Review – Lee’s Body Guards 39th Bttn Va Cavalry

Hardy, Michael C. Lees Body Guards: The 39th Battalion Virginia Cavalry. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2019.

The 39th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry was a special unit whose formation was requested by General Robert E. Lee.  Lee believed that detaching troopers from regular cavalry units for use by generals as couriers, messengers, escorts, scouts, and security disrupted normal operations and deemed that a specific battalion be formed for this purpose.  Enter the 39th Battalion.  These troopers served at the pleasure of many Confederate generals, but often referred to themselves as Lee’s Body Guards.

Michael C. Hardy employs his usual thoroughness in examining this little-known unit.  Hardy mined every source to find every tidbit and scrap of information available on these soldiers and weaved them into an in-depth and fascinating treatment.  Every soldier played a part in the war and despite the post-modernist perversion of history of this period during recent decades, understanding history is important.  In order to do this, we must broaden it and few historians are more prolific than Michael C. Hardy in this effort.  Read this book, you won’t be sorry.

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