Among the plethora of books about the Civil War, Company Aytch stands out for its uniquely personal view of the events as related by a most engaging writer-a man with Twain-like talents who served as a foot soldier for four long years in the Confederate army. Originally published in 1881 as a series of articles in the Columbia, Tennessee, Herald, Sam Watkins's account has long been recognized by historians as one of the most lively and witty accounts of the war. Parallels between this text and The Red Badge of Courage suggest that Stephen Crane was also among Private Watkins's readers. This edition of Company Aytch also contains six previously uncollected articles by Sam Watkins, plus other valuable supplementary materials, including a map and period illustrations, a glossary of technical and military terms, a chronology of events, a concise history of Watkins's regiment, a biographical directory of individuals mentioned in the narrative, and geographic and topical indexes. This new edition of a Civil War classic is bound to become the edition of choice for students, military buffs, and general readers alike.
Samuel "Sam" Rush Watkins (1839-1901) was a Confederate soldier during the American Civil War. He is known today for his memoir Company Aytch: Or, a Side Show of the Big Show, often heralded as one of the best primary sources about the common soldier's Civil War experience. Of the 120 men who enlisted in Company H in 1861, Sam Watkins was one of only seven alive when General Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee surrendered to General William Tecumseh Sherman.
Soon after the war ended, Watkins began writing his memoir, now heralded by many historians as one of the best war memoirs of all time. Watkins captures the pride, misery, glory, and horror experienced by the common foot soldier. Watkins is featured and quoted in Ken Burns' documentary The Civil War.
"This lively memoir is part of an ilk within the genre that contends with the harsh barbarism of combat using wry humor. Surviving impossible situations and seemingly countless battles, Confederate soldier Watkins manages not only to capture clearly a soldier's experience but also inadvertently to write a solid history of the war itself."-Benjamin Brudner, Library Journal Reviews