The Henry Benton Austin collection contains letters that Austin wrote to a woman named "Hettie" and a manuscript map depicting the Battle of Ball's Bluff. Austin commented on his experiences while serving in the Union Army during the Civil War and expressed his displeasure with a transient lifestyle.
Language: The material is in English Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave. The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190 Phone: 734-764-2347 Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu
Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.
Henry Benton Austin Collection, James S. Schoff Civil War Collection, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan
Henry Benton Austin joined the Union Army around the beginning of the Civil War and served in the Army of the Potomac at and immediately after the Battle of Ball's Bluff. He later became a first lieutenant in Company C of the 16th Indiana Infantry Regiment.
The Henry Benton Austin collection contains 3 letters that Austin wrote to a woman named "Hettie" and a manuscript map depicting the Battle of Ball's Bluff. The map, drawn with ink and pencil, shows geographic landmarks such as the Potomac River and the road to Leesburg, Virginia, as well as picket lines, battery positions, and the Confederate Army's furthest point of advancement (). Two of Austin's letters pertain to his war service (January 26, 1862, and undated). He reflected on the Battle of Ball's Bluff, which he referred to as "a day of human butchery," and described a boat carrying wounded soldiers. Austin reported that his unit had been equipped with Enfield rifles, complained about poor drinking water, and mentioned soldiers' difficulty drilling with heavy uniforms, knapsacks, and cartridge boxes in high heat. In his final letter, also undated and unsigned, Austin discussed his case of the "blues" and dissatisfaction with a "roving wandering kind of life."