A SCYTHE OF FIRE A Civil War Story of The Eighth Georgia Regiment by Warren Wilkinson and Steven E. Woodworth William Morrow (An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers) 340 Pages including Appendix, Notes and Index Reviewed by Danny Witt The title of the book tells you exactly what the book is, the story of the fighting 8th. From the very beginning of the war to the bitter end, this is the story of a group of kids, many having never left their home county, being thrust into battle with a gun and a promise of glory. Francis Bartow led them into the battle of Bull Run and caused them many casualties, but didn't survive the battle himself. Recovering their wounds they pass their first winter in Virginia. While the 8th is not heavily engaged in the Seven Days battle around Richmond, it returns to fighting on the second day of Second Bull Run. The spring of 1863 finds the 8th with Longstreet at the siege of Suffolk, and while the trip to southeastern Virginia is not demanding they are called back to the Army of Northern Virginia, but miss the battle of Chancellorsville. They are soon on the road to Gettysburg. Gettysburg is to the 8th what it is to many regiments in this long and cruel war, their last big hurrah. While charging with Hood on the second day the 8th is bled to almost nothing while trying to capture a soon to be famous wheat field. After recovery they are soon traveling again. They miss the battle of Chickamauga, because they are diverted to temporary duty in Charleston, South Carolina, but arrive in Tennessee in time to travel with Longstreet to again be bloodied during the ill-fated Knoxville campaign. Spring of 1864 finds them fighting Grant in the Wilderness, Richmond and Petersburg campaigns. Few survivors arrive with Bobby Lee at Appomattox, but the 8th is there. While I feel that this is not a definitive history of the 8th Georgia, it serves the purpose that I think the authors intended and serves it very well, a story that needed to be told. I have only two small criticisms of the book. As the book progressed, the amount written about each battle decreased proportionality to the size of the regiment, so by the time Appomattox comes around, the text is only two paragraphs. And last of all, my pet peeve, no maps to show where the 8th was on the battlefield. I enjoyed reading the book very much and felt it read much like Covered With Glory by Rod Gragg, both very readable books that stuck to the subject and didn't feel like they had to tell everything that happened during the civil war to tell their story. This is a good addition to any civil war library.
Availability: March 2002 Currently available for $22.36 through Barnes & Noble
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