By Darlis A. Miller
First released as TO shape A extra excellent UNION in 1941, this infrequent quantity of Civil War-era letters relates the poignant reports of an English immigrant within the provider of the U.S. military. After Frank Clarke's tragic demise in 1862, his spouse Mary corresponded along with his English mom, detailing the day-by-day struggles of an army widow and her 5 sons in frontier Kansas. 12 halftones .
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Additional resources for Above a Common Soldier: Frank and Mary Clarke in the American West and Civil War from Their Letters, 1847-1872
8 He subsequently regretted this decision and sought release from his enlistment. Failing in this endeavor, he followed his mother's advice and made the best of it, soon attaining the position of sergeant major, the highest rank obtainable in a regular-army regiment by an enlisted man. The peacetime army that Clarke joined in 1849 numbered between ten thousand and eleven thousand officers and men. Slightly less than half of all new recruits in that decade were immigrants, with many of them speaking no English.
The Clarke correspondence also treats most of the major conflicts that disrupted so many lives in mid-nineteenth-century America: the War with Mexico, the Plains Indian Wars, the "Mormon War," and the devastating Civil War. The Clarke missives also reveal intimate details about a family fighting to survive in these turbulent times. We see Frank change from a headstrong young man eager for adventure to a loving and considerate husband Page xi and father juggling family and military responsibilities.
The Clarkes were descended from a long line of "gentleman farmers," although Reverend Clarke's own father had been a shipmaster. Frank completed his formal education in Henstead and, at age seventeen, became apprenticed to the solicitors Jeffes and Hazard, with whom he studied law. But after three years of study, the young man suddenly left his position and sailed on July 1, 1847 for the United States. 5 Clarke abandoned England at a time when Europe was being inundated with promotional literature that touted western America as a land of golden opportunity where the industrious were assured prosperity.
Above a Common Soldier: Frank and Mary Clarke in the American West and Civil War from Their Letters, 1847-1872 by Darlis A. Miller