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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
When we read and study the battles of the American Civil War, we learn about the great deeds of military men, who won and who lost. We learn, too, about the heroes, the great leaders, and those who gave their lives honorably. And what about the ordinary men, the privates, those who stood guard as pickets and assisted the other fighting men by doing menial tasks like filling the canteens with water? These men served, too, and they served honorably, following orders and standing long hours on patrol as pickets. It was not a glamorous job, but what job in the army during times of war really was glamorous?
Author and Civil War reenactor, Virgil C. Moon III gives us a look into the life of an ordinary private in the Civil War in The Picket. It doesn’t matter on which side of the battle this private belonged; the menial, but very necessary responsibilities would be the same. With realistic descriptions of camp life as well as the horrors of the battlefield, the author creates an in-depth portrait of an ordinary, or perhaps not so ordinary, private in a very gruesome war. Written in first person, the story pulls the reader directly into the private’s personal life and thoughts as he struggles to make sense of the people he fights with, the living conditions in the camp, and the horrors on the battlefield. It’s as if we are reading a journal, a complete rendition of a private’s life in a time of war. Very cleverly and accurately presented.