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.”