So Much Blood the Civil War Letters of CSA Private William Wallace Beard 1861-1865

So Much Blood tells the story of William Wallace Beard's Civil War experiences through his own letters from August 1861 to the disastrous fall of Richmond April 2 and 3, 1865.  Beard saw it all and lived to tell the tale.  Co-editors Virginia Cornue and William R. Trotter provide gripping battlefield context and intimate campground and family details.  The surprising way Virginia discovered the letters and uncovered Beard's identity, his relocation from NC to Mississippi in the 1850s and his subsequent return to Mississippi after the war personalizes Civil War history in Beard's own compelling voice through the meticulous transcriptions of his 36 surviving letters and furlough documents.  Beard was engaged in almost every major eastern theatre battle, except Gettysburg, which probably saved his life.  He was captured twice, ill and off the battlefield at least 12 times, furloughed twice.  More soldiers north and south died from illness rather than wounds, but he survived the battlefield and his illnesses.  Of Beard’s initial 1000 officer and soldier regiment, only a few more than 100 were still alive at war’s end. His final letter written in 1899, a scant year before he died the summer of 1900 reveals his deep seated racial attitudes that resonate in the contemporary moment. The book is complete with more than 100 illustrations, a genealogy, a history of his regiment, the Mississippi 18th and other fascinating appendices.