In Courage Under Fire, award-winning historian Wiley Sword captures the fervor of a nation at war with itself. Through the immediacy of diaries and letters written not only on the battlefields and in camps but also on the deathbeds of soldiers from both the North and South, Sword lays bare the complexities and depth of a soldier’s mind in coming to grips with life and death—even while his country, and often his family, is mercilessly ripped apart.
From wives and mothers to the highest military figures, all strived toward often worthy but difficult objectives, while seeking to suffer as little as possible. Featured in this compelling study of men and women facing the severest stress of their lives are fascinating stories such as that of Union Lieutenant Colonel Frank Curtiss, Confederate General John Bell Hood, and war widow Lucy Morse.
“A solid work . . . reinforce[s] our understanding of a remarkable generation of Americans.”—Civil War News
“Sword writes in clean and straight-to-the-point prose. A worthy read for anyone in a position of leadership, for it lays out the rigors of sending others into harm’s way, which is a brand of courage in itself. Also, it is a must for anyone who has an interest in human nature. For those with a preconceived notion of what they think courage means.”—Civil War Book Review
Wiley Sword is the author of several Civil War histories, including Mountains Touched with Fire and Southern Invincibility. He is a Fletcher Pratt Prize Award-winner and has been nominated for numerous other prizes, including the Pulitzer. He lives in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.