When Southerners fired on Fort Sumter in April 1861, John Beatty left his bank job in Ohio to answer President Lincoln's call for soldiers. Within a short while he was commanding the Third Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, as green to combat as his men. The diary he kept from June 1861 to January 1864 shows how well they did their fearful job without losing their humanity. In October 1862 the Ohio regiment lost nearly forty percent of its five hundred men on the field at Perryville. After heavy fighting at Stone's River the following year, Beatty was promoted to brigadier general. In these pages the cost of union is carefully weighed by an intelligent and modest man who never glorifies war. Advancing through the South with the Army of the Cumberland, he lives to tell about the horrific battles at Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge. Whether describing large events in Kentucky, Tennessee, and elsewhere or the quiet times of camp life, Beatty never loses personal perspective Steven E. Woodworth, in his introduction, writes about the life of this extraordinary ordinary man, whose diary, originally published in 1879, stands out as one of the dozen or so best memoirs of the Civil War for its clarity, honesty, humor, and plain good sense.