November 05 , 2017
POTTSVILLE, PA – Sunbury Press has released Dear Ma - The Civil War Letters of Curtis Clay Pollock: First Defender and First Lieutenant, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry by John Hoptak. About the Book: Curtis Clay Pollock served bravely with the 48th Pennsylvania, one of the Civil War's most famous fighting regiments, from the regiment’s organization in September 1861 until his mortal wounding at the Battle of Petersburg in June 1864, participating in the regiment’s many campaigns in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee and seeing action at some of the war’s most sanguinary battles, including 2nd Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Knoxville. Prior to his service in the 48th, Pollock also served as a member of the Washington Artillery, a Pottsville-based militia company that marched off to war in response to President Lincoln’s first call-to-arms in April 1861 and a company that would have the distinction of being among the very first Northern volunteer units to arrive in Washington following the outbreak of war, reaching the capital on the evening of April 18, 1861, after coming under attack in the streets of Baltimore. In recognition of their timely response and prompt arrival in the capital, Pollock and the other members of the Washington Artillery, would be among those who earned the proud title of First Defender. All throughout his time in uniform—from the day after he first arrived in Washington with the First Defenders until a few days before receiving his fatal wound at Petersburg—Curtis Pollock wrote letters home. Many of these letters were written to his younger siblings, some were addressed to his father. Most, however, were written to his mother, Emily, whom he affectionately referred to as his “Dear Ma.” Fortunately, many of these letters survive and are held today in the archives of the Historical Society of Schuylkill County in Pottsville. The letters of Curtis Pollock provide us with a window to view the history and experiences of one of the war’s most famous and most well-traveled regiments—the 48thPennsylvania—a regiment that served in many theaters of the war, under many different commanders, and in many of the war’s largest and bloodiest battles; a regiment that endured many battlefield defeats as well as many battlefield triumphs. More than this, though, Pollock’s letters home enable us to gain a further glimpse of the war from the inside. They chronicle and document the actions, the experiences, and the thoughts of a brave young man, who like so many others, volunteered his services and ultimately gave his life fighting in defense of his nation. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Hoptak is a Civil War author and historian with a master's degree in history from Lehigh University. For the past eleven years, he has been employed as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service first at Antietam National Battlefield and currently at Gettysburg National Military Park. He is the author of several Civil War history books, including "The Battle of South Mountain" (History Press, 2011), "Confrontation at Gettysburg" (History Press, 2012), "First in Defense of the Union" (AuthorHouse, 2004), and "Antietam: September 17, 1862" (Western Maryland Interpretive Association, 2011). In addition, John is the author of numerous articles that have appeared in such publications as "America's Civil War," "Civil War Times," and "Pennsylvania Heritage." Hoptak is also a frequent lecturer at Civil War roundtables and other organizations across much of the eastern United States, from Atlanta, Georgia, Lexington, Kentucky, and Rockville, Connecticut. To date, he has delivered over fifty such lectures. John has also appeared in several Civil War documentaries, including the recent "Blood and Fury" series for the American Heroes Channel as well as some PBS shows. A native of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, and lifelong student of the Civil War, John's primary focus has been on the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry and the role of his native area during the conflict.