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Holding the Line

The Third Tennessee Infantry, 1861-1864, by Flavel C. Barber

Civil War Era

FLAVEL C. BARBER’S memoir of his service with the Third Tennessee provides a rare contemporary history of a Confederate regiment.  Major Barber’s imprisonment after the surrender of Fort Donelson spurred him to take pen in hand. What began as a way to “while away the tedious hours of  imprisonment” on Johnson’s Island in Lake Erie became a poignant, candid, yet unsentimental account of the life of a soldier at war.

Of special value for Civil War scholars and buffs are Barber’s vivid descriptions of battles, notably the of siege Fort Donelson and the Confederate victory at Chickasaw Bayou, in which he highlights the Third Tennessee’s crucial role in defeating William T. Sherman.  Robert H. Ferrell introduces Barber and details the formation of the regiment.  A full regimental roster, a rarity among Confederate units, also is included.