Soldier Boy

Soldier Boy : The Civil War Letters of Charles O. Musser, 29th Iowa

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Description

Blood and anger, bragging and pain, are all part of this young Iowa soldier's vigorous words about war and soldiering. A twenty-year-old farmer from Council Bluffs, Charles O. Musser was one of the 76,000 Iowans who enlisted to wear the blue uniform. He was a prolific writer, penning at least 130 letters home during his term of service with the 29th Iowa Volunteer Infantry.
"Soldier Boy" makes a significant contribution to the literature of the common soldier in the Civil War. Moreover, it takes a rare look at the Trans-Mississippi theater, which has traditionally been undervalued by historians.
Always Musser dutifully wrote and mailed his letters home. With a commendable eye for historical detail, he told of battles and marches, guerrilla and siege warfare, camp life and garrison soldiering, morale and patriotism, Copperheads and contraband, and Lincoln's reelection and assassination, creating a remarkable account of activities in this almost forgotten backwater of the war.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 261 pages
  • University of Iowa Press
  • United States
  • English
  • 1587291916
  • 9781587291913

Back cover copy

Blood and anger, bragging and pain, are all part of this young Iowa soldier's vigorous words about war and soldiering. A twenty year old farmer from Council Bluffs, Charles O. Musser was one of 76,000 Iowans who enlisted to wear the blue uniform. He was a prolific writer, penning at least 130 letters home during his term of service with the 29th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Soldier Boy makes a significant contribution to the literature of the common soldier of the Civil War. Moreover, it takes a rare look at the Trans-Mississippi theater, which has traditionally been undervalued by historians. Early in the war, the cream of the Confederacy's manpower in the region left to join the fray east of the Mississippi. The Union troops in the Trans-Mississippi theater were chronically hampered by supply shortages, reflecting the low priority that Washington assigned them. Large scale, pitched battles were rare, small unit actions and hit and run raids being the order of the day. Still, hard fighting and real dying took place. Musser was present in the midst of the action on Independence Day, 1863, and lived to graphically describe one of the bloodiest Civil War battles west of the Mississippi, when a federal garrison repeatedly turned back Confederate attempts to capture Helena, Arkansas. He survived his baptism by fire at Helena and served ably for the balance of the war, holding the rank of sergeant when mustered out.
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