Roundtable Focuses on Civil War Letters

HATTIESBURG, MS (THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI) - The Center for the Study of War and Society at The University of Southern Mississippi continues its monthly War and Society Roundtable Tuesday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the downtown Hattiesburg branch of the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County.

This month's book, "A Soldier's Letters to Charming Nellie: The Correspondence of Joseph B. Polley, Hood's Texas Brigade," is a collection of letters by a Confederate soldier originally published in 1908. This definitive edition prepared by Richard B. McCaslin features new transcriptions and comparisons of Polley's letters that highlight the experiences of the 4th Texas Infantry in the war and the debate over Civil War memory.

 "John Bell Hood's Texas Brigade was one of the most famous units of the American Civil War," said Dr. Susannah Ural, associate professor of history and senior fellow of the Center for the Study of War and Society.  "As a soldier in that brigade, Polley served in nearly every major battle of the Eastern Theater.  He was a talented, thoughtful chronicler whose letters offer insights in battlefield experiences, camp life, the major ideological issues of the day, and much more.

"He was also active in veteran affairs and played a key role in shaping how Northerners and Southerners would remember Hood's Texans in America's bloodiest war. His letters are some of the most commonly cited and controversial publications from the era. Rick McCaslin's insightful analysis of them ensures their lasting influence on scholars and buffs alike."

Copies of the book are available for loan at the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County. The War and Society Roundtable meets every month through May and meetings are free and open to the public. The Center for the Study of War and Society serves as a local, national, and international resource for the study of the history of warfare at the social, economic, political, cultural and military levels.

For more information on the roundtable, contact Sean Farrell at the Library at 601.584.3166 or Dr. Kyle Zelner at Southern Miss at 601.266.6196 or at

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