A vivid firsthand record from the Union ranks of major battles and figures of the Civil War, and of the Reconstruction efforts that followed
The letters, journals, and newspaper writings of Henry Perkins Goddard (1842–1916) of Norwich, Connecticut, provide much firsthand detail about the passions and principles of a divided nation during the Civil War and Reconstruction as witnessed by a scrupulous soldier and scribe eager to capture the bitter realities of his time. Edited by his great-grandson, The Good Fight That Didn't End includes Goddard's accounts of combat in the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, his travels across the war-torn South after the war, and his encounters and friendships with well-known historical and literary figures of the era, including Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker, George Armstrong Custer, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Mark Twain.
Goddard served the Union forces in the cavalry, infantry, general staff, and artillery, all the while also acting as war correspondent for the Norwich Bulletin. He distinguished himself as a skilled journalist, even in the throes of fierce combat, and vividly recorded the prevailing attitudes and motivations in the ranks of the Army of the Potomac as well as the bloody realities of war. For Goddard the miseries of camp life and horrors of combat were overshadowed by a powerful sense of duty and camaraderie that justified the hardships and motivated the Union toward victory.
In the decades following the war, Goddard's newspaper accounts from Connecticut, Maryland, and his travels across the South chronicle the open wounds of war on American society and the unresolved issues of race relations in particular. In his writings and actions, Goddard shows himself to be a staunch advocate for the civil rights of freed African Americans, and he consistently defends their just and fair treatment. In his friendships with prominent former Confederates and high-ranking officials in both the North and the South, Goddard places himself at a nexus of efforts toward national reconciliation, carefully recording the temper of the changing times.
The Good Fight That Didn't End serves as an insightful look into the Union ranks and national postwar tensions as viewed by a stalwart soldier and thoughtful journalist for whom the pen and sword delivered with equal might.
Calvin Goddard Zon, great-grandson of Henry P. Goddard, is a journalist and historian living in Washington, D.C. He is a former staff writer for the Washington Star daily newspaper and his articles have appeared in such varied publications as the Civil War News, the Progressive, the National Catholic Reporter, and People.
"In a remarkable era, when men sacrificed everything they had for their principles, Henry Perkins Goddard stood head and shoulders above the crowd. Goddard rose through the ranks to witness the Civil War as few others ever had the chance. He served in every branch of the Union army, alternating between the cavalry, infantry, artillery, and even performing a stint as a staff officer. Each assignment gave him keen insight into the leaders and accomplishments of the day. Goddard is a gifted writer who knows a compelling story when he saw it—and he writes with all the vim and verve, humor and humanity, that makes an age of great men come back to life."—Francis Augustín O'Reilly, author of The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock
"Every great battle is the amalgamation of individual stories. Calvin Zon effectively tells the Civil War story of Captain Henry Perkins Goddard, his great-grandfather, with Goddard's own words. Through Goddard's eyes we see the horror of battle, the tedium between battles, and the continued postwar struggle to piece the Union back together. This is a wonderful insight into the men who won the Civil War and then delivered the promise for which they fought."—Tom Wheeler, author of Leadership Lessons from the Civil War, and Mr. Lincoln's T-Mails