The 14th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry was formed in August 1862 and less than a month later its men were engaged in the fierce fighting at Bloody Lane during the battle of Antietam. This book presents an articulate, firsthand view of camp life and combat in the 14th, as told by Sgt. Benjamin Hirst of Company D, a unit composed largely of men from the mill town of Rockville. Hirst's wartime narratives consist of letters and journal entries written during his actual service. As such, they have a special freshness and immediacy lacking in most postwar memoirs and creative reconstructions of the war. Filled with details about the common soldier's experiences of army life, Hirst's writings also offer his views on the singular importance of personal courage in combat and of a marriage weathering the difficult separation brought on by war. Interspersed with Hirst's narrative is extensive commentary by Robert L. Bee that seeks to capture Hirst's worldview and the impact of his earlier life experiences upon his wartime portrayals.