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By the Blood of the Alumni: Norwich University Citizen Soldiers in the Army of the Potomac, 1861-1865 Hardcover – Apr 15 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 366 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada / Perseus Books (April 15 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188281021X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882810215
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 730 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Format: Hardcover
Robert G. Poirier is a proud 1966 graduate of Norwich University, the Military College of Vermont, located on "The Hill" in Northfield, Vermont. A decorated Vietnam War veteran, Poirier?s previous work include Red Army Order of Battle (Presidio Press, 1985) and numerous articles, one a study of the contributions by Norwich graduates to the Union victory at the battle of Gettysburg.
In By the Blood of Our Alumni, Poirier repudiates the misguided historical record that rarely mentions the alumni of the nation's other military academy - Norwich University. Asserting correctly that the contributions rendered by Norwich men in the Civil War are undervalued and under reported, little understood? (p. iv.), he strives to revive the neglected historical record to reclaim for Norwich her rightful place, alongside the United States Military Academy, the Virginia Military Institute, and The Citadel, in the historical legacy of service to America.
By the Blood of Our Alumni is the first comprehensive narrative history on the Civil War roles of Norwich University graduates. Poirier drew upon previously written accounts of Norwich to build his database of graduates and their service records. The "Civil War Honor Roll of 1865" contained in the University Reveille, vol. 6, no. 1, April 1865, provided a treasure trove of information. Other valuable sources were William A. Ellis?s History of Norwich University: Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor (Claremont, N.H., 1898) and Robert O. Gwinn?s The History of Norwich University, 1912-1965 (Northfield, VT., 1965). However, the mere "scant mention" (p.iv.) by Howard Coffin of the participation of Norwich graduates in his Full Duty: Vermonters in the Civil War (Woodstock, VT.
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Amazon.com: 9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Tour-de-Force in Detailed Research April 2 2003
By Daniel E. Peters - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Robert G. Poirier is a proud 1966 graduate of Norwich University, the Military College of Vermont, located on "The Hill" in Northfield, Vermont. A decorated Vietnam War veteran, Poirier?s previous work include Red Army Order of Battle (Presidio Press, 1985) and numerous articles, one a study of the contributions by Norwich graduates to the Union victory at the battle of Gettysburg.
In By the Blood of Our Alumni, Poirier repudiates the misguided historical record that rarely mentions the alumni of the nation's other military academy - Norwich University. Asserting correctly that the contributions rendered by Norwich men in the Civil War are undervalued and under reported, little understood? (p. iv.), he strives to revive the neglected historical record to reclaim for Norwich her rightful place, alongside the United States Military Academy, the Virginia Military Institute, and The Citadel, in the historical legacy of service to America.
By the Blood of Our Alumni is the first comprehensive narrative history on the Civil War roles of Norwich University graduates. Poirier drew upon previously written accounts of Norwich to build his database of graduates and their service records. The "Civil War Honor Roll of 1865" contained in the University Reveille, vol. 6, no. 1, April 1865, provided a treasure trove of information. Other valuable sources were William A. Ellis?s History of Norwich University: Her History, Her Graduates, Her Roll of Honor (Claremont, N.H., 1898) and Robert O. Gwinn?s The History of Norwich University, 1912-1965 (Northfield, VT., 1965). However, the mere "scant mention" (p.iv.) by Howard Coffin of the participation of Norwich graduates in his Full Duty: Vermonters in the Civil War (Woodstock, VT., 1993) provided the final impetus to Poirier to correct "an important and largely forgotten aspect of the War of the Rebellion." (p. iv.).
Founded in 1819, Vermont's Norwich turned out hundreds of officers and soldiers who served with the Federal armies in the Civil War, including four winners of the Congressional Medal of Honor. One graduate led a corps, seven more headed divisions, 21 commanded brigades, 38 led regiments, and various alumni served in 131 different regimental organizations. In addition, these men were eyewitnesses to some of the war's most dramatic events, including the bloodiest day of the conflict at Antietam, the attack up Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg, and the repulse of Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. Seven hundred and fifty Norwich men served in the Civil War, of whom sixty fought for the Confederacy.
This reviewer's motivation in reading By the Blood of Our Alumni was to determine whether one particularly effective artillery battery commander, James A. Hall of Maine, was trained at Norwich. Unfortunately, in the Hall case, insufficient evidence prohibits a definitive answer. Poirier explains in great detail this particular research dilemma in a three-page appendix.
To the benefit of the reader and researcher, Poirier cites the unfortunate gaps in Norwich records as the greatest problem in his research. A fire in 1866 damaged and destroyed many of the cadet records. In many cases, the fact that an individual had attended Norwich was completely lost. For example, evidence indicates that both Maj. Gen. Alfred H. Terry of Fort Fisher fame and the James A. Hall of the 2nd Maine Battery were Norwich men. Despite extensive efforts, in the end, Poirier honestly admits that he could neither confirm nor deny their Norwich connection and had to downplay their role, perhaps unjustly. Poirier correctly errs on the side of caution and conservatism in including soldiers in his database of Norwich Civil War heroes.
