Cumby Civil War Historian, Ryan Petty, presented the program at
Thursday night's monthly Hopkins County Genealogical meeting.
Cumby Civil War Historian
Speaks to Genealogical Society
by: Bobby McDonald
Petty visits with Ronny Glossup and Harold Bryant, following his presentation.
It was a large crowd of Hopkins County residents that attended Thursday night's Hopkins County Genealogical Society monthly meeting, to hear the Civil War Era presentation by Cumby historian, Ryan Petty. Petty who is a re-enactor in Civil War dramas and battles and has done extensive studies, told the group about the life of the typical soldier in the U.S. Civil War, 150 years ago. Petty was at the meeting promoting his Civil War book, The Life He Never Knew. Petty signed copies of the book for those present and the book will be available in the Hopkins County Genealogical Library Bookstore.
"The typical soldier in the Civil War received only $12.00 pay per month and spent most of his day marching toward battle," allowed Petty. "We see movies like Gone With the Wind, where the war was romanticized, but the daily grind of the war for the soldier was anything but romantic!"
Petty told the group that boredom was a problem for many soldiers "on the move" and that one game the soldiers would play would be to place two lice on a hot plate and gamble on which one would exit the plate the quickest. "Nearly all the soldiers had lice and it was just something they did to fight the boredom in their daily routine," expressed Petty.
"There seemed to have been a lot of prostitution in the war," expressed Petty. "And of course the medical conditions were horrible. Claims are that at one time one-quarter of the Northern Army had sexually transmitted diseases!"
Petty explained to the group a number of the authentic things that are used by the soldiers in the re-enactments and talked of an upcoming re-enactment he plans to attend this summer at the site of the Battle of Shiloh. He also told the group that a re-enactment will be featured in Jefferson, Texas, in a couple of months, that would be of interest to the group of the local historians.
In describing his book, The Life He Never Knew, Petty explained that it began as a short story and kept growing, until it became the 90,000 word historical novel. The book features the life of a young soldier from Texas, involved in the Civil War.
Petty signed copies of his book for those in attendance at Thursday night's meeting and answered a number of question regarding his interesting presentation.