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LT: September 19, 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[consin] Vet[eran] Vol[unteer]s
On Weldon R[ail] Road Sept 19th 1864

Dear Father

I rec your Kind letter Several days ago glad to hear you were all in good health. We are Still on the Weldon [Rail] Road1 Strongly fortified in fact we are So Strong we want the Rebs to come on and drive us off as Soon as they please, the Sooner they try it the better it will Suit us. So the draft commences in earnest this day. That Suits us it makes Lincoln Stock raise 100 per cent with the Soldiers in fact Lincoln will get most of the Soldier vote. The New York Herald by its Strong union articles and bitter denunciation of the peace faction has helped Lincoln with the Soldiers, it May Support McClellan but its bitter denunciation of the Men that nominated him will overbalance all it can Say in little Ms favor.

A A Kidd & Lieut Sloat have been mustered out of the Service in fact most of the officers who have been in three years have been Mustered out or have made application to be mustered out. I can Muster out any time as My term of Service is out and I wont remuster three years in the Same grade I have Served, but I dont feel like leaving the Service now Somehow My hope is large, and I Still hope to See the Rebellion crushed before winter. The draft and Recruits will fill up the Army by Nov-then I look for the Election of Lincoln which in its Self will be a crushing blow at the Rebellion. Let him be elected and at the Same time let Grant, Sherman, & Sherridan be heavily reenforced and ready to Strike the decisive blow and down will the Rebellion. At all events this is not the time to falter when the Govt is calling for men is not the time for me to leave the Service Although I am free to confess I am tired of it and Some times very home Sick.

If you cant rent the Mill to your Satisfaction let it Stand till winter, by that time the new Recruits will be well in the field and I can feel better Sattisfide in quitting, but if you can rent it for a year or till next Spring I would like to have it done. I can See nothing ahead but high prices and hard times, those that will be best off are the ones that have Small farms that they can cultivate themselves and are out of debt. I think we will have to take to raising Sheep & Flax and go in on the old homespun(?) and raise our own Sugar Tobacco & it costs an officer $1 per day to live here at the present prices of provisions, and we live poor at that.

I am Sorry to hear that they are Still raising new organizations in Wis I should think the fate of the 36 37 & 38th [Wisconsin regiments] would have given them enough of Sending new troops into the field with undrilled officers.

My good wishes to all.

Yours truly
H F Young2


Letters of Henry W. Young:

  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: The Fifth Corps, of which Henry’s regiment was a part, had captured the Weldon Railroad during the Battle of Globe Tavern fought August 18-21, 1864.
  2. Young, Henry F. “Camp 7th Wis Vet Vols.” Received by Dear Father, On Weldon R Road, 19 September 1864, Petersburg, VA.
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