10 books like Hard Tack and Coffee

By John D. Billings,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Hard Tack and Coffee. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Hospital Sketches

By Louisa May Alcott,

Book cover of Hospital Sketches

Early in the war, writer Louisa May Alcott journeyed to the nation’s capital to care for sick and wounded soldiers. Over a period of six weeks, she experienced firsthand the rigors of life in crowded hospital wards as a nurse to men suffering from disease and wounds. She recorded her observations in a series of accounts printed in a Boston newspaper. These writings formed the basis of Hospital Sketches. Published a month after the end of the Battle of Gettysburg, when the outcome of the war remained uncertain, Alcott’s words encouraged other women to support the U.S. war effort, and remind us today of the critical role of nurses in times of conflict.

Hospital Sketches

By Louisa May Alcott,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Hospital Sketches as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Complete and unabridged paperback edition.

Collection of short stories.

First published in 1863.


History of the Twelfth Regiment

By Asa W. Bartlett,

Book cover of History of the Twelfth Regiment: New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion

The bonds of comradeship formed by volunteer soldiers during the Civil War lasted a lifetime for those who survived its bloody campaigns. Most regiments held annual reunions, during which the veterans rekindled friendships and remembered their service. Many collected reminiscences in book form, and these regimental histories are treasure troves of personal accounts. One of the most outstanding of this genre is the History of the Twelfth Regiment, a narrative of the men and officers who served in the 12th New Hampshire Infantry. Author Asa Bartlett, a beloved officer, humanizes the service of these Granite State volunteers.

History of the Twelfth Regiment

By Asa W. Bartlett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History of the Twelfth Regiment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it.

This work is in the public domain in the United States of America, and possibly other nations. Within the United States, you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.

Scholars believe, and we concur, that this work is important enough to be preserved, reproduced, and made generally available to the public. To ensure a quality reading experience, this work has been…


Out of the Briars

By A.H. (Alexander Herritage) Newton,

Book cover of Out of the Briars: an Autobiography and Sketch of the Twenty-ninth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers

When civil war threatened to destroy the American form of government and the liberty and freedom it represented, Alexander Herritage Newton rallied to the cause. “My bosom burst with the fire of patriotism for the salvation of my country and my people.” His people were millions of enslaved Black families who had toiled for generations in service of the white majority population. Early in the war, Newton was not allowed to serve because of the color of his skin. But as the laws changed, he joined the 29th Connecticut Infantry. He tells the story of his journey in a vivid autobiography, Out of the Briars.

Out of the Briars

By A.H. (Alexander Herritage) Newton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of the Briars as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A fascinating history of a single regiment in the chaos and horror that was the American Civil War. A must read for any fans of military history.


Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

By Ambrose Bierce,

Book cover of Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

Battle-hardened and wounded veteran Ambrose Bierce recounted his army experiences in a series of grim short stories that reveal the horrors of the Civil War. In graphic detail, he paints a disturbing and twisted picture of the conflict. His writings stand in stark contrast to reminiscences by other veterans in the twilight of life who reflected on their participation in the battles and campaigns with pride and esprit de corps. A collection of these fictional writings by “Bitter Bierce” first published as Tales of Soldiers and Civilians explores the dark side of the Civil War—and human nature—with a unique brand of wit and satire.

Tales of Soldiers and Civilians

By Ambrose Bierce,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tales of Soldiers and Civilians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Tales of Soldiers and Civilians and Other Stories, humor and horror paint a bleak picture of war, marked by violence, isolation and looming madness. Despite the subject matter, the macabre tone is balanced by the author's satirical prose and signature levity.

Tales of Soldiers and Civilians and Other Stories is a literary collection from writer and veteran Ambrose Bierce. The leading title focuses on the realities of battle and various conflicts in the field. Stories such as "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," "One of the Missing" and "Chickamauga," are heavily influenced by the American Civil War. Others focus…


On the Altar of Freedom

By James Henry Gooding,

Book cover of On the Altar of Freedom: A Black Soldier's Civil War Letters from the Front

There are many published letters and diaries of Civil War soldiers, but far fewer from black men. This collection, penned by James Henry Gooding, a member of the famed 54th Massachusetts regiment, highlights the military service of a black man, born into slavery but later freed, educated, and keenly observant of the world around him. He enlisted in February 1863, recording his experiences in letters first published in the New Bedford Mercury. Here, they are assembled with insightful editing, illustrations, and an appendix featuring Gooding’s efforts to obtain equal pay for black troops. In September 1863, Gooding wrote President Lincoln, asking pointedly: “Are we Soldiers, or are We Labourers?” Gooding was later captured in battle and sent to Andersonville Prison where he died. His story and his words are invaluable windows into this tumultuous time.

On the Altar of Freedom

By James Henry Gooding,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Altar of Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The letters featured in this book were sent by Corporal James Henry Gooding, a member of Company C., of the 54th Massachusetts regiment. They were sent to the New Bedford (Massachusetts) ""Mercury"" and published. He was described as a ""truthful and intelligent correspondent, and a good soldier"".


