The Cornwell Chronicles: Tales of an American Life on the Erie Canal


Building Chicago, in the Volunteer Civil War Western Army, on the farm, in a country store

Authored by a Civil War Union soldier with more than five years of active service along the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers, 1862–1866. This iconoclastic, irascible old veteran (1838–1911) planned to publish these memoirs shortly after the turn of the century...but death came first, and unannounced. David Cornwell’s salty, vivid descriptions of his wartime service are layered in among peacetime annotations about his life before and after the war. His stark and often shocking accounts of bitter, bloody hand-to-hand combat at Fort Donelson, Shiloh and Milliken’s Bend make this work outstanding for anyone fascinated by the Civil War...especially those interested primarily in the very early 1863 use of Union Colored troops in the Western Theater. Cornwell’s service included intensely fought infantry action, assignments in the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery, recruitment, training and equipping slaves who were taken (under duress) from nearby Mississippi and Louisiana plantations. He served as ordinary infantryman, artilleryman, (both light and heavy), and commander of black occupation-garrison troopers. For genealogists, the Chronicles include a detailed index with a total of 560 entries, 371 of them being names of people who fought in the Western Armies...peers and compatriots of Cornwell. He identified many people by name, usually rank, and type of service performed in the Union military establishment.

John Wearmouth

(1998), 2015, 8½x11, paper, indices, 344 pp.

ISBN: 9780788410833