One resource that is often overlooked in the Historical Room at the Franklin Branch is our military history collection. If you're only looking at the collection for the history of Johnson County or researching your family roots, you will miss some of the other interesting books located along the outer wall of the room. These include military books that cover the Civil War, World War II and the Vietnam War, most of them written by an Indiana author. Some of the titles include: Ernie Pyle's “Brave Men” and “Here Is Your War;” Alan T. Nolan's “The Iron Brigade;” and W. H. H. Terrell's “Indiana In The War of The Rebellion.” There are also personal accounts by Hoosier veterans that include a World War II memoir called “Bootprints” by Hobert Winebrenner and “To Bear Any Burden: A Hoosier Green Beret's Letters From Vietnam” by Daniel H. Fitzgibbon. Titles in the Historical Room do not circulate, but library staff can assist you if you need to track down a copy to check out.
A centerpiece to the military collection in the Historical Room is the large set of volumes from “The War Of The Rebellion: A Compilation Of The Official Records Of The Union and Confederate Armies.” The library carries all four parts of the series, but is short a few of the volumes that would complete the whole 128-item set.
These volumes were created when Union General-in-Chief Henry Wager Halleck, who was overwhelmed with writing the 1863 annual report to Congress, came up with the idea of having the Committee on Military Affairs publish the official documents and reports from all Civil War operations. A Joint Resolution was brought to Congress and the Senate by Senator Henry Wilson, who was the Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs at the time. Both Congress and the Senate passed the resolution on May 19, 1864, with President Abraham Lincoln signing the bill into law the very next day.
If you are a serious Civil War historian or buff, these volumes are a good place to learn about the battles that were fought, the leaders involved and the personal accounts of the veterans. Information is arranged in order by the campaign and theater of operations. The Union reports are first and then followed by the Confederate accounts. The volumes also contain correspondence from both Union and Confederate armies, including military orders and reports. This is probably the most complete documentation on the Civil War and provides a solid foundation for researching the war, but the information contained therein was not edited for accuracy.
For those who are serious military history readers, there will be a new book discussion group starting this spring. The first discussion is Saturday, April 22, at 2 p.m. at the Franklin Branch. The first book we will discuss is “Escaped With Honor” by Charles Layton. Mr. Layton is a Hoosier Korean War vet and this book is his personal account of his service as an Army Ranger, a POW and of his escape from a North Korean prisoner of war camp. For more information about the book discussion group, please contact David Allen at the Franklin Branch.
Pam Caito is the assistant to both the Historical Room and Marketing and Communications Department. She believes history connects the past and the present to give us a feeling of being at home. There are places and activities right here in Johnson County that help us to step back in time for relaxed, off the grid adventures. Email Pam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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