Hard Marches (Book)
27th Iowa Top Banner

Hard Marches, Hard Crackers and Hard Beds
A Great Grandfather's Letters Written During the Civil War
Edited by Laurence Lillibridge

Laurence F. Lillibridge has granted me (Elaine Johnson) permission to use excerpts from the above listed book.  

Please note that this material is copyrighted and has only been reproduced with the permission of the author.  Specifically he gave me permission to use: Edward Rolfe's Biography, Obituary and Newspaper articles regarding the 27th.  

This is the only book I have found written specifically about the 27th Iowa.  It is very interesting to read.  If you are interested in purchasing this book, the author has provided me with this information:

Autographed copies of Hard Marches, Hard Crackers and Hard Beds can be purchased directly from the author for $25.65 per copy. For books that are mailed send payment of $29.95 to:

Lillibridge Publishing Co.
5313 Western Blvd. #B
Prescott Valley, AZ 86314-4255

The Arizona address is the winter time location. Books can also be ordered from:

Lillibridge Publishing company
18881 173rd Avenue
Manchester IA 52057-8807


Edward Rolfe tells this true and sometimes tragic narrative in his own descriptive words:

"I have stood in battle line three times, but no thought of fear entered my mind."

"the dust in the road was four to five inches deep...we have marched when we could not see the second man ahead of us."

"the long rool of the drums beat and every man to his gun."

"where we are the shells fly around pretty lively."

"the roar of the cannon and the crack of the Muskestry was one continual thing till night closed in...the sight of the battle was grand but awful...a person looking on would think that ardly a Man could escape in such a storm of shot and shell...it was a dreadful and yet a beautiful sight."

Edward Rolfe's great grandson, Laurence F. Lillibridge, began in July of 1990, the lengthy task of transcribing his ancestor's correspondence to his family during the Civil War. He has been busy the past three and a half years compiling the letters and researching family history and the war records of the Iowa's 27th Regiment to include in the additional text in the book. These letters and diaries received the best of care for more than a century by their various custodians. However they have remained hidden away on closet shelves, in dresser drawers, and in dark bank vaults in safety deposit boxes where no one could see them. One hundred twenty-eight years after the end of the Civil War they are now presented together in this book so they can be shared with all of the Rolfe descendants and read and enjoyed by everyone who is interested in the Civil War and the history of our nation.

These Civil War letters and diaries tell a story of the three year adventure of an Iowa farmer as a Union Army soldier in Company F of the 27th Regiment of Iowa Infantry volunteers.

August 1862----August 1865
Camptom, Iowa ----- Montgomery, Alabama

Edward Rolfe, a common Union foot-soldier, and voluminous letter writer, tells this true and sometimes tragic narrative in his own descriptive words. His diaries of forty-five days and more than one hundred letters mailed to his family from distant army camps where he served in Northern and Southern states, describe this Civil War infantryman's daily life as:


In thirty-six months the 27th Regiment met the enemy thirty two times in battle. They were known as the infantry regiment that made the longest marches in the Civil War. They marched more than three thousand miles and traveled over ten thousand miles by railroad cars and on steamboats, over six rivers, in eleven states during the Civil War.