Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dateline: Memphis, Tennessee

Lawrence Van Alstyne
Diary of an Enlisted Man
After breakfast, Rose and I took our coffee and sat in the library of the Inn in Jackson. It was filled with floor to ceiling dark wooden bookcases. There was a fireplace with a sofa facing it and a library table behind the sofa. Wingback chairs were in the corners of the room. Among the books were many volumes about the Civil War that equally represented both North and South sympathies.

One I picked up to peruse was entitled Diary of an Enlisted Man by Lawrence Van Alstyne of Connecticut. The copyright was 1910. The first entry recorded Van Alstyne's enlistment in the Union Army on August 19, 1862.

"I have enlisted! Joined the Army of Uncle Sam for three years, or the war, whichever may end first. ...For my part, I am to do, I hardly know what, but in a general way understand I am to kill or capture such part of the Rebel Army as comes in my way.

"I wonder what sort of soldier I will make; to be honest about it, I don't feel much of that eagerness for the fray I am hearing so much of about me."

I was taken in right away by this young man and his honesty. The diary runs for two years. There is a black and white photo of the author in the front as an older man. I was going to put the book in my bag and mail it back to the proprietor of the Inn once I finished reading it, but then thought better of it. When I asked about borrowing the diary, Tamar the owner said she was sorry but she had to decline my request as the book was part of the collection of the original owner of the house

But tonight in looking on the Internet, lo and behold, there is the book on Google Books. I think I can figure out how to download it to my Nook. See, there is always a way.

And that is the only literary adventure I have to report as most of the day was spent driving to Memphis. We have located two bookstores to visit tomorrow and are ready for whatever other adventures come our way.

And so to bed.

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