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LT: November 20, 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
Weldon R[ail]R[oad] Va
Nov 20th/64

Dear Father

Your last letter with its Sad news has been received1, it was unexpected and Sorrowful news to Me as I received no dispatch and Delias last letter led Me to believe that all danger was past. It has ever been a Source of anxiety to Me to know what to do in Case of the Sickness of My family, and perhaps it is better under the circumstances that I did not receive the dispatch, for I could not have got home in (time) to See My dear Child and I certainly Should have went . While I Mourn the loss of My Child I am pleased to No that all was done for her that kind hearts and loving hands could do. I think I will go out of the Service next Month, I owe it to My family and I will go. I have faithfully Served My (country) over three years, and My wife has nobly performed her part, but now She Says come home and a Man must not neglect his family.

We were just on the eve of a move this Morning but the rain has Stoped it, where we were going is all Speculation. Some Say two or three Corps are going to Wilmington NC. My own theory is that it is merely a demonstration to keep Lee from Sending troops to operate against Sherman. I never Saw this Army in as good Spirits as now-the overwhelming defeat of the Copperheads, the advance of Sherman, the depression of the Rebs on pickett in our front, all contribute to raise the Spirits of our Men. You hear no whining or grumbling at the Administration or anything else All feel Satisfied that we can whip the Rebs in our front. Since our friends at home have so crushingly defeated the enemy in our rear your Segestion to Stay till Spring and then Muster out-does not meet My approbation. My Military carrear I feel proud of, and what you recommend is what I have often cursed officers for in fact it was carried to Such an extent last Spring that Grant published an order dismissing all officers dishonourably from the Service asking for discharges-of course you did not understand this or you would not have recommended it.

Allow me to thank you and Mother for your kindness to My family in their affliction. My best wishes to all.

Yours truly
H F Young2


Letters of Henry W. Young:

  1. SOPO Editor’s Note: In the previous letter in this series, Henry learned that his daughter Laura had passed away unexpectedly after an illness.
  2. Young, Henry F. “Camp 7th Wis Vet Vols.” Received by Dear Father, Weldon RR Va, 20 November 1864, Petersburg, VA.
{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Lisa Fulton May 18, 2020, 10:35 am

    In this letter, among the things Henry Young expresses as reasons that Grant’s Army is in “good Spirits,” he lists: “…the advance of Sherman, the depression of the Rebs on pickett in our front…” That is so interesting about the Rebs’ depression! I found corresponding words in some of Henry Jeffers’ letters:

    Henry to Sister Annie, Camp 7th SCC, Decemb 16th 1864:
    “…All quiet this morning…cloudy & the ground wet and muddy from the melted sleet and snow of last Saturday. I have just finished reading the morning paper, but little news or comfort can be gathered from them. As I predicted Sherman will or perhaps has by this time successfully reached the coast. The fall of Fort McCallister opens the back door for him. It is really distressing to those who have borne the brunt of the war for four years to see the entire want of vigor and earnestness as displayed by our men in authority and particularly by our Congress. If they would stop fooling and making laws, increasing their own pay & etc., and each one put his energies to work to see that laws already passed were enforced it would be better for us.
    My love to all. Write to us often.
    Your affectionate Brother

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