Bound manuscript, approx. 241pp (originally 255pp, missing 243-254), entitled Si Clack: Co. Q, 100th Indiana Vols., written and illustrated by Phillip M. Radford, 5th Tennessee Cavalry, Co. A, and 1st Alabama Vidette Cavalry, Co. F.
A peculiar native of Tennessee, Phillip M. Radford went against the allegiance of his home state and enlisted in the Union Army at Nashville on August 19, 1862. He mustered in as a private of the 5th Tennessee Cavalry, Co. A, commanded by Colonel W.B. Stokes. He was promoted to sergeant major, then took command of the 1st Alabama Vidette Cavalry, Co. F, as a 1st lieutenant. He narrowly escaped capture from Morgan's Raiders on a recruiting mission in Tennessee. Radford wrote about his experience, and the Nashville Daily Union published it on May 17, 1862. While assisting his men moving a wagon, he ruptured the right side of his abdomen. The internal injury festered for a few days, causing an infection that made him unfit for service. He was honorably discharged on June 16, 1864. Instead of leaving the army, he became a clerk until the war's end. After the war, he became commander of GAR Post No. 1 Department of Tennessee and Georgia. Inspired by his war experience, Radford took his pen to paper again, this time writing a fictional account of a soldier named Silas Clack. In the preface of the book, he wrote:
The experience of Si Clack recorded in this book is the story of thousands. Since the war numerous histories of prominent Generals have been written. Desperate and bloody battles have been recorded and spread broadcast for the information of the world. The history of the common soldier has yet to be written. The privates in the Army we may liken to those who dig and delve and pass out of existence, leaving hardly a mark that they ever lived. Yet each one played an important part in the every day life of their contemporaries.
P.M. Radford 1st Lt.
Adjutant Post No. 1
Dept. Tenn. G.A.R.
November 16, 1885
The protagonist, Clack, enlisted in the army based on patriotism, serving for three years. Before his departure, his family tearfully gave him gifts they thought he would need at the front. His mother knitted him a few pairs of socks, his sisters gave him soap and a family photo album, and his father had the shoemaker make him the best pair of boots. During his service, Clack took a prisoner and saw action at the Battle of Stone's River. In between the stories, Radford drew over 70 illustrations, both comical and mundane, that were familiar to every soldier.
Radford's prose is poetic and and poignant, as in this description of the aftermath of the Battle of Stones River: "The deepening shadows of that awful night settle down upon the bloody field, upon soldiers weary and worn, blackened by smoke and grime but yet undismayed, upon great hospital camps filled with thousands of torn and mangled men...upon other thousands of wounded who yet lie among their dead comrades between the hostile lines chilled by the pitiless December frost. It is New Years Eve 1862-3." Nearing the story's conclusion he writes of the soldier's reverence for the flag, no doubt inspired by his own experience in the Civil War: "The sight of the Stars and Stripes waving amidst the smoke of battle is a sublime inspiration. It is the very embodiment of the cause for which they are fighting and bleeding and dying. The emblem of liberty and the unity of a great nation....Those who have never stood beside the flag amid such scenes as this can know little of the emotions that thrilled the heart of the patriotic volunteer."
Another copy of this bound manuscript previously sold in these rooms as Lot 82, Property of N. Flayderman & Co., February 21, 2017.
Front cover complete detached from spine. With some loss to binding, especially at spine (top and bottom). Frontis and pages 1-6, 239-242, 255 separated from binding. Some pages with wear/slight chipping along top, bottom, and right edges.
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