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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
A letter, a treasure to receive and a pleasure to write and send, but sadly an artifact of another era. Letters have connected loved ones for centuries, revealed important details about life, and recorded significant events. Letters are stories waiting to be shared and for one 2nd Minnesota Volunteer to the Union Army during the American Civil War, letters described the boring details of military camp life, the drudgery of endless marching, and the unspeakable horrors of the battlefield and the field hospital after a battle. My Dear Wife and Children: Civil War Letters from a 2nd Minnesota Volunteer is by Nick K. Adams.
Corporal David Brainard Griffin left his wife and children on a prairie homestead in Minnesota, enlisting in the Union army to fight a cause in which he believed and to help pay the expenses of the homestead. He wrote home to his family very regularly for two years until, sadly, the letters stopped. The corporal was killed on the battlefield. The life he described to his wife, the battles he faced, is a lasting treasure of historical relevance. All because his wife held onto each of his letters, a treasured memory of a loved one, and these letters were passed on from one generation to the next.
Until now. Nick K. Adams, retired teacher, great-great-grandson of Corporal Griffin, has taken on the task of sharing these letters and his ancestor's stories with the world. These letters are history. They bring to life a turbulent time in North American history, a time many of us only know from history books. The corporal's vivid accounts of his daily life, the long marches, the gruesome battles, his unspeakable homesickness (especially after witnessing a horrific battle) make the facts of history all the more real.