BETHLEHEM BOY


A MORAVIAN SOLDIER'S STORY
The Civil War Letters & Diary of James A. Peifer, Company C of the 46th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

FIRST EDITION SOLD OUT!!


BETHLEHEM BOY
The Civil War Letters & Diary of James A. Peifer, Company C of the 46th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

Edited by
Carolyn W. Abel & Patricia N. McAndrew

2007, 368 pp., b/w illustrations (Softcover), $24.95
Available through Moon Trail Books, the Moravian Book Shop, or Historic Bethlehem Partnership's Visitor Center



"I am sitting behind the breastworks writing on my knees, an artillery duel going on," Sgt. James Peifer wrote to his sisters from Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, in 1864. . . . Storm and sleet, long marches, a dreary round of hospital wards, and the burning southern sun failed to keep this genial young bookbinder from sharing with his family and friends the experiences of "the Bethlehem boys" in the American Civil War.

Apart from their value as a record of some of the military exploits of the 46th Pennsylvania Regiment, the letters shed significant light on the inner life of an ordinary soldier from a community where a number of people still spoke German. Because they cover the years 1861-65, we are able to see Peifer change from an idealistic twenty-three-year-old into a hardened, sometimes disillusioned, veteran. The world around him changed, his patriotism and his faith were tried, but he and so many others like him held on and did their duty to the war's end and beyond.

Even in 21st-century Bethlehem, there are many traces of the town Jim called home. It is the editors' hope that readers who visit Bethlehem, or who happen to live here, will take time to seek out the final resting places of Peifer and many of his fellow soldiers in the beautiful old Moravian burying ground or in nearby Nisky Hill Cemetery.

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