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Co. Aytch: The Classic Memoir of the Civil War by a Confederate Soldier | [Sam R. Watkins]

Co. Aytch: The Classic Memoir of the Civil War by a Confederate Soldier

Early in May 1861, 21-year-old Sam R. Watkins of Columbia, Tennessee, joined the First Tennessee Regiment. He fought in all of its major battles, from Shiloh to Nashville. Twenty years later, with a "house full of young 'rebels' clustering around my knees and bumping about my elbows," he wrote the remarkable account of "Co. Aytch," its common foot soldiers, its commanders, its Yankee enemies, its victories and defeats, and its ultimate surrender on April 26, 1865.
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Publisher's Summary

Early in May 1861, 21-year-old Sam R. Watkins of Columbia, Tennessee, joined the First Tennessee Regiment. He fought in all of its major battles, from Shiloh to Nashville. Twenty years later, with a "house full of young 'rebels' clustering around my knees and bumping about my elbows," he wrote the remarkable account of "Co. Aytch," its common foot soldiers, its commanders, its Yankee enemies, its victories and defeats, and its ultimate surrender on April 26, 1865.

Co. Aytch is the work of a natural storyteller who balances the horror of war with his irrepressible sense of humor and his sharp eye for the lighter side of battle. Among Civil War memoirs, it stands as a living testament to one man's enduring humanity, courage, and wisdom in the midst of death and destruction.

©2003 Sam R. Watkins; (P)1995 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Anyone who wishes to hear a Southern view of why they fought should hear Watkins....[T]his work is moving and always fascinating because it is a great text penned by a man who has seen the spectrum of human cruelty, horror, and kindness." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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4.0 (27 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tucker 11-08-09
    Tucker 11-08-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Must Have"

    I have listened to this book three times now. It is an amazing look into the the story of a soldier who fought in many important battles of the Civil War. But apart from history it tells the human side of war and although Watkins tells of horror and suffering he also fills the narrative with clever anecdotes and odd situations of the people he served with. There is much opinion of the abilities of the various leaders he served under. The story is filled with colloquilisms from the Civil War which I enjoyed. The narrator of this version, although not having a Southern accent, did a fantastic job as well.

    This is one of the best narratives of a Civil War soldier (cited extensively by Ken Burns' documentary by the way) and it is a must have.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark C Walker Toney, AL United States 07-28-12
    Mark C Walker Toney, AL United States 07-28-12 Member Since 2005
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    "A Wonderful Book"
    Any additional comments?

    I had read this years ago and recently stumbled across it in Audible and bought it and I am glad I did. The book itself is outstanding. Watkins is a gifted writer who is able to describe both the horror and humor of war through the eyes of a private. Most history narratives of battles and war are told by Generals and their staff - so this book is really different. The only slight downside to this was that the narrator was a little too dour and wasn't able to capture how funny some of the things that occur during the course of a war are. Well worth the credit

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 09-08-11
    Carroll Alexandria, VA, United States 09-08-11 Member Since 2010
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    "A compelling soldier story"

    This is a view of the sweep of the war from one, young, confederate soldier as his unit treks & fights across the south.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cameron Lower Hutt, New Zealand 10-09-10
    Cameron Lower Hutt, New Zealand 10-09-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Worth the effort to listen to!"

    Sam Watkins has kindly given us insight into the thoughts and experience of a Confederate soldier. I can't imagine how he managed to survive the hardships, deprivations, battles and defeat!

    I found this a really worthwhile book to listen to and was even more fascinating towards the end. The style of writing is very different from anything else I'm used to. The narration could be better tho!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dan Greene CHATTANOOGA, TN, United States 03-14-10
    Dan Greene CHATTANOOGA, TN, United States 03-14-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Good storytelling"

    This is an interesting tour through the Western Theater of the War Between the States from the view of a 1st Tennesse infantryman. Apparently the author has a superior guardian angel because he is in the thick of it from start to finish. Assuming it's true it's an amazing accomplishment. When you hear the descriptions of the thick minie balls and the grape shot booming it makes you wonder what these people were doing. These people were CRAZY - all of them - blue coats and Johnny Reb. After awhile I began to gain a deeper understanding of the pace of the war, the automatation of the war machine of the Yankees, and the degree of "regimentation" that was instituted on both sides. I found the first hand accounts of the Confederate defense from Chattanooga to Atlanta very insightful. He got me doing some arm chair generaling and thinking of better ways to deal with the Blue Coat armies moving South out of Chattanooga. Personally I think the war was over in 1862 when the Federals took full control of the Mississippi - but revisiting these campaigns on such an "on the ground" view makes me ponder what may have been salvaged if handled a bit more dynamically. This narrative also helps to illuminate the "mass" nature of the Yankee hoarde; for me Cold Harbor is no longer some example of extreme slaughter but is what became the measure of what the North was willing to use up. Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor, the Bloody Angle, the Kennesaw campaigns saw the Blue Coats march over and over to their deaths in doomed or very expensive assaults. Now I am suspicious of the "offical" 600,000 killed in this war - I now believe it to be LOTS more. I may have to go look into how those numbers were established - I'm curious now.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jeffrey Cherry Hill, NJ, United States 05-08-14
    jeffrey Cherry Hill, NJ, United States 05-08-14 Member Since 2012

    I love history and I really love a good story based in historical events.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Totally mismatched narrator"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    A different narrator.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Co. Aytch?

    Some interesting experiences by the author.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Tragic, poignant, mundane, humorous - all sounded the same by this guy. Also, totally wrong accent. Couldn't they have found someone with a southern accent to read the book. After all this is the classic memoir of a private soldier from the Confederate side.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda Oak Ridge, TN, United States 10-09-13
    Rhonda Oak Ridge, TN, United States 10-09-13 Member Since 2007
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    "A very good first person account of the Civil War"
    Would you listen to Co. Aytch again? Why?

    Yes, because it is the best book of its kind I have listened to.


    What other book might you compare Co. Aytch to and why?

    There are one other books to compare it to.


    What does Pat Bottino bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He captured the emotion of the War both the good and the bad.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No, the entire book was very moving.


    Any additional comments?

    This is the first Civil War account that have either read or listened to that told the how the foot solider felt about the Generals that commanded them. That in itself makes this a one of a kind book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Chicago, IL, United States 05-30-13
    Michael Chicago, IL, United States 05-30-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Civil War According to a Regular Guy"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, because it's like listening to a guy you know tell a story. He talks about everyday stuff that you won't hear about in the history books. Like the time they had to destroy a big cache of food, and each took a slab of bacon and stuck it on their bayonet to carry with theme.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Co. Aytch?

    Noting stood out, all good.


    What three words best describe Pat Bottino’s performance?

    Regular Nothing Special


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, just found it interesting.


    Any additional comments?

    Nope. Listen to it - pretty interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-07-11
    01-07-11 Member Since 2010
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    4
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    "Interest but slow moving"

    Unless you are a REAL Civil War Buff, you will not enjoy... The story line at times moves very slow and is hard to follow...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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