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Johnny Reb and Billy Yank: Manuscript

Identifier: MSS-4010

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the approximate 1200-page manuscript of Alexander Hunter's Johnny Reb and Billy Yank, his narrative of service in the Confederate Army, under the working title, "Four Years in the Ranks." The book was published originally by Walter Neale in 1905. Hunter explained in his preface that while thousands of soldiers on both sides of the conflict who started keeping a diary of his daily activities, very few kept them the entire time. He also said that while many officers rushed to get their memoirs into print immediately after the war, very few felt comfortable writing the exact truth without sacrificing reputations - whether it be his or his superiors'. A private, he said, who had served in the ranks could afford to tell the whole of what he endured without fear of reprisal.


  • 1905


Biographical / Historical

Alexander Hunter, son of Bushrod Washington and Mary Frances Blow Hunter, was born on June 4, 1843, in Norfolk, Virginia. He married Alice Swain on June 22, 1882, in Richmond, Virginia. after her death he married Mrs. Filah Saunders.

During the Civil War, Hunter served in two branches of the Confederate forces. First in the Seventeenth Virginia infantry, participating in the first battle of Bull Run, Chantilly, Yorktown, Seven Pines, and Frazier's Farm. He was captured and exchanged. Upon his return he participated in the second battle of Bull Run and Antietam where he was captured again. After being paroled, he joined in the fighting at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. After Chancellorsville, he left the infantry and joined the Black Horse Cavalry. He is captured once again, but finally (after two failed attempts) escaped to rejoin south of Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley. He participated in the rear guard action for the Army of Northern Virginia as Grant pushed toward Petersburg.

After the war, he wrote Johnny Reb and Billy Yank (published by The Neale Publishing Company, 1905); The Huntsman of the South (published by The Neale Publishing Company, 1908), and The Women of the Debatable Land (published by Cobden Publishing Company, 1912).

Hunter died on July 2, 1914, in SIlver Springs, Maryland.


0.8 Linear Feet (approx. 1200 page manuscript, partly autograph and part in hand of an amanuensis)

Language of Materials



Manuscript of Alexander Hunter's Johnny Reb and Billy Yank, his narrative of service in the Confederate Army, under the working title, "Four Years in the Ranks."


purchased from Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc., 2014


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Processed by

Martha Bace, 2014



Guide to the Johnny Reb and Billy Yank: Manuscript
August 2014
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266