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MILITARY BOOKS

Richard M. Coffman

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Major Richard M. Coffman, USAF (ret.) is the author of To Honor These Men: A History of the Phillips Georgia Legion Infantry Battalion.  The MOAA said of the book, “This is a thoroughly researched, comprehensive book that details the organization of a legion and its combat odyssey. The authors have followed the trail of the Phillips Georgia legion. The result is a highly readable book that takes the reader on foot and horseback through most of the major battles in the eastern theater of the Civil War. The words of soldiers express the sights, sounds, screams, and odors of the battlefield. The agony of wounds and the misery of typhoid fever and pneumonia grab the reader, as does the loneliness and yearning for contact with loved ones.”

 

Frederick V. Malmstrom, Ph.D. (U.S. Air Force Academy) said of To Honor These Men: A History of the Phillips Georgia Legion Infantry Battalion, “This book is a rare insight into not only the strategic actions but a personal portrait of the men of a heretofore major but undocumented Georgia Confederate fighting unit. Most Civil War histories are written from the Union perspective. Not this one.

 

The Phillips Georgia Legion (including the cavalry regiment) was formed shortly after secession and fought in nearly every major engagement on the Eastern Front, including the dreadful Wilderness campaign and the inevitable surrender at Appomattox. Although not stated directly, it is sad to note how pitifully depleted and desperate the Phillips infantry was at the end of the war.

Coffman and Graham have done their homework, obviously expending considerable effort in footnoting and in reconstructing chronologically the battles and movements of the Phillips infantry battalion. There are plenty of maps and explanations to go with them.

What makes this a superb history is not just its ease of reading, but the interspersion of the many contemporary diary entries and letters of the soldiers who were there on the front lines. There are plenty of photos and biosketches of many of the soldiers. To make it even better, Coffman and Graham also interviewed some soldiers' descendents. Their narrative flows in a style worthy of Foote and Catton -- only this time the history comes from the South.

 

The second half of the book is devoted to the unit rosters, including the hundreds of names and the official records of each of the men and some of their post-war lives. It's all nicely documented for anyone who is into genealogy.

 

One other note: The Phillips Legion consisted of both an infantry and a cavalry battalion. This book is limited to only the history of the infantry. I can only suppose that a separate volume on the history of the cavalry will follow. This book is written especially from the Confederate viewpoint. You won't find another history book like this one. I predict it will be in print for a long, long time.”


To Honor These Men: A History of the Phillips Georgia Legion Infantry Battalion
Richard M. Coffman  More Info

One reader of To Honor These Men: A History of the Phillips Georgia Legion Infantry Battalion said, “This book is an excellent effort to detail the life and times of the men of the Georgia Phillip's Legion. It is easy to forget the difficulties which the Confederate soldiers had as individuals. We get caught up in battles and forget the men. This history examines the long contribution of this Legion to the war effort and also lists as much information as is known about the individuals who fought in each company. Kurt Graham continues to update the information on his website so this printed effort is the beginning of an ongoing effort to make as complete a history of this legion as possible. I applaud the authors' efforts.”

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