Three Years With Wallace's Zouaves; The Civil War Memoirs of Thomas Wise Durham; Editted by Jeffery L. Patrick, Mercer University Press (June 1, 2003)
A wonderful book of Civil War memoirs from a Montgomery County soldier that served in the 11th Indiana Infantry. Thomas W. Durham was raised in the Waveland area and starts his memoirs as a young man still in school. He relates the story of how he became a soldier with several other men from his area. Thomas first enlisted in Lew Wallace's three month 11th Indiana Zouave Regiment, Company "I" and was present at the battle of Romney, Va. in the western Virginia Campaign. He returns home and re-enlists in the three year 11th Indiana Regiment as a sergeant in Company "G". He is first engaged in the battle for the river fort of Heiman on the Tennessee River and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. Mr. Durham holds no opinion back while telling of the hardships of soldiering and battle. The regiment moves south to Crump's Landing, where Lew Wallace's division encounters problems marching to the battlefield on the 6th of April. The regiment is in action at Shiloh on the 7th of April and Thomas is wounded in action. He tells of his trip home traveling on a steamboat and his homecoming.
Thomas returns to his regiment and things are set in motion for the Vicksburg Campaign. Again he relates the hardships and suffering of the cold and heat. During this time he is promoted to the rank of lieutenant in Company "G", where new problems of paperwork arise for Thomas. His description of the battle for Champion Hill puts the reader in the thick of the action. Several small stories are told about friends and enemies in and out of the regiment through each chapter.
Thomas recieves a furlough in late 1863 and returns to Waveland, he tells of his dislike for the young men in town who did not enlist to fight. Thomas also runs into trouble while at home with a group of "Copperheads" from neighboring Ripley Twp. He gets a small band of young men from Waveland and raids the "Copperheads" in Ripley Twp. The "Copperheads" want revenge and plan their own raid. This is a bit of unknown history for Montgomery County.
Thomas again returns to his regiment in the Trans-Mississippi West, where things are slow in early 1864. He thinks the war is about over and decides to resign from the army. He then states his regret when the 11th Indiana is moved to Virginia and fights another battle.
The book is very entertaining and full of Montgomery County History, as well as the war in the west. Mr. Patrick does a wonderful job of laying the groundwork for the 11th Indiana Infantry. I am glad Mr. Patrick was impressed by Tom Durham's memoirs and decided to edit and publish it. For those that have an intrest in the 11th Indiana Infantry or Montgomery County this book is worthy to buy. It will be read more than one time.