The General Basil W. Duke Award is given to encourage the re-issuance of out-of-print books that accurately present history of the War for Southern Independence. The Award shall be in the amount of $1,000 presented directly to the publisher of the reprinted volume. The publisher shall receive an engraved trophy denoting that he was the recipient of the award all books to be considered for this award shall be submitted to the Judging Committee by April 1st by the publisher. Invitation to participate in the competition is extended to any publisher who issues a book between May 1st of the previous year and April 1st of the current year, that has not been republished since the expiration of the original copyright. All entries must include a letter from the publisher stating the year the book was published originally, and the date the reprint was issued. The judges shall consider the quality, accuracy, style and value to Confederate historiography when selecting the winning book. Regimental histories, autobiographies, memoirs and biographies of noted Confederate leaders are among the types of books to be considered for this award. If the winning book goes to a second printing, it shall contain an acknowledgment that selected as the winner of the General Basil W. Duke Award, plus stating the year it was awarded.
The engaging account of a young Union soldier
In 1884, when Albert O. Marshall published Army Life, a memoir of his service as a private in the Thirty-Third Illinois Regiment, twenty years had passed since his 1864 discharge. Marshall left the journal untouched at publication, and today it is a journal that is rare in what it is not. This memoir is not a complete story of the Thirty-Third (known as the “Normal Regiment” because many of its soldiers were from Illinois State Normal University), nor is it a complete roster of regiment members, nor a list of killed and wounded.
Army Life is not, even, a purely military account written from an officer’s point of view. It is the story of a twenty-year-old private whose engaging writing belies his age but also allows his youth to shine through. Marshall tells of the battles he fought and the games he played, of his friends, fellow soldiers, and officers, and of the regiment’s activities in Missouri and Arkansas, at Vicksburg, and in Louisiana and on the Texas Gulf Coast. Enhanced with careful editing and thorough annotations, this journal Marshall carried faithfully to every mustering out is a rich and important Civil War memoir.
Albert O. Marshall was born in 1840 on a farm in Illinois. He served in the Thirty-Third Illinois Regiment for three years, after which he became a lawyer and was elected to a four-year term in the state senate and later to the county court as a circuit court judge.
Robert G. Schultz teaches at East Central College in Union, Missouri, and has published numerous articles on local and regional history and postal history.