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"Gut Wrenching, Engaging but Enjoyable Story "


Greetings Tom,

We met in April in Zanesville at your book signing. I Just finished the book and wanted to drop you a line.

In a word, Excellent! Being recently (14 years) transplanted here in Z’ville, but interested in Ohio and US history your story and the locations represented through it really brought alive the mid 1800’s for me!

Thank you for a gut wrenching, engaging but enjoyable story of the reality of the civil war.

Best to you and Paula, and if you are ever passing through again, let us know, Debbie and I would love to get together for dinner.


Paul (Debbie) Klouda
Fmr East Side Clevelanders


"So Much Interesting History"


Just finished reading a fascinating book written by the husband of a long-time good friend, Paula Harvey, Tom Harvey. And I remember when his parents, friends of John from Ohio Wesleyan University, moved from their house in Cleveland Hgts. And talk of finding the letters from Tom’s great Grandfather about the Civil War. So much interesting history. Thanks Tom, great job!

Barbara Bub Peckinpaugh

Matlacha Isles, FL

April 5, 2019


"High Level of Detail"


I thought that the book was good and enjoyed reading it.  The book is based on actual letters written by the author’s great grandfather, Tom Armstrong, about his experiences during his time just before, during and just after serving as a Lieutenant in the Union Army.  The high level of detail only adds to the book’s credibility.  Many books have been written about the Civil War generals, but little has been written about the everyday soldier.  This book tells the story of one of the 2.5 million ordinary men who left their homes to fight for their country in the war that changed America.

Steve Harvey

Peoria, AZ 

February 27, 2019


"Graphic and True to the Facts"


Your book came, and we were overjoyed. Everything looks, feels, and reads very well. It is a great publication. He did ‘see the elephant.’ That phrase was so graphic and true to the facts. Tom Armstrong experienced nearly every phase of the war, as a civilian and a soldier. His prisoner days covered every possible development.

Tom, we are so glad the letters survived…now your good, full, and great work.

What a full life, and you have dug around and set it in the historic reality that existed. Very proud of you. (Thanks for letting us work a bit with you.)

All best regards…

Betty and Dick

Dr. and Mrs. Richard Smith

Dr. Smith: Professor Emeritus of History

Ohio Wesleyan University

March 14, 2019






When I stopped by the museum today the director had your package set out for me. Thank you for the book and thank you very much for the acknowledgment. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to help you on the historical details and I learned about the war on the level of the common soldier as I followed Tom through his ordeal. 

While reading the book one chapter at a time I lost track of how much material you had written and was picturing the book as a small thing but you have produced an impressive piece of literature. I knew you had put a lot if time and effort into the book but when I see the completed work I am impressed all the more.

Tom would be proud of the way you used his letters to produce a fine work of historical fiction that blends the horrors of war and imprisonment with the love for the family back home that still sustains soldiers today.

Mitch Taylor

Curator, Muskingum County, Ohio History

December 12, 2018


"Fantastic Story!"


Dear Tom,

I have just finished reading “Seeing the Elephant”, which Marcie and Doug had given me for Christmas. What a fantastic story!

I started reading it about a week ago. I am not much of a reader – dyslexia makes it difficult for me. So, I don’t read a lot. But this book kept me hooked from early on, and I had trouble putting it down. Knowing you and that this is the story of your great-grandfather made it all the better. I was in tears from about page 440 on, realizing the joy of Tom’s family and he must have felt with his homecoming and then end of the war.

I am sure that one day, when Ella, Calvin, and Violet are old enough to read the story of their great-great-great grandfather, they will gain an appreciation of their roots and the sacrifice Tom Armstrong and others from Ohio made to preserve the Union.

I am looking forward to talking with you about the book when I see you next. Thank you for sharing TSA’s story!


Don Simpson

San Angelo, TX

PS: Are you named after TS? 

February 9, 2019




Hi, Paula…

Just wanted to tell you I finished reading "Seeing the Elephant" a couple !of days ago.  I really liked the book!  It was a very interesting true life story and really held my interest.  I particularly enjoyed the fact there were so many familiar locations and towns so well known to me.  The description of Winchester was very accurate and complimentary to the area.  What a fascinating life that Tom Armstrong had.  Tell Tom, I can't wait till his next book is finished .   

Ginny Brown

Keyser, WV              

February 22, 2019