A Savage War

By Williamson Murray, Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh,

Book cover of A Savage War: A Military History of the Civil War

Although the Civil War was principally a land conflict, naval contributions were fundamental, not just peripheral or supporting. This excellent operational and campaign overview examines social, political, and technological revolutions in Western warfare leading to and through the struggle. It deals primarily with terrestrial warfare, but unlike many such works, places waterborne operations in context and gives the navy its due. Steam propulsion and industrial superiority produced massive Union naval power for a strangling blockade, fortress-busting warship squadrons, and an unprecedented riverine fleet. The Confederacy’s coasts and seaports constituted a third major theater while in the west, rivers were avenues of invasion and conquest. Chapter 5 contains a cogent discussion of “The Unfulfilled Promise of Joint [Army-Navy] Operations.” Highly recommended as a well-integrated military-naval history.

A Savage War

By Williamson Murray, Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Savage War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How the Civil War changed the face of war

The Civil War represented a momentous change in the character of war. It combined the projection of military might across a continent on a scale never before seen with an unprecedented mass mobilization of peoples. Yet despite the revolutionizing aspects of the Civil War, its leaders faced the same uncertainties and vagaries of chance that have vexed combatants since the days of Thucydides and the Peloponnesian War. A Savage War sheds critical new light on this defining chapter in military history.

In a masterful narrative that propels readers from the first…


This Hallowed Ground

By Bruce Catton,

Book cover of This Hallowed Ground: A History of the Civil War

I picked up this book while on a study course in the United States – I was based in Washington DC and intended to visit some of the nearby Civil War battlefields, and decided that I needed to know more about the conflict. It was perhaps the first American history book I had read, and immediately I was struck by the very different style of writing when compared with European works.

For a single-volume account of a terrible conflict that did so much to shape the United States, this is probably unmatched. The people involved, from those in high-level political positions to the men and women caught up in the fighting, are brought to life in an unforgettable way.

This Hallowed Ground

By Bruce Catton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Hallowed Ground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The classic one-volume history of the American Civil War simultaneously captures the dramatic scope and intimate experience of that epic struggle, by Pulitzer Prize-winner Bruce Catton.
 
Covering events from the prelude of the conflict to the death of Lincoln, Catton blends a gripping narrative with deep, yet unassuming, scholarship to bring the war alive on the page in an almost novelistic way. It is this gift for narrative that led contemporary critics to compare this book to War and Peace, and call it a “modern Iliad.” Now over fifty years old, This Hallowed Ground remains one of the best-loved and…


The Burnside Expedition in North Carolina

By Richard A. Sauers,

Book cover of The Burnside Expedition in North Carolina: A Succession of Honorable Victories

Renowned naval engagements such as New Orleans and Mobile Bay are well covered by campaign studies and general histories but the Burnside Expedition is a neglected and fascinating operation described in this engaging work. With no precedent, procedures, or practice in massive joint operations, the frequently maligned General Ambrose Burnside teamed with Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough—commanding the Atlantic Blockading Squadron—to integrate Burnside’s “coastal division” with naval units and rag-tag merchant vessels into the first dedicated, rapid-deployment, amphibious force. In a series of engagements from February to April 1862 behind the barrier islands and in the sounds of North Carolina, they planned and executed textbook landings without a textbook, capturing the strategically vital region for the Union. With aggressive follow-up, the campaign might have shortened the conflict.

The Burnside Expedition in North Carolina

By Richard A. Sauers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Burnside Expedition in North Carolina as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


A Prayer for the Dying

By Stewart O'Nan,

Book cover of A Prayer for the Dying

A Prayer for the Dying is the only full-length novel I’ve ever read entirely in second-person perspective—which makes for a white-knuckle-grip adventure as the narrator drags the reader along a dark, haunted path, which is also a little bit on fire.

This ghost story full of living people (at first) follows a hard-working and dedicated protagonist who tries to protect his little town of Friendship as it faces disaster after horrible disaster. The narrative of the story unfurls like a tidal wave—terrifying, yet impossible to look away from as it sweeps away everything in its path. This scary story is definitely not for the faint of heart.

A Prayer for the Dying

By Stewart O'Nan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Prayer for the Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in a leafy Wisconsin town just after the American Civil War, this story opens one languid summer's day. Only slowly do events reveal themselves as sinister as one neighbour after another succumbs to a creeping, fatal disease.


The Iron Brigade

By Alan T. Nolan,

Book cover of The Iron Brigade: A Military History

Named one of the “Top 100 Civil War Books” by the Centennial Commission, this records the history of the most famous Union unit of the war. Nolan uses many first-person accounts to ensure accuracy; Service with The Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers being predominant. This book first inspired my interest in studying the Civil War, and sparked my special admiration for Rufus Dawes, eventually leading to the creation of my own book, To My Best Girl – Courage, Honor and Love in the Civil War: The Inspiring Life Stories of Rufus Dawes and Mary Gates.

The Iron Brigade

By Alan T. Nolan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Iron Brigade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"I am immensely impressed . . . this particular Brigade needed a book of its own and now it has one which is definitely first-rate. . . . A fine book." -Bruce Catton

"One of the '100 best books ever written on the Civil War.'" -Civil War Times Illustrated

" . . . remains one of the best unit histories of the Union Army during the Civil War." -Southern Historian

". . . The Iron Brigade is the title for anyone desiring complete information on this military unit . . ." -Spring Creek Packet, Chuck Hamsa

This is the story…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the American Civil War, Massachusetts, and the Confederate States of America?

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