John Stuart "Stu" Richards is a good friend of mine; indeed, as a native of Orwigsburg, who lives just a few short blocks from where I grew up, Stu has been there as my interest in the Civil War has grown over the years. He and I often gave Living History presentations dealing with Schuylkill County's Civil War history, and most recently were invited to be 'interpreters' at the opening of the Civil War Room at the Historical Society of Schuylkill County.
Stu is an authority on Schuylkill County's fighting men, and an expert on Company C, 50th PA Volunteers, recruited from Schuylkill Haven. Last year, Stu's book A History of Company C, 50th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry: From the Camp, The Battlefield, and the Prison Pen, 1861-1865 hit the shelves. This is an excellent work, and what makes it most valuable is that Stu approached this history in a manner different from most traditional regimental histories. Instead of the proverbial 'one damned thing after the other' presentation, Stu has utilized the letters, diaries, and other writings of the Company to tell their story, first-hand. This truly is their story.
Anyone interested in Pennsylvania volunteer regiments, and anyone with a special interest in Schuylkill County's Civil War history, would enjoy and benefit from Stu's work.
The History Press, a great little publisher, published the book, and it retails for $21.99.
Here is what the back cover says of A History of Company C, 50th P.V.V.I:
Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, sent to the Civil War one soldier for every seven inhabitants. Although this contribution of manpower was not uncommon in other counties, the company that was formed from Schuylkill Haven was as unique for its makeup as for its service. The men who formed Company C, 50th Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment were primarily men who worked on or around the Schuylkill Canal, and from their ranks came two Medal of Honor recipients.
The men of Company C served in their capacity as far south as Beaufort, South Carolina, and participated in the battles at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania Court House and the siege of Petersburg. Author and Civil War historian John Richards has compiled a unique history of Company C, told through the personal letters, surviving narratives and official reports of the men during their service.
This compelling book offers a first-hand account--including descriptions of the prison at Andersonville--of life, toil and service during the Civil War. Richards calls upon a breadth of archival primary source material, and combines it with an informative narrative to provide an accessible and balanced study of the men from this unique company of soldiers."
Stu's Book can be purchased here: