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LT: September 5, 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!

Camp 7th Wis Vet Vols
On the Weldon RR  Sept 5th 1864

Dear Father

My last was written when in line of Battle preparatory to our Advance here, but we did not know where we [the 7th Wisconsin] were going and our surmises proved to be all wrong. The papers have posted you in regard to our advance here and the Severe fighting we had for the first few days to maintain our position. Now we are ready for them we have strong fortifications so strong that Rebs can’t drive us out without being heavily re-enforced.1

We have just got the news of the Capture of Atlanta by Sherman everything is looking bright again. If Old Abe will enforce the Draft and bring us 300,000 men we will finish this little work very soon but if he don’t enforce the draft and get the men Father Abraham is politically dead with the Soldiers. The nomination of Pendleton is going to hurt the McClellan ticket with the Soldiers but McClellan has many warm friends in the Army.

I have had but one man wounded since my last, our old Division [4/V/AotP] whipped 3 Brigades of Rebes with very Small loss to us. On the 21st of August [1864] we were behind entrenchments.2 Those of the Regt who did not re-enlist have gone home Col [Mark] Finnicum went with them.

I would not trade with Furmann & Scott without you get the worth of your half of the mill. Rent it till Sept 1st 1865 and if I live I will be home by that time to take charge of it. Did you get the draft for $400 I sent you I am anxious to hear from it.

The news is that they are volunteering fast in Some portions of Wis. How is it in Old Grant?

I am looking for another Swing round to the left which will cover the South Side RR which will undoubtedly cause the evacuation of Petersburg. The Copperhead Papers may Speculate as much as they please about Grant falling back from this line but you may rest assured that Grant will never give up till the Rebs are driven across the Appomattox.3 Some think the entire Rebble Army will be here within the next two weeks and that they will put forth this entire strength to dislodge Grant, if so it will be their ruin for no army can long stand bucking against fortifications such as we have here.

I have wrote this in a hurry as the Mail is just going out.

My good wishes to all

Yours truly H[enry] F Young4


Letters of Henry W. Young:


  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: Young is describing the August 18-21, 1864 Battle of Globe Tavern and its aftermath.  The end result was that the Union army cut the Weldon Railroad as a direct supply line into Petersburg.
  2. SOPO Editor’s Note: Young goes into a little more detail here of his division’s role in the final day of fighting at the Battle of Globe Tavern on August 21, 1864.
  3. SOPO Editor’s Note:  Captain Young was spot on about everything he wrote here, other than the next offensive finally breaking through. On September 30, 1864, twenty-five days after this letter was written, the left wing of Grant’s Fifth Offensive against Petersburg got underway.  The resulting Battle of Peebles’ Farm, or Pegram’s Farm, or Jones’ Farm, and any number of other names, fought September 30-October 2, 1864, further extended the Union lines to the southwest.  They were nearing Hatcher’s Run, and stretching Lee’s lines ever thinner.
  4. Young, Henry F. “Camp 7th Wis Vet Vols.” Received by Dear Father, On the Weldon RR, 5 September 1864, Petersburg, VA.
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