Life in the Mississippi Marine Brigade: The Civil War Diary of George Painter by Beverly Wencek Kerr

Life in the Mississippi Marine Brigade: The Civil War Diary of George Painter by Beverly Wencek Kerr
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Historical, Military, Non-Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Pvt. George Painter, a young man from Richland County, Ohio served in an unusual regiment during the Civil War. His journey as a member of the Mississippi Marine Brigade has been described in his personal diary for the year of 1863. Discover his descriptions of daily life on the brigade and marvel that his dates are exact to major events happening during the Civil War. Life on the Mississippi River and its tributaries held many interesting and exciting adventures and some days were yes, boring. Every time we find a diary of a Civil War soldier, we learn a little more about the trials and tribulations that brought about change in this country.

A man in a situation few thought they’d be in and writing about it along the way.

I picked this book up because the journalist grew up in the same area as I did and that fascinated me. I had no idea how much Ohio contributed to the Civil War. It’s not like many big battles were here, so the connection always seemed thin. Now I see it wasn’t so much.

This book is part journal by George Painter and part explanation by the author, Kerr. I liked that the author printed pages from the journal and the actual entries just as Painter wrote them – misspellings and all. I also liked that the author updated his words just below (so it seems the entries are in twice), with the corrected spellings and slight punctuation fixes. I have to say, just as the author did, for a man of his time period, Painter does write well and seems rather well-educated. Not just a farmer from Ohio.

I liked that the story isn’t just a reprint of the journal entries, but there are explanations alongside them. The author explains what was happening at the time, what battles might have been going on elsewhere, what the various terms mean and how the pay worked for the men of the brigade. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the time period.

The writing is simple at times, but this book doesn’t require something exceptionally technical. It needs the touch of a writer who writes like conversing with a friend. The writing flows well and drew me right in.

If you’re looking for a different take on the Civil War and the Mississippi Marine Brigade, then this might be the story for you. Check it out.

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