Samuel Rush Watkins was a private in the Confederate Army, a twenty-one-year-old Southerner from Tennessee who knew about war but had never experienced it firsthand.. "With the immediacy of a dispatch from the front lines, here are Watkins' firsthand observations and recollections, from combat on the battlefields of Shiloh ("On Sunday morning, the order was given for the whole army to advance, and to attack immediately. The fire opened - a ripping, roaring boom, bang!") and Chickamauga ("We debouched through the woods, firing as we marched. The Yankee line was about two hundred yards off. In ten minutes we were face to face with the foe") to encounters with Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, from the tedium of grueling marches to the terror of fellow soldiers' deaths, from breaking bread with a Georgia family to confronting the enemy eye to eye.