The Last Full Measure

6 07 2013

I know this is a quote from the Gettysburg Address,but it is also the title of a book by Jeff Shaara that I have just completed. It is a sequel to his book Gods and Generals, telling a fictional story of the Civil War based on historical facts. It covers the War after the battle of Gettysburg until the surrender and even beyond. It follows major players in the War but has an emphasis on Grant and Lee. I identified with the suffering and death of that horrible war, picturing myself as a Brigade chaplain who must minister to the dying on the battlefield. I tried to imagine an area where 1000’s of Americans were slain. I felt the rage of Sheridan, the political battles of Lincoln, the faith of Lee, the daring of Stuart, the leadership of Hill, the bravery of Chamberlain,  and the military mind of Grant. I experienced the blast of a musket at close range  at the Crater, the power of a direct hit by a cannon at Petersburg, the consuming fire of the Wilderness, and the slow starvation of the Confederates. I sat by the campfire on both sides as they contemplated the cause for which they would be called upon to give their last full measure of devotion.

I wanted to put the book down and try not to think of the horror, but I kept reading, not wanting to ignore my country’s history. I am glad I did. As we just passed  the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, I would highly recommend this book. Even though you know the outcome of the war, you need to experience it’s sacrifice.

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One response

6 07 2013
jasonbladd

Thank you for your service. Look forward to YOur posts

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