Thursday, September 6, 2007
Lost Soul - A Confederate Soldier in New England
On the 131st anniversary of the death of Confederate Private Samuel Postlethwaite, Mariner Publishing announces the release of “Lost Soul – A Confederate Soldier in New England” by Les Rolston.
There were no Civil War battles in New England, so how did a Southern soldier end up in a Rhode Island cemetery in an unmarked grave?
Researcher and historian Rolston encountered this curious grave in the early 1990s as he planned a family trip to visit Civil War battlefields.
Discovering a note about the unmarked grave of Confederate veteran Samuel Postlethwaite in Greenwood Cemetery, (Coventry, Rhode Island), Rolston abandoned his planned trip and visited the cemetery instead. When he found the supposed location of the grave, there was no marker.
That curiosity evolved into a sense of purpose and Rolston set on a quest to discover more about this mystery soldier. “Sam” came to represent forgotten soldiers of all wars — a lost soul.
Rolston had no idea what a fascinating journey through time lay before him. Through an impressive amount of research he discovered how Samuel Postlethwaite, whose records had been lost in time, served as a private in Company D, 21st Mississippi Infantry during the Civil War, and how he ended up buried next to William Rogers Greene, a member of one of Rhode Island’s most famous families.
Rolston visited the battlefields where both Postlethwaite and Greene fought. His descriptions of the battles vividly illustrate the hardships of soldiers both North and South.
Primary source materials express their fears and celebrate their successes. Letters from home reflect the difficult lives of those left behind. Rolston follows the men home from war and through the difficult years of Reconstruction.
“Lost Soul” is a Yankee’s fight for a Rebel’s dignity — the story of how war-time enemies chose forgiveness and understanding over bitterness and hate, and became family.
As a result of Rolston’s research and writing, Sam’s grave was marked in 1995 with a bronze marker provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, recognizing his service as an American soldier. He is no longer a lost soul.
(Editor’s Note): The South Reporter ran several articles about Rolston’s research for this book beginning in January, 1995.
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