Ever since iconic historian Bell I. Wiley broke Civil War literary ground with his The Life of Johnny Reb (published in 1943), the voices of individual soldiers—and by extension, their families and contemporaries—have played an important role in telling the story about America’s transformative conflict. The story of the Towles brothers of the 4th Virginia Cavalry—told primarily in their own words—is in that same tradition. More recently, Drew Gilpin Faust, in her acclaimed book, This Republic of Suffering, charted the impact death and dying had on our nation during and after the war. This book is a microcosm of that study, examining how one family dealt with loss and remembrance.
Built on unpublished, original source materials, Gone to God: A Civil War Family’s Ultimate Sacrifice tells in intimate detail of loss on a personal level, something with which we all can empathize. Because of this, the story of the Towles brothers resonates today, 150 years after their deaths.