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Extended Audio Sample Co. Aytch: A Sideshow of the Big Show, by Sam R. Watkins Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (991 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sam R. Watkins Narrator: Pat Bottin Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Early in May 1861, twenty-one-year-old Sam R. Watkins of Columbia, Tennessee, joined the First Tennessee Regiment. He fought in all of its major battles, from Shiloh to Nashville. Twenty years later, with a “house full of young ‘rebels’ clustering around my knees and bumping about my elbows,” he wrote the remarkable account of “Co. Aytch,” its common foot soldiers, its commanders, its Yankee enemies, its victories and defeats, and its ultimate surrender on April 26, 1865.

Co. Aytch is the work of a natural storyteller who balances the horror of war with his irrepressible sense of humor and his sharp eye for the lighter side of battle. Among Civil War memoirs, it stands as a living testament to one man’s enduring humanity, courage, and wisdom in the midst of death and destruction.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A better book there never was.”

    Margaret Mitchell, from Gone with the Wind Letters

  • “Sam’s bird’s-eye view, coupled with his almost ‘Forrest Gumpian’ ability to be in the right place at the right time, has drawn historians, scholars, and boy soliders like myself to his tales for over a century.”

    Robert Hicks, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow of the South

  • “Anyone who wishes to hear a Southern view of why they fought should hear Watkins…This work is moving and always fascinating because it is a great text penned by a man who has seen the spectrum of human cruelty, horror, and kindness.”


  • “No memoir by a rebel participant is richer in intimate details than this engaging story.”

    Bell Irvin Wiley, the author of The Life of Johnny Reb

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lewis | 2/8/2014

    " Leave it to a Southerner to write the best Civil War memoir I've read to date. The Army of the Tennessee was doomed when Albert Sidney Johnston was killed at Shiloh and Bragg took over...what followed was a war of attrition...Those damn Virginians never really tried to defend any other states beyond grand ole Virginny "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Mindy | 1/25/2014

    " This book was heart wrenching. It has to be read with a firm understanding of both sides of the Civil War. I thought this memoir did a fantastic job of showing the interaction and day to day soldiering of the men who fought on both sides. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by David | 1/21/2014

    " A memoir by a common soldier of the 1st Tennessee. Not a history, a biography or anything other than Watkins' remembrances 20 years after the war. Engaging and interesting episodic tales of everything from Battle of Chattanooga to funny sketches of sermons he heard and meals he ate. Excellent book to read while also reading Grant's memoirs! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alvin | 1/15/2014

    " Excellent look at the war from an insider. Particularly interesting are this rebel soldier's views on slavery (he didn't own a slave and thought it a "rich man's war" once those who owned 50 or more slaves were exempted from the confederate draft) and his witness of various hangings of those who deserted the war. "

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