Dear Uncles

The Civil War Letters of Arthur McKinstry, a Soldier in the Excelsior Brigade

Edited by Rick Barram

Subjects: New York/regional, American History, General Interest
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Hardcover : 9781438489971, 368 pages, September 2022
Paperback : 9781438489964, 368 pages, September 2022
Expected to ship: 2022-09-01
Expected to ship: 2022-09-01

A New York soldier's eyewitness account of life in the first year of the Civil War, from the campgrounds to the battlefields.


Dear Uncles is one young man's story from the beginning of the American Civil War. Taken from letters sent home to family and friends, including correspondence written for his uncles' local newspaper, this book gives an intimate portrait of Arthur McKinstry's journey from a small town in upstate New York to confront Confederate forces in Virginia. Articulate, confident, and observant, McKinstry's letters are written with a journalist's eye and poet's heart, giving us a vivid, humorous, and ultimately heartbreaking view into his experiences of going to war. Whether slogging through rain and mud, waiting for care packages from home, or watching cannonballs land in camp, these dispatches place readers in a young soldier's boots and help them to imagine how family and friends experienced this crisis in American history. Dear Uncles also offers new insights into regimental organization, training, and the often-overlooked attempt of Confederates to blockade Washington, DC's Potomac River supply route. Dear Uncles will fascinate and entertain readers with an interest in American Civil War history.

A retired history and theater arts teacher, Rick Barram resides in northern California. He is the author of The 72nd New York Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster.