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Thread: Who Wrote Si Klegg?

  1. #11
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    Apr 2006
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    690

    Default Hinman

    Wilbur Hinman, the author of the original Si Klegg, was an officer in the 65th OVI and served the entire war in the Western theater with the Army of the Ohio becoming the Army of the Cumberland. At the same time he was writing Si Klegg he was also compiling the splendid regimental history of the Sherman Brigade which was 4 units (64th OVI, 65th OVI, 6th Ohio Light Artillery and McLaughlins Squadron of Cavalry) all raised together in north central Ohio. It was named for Ohio Sen John Sherman (Uncle Billys brother) who was instrumental in organizing this force for the war effort.

    Kent Dorr - Summer in Ohio
    "Devils Own Mess"

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    71

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    Rob:

    There are two wholly separate sets of books for the Si Klegg story. The first, Corporal Si Klegg and His Pard, by Wilbur Hinman, is a single volume which takes Si from his encounter with The Recruiting Officer all the way to his retirement with Annabelle and his quest for a veteran's pension. This is the book that most reenactors are familiar with, and which has served as the genesis for many things in the campaigner movement.

    Some years later, John McElroy began a serialization of Si Klegg stories in the National Tribune, beginning in the late 1880s and eventually published in a series of eight books ending around 1910. These books generally follow the story outline laid out in Hinman's Corporal Si Klegg up until about the time Si arrives at Stone's River, but from that point on there is substantial deviation. McElroy takes the stories a good bit farther with more details and embeliishment, as well as a number of side stories.

    I came across these books several years ago thinking I had found a "good deal" on an original book on eBay; instead what I wound up with was the first voulme of the McElroy books, which was completely different from Hinman's work. Since then, I've managed to snag a complete collection with the exception of No. 7, where Si & Shorty are captured at Kennesaw, and spend some time at Andersonville. (McElroy was a long-term tenant at Andersonville, and so he bore a hard-on for that topic for the rest of his life... noted by his better-known writings on Andersonville.)


    McElroy's eight volumes are:

    1. Si Klegg: His Transformation from Raw Recruit to a Veteran (usually combined with another (ninth) book, Further Mishaps to Si Klegg and Shorty)

    2. Si Klegg: Through the Stone River Campaign and Winter Quarters at Murfreeesboro.

    3. Si & Shorty Meet Mr. Rosenbaum, the Spy, Who Relates His Adventures.

    4. Expereinces of Si & Shorty on the Great Tullahoma Campaign

    5. The Deacon's Adventures at Chattanooga in Caring for the Boys

    6. Si and Shorty, with their Recruits, Enter Upon the Atlanta Campaign

    7. Si, Shorty, and the Boys are Captured at Kenesaw and Taken to Andersonville.

    8. Si, Shorty, and the Boys on the March to the Sea.

    The McElroy stories carry a lot more detail and adventure with them than do Hinmans. While Hinman portrays the boys as the average soldier in the War of the Rebellion, in McElroy's book they are far more heroic, as well as adventuresome, and thus the story lines will diverge significantly from Hinman's book. We eventually learn Shorty's given name (Daniel Elliott) as he writes to a sock-knitting sweetheart in Bad Axe, Wisconsin, and that Si hails from Bean Blossom Crick back home in Posey County, Indiana. McElroy's writing isn't too shabby, either, and he creates some wonderful word pictures of life in an infantry regiment on the march:

    But with the first gray streaks of dawn in the east some uneasy, meddlesome spirit in the 200th Ind. happened to be awake, and he awakened the Adjutant, who cuffed and shook the headquarters drummer until he awakened and beat the reveille. This aroused the weary Orderly-Sergeants, who started upon the task of getting up the bone-wracked, aching-muscled men. In 10 minutes there was enough discontent and bitter grumbling in the 200th Ind. to have furnished forth a new political party.
    Someone could possibly put together a thesis comparing the two sets of stories, but at any rate they're highly entertaining, and a fair look into an aspect of life with the Army of the Cumberland...

    Tom

  3. #13

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    I'm in the middle of the fifth volume at the moment, so I assume I'm up to the hilt in McElroy material. He really does know how to write a rollicking story. The boys are still very common in their outlooks and attitudes, but they have become both more hardened to the things they see around them - and a lot more competent as soldiers. The Deacon Josiah Klegg plays an increasingly important part, and is an interesting character by himself. McElroy gets a little slow moving as he's trying to jam all that stuff in, but it remains a fun and light read. I could honestly start this book over again after I finish it, and I don't do that often.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    I've unburied this old thread because there is a lengthy discussion about the Si Klegg books in the current issue of Blue Gray Magazine. My magazine arrived in the mail yesterday so copies should be readily available at parks and newsstands, if not now, then in the next few days.

    On an unrelated note, I noticed a glossy, half page ad for the 150th Fredericksburg reenactment on the back inside cover of this same issue of Blue Gray. That ad must have been pricey. Considering the magazine was published a week after the event occurred, that ad was wasted money. The cost of the untimely ad is likely less than the cost of issuing a pair of dry wool socks to every modern day Si and Shorty who look a long walk on a short bridge.
    - Silas Tackitt

    "I consider him a humbug, a man of small capacity, very obstinate, not at all chivalrous, exceedingly conceited, and totally selfish." - - Lafayette McLaws about James Longstreet.

  5. #15

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    I finished the book a long while ago, but I have to say again how much I enjoyed the read. It's got everything: fine detail, good dialogue, humor, adventure, drama. Mostly escapes the maudlin sentimentality of the 19th century. Anticipates the realism of Crane, though without the psycological depth. Yep. That's a good book.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  6. #16
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    Feb 2011
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    Macomb, IL
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    All six of the follow up volumes of Si Klegg are available for free download on Kindle books.
    Bob Welch
    Dirty Shirts

    Macomb and the Civil War
    , my sesquicentennial blog about life in Western Illinois during the war years.

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