The training offered by the Norwich program of special military courses qualified civilians for commissions, as well as upgraded to skills of officers who had already volunteered. In addition to infantry training, the University cadets drilled with two six-pounder smoothbore howitzers issued to Norwich in 1853 by the state of Vermont.
Behind every great battlefield commander lies the solid backing of effective training.
Poirier's work succeeds in promoting the once neglected role and influence of Norwich University as significant in the Union's Army of the Potomac in the eastern theater of the American Civil War, while sustaining the proud tradition of citizen-soldiery.
One is immediately impressed with the great deal of research and analysis this work exudes. By the Blood of Our Alumni is exhaustively researched and fully documented. This work contains thirty relevant photographs, two well-executed maps, full index, and eight data- and statistics-laden appendices substantiating Poirier's theses. One appendix offers a comparative analysis of casualties and cross-referenced listing of alumni. Indeed, reading and studying this book offers an educational insight into honest and up-front research techniques.
Poirier's detailed account of Norwich University?s role in the Civil War has successfully validated the prophetic pronouncement of an anonymous cadet in 1863 that "every field of battle during the present war has been moistened by the blood of our alumni." (p. 281.)
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Gripping Civil war Account April 8 2000
By Aussie Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Norwich University is the Military College of Vermont and as this book shows they produced some excellent soldiers who served with distinction in all ranks of the Federal Army. One graduate led a corps, seven led divisions, twenty-one commanded brigades and thirty-eight led regiments which is an outstanding number considering the size of the college student roll.
As the title suggests the book concentrates on the Army of the Potomac and follows the careers of Norwich alumni through the campaigns and battles fought by the Army of the Potomac, from First Bull Run and Ball's Bluff through to the final battles of 1865. The author offers a decent overview of the war but his emphasis is on the men of Norwich, where they served and how they served. This story is woven into the fabric of the narrative quite well and shows the depth of research conducted by the author, Robert G. Poirier.
Mr Poirer is a 1966 graduate of Norwich University and a veteran of the Vietnam War. His pride in his old Alumni shows in his presentation of this book. Throughout the narrative the stories and recollections of these men offer an interesting insight into the war as fought by the Army of the Potomac. On a number of occasions we are presented with outstanding accounts of bravery by these men, some that were later awarded the highest award for bravery. The story of Thomas Seaver's Medal of Honor is one such account. Another is the story of Sergeant Thomas Plunkett at Fredericksburg, who's arms were blown off by a cannon shot but continued to hold his colours with his bleeding stumps until they were taken by another member of the 21st Massachusetts Infantry.
The book also offers some information on the careers of Norwich alumni who served in the other theatres of the Civil War and in the Federal Navy. Also covered are those who served under a different flag, the `Stars & Bars' of the Confederacy.
The book has some very detailed appendixes with a complete alphabetical listing of alumni, on alumni by Regiments, information on battles and other engagements and much more.
This book would be an absolute must for anyone who had every attended at Norwich University and still offers something to those who look for a slightly different account of the American Civil War. This is a finely told, well-presented and very well researched account of a little known subject of the Civil War. The book offers a number of black and white photos of the men who served along with a number of maps of the campaigns.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A great book by all those who love the Civil War Aug. 7 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Poirier's book is a great historical account of the role that a small New England military school, Norwich University, played in during the Civil War. Rarely does one find a book that is not only historically accurate, but also downright fun to read. The North and South both capitalized on the military leadership of West Point. The south may have had VMI and the Citadel within their riegn, but the North had Norwich. If anyone has a remote interest in the Civil War, Vermont's history, or want to learn about a small New England Institution that helped shape American's history, then read By the Blood of Our Alumni.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Detailed And Interesting June 2 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book while doing genealogical research, but kept on reading it even after failing to find any ancestors. I'm especially impressed that the author is, himself, a Norwich grad and went to such lengths to write an Interesting Civil War history. There are far too many boring histories out there, but this one is riveting, for the Civil War "fan" or the accidental historian! I've recommended it highly to members of my lodge and will continue to do so with every confidence that future readers will be as delighted as I. Mr. Poirier, sir, you've done a fine piece of work here.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Clearly the best work yet concerning Norwich Oct. 24 1999
By Nathan D. Wells (wellsn@prodigy.net) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Finally, there is an engrossing, well-documented work concerning Norwich University. This is "By the Blood of our Alumni," by Robert Poirier. Previously, all that was available on the subject were the official history of Norwich by William Arba Ellis (volumes 1-3) and Robert Darius Guinn (volume 4), all of which read like an expanded admissions pamphlet; or the pretentious garbage that W.E.B. Griffin spews forth. One can only hope that Poirier will delve further into the military history of Norwich; which has for too long been kept out of the limelight.


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