Emerson Opdycke, a lieutenant with the 41st Ohio Infantry and later a commander of the 125th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, won fame at the Battle of Franklin when his brigade saved the Union Army from defeat. He also played pivotal roles in some of the major battles of the western theater, including Chickamauga, Chattanooga, and Missionary Ridge.
Opdycke's wartime letters to his wife, Lucy, offer the immediacy of the action as it unfolded and provide a glimpse into the day-to-day life of a soldier. Viewing the conflict with the South as a battle between the rights of states and loyalty to the Union, his letters reveal his dislike of slavery, devotion to the Union, disdain for military ineptitude, and opinions of combat strategies and high-ranking officers. A thorough introduction by editors Glenn V. Longacre and John E. Haas and a foreword by Peter Cozzens provide additional historical context and biographical information.