Colonel Osgood Vose Tracy’s Letters Home from the Civil War, 1862–1865
Edited by Sarah Tracy Burrows and Ryan W. Keating
“These wartime letters from a Union army officer to his mother, interspersed with his later accounts of the battle of Gettysburg and his capture at the battle of the Wilderness and subsequent escape, describe a range of soldier experiences: camp life, marches and battles, bonding with comrades, the highs and lows of morale, and homesickness. The reader will emerge with a broadened understanding and appreciation for the service and sacrifices of Civil War soldiers.”
—James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom
More than 3 million men served in the American Civil War. In “Yours Affectionately, Osgood”, editors Sarah Tracy Burrows and Ryan W. Keating have assembled a collection of letters from one of those soldiers—Osgood Vose Tracy of the 122nd New York Infantry. Sarah Tracy Burrows, a descendant of Col. Osgood Tracy, has compiled this editors Sarah Tracy Burrows and Ryan W. Keating have assembled a collection of letters from one of those soldiers—Osgood Vose Tracy of the 122nd New York Infantry. Sarah Tracy Burrows, a descendant of Col. Osgood Tracy, has compiled this expansive collection from her family’s private papers. Paired with illuminating discussion and historical context from noted Civil War historian Ryan W. Keating, Tracy’s letters home follow his journey as a soldier and prisoner of war from his enlistment in August 1862 through the end of the war in May 1865, as Tracy then readjusted to civilian life.
The letters in “Yours Affectionately, Osgood”, primarily written to his mother, provide a uniquely detailed perspective of everyday life in the Army of the Potomac, adding considerably to the existing literature on the experiences of citizen soldiers in America’s Civil War. A well-educated young man, Tracy offers his opinion on pressing social and political issues of the time, including his definite abolitionist sentiments; ruminates on the Union war effort and its campaigns; and demonstrates his deep commitment to family, as well as his sweetheart, Nellie Sedgwick, back home. Tracy’s letters constitute an incredibly rare primary source volume that will be both fascinating and foundational in the scholarly community and for more general interest readers of the history of the Civil War.
“Tracy’s letters provide excellent content from which even experts will glean information and insight to the experiences of Civil War soldiers through the unique perspective of a staff officer. Tracy is around all the Sixth Corps big wigs, giving a taste of life in this reliable Army of the Potomac corps. The inclusion of correspondence from the home front adds an uncommon feature to most soldier letter books.”
Patrick A. Schroeder, Historian
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
“From bad food and boredom to the horrors of Gettysburg and his escape from a Confederate prison, Osgood Tracy’s missives bring the reader into the beating heart of the bloody conflict that defined our nation.”
Eleanor Herman, New York Times best-selling historian