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LT: October 21, 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
Near Weldon R Road Va
Oct 21 1864

Dear Father

It appears you have changed your Religion or Tactics I cant Say which it Should be called for instead of doing as you would be done by, you get me to write all the letters you can, and on your part write as few as you can. I am willing to admit your letters are interesting but Ill be cused if they keep good Three weeks in this climate. In your last you just noted in pencil that you had received one from me and After that I sent you another containing a draft for $200 which I am anxious to hear from; and for the neglect of answering which I would like a pull at that old Patriarchal beard.

Ah by the way Bill Trembly was here the other day to see me he is Capt in a NY Regt he requested me to remember him to you & tell you he was Sound for Lincoln & Johnson.1 And further to Say to you that he had a Turn of the Measles that Stuck to him much longer than that dose of Religion did that he caught in the Pocket. Bill made me quite a visit he is greatly improved and after we had drank to Lincoln & Johnson & the cause in general About twice round, he was very Sociable; the fact is I have come to the conclusion that the great equalizer in the Army is forty rod Lightning comesary Whiskey. I have seen it Genls down as low as Privates could get. And I have Seen it elevate the lowest till they felt as big as the President.

Well Sherradin has had another Peace Meeting in the Valley-in which as usual he used Solid Sharp and overwhelmingly convincing arguments, bully for Sherradin. I recollect last Spring, at Culpeper of hearing that Some person had asked Grant who Sherridin was; Grant answered Sherradin is a Thunderbolt, his fighting Shows Grant understood his Man.2

I Suppose we are getting the Strongest Works here on both Sides that the world ever Seen. We have Works so Strong and Intricate that we can leave them take care of themselves thisSavesrations. Well at all events we have nothing in Some of them but Artillery & picket line and yet Lee might buck his entire Army against them, and he would fail every time.

Our Morter firing at night is the grandest Sight ever witnessed. I have Seen as much as 100 Morter Shells in the air at one time. It is a grand & interesting sight. Our Picketts and the Rebs are working on each other all the time, they dig down about four ft deep 8 ft wide that throws up quite an embankment next the enemy; when either of the parties get to(o) close, the other Side will take fifteen or twenty of these little four inch Morters place them in their Pickett pits then will commence one of the Most interesting fights ever seen, they throw them up and after the range is Secured they drop them in the Pits every time then there is nothing left for the poor Devils that’s attacked but to run back to their own pits which are all Bombproof. The boys are all well.

Hurrah for Old Abe.

Yours Truly
H F Young3


Letters of Henry W. Young:

  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: After some searching I have been inable to turn up the captain Henry mentions here.  If you know who this soldier is, please Contact me.
  2. SOPO Editor’s Note: Young is almost certainly referring to Sheridan snatching victory from the jaws of defeat at the Battle of Cedar Creek on October 19, 1864.
  3. Young, Henry F. “Camp 7th Wis Vet Vols.” Received by Dear Father, Near Weldon R Road Va, 21 October 1864, Petersburg, VA.
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