Do They Miss Me at Home?
The Civil War Letters of William McKnight, Seventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Ohio University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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The collection was transcribed in McKnight’s words. For instance, misspelled words were not corrected, and capitalized words within sentences remained as such, although the first word of each sentence was capitalized. Slight punctuation, however, was required to maintain consistent flow. Periods were sparingly used...
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During the Civil War, letters were among the few connections to home that soldiers had; their importance increased as the war advanced and troops found themselves farther from family and friends.1 Soldiers constantly complained of not receiving “enough letters,” and one soldier wrote, “You can have no idea what a blessing letters...
1. Preparing for War (September 1862–January 1, 1863)
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Most of McKnight’s early letters discuss routine issues that many soldiers faced during the war. For example, a letter dated December 9, 1862, describes in detail the first half of a typical day in camp: “I have to detail every day at day light I have the Roll to cal...
2. Life as a Soldier and Divided Kentucky (January 8, 1863–July 8, 1863)
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After leaving Ohio, McKnight first arrived at Camp Ella Bishop near Lexington, Kentucky, in January 1863. From that point, McKnight traversed much of central and southern Kentucky and camped at several places—Danville, Harrodsburg, Monticello, Stanford, and Somerset...
3. The Fourth of July Presents and John Hunt Morgan’s Raid (July 11, 1863–August 20, 1863)
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July and August 1863 are central to the McKnight story. During this brief, two-month period, McKnight learned that Samaria had given birth to twins—Martha and Myrtha—on July 4 and that Confederate general...
4. Going for Dixie (August 25, 1863–March 28, 1864)
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Up until this point, McKnight and the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry were organizing and preparing for battle, seeing only limited action in Kentucky. During the fall of 1863 and the following winter, however, McKnight’s unit would be “going for Dixie.” Although McKnight refers to this region...
5. The Final Months (April 1, 1864–June 21, 1864)
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Unlike the previous chapters, this chapter includes an array of letters from William’s family. McKnight may have been killed in action before the letters reached him, or he may not have had time to destroy the correspondence before his death. In the only known existing letter...
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Immediately following McKnight’s death and the fighting at Cynthiana, the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry pursued a retreating John Hunt Morgan through rugged terrain in eastern Kentucky. Morgan eventually escaped, but the Seventh was able to release several hundred of General Hobson’s men, who had been captured...
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Publication Year: 2010