Journals of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, a Disabled Teenager who Chronicled the Confederacy and the Course of the Civil War from his Home in Macon, Georgia to be Published
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
EL DORADO HILLS, CA: June 13, 2017: Savas Beatie is proud to announce the forthcoming publication of the journals of disabled teenager LeRoy Wiley Gresham of Macon, GA, held by the Library of Congress and featured in the New York Times and Washington Post. No release date has been set.
LeRoy was born on November 11, 1847, the son of John Jones Gresham, a lawyer and businessman who served twice as Macon’s mayor and owned a plantation outside town. He suffered a badly broken leg in 1856 that refused to heal, and his mother presented him with a journal on June 14, 1860, as he was about to embark on a long journey to Philadelphia to see a specialist. Alas, there was nothing to be done. LeRoy kept a meticulous diary for the next five years. It concluded with a short entry on June 9, 1865, and he died nine days later.
The journals, observed the Washington Post, “chronicle—in neat, legible handwriting—the excitement of the war’s early months, the seeming endlessness of the conflict and the approach of the dreaded Yankees as they steamroll through Georgia.” They offer “a unique view of the war and an intimate personal story.” The suffering lad was afflicted with bedsores, ravaged by other conditions, and “exposed to a full range of Victorian remedies—opiates, whiskey, syrup of lettuce, spirits of lavender, and various powders, plasters and poultices. Little of it works. . . . From his wagon, he can only watch the other children play ‘town ball,’ a precursor to baseball. He has to be carried at times—he weighs 63 pounds—and in one case his mother drops him. He is often despondent.”
The educated youngster read Dickens and Shakespeare, played chess, and displayed flashes of humor and despair. He followed the Civil War closely by reading newspapers, the letters of relatives, including a brother who fought for the South, and by listening to adults. His observations span the gamut—from combat and slavery to family matters, his deteriorating health, the weather, and philosophical musings on life.
“These remarkable journals are a window on a bygone age,” explains Managing Director Theodore P. Savas. “No other lengthy account by an exceptionally literate teenager, trapped by infirmity while documenting the collapsing world around him, exists. You just fall in love with this kid and his personality, yet your heart aches for what he went through. I think they are simply priceless.”
About the Editor: Janet Croon taught advanced high school International Baccalaureate history in Fairfax County, Virginia. She received a BA from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Political Science/Modern European History and holds an MA from the University of Dayton in International Studies. She resides in Northern Virginia.
About the Publisher: Savas Beatie is an award-winning independent publishing company specializing in military and general history titles distributed worldwide.
Contact: Renee Morehouse, Media Specialist Savas Beatie LLC: Email: Reneesavasbeatie.com /
Phone: 916-941-6896 / Fax: 916-941-6895 / www.savasbeatie.com