Carrying The Flag: The Story Of Private Charles Whilden, The Confederacy's Most Unlikely Hero

Carrying The Flag: The Story Of Private Charles Whilden, The Confederacy's Most Unlikely Hero

by Gordon C. Rhea


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For forty years, Charles Whilden lived a life noteworthy for failure. Then, in a remarkable chain of events, this aging, epileptic desk clerk from Charleston found himself plunged into the brutal battlefields of the Wilderness (May 57, 1864) and Spotsylvania Court House (May 820, 1864). In an astonishing act of bravery, he wrapped the flag around his body and led a charge that won critical ground for the Confederates, changing the course of one of the war's most significant battles.Gordon C. Rhea combines his deep knowledge of Civil War history with original sources, such as a treasure trove of letters written by Charles Whilden, to tell the story of this unusual life. Growing up in a prominent family that had fallen on hard times, Charles received a good education, and his letters reveal flashes of intelligence. But he failed at the practice of law in his home state and in his endeavors elsewhere, including copper speculation, real estate ventures, and farming. After the attack on Fort Sumter, Charles returned to Charleston to enlist in Confederate service, only to be turned down until the rebellion was on its last legs. Even then he saw only a few weeks of combat. But in that time, he discovered a bravery within himself that nothing in his former existence suggested he had.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465069569
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 12/23/2003
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.83(d)

About the Author

Gordon C. Rhea is also the author of The Battles for Spotsylvania Court House and the Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7-12, 1864 ; To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864 , winner of the Fletcher Pratt Literary Award; and Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26-June 3, 1864 , winner of the Austin Civil War Round Table's Laney Prize. He lives in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, and in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, with his wife and two sons.

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Carrying the Flag: The Story of Private Charles Whilden, the Confederacy's Most Unlikely Hero 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
george1295 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While the title of the book, Carrying the Flag, indicates that it is the story of private Charles Whilden, it is that and much more. It is a well written narrative history of the events leading to up to the Civil War and beyond. Much of the book focuses on two significant battles, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. The detail of these two battles is very descriptive to allow the reader a clear picture of stratagies, tactics and events. Yet it is not overburdensome to the point of drying out the narrative and rendering the book ineffectively detailed. The author, Gordon Rhea, focuses most of his attention on the activities of the Confederates in this book. A book of more balance could possibliy have been just as effective. None-the-less, there is no sparing of honorable words for the bravery exhibited by contestants on both sides of this great tragedy. I give Mr. Rhea 4 stars for his book. I am glad he provided us with the opportunity to read his work and I would recommend it to anyone who appreciates the efforst of Civil War historians.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Intresting story about an un known soilder who preformed above and beyond the call of duty. Had a lot of personal detail about Charles Whildon in the beginning of the book, after the first two chapters. But during the battle descritions the author loses Charles and I think that negatively impacts the book. Good Civil War narrative, but not the best that I have read. Thought the book was going to be better.