Civil War Book Review: Love and War: The Civil War Letters and Medicinal Book of Augustus V. Ball

by James Durney on May 31, 2011 · 1 comment

Love and War: The Civil War Letters and Medicinal Book of Augustus V. Ball
edited by Donald S. Frazier & Andrew Hillhouse, Transcribed by Anne Ball Ryals

A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee's Triumph 1862-1863 by Jeffry D. Wert

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: State House Press; annotated edition edition (October 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781933337425
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933337425
  • ASIN: 1933337427

A family and a war

Augustus V. Ball was well educated and working to establish his family in Texas when he enlisted in the Confederate army.  The conscription law seems to have been a factor in his enlisting.  While not enthusiastic, he is willing to serve and do his best wherever assigned.  Stationed or isolated in the Trans-Mississippi, Bell is able to send letters home throughout his service.  This collection looks at his service in camp, trying to protect the cost and in the Red River Campaign.  Initially, in a cavalry regiment, he secures reassignment to the artillery.  Trained as a herbalist, he becomes the regiment’s unofficial medic.  His experiences and the location of his family allow a varied but comprehensive look at the war in Texas and Louisiana.  This is much more than letters between a man and his wife.  A number of letter to family members and friends are included providing a more complete picture than we find in most collections.

Of special interest is Ball’s medicinal book.  Approximately sixty pages of recipes for common and uncommon conditions.  There is an antidote for arsenic, treatment for bronchitis, whooping cough and things I have never heard of.  He is a serious person, well trained and practicing his profession.  While we may smile at his recipes, we need to remember this is serious and he is treating real people.

Donald S. Frazier wrote the introduction, much of the narratives and edited the letters with Andrew Hillhouse.  Anne Ball Ryals, the great granddaughter of the couple transcribed them.  The letters do not exist alone.  The book gives a history of the couple prior to the letters and tells us about them after the war.  They are real people that we can identify with and understand.

For those looking for a personal view of the war in the Trans-Mississippi, this is an excellent choice.


***

Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John B. June 1, 2011 at 7:54 am

This really is an excellent book of a family during the War. His letters and the commentary bring the war in the Trans-Mississippi together. The ending shocked me.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: