A Civil War Soldier of Christ and Country

The Selected Correspondence of John Rodgers Meigs, 1859-64
Author: Edited by Mary A. Giunta
The earnest experiences of an intelligent, sincere, and brave young Union soldier
Cloth – $125
Publication Date
Cloth: 08/28/2006
Buy the Book Request Desk/Examination Copy Request Review Copy Request Rights or Permissions Request Alternate Format Preview

About the Book

This collection of letters and documents offers a rare glimpse into a young officer's interesting but short life. Mary A. Giunta's A Civil War Soldier of Christ and Country tells the story of the relationships between the headstrong John Rodgers Meigs and his family and friends; his heartwarming eagerness to please his demanding parents; his West Point experiences that include a meeting with Abraham Lincoln; and his life as a combatant in the Civil War.

John Rodgers Meigs was the son of Union Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs, and his official correspondence reveals much about his duties as a military engineer and aide-de-camp to Union generals. The private correspondence between him and his father and mother is especially compelling. Approximately forty of the letters were written in an early version of Pitman shorthand and are here transcribed for the first time. Collectively, they provide an intimate picture of the young Meigs, uncover the concerns of a family with high expectations, and offer a unique look at a devastating war.

About the Author

Mary A. Giunta was a historian with the National Historical Publications and Records Commission where she served as director of numerous projects including The Emerging Nation: A Documentary History.


"In this 19th-century era of formality in communication, even in the most close-knit families, there is an air of informality and playfulness in the letters published here, which strikes the reader and refreshing and heartwarming. . . . For anyone interested in life at West Point during the war or about everyday life in the field, this is a fine book."--Civil War News

"Editor Giunta is to be commended for bringing the letters and official documents to publication. She offers a careful analysis of the controversial killing of Meigs. . . . Her efforts have produced a fine book on a notable Civil War family."--Blue & Gray Magazine

"Anyone seeking information on wartime West Point, army engineers, or Montgomery Meigs and his family cannot afford to miss this attractive volume."--North & South


"Mary Giunta's research into the life of Lt. John Rodgers Meigs has been meticulous and far-reaching in its scope and depth. The promise and the tragedy of this young man's life and early death are brought forth with care, understanding, and vividness in this worthwhile addition to our expanding knowledge of the great American maelstrom we call the Civil War."--John L. Heatwole, author of The Burning: Sheridan's Devastation of the Shenandoah Valley