Standing room only for Civil War discussion

For the Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON – On Thursday, April 28, the Milton-Union Public Library was host to Rex Maggert, who shared excerpts and hand-drawn sketches taken directly from diaries and letters of Civil War soldiers to provide an understanding of the war from a Yankee private’s perspective. Many of these entries included details about recruitment, living conditions, daily activities, food, desertion and punishment, medical care, and camp life.

Maggert first became interested in the Civil War when he discovered a relative in his family tree who was a Civil War veteran. He began doing research and that led to participating in re-enactments, Civil War talks, and more. During this particular talk, Maggert displayed and explained some of his re-enactment equipment, including a rifle and ammunition, camping equipment, and haversack. He revealed that women posed as men so they could join in the fight, and boys as young as 10 years old sometimes would accompany their fathers on campaigns.

Over 40 participants joined the discussion from not only the West Milton area but Troy and Dayton, as well as surrounding areas. Recently, Maggert was given access to approximately 50 personal letters written by a Civil War soldier to his wife as he was campaigning. The Milton-Union Public Library is hoping these will be the basis for another talk in the future.