The Long Road for Home is primarily based on a collection of over fifty letters written by the editor's great uncle, William W. Lind, while he served as a private in the Twenty-seventh Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. It is also based on a somewhat smaller collection of letters written by three other enlisted men of the same regiment, including two brothers and a friend of William's, and by various friends and relatives of the soldiers. The four soldiers were all young farmboys, and William and his friend were Scottish immigrants.
In early 1862, the Twenty-seventh Regiment was involved in the Burnside Expedition, which resulted in the capture of Roanoke Island and New Berne, North Carolina. Between late 1862 and 1864, the regiment took part in picket duty and various skirmishes, expeditions, scouting missions, battles at Drewry's Bluff and Cold Harbor, and the Siege of Petersburg. William and one of the brother soldiers were wounded, the other brother was mortally wounded and died as a prisoner of war, and William's friend deserted. The Twenty-seventh Regiment lost, in total during service, 12 officers and 389 enlisted men to injury and disease.
The main focus of this book is to give some insight into the personal thoughts, worries, moods, sufferings, and problems of common soldiers of limited education, who at a young age volunteered to serve their country in order to put the letters in proper perspective, the soldiers' correspondence is interspersed with some of the Twenty-seventh Regiment's history and chronology, as well as with some of the war's general history. Comments have also been added at the end of a number of letters to explain more fully, clarify, or in some cases correct, references made by the soldiers. But the letters are generally left to speak for themselves. Some of them describe the horrors of battle, many contain the usual gripes about army life, others relate unsavory incidents not found in the official reports, and a couple tell of how rival pickets called an informal truce and fraternized. Generally speaking, however, the letters to some extent reflect a kind of honest patriotism and loyalty.
The Long Road for Home contains maps of the battlefields involved, a few illustrations - including a photograph of Private Lind in uniform - and a glossary of phonetic spelling compiled from the letters.
Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.