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Cross pens history of local Civil War volunteers

Thousands of Civil War histories line the shelves of bookstores and libraries, but only one chronicles the history of Tennessees 49th volunteer regiment.

Released this month, Cry Havoc: A History of the 49th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment, is the second in what may become a series of three Civil War books by Dr. Wallace Cross, professor of history at Austin Peay.
Thousands of Civil War histories line the shelves of bookstores and libraries, but only one chronicles the history of Tennessee's 49th volunteer regiment.

Released this month, “Cry Havoc: A History of the 49th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment,” is the second in what may become a series of three Civil War books by Dr. Wallace Cross, professor of history at Austin Peay.

“Cry Havoc” is the history of one of three Confederate regiments recruited primarily from Clarksville and Montgomery County. The book follows the regiment from its formation at Fort Donelson in 1862 to its decimation at the Battle of Nashville in 1864.

“Regimental histories, such as this one, are a vital genre in military history because they often offer a more detailed, more immediate sense of the human experience of war,” says Dr. Richard Gildrie, professor of history. “[‘Cry Havoc'] does [so] through the extensive use of letters, diaries and memoirs.”

Complete with pictures, rosters and maps, the book is particularly appealing to Civil War buffs and those whose ancestors fought in the war. Though the regiment was comprised of men from Stewart, Montgomery, Benton, Dickson and Robertson counties, most volunteers were from Montgomery County.

“Based on its population, Montgomery County may have contributed more men to the Confederate army than any other county, and each regiment was decimated,” says Cross, whose initial 1990 publication, “Ordeal by Fire,” chronicled the 14th regiment. “At one point, almost all of the young men of the area had been taken away by the war. The psychological and physical impact was profound.”

Cross says he more than likely will complete the trilogy with a history of the 50th volunteer regiment.

A member of APSU's history department faculty since 1987, Cross has served as director of the history program at the APSU Center at Fort Campbell since 1990.
—Terry Stringer