Henry H. Seys papers  1851-1864
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Henry Seys' letters are the product of a well educated man: sprinkled with Latin and French phrases, and quotations from poetry, they are written in a lively and engaging style. The strength of the collection lies in Seys' animated accounts of conversations in camp, fatiguing marches, and of day-to-day life during the heat of the critical Tennessee campaigns of 1863. Something of an artist, he left one map of the Tullahoma Campaign, but unfortunately, his pencil sketches of army life and personnel -- done for the benefit of his children -- have been lost.

Seys' surviving letters cluster around the Tullahoma, Chickamauga, and Chattanooga Campaigns. While not a combatant, per se , he records the eerie sensation of living with the possibility, if not probability, of imminent death. As a member of Rosecrans' staff, he became intimate with the general, and his letters provide some penetrating personal glimpses into that man's character and his subordinates' feelings about him. In a different vein, Seys' devotion to his horse, "Dr.," gives a sense of the affection that some soldiers developed for their animal friends during the stress of war. Finally, as might be expected, the collection includes information on medical aspects of the war. Seys treated not only soldiers, but his family (by mail); one letter recommends chloroform to aid his mother-in-law's asthma.

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