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This is an essential and riveting book by one who was literally at the heart of the events that heralded the great conflict between the states. Although Doubleday was certainly a Union soldier from his perspective, for many of the events he tells of, he was simply an officer of the United States Army-since there was no other. The action takes place, of course, beyond Charleston in what would become the Confederacy. Doubleday and his men garrisoned Fort Moultrie on the mainland before the 'phoney war' with its antipathy from the local community began to escalate into open hostilities making their position increasingly untenable and compelling them to secretly retreat to the island stronghold of Fort Sumter. The war then started in earnest as a terrible artillery battle began between Doubleday and his troops within the isolated Sumter (still unsupported by central government attempting to avoid the confirmed outbreak of Civil War) and 'rebel' forces now in possession of Moultrie and other battery positions. Fascinating material for the Civil war historian.
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