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This War So Horrible, This War So Horrible, 0817306420, 0-8173-0642-0, 978-0-8173-0642-7, 9780817306427, , , This War So Horrible, 0817353747, 0-8173-5374-7, 978-0-8173-5374-2, 9780817353742, , , This War So Horrible, 0817391622, 0-8173-9162-2, 978-0-8173-9162-1, 9780817391621,

This War So Horrible
The Civil War Diary of Hiram Smith Williams
by Hiram Smith Williams
Edited by Lewis N. Wynne, Robert A. Taylor

Trade Cloth
1993. 200 pp.
978-0-8173-0642-7
Price:  $39.95 s
Quality Paper
2006. 200 pp.
978-0-8173-5374-2
Price:  $24.95 s

A different sort of Civil War diary.

"[M]ost intriguing . . . for it is the diary of a Confederate who spent most of his military service as a noncombatant . . . a soldier who was also an outspoken opponent of military life and war in general and of the Civil War in particular. Hiram Smith Williams was a native Northerner who moved to the South shortly before the war but enlisted as a private in the 40th Alabama Infantry. . . . This truly unique diary, which is enlivened by Williams’s keen eye for detail, a certain literary flair, and his frank assessment of the Confederate army and cause, also includes extensive notes and a perceptive introduction."

Civil War History


 Hiram Smith Williams, born in New Jersey, was an unusual individual. A skilled carriagemaker and carpenter, he traveled throughout the Midwest in the 1850's as an organizer for the Know Nothing Party and the candidacy of Martin Van Buren. When Van Buren failed to win the presidency in 1856, Williams spent two years wandering around Missouri, teaching school and writing poetry. In addition to his political activities, he served as a correspondent for several midwestern newspapers.

In 1859, Williams settled in Livingston, Alabama, where he worked as a carriagemaker. He quickly identified with people around him and when the Civil War errupted in 1861, he supported the Southern cause. In 1862, he enlisted in the 40th Alabama Infantry Regiment, and through 1863 he seerved on detached duty as a skilled naval carpenter in Mobile. While in Mobile, Williams was active in the cultural and social life od the city and frequently appeared in plays as a semi-professional actor.

In 1864, he was reassigned to his regiment, part of the Army of Tennessee, which was camped in Dalton, Georgia. From February 1864 until autumn of that year, he participated in the Atlanta campaignas a member of a Pioneer unite, which was composed of men with construction skills. In that capacity he helped build bridges, roads, and fortifications, came in close contact with various unit headquarters, and sometimes worked as a hospital orderly.


"Williams's writings are quite compelling and interesting. The author not only tells us what happened but includes his own personal feelings at the time. It also fills a void in our knowledge of the duties of the Pioneer units in the Southern Armies."
Confederate Veteran

Also of Interest

From That Terrible Field
by James M. Williams
Edited by John Kent Folmar


Soldier's Story of His Regiment (61st Georgia)
George W. Nichols


Georgia Civil War Manuscript Collections
by David H. Slay


House by the Side of the Road
Richie Jean Sherrod Jackson