Footprints of a Regiment chronicles W. H. Andrews four years in the War Between the States from the Siege of Yorktown to the war’s last battle at Bentonville, North Carolina. Based on his war journals and written in the 1890’s, Andrews’ moving memoir offers unusual access to the war–the perspective of a foot soldier reflecting some thirty years later.
Andrews gives vivid and dramatic descriptions of his company’s twenty-plus battles, including their violence and tragedy. “What a crash [the enemy shells] made coming through the trees…I could not help watching the boys to see if anybody else was as bad scared as I was.” The specter of death was behind every shadow, but the living marched on. “Poor boys, with a heave and a swing they were pitched to their last resting place unknown, unwept, and unsung.”
No less fascinating are the descriptions of his everyday experiences through the southern battleground states–long, hard marches, foraging as a result of scant rations and pay, soldiers deserting to relieve starving families, silly antis to easy restlessness or exhaustion.
From his unique perspective, and with fine, poignant prose, Andrews remember the war with both honor and anguish.