By Marcia Reid-Green, Henry Matrau
In his letters, Matrau describes camp life- the food, uniforms and equipment, reading materials, and medical care available to him and his comrades. Other incidents recounted include the capture and transfer of "contraband" slaves, the execution of a Union army deserter, friendly exchanges between Union and Confederate soldiers on picket, and tours of Richmond's Libby and Castle Thunder prisons after the war. These letters reflect Matrau's maturing as a soldier, from his youthful enthusiasm early in 1862 when he boasts of becoming proficient with a bayonet, to the combat-weary, veteran fighter who admits in spring 1863 that he has "seen the elephant" and is ready to come home.
- Lincoln, NE