An Iowa Soldier Writes Home

The Civil War Letters of Union Private Daniel J. Parvin

Edited by: Phillip A. Hubbart

Tags: History

Table of Contents (PDF)

196 pp  $25.00

ISBN 978-1-59460-978-7

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This book is an edited collection of 117 letters that a forgotten Union foot soldier, Pvt. Daniel J. Parvin, wrote home to his wife and family in Muscatine, Iowa, during the American Civil War.

Parvin was a lively writer. He narrates relevant events with a keen eye for critical detail, particularly in his dramatic accounts of the battles he was in — the Battle of Shiloh (where he narrowly escaped death), the Siege of Vicksburg (where he served in a reserve capacity) and the Atlanta campaign (where he was wounded and almost died). And he employs the same attention to detail in his less glamorous descriptions of day-to-day camp life.

Parvin was also a passionate and opinionated man. He expresses his views in colorful language on the people, events and politics of his day. And he often pours out his heart on the painful loneliness he felt away from home, and on the deep love he had for his family and country.

The collection is edited by Parvin's great-great-grandson.

"The battle experiences related in Parvin's 117 surviving letters are richer than most, and his descriptions of active campaigning and camp life in the western theater, as well as pointed opinions about leading figures of the day, are noteworthy....[T]he substantial nature of Parvin's writings (especially on military matters) makes the book well worth the effort for western theater campaign generalists and particularly for readers concerned with Iowa soldiers and the Iowa home front."
Reprinted with permission of Andrew Wagenhoffer, Civil War Books and Authors (

"...worthwhile reading for any student of the western campaigns....Parvin was a passionate and opinionated man who poured his soul and opinions into his letters. This unusually complete collection gives us both a good look at the man, his times, and the army he fought in."
Fred Ray, TOCWOC - A Civil War Blog