Joseph Hopkins Twichell: The Life and Times of Mark Twain's Closest Friend
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The Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: A Chaplain's Story.

Edited by Peter Messent and Steve Courtney

University of Georgia Press, April 2006
6-1/8" x 9-1/4" | 352 pp. | 16 b&w photos | 1 map
Cloth, $34.95

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The publication of Joseph Hopkins Twichell follows that of a more detailed look at Twichell's career as a Civil War chaplain in The Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell: A Chaplain's Story, co-edited by Steve Courtney and Peter Messent. This collection of Twichell's extraordinary and moving letters to his father and other family members plumbs the depths of horror and spiritual crisis of the conflict, highlighted by humor and eloquent description.

See the University of Georgia Press catalogue description at; the book can be ordered from the Press or from Steve Courtney at the address below.

"These letters are a moving reminder that the Civil War was fought by intellectuals and churchmen, too— noncombatants who displayed enormous courage at considerable sacrifice. Twichell's personal passage from genteel Connecticut Congregationalism to war-hardened Christian wisdom is exemplary, and his epistolary account of it is deeply affecting."
—Novelist Russell Banks
The Civil War Letters of Joseph Hopkins Twichell
On the cover: Twichell in the full regalia of his chaplain's uniform, including a purely decorative sword. He was entitled to the sword because of his position, equal in rank to that of a cavalry captain. (Photo courtesy of Asylum Hill Congregational Church)
April 22, 1861 letter from Joseph Twichell to his father
The April 22, 1861, letter in which Twichell informed his father, Edward Twichell, of his intention to sign up as a chaplain. (Photo courtesy of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
The battle of Fair Oaks, by Alfred Waud
Illustrator Alfred Waud walked the ground of the battle of Fair Oaks the day afterward in order to recreate the successful charge of the Second Excelsior regiment (more formally known as the 71st New York Volunteer Infantry). The battle, on June 1, 1862, was the first action for Twichell's regiment.