Now published for the first time, For Country, Cause & Leader offers an eyewitness account of the Civil War by a Union soldier who fought from Bull Run to Knoxville. This remarkable book presents the transcription of some twenty pocket diaries kept throughout the first three years of the Civil War by Charles B. Haydon and sent back one by one to his home in Decatur, Michigan, to be read by his father and brother. As readable as they are lively and informative, they offer a marvelous firsthand view of the war and constitute an important addition to our Civil War library.
Haydon served through some of the most important engagements of the period. He began as a third sergeant and ended as a lieutenant colonel. In the East he witnessed the rush to the colors, the first Bull Run, the building of the Army of the Potomac, the Peninsula campaign, and the fighting at second Bull Run and Fredericksburg. Early in 1863 his regiment was transferred to the western theater, where it served in Kentucky and under Grant at Vicksburg. Haydon was severely wounded in Mississippi. During the winter of 1863-64 he was in Tennessee and engaged in the campaigning around Knoxville. In March 1864—ironically, on his way home on furlough— Haydon contracted pneumonia and died.
Charles Haydon had considerably more education than the average soldier, and his journal reflects the fact. A good half-dozen years older than most of his fellow recruits, he had studied for four years at the University o f Michigan, read law, and was in practice when he volunteered. His journal, which was meant to be read, was a deliberate and conscientious attempt to record his experiences and thoughts of the war.
Stephen Sears, the distinguished Civil War historian, has edited Haydon’s journal for the general reader. Its publication will be met with enthusiasm by historians and lay readers alike.