By Barry Popchock
Blood and anger, bragging and soreness, are all a part of this younger Iowa soldier's lively phrases approximately conflict and soldiering. A twenty-year-old farmer from Council Bluffs, Charles O. Musser was once one of many 76,000 Iowans who enlisted to put on the blue uniform. He used to be a prolific author, penning no less than a hundred thirty letters domestic in the course of his time period of carrier with the twenty ninth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Soldier Boy makes an important contribution to the literature of the typical soldier within the Civil battle. furthermore, it takes an extraordinary examine the Trans-Mississippi theater, which has regularly been undervalued by way of historians. continually Musser dutifully wrote and mailed his letters domestic. With a commendable eye for old aspect, he instructed of battles and marches, guerrilla and siege conflict, camp existence and garrison soldiering, morale and patriotism, Copperheads and contraband, and Lincoln's reelection and assassination, making a awesome account of actions during this virtually forgotten backwater of the conflict.
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Extra resources for Soldier Boy: The Civil War Letters of Charles O. Musser, 29th Iowa
28/62 Dear father and mother: ... 4 we are expecting an attack from the rebel [Brigadier] General [Nathan Bedford] Forrest of [General Braxton] Braggs division. they have been close up to our pickets. they captured about eight hundred prisoners on the railroad between here and Jackson, Tennessee, and tore up the track for several miles, and caryed off all they could find. we are making great preparation, throwing up breast works and diging rifle pitts for the riflemen. the officers are confident we can hold the town against any force the rebels can fetch against it.
11 None of the surviving correspondence indicates that William enjoyed a reconciliation with his family, nor does Musser oral history Page 8 shed any light on the matter. He is next heard from in a letter to Charles, dated December 20, 1921. Then the trail runs cold. By this time, the elderly veteran was ensconced with his memories at the Union Printers Home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 12 Letter writing was one of the most popular amusements among Northern soldiers, and Charles was no exception.
Baking bread is the gratest job. I have just been out walking. 's of the 33rd Mo. [were] drilling in the bayonette exercise. it is worth Seeing. I heard by a letter from a friend near home that little sister Julia was very Sick. i was Sory to hear Such news. our letters come very irregular. Some of the boys get Some every mail and others once in two weeks.... you must write often. I write not less than two every week.... tell Jane and hester to write me a letter to let me know that they have not forgoton one that will never forget themeven on the battle field.