the Sea and Beyond
14. Victory and the Grand Review

Epilogue: The Legacy of Sacrifice
Bibliographic Essays

Chronicles the Civil War experiences of four brothers from New York’s Hudson Valley.


Looking at the lives of the four Ross brothers, dedicated Union soldiers from upstate New York's Washington County, Lincoln's Veteran Volunteers Win the War offers a dramatic, in-depth account of struggle, devotion, family, and faith during the American Civil War. Three of the four brothers—Daniel, Melancton, and William—were among the two hundred thousand who enlisted for three years when the war broke out, and then reenlisted as battle-hardened Veteran Volunteers. The fourth brother, John, would sign up as soon as he reached the age of eighteen, and fought until the war's end. The Ross brothers and their regiments fought in nearly every major engagement of the conflict, including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge.

Using public documents, regimental histories, and personal sources that comprise hundreds of letters and personal narratives written by the Ross brothers and many other soldiers, author D. Reid Ross (grandson of Daniel) provides detailed and vivid descriptions of soldiers' attitudes toward President Lincoln and emancipation, courage and performance on the battlefield, the hardships of army life, the role of the Veteran Volunteers, and the Grand Review in Washington, D. C. after the end of the war. Also included is the story of captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis's journey to prison as described by his guard, Daniel Ross. Demonstrating the Ross brothers' unflinching belief in home, family, country, and duty, and, as the culmination of thirty years of research, this fascinating book offers a view of the Civil War that is expansive, personal, and inspirational.

D. Reid Ross is a retired urban planner and family historian and has published many articles on the American Civil War and his family's history. Through the three decades of researching this book, he visited more than one hundred libraries, pored over hundreds of manuscript collections, and read more than one thousand Civil War and other historical publications, personal memoirs, diaries, and letters. Ross lives in Durango, Colorado.


"It is always refreshing to see a book that focuses on the rank-and-file. " — New York Genealogical and Biographical Record

"A major breakthrough in Civil War history. " — Edwin C. Bearss, author of Fields of Honor: Pivotal Battles of the Civil War

"Ross's extensive and intensive exploration of both primary and secondary sources enabled him to take his family story and transform it into a meaningful statement about both the Civil War and this nation's divided psyche. His willingness to travel thousands of miles in order to access hundreds of primary sources moves this history beyond another run-of-the-mill 'I found these letters in the attic' chapter in Civil War history. " — Joel M. Jones, President Emeritus, Fort Lewis College

"As a general reader, I have been captured and moved by the author's narrative powers and the brilliance of his battlefield scenes. The convincing portraits of individual soldiers and officers carry the reader throughout the book. " — Jurgen Herbst, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Wisconsin