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Catalog Archive / Spring 2019

Dear Delia
The Civil War Letters of Captain Henry F. Young, Seventh Wisconsin Infantry
Edited by Micheal J. Larson and John David Smith

“This revealing collection of letters is one of the best windows one will ever find into the everyday reality and the horror of the Civil War. Larson and Smith illuminate this remarkable story; the letters themselves take us deep into Young's values, honesty, racial views, contempt for slackers and civilians, and almost unfathomable determination to stay to the end to save the Union.”
—David W. Blight, author of Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Dear Delia chronicles the story of Henry F. Young, an officer in the famed Iron Brigade, as told through 155 letters home. His insights, often poignant and powerful, enable readers to witness the Civil War as he did. Young covers innumerable details of military service—from the camaraderie, pettiness, and thievery he witnessed among the troops, to the brutality of internecine war.

Above all, Young’s communications highlight his unflagging patriotism—his fierce determination to preserve the Union no matter the cost. Candid, contemplative, thorough, and occasionally humorous, Young provides a clear window into everyday events as well as into war, society, and politics. Civil War enthusiasts will appreciate this correspondence, as it reveals the perspective of a young officer from America’s western heartland, a regional viewpoint generally omitted from Civil War–era documentary projects.


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.

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.




“An essential read for anyone interested in the common solider experience, and certainly for anybody hoping to further their study of the Iron Brigade.”
Civil War Times

“One of the best collections of Civil War soldier letters that has been published during the past decade.”
Civil War Book Review

“Henry Young's letters are of greater interest and value than many.”

“Young’s rich lode of testimony illuminates Civil War military service. His letters reveal the centrality of the Union to northern motivation, the complex relationship between U.S. soldiers and emancipation, and the powerful ties between armies and the home front.”
—Gary W. Gallagher, author of The Union War

“Among the many collections of Civil War correspondence, these letters stand out for their honesty about the hard realities of war that tested one’s faith and fealty to ‘the cause,’ and the maturing ideas about what it meant to be a man. Dear Delia will repay many readings for anyone wanting to know how and why the war mattered to those who fought it.”
—Randall M. Miller, co-author of The Northern Home Front during the Civil War

“Young’s letters offer some of the most stunningly honest opinions and detailed descriptions ever produced by a Union soldier. The letters are expertly presented and explained by the editors, offering unusually rich insights into the most important dimensions of the Civil War.”
—T. Michael Parrish, Baylor University



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February 2019
LC: 2018045752 E
366 pp. 6 x 9
16 b/w illus.

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Cloth $29.95
ISBN 9780299323608
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