Micheal Larson and John David Smith's Dear Delia chronicles life in the famed Iron Brigade as told through 155 letters home. Young's insights, often poignant and powerful, enable readers seemingly to witness the Civil War as he did. Few topics avoided Henry's careful eye. Bluntly honest with his emotions and opinions, he left little doubt as to where he stood on the questions of the day. His correspondence--candid, contemplative, thorough, and occasionally humorous--provides a clear window into everyday events, as well as into war, society, and politics. Young's letters reveal the perspective of a young officer from America's western heartland, giving a regional perspective generally omitted from Civil War-era documentary editing projects. Young's correspondence is uncommonly interesting, readable, and revealing, replete with astute insights. It covers many topics during the first three years of the Civil War, including innumerable details of military service: the brutality of internecine "hard war," camp life, camaraderie, pettiness, and thievery among the troops, equipage, and food shortages. Henry also addresses military leadership, maneuvers and tactics, rumored troop movements, and what he considered the strengths and weaknesses of African American soldiers. The letters provide invaluable glimpses into the fine points of building earthworks, ducking incoming artillery barrages, maintaining camp sanitation, and obtaining medical care. Henry's correspondence additionally documents his business affairs on the home front and wartime inflation. From newspapers he retained a firm grasp of Wisconsin and national politics, often noting incidents of graft and corruption and his pointed opinions regarding the 1864 presidential election. Dear Delia further contains gossip and information about other enlistees from Young's rural Wisconsin community who served in his unit, Company F. Above all, Henry's communication highlights his unflagging patriotism and his fierce determination to preserve the Union no matter the cost. Micheal J. Larson first unearthed Young's correspondence at the Wisconsin Historical Society as an undergraduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1985. Today he teaches history at an Eau Claire high school. John David Smith is the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. He has published twenty-nine books, many on the topic of the Civil War, and has edited collections of letters, diaries, and other primary works on the war, race relations, and southern history.
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