The Schroeder Books
Albion, New York 1862-1865
This collection of more than 160 letters from Cora Beach
Benton to her husband Charlie, in the Civil War 17th New York
Artillery (“Orlean’s Battery”), lets you follow her life as she transforms
from a young girl “who didn’t know how to wash her handkerchief” to a
proud wife who becomes “a woman to walk with, not a child to lead.”
Follow her three-year journey filled with worries,
not just for her husband’s safety, but also for her four brothers.
Two older—Henry, one officer in the 1st Michigan Cavalry,
and Elias, a civilian who must escape from the Confederacy—and two
younger—“Hoddy,” of the 8th New York Cavalry, whose courage at
Gettysburg makes him the family hero, and “Vallie” the “hard boy” who,
at age 14, becomes the youngest “man” to serve with the 22nd New
Charlie writes home near the war’s end that the
17th Battery boys intend to create a book about their hardships and
adventures upon their return. Cora
replies, “I think a true history of the weary, tried wives at home would be
much more pathetic. Do you doubt it
darling?” Without realizing it,
Cora had written that “true history.”
Cora Beach was born in September of 1838 and
married Oliver Charles “Charlie” Benton the day before her 19th
birthday. Charlie (26) enlisted in
the 17th New York Light Artillery in August 1862, and was sent to
Camp Church in Lockport, NY. The 17th
served in the defenses of Washington, DC, and with the Army of the James in
siege operations against Richmond and Petersburg, VA.
The unit participated in the engagements of Chafflin’s Farm, New Market
Heights, the Fall of Petersburg, the Appomattox Campaign, and Appomattox Court
House. At the time her letters
begin, the Benton’s first child Emma “Belle” was four years old.
Cora lived in Albion, NY, near her parents’ home.
This book gives you the Civil War home front on personal level, as you read the nearly day-by-day account of life in a small Erie Canal village during those “Hard Breathing Days.” 503 pages; 39 photos; hard cover; complete roster and bios. for members of the 17th New York Light Artillery. Price $36.00. ISBN 0-9726766-0-0.
Hard Breathing Days: The Civil War Letters of Cora Beach Benton, Albion, New York, 1862-1865
Return to Schroeder Books Return Home