Biography & True Story Books:

This Will Make a Man of Me

The Life and Letters of a Teenage Officer in the Civil War


Paperback / softback

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This Will Make a Man of Me by James M. Scythes
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This book offers a unique firsthand account of the experiences of a teenage officer in America's Civil War. Second Lieutenant Thomas James Howell was only seventeen years old when he received his commission to serve the 3rd New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Featuring sixty-five letters that Howell wrote home to his family, this book describes soldier life in the Army of the Potomac during the spring and summer of 1862, focusing on Howell's experiences during Major General George B. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign. Howell's letters tell the story of a young man coming of age in the army. He wrote to his mother and siblings about the particular challenges he faced in seeking to earn the respect of both the men he commanded and his superiors. Unfortunately, however, the young lieutenant's life was cut short in his very first combat experience when he was struck in the abdomen by a cannonball and nearly torn in two during the Battle of Gaines' Mill. This book records Howell's tragic story, and it traces his distinctive perception of the Civil War as a vehicle enabling him to transition into manhood and to prove his masculinity.

Author Biography

James Scythes is instructor of history at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.
Release date NZ
August 31st, 2018
13 Illustrations, black and white
Country of Publication
United States
Lehigh University Press
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