Your Brother in Arms: A Union Soldier’s Odyssey

Fairgrounds Hospital near Petersburg where McClelland recovered after the Battle of Five Forks.

George P. McClelland 1862

Jericho Bridge at North Anna River where McClelland fought and was wounded in May 1863.

Published July 1, 2011 (Hardcover) 2013 (Paperback)
Shades of Blue and Gray Series, University of Missouri Press
ISBN  – 978-0-8262 -1920 – 6 (hc)
ISBN – 978 – 0 -8262 -2017 -2  (pbk)
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, Kindle

Your Brother in Arms follows soldier George P. McClelland through his Civil War odyssey from 1862 to 1865.  The letters McClelland wrote to his family offer fresh insight to camp life, battlefield conditions, key leaders and the mindset of a young man who faced the prospect of death nearly every day of his service.  With supporting detail, author Plumb expounds on McClelland’s words by placing the events described in context and illuminating the collective forces at play in each account, thereby adding an historical perspective to the raw voice of a young soldier.  More than a book of battlefield reports, Your Brother in Arms: A Union Soldier’s Odyssey is a volume that explores wartime experience through a young soldier’s eyes, making it an engaging and valuable read for those interested in the Civil War and American history of the mid-nineteenth century. 


Your Brother in Arms is a valuable contribution to Civil War studies.”

– James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize – Winning Author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era.

“I found the book to be enjoyable and rich in content with an easy flow.  Plumb’s chronological approach to the story adds a new light to the sacrifices shared by soldiers.  Each chapter is well researched … Your Brother in Arms is well worth your time to read.”

– R. Scott Martin, Military Review, March – April 2012.

“Thoroughly researched and presented, this important collection will appeal to even the most seasoned arm chair general.  It reflects the outstanding efforts of McClelland, Plumb and the University of Missouri Press … That these letters were penned by a young man still in his teens and then early 20s stuns the reader.”

– Paul Taylor, Civil War News, January 2012.

“The McClelland letters are good, informative, substantive primary sources.  They contain the insights into the sentiments and services of a citizen-soldier who rose from private to captain in the 155th Pennsylvania, a famous fighting regiment of the Army of the Potomac, 1862 – 1865.”

– Richard J. Sommers, author of Richmond Redeemed: The Siege of Petersburg.

“McClelland’s letters … range from evocative and philosophical to whimsical and heart- wrenching, and are full of rich content.  They help us understand not only McClelland the soldier, but also of more importance, McClelland the man.”

– Scott Mingus Sr., Cannonball Blog and author of Targeted Tracks: The Cumberland Valley Railroad in the Civil War and The Complete Human Interest Stories of the Gettysburg Campaign.

On-line Reviews

“Robert C. Plumb weaves compelling and well-researched accounts around each of the letters, unfolded in highly readable chapters.”

“This book is a must-read not only for history buffs, but also for anyone who wonders what it’s like to be in the middle of history.”

“As one who has read hundreds of individual soldier’s accounts, I consider Mr. Robert Plumb’s editing of this splendid book to rank at the top of all published accounts I have ever seen … This is a great book, and I recommend it to one and all.”

“This is a book worth reading.  It gives additional insight into the motivations, concerns and lives of Union soldiers in the Army of the Potomac.  You will care about what happens to McClelland.”

“Plumb does a superb job of setting the historical scene before introducing each letter …. Overall, the book provides a unique view of the war – a view through the eyes of a sensitive, observant and articulate young soldier.”

“Mr. Plumb has brilliantly structured the book so that the reader gets an overview of the war, then an overview of the 155th Regiment’s role in that time period and then the role of the individual soldier, George P. McClelland …”

“George P. McClelland was an impressive young man rising in the ranks from buck Private to Captain, and receiving the well-deserved rank of Brevet Major for his bravery in the face of enemy fire …. You will enjoy getting to know him – your brother in arms!”

“I am in awe of Plumb’s research and the care he took in letting us know who McClelland was and his time, which shaped American history.”

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