Since its publication, Richard Moe's The Last Full Measure has garnered a reputation as the definitive history of the First Minnesota Regiment and one of a handful of classic regimental histories of the Civil War.
The First Minnesota Volunteers, the first regiment offered to President Lincoln after the fall of Fort Sumter, served in virtually every major battle fought in the eastern theater during the first three years of the Civil War. This is the story of the Army of the Potomac during that period: the initial enthusiasm dashed by sudden defeat at Bull Run; the pride at being shaped into an army by George McClellan and the frustration with his—and his successors'—inability to defeat Robert E. Lee; and, finally, the costly battle of Gettysburg, the decisive battle in which the First Minnesota played a crucial, and tragic, role. Drawing on a wide array of letters, diaries, and personal reminiscences, Moe tells the story anew through the experiences of the men who lived it. As James MacGregor Burns notes in his foreword, "Like Tolstoy's War and Peace, this work sticks close to the men in battle, and hence, like Tolstoy, the author keeps close to the human size of war."
Praise for The Last Full Measure:
"Richard Moe, in this wonderfully told regimental history, manages to rescue that which Civil War studies so often neglects: the people."—Ken Burns, co-producer of The Civil War
"Exceptional . . . a vigorous, haunting celebration of the Men."—The New York Times Book Review
"Regimental history at its best."—Publishers Weekly
"Highly recommended. . . . Thoroughly researched and excellently incorporating the soldier's-eye view of the war. . . . The best volume of Civil War historiography to appear in some time."—Booklist
"A tribute to the men who helped save the Union. . . . If ever a regiment deserved to be remembered, it is the First Minnesota. . . . Richard Moe has a passion for history. He clearly also has a talent for writing it."—Minneapolis Star Tribune