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Like most Northerners, Richard Bassett expected the war between the Union and the rebel states to be over quickly. When it isn’t and President Lincoln puts out another call for volunteers, Richard leaves his farm, his wife and his two young boys and goes to do his part. Erasmus, his younger brother, goes with him on the grand adventure that is preserving the Union.
Only, a month into their service, still green and only partially trained, they’re thrust onto the front lines of a battle that will brand them forever. When their general surrenders them to the Confederates, Richard wonders if he’ll ever see home or battle again.
HARDSHIP AND HARDTACK follows the 126th New York Volunteer’s first year of service in the Union Army and is based on the letters the very real Richard Bassett sent home to his wife, Mary. He details life as a prisoner on parole, their subsequent return to active service and the painful waiting as their names are dragged through the mud and their reputations unduly tarnished. It is not until nearly a year has passed that redemption comes in the form of another battle—at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.