A Gunner in Lee's Army

The Civil War Letters of Thomas Henry Carter

Edited by Graham T. Dozier

Foreword by Peter S. Carmichael

368 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 11 halftones, 1 figure, appends., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-1874-6
    Published: September 2014
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-1875-3
    Published: September 2014
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4730-0
    Published: September 2014

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Awards & distinctions

Founders Award, American Civil War Museum

In May 1861, Virginian Thomas Henry Carter (1831–1908) raised an artillery battery and joined the Confederate army. Over the next four years, he rose steadily in rank from captain to colonel, placing him among the senior artillerists in Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. During the war, Carter wrote more than 100 revealing letters to his wife, Susan, about his service. His interactions with prominent officers--including Lee, Jubal A. Early, John B. Gordon, Robert E. Rodes, and others--come to life in Carter's astute comments about their conduct and personalities. Combining insightful observations on military operations, particularly of the Battles of Antietam and Spotsylvania Court House and the 1864 Shenandoah Valley Campaign, with revealing notes on the home front and the debate over the impressment and arming of slaves, Carter's letters are particularly interesting because his writing is not overly burdened by the rhetoric of the southern ruling class.

Here, Graham Dozier offers the definitive edition of Carter's letters, meticulously transcribed and carefully annotated. This impressive collection provides a wealth of Carter's unvarnished opinions of the people and events that shaped his wartime experience, shedding new light on Lee's army and Confederate life in Virginia.

About the Authors

Graham T. Dozier is managing editor of publications at the Virginia Historical Society.
For more information about Graham T. Dozier, visit the Author Page.

Peter S. Carmichael is Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies at Gettysburg College and Director of the Civil War Institute. His books include Lee's Young Artillerist: William R. J. Pegram and Audacity Personified: The Generalship of Robert E. Lee.
For more information about Peter S. Carmichael, visit the Author Page.


“Meticulously edited and compiled.”--The Civil War Round Table

"Dozier is a reliably excellent editor."--Civil War Monitor

“Dozier has performed a valuable service for students of the Army of Northern Virginia, Civil War artillery, the soldier experience, and the civil war home front....a fascinating and useful addition to any Civil War library.”--On Point

"Col. Tom Carter belongs on any short list of the bright young artillerists who made Lee's 'Long Arm' famous, in company with Pelham, Pegram, Alexander, and Huger. His smart and perceptive letters, skillfully edited by Graham Dozier, make one of the best primary sources on the Army of Northern Virginia to reach print in recent memory."--Robert K. Krick, author of The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy and Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain.

"A Gunner in Lee’s Army comprises the best published recollections we have of a Virginia artillery commander. In over 100 letters to his wife, Carter was extremely observant as well as highly opinionated about military actions and individual officers. Superbly edited, this book is a necessary source for any study of the Army of Northern Virginia."--James I. Robertson Jr., author of Stonewall Jackson