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LT: July 15, 1864 Henry F. Young (7th Wisconsin)

SOPO Editor’s Note: Captain Henry F. Young of the 7th Wisconsin wrote twenty letters while at the Siege of Petersburg from June to December 1864. Researcher Roy Gustrowsky transcribed this letter from the original at the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, Wisconsin.  He is currently in the process of writing a regimental history of the 7th Wisconsin. “Delia” was Henry F. Young’s wife, and “Father” was his Father-in-Law Jared Warner, a prominent businessman of Grant County, Wisconsin. Gustrowsky has magnanimously made these transcriptions available to the Siege of Petersburg Online for publication, and we thank him for his generosity.

UPDATE: I recently learned that a new book has been published by the University of Wisconsin Press, entitled Dear Delia: The Civil War Letters of Captain Henry F. Young, Seventh Wisconsin Infantry, and edited by Micheal Larson and John David Smith. If you want to read all of Henry’s letters throughout the war, purchase the book!

In the Trenches in front of Petersburg
July 15/64

Dear Delia

I would have written Sooner had I not known My letter could not leave Washington. We Still Spend half our time in the trenches, in our front there has been no firing of infantry for the last ten days, both Sides became tired of it and quit it, but we have plenty of Artillery and Morter Shelling. We have had no causaulties in My Co Since My last, the boys that are here are in good health.

Glad to hear you had a pleasant 4th ours was dull as a Quaker Meeting. We are putting up immense fortifications & the Rebs are doing the Same each have large details working every night, ours for attack theirs look only to defense. We have no rain yet every thing is drying up.

The Reb raiders are giving them a regular Scare in Baltimore & Washington our men ought to capture the whole party.1 There will be a terrible battle here Soon, it will probably be the greatest __(illegible) fight the world has ever yet Seen. Many will unavoidably fall for in many places the guns of the two armies are not more than four or five hundred yds apart, we have artillery enough to fill the air with hissing grape & Bursting Shells, and the Rebs have apparently the Same.

This is a bad place to write I quit. Give my love to Jared Laura May & Janie. I would like very much to See the paymaster.

Ever Yours



Letters of Henry W. Young:


  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: Young is talking about Jubal Early’s Raid on Washington, D.C. in early July 1864. Early had just been driven away from the US capital only a few days prior to the date Young sat down and wrote this letter.
  2. Young, Henry F. “In the Trenches in front of Petersburg.” Received by Dear Delia In the Trenches, 15 July 1864, Petersburg, VA.